V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
3/21/22 8:02 a.m.

I'm loving the conversation that this has started.  This is great.

In reply to Gambit0117 : 

I have done no research at all.  I just know that I'm at a handicap since I insist on having my turbo where it currently sits with the plumbing I made.  Equal length manifolds seem to make these engines sounds a lot better regardless of the rest of the exhaust.  I do find the technology to be interesting though and might have to reference that in the future.

I think it's time to move on for now though.  I got my muffler installed yesterday, and I am blown away by how much better it sounds.  The ridiculous *BLAAAT* that 3800s make after letting off the gas is completely gone, and the car sounds miles better from where I sit. I haven't noticed any drone either, so I'm calling it a win!  I'm going to weld this thing on and continue fixing other more pressing matters.

Check it out.  Perfect size!

I admit that I wish I was looking at the rear end and the panhard bars instead of the exhaust.  I'm thinking it needs to be painted black when I weld the muffler on.  I also wish that the passenger side didn't hang so low, but this is as much as I could tuck it without making contact somewhere.  Oh well.

Now for the bad news.  The oil pan gasket replacement was a massive fail.  It leaks even worse than before.  I decided that I'm not trying that again unless I have a tubular k-member to swap in with it.  That gasket job really needs to be done with the engine out of the car, so a smaller k-member is the best cheat that I can think up.

Back to good news.  I wobbled the car into work today so that I can finally replace these awful dry-rotted tires on the way home.  I can't wait to feel the smooth ride again.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
3/23/22 9:00 a.m.

My tires didn't arrive at the shop on Monday, so the appointment was postponed.  Since then I decided to crawl under the car and crank on the pan bolts on that the leaky side a little more.  Some had a lot of travel left in them so I kept going until it felt like I was in danger of snapping.  The roads were wet today, so it's kind of hard to judge, however I didn't see or smell any oil this morning.  yes  I'll wait to call it good until things dry up.

I had another thought on my way in to work this morning which I thought was worth asking GRM.  Since switching to my wide wheels, my car has ridden and handled like garbage.  As of right now, I'm blaming 100% of this on the ancient tires, but there's still some thoughts in the back of my mind.  I can't seem to keep the car in a straight line when I'm going down the highway.  It likes to wander.  Maybe the old tires are playing games.  I hope that's it and it'll be back to its old self with the new Nittos.  Otherwise, I'm concerned that I'll need to add some toe-in.

I've also noticed that my power steering is unhappy. sad Perhaps bouncing the engine off the limiter for three gears while doing a burnout was a little hard on the 160k mile pump.blush  It's hard to say if the pumps provided on V6 cars were the same as the V8 pumps because the V8 cars (sometimes with wider tires but not always) had an integrated reservoir.  I assume that's the only real difference, and that I should have no issues steering my 275s with a good rebuilt V6 pump.  It's too bad.  I just recently swapped the out the high pressure line and fluid.  I might add a cooler when I replace the pump for piece of mind.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
3/23/22 11:56 a.m.

New tires are going to help, but the reason Mustangs sold so much better in this era despite being down lots of power to the F-bodies is that they were much better daily drivers. And part of that is due to the narrower tires they almost all came with. If a Camaro came with 245s, the Mustang had 225s. The wider a tire is the worse the tramlining -- it is inescapable.

obsolete
obsolete HalfDork
3/23/22 12:25 p.m.

My experience with tramlining is that a wider contact patch makes it worse, and even stickier tires in the same width can magnify the effect. Slop in the suspension/steering also makes it worse, because if the toe can change without the steering wheel moving, it's hard to stop the road from pulling the tires toward the path of least resistance.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
3/24/22 7:23 a.m.

Thanks for input, guys!  That's extremely helpful.  Here I thought I messed stuff up dropping the K-member over an over again.  Although I'm a bit disappointed that this will be the nature of the beast, I look forward to at least making a remedy attempt with tighter suspension.  As of right now, the only true upgrades I've done are the panhard bars, chassis ties, and a solid front sway bar.  I miss the cushy ride I had with the original skinny balloon tires, but I think I'll get over it when it handles like it's on rails!

By the way, the tires were still a massive improvement.  It was so nice to drive home without feeling like my teeth were going to fall out.  I look forward to doing some more spirited driving as well.

Also the roads were dry, so the oil smoke came back. angry  I'm running out of things to try.  The tubular k-member has a five week lead time, so I think I'm going to start preparing an entire new oil pan in the mean time.  My replacement pan is a junky Dorman piece that I've never been happy with.  I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't the gasket's fault at all for my leaking problems.  I'll start searching ebay for an OE pan.

Harvey
Harvey SuperDork
3/25/22 2:32 p.m.

I'm loving that you went all in with the Camaro. This is some great stuff.

What do you do with the GN? I had an 87 back in 1999 for a year or two and I never had the money and time to play around with it. I wanted to go through and fix all the niggling G-body issues like the windows not really sealing due to them getting loose and the gaskets getting old. I also wanted to put in a rear seat brace and the missing body bushings.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
3/26/22 10:43 p.m.

In reply to Harvey :

Thank you!

The GN makes me sad sometimes because it doesn't get nearly as much attention as any of the other cars I like to play with.  I bought it in 2016 with 43k miles on it and it still has only 52ish k...I think.  Don't get me wrong.  I love that car.  It's not going anywhere, but it likes to break something every chance it gets.  It pretty much sits in my garage, gets a couple repairs or demods, goes to few shows, and then gets put away for the year.  They were built very ahead of their time which makes certain systems very difficult to repair.  Restoring the brake system back to the Powermaster booster is my next task big task, and it's not likely to go as smoothly as I plan.  I have my original unit and a parts unit which I hope are successfully Frankensteined into a good single unit, but I have to finish my testing rig to see if it builds up enough fluid pressure.

Anyway, having two turbo Buick 3.8Ls means I can take them in completely different directions to satisfy two very different desires.  The GN happens to be my show car.  I'm trying to keep it clean, original, and in full working order.  The original wheels are back on, I fixed the AC and retrofitted it for r-134a, put the original intake and intercooler back on, the power antenna still works, and soon I'll have a very quirky brake system to make the car completely functional and as-delivered.  This car has taught me a lot about servicing old systems which wouldn't have happened if I didn't get the Camaro.  I would have been much too tempted to modify the GN and possibly ruin it if I didn't have a distracton.  It still has some very subtile modifications that are likely to go away some day, but they're mostly unnoticeable to the untrained eye, offer big gains over stock, or just too much of a hassle to undo.  Besides, a little extra grunt never hurts!

It probably deserves it's own thread.  I just don't usually have a lot to say about it.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
3/26/22 11:05 p.m.

I might as well update the Camaro while I'm here.

I brought up my oil leak issue on 3800pro.com and ended up getting a pretty promising and non-laborious suggestion.  This is my dipstick tube.

As you can see, it's wet on both sides of the o-ring.  The tube slides in and out of the block even easier than the dipstick within it.  I imagine that this thing is just spewing oil vapors under boost.  Even if it it's not the whole problem, it certainly needs to be fixed.  A new oring is on the way from a GM warehouse.  Pray for me!

I don't want to have to do another oil pan gasket, but I feel like a slight doofus for panic buying a tubular k-member and an OE oil pan from ebay.  I tend to get pretty antsy when the Buick GS Nationals start getting close on the calendar, and I plan to make this the first year of taking the Camaro.  I can't have it making a smoke screen on it's way in!  I'm not expecting the Buick people to love it.  It is a Chevy after all, but it IS Buick powered.  It's also probably going to cost me $100 less than it would to take the GN.  93 and meth injection at 20 mpg vs. E85 only at 18mpg.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
3/27/22 8:49 p.m.

Long-time Buick people are used to seeing the engine in just about everything so I wouldn't worry about the lack of acceptance of something as normal as an F-body. There will probably be quite a few '89 Turbo Trans Ams there.

autocomman
autocomman Reader
3/28/22 2:34 a.m.

Doorman pan should be fine, it's just a stamped steel pan with a flat edge.  3800s leak from everywhere at some point.  Front cover, rear cover, intake, etc etc.  I used a Camaro pan on my MGB and it looked fine, i think it was a doorman or something, it wasn't factory I can tell you that.  And I doubt there are many factories repopping this pan.  There were like 4 different pans for the 3800s at the time

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
3/28/22 8:43 a.m.

In reply to GCrites80s :

Oh there will be. lol  Some of the goofy V6 swaps I've seen in the past few years are an SN95 Mustang Cobra, a couple FC RX7s, Fox body Mustang, Monte Carlos, 60s Skylark wagon, and even a Gremlin.  They were all pretty cool to see.  The difference is that those are all old school LC2 or Stage 2 powered where mine is the more modern L36.  You'd be surprised at how few of Buick diehards accept the 3800 as "true Buick power".  They think it's a corporate engine for some reason.  I don't really care though.  The ones who know will appreciate it.  I built the car for myself, so those who don't appreciate it don't bother me!

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
3/28/22 8:51 p.m.

Oh I didn't think about that distinction. In my mind if you showed up with a turbo 90 degree V6 and that intake design you'd be OK, haha.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
3/31/22 9:26 a.m.

I replaced the dipstick o-rings with some that I found in a kit because the site I ordered from is stupid slow.  I was super happy to find that I definitely fixed a leak.... but it's still leaking elsewhere. indecision Progress is good.  It's just amazing how many leaks I had to begin with.

Anyway, the spot under the dipstick is now dry, and the wet spot doesn't start until I get to the turbo drain bung...  I guess I know where to start looking when I actually get the car off the ground.  It's probably really hard to see from this picture, but there's dryness on the front end of the pan!!  Partial victory. lol

I've already replaced the turbo drain flange which is dry and the hose which is dry.  All that's left to condemn is the weld bung assuming that the pan rail is dry.  I'll check that later.  The bung is welded nicely, but if there's one thing I learned from replacing the drain hose, it's that good fittings are worth the extra few dollars.  The weld bung on the pan is the cheapest one I could find.  That alone makes me want to condemn it, but I don't like doing that without proof.

You might remember that the hose is a -10 with an adapter to the -12 on the pan.  The leak is for certain not upstream of the adapter.  Part of me wants to try putting a careful film of RTV on the inside of the adapter fitting to see if it will fill in any imperfections on the weld bung.  My thinking is that if it fixes the symptom, I can happily replace the pan and weld bung at my leisure with the OE pan and a quality -10 bung.  The adapter will be ruined, but it won't matter because I won't need it anymore.  If it doesn't fix it, I guess it's still no harm/no foul.  The pan is probably coming off for replacement of the gasket anyway.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
3/31/22 3:46 p.m.

The only way to get a turbo Buick to stop drooling oil everywhere is to use block plates.  The engine mounts mightily flex the bottom of the block when under load, causing the oil pan gasket to fret and fail.

There is a special super thick gasket that helps, but even that will drool eventually.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
4/1/22 8:21 a.m.

This is probably the best view of my oil leak situation I've had yet. While I'm sad that the leak still exists, I'm super happy that I was able to get the car back in the garage before the heavy rain started. The green arrow is pointing at a bone dry section of the oil pan. That's good news. The red arrow is pointing at the wet spot which you can see is directly under the drain fitting (now equipped with thread sealer). Everything toward the rear of the red arrow is les wet but not completely dry. I'm going to guess that's just by wind from the car moving because there isn't any obvious drips above it. Inside the yellow circle is the oil being held by surface tension. The little stream comes from the red arrow wet spot and the wind eventually blows it onto the hot crossover.

That's the most logical explanation I can come up with anyway. I wish I had a front crossover now because the puddle this leaves on my floor is so small now. I doubt that I would even think twice about this if it wasn't making clouds of smoke behind me. I'm afraid it's time to start preparing the "new" OE pan for a -10 fitting.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
4/5/22 8:26 a.m.

I'm not playing games anymore.  I'm finding oil leaks no matter what it takes!

This little plastic stop for the -4 hose end sealed surprisingly well against the -10 breather fitting!

And this is a method of finding leaks that I won't soon forget!  Since my PCV is packed full of JB Weld, the only leak I could hear over the vacuum pump was coming from the very top of my weld bung.  I have it tucked high enough on the pan that I couldn't really plug it with my finger.  I guess that's why it was missed with the MIG gun too!  I was able to make a big mess to rig it for now though.  I just shoved as much RTV into that void between the bung and the pan rail as I could until the hissing stopped.  For as hack as it was, it was pretty satisfying to hear the hiss go away and RTV pop and slurp as it got sucked in to the leak. lol  After letting it dry for a couple hours, I turned on the vacuum pump again and heard no hissing!  yes  I'd say that's an official proof of concept.  This leak story is over for now.  I'm willing to leave it alone for as long as that RTV holds up.

 

I could have stopped there for the night and been a very happy man, but that wasn't the extent of my big garage wins for the night.  I've been holding out on you guys a bit because I haven't talked at all about my vibration situation.  I've had bad vibrations in my car for a long time, but I always blamed it on the dry-rotted Khumos.  Those are gone though and the car feels as smooth as silk.... until I hit about 75mph.  Is that a huge deal 95% of the time I'm driving this car?  No.  Is it going to suck when I'm on the interstate?  Yes.  It's also so violent that I'm worried about something coming apart if I let it go for too long or push it harder.

My driveline angles have to be off.  I forgot to put the spacers I made back in with my poly trans mount, and it's nowhere near the same height as stock.

So no biggie.  Put the spacers in and go test it right?

I wish.  I went for a drive, and the 3/8" or so that I spaced the trans up caused the custom shifter to hit my console big time.  *sigh*  This is what I aimed to address last night.

Here's the console out with the bare shifter stub ground down, in its custom paint booth (lol), and ready for paint.

Here's the finished shifter with the modified extension piece.  I'm a lot happier with it.  Before the "speed holes" it was obnoxiously heavy.  It also didn't really fit the shifter handle nicely.  I must have been too excited to get this transmission conversion done to bother with perfect fitment.

https://youtube.com/shorts/iTSZmniD0VM?feature=share

I'm waiting to go for a test drive until my Mishimoto coolant recovery bottle comes.  This is a sad mod because my old bottle was one that I made myself.  It was bigger than the one I just spent $80 on, and it had a sight for quick indication of coolant level.  However the swivel fittings I used for the sight were meant to have a little bit of pressure on them to seal.  Since these sit in ambient pressure, they began to leak. sad I might try to find a soft compression fitting of sorts to replace them later.  For now, I just need something that won't leak while looking decent.

Shavarsh
Shavarsh Reader
4/5/22 2:20 p.m.

Sweet, nice job finding the leak

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
4/6/22 8:53 a.m.

I stuck the coolant overflow hose into a Jim Beam bottle hose clamed to the core support so that I could go for a drive.  The smoking is now minimized to a point I can live with.  The vibration issue is better but not resolved.

Fixing the driveline angles just pushed the start of the vibrations from 70 mph to 80 mph.  Realistically I could live with this for a while.  After all, those are racing speeds, and I haven't had the car at the track yet.  However, I'm going to try replacing the rear u-joint for some closure.  It's original to the car, I've dropped its bone dry/rusty needle bearings on the floor several times, and it's only $15 for a new greasable unit at Napa.  Why not?  If that doesn't fix it, I'll probably have to get serious about adjustable torque arms and rear control arms.  While I was able to adjust the trans mount height, it's still not quite the same height as stock.  It's also at about the max height before the trans hits the tunnel.

autocomman
autocomman Reader
4/7/22 3:53 a.m.

Man, and I thought I had issues ...staying motivated on this too, pretty good man.  And actually getting to the root causes.  Mad props.  Also the 3800 is a Buick engine, period.  It had revisions to make it better and better along the way as it was derived from an odd fire engine that was cobbled together from a failed v8....I mean it's amazing they ran it as long as they did with just making it an even fire.

The grand national though, that electric booster ...eesh.  I've had em fail when driving...the vacuum booster is one thing if he happy to see as a mod under the hood and wouldn't think twice.  Loosing a booster in those things, eff me they do not wanna stop.  Not worth it unless your going full concourse pebble beach 100point car...just my opinion.  There is a reason everything still uses vacuum boosters to this day haha.

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
4/8/22 8:08 a.m.

The trouble is more so when I pop the hood and see the vacuum booster or go to put my foot on the pedal and hear that air pumping sound.  It's just incredibly wrong to me.  Nothing beats the quiet and consistent feel of a good working Powermaster... except for maybe a Hydroboost. lol  The It may not be a defining feature of the Grand National to most people, but a vacuum booster is only a couple steps below an LS swap in my eyes.  The car was a technical spectacle for Buick in the 80s and that's what I'm looking to showcase.  If I had the problematic digital climate control in this car, I'd try my heart out to keep it functional too!

Small Camaro updates:

I've been driving to work all week and only making small tweaks at night.  First and foremost, I finally mustered the courage to inspect my oil pan again.  Finally, I can rest!  The oil pan is completely dry!  The exhaust wrap still smokes a little but not an embarrassing amount.  I've been informed that it is likely to do that for weeks of driving until all the residual oil burns off or solidifies. yes

Also, the $80 Mishimo coolant overflow only lasted on my car for one day.  It was so ugly that I couldn't live it.  Thinking emoji man wasn't pleased.

I guess it wasn't so much the can itself, but the hose routing that I was forced to have and the lack of lower mounting.  Without the zip tie, I had rattles.  With it, it looked even more janky than the PVC.  The can either needed to be modified so that the nipple was facing a different direction, or I could just go ahead and fix my home made PCV tank because I already missed the level indicator.

I installed some compression fittings and subsequently felt 10x more proud of the DIY overflow.  I'm still shocked at how few people notice or make fun of it.

I decided to grab a u-joint to see if it would help my vibration.  To make a long story short, this driveshaft needs to go.  It's too short, rusty, and now bent.  I made the vibration worse.  The next project involves getting an adjustable torque arm and a custom driveshaft.  I may also start looking into why my transmission is making so much noise in neutral with the clutch engaged.  Now that I'm leakless, I'm determined to smooth this car out.

bonylad
bonylad HalfDork
4/8/22 8:19 a.m.

In regards to your GN. We had a customer with one that came in for a brake issue. IIRC it needed a powerbooster as well. We had found a company that either makes them, or refurbs them......heck even updated them IRC.  Was quite a journey to get that car back on the road. From the pics it was not as nice as yours. Still worth saving and he did.  Id be interested in your GN and I am sure others would like to see it. IMO.

 

Link to the upgrade power booster - actually a conversion. Though I can appreciate the keeping it stock thing. Though brakes are one thing I am not sure anyone would really complain about....you know working proper lol.

 

Booster Conversion

 

And another one.

 

Another one.

autocomman
autocomman Reader
4/9/22 12:07 a.m.

Fair enough, and I can't argue with your logic becauae I feel the same way about certain things.  Also, you thought about having the driveshaft balanced?

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
4/11/22 7:50 a.m.

I decided to rotate the tires in hopes of narrowing down a vibration.  Why not?  It's easy enough.  I confirmed that it's not wheel related, and that Discount Tire needs to teach their employees a little better.

Hmmm okay.  This would concern me given that I haven't noticed any repaired damage on these wheels, but...

...not removing the old weights before rebalancing is just plain lazy and unacceptable.  I'll be back there this afternoon.

I certainly didn't let it ruin my day though.  A friend invited me to go on a cruise with his buddies to a meet at Sonic.  It was probably the furthest and hardest I had driven the car in almost two years, and it did great!  Despite some the little clutch clunks and driveline vibrations, the car is by far the best it's ever been.  I'm in love!  I guess I was just living in the moment, but I failed to take any pictures of our cars together.  It was kind of a shame because it was quite a lineup.  My buddy has a cammed LS1 swapped IS300, and his friends drove a 300hp 2nd gen MR2, and a very nice 1st gen MR2.

Just to prove I went somewhere, here's the only picture I snapped last night.  I was a big fan!

GCrites80s
GCrites80s Dork
4/11/22 10:45 a.m.
V6Buicks said:

First time I've seen that!

V6Buicks
V6Buicks Reader
4/14/22 12:14 p.m.

A buddy came through with some pictures of the crew's cars.

I went to DTC the next day and got the wacky wheel rebalanced.  Much better!

I'm still dealing with the goofed up driveshaft, and the car is parked until I get a new one.  Luckily, I found a place nearby that should be able to make one in less than a day since I can provide my own yoke.  Given the price of wood, I'm glad I had enough scraps to make these risers!  They will allow me to get an accurate measurement for both driveshaft length and working angles.

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