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Last Buick 3800 Engine today


Guest norb

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The Buicktown chapter was invited today to witness the end of the buick engine plant.It built 36,241,516 3800 engines.Everyone agrees it is a great engine but it is done now. I took a pic of thousands of them stored in plastic for future use. A hotdog lunch,speeches & then everyone laid off. As usual,my photo does not show up.

Look here!

post-35886-143137999423_thumb.jpg

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This was why I bit the bullet and bought our Lacrosse. I figure it is going to be one of the last hundred thousand or so real Buicks.

How sad that a great engine is deleted just because it is considered old technology. I wonder if GM is going to miss it when it's gone?

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Guest imported_MrEarl

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JohnD1956</div><div class="ubbcode-body">This was why I bit the bullet and bought our Lacrosse. I figure it is going to be one of the last hundred thousand or so real Buicks.

How sad that a great engine is deleted just because it is considered old technology. I wonder if GM is going to miss it when it's gone? </div></div>

I've never owned one but have only ever heard reat things about them.

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It is interesting that so many are "stored in plastic." I guess it isn't such a bad engine to the higher ups if they know they need to keep some extras around.

With the 3.8's reliability, I'm sure those extra engines won't be for warranty replacement. The engine just lasts soooo long! Unlike the Olds Shortstars and Cadillac Northstars, where you can't work on the engines because they are so complex and many of the key parts aren't available. If they break, you throw it away and get another engine out of a junkyard.

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Guest Jstbcausd

I wonder if the 3800's durability was it's downfall. Afterall GM can't make money on an engine that doesn't die and need replacing.

I'm on my 4th 3800(93 Regal GS still getting 27mpg) and think it could be the best engine ever from GM and am sad that it has gone on to the big junkyard in the sky.

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This is just more of the same General Motors bone-headed decision making to help kill the company. When you have a great product with a long-term following that is well known and respected in the marketplace, KILL IT! That's what they did to the Oldsmobile 88 and the Oldsmobile 98. Then they wondered why Oldsmobiles weren't selling. Then they killed off the Buick LeSabre, Electra, Park Avenue, and Roadmaster after those cars had established themselves as premium American motorcars with high quality and a good following. KILL 'em! Now, they kill off the 3.8 liter V-6.

Is it just me, or are they actually TRYING to kill off the company? They're definitely well on their way to killing off Buick.

Pete Phillips

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The LAST 2009 Buick to have the 3800 V-6 will be the LaCrosse vehicles. 2009 Lucernes will have (according to the brochures I found a few weeks ago) the 3.9L V-6 (Chevy architecture and heritage) with a little more horsepower than the 3800 had (gives them the opportunity for "More and better . . ." comments). It is a good engine and has been in production for a few years now, with good fuel economy and such, too, and probably has the Active Fuel Management feature (as it has had in the Impalas for a few years now).

As GM tries to further reign-in their overhead costs, the decision was (obviously) made a few years ago when the Chevy 60-degree V-6 family was updated for the then-new Chevy Malibu and its 3.5L V-6 (called "Vortec"). I suspect that the Buick 3800 V-6s "cut down" V-8 heritage (as in 90-degree V-angle and related size attributes) gave the Chevy V-6 engine family the nod. I suspect that both the Chevy V-6 and the Buick 3800 V-6 had similar build costs. In the case of the age of the related tooling, I suspect the Buick 3800 tooling was near its useful lifespan's end. As with anything that you are going to spend money on to replace, only buying one set rather than two AND doing something better with the same amount of money are always attractive options.

When the Chevy 3.9L V-6 was first offered, it had basically the same horsepower as the Buick 3800 SC V-6, but not as much torque. It was not VVT in that earlier version either, but with each addition (first VVT and then SAE Certification for power output), the stated output has fallen somewhat.

An INTERESTING thing is that the Buick 3800 V-6, in its last "low tech" iteration, generally got better over-the-road fuel economy than the GM 3.9L pushrod AND 3.6L "cammer" high-feature (but without "Direct Injection") V-6s. Still, when the Buick 3800 was freshened with tuned port injection and multi-coil ignition systems, it was "high tech" enough to challenge almost anything in the world at that time. When the Park Avenue and LeSabre platforms (along with the similar Olds and Pontiac larger cars) were standardized with the Buick V-6 of that time, they won awards for driveability and performance. In that era, there were incremental improvements almost every model year, which also included it making Wards list of "best engines" for many years.

When the High Feature 3.6L V-6 was introduced, it immediately replaced the Buick 3800 V-6 in Australia's Holden vehicles. When we toured the Powertrain plant in Flint, as part of the 1988 BCA National Meet's tours, Holden had just accepted the use of the Buick 3800 "balance shaft" V-6 and the Flint operatives were ESTATIC over that decision, as it meant more engines/month for them to produce.

At that tour's time, they were getting ready to do their run of 3800s to go into the Pontiac Firebirds, but due to vehicle architectural issues (i.e., strut towers), they had to use the Buick 3300's narrower cylinder heads. The Buick 3300 V-6 has been somewhat forgotten in the mix, but powered many "intermediate" Buicks and looked really impressive under the hood, with its aluminum fuel injection intake manifold sitting prominently in the middle of things . . . NO engine covers to hide anything or muffle injector "clicks".

In the later versions, the Buick 3800 engine was highly reliable and efficient -- virtues which seem to be lost in the mix and advertising "buzz" of what's allegedly better just because some features might be on some competitor's engine . . . which doesn't produce significantly more power or torque because they are there, but "the market demands it" or fewer emissions control devices might be needed. The FEW things which seemed to need attention were very known and easy to fix (the "interrupter" magnet which could have a location issue, the crankshaft pulley/balancer with the swinging balance weight mounted in flexible rubber AND a ball bearing, MAF sensors -- all within their respective narrow model year range, typically, and EASY to fix).

With the Grand Prix being replaced by the Pontiac G8 (with the 3.6L High Feature V-6 as the standard powerplant), all Impalas now having "Chevy" architecture powerplants now, Oldsmobiles not around any more (although many started life with the Buick 3800s under their hoods, later changing to their unique 3.5L DOHC V-6s and 4.0L NorthStar V-8s), that leaves the Buick LaCrosse CX and CXL models to be the LAST RECIPIENTS of the Buick 3800 V-6. It appears they built enough to get them through the 2009 model year and have a few crate engines for sale during the 2009 production year.

Trying to retrofit one of those 2009 production powerplants into an earlier than (about) 2007 model year vehicle might be problematic, though. No 3800 SCs, either, although there are aftermarket SC kits out there.

So, rather than a "dumb decision" as such, although I might tend to concur in some respects, I suspect it was the Buick V-6s V-8 architectural heritage (90-degree V-angle, although it was great to use one set of basic tooling to build TWO engine families back then!) and aging tooling which would need replacement that influenced the decision to use the narrower (and easier to package in more vehicles) Chevy-architecture 60-degree V-6 as their one pushrod "High Value" V-6.

When the Chevy 60-degree engine family was still young, GM was investing large amounts of time and money to perfect and better the Buick 3800 V-6 to the great engine it became. Balance shafts when they were "high tech", several revisions of fuel injector "angles" in the intake manifolding for better power and fewer emissions and great fuel efficiency, sophisticated electronics for ignition controls and engine management, plus "getting rotating weight" out of the internals. With all of these advances, the 90-degree V-6 engines still made "sounds" which some did not like, which did not match the "high-tech" engines (and generally 60-degree powerplants) in their desireability. Allegedly some "nature of the beast" issues which might not have been acoustically designed out of the mix.

With the desire to have only one "universal" V-6 car engine family, the Chevy-architecture engine was the apparent winner. I have no doubt that VVT could have been added to the Buick 3800 V-6, but it would have required a new block casting (as it did for the Chevy engines) to contain the additional oil passages for that feature. Another issue of "cost" (manufacturing and emissions certification), I suspect. It might also have been that the Buick 3800 would have benefited from VVT as much as the Chevy engine might have . . . with VVT being a large selling point and "credibility" to generations which have owned/desired import makes with such a feature (because they NEED it rather than have to have it for other reasons).

I wish the many Flint Powertrain workers the best in the future. THEY can rest assured that THEY produced one of THE BEST engines every built--PERIOD! Unfortunately, those good feelings don't work at the bank . . .

I have read that a new engine will be built in Flint, but don't recall what it is. Hopefully, the heritage of the Buick V-6 engine will carry through!

As we age, one of the depressing things is that we get to witness the passing of noted entertainers, great minds and thinkers, and loved ones . . . plus the passing of many mechanical "marvels" which are generally replaced by something not quite as good as what they replaced (in some shape, form, or function). What's "best" becomes a "point of reference" issue, unfortunately, as each generation has its own orientations based on what they grew up with . . . UNLESS they do their research rather than taking the words of others and alleged "experts".

BEST WISHES TO THE BUICK 3800 V-6 ENGINE PLANT EMPLOYEES and THANKS FOR DOING A GREAT JOB!!!! We'll enjoy and cherish what you've done for many more decades of driving Buicks!

Willis Bell 20811

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Guest Skyking

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Pete Phillips</div><div class="ubbcode-body">This is just more of the same General Motors bone-headed decision making to help kill the company. When you have a great product with a long-term following that is well known and respected in the marketplace, KILL IT! That's what they did to the Oldsmobile 88 and the Oldsmobile 98. Then they wondered why Oldsmobiles weren't selling. Then they killed off the Buick LeSabre, Electra, Park Avenue, and Roadmaster after those cars had established themselves as premium American motorcars with high quality and a good following. KILL 'em! Now, they kill off the 3.8 liter V-6.

Is it just me, or are they actually TRYING to kill off the company? They're definitely well on their way to killing off Buick.

Pete Phillips </div></div>

They also did this with the Century..............Look at how many they sold then to what they sell now. American brains at work. tired.gif

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Well, Willis almost hit it correct, but the main reason for the 3800 demise is emissions, without Variable Valve Timing and now Direct fuel injection, it is hard for the old engines to be 'clean' in the emissions requirements. The 3800 has been so 'detuned' since about '92 that it's not the same engine it once was. By the way, 3800 was born in 1988 was supposed to go away in 1999, but they kept it for 9 more years! Check out the link in Norb'a first post for pics, and ABC12 tv reports.

A sad day for sure!

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The reason they stopped the production of the 3800 was because it was a good engine, too good and well, we couldn't have that now could we??? If GM had their heads on straight, they would be making the 3 cylinder Metro and they would be selling like hotcakes! Maybe they would even turn a profit!!!?????!!! WOW, that would be something now wouldn't it!!

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I remember a road test of a '90s Camaro in MOTOR TREND. Surprisingly, it had a Buick 3800 V-6 in it. Seems that in that model year, the Chevy 60-degree V-6 would not pass California emissions, but the Buick 3800 DID. And it ran 0-60 in about 7 seconds--heralded as a "sleeper", especially when the Mustang GT had only about 10 more horsepower in its 302 V-8.

After that "secret" was out, even supercharger kits appeared for the Buick 3800 in a Camaro. In THAT application, at least you could upgrade the transmissions with versions that would take that kind of power, V-8 level power, unlike the degree of "torque management" which the SC3800 had to have in fwd applications.

Unlike the Chevy 60-degree engine family, there are lots of speed equipment items for the Buick 3800 V-6 in fwd applications. Most of these things are "hidden" in the fwd Pontiac GrandPrix websites, with some mention in the RegalGS.org website. I have not seen that same degree of involvement with the Chevy 60-degree V-6 in fwd applications.

Those 3 cyl "Half a Two Litre" Metros were interesting vehicles, much less the earlier ones with forced induction.

Direct Injection makes for more power, better fuel economy, and cleaner emissions. Having a new Camaro with the 300+ horsepower 3.6L V-6 might make Mustangs shake in their tires just as the older Camaros with Buick V-6s did for the beloved Mustang GTs. For that extra power, I can live with the slight "diesel kakkle" under power. I suspect that DI will only work with, or work best with, an OHC cylinder head and/or pent-roof chamber design. Where to put all of that stuff in a wedge-shaped combustion chamber in a pushrod engine might be "interesting".

Regards,

NTX5467

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Actually, the 3.8 engine dates back to the erly 1960s.

Buick's first version was a 198 cu. in. pushrod V-6 with an odd firing pattern. In the days of 30-cent premium gas and ever-bigger V-8s, there was little demand, so the design was sold to Jeep.

When the first oil manipulation, er, embargo happened in the early 1970s, Buick bought back the engine from Jeep/AMC, and started working to refine the engine.

What you have now, in Series II and Series III form, is the result of more than 45 years of refinement. This is only topped in engine history by the lineage of the Chevrolet small-block V-8, first appearing in the 1955 Chevrolet as the 265 cu. in. engine. And yes, the 5.7L used in Corvettes and many Australian Holdens traces its roots back to 1955.

As Buick continued to need an engine to both improve its image as a gas-guzzler and to meet the then-new CAFE standards, the 231/3.8 engine became more and more refined. The major milestones include changing the design to an even-firing pattern, electronic and then distributerless ignition system, fuel injection, turbo-charged and supercharged versions, and the final refinement, the incredible Series III engine.

For more info on this incredible Buick milestone engine, go to:

http://www.gnttype.org/general/v6hist.html

Cheers,

Joe

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