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Bolt on Turbocharger for 3800 V6?


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Can anybody help me? I have a 90 Buick with the 3800 V6 engine. I was hoping to improve the performance, and someone suggested getting the Turbocharger from a Regal T-Type, or Grand National. What should I do?

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If you can figure out how to get the exhaust from the turbo out of the engine compartment, it would probably work pretty well. I looked at this type of installation quite a bit but gave up on the plumbing. About the only thing from the rwd turbo cars that could be used is the turbo itself and the intercooler possibly. The intake itself will not fit on the 3800 engines as they are constructed differently than the pre-1988 3.8 liter engines. Also be aware the compresion ratio of the later model engines is higher but if the boost is limited to something like 8-10 psi the engine should last pretty well. The crank does have rolled fillets like the turbo motor but the rods are different(longer) and the pistons are also lighter. Buick apparently did build a turbo Reatta that was crashed and would be interested to see how the engine bay was laid out.<P>------------------<BR>Hal, btk@vbe.com

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The egnine probably won't take full GN boost, especially if you don't use the intercooler. The computer will then have to be reprogamed, and that's after you get the GN one. But most importantly of all, you won't be driving for long. The main problem is the tranny, not the engine. These trannies can't even handle the power of a normal 3.8 for long, much less a turbo. Unless you go for a new 4T65e you'd better like tearing trannys out.<BR><P>------------------<BR>-Keith<BR>'87 Lesabre T-type (The T without WHOOSH)<BR>http://members.xoom.com/lesabrettype

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Good point about the transaxle. It is not particularly beefy to start with but it would depend on how you drive it. The biggest killer is the large increase in torque a force fed engine generates. If you are interested in some suggestions on helping the performance, without this radical step, please E-mail me direct at the address below.<P>------------------<BR>Hal, btk@vbe.com

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I have photos of the Turbo'ed Reatta and a turbo'ed FWD Regal as well. They were in a Hot Rod Magazine from the early 90's. They are scanned and in the computer if anyone wants to see them.<P>Derek.<P>------------------<BR>1968 "Canadian" Pontiac Beaumont<BR>1988 Buick LeSabre T-Type<BR>

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I know these photos are on the desktop downstairs, so I will have to find them again. Keep this post on top as a reminder!!<P>Derek<BR><P>------------------<BR>1968 "Canadian" Pontiac Beaumont<BR>1988 Buick LeSabre T-Type<BR>

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If my memory serves (I was a drooling Buick Lover in High School when these thing were written about) the Turbo Reatta was a Rear Wheel Drive prototype. Yes, it was crashed by a car magazine driver on a race track while testing.<P>Can a late model engine from a Regal GS w/ supercharger fit into the 90 engine bay? I it would be financially smart to find a wrecked 1998 and take the engine and the electronics from that and put them into your 90.<P>Plus the SC is better from a fuel economy/heat/weight/etc. standpoint than the Turbo.<P>Paul (pwilkens@herc.com)

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Tis true about the S/C motor, it would probably fit except for the front engine damper mount on the '90. The problem I have with this is the operating system for the engine is slightly different, requiring the late model computer as well. This is really not a problem either, but I would lose the onboard diagnostics the Reatta has built in. I have a used turbo laying on the shelf and would be the most economical way to boost the existing engine.<P>------------------<BR>Hal, btk@vbe.com

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I've been wondering if the turbo could be put back and under the rear of motor.Then send the air back up to intake.This would keep the heat from extra exhaust plumbing where there clearly isn't any room anyhow out of engine compartment.If you can't put the turbo where it should go because the trannys in the way put it where the tranny used to be. <BR> This brings me to: I found Dick Datsons post a few months back on low compression, lower max. RPM's and smaller turbo to be interesting.This way we front wheelers could use our stock cams(no choice)and enjoy a little extreee! But can you blow through and past our injectors with out a problem?I've even wondered if you could still use the MAF,MAP and MAT and then the ECM would still know what to do.But all this is beyond my education.

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I looked at this a little more when I changed my engine (Reatta) and the T03 turbo might fit at the outlet of the exhaust but the problem of how to get the plumbing from the compressor side down to the turbo and back to the intake remains, plus the intake piping is actually larger diameter. The GN's use a system almost identical in function to the 3800's although they are configured differently. The MAF is installed before the intake to the compressor on the turbo and it blows through a similar throttle body and port fuel injector system. Their computer also has some function in the boost levels although this can be done through wastgate adjustments also. I always thought the FWD cars were a natural for the turbo. The exhaust crosses up over the rear of the engine, right below the throttle body. If this pipe was redirected to the inlet of a turbo, located above and forward of the transaxle, the exhaust feed to the turbo would actually be shorter and more efficient than the GN's. You just have to get the exhaust out of the engine compartment. I guess it could be dumped out through the wheelwell like a true dragster but this would probably be unacceptable on a daily driver. I also looked at using a front header and installing it on the rear head. This would require the exhaust from the rear head be routed across the front of the engine(belt drive end) and back to the drivers side between the radiator and the engine. This would also allow the normal crossover path to be used as the exhaust exit from the turbo. The front header is also more efficient than the rear one although the new piping would have to be insulated or ceramic coated to keep the heat radiation down. Part of the reason I like the turbo is just the opposite of the RWD guys. If there is reasonable turbo lag, launching a FWD car will be easier, which can't harness the large torque increase like the rear drives can, plus I believe it would be easier on the transaxle. If the boost came on more slowly and at higher rpms, plus lower total boost levels, the longevity of all the parts would be enhanced. I haven't given up on this project yet as I still have the original engine from my car hanging on the stand and occasionally play with different mock ups of this idea.<BR>Sorry to be so long winded.<P>------------------<BR>Hal, btk@vbe.com

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I thought the same also when I first looked at the engine "that must be where they put a turbo".I was really up and into cars when younger but life took over and there wasn't time or money so I lost touch and have much ignorance on things now.I'm re-learning though!<BR> There just can't be enough room for all the exaust pipe.I imagine the Reatta is even tighter then the LeSabre.<BR> I was thinking bent aluminum tubing to return air to top.But now I must confess I've never seen under hood of turbo(car).I've seen plenty on diesels and they seem to be exhaust through turbo air from filter through turbo to manifold two oil lines and away you go.Must be a gas car is much more complicated.So before I throw in any more pennies I'd better go hunt one down and take a look.Most likely a LeBaron.A friend of mine had one and loved it.Got many good reliable miles.He said it pulled these hills we have really well.Most all fours have a hard time maintaining speed with out floggin' em'! Not my 64'Alpine but shes long gone.<BR> Any how I was thinking more of trying the LeBaron turbo.Space is the problem and this is smaller.Though using everything Buick had available at the time (86')would be more gratifing.<BR>

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I believe Buick tried a Turbo on the '86 LeSabre GN prototype, but transaxle porblems kept it from production. I am sure it can be done. It would need to be a mild set up, unless someone can strengthen the tarnsaxle. Aftermarket set ups can be made to fit anything, but may be costly. To use Buick's set up will be tricky. If you have the SFI 3.8 V6, it's a good start. This engine should be very, very similar to the '84/87 SFI Turbo V6. Don't bother with an intercooler, it won't be necessary. I would find an '84/85 Turbo Riviera, instead of a Regal/GN. I believe it would have the most "favorable" plumbing lay out for this swap. Park them side-by-side to see if it can work. Then find a mechanic that knows the Turbo V6 well. Have him check out the litle things like electronics, sensors and wiring. The engine internals should hold up if boost limited, which will need to be done anyway for the transaxle. <P>------------------<BR>Rich George - b4black@flash.net <BR><B>BEFORE BLACK Website</B> - <A HREF="http://home.flash.net/~rjgeorge" TARGET=_blank>http://home.flash.net/~rjgeorge</A>

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ooooooops sorry guys...been busy lately. kinda forgot.<P>Ok, I'll get right on it...now.<P><P>------------------<BR>1968 "Canadian" Pontiac Beaumont<BR>1988 Buick LeSabre T-Type<BR>

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Derek was kind enough to send the underhood photo of the turbo FWD Reatta and it looks very similar to the installation I was thinking about. The turbo is right next to the stock air box and it does look like the rear exhaust is routed as I had guessed. Maybe there is hope after all.<P>------------------<BR>Hal, btk@vbe.com

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I like the low boost, stock computer system 862drltd suggested. Maybe a small turbo from a GM 2.0 turbo or Ford 2.3 turbo. But to use the stock computer controls and pistons you'd have to run like about 3lbs. max. And with all the fabrication and tuning involved, maybe it would be too much trouble. Maybe if it wasn't your daily ride. Otherwise the SC3.8 would be more efficient, and it has been done.<P>Also can someone get me those turbo Reatta pics. <P>------------------<BR>-Keith<BR>'87 Lesabre T-type (The T without WHOOSH)<BR>http://members.xoom.com/lesabrettype/index.html

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Looking at a four cylinder for plumbing ideas really isn't much help as you only have one exhaust manifold to deal with. To convert one of the four cylinder turbos, either the turbine or compressor housings and wheels, or both, would probably have to be changed. The small A/R of the turbine housing for a four would probably spool too quickly and spin beyond where it would be most efficient, building extra heat in the compressor side. This could be controlled by the wastegate if it can bypass the extra exhaust efficiently. If we could achieve something like 1/2 an atmoshphere of pressure and about 350 cfm, it should add approx. 50% to the engine output at about 5000 rpm. This would be in the ballpark of the late model S/C engines, but the series I is not as strong. If the boost were only available at higher rpms, the engine and transaxle can handle it better. There was a guy on the GN/T-Type list that experimented with the 3800 engine as a base for a GN engine and achieved about 500 hp. before if blew the crank out the bottom. If output is kept to about 1/2 of that, "reasonable" reliability might be possible.<P>------------------<BR>Hal, btk@vbe.com

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