Originally Posted by spidey3479
Now, do I worry about any damage to my engine from working harder than usual to get the shifts?
Hmm, "working harder" is not really the right way of looking at this. In fact, the engine is working easier with the higher gear ratio. The transmission is providing more mechanical advantage to accelerate the car, so the engine doesn't have to work as hard at moving the car.
Make sense? The higher gear ratio came out of cars with an engine that had a higher rev limit and produced less power across the board (the 2.5L 4cyl, 2.8L V6, and 3.1L V6.) Kinda like my '87 2.8L V6 Camaro that came from the factory with 3.23 gears as opposed to the 2.xx gears that were stock in the V8 cars. The numericlly higher final gear ratio tried to make up for the dismal power output. If I remember correctly, the 2.8L V6 capped out at 6,000rpm redline (6,500rpm cutoff) vs the 5,500 rpm limit on the SBC V8.
Now, the $1,000,000 question: What is the practical RPM limit on the 3800 (LN3 style) ?
If things work the way I'm used to seeing it happen, valve springs are normally the first limit to the engines RPM limit. The stock springs can't close the valves fast enough and they end up floating. (Not normally hazzardous to the motor, unless you have piston crowns that intrude into the chamber...the motor just falls flat on it'* face and doesn't want to accelerate any higher.) The correction is to use stiffer springs in the valve train.
Next limit is usally airflow on the intake side..the heads just can't flow enough air to keep up with the motor'* displacement at that rpm. Solution is typically better cylinder heads or porting of the stock heads. Following this is: Airflow on the exhaust side, piston speed, wrist pins, connecting rods, crank, and bearing failures. (the last being in the rediculous rpm range.)
So, from a practical standpoint, a higher gear ratio is usually a good thing if you like to go quick. Unfortunately, I don't have the experience with the 3800 to know when these limits normally get hit. But I'd wager a guess there'* a few around here that do