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Old 02-27-2010, 01:47 PM   #1
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Default Engine swap - 98 Buick Park Avenue to 03 SSEI

My '03 SSEI has spun a bearing and I'm planning on doing a swap with a low mileage L67 out of a 98 Buick Park Avenue.

As of now, it seems the only thing I MAY need to swap would be the exhaust manifolds (different part number, not sure if they are physically different).

And of course the motor mounts!

Is there anything else that I may need to change over from the old engine?

Are there any good articles on SSEI engine removal?

Thanks - new to the forum!

Last edited by jimmycnj99; 02-27-2010 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:59 PM   #2
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Most likley..

Oil pan
Oil pick up tube
Oil filter adapter
Rear exhaust manfold only
Flywheel should be checked (should be ok)
Any brackets that are different. Most will be the same.

Need a basic procedure? I just posted on in another thread.. If you need holler.
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:02 PM   #3
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To remove the engine

Pre-removal:
- obtain 4 foot extension
- drain oil
- drain coolant
- Have oil absorbent on hand 40lbs bag at parts store is usually $5
- obtain cherry picker and some chain


1. Do not drink, unhook battery
2. Disconnect FWI from motor, disconnect coolant hoses.
3. Start on top of car disconnecting all electrical to the motor only. Leave PCM/trans intact.
Injectors,Map, Maf, IAC, TP, alt, ground packs that go to engine, big connector on fuel rail by coil pack (do not disconnect crank and cam sensors or coil connector., that stays), evap.
4. Unhook fuel lines to rail, tuck under wiper arm.
5. Remove Alternator and it'* tensioner bracket assembly and bracket to SC from alt. 10mm, 13mm, 15mm
6. Jack car, remove passenger tire. Crawl under front unhook electrical from starter, ac, knock sensor and oil level sensor. 8mm, 13mm, 19mm and pick
7. Crawl further under and unbolt two exhaust bolts from downpipe to manifold.
Front
8. Remove flex shield, starter, and remove starter, unbolt flex to TC bolts through hole for starter. Rotate crank by HB bolt as needed. 10mm, 15mm, 18mm, 27mm
Pass Side
9. Unbolt The AC Compressor, lay it on front subframe 15mm
10. Undo wire look clipped to ps pump. (easier before you unbolt pump) Unbolt the Power steering Pump, tie it up (through hole in pulley) to something up top for better room at oil pressure sensor etc. 13mm, zip ties
11. Disconnect oil press, VSS, ground if applicable, rear knock sensor (KS has a pig tail that should be a single wire connector near the oil press wires, not at the KS sensor). Remove oil press sens.
12 Remove trans to engine bracket 13mm
13. Remove reverse trans bolt. 18mm, 4 feet of extension
Top
14. Remove fuel rail and SC. 10mm, 13mm
15. Unneeded step to edit out later
16. Unbolt 2 of the 4 engine to tansmission bolts and break the other two free. 18mm
17, Bolt chain to end of front ds head and rear pass head. On end where the alt bracket was located and by thermostat.
18 Put floor jack on front subframe at center of car.
19. Position hoist and hook to chain (leave room to work floor jack.) Putting very light pressure on the chain..lighter you potatohead!
Side
20. Unbolt the main engine bracket to frame. It is about a 27mm bolt that holds the bracket from the engine to the body. Straight up through the A-arm with an extension is easiest. Don't be surprised if it seems loose. Expect the motor to come down 1/2-1 full inch, if not..lower motor 1-2 inches. ~27mm
21. Remove three bolts holding the bracket to the engine/oil pan. One is down and back of water pump, the other two are on the lower side of the oil pan. 13mm, 15mm (ratcheting wrenches will keep you sane)
22. Reattach wheel. 19mm
23. Unlatch hood struts so hood can go farther up. Pool stick/broom handle is a great support.
24. Remove last two engine to trans bolts. 18mm
25 Jack motor a little and pull to passenger side in order to seperate from trans..(too much jacking or pressure will make this harder.
26. Guide motor slowly out of engine bay checking for stragler wires or items..
27. Jack car slightly to slide lift out from under subframe.
28. Put motor on garage floor.
New motor prep
29. Remove rear exhaust manifold, flywheel and all engine pull brackets from new motor.
30 Change any gaskets deemed necessary. It is 1 billion percent easier to do this out of the car.
31. Swap over oil pan, oil filter adapter and knock sensor pigtail, 10mm or 3/8", 13mm
32. Look at two motors side by side as comparison swap any straggler parts. Like rear exhaust manifold/flywheel etc etc.
33. Climb into engine bay. Wiggle, push and rotate converter to ensure it is all the way in and didn't slip out when pulling motor. Orientate so that one bolt hole is in starter area.
34. Reinstall reverse of removal. Use an 18mm shallow socket to install the reverse trans bolt.

Get it in and running. Change oil after 15 minutes of running to get any gasket crap or dirt out of the motor.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:19 AM   #4
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BillBoost37 - thanks for this great information. Sound like you've pulled your share of 3800s!

Few questions as I would like to make sure I have everything prior to doing the job -

1) Removing the oil pan
Does this require removal of the front timing cover?
If so, is there a special tool to remove the harmonic balancer or will any pulley tool do?
Any other gaskets should be changed other than oil pan gasket and, if needed, timing cover? For example, rear seal, front seal, etc? If so, are these difficult or tricky to change properly?

2) Oil pick-up tube - anything special I need to know about swapping this? Is it a simple unbolt and reattach?

3) Bottom-end gaskets - should I use GM or order from another source? I've seen some references on this forum to performance gaskets.

Again, I'm relatively new to the 3800 and any help is appreciated!
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:58 PM   #5
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1. Timing cover does not have to come off.
2. There is a little paper gasket for it. I've seen it done with only RTV, but prefer the gasket
3. Nothing performance. Check with a parts store for that oil pan gasket. It might be sealant and not a gasket. If so.. hop over to GM and buy a tube.

Yeah..it'* my first time working on one of these.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:41 PM   #6
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BillBoost37 - Thanks for your very helpful notes. I started the engine removal at 8 this morning and was finishing up by 6.

The 2 biggest headaches for me were the reverse trans bolt and the trans to engine bracket.

I used the 4 foot extension but didn't seem to be able to align it squarely on the bolt. I wound up putting a universal on the end of the extension which made it a royal pain to fish it up to the bolt and even worse getting it broken. But after 45 minutes and a bruised knuckle it was out. Should be fun putting it back in.

I realized I forgot 1 bolt on the trans to engine bracket after hooking up the engine hoist and had fun pulling that out at the very end.

Moving on to swapping the oil pan and pickup tube during the week.

Few questions -

I need to remove some old gasket material off the upper intake mating surfaces. What is the best way to do this without damaging the surface? I usually use the 3m polishing discs on iron but don't like using on aluminum.

Also, the GM shop manual refers to performing a " CKP System Variation Learn Procedure" after the job has been completed. I'm assuming this requires a Tech II scanner. Is this necessary? I'd hate to have to pay the dealer to do this.

Thanks again for your help.
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:55 AM   #7
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Next time, instead of using 1 long extension, use many short extensions. This will act like a universal almost. But still maintains rigidity.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:09 AM   #8
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Er uh.. But then you build in alot of slop and it takes more force to remove it. I use two extensions, your issue came from the diff bracket still being in place. Remove the bracket and you have a pretty straight on shot at the backwards bolt. Put the bolt back in before you put the bracket on, and you'll be on easy street.

The toughest part of your swap should be the passenger side motor mount. Wiggling and jiggling to get it lined up is sometimes a pain due to how you are laying under it.

I use the 3m brown disc'*. Take the gasket off and keep it moving. The aluminum isn't super soft on the charger or LIM. Actually..did this last night...and Saturday.....lol
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:43 AM   #9
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Should be easier (hopefully) with the differential bracket out of the way.

I'll probably swap the oil pan and pickup tube tomorrow night.

The shop manual says to use the oil pan gasket AND RTV sealant. Which RTV should I use? I have a tube of black at the house (oil resistant one). Or should I use the blue or orange?

How should I apply the RTV?

I definitely want to get this right for obvious reasons!!!!
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:34 AM   #10
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Take a look at your pan. There are two styles, if you have the inlaid gasket, use only the gasket. I have and am w/o any issues. NO RTV.

If your pan has not gasket inlaid, it'* a RTV only. I may be Captain Overkill, but don't want to do another pan drop later. I'd go to a dealership and ask for the actual sealant they use on the oil pan. It'll be better than the average RTV. But when in doubt use Ultra Copper. It'* good for all fluids, all temperatures.
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