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Old 11-13-2008, 03:17 AM   #1
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Question H-Body Questions LeSabre

Hey there guys,
First off I don't own a Bonneville, but This is where I have been told to go. Also, sorry if this is the wrong place to post questions, but I thought it would be a good place to start.

I am looking for information on what I can do with my 2003 Buick LeSabre. I have been recomended by other places to come to you guys because Bonnies and Sabres are more similar as compared to the other 3800 series II cars. So I have some questions:

1) Headers
I have been told that headers add a lot of top end power to vehicles, and that it would be a bad on such a large car to rob it of lower end HP. However, I have also come across the opinion that it just matters on the setup of the particular car, and what type of header/exhaust setup you put on. I guess my question is could I do this to my LeSabre with the only supporting mod being an exhaust? If this is a good idea ( and if there is are headers that would even work) should I have them installed first, or should I have an exhaust installed firs, OR should they be put on together (and planned as a single unit)?

2) Sway Bars and Tower Strut Bars
I have been told that Bonneville sway/tower strut setups are a possibility on the LeSabre. I feel that this would improve the drivability of the car (as opposed to the FE1 "soft ride" setup it has now). Is this a plausable mod and would I be able to use Bonneville parts (probably from local junk yard)? Or is my car heavy enough that they wouldn't make a big difference either way?

3) I guess the last thing I want to throw out there is a challenge (or a plea for help) to anyone who has some good ideas to play with the performance of this heavy car, short of swaping the engine (there'* nothing wrong with it and that is too costly right now, I might as well buy something else as I see it). I'm really just looking for ideas to start with, along with more advanced setups once I have my feet wet and I want to go with some more hard-core mods.

Thanks for looking and I am sorry if there are too many questions here. If need be I will break this up and post it other places on the forum.
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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The 3.8L NA can be modified a lot to gain you some performance. There are Rockers, intakes, exhaust modifications, etc that can be done. Do a little search on here and you should find some possibilities. Also check out Intense-Racing.com and ZZperformance.com for some things. The negine itself is the same in the bonnevilles, regals, grand prix and such, but mounts, accessories and hoses do change, so some fitment things are different.

For the sway bars, those are a good upgrade. You'll want the bars out of an SLE/SSEi/GXP with RPO code FE2, FE3, or FE5 I believe. You can also use Energy suspension end links to help out. 1993SLE on here just swapped his SSEi suspension for a GXP one, so he might have the parts left over, or atleast can give you the part numbers to look at. Upgrading the springs at the same time will help too.

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask more questions and if you find a product you are unsure of, feel free to ask about that as well.
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:11 AM   #3
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Headers will make your engine breath better, giving it better performance. But only if you allow more air in. So the intake must be modified as well as the exhaust. At lower RPM'* the OEM intake/exhaust is more than adequate so of course you are going to see a bigger gain at the higher RPM'* where air flow in a stock system starts to be constricted. But it'* just silly to think that opening the intake/exhaust will hurt lower end torque. Not gonna happen. As long as you maf can handle the new airflow rates, all will be fine. I'll stop there and let ya wait for 93 SLE to chime in here, he has done alot of engine/suspension modding in your Series range.

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Old 11-14-2008, 06:41 PM   #4
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Thanks for the start here fellas. As for a CAI to start I am going to try to work with Spectre and get one of their modular systems so it will all fit right.
I figured the next best step after I mess with the intake would be the exhaust and headers, if I can find the parts (and the money). There is a local exhaust shop that I think I can deal with, but I haven't gotten a chance to talk with them yet.

Thanks again and I will keep researching.
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:43 PM   #5
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First, you don't loose low end torque with headers. What happens is you get more high end then low end increase. Simply adding headers is only part of what you will need.

As for your exhaust, the only thing you might want to consider is a free flow cat, but this may throw some codes with your car. So you will really need to watch what cat you go with. Adding a magnaflow or a flowmaster muffler wont add any power but will give you a nice deep tone.

Rockers is a good option to add power, this will open valve more and allow the engine to breath better. A cam is also another option but is a lot more work to install.

Intense has some nice FWI, or you can make your own. That'* what I did.

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