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Old 05-24-2010, 11:55 PM   #1
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Default Engine & Tranny Abuse Facts/Opinions

Since the weather around here'* been real nice, I've recently discovered my foot seems to weigh a little more, if you know what I mean. And I also love that beautiful roar the 3800 makes when you let it loose.

So, with that heavy foot in mind, I'd like to ask some opinions on a few things. Basically I want to know the "safe" limits of my car, and how far I can push it without doing damage to it. I've sorted this out into a few sections to organize it some.

-OPERATING TEMP
I am VERY careful with my car when it is cold. I take it easy with acceleration and I always let the car get up to normal temp (for me, it'* about 180; and I've never seen the gauge go over 200) before I push it harder. My first question is: Is it OK to push the car when it is cold, or should it be warmed up before heavy acceleration?

-RPMs
During a normal (non-aggressive) day, I usually don't rev the engine over about 2500 RPMs. On a more aggressive day, I will push it to ~3500 or so. I have never been over 4000 since I bought the car in January. The reason for this will be explained in the next section. Question #2: How high can you push the RPMs on the 3800 L36 without doing damage, and what are your RPMs like on an average day of driving?

-AGE & MILEAGE
My car has the original engine and transmission (AFAIK), with 135,000 miles on both. Since the trans is getting up there in age, I tend to hold back from pushing it too hard. The engine is strong, and the trans shifts well. I just changed the trans fluid and filter 3 weeks ago. Last question: Is age a factor here? Should I go easy on it because of it'* age, or am I free to break 'em loose?

Thanks for bearing with me through the long post, and I look forward to hearing your opinions.
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:02 AM   #2
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Best to have your engine up to heat, a cold engine could brake springs.

Your engine can do 6000 RPM, but I don't suggest it as the norm.

The miles are not all that high. As long as the engine is maintained you should be able to give it a little every now and then. But I would sugest you start learning more and more about your engine to make sure things are in good working condition.
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:06 AM   #3
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you should have no problems putting your foot to the floor in your car no matter what the temp is or the rpm'* are. there are guys with your motor/block that are pushing 400/500 hp. the 3800 series 2 motor is a great motor and made the top 10 best motors list in 97,98, and 99
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:22 AM   #4
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I always at least give the car a few minutes before getting on it, usually wait till operating temp. This way I know my oil is warmed up and flowing like its supposed to so that everything is lubricated. Romping on a cold engine is not recommended.
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:34 AM   #5
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I wouldnt worry 2 much on stepping on it the 3800 is a great engine and letting it warm up before doing it isnt a bad idea you should never pound on a cold engine (even tho we sometimes get carried away I try not to)
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:43 AM   #6
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In my opinion, never get on a engine under 100*. I prefer it be over 150*. It'* not only the engine that needs to be up to temp. The trans takes longer to heat up.
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:56 AM   #7
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very good point Dan trans does take a while to warm up
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:14 AM   #8
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I don't like getting into a cold engine either, and when it is stone cold, I usually baby it. I don't really get ambitious until it has a mile or two under it with the trip. Senseless beatings are usually reserved for when I am sure it is warmed up. I am not afraid of full throttle, but I don't like to red line it too often, really no point.
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Old 05-25-2010, 07:19 AM   #9
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Hmm. Interesting thread.

I avoid doing one wheel wonders. Especially when going into turns. Bad things like this can happen...

Broke the pinion pin in the differential.
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Old 05-25-2010, 07:45 AM   #10
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Do not beat your engine when it'* not up to temp. The reason is your knock sensors are not active until the car is reasonably warmed up. This is factory programming. While being an NA motor, the car still has the potential to see knock. Knock is predetonation and bad for any engine.

I'd say the way you are driving it aggressively is ok. You aren't doing full power shifts or really beating it to death. Aggressive driving and beatings do take their toll, no matter.

One of the weakest links in our cars is the transmission. When you are on the highway and would like to be a little peppier or aggressive, don't let the transmission downshift to 3rd gear on it'* own. Pull it down a gear then give the car throttle. The reason for this is the 4th gear hub shaft is not a hardened part. By pulling it down before throttling you remove the moment of added torque from being applied to the 4th hub and save it'* splines for another day. When those splines wear out, you lose 4th gear.

Nothing against all my buddies that posted above me, but none of them have any broken parts in their past (that I know of) except Mike. He showed you a picture of a fragged differential from the transmission and gave some good advice. Until you've killed parts and rebuilt a transmission.....it'* all theory and no practice.
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