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Old 02-22-2010, 10:52 PM   #1
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Default Series 1 longevity?

so, in my arguments with my father about why I need to sell my alero with 127,000 miles and buy back my bonneville with now approximately 7X,XXX miles, my dad is saying I am better staying with the alero because series 1 3800'* don't last as long as series 2 and series 3 3800'*. Now, I know of many series 2 engines lasting to more than 300,000+ miles, but I can't say I know of many series 1'* (especially supercharged ones) that are that high miles. My dad also says the fact that the car sat for nearly 7 years untouched is also bad for the engine so I should avoid buying it back. So, what could I expect out of this engine before I encounter a catastrophic failure? what is the weak points of the earlier 3800'*?
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:11 PM   #2
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There honestly aren't any. My Series 1 3800 has 213k miles and my biggest problem as of yet is a burned valve, which I just discovered this week and was a cause of me hauling a LOT of weight up a steep colorado mountain at 4800 rpm for 3 minutes straight. I've abused the hell out of this engine and even with that burned valve, it still pulls long and hard. It will cost me a total of $200 to get new 85k mile heads on there, including new head gaskets.

The head gaskets rarely fail on the 3800'*, if ever, and the LIM gasket on my 3800 was still good when I replaced it at 188k. The bottom end of the block is bulletproof, and the top end is very tough so long as you don't push it as hard as I did. I've owned it since I bought it with 61k and it has seen redline wide open throttle runs every day since then.

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Old 02-22-2010, 11:15 PM   #3
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We have seen awesome mileage racked up by all. But I have to agree with your Dad about 7 years. Thats is a fiercly long time for an engine to sit.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:51 PM   #4
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well, the car was originally my ex-girlfriend'* aunt'* car and she stopped driving it in 2001 and then it sat until 2008 when my ex got it and then she put 10,000 miles on it and I did regular oil changes with mobil 1 and it had great oil pressure but a few random leaks, then i bought it when the subframe fell apart and had to change the rubber bushings and it was good to go but i maybe put 300 miles on it when i owned it because i only had my alero insured because thiss next summer i was planning to do alot of needed maintenance on the car. what could sitting that long have done to the car....as I said, it ran fine in the 10,000 miles that the ex put on it.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:59 PM   #5
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When a engine sits for a long time the oil starts to flow off the steel. And you know what happens, rust. When it starts up again the rust is all rubbed off but pitting is left behind. The engine may still run fine, and may even last a long time, but that is damage that can't be fixed.
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Old 02-23-2010, 08:35 AM   #6
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188K supercharged miles here, looking forward to 200k this summer at my 25k mile per year pace. I did have to completely rebuild the supercharger snout, of course the coupler was bad when I got it, then the bearing closest to the pulley went out (highly loaded by my right foot you know )

However, if that car really sat for 7 years without being started and driven regularly I tend to agree with what your dad said and the comments here....not a good thing!!! If it was sitting outside, that is even worse to me...
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Old 02-23-2010, 09:07 AM   #7
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High mileage is the way I typically would go versus not driven'started. A motor/car takes a lot of work once it'* been sitting. Use the standard kid that gets Gramma'* car as the example. Low mileage, older car and the minute the kid starts driving it (even nicely) things start nickle and diming them to death, parts go bad and sitting in one spot on a bearing etc isn't good.

Overall, the 3800'* have a great durability record.

Gaskets and things do need to be changed at times though. Series 1 gaskets are becoming tougher to find.
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Old 02-26-2010, 12:46 PM   #8
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my 96 olds lss sat for a few months without regular driving and it runs like a champ, it has 172,500 k on it. But it does have a slight shudder at stoplights, i replaced the front 3 plugs yesterday and now need to do the back. I had a 95 SSEi with 231k on it and still was awesome. tranny blew, suspension had an air leak, ac/heat no work. It was a kick butt car but my olds is pretty good! :P
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:12 PM   #9
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My '92 Bonneville has over 306K on it and she still runs like a top. For some people, mileage is only a number
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:46 PM   #10
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my 92 has near 170,000 on it. the biggest thing i think you want to watch out for is rust!!!! or it will slowley fall apart like mine
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