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Old 09-26-2005, 02:08 AM   #1
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Default 3.8L rebuild

I figured I would post this here since it was on the performance side of things.

As most know my 3.8L blew in the 90 SSE. I replaced it with another one from a 88 Trofeo with about 50,000 kms on it (approx 31,000 miles), got it for 300$ with no core, so I get to keep my old engine.

I had a chance to pull it apart and the only thing I seen was the rod bearing for cyl #1 was toasted ( understatement), but that also wore down my crank.


What kind of options should I be looking at to get what I can out of the blown engine ( to rebuild it). I would like to wake it up but also not break the bank. I am already watching the topic about P&P the heads, along with that I was thinking of a different cam, which would also make it sound great ( it already does). I have also been reading on stroking it but it sounds like for this engine it would not be worth it. It will be a street car for sure, no track time, no racing, just enjoyment of driving.

Also I don't want this thing to become a gas hog either. I know the market for the 3.8L is pretty slim, but figured if anyone would know it would be here.

I could also just do a regular rebuild, but what is the fun in that. As for that crank, I can get an entire other SSE with a high mileage running engine for 200$, the tranny is blown, so that is why he no longer wants the car.
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Old 09-26-2005, 01:34 PM   #2
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You can rebuild the engine... The crank is a big concern as you may need a crank kit... If the grooves in the crank are about .020 than that crank is pretty much trash at that point... If it can be turned .010 under then you could get bearings .010 over... But its extremely important that the #1 rod be resized as the bearing spun... Also on that #1 you will want to check the piston to see if it was contacting the head, and it sounded like it was... That means the piston and or wrist pin may be damaged... From there you may be able to find slightly higher compression pistons, a cam with a little more bump... The list goes on... But the time you are done its easy to spend well over $1000 in parts alone... So its hard to say

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Old 09-26-2005, 10:27 PM   #3
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Vin "L" pistons work well in the Vin "C" engine. Depending on the brand, they have about .050" more compression height in the stock dished configuration. With a .020" overbore they yield a little over 9:1 compression ratio.
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:24 PM   #4
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Sorry to Hijack the thread, but your old engine blew? My 3800 blew when it hit 243,000 kms, and it had spun a rod bearing, and ruined the rod, and the crank. Funny thing is, it also sheared the camshaft timing gear bolt???? Very strange indeed, 2 totally separate failures.

Was your engine making a consistant metal rapping noise before she blew? Was it hard to restart if you turned it off while it was still running?
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Old 09-27-2005, 08:29 AM   #5
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Yeah it blew, here are a couple posts about it.

http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...ic.php?t=39925
http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...ic.php?t=41080

No warning in my case. It was going fine, I was on a trip, then the engine started knocking, and we had to drive it about 10 kms further to get to a safe spot for a tow truck to pick it up. I had shut it off as soon as I heard it knock, ( stopped on the hwy), it started back up fine. Mine was cyl #1 rod bearing.
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Old 09-28-2005, 10:30 AM   #6
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I did have plenty of warning, and could have stopped, called a tow truck, and saved maybe a couple hundred bucks. But I pressed on, thinking it was something else.

I am not sure what bearing spun, but it definiltly spun the bearing, and it took the cap, the rod, and pretty much ruined the crank and block.

The most strangest thing about this. I will never know why, but the camshaft timing gear bolt sheared off. I could not see how this could have happened. No valve damage as far as I could see.
I'd check her over again, but the block was disposed of a long time ago, and I donated most of the parts to my school, since the guys there helped me out alot.
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Old 09-28-2005, 10:38 AM   #7
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Did a rod break? Piston coulda hit a valve, and put too much stress on a weak timing gear.
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Old 09-28-2005, 11:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwikoff99
Did a rod break? Piston coulda hit a valve, and put too much stress on a weak timing gear.
I more than agree with that.... If a piston was smashing a valve that in ite self will put a serious amount of force on the Valvetrain, not to mention the car was moving, and the other cylinders were still firing... So yes I see how it could have sheered of the cam bolt

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Old 09-28-2005, 11:47 AM   #9
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Is this car still around? I had a hard time determining from the posts. Sounds gone.

If you need an LN3 pm Randman1
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Old 10-07-2005, 08:52 PM   #10
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UPDATE!


Well I took the time to tear into the engine more and see if the heads are good or not.

got everything unbolted and started to pull the heads off. Got both off and the only thing I noticed at first was ALOT of carbon buildup that was in flakes. it must have come loose when I took the heads off. I noticed that all but one cylinder had one of the valves ( same one on each, not sure if it was intake or exhaust) that were white. That could have been from the one cylinder that was blown.

Anyhow, looked at each piston and each head closely and there was NO contact between the valves and pistons, so the heads should be good for the P&P I would like to do.

I also figured since I was thinking of changing cams on the new engine once all the P&P is done I would see what is involved. I had a really hard time getting the cam out, it seemed to be getting stuck, it was. Seem that the second to last cam bearing must have spun and was stuck on the cam. So I popped it off and was then able to remove the cam.
I thought something was wrong since when I spun the cam before removal, there was once spot that felt like it was binding, so it must have been that one bearing. I have no clue how long it was like that for. It is not the reason that the rod bearing went on it, but I find it odd that it had also spun.
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