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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a question I know a little about, I had an 87 Grand National with the 3 8 engine, I sold it 10 years ago, I recently picked up a 2003 Buick Lesabre which is bone stock, I'm not familiar with the advantages or disadvantaged of the 3800 series 2 for my Lesabre, I guess my question is will I be able to get similar performance out of my Lesabre from my previous 1987GN? It had a precision te-44 turbo, especially racing heads, large front mount intercooler. I'm guessing my former GN put out between 370-390 horsepower, will my 2003 Buick Lesabre equal the fun factor of my 87GN? I guess its because I always had bought all rear wheel drive cars before my Lesabre and don't know what to expect.
 

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1998 GTP coupe. All stock and rust free. That will change soon.
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the engines are nothing alike. Design-wise the Series II is improved over the old Buick 3.8 liter. As a bone stock L36 it makes 205 hp, which is probably about 170 to the wheels. Obviously much less than a well-boosted GN. You can think about turboing it or top swapping with L67 LIM, heads, blower, crank pulley, tune, etc. It will support either path very well with appropriate attention to detail.

if you're interested in the turbo route, Look up dezldave's thread about his turbo buick GSX and you can squeeze 400hp out of the L36 block. good luck.
11-sec Z7 Turbo Kit | 3800Pro Forums
 

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Will a LeSabre equal a G-body fun-wise in driving, given similar power levels? Nope.

Can you surpass 390hp with a turbo on a stock 3800? Yup, doesn't even need porting or much of a cam upgrade, if any, but drivetrain is much less durable than even a basic 700R4/TH350 and 10-bolt or whatever else a GN started with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Will a LeSabre equal a G-body fun-wise in driving, given similar power levels? Nope.

Can you surpass 390hp with a turbo on a stock 3800? Yup, doesn't even need porting or much of a cam upgrade, if any, but drivetrain is much less durable than even a basic 700R4/TH350 and 10-bolt or whatever else a GN started with.
So you think I should just get another V6 car that has (Dam Buick for not building rear wheel drive cars) rear wheel drive? My Lesabre can be my beater car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Will a LeSabre equal a G-body fun-wise in driving, given similar power levels? Nope.

Can you surpass 390hp with a turbo on a stock 3800? Yup, doesn't even need porting or much of a cam upgrade, if any, but drivetrain is much less durable than even a basic 700R4/TH350 and 10-bolt or whatever else a GN started with.
Let me ask a question in a different way, is your Regal as fun as a similar powered 87 Buick GN? I have never been in a performance oriented front wheel drive car before.
 

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Let me answer some more specific, less generic versions, again...

Do I have fun cruising my car? Yuuuup (see some of my cruising vids from early 2021)

Can I stomp it from zero and expect to have a solid launch like a RWD can be setup to do at this level? Not a chance, just like when I ran s/c 3800's.

Is it more comfortable with a better cruising demeanor than a G-body? Yes, the 20yrs did alot to help that (coilovers helped eliminate the Buick float), as I'm sure the latest 20yrs has improved rides even more.

Biggest fun part? Nobody knows/expects it to be what it is when I'm at a stop, gas station, parked, at the track, etc... And that nets some fun chats, high fives, thumbs up, and so on.

Does that mean I can ignore the self-imposed performance limitation I'm planning to alleviate with another build later? Nope, it's frustrating knowing it gives up 1/2sec in the 60ft by default, can't run 15-18psi+ on the street without blowing the tires away under 50-60mph, and a transmission built as much as it can be but not guaranteed to survive (with CV's still an issue).

Building a W/H-body past the level of a moderate-to-well upgraded M90 setup (300-350whp) makes it less useful for street playing, while it's a more comfortable and "modern" ride than a G-body would be. The old GN, Monte, etc. has its own allure, and there's plenty of options in between depending on your desires.

Could I win against a 5-600hp GN while running my setup in race trim? Sure, but only with the benefit of traction thru slicks/track or rolling into the pedal and hoping they don't have good radials and experience launching on the street. You race the setup against itself, and if someone is in the other lane, the outcome is what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Let me answer some more specific, less generic versions, again...

Do I have fun cruising my car? Yuuuup (see some of my cruising vids from early 2021)

Can I stomp it from zero and expect to have a solid launch like a RWD can be setup to do at this level? Not a chance, just like when I ran s/c 3800's.

Is it more comfortable with a better cruising demeanor than a G-body? Yes, the 20yrs did alot to help that (coilovers helped eliminate the Buick float), as I'm sure the latest 20yrs has improved rides even more.

Biggest fun part? Nobody knows/expects it to be what it is when I'm at a stop, gas station, parked, at the track, etc... And that nets some fun chats, high fives, thumbs up, and so on.

Does that mean I can ignore the self-imposed performance limitation I'm planning to alleviate with another build later? Nope, it's frustrating knowing it gives up 1/2sec in the 60ft by default, can't run 15-18psi+ on the street without blowing the tires away under 50-60mph, and a transmission built as much as it can be but not guaranteed to survive (with CV's still an issue).

Building a W/H-body past the level of a moderate-to-well upgraded M90 setup (300-350whp) makes it less useful for street playing, while it's a more comfortable and "modern" ride than a G-body would be. The old GN, Monte, etc. has its own allure, and there's plenty of options in between depending on your desires.

Could I win against a 5-600hp GN while running my setup in race trim? Sure, but only with the benefit of traction thru slicks/track or rolling into the pedal and hoping they don't have good radials and experience launching on the street. You race the setup against itself, and if someone is in the other lane, the outcome is what it is.
Thanks, that was a good honest answer, I'd like to find someone who has a 3800 turbo setup to witness how it performs and then decide.
 

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How it performs? You can find a turbo 3800 running anything from 13's to 7's, and everywhere in between. I think you're either letting yourself get paralyzed by the accumulated list of things required, overanalyzing something most of us figured out as young bucks, or kicking tires while trying to convince yourself it'll never be something else. Regardless, you're either gonna spend the time/money/effort to do it, or internet yourself to death while another season goes by without a project tackled. (Not trying to be too blunt, although I know it reads that way alot. I may just be saying this coming fresh from my 2nd in-house build overhaul this year on a mild DIY budget, while having full-time work that involves multiple weeks away from home.)
 
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