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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 1992 Pontiac Transport mini van 🚐 with a factory 🏭 NA3800 L27 S1 and a 4spd auto trans……
I believe that this is a one year ( 1992 / in this van ) only engine…. Actually maybe 🤔 it’s just the upper intake……?
I’m looking for information on doing a SC3800 swap…. I want this to be an easy swap….. which series S1… S2… S3… is good for me and why….?? ( I’m thinking S1 because that’s what I currently have…. )
I don’t want to cobble two engines to make one… I will be swapping in a complete SC3800 with the matching transmission…… now what about the harness….?? Can I reuse my current harness…..?? Or is the SC3800 harness totally different…?? I’m trying to find a good 1992 Bonne SSEi as a donor….. same year should make it easier also a Pontiac should make it easier
The Transport is based off the W body but it does not have a SC3800 ( not till 1997 and it’s that year they redesigned the transport…… so the only 1992 Pontiac candidate is the Bonne SSEi….. )
That’s a S1….. I’ll switch to a S2 or S3 if it’s just as easy….?? I’m leaving it to the 3800Pro’s to guide me…..

Ok I’ll stop typing now…… and I’ll say thank you 🙏🏻 in advance……. Hopefully I’m not a crazy 😜 nut 🥜……
Thank you again

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1st gen Buick/Pontiac W's (88-96) can mount the Series 2/3's pretty similarly as 2nd gen's (97-03/4), and the 1996 Regal even came with the Series 2. Since the vans and others used that frame, people haven't had much issue mounting them up, especially since the mount locations on the cradle weren't really changed.

The primary reasons to favor a Series 2/3 swap are way more replacement & aftermarket parts availability/support, and fully developed computer functions for '98+ to permit more friendly scanning/tuning for custom setups (only difference on 3's being slightly lower mileage potential, and elec. TB that you'll need to convert to a, preferably, 75mm Northstar cable TB).

A Series 1 might be a simpler swap, if you just want stock carry-over performance (why do all that work, though?), and if you have a full donor car available for harness, PCM, etc. differences... because whichever swap you do, you'll need the engine controls to basically think it's the 3800SC vehicle, and send the remaining dash info to the instruments on the back-end of the harness, as normal (RPM, speed, temps, etc.). This is the same for any "standard" GM vehicle 3800 swap for that era, and how I've had successful ones in 80's Fieros and 90's cars converted from S1 to S2's. Doing a Series 1 3800SC may be just as much work for less benefit, but that's my opinion.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
1st gen Buick/Pontiac W's (88-96) can mount the Series 2/3's pretty similarly as 2nd gen's (97-03/4), and the 1996 Regal even came with the Series 2. Since the vans and others used that frame, people haven't had much issue mounting them up, especially since the mount locations on the cradle weren't really changed.

The primary reasons to favor a Series 2/3 swap are way more replacement & aftermarket parts availability/support, and fully developed computer functions for '98+ to permit more friendly scanning/tuning for custom setups (only difference on 3's being slightly lower mileage potential, and elec. TB that you'll need to convert to a, preferably, 75mm Northstar cable TB).

A Series 1 might be a simpler swap, if you just want stock carry-over performance (why do all that work, though?), and if you have a full donor car available for harness, PCM, etc. differences... because whichever swap you do, you'll need the engine controls to basically think it's the 3800SC vehicle, and send the remaining dash info to the instruments on the back-end of the harness, as normal (RPM, speed, temps, etc.). This is the same for any "standard" GM vehicle 3800 swap for that era, and how I've had successful ones in 80's Fieros and 90's cars converted from S1 to S2's. Doing a Series 1 3800SC may be just as much work for less benefit, but that's my opinion.
How much more complicated is doing a S2 SC3800 in my ‘92 transport…..?
Is there any benefit to using a Pontiac donor vs a Buick donor….??
My ‘92 is OBD1 and I believe that all S2 are OBD2 so now am I adding in the donor dash harness to have the OBD2 connector…?
Firewall connector…?
Gauge cluster..?
Motor and transmission mounts should be the same….? The ‘92 has two trans one engine and a dogbone on top…… I am swapping both motor and trans together….. as the SC3800 requires the transmission it came with…..
Axles…??
Front hubs…??
Exhaust….??
P/S lines…??
Shifter linkage from vans trans to donor trans…?
What am I missing….??
I’m just trying to get everything figured out so I can sleep 😴 peacefully…… lol 😝
I have a 93 transport ( I believe that they are all the same…. Well the ‘93 has a slightly different 3800…… ) I’m taking the front suspension and cradle out of it so I can mock up my SC3800 and when ready just swap the whole thing in….
What would be the best donor year for this….?? I’m thinking 🤔 1996…??
Sorry if I’m being a pain in the ***
thank you again
 

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I had a long reply typed up the other day, but I might've forgotten to post it before closing my laptop to work on a buddy's car.

Long story short, it's about the same amount of work, but you need to familiarize yourself with all the parts involved, and physically get things in-hand to know what you have, and what you're missing along the way.

This will take you a few weeks, minimum, to do at a first crack. Everything from getting parts to random hardware runs will take time and planning. Just swapping out various S2/3 parts that are made for a car that came with one takes time, and if you're learning along the way, multiply it by 3-5x expectations. Not trying to discourage, but I want you to know the reality of doing this, and you need to determine if the juice is worth the squeeze.

When you get most of the major parts in your hands, the details will make themselves clear, and we can certainly answer the questions that will remain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I’m a mechanic by trade…… so no worries there…. And I have another transport which I’m take the cradle out of so I can mock everything up myself then I’ll put it in the white one…. Just trying to get everything ready….. yes this is my first 3800 swap…..so this is new to me… trying to figure out what is the right donor…… one car should give me everything I need for the swap…. Plus I’m going to add new parts while the SC is out… sensors…… w/p….gaskets…..etc…..
 

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That is sooo cool! Love the old dust buster vans. If you ever want to sell it after the swap, pls let me know. Can't find one up here that is not rusted from road salt! Good luck with the swap. Like Dave said, go Series II, or III.
 
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