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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The 3800 and 3800SC engines had a long life. Starting with the Gen I and then going on to the Gen II around 1995 and continued until 2004 when the Gen III engines made their debut, to the last run in 2008. If I did the math correctly the engine was used by GM for 13 consecutive years. Used in Pontiac Grand Prix, Impala SS and Buick Riverias (& Regals) . According to what I have read in Edmunds the combined total of Gen I, Gen II and Gen III engines numbered 25 million. Out of this number I would guess that about 1/3 or 8 million Gen II and GenIII engines were installed. A wild guess on the SC engines would still have the cars that used it in the 300,000 -500,000 range, maybe 4-6% of cars sold. Its a great engine and was very popular but I find it odd that here are so few 3800 enthusiasts today. It is an older engine but it can still perform well and because its not VVT , its easy to modify and tune. I just saw a you tube video where a guy rain a 9.87 earlier this year with a turbocharged version. So why is it that there are fewer enthusiasts today??? Where have all the owners gone?
 

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3800 owners

good question - I can only offer some guesses-
There are so many other performance cars out there, a lot of folks have just moved on?
Some went into various swaps, but are on other boards - pirate 4x4, others.
The 3800 is a fine motor, but there are smaller/lighter motors now for same power.
The 3800 mostly came in big cars, and maybe enthusiasts have gone different ways -
1) big cars with big HP - 600 HP and way up
2) small cars with 200-400 hp
3) other?
I know of a few other Corvairs that got 3800 packages like mine - rear/mid, Fiero style.
fwiw
 

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Legends

The 3800 was based off the Buick 215 which won the Formula One championship in 1966. GM sold the tooling for the 3.8 to AMC who put it in the Jeep and Jeep owners still say it was the best engine ever. Still holds the Indy lap record set in 1990 by Roberto Guerrero on the old track before it was repaved... the one that still had the bricks at the starting line. Indy lap times today are slower than the 230 mph average speed 28 years ago. It can launch a Grand National into the 7's in the quarter or maybe faster. I could go on...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The way I see it the 3800 cars have undergone a transition from performance daily driver vehicle to either scrap or classic status. Its certainly true that today's GM V6 engines are lighter and produce more horsepower but with many millions of 3800SC engine cars sold there must still be quite a few out there. If an enthusiast wants an inexpensive well performing vehicle now is the time.
So where have all the owners gone? Well, you still see many Grand Prix at the larger car shows. With Facebook now so popular perhaps a but of the audience here has migrated there. IMO the audience is now a classic car group, older more select and refined. It will probably be around for a long time to come.
 

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Really do miss all the knowledgeable guys back in 2008 when I joined.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
One other factor that may be influencing the falloff in the 3800 community is the demographics of those that enjoy cars and racing as a hobby. The Millennial generation has largely fallen away from hobbies in general. The same interest level in modifying and running performance cars is no longer there. Few new people are coming into the hobby. If there was interest, all of the 3800 cars, especially Grand Prix's would be desirable to own. Yet you see many in the salvage yards.
If you go to any car show you see mainly middle age and older car enthusiasts. These are the same people that once populated the performance car hobby and remain in it today.
The car hobby has transitioned. It is still alive, just smaller today than it was 20-25 years ago. A sign of the times.
 

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check engine light

hi guys and gals---i got a real problem here---have a 2005 buick lesaber with a 3800 with 100000 miles.This car is great,runs great,rides great,but the check engine light comes on about once a month.The code is P0420 which is the 02 sensor or the cat---this car has the 2nd cat installed---6 02 sensors on number one and 2 on number two--- i have chanded so many parts i cant rember them all----MY question is---other than the above mentioned parts what other parts or area should i be looking to help my fix this thing---i am about to lose interst and trade the thing---any help at all would be great---if possible maybe we can talk on the phone---just let me know---THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP
 

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Your po420 code could be from a bad cat. However, you did mention the cat was replaced. But, if it's an aftermarket cat, it may not do as good a job as the OEM cat does. Really good cats are more expensive.........

That said, you should have a full diagnostic scan performed to look at other important data/info. If it's running rich, the cat might not be able to clean up the exhaust for that PO420 issue. Some after market cats don't work as well as the OEM cats. I would suggest you get or perform a diag scan to see O2 numbers (O2 #1 and O2 #2). Also, make sure the engine is firing good on all 6 cyls. One poor firing cylinder will cause rich exhaust stream and the O2 sensors will pick that up. One other thing that can cause a rich condition is a failing fuel pressure regulator. When they are going bad, they develop a slow fuel leak internally which will result in a rich exhaust code. When the regulator gets worse, it will cause stalling from too much fuel. These numbers can be seen with a good diag scanner. One other thing that can also bring about this rich condition is a leaking fuel injector. If you are able to test the fuel pressure, you would see the static fuel pressure(engine off after cycling the ignition on and off). If the pressure is dropping, the fuel is leaking somewhere.......maybe an injector or the regulator.

Before you throw any parts at it, get a good diag scan to see what the data shows. And check the fuel regulator for leakage.

Good luck, Jake
 

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PS, One more thing you can do to stop the annoying check engine light for this particular issue is to buy an O2 sensor "simulator". I remember buying one from ZZ and it did the job fooling the PCM and keeping that light off. In later days and mods, I had the PCM reprogrammed to stop that rear O2 sensor code. You do not want to do this for the PRIMARY O2#1. Your PCM needs that info for proper operation.. Jake
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
PS, One more thing you can do to stop the annoying check engine light for this particular issue is to buy an O2 sensor "simulator". I remember buying one from ZZ and it did the job fooling the PCM and keeping that light off. In later days and mods, I had the PCM reprogrammed to stop that rear O2 sensor code. You do not want to do this for the PRIMARY O2#1. Your PCM needs that info for proper operation.. Jake
If you have HP Tuners editing software, you can turn off the DTC for the downstream O2 sensor and nothing else will be affected.
 

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Have you checked your brake lights? High mounted light too...

when the shop looked for codes did they look at the pid for the warning light? Did the scanner say, abs light on or off?

Did the shop look at the body control module for the red brake light on?

the body control module turns the red brake light on if the park brake switch tells it to. The instrument Panel cluster (IPC) turns the red light on if the brake fluid is low. (could be the float is stuck or sank) Pretty sure the low fluid level will also turn off the abs so the abs light will be on.

were there any U codes in any other scanned system?
 

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Hi KEV! well, I'm still floating around these days. It's interesting to see other's issues and I enjoy helping out when I can. My GTP is still doing very good(I take very good care of my old but very fast GTP). My son has mentioned a friend of his is interested in my GTP. I'm going to let that simmer a bit before I consider selling. HECK, that's one of my favorite toys and I love the get up and GO it has. Good to see you are still around! Take care, Jake (mr goodwrench)
 

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Really do miss all the knowledgeable guys back in 2008 when I joined.
Hey, they are still around and are more than willing to help out with info and improvement tips. Like you and me (Jake), My 3800 SC still runs great and better than the newer models. My GTP is simply wonderful and runs like a watch and still hauls a.. It does have upgrades with more power and still can get pretty good gas mileage....... Jake..... see, I'm still here.....shoot me a post and we can chat about whatever..........
 
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