engine rebuild info from aussie newby


New Member
Nov 20, 2010
hi guys just joined this cool and awesome site , i am from Australia and have acquired a 78 4barrel turbo v6 , and i am transplanting it into a 1999 Holden statesman, i have the go ahead from my local transport mod plater as long as i inject it and run cat exhaust,i am limited on the info here done lots of scouting around but no real data,i am rebuilding the engine over boring new slugs,and head work , light cam and a mains girdle ,now i know these engine are good so do i need to run performance cam and main bearings like ta performance offers , i want reliability and with 600 hp,i have a custom t72 garret turbo with a gt42 compressor wheel , and i am converting a 4 barrel holley manifold into injection ,is there a crank trigger dissy i can run or can i adapt a crank angle sensor to my block ,am going to run a aftermarket ecu ,whats the maximum you would take the bore out safely without flexing the sleeves to much ,any info much appreciated guys
Welcome pilgram!

Glad to have youi on board. :cool: I would suggest a lot of reading, using the search function and asking questions on the differant forums here and the other board turbobuicks.com. All the reading will help you make good decisions w/o the more costly "experiential route," ie blown headgaskets, mis-matched parts, etc.
As far as the bore, the most common is the .030" over, but you can go stroker, which is more available today than has been in the past. which should help inthe reliabilty side of the equation. As for the cam, you will have to decide at what rpm you want to operate in while still being compatable w/the T-72, along w/matching the injectors and fuel supply.:eek::confused::biggrin: I'm sure you are catching on, combo,combo, combo! You'll have plenty of help here, just don't become too impatient and you will avoid the costly pit-falls.
Again Welcome Pilgram!:biggrin::cool:
thanks SHADOWII for the reply, looking forward to the hard miles in reading and enjoying the ride ounce finished,not sure on cam size as yet the turbo comes on around 3200 rpm with t72 or i have a custom built brand new garret ta51 with a to4z hot side housing i might use it has a lot more flow and should still come on early with the small exhaust housing as long as it don't run out of puff at higher rpm,i still want to drive it daily so it wont be a huge duration on cam,injectors i have some bosh green top 86 lb injectors or some 36lb ls1 v8 injectors,how far will the standard crank and rods rev to before they let go with aftermarket rod bolts ,and mains bolts, i am hoping to see 7500 rpm or is that abit optimistic ,have a pair off bosh 044 pumps for the fuel,dont want to stroke try to keep the cost down as postage is a killer,has any one changed the standard electronic dizzy to a crank trigger dizzy , are they interchangeable of another model or can i buy one from some where,as i was thinking of running the original buick wiring harness in the holden v6 statesman with the coil packs as the statesman is similar to your 1988 model buick series2 turbo v6 ,any info much appreciated guys cheers
I feel your best bet is to convert over to an '86-'87 Turbo Buick system. It is very well scienced out and there are alot of parts available to make it work. Run a factory ECM and a Translator and a Z06 MAF. Use a stroker crank, K1 Rods, and Diamond or JE pistons. With a factory intake, you have all you need. Use the factory cam sensor, and crank sensor (requiring a interruptor ring on the balancer, which is available from BHJ and the vendors that sell stroker kits.) Use a 215/220 hydraulic roller with the stroker kit, or a 210/212 for stock stroke. (available from the same vendor you choose to buy the stroker kit) use the factory coil pack, too. All of these items can be purchased used in the for sale section, and also Full Throttle Speed, DLS, Cottons, ect.) Lots of the factory stuff is available used, so there is no need to try and re-invent the wheel. I personally like to see cool projects fabricated, BUT.........There is a HUGE learning curve in doing so. If you have alot of experience tuning an aftermarket ECM, then go for it, but if not, buy a factory wiring harness (or new one from Caspers) and use the factory ECM with an Eric Marshall chip. We are making over 750 HP with the same system. It works real well. Fell free to contact me and I will be happy to help you along in your quest. There are lots of very knowledgeable guys on here that are willing to help. But keep it simple. The reliablity of the turboharged Buick V6 is amazing. The factory GN/T-Type engineering was ahead of it's time back in 1987. Converting to an aftermarket ECM will gain you little compared to the system listed above at the horsepower you are targeting. I have removed aftermarket ECM's and converted back to Factory ECM's and GAINED power and drivability. (ya, I know it was probably not tuned perfectly, but the factory ECM works great up to 700+HP.)
Welcome to the group, Ken B.
Also you will need to convert to '79 up cylinder heads to allow the use of a factory intake. THe '78 and earlier heads are different than the '79 up heads. The ports are different. In 1979 Buick changed to a high port cylinder head. THe 8445 castings are considered the best, though they differ only slightly from the 6293 castings. Some 6293 castings have the bridged waterports at the ends of the head, but ALL 8445 castings have the bridged water ports., so use the 8445 heads. Head gaskets are going to be a concern due to the water ports on the deck of the early block. Use a Felpro 1026,1000 head gasket to use the later heads. But this brings up an imprtant issue in htat you really should purchase a 1984-1987 engine block, too. For that matter you could also use a 4.1 liter block/heads and be ahead of the game. They were available in the early '80's. THey are easily identified by a 4bbl carb. naturally aspirated.
Read this to get a good over-view. Buick V6 History
thanks turbofabricator for the info i have taken your advice and i have a USA importer chasing a set of 1979 high ports heads up for me, i want to keep with the 3.8 as i own it already rather than track down a 4.1 as i say postage to Australia is a killer, the heads on my 78 all ready have large valves and large intake ports but by doing some research there is a lot of gains by the high port exhaust side on the heads,so i will ditch the early heads as it all about reliability and flow,i thought i might have to high of expectations in rev range ,i am looking to see if i can not use a maf sensor and run a mafless tune,i can get piggy back ecu,i still haven't found any info on ta,s performance parts whether i need to install there performance bearings for cam and mains,and rods ,is this a necessity.i will only go 30thou over bore as suggested,thanks again for the info much appreciated as it gets the wheels turning
hi guys thanks for the info,with the timing cover change from eraly to late how does this work , as the balancers are different from early to late ,they have different belt setups as the early have the old v belts and the new have the flat belts as i cant put a later model timing cover on to run a crank angle sensor without using a late model balancer as this is notched for the crank sensor to pickup
You can bolt on a late timing cover and use a late balancer. Your pulleys should bolt up to the newer balancer. The late timing covers are available new from nearly any parts store. (they'll have to order it, but available. Also, if you are buying heads, buy a set of #8445 castings (1984-1987)