I converted my stock unopened long block NA 3.8 2V to fuel injected, turbocharged and intercooled

dsmith4994

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May 5, 2004
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DSCI0149.JPG I recently converted my 1986 t-top buick regal NA 3.8 to Fuel Injected, Turbocharged and Intercooled
This car had the original engine with 124,000 miles on it. It was my daily driver when it isnt snowing.

I got tired of the choke / carburetor problems these cars typically have. Even on a good day i dont think it had the advertised 110 hp. The valve covers, front and rear main seals, intake manifold, oil pan were all leaking oil. The T-200 3 speed transmission lost reverse for the third and last time. So out came the motor and tranny. I have a few 84-85 turbo motors kicking around but decided to use the stock matching numbers 3.8 engine as an test mule. .
Why would you do this you ask. I already have an 86 and 87 GN undergoing restorations and two nice 89 turbo trans ams. Well i think its funny and i was always curious if it could be done. I wondered how long it would hold up when i start turning up the boost and the ultimate questions. How fast will it go and how will it eventually fail. I see no one has made a thread on this. So i am now. I am located in CT and was at a local buick GN club show at Hooters in Wethersfield CT. There was a guy there (Craig) that did it and had clocked a good 5k miles on his converted stock 3.8 NA engine regal. It basically had the stock bolt on 87 gn parts except for 42 lb injectors, a front mount intercooler, and a tweak chip burned for the stock 2V NA cam. It had a stock 7.5 rear and TH350 tranny. The car went pretty good on about 14 lbs of boost and didnt cost that much to build. So with seeing this i decided to do it too.

The only difference was that i was going to use much better parts in my conversion. The engine was pulled, the tranny and rear end were tossed. The engine was stripped down to the long block and painted up pretty. Here is a list of all the parts i put in it:
Lunati 20/200 cam with new GM lifters, same pushrods and a double roller timing chain
New 100 lb valve springs
Port matched intake w/ egr milled out
adjustable fuel pressure regulator
stock 62 mm throttle body (new seals) and rjc distribution plate
42 lb bosch fuel injectors and matching turbotweak 93 octane chip
Walbro 340 fuel pump with hot wire kit
type II coil pack
10 mm spark plug wires
neoprene front and rear main seals and all new gaskets
baffled oil pan
3 into one driver side header and mandrel bent 2 1/2" crossover
T/A 49 turbo with adjustable boost actuator
modified cam sensor rotor so it doesnt blow apart
3" terry houston style downpipe and test pipe
3" ATR single shot exhaust
Precision stretch SLIC ( the new one that actually fit really good )
K&N Air filter and solid intake tube
new HR driver side motor mount
Along with all this a known good BRF 200R4 with a shift kit w/ stock D5 converter and an oil cooler
High pressure nylon braided fuel feed line and stainless stock return line
8.5 gn posi 3.42 rear end
dual air bags 25lbs right 9lbs left
Hotchkis rear control arms
1-7/16 ATR rear sway bar
4" pinion snubber
I used all GN wiring harnesses throughout and used the stock GN analog instrument panel.
and a scanmaster to tune it.
For now im running about 12 lbs of boost with zero knock retard
seems to holding together ok so far
Of course it started snowing so it put a damper on turning up the boost any further.
for now anyways.....
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Squid4life

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Jul 5, 2004
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You stole my idea! ;) I also daily my 85 which is now ic'ed, and want to grab a junk yard 3.8 and toss it in. I wanted to start a thread and take bets on miles/ boost/# passes etc it would survive. I am very interested in your build up and to see what she'll take!
 

ttaowner

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Jun 18, 2008
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Saw you a couple days ago going from home depot to lowes and once you were in lowes parking lot we heard you nail it ! Sounded good! Still waiting on my return line back !!!!!!!!!!
 

dsmith4994

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May 5, 2004
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Hey James
Merry x-mas / Happy new year
Im definitely driving it like i stole it...
yeah i need to stop by your shop in the very near future, we can square up then
im looking for an atr test pipe or equivalent that doesnt leak
got one? Right after the 1st of the new year sound good?
i will definitely call you soon
Got a few technical questions about the touch tone heater controls and a few other things
 

dsmith4994

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May 5, 2004
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wallingford CT
I used High pressure nylon braided fuel feed line purchased on ebay and fine lines GN reproduction stainless stock style return line. A reproduction baffled gas tank and sending unit were purchased new on ebay rather reasonably priced. Rather than contaminate my new 42 lb injectors with rust particles i chose to use brand new parts for the whole fuel system. The stock fuel lines were too small for this application. Saginaw ends for the feed line were available at the local parts store. The Saginaw ends for the return line are not available. I used the stock location fuel filter bracket and put in a new stock style fuel filter. Double fuel injection clamps were used due to the high pressure. Single ones will not work, they will leak and could cause a fire. The lines on the engine itself were purchased new as well but watch out the reproduction ones hit the frame. It would be recommended to use original ones if and when possible. Make the proper adjustments for the aftermarket ones so they dont rub holes throught the rubber as they could rub through, leak and cause a fire. Always carry a fire extinguisher in your car just in case.
 

dsmith4994

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May 5, 2004
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These are the next batch of modifications
ATR crossover headers and downpipe,
maf translator and zo6 maf,
precision 70 mm tb and doghouse with matching rjc distribution plate,
4" intake pipe with 14" ATR filter kit,
adjustable rjc boost controller
and drag radials


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SloGN

I'm a ASSHOLE.....
Dec 25, 2003
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The cast pistons will fail around the 300 HP area . That's with some knock. They will fail faster with more knock.
 

WIKEDV6

Well-Known Member
May 29, 2001
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Back in the early 90's we used a NA motor in a hotair setup, the car was driven for about 30K until it spun a rod bearing. The engine had over 100K when we converted it. It's wasn't driven hard all the time just here and there.

Prasad
 

sdteb

trying to get it like you
Feb 10, 2003
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Sweet. Got a old jasper motor freshened up, has a na crank in it and shitty jasper pistons. Autozone motor from backin the day I think
God know how many miles and I still beat the piss out of it.
 

Pittsburghkid

Displacement Replacement.
Mar 22, 2009
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Looks good but you should probably get some rubber fuel tank insulators inbetween the straps there.
 

dsmith4994

Member
May 5, 2004
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Finally a break in the winter weather
I am going to put the next batch of the aforementioned parts on this weekend.
I am setting up a chassis dyno pull for the end of march
I expect to be running about 17-19 lbs of boost on 93 octane gas
Anyone care to guess what the HP and Torque numbers will be?
I also expect to have a video of the dyno pull and pictures of it too
Stay tuned
 

turbokinetic

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Jan 29, 2008
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View attachment 178248 I recently converted my 1986 t-top buick regal NA 3.8 to Fuel Injected, Turbocharged and Intercooled
This car had the original engine with 124,000 miles on it. It was my daily driver when it isnt snowing....
Glad to see how well it worked out for you!

I did something similar on an 87 Century Limited sedan. It had a N/A fuel injected 3.8 engine. I built and bolted on a turbo system using eBay and used parts as much as possible. Got about $750 in the conversion! The engine has not been dyno'd. It will run 13 PSI, maxxing out some 28Lb injectors. A blast of fun indeed!

The car:


Build thread:
http://www.a-body.net/forums/showthread.php?2136

Sincerely,
David
 

dsmith4994

Member
May 5, 2004
645
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wallingford CT
The car is still running strong a year later at 21 lbs of boost on 93 octane pump gas and no knock. So far the only problems I have had were and exhaust gasket blowing out and the intercooler hoses blowing off.
 
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