Looking for help, not to belittling...


Mar 3, 2008
I have an 87 WE4 and I am trying to figure out why it does not have the power it should. I am looking for someone that is willing to give me a hand in figuring this out. I have an idea of what is up but I am not certain and would really like to not throw money away. I know I have made some mistakes in building this car, nothing major and nothing that cannot be changed. Let me know if you can help. I am not looking for opinions because we all have them. I am looking for someone that is willing to help me get the most out of my WE4.

Motor has about 2500 miles on it since the rebuild. For the most part it is stock. Stock crank, pistons, heads, turbo, intercooler, and computer. I am still using Turbo Tweak chips, race and street. It has a 212/212 cam, which I think is one of the problems. I believe the injectors are 36#s from TT. The rear end was just rebuilt and I put in 373s. I have had many opinions about this. I have not had any big issues because of the gear change. I recently put new plugs that were recommended on this site and other GN sites, I can't remember the exact number right this second. I also put new MSD 10 MM wires and an Accel ignition box.

I appreciate any and all help. Again, I would prefer to keep the opinions out of the thread. Thanks guys.
What chip, octane, boost? Has fuel pressure been verified at idle with line off and at WOT under boost? AFR ratio, MAS operating properly, spark plugs and gap?
We need a complete list of mods and replacement parts. We need to know what scanning device you have and any numbers from it. Did you own the car before the work was done? Did you take it to the track to see how well it performed? What caused the engine to need to be rebuilt? Did you do the r&r yourself? How are the trans and converter? The cam and gears aren't the best for the engine build but I doubt they are cause of poor performance.
Exhaust leak? Read the spring cleaning guide and verify all the settings mentioned in it. You mentioned having an idea about the problem- what is it?
Stock turbo and converter. I researched converters and from what I was told and could find people said nothing different than stock was needed. Trans and converter have not been touched to my knowledge. Need for rebuild was from a previous owner putting to much boost to it and spinning rod bearing one. I had a performance shop in Minnesota do the long block rebuild. I did reassemble the myself. I bought the car with the engine, prior to rebuild, in the trunk. Chip is a TT 5.6 or 5.7 I think. Boost for the street chip is 12-15 with 93 octane. I only have 91 around me so I have been running about 10 pounds of boost. Race chip has not been in the car for some time because of it not running right on the street chip. Race chip is also a 5.6 or 5.7 and set up for boost of 22-24 with 103 octane. Prior to the spun bearing the car ran 11.4 in the quarter mile according to the original owner with time slips to prove. Scan device is a scan master 2.2 I believe. I can grab all the numbers tomorrow if the weather holds out. I'm guessing at idle is where you guys would be looking for them? I can get the fuel pressure then too.

When I take the car out for a cruise it loads up on trips over about 45 minutes. I then have to get on it and it clears up and runs smooth again. My idea is that the cam is too big for the mostly stock engine. I just replaced the copper gasket between the turbo and collector and exhaust donut between the down tube and turbo. It does not sound like there are any exhaust leaks now. Plugs are NGK UR5s. I do not know how to check if the maf is working right. I was thinking or converting it to a LS1 MAF.

Are you looking for all the numbers of the scan master? Also, there are no numbers in the MAL section of the scanner. I would love to switch over to a FAST system but I don't have the money for that right now, so I am trying to make it work with what I have.
A 212/212 cam is too big for a stock setup. What exhaust system do you have on the car? Do you have alky injection installed on the car? What are your goals for the car?
That is what I have been told, about the 212/212. The exhaust system is a hooker setup or something like that. No Alky. I would like to see it in the low 11s again. Honestly, my original goal was high tens because the car was in the low 11s prior to the rebuild, but I have the feeling that goal is not realistic without dropping serious money into the car. I am up for putting money into it but I do not have thousands right now to throw at it. And when I do have that kind of money I want to make sure I spend it better and not just catalog shop, if you know what I mean.
Hmm when my header cracked my engine light came on I also replaced the O2 sensor at the same time. I dunno I'd put a lot of the little geegaws on like coil pack, MAF. It's loading up, you mean stumbling? or revving higher like at idle?.
3-5.0, it seems like it is getting to much fuel when it is just cruising. Coil Pack is almost new, accel high voltage, car has run much better since I replaced that. No over revving or anything like that.
When I say the car won't perform I mean it won't spin the slicks I have for it. The car should have enough power to do a burn out.
http://www.vortexbuicks-etc.com/index.html You need to read this over a few times. You can find out what the scan numbers mean and what symtoms mean. You can check for vacuum leaks by pressure testing or smoke testing. I am a little skeptical that it ran 11.4 with such limited mods. The cars I know that have been there have had to have more mods but it's not impossible. I have not seen a stock trans live at sub 12s for long. WOT shifts start slipping and only get worse. That may be part of your problems. You didn't mention what fuel pump.
How do the plugs look? The TT chip should be using a base fuel pressure of 43psi. Verify yours is set properly to get your fueling on track. Take it for a drive and verify fuel pressure rises 1:1 with boost. Keep the boost low for now and verify o2's are around 800 on the scanmaster at WOT with no knock. A MAF translator and 85mm MAF sensor made a noticeable difference when I installed them, but get it running right before you start throwing parts at it.
Plugs look fine, they are brand new and have about 100 miles on them. Fuel pressure at idle is 44 psi. I will need to find a way to look at my fuel pressure while driving. I am not planning on upping the boost any time soon. Pronto, I have multiple slips that came with the car that are sub 12, 11.4 being the best. I did not see the runs but I do trust the friend that sold me the car. Is 12s or high 11s is all I get to I will have to settle for that but at this point I feel like a ricer would out fun me and I am not ok with that. haha. I will read over the link you post and see what I can figure out. I believe the fuel pump is a 255 walbro that is hotwired. I will have to grab the list of mods that are on the car and put them up. Thanks for all the input guys and I will keep checking and answering questions.
With stock turbo and converter 12.0 would be considered pretty good. With that cam a little bigger turbo, some alky and a better torque converter you should be low 11’s to high 10’s but you will kill a stock transmission by then. Previous owner may have had a different turbo on it when he ran those times and returned it to stock when he sold it. Most of us have our stock parts in a box for the day we decide to sell...

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Has the Turbotweak chip been reprogrammed for the larger cam.
If the chip is still programmed for the stock cam, the fueling and timing may be off causing you fuel loading troubles.
Chip was programed new for the cam and the way the car is set up currently. I am not positive it is a stock converter but that was one of the things I was getting mixed messages on so I just dropped it. Trans is still shifting great, no slipping that I can tell. Fluid is clean and has a good smell. I was thinking of putting in a 206/206 cam and having the chip reprogramed for that and see if it changed anything. However after starting this discussion there are other areas I need to check out.
I am not sure what is better route to go, a little bigger turbo and better trans and converter, or just switch out the cam?
I have my fuel pressure gauge t'ed into the rail with a 3 foot braided line so i can tuck it under a windshield wiper when I need to watch it while driving. If everything checks out, you have enough fuel, and no knock then start turning it up.

If the chip was burned for 15 lbs and you're at 10 it's probably on the rich side. Rich plus big cam and low boost will be sluggish. I wouldn't change the cam right away though i'd try to get the boost up higher. Add octane if necessary.
Did I miss it? Where are you located?

A lotta smart guys on here that might be able to help, if they are close.

Your converter should have D 5 stamped on it if it’s stock.

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