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Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

Old 11-09-2010, 09:23 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

Originally Posted by Indelibility View Post
Explain please
Ohhhh.... I can explain that one... wheelspin and lots of it, especially easy to do on the craptacular GY F1 's that the GT500 gets saddled with from the factory. Once you get that part solved its pretty easy to get into the 12's.

--->edit<--- Or they are having to deal with that ****** effing clutch problem if its a 07-09 car Laugh it up guy in the white F5 lined up next to the white GT500 on Jefferson Avenue tonight. Grrrrrrr........

Last edited by bossco; 11-10-2010 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 11-09-2010, 09:49 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

Originally Posted by R377 View Post
I recall being pretty impressed with the revvy nature of some of the last 3100 V6s that GM made. I almost liked that engine better in the Grand Prixs, at least as rental where I didn't mind beating on it. The 3800 might've been torquier and more fun for the first 20 feet, but the 3100 gave you some grins all the way to redline.
I recall the same thing. I once rented a Lumina with an "L82" 3.1. It was brand new with 14 miles on it. I was really impressed with how eager to rev and fun to drive that motor was, (wrapped in a pretty unremarkable Lumina). Needless to say, I spent the next few hundred miles breaking it in.
Similar to my '80, 2.8L, 4 speed, Citation Club Coupe. A gem of an engine wrapped in a POS car.

And I agree, the 3800 had a different personality.

Last edited by Z284ever; 11-10-2010 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:27 AM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

One of the most fun cars I ever drove was a 1994 Cavalier Z24 w/ 5-speed manual and 3.1L V6.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:14 AM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

I think it's interesting to consider what qualities make for a satisfying engine. Things like smoothness/refinement, sound, ability to perform it's required tasks with eagerness and ease. I'd also add, knowing that just a little bit more throttle pressure at lower gears has the ability to break the tires loose adds to the satisfaction.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:47 AM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

My dad's 1996 Buick Regal went over 100K miles without EVER being taken in for warranty work. All regular maintenance items. At 102 K miles we replaced the water pump and sold it.
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Old 11-10-2010, 04:09 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

Originally Posted by JakeRobb View Post
One of the most fun cars I ever drove was a 1994 Cavalier Z24 w/ 5-speed manual and 3.1L V6.
^^^I owned a '91 Cavalier RS Convertible with the 3.1L MPI and a 5-speed. I loved that car it was soooooo fun to drive.

The 3.6 (LY7) and the 6-speed auto is great match for our Torrent GXP. 0 to 60 times in the mid 6 second range....it hauls for a crossover. With the Torrent GXP's unique exhaust it sounds pretty good too. To me it always seems eager to rev and revs easily. Maybe the GXP has more aggressive gear ratios than say the Malibu/Aura has. We only average about 18 mpg and get a best of 24 mpg on the interstate, which is about what every other V6 crossover gets.

To bad our 3.6 had a premature failure at 55,000 miles. I took it in for service last month because the check engine light was on. The code was linked to a TSB dealing with the cam actuators on the LY7. After a couple of weeks in the shop our Torrent GXP was ready for pick up. I was shocked when I looked at the invoice and most of the internal parts to the engine had been replaced including camshafts, crankshaft, timing chains, heads, valves, etc. On the way home going down the interstate the engine pops loudly and grinds to a halt. I get out and check the oil and the oil is full of metal. The engine had a serious mechanical failure, but I think the dealer didn't put something back together right.

To make a long story short after a few more weeks and lots of running back and fourth to the dealer, we got a complete new engine for our Torrent GXP. For some reason this new 3.6 seems a lot coarser, but more powerful than our previous engine, it may be that its not broken in yet I don't know but it doesn't seem as smooth as the older 3.6

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Old 11-10-2010, 06:38 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

Originally Posted by JakeRobb View Post
One of the most fun cars I ever drove was a 1994 Cavalier Z24 w/ 5-speed manual and 3.1L V6.
I had a 1991 Camaro with that same combo with 3.73 gears that the previous owner had swapped in. The car wieghed in at less than 3100 lbs. It was a blast to drive, especially for a 16 yr old.
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:37 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

I have been really impressed with our 3.6, and I am a 3800 nuthugger for years. great engine fo rsure, but honestly no comparison to the almighty 3.6 I have heard of the 3.6 beats the heck out of the oil on the DI engines though. I am trying to find a good syn to put in it. My most recent choice is Penzoil Ultra 5-30
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Old 11-10-2010, 08:32 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

DI is part of why GM has their new oil specs which will basically mean synthetic only

I haven't tried the Ultra yet, but I have an ancient LS1/6 which usually gets Pennzoil Platinum... even though conventional would obviously be fine.

I basically only put conventional in the 3.8L I had though, although with shorter interval than I have followed with the synthetic in the LS. To the topic at hand, the 3800 was a really good bread and butter type motor, but in NA form was not really ideal performance wise... in a performance car I want to be able to continue making torque as I close on the redline, not just have a lump down low. You could get a fair amount of power out of them if you did cam and head work, but the head design was just not great by 2000... if they would have fixed everything needed to make this motor competitive with other V6s out there it would basically be 100% new, but the 90* V angle and pushrods would always hold it back a bit. A 3 valve head arrangement may have been interesting though.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:08 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

Ive drivin a 3.8L or 3800 as a dd since i first got my license. 5 vehicles in all. and the death of the 3800 was one of the saddest automotive news ive ever received. my father, diehard chevy, still teases me about it.. 87 regal, 2 dif. 90 lesabres, 94 and03 bonneville.. and now i find myself looking for a new vehicle next spring with no 3800 replacement. I just cant get the same feeling from the 3.6L like i could the L67. Old GM dropped the ball big time here.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:35 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

Originally Posted by HAZ-Matt View Post
A 3 valve head arrangement may have been interesting though.
I dunno Haz, the current crop of LSx cylinderhead tech is pretty good, I bet some sort of cam phasing would help out alot there and provide a cheaper and viable alternative to multivalve heads. Especially on an engine with a good sized bore. Throw in DI and that also frees up intake port design so that its not constrained by the need to help maintain homogenous fuel mixtures.
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Old 11-10-2010, 09:51 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

Originally Posted by Mustang Killer57 View Post
Ive drivin a 3.8L or 3800 as a dd since i first got my license. 5 vehicles in all. and the death of the 3800 was one of the saddest automotive news ive ever received. my father, diehard chevy, still teases me about it.. 87 regal, 2 dif. 90 lesabres, 94 and03 bonneville.. and now i find myself looking for a new vehicle next spring with no 3800 replacement. I just cant get the same feeling from the 3.6L like i could the L67. Old GM dropped the ball big time here.
Look at the dyno charts I posted earlier.

I understand being attached to a good, proven engine, but that's progress.

I still love my LT1, but I'd be all to happy to have an LSx in its place.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:15 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

While many people were fond of the 3800, it had become a liability for GM to keep making because it was so old school.. When I think 3800, I think of Fischer Price interiors, and Pontiac's with 100 buttons on the dash.
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:21 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

Originally Posted by Threxx View Post
You have a 3.8L f-body that embarrassed a GT500? That's a serious driver mismatch.

Originally Posted by Indelibility View Post
Explain please
The GT500 driver had no ***** basically.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:24 PM
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Re: Modern 3.6 vs the venerable 3800.

Originally Posted by bossco View Post
I dunno Haz, the current crop of LSx cylinderhead tech is pretty good, I bet some sort of cam phasing would help out alot there and provide a cheaper and viable alternative to multivalve heads. Especially on an engine with a good sized bore. Throw in DI and that also frees up intake port design so that its not constrained by the need to help maintain homogenous fuel mixtures.
Well I certainly agree there. If they had put something akin to an LSx type head with only 2 valves it would have been leaps and bounds better than what the 3800 had by like several generations. I was sort of just speculating about throwing more tech at the 3800.. so why not dream about an extra intake valve.
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