V6 Discussion and questions about the base carbureted or MPFI V6's and the rare SFI Turbo V6.

3.8L turbo swap

Old 04-21-2011, 07:20 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

UPDATE!!!!

TURBO BUICK CAMARO LIVES!!!!! I finally got my baby running after only 4 years of gathering parts and building! I received the last two parts I needed in the mail this afternoon, and by 7:30 this evening it roared to life!! I have a few issues to deal with, like the massive oil leak coming from the front timing cover area (I'm not really sure exactly where it's coming from), and a small coolant leak (I think I missed sealing some bolts that pass through the water jackets). In the short time it was running (until I realized the oil leak) it sounded mean and loud! Can't wait to fix the problems and see what she can really do! After things get straightened out, and I get some decent tuning time, I'll take her to the track and post some numbers.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:47 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Wow, nice build, you realise we have to get together and race our cars.

Let me know when you're going to the track.

I'm up in Sudbury, but on occasion I race TMP.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:56 AM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

hey thanks, Where is TMP? Can't say I've heard of that track. The only track I've been is to Grand Bend Motorplex. Now that I'm living in Orillia, I imagine the closest track would be Cayuga.

I think I've figured out the oil leak. I think it's coming from the front crank seal. I have a new seal, but I'll need to get the timing cover gaskets as well. I'm not totally sure its the crank seal though. It seams to have lost alot of oil for the short time it was running. I'm going to replace all seals and gaskets on the timing cover to eliminate all the possibilities.

As soon as I get fresh batteries for my camera I'll have pics posted. and maybe when it's back together I'll get a video going.
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:59 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

We need more updates on this one!!
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:47 PM
  #55  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Hey everyone, its been a while since I've updated. The car has been on the road now for a few months, and I've had some time to play with the tune. I fixed the oil leak, it ended up being a broken bolt in the timing cover. The car pulls hard and wow the torque! I upgraded to a fmic and had a new chip burned for me by Eric at turbo tweak. Some minor tuning is still needed, as it starts to run lean under boost past 3000rpm. I've kept boost limited to 10psi for now, but once the tune is good I'll be pushing it higher. Future upgrades will be a 3" downpipe, and a new cat back system. Some suspension tuning is in the future too. I will try to post some updated pics shortly.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:19 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Congratulations! I'm officially jealous now, since mine is also in the parts gathering stages.

Any chance of some under hood pictures?
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:40 AM
  #57  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

I'll try to post some pics later on today. My computer is getting pretty old and doesn't like dealing with uploading or downloading. Time for a new one I guess.
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Old 10-15-2011, 11:57 AM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Here are some crappy phone pics.
Attached Thumbnails 3.8L turbo swap-imag0004.jpg   3.8L turbo swap-imag0006.jpg   3.8L turbo swap-imag0007.jpg  
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:04 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Those are fabulous pictures!

Are you running a check valve to keep from blowing up the brake booster? I think the TTA had one, but I'm not sure to be honest.

What is your upgraded downpipe and what did you do to get it in there?
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:08 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by neilb
Here are some crappy phone pics....
How does your sixty foot feel with the 700R4....?
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:12 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by neilb View Post
hey thanks, Where is TMP? Can't say I've heard of that track. The only track I've been is to Grand Bend Motorplex. Now that I'm living in Orillia, I imagine the closest track would be Cayuga.
TMP is Cayuga.

TMP = Toronto Motorsports Park, even though it's really no where near Toronto.

I was there last week, and there had to be about 3 cars on a T&T Friday night with no big even planned that weekend! The track was terrible though, and WAY too many first timers who had no idea how to stage.
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:20 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

The downpipe is still the factory gn unit. I cut the last bend off of it and turned it 90* and welded it back on. I bent up a new pipe to connect the downpipe to the converter. I hope to upgrade to a 3" dp this winter. It will have to be a custom one, and the heater box will have to notched or the dp ovalized.

Yes I'm running a check valve for the brake booster.
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:25 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by Street Lethal View Post
How does your sixty foot feel with the 700R4....?
Never raced it yet. The car is a bit sluggish from a dead stop. Lots of turbo lag. I have just a factory camaro v8 torque converter that i think is really hurting my low rpm performance. The larger dp should help with the turbo lag as well.
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:31 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by Six_Shooter View Post
...and WAY too many first timers who had no idea how to stage.
HEY!

I resemble that remark...

I am still having trouble when I get to the track and stage. Its nothing like the street racing I did out west years back. All these damn rules...

Anyway, us newbies to the legit track on test and tune day have to learn somehow...
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:33 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by neilb
Never raced it yet. The car is a bit sluggish from a dead stop. Lots of turbo lag. I have just a factory camaro v8 torque converter that i think is really hurting my low rpm performance. The larger dp should help with the turbo lag as well....
The stock D5 torque converter stalls at about 2100, some a little higher, and the difference in stall alone will take care of your sluggish sensation from a dead stop. If your running a stock turbo, the larger downpipe won't make that much of a difference to tell you the truth. What gears are you running out back...?
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:46 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Here are some more pics. I recently added a remote crankcase breather that I made up with spare line and fittings I had laying around. The fmic is an eBay unit and uses 3" polished aluminum piping. Worked out really well.
Attached Thumbnails 3.8L turbo swap-imag0015.jpg   3.8L turbo swap-imag0019.jpg   3.8L turbo swap-imag0005.jpg  
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Old 10-15-2011, 01:52 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

[QUOTE=Street Lethal;5067966]The stock D5 torque converter stalls at about 2100, some a little higher, and the difference in stall alone will take care of your sluggish sensation from a dead stop. If your running a stock turbo, the larger downpipe won't make that much of a difference to tell you the truth. What gears are you running out back...?[/QUOTE

the turbo is a turbonetics TE 60, so i think the dp will be a good thing. I think a converter stall closer to 3000-3500 is what i'll need. The rear gears are currently the stock 3.42. I Need to upgrade the rear sometime,and I'm thinking 3.73 would be good for a mostly street driven car.
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Old 10-15-2011, 03:33 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

awesome build. Looks great.
Ive always wanted to do a lc2 swap. as You can see by my sig. I never did it. Maybe one of these days on another build.
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Old 10-15-2011, 04:00 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by neilb
the turbo is a turbonetics TE 60, so i think the dp will be a good thing. I think a converter stall closer to 3000-3500 is what i'll need. The rear gears are currently the stock 3.42. I Need to upgrade the rear sometime,and I'm thinking 3.73 would be good for a mostly street driven car....
Whoa, big difference there, I thought you were running the stock turbo from the pics. Definitely go with the bigger downpipe then, and a 3000-stall is the perfect choice for the street. No need to up the gears any, just go with the correct tire size, same difference. SFI-6 will be released soon, so scrap the Turbo Tweak chips and start flashing your own tune...
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:36 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

CAN 1987 GRAND NATIONAL WIRING BE USED FOR THIS SWAP. INSTEAD OF CASPERS ELECTRONICS?
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:02 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

That's what the op used; a GN harness that was adapted and the GN ECM.

Its not too different from what the factory installed 89 Turbo Trans Am ran...
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Old 06-23-2012, 09:45 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

UPDATE!

Hello everyone, I have been driving the car for a while and have been working on the tune. I have been spending most of my time over on Turbobuick.com for help with tuning these awesome engines, and thought I'd better pop back over to my home to share my progress.

After a few very dissapointing weeks of street driving, I discovered that the converter was all plugged up and broken inside (prob caused by the rich condition at low rpm I'm trying to correct). I have removed the converter, and it's a whole other car! I had to notch a section of the frame, as the exhaust headers were making contact when the engine "torqued", and the ecm saw this as knock, and retarded the timing. since the notch, things have been much smoother. Another issue I have been battling was extreme lean condition at anything above 1/2 throttle or 10psi boost. I picked up a ALDL cable and downloaded the TunerProRT program for data logging, and found that my reman MAF won't read anything above 109 gm/sec. Stock GN should see close to 255 gm/sec at WOT. I plan on buying the MAF translator and a LS1 MAF from Fullthrottlespeed.com.

Other than a few small changes to the fuel curve on the TT chip, not much has been done. I need to convince my wife that I really do need the translator and MAF.

Keeping my foot out of it is really hard, and I have been unable to resist. Even just today I got pulled over for doing 40 over the speed limit.... luckily the officer brings his truck to the shop I work at and let me off.... thank goodness... $300.00 fine plus points!!!! ouch saved my rear on that one!

Next upgrade after the MAF will likely be a new torque converter... thinking around the 2800-3000 stall will suit my turbo well. Plus A trans rebuild is in order, it's developed a slip on the 1-2 shift.

Thats pretty much it for now, I will update later, and try to post a video of some street runs...

Thanks all!

Last edited by neilb; 06-28-2012 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 06-24-2012, 08:52 AM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

[quote=neilb;5309738Plus A trans rebuild is in order, it's developed a slip on the 1-2 shift.[/quote]

Probably not. 700R-4s are notorious for broken 1-2 accumulator springs. You can fab up a solid spacer for under a dollar, and have tire-chirping 1-2 upshifts above 2/3 throttle. More importantly, invest $15-20 on a 'vette servo to help second gear hold.
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Old 06-24-2012, 01:35 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Really? How do you go about fabbing up this spacer? Would it affect the drivability at cruise or in other gears? I intend on getting the corvette servo for sure, I need to call my local trans shop to order up what I need... plus a shift kit and torque converter.
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:39 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

DIY is grinding a small socket. Some oddball size you don't use much. But if you're getting a shift kit, then there's no need.
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:44 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Cool, sounds good, thanks!
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:11 AM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Got any updated pics? especially where you ground out and notched the frame for the headers...

Good show! Glad its back on the road.
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:08 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Here are some pics I took today. pardon the rough state it in, I haven't had a chance to clean the engine bay recently. The notch will have to be properly cleaned up and welded once I pull the engine back out.... likely won't be done till this winter.
Attached Thumbnails 3.8L turbo swap-engine1.gif   3.8L turbo swap-notch.gif   3.8L turbo swap-camaro1.gif  
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Old 06-28-2012, 06:57 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

That is very nice!!!
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:16 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by neilb View Post
Here are some pics I took today. pardon the rough state it in, I haven't had a chance to clean the engine bay recently. The notch will have to be properly cleaned up and welded once I pull the engine back out.... likely won't be done till this winter.

if ur anywere close to me i have a mint condition 82-84 z-28 front bumper cover that would look badass on that thing
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:34 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Thanks for the offer, but thats a new bumper on it, plus I live in Canada... wee bit too far to pick it up. lol
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:16 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Surprised a Corvette owner today on the way home... Pulled up next to him at a light, and he glanced over at me... I don't think he gave me much thought. He paid attention when I blew by him shortly after. I'm sure if he had tried I would have been spanked, but it was still fun to see his face.

Now I really wish I could have made all the turbo piping fit under the stock hood. My 5" cowl tends to attract attention even though the car is pretty quiet. My plans on this being a sleeper has gone out the window... so now I'm thinking that one of those Muflex 4" exhaust systems or the Hawks Sinister 4" setups would sound pretty good. I was recently talking to a custom exhaust builder about a custom downpipe. He normally specializes in Diesel stuff, but I think he'd be up for the challenge. I still though would prefer to build my own...just for prides sake.

I'm still working on my wife to let me spend some dough for the MAf and translator, She can be a bit tough when it comes to spending money on things that she says isn't important.

I have so many plans and very little money to do it with, so things move slowly.

One of my plans is a proper paint job. My first attempt in the garage looks ok... from about 50'. Plus A co-worker just had his truck painted the Chevy truck SS blue... and looks AWESOME! so I'm thinking a nice shade of blue would look good on my baby, Plus the black hood is driving me nuts. This time I'll have someone who knows what they are doing look after painting it.

I still have plans on running the Weld racing rims, but I want to wait until I have a matching set for the front. Its a wanted item, but not high on my list at the moment.

The last few days I have been focusing on just improving the ride quality. I managed to squeaze my car in for an alignment at the shop I work at after hours, and couldn't believe how far out my camber and toe was! I made those adjustments and things have really come around! Between that and notching the frame rail, the car is so much more enjoyable to drive. Most of the rattles are gone. My dash pad still rattles, and I have plans for that. I was thinking of using the thin foam underlay that you use for laminate flooring to insulate the dashpad from the dash. Its thin enough that you'd never know it's there, and I think it would be enough cusion to stop the rattles. Any thoughts?

Sorry for rambling, I get excited when I'm talking about my car. When I started this project I was barely out of high school and knew very little about building a car. I am now a licenced Red seal Automotive tech. The car and I have come a long way in a few years and I want the growth to continue.

Any more tips, hints, suggestions and the like is always appreciated.

Last edited by neilb; 06-29-2012 at 05:21 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:26 PM
  #83  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

The colour I want to have my car painted... not my co-workers truck, but the same colour.
Attached Thumbnails 3.8L turbo swap-silverado-20ss-20front2.jpg  
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:59 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

build the downpipe urself , u can get the 3.5 or 4.0 inch mandrel bends from columbia mandrel bends very cheap, doing it urself would prolly cost about 1/4 of what any ex shop would charge u or what u would pay for a off the shelf unit that u had to modify
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:31 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

That was my thought too, The only thing really holding me back is a lack of a welder at home. It's just a pain to do that kind of fabricating at work. But I'm still leaning towards doing it myself. I may also upgrade to an external wastegate when I do the downpipe. My turbo has the external wastegate mounting flange on it, so I would only need to fab the wastegate dump back into the downpipe.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:33 PM
  #86  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by neilb View Post
The colour I want to have my car painted... not my co-workers truck, but the same colour.
My 2-cents, I would go with a darker, more sedate color. No need to attract attention. The acceleration itself will attract more then enough.

There is a reason I purchased the '92 in "Dark Green Gray Metallic." It goes invisible easily...

RBob.
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:36 PM
  #87  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

I was also thinking about Imperial Mettalic Blue from GM, a bit darker.
Attached Thumbnails 3.8L turbo swap-imperial-blue-metallic-paint.jpg  
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:51 PM
  #88  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Last night I sat down and did some parts researching, and I'm thinking that later this summer (after getting my translator and MAF) I'm going to tackle the exhaust/downpipe. I love the look and sound of the mufflex 4" systems, but can't afford to spend $700 on exhaust... it would prob be closer to $1000 by the time it got to my door. So I went onto the dynomax and walker exhaust websites, and got all the part numbers to fabricate my own 4" system... this also includes a 4" downpipe using the Internal wastegate flange from RJCracing.com. I can get all the dynomax/walker stuff through work at cost, and won't have to worry about paying shipping fees. I should be able to build my own system for only around $400.00 plus my time... remember thats including a downpipe. Pretty good considering a 3" downpipe alone from buick suppliers would cost more than that!

Paint isn't likely to happen for a couple of years, once my wife and I get some debt payed off.... stupid student loans!! But I still wish it would happen soon!!

I am working on setting aside some money every pay in order to get the stuff I need, and look forward to seeing it come all together.

I plan on ordering my MAF and translator in a few weeks, and will keep you all posted on the results!
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:56 PM
  #89  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by neilb
Now I really wish I could have made all the turbo piping fit under the stock hood. My 5" cowl tends to attract attention even though the car is pretty quiet...
Why couldn't you get it to clear the stock hood? I would definitely consider redoing the charge tubing, go with a stock hood, and keep it looking stock...

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Old 07-05-2012, 08:09 PM
  #90  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

I could prob get it all to fit under the stock hood, with some modifications to the turbo up pipe. In your video the up pipe takes a 45* off the throttle body, where mine takes a 90* farther forward. I would need to changge my pipe to your setup. At the time I was building the piping, I didn't realize it was going to interfere, plus I don't have the means to weld aluminum. I also needed a new hood anyway. It will do as it is for now.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:59 AM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

That is why i threw it up, just to give you some ideas. The stock appearance looks so much better on the street, and at the track. I had a 3" cowl hood on mine for a very long time, then I got sick of the sight of it and went back to the stock one. I took this video of Steve's 3.8 GTA awhile back over at e-town, and he's still running the cowl. Looks cool, but I just got tired of it on mine...

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Old 07-19-2012, 07:09 PM
  #92  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

So, I ordered my MAF translator last night, so I'm looking forward to seeing how much the LS1 or LT1 MAF improves the car. I am hoping that my current MAF is responsible for the super rich idle and lean at higher RPMs. I can't get a reading above 109 gms/sec with my current setup... sure hope this fixes my problems. If all is good the next step will be the exhaust in the late summer/early fall, and then a new torque converter and shift kit next year.

One thing I am wondering, is I set up my tune using the reman MAF, so will I have to reset all the base line stuff such as the IAC and TPS? I will reset the chip back and let it relearn with the new MAF, and I'll start my fuel/timing tuning from there.

I'll post some pics of the translator and MAF when it arrives, and post some results once its installed. I may have to reroute the intake pipe so the new bigger MAF clears the washer bottle.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:28 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

I have ben looking at my up pipe layout, and now I'm really wishing I had kept my stock flat hood. I have a left over 45* pipe plus a bunch of silicone couplers and I think I have figured out a way to clear the stock hood that would look nice. What sucks is if I do this change, I'll have to put out the cash for another hood!!! That would be the 4th since I've owned this car! I suppose I could sell the cowl hood to cover the cost.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:38 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Check out this crappy video! lol, running my car in my garage.

And check this out! I was playing around with different turbo uppipe layouts, and when I removed the intake tube, i noticed something rattling around inside the airfilter. This is what I pulled out. I must have one of those rare "self screen deleting" MAFs. Good thing this one is going in the trash shortly.
Attached Thumbnails 3.8L turbo swap-dscf3675.jpg   3.8L turbo swap-dscf3676.jpg  
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:46 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Good News!! I recieved my translator last night, and today I picked up a LT1 MAF sensor. I got everything installed, and reset my chip. The car runs amazing now! Gone is the super rich idle, and now I CAN GO WOT!!! My BLM's at idle have gone to 122 from 118, the MAF reads 5grams/sec at idle (compared the the old one's 7grams/sec), and the o2's cycle between approx 300 to 950mv, where before it was stuck around 850-999mv (until wot). The car pulls crazy hard now, I reached 14psi of boost by 3500rpm, and it just keeps pulling from there. 14psi is the lowest boost my wastegate actuator can do, and the chip is tuned to run closer to 18psi, so it looks like I can finally turn it up some. I am extremely happy with the results, and I can now move on to improving the performance in other areas. I'm still planning on doing the 4" downpipe / exhaust later this summer/fall, and next year will be focused on the tranny. I did notice tonight on some WOT runs, that the tranny starts to slip a bit in 3rd at 14psi, back off the throttle a bit and the trans grabs. I'm thinking a shift kit will boost the line pressure and help hold under boost.

I'm thrilled that such a simple upgrade made such a huge improvement. I'll post some pics of the setup soon.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:48 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by Street Lethal View Post
That is why i threw it up, just to give you some ideas. The stock appearance looks so much better on the street, and at the track. I had a 3" cowl hood on mine for a very long time, then I got sick of the sight of it and went back to the stock one. I took this video of Steve's 3.8 GTA awhile back over at e-town, and he's still running the cowl. Looks cool, but I just got tired of it on mine...

Please, Steve's car was sloooooow.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:49 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Originally Posted by neilb View Post
I'm thrilled that such a simple upgrade made such a huge improvement. I'll post some pics of the setup soon.
I didn't read the whole thread...was that stock MAF you got rid of? If it was an aftermarket reproduction then it makes sense, the aftermarket ones are just horrible.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:09 PM
  #98  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Yeah, it was an aftermarket MAF, and your right, it sucked! I originally planned on using the translator and MAF, but a time crunch to get the car running for my wedding ended up with me running to the local NAPA and grabbing that reman. Things are back on track now. I sure wish i had just ordered the translator and MAF to begine with.
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Old 08-05-2012, 10:03 AM
  #99  
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

So I turned up the boost to 17psi yesterday, Surprised me how just a few psi really wakes up the car. What didn't surprise me is now the transmission really hates the extra boost. A shift kit is definately needed. I was told in the transmission forum that the shift kits from TCI are the best ones for the 700r4. I was just wondering if there are certain things I should do differently to the trans when using a turbo, vs N/A?
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Old 08-05-2012, 03:53 PM
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Re: 3.8L turbo swap

Sorry if you covered this, but what exactly torque converter are you running now?
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