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Thinking about a... 94 LQ1 to S2 L36 (or L67) swap


Nas Escobar

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Key word here is "thinking". I know this is gonna be a lot of work, but I figure why not ask? Don't lose anything right?

 

Anyways, as some of you may know I have a 94 CSC with the LQ1. I'm not satisfied with the engine, I feel it's giving me more problems than what it's worth. The engine itself runs perfect, but with the vacuum lines, the complicated way of working on it, the fact that I can't figure out why it cuts off when I first start it, then stumbles to "normal idle" and temp, it's really got me thinking...

 

How hard would it be to swap a Series 2 3800 in the CSC?

 

Here's what I know... S2 would require OBD2 more than likely. I can more than likely get a PCM/ECU from a 1994 or 1995 Buick Regal BUT it would mean that I would have to settle for a Series 1 L27. I could easily settle for a L27 and simply swap the subframe of a Regal into my car and call it a day... but that would be switching from one bad situation to another... I still wouldn't get the availability of parts wherever I go. I would more than likely have to upgrade the trans and the axles... I know the axles have to be changed for sure.

 

So anyways, I guess what I want to get to is... Is the swap worth it? Has anyone done it and felt good about it, or was it a waste of time?

 

I know the logical thing here would be to supercharge, but I rather swap in a L36 and do a top end swap if I really want the S/C... plus I'm not too thrilled about pumping 93 octane.

 

One of the main reasons I'm considering this is because of space.... yet I look at the pictures of Regals and it seems that both engines were cramped in the car... I don't like to deal with cramped engines because that means cramped working space... does this hold validity or am I just annoyed by the FWD downfall?

 

While on this subject, would it be worth to even consider "downgrading" to a 3400 SFI from a M/C or GA?

 

I'd really like to hear your opinions and experiences if you've done this yourself.

Edited by Nas Escobar
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I say go for it. Itll bolt right in. Youll have to use both db setups from the donr. Youll need a 3.29 geared 4t65. The axles are easy to build. Theres actually more room to work around a sw

Key word here is "thinking". I know this is gonna be a lot of work, but I figure why not ask? Don't lose anything right?

 

Anyways, as some of you may know I have a 94 CSC with the LQ1. I'm not satisfied with the engine, I feel it's giving me more problems than what it's worth. The engine itself runs perfect, but with the vacuum lines, the complicated way of working on it, the fact that I can't figure out why it cuts off when I first start it, then stumbles to "normal idle" and temp, it's really got me thinking...

 

How hard would it be to swap a Series 2 3800 in the CSC?

 

Here's what I know... S2 would require OBD2 more than likely. I can more than likely get a PCM/ECU from a 1994 or 1995 Buick Regal BUT it would mean that I would have to settle for a Series 1 L27. I could easily settle for a L27 and simply swap the subframe of a Regal into my car and call it a day... but that would be switching from one bad situation to another... I still wouldn't get the availability of parts wherever I go. I would more than likely have to upgrade the trans and the axles... I know the axles have to be changed for sure.

 

So anyways, I guess what I want to get to is... Is the swap worth it? Has anyone done it and felt good about it, or was it a waste of time?

 

I know the logical thing here would be to supercharge, but I rather swap in a L36 and do a top end swap if I really want the S/C... plus I'm not too thrilled about pumping 93 octane.

 

One of the main reasons I'm considering this is because of space.... yet I look at the pictures of Regals and it seems that both engines were cramped in the car... I don't like to deal with cramped engines because that means cramped working space... does this hold validity or am I just annoyed by the FWD downfall?

 

While on this subject, would it be worth to even consider "downgrading" to a 3400 SFI from a M/C or GA?

 

I'd really like to hear your opinions and experiences if you've done this yourself.

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Sorry..anway as i was saying, theres more room to work around a series 2 3.8(i unbolted my dp from the donor through the top. Yeah 3.8s have their own issues but theyre easy to work around). Availability in jys is amazing(and im talking bout good ones). New parts are easy to get.

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Damn shame they couldn't have a 442 model with a L67. Its almost counter productive to their thinking at the time. IIRC Oldsmobile had changed around their slogan to "This isn`t your grand-pa's car" or something to that effect. They seemed to want to attract a younger customer base. So WHY the F not drop a 3800 in? I would like to know the reason behind that decision to avoid the L32 and L67 option on the Olds CS lineup. If anything the Regal seems more like a classy luxurious car more so than a CS and GP yet they had the 3800.:think:Olds Toronadoes also got a 3800, So DA FuQ GM? Good thing we can help progress these cars to where they ought to be in performance.

 

One reason I like working on my car so much is the easy access to everything dealing with a 3100. But the lack of power is the trade off, and since the aftermarket is non-helpful, a swap is logical. I doubt anyone 20-30 years from now will care that a W-body has a numbers matching engine/trans like they do over a '70 Chevelle or `67 Charger.

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I say go for it. Itll bolt right in. Youll have to use both db setups from the donr. Youll need a 3.29 geared 4t65. The axles are easy to build. Theres actually more room to work around a sw

 

See getting an s2 engine is the easy part for me. I can just go to Maryland and look for a crashed car with low miles that had the 3800... In fact, I could easily get a S3 engine or the hybrid ones from the Impala SS years (the fwd one not the good one). The problem with me would be the transmission axles... I've never worked on a transmission before; not even when I took auto shop class, so I wouldn't know how to pop the axles out. Hopefully I don't actually need to "build" axles for this though, otherwise I'd probably stay put.

 

You know, the sad part is that the engine is really well taken care of (the one in my car). I managed to see my valves when I did my LIM and they were practically clean. It would be a shame to trash an engine like that.

 

Sorry..anway as i was saying, theres more room to work around a series 2 3.8(i unbolted my dp from the donor through the top. Yeah 3.8s have their own issues but theyre easy to work around). Availability in jys is amazing(and im talking bout good ones). New parts are easy to get.

 

 

I went through a couple extensions and swivels to take my o2 sensor out, and I could barely make it fit. I'm still not sure if it's tight all the way, but i don't think it would matter so long the bung is in there. As far as I know, the only real issue with the 3800 is the gaskets, and I don't mind that.

 

Damn shame they couldn't have a 442 model with a L67. Its almost counter productive to their thinking at the time. IIRC Oldsmobile had changed around their slogan to "This isn`t your grand-pa's car" or something to that effect. They seemed to want to attract a younger customer base. So WHY the F not drop a 3800 in? I would like to know the reason behind that decision to avoid the L32 and L67 option on the Olds CS lineup. If anything the Regal seems more like a classy luxurious car more so than a CS and GP yet they had the 3800.:thinking:Olds Toronadoes also got a 3800, So DA FuQ GM? Good thing we can help progress these cars to where they ought to be in performance.

 

One reason I like working on my car so much is the easy access to everything dealing with a 3100. But the lack of power is the trade off, and since the aftermarket is non-helpful, a swap is logical. I doubt anyone 20-30 years from now will care that a W-body has a numbers matching engine/trans like they do over a '70 Chevelle or `67 Charger.

 

Actually, because the Gen1's were from the early 90's, they wouldn't have L67's but rather L32's, but you're exactly right. I still don't get why the only W that got the 3800 was the Regal, only to have that engine replace the LQ1 AND become the staple engine of the W body. I understand the purpose of the LQ1, I don't think it's a bad engine when it's working, but they should have thought about what they were doing BEFORE taking a 3.1mpfi and doubling the size of it. I think if GM made it right from the beginning, added 5 inches of length to the front of the W, didn't make that intake plenum such a bitch to work around, and managed to get hp in between the L27 and L32, then I think we wouldn't have this discussion, but I digress. With that said, the slogan was "This isn't your father's Oldsmobile" and it came out around the time the Cutlass went FWD and I think part of the reason that they didn't want a 3800 in it because it wasn't a honda-eque engine, because to be honest, the LQ1 feels more like a Honda engine (rev happy) than anything else, which isn't a bad thing but vtec is some ass... why try to replicate that?

 

I feel you on that. I never liked the 3100. I helped someone swap an alternator in a GA with one... it was weird to say the least. I wouldn't be so harsh on the W... I think they'll become the new cars people will seek for to do some sort of "trend" type thing, the same way donks came about. I don't think anyone intended the 70's cars to be as sought out as they are, but that's what happened. Same thing with the Monte Carlo and the G bodies... I don't think many people anticipated them being sought after. You're right, no ones going to care about a numbers matching Lumina with low mileage, but I think at a certain point, people will want something like a W coupe or the Cutlass Convertible for the Nostalgia they'll have. The W also gave us the last Cutlass Supreme, and that may be a selling point to someone who really liked Oldsmobile, or becomes a collector.

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Is your Trans in good shape? I swapped Series III using my 3:43 FDR Trans from LQ1. Used 1997 GP PCM with 96 harness, and had Milzy reprogram for 3:43. I have a post about differences

 

I want to say it is, but not 100% sure.

 

Do you have a build thread of yours?

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I guess you could say that... Right now, I'm gauging interest more than anything. I really want to fix my LQ1 but I'm also not gonna throw good money for nothing on it. If I have to spend $1000 to fix my idling issue, then I rather put $500 on that on a 3800 engine, and save up the other $500 until I get $1000 again for the trans and actual swap. It's just a shame I'm resorting to this since the engine looks good from the inside, as I already did my LIM gaskets and got to see the valves through the intake port holes. I didn't get to finish the job (needs the plenum put back on correctly) but this engine is a royal pain to work on.

 

Quick question though... do you happen to know if the 96 Buick Regal had the S2 with the 4T65? Or were they still S1 with 4T60? I ask because I would much rather swap to a L36 than a L27, but at the same time, I would also like to upgrade my trans if I can if in case I decide to get an S3 engine.

 

My ultimate goal if I were to do this swap is to have it running the most fuel economic way possible, avoid OBD2 conversion, and obtain some sort of power when flooring it.

 

In other words, I'd like to make my Cutty behave more like a 2003 Monte Carlo SS, but at the same time obtain what my Camaro gives me in MPG or better. Right now, my 3800 Camaro gives me 22-24mpg combined, 18 city and I've managed to get 28 highway.

 

I realize that the Monte Carlo SS and Impala were (re) rated at 17/27 mixed 20, but I also recall they were originally rated at 19/29 mixed 23. I've seen 2nd gen W's realistically give people 20/30 m24 if they're not driving the car like they stole it, and many people have recommended me the 3800 cars because of their fuel economy. Right now, I get 15 if I'm lucky in the city (sometimes it feels it gets as bad as 13 or 10) and 20 in the highway, although if I get the engine to idle right, it can give me 25mpg highway. I'm usually averaging 17 mixed with the 3.4, 20mpg mixed if I'm lucky. Right now I'm in a position where my Camaro gives me better mileage than my Cutlass WITH the T tops off and that's not the way these things were supposed to work.

Edited by Nas Escobar
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Could always sell the current when you do the swap to recover some $. My engine swap is goona cost $250, i have the old engine sold for $200 :)

I guess you could say that... Right now, I'm gauging interest more than anything. I really want to fix my LQ1 but I'm also not gonna throw good money for nothing on it. If I have to spend $1000 to fix my idling issue, then I rather put $500 on that on a 3800 engine, and save up the other $500 until I get $1000 again for the trans and actual swap. It's just a shame I'm resorting to this since the engine looks good from the inside, as I already did my LIM gaskets and got to see the valves through the intake port holes. I didn't get to finish the job (needs the plenum put back on correctly) but this engine is a royal pain to work on.
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Could always sell the current when you do the swap to recover some $. My engine swap is goona cost $250, i have the old engine sold for $200 :)

 

I've thought a lot about that, but its hard to unload GM stuff in the DC area. The way my area is set up is that Northern Virginia loves their rice-a-roni Honda Civics and Maryland is more about American cars. So in other words, if this was a Honda engine, I'd sell it in the car how it sits and someone would give me $500 for it, but it's hard when your car is American in a ricer area. Right now the car is in Virginia so it would be hard to get someone from Maryland to come and take it out haha. But I might gauge interest in CL and depending how that goes, I'll do the swap... this of course if I can't get that engine to run how a well running 60 deg. engine should run. I already did my LIM and UIM gaskets, got the car running again, but the plenum isn't sitting right because when I started it, it squirted coolant out from the part where the block meets the plenum hole for the coolant. This engine is just weird.

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