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3.8 Series 2 (New Guy)


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So, I'm the FNG. New to the W-Body platform, but a life-long GM owner. I recently purchased 03 Monte SS that is knocking. I have 2 general questions, and if both questions have been covered, I sincerely apologize, but I've noticed that W-body members seem to be pretty friendly folk :thumbsup:


My Questions:

1) Should I pull the engine/ transmission topside, or drop the cradle?

2) With the new motor, what would be the "must change" items on my "new" used 3.8 (w/189k on it) beyond the intake manifold gaskets?


Thank you for any/ all support, and I can't wait to get her on the road!-Blake



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definitely top side. Not sure if I'm going to get my wrist slapped for this, but billboost has an excellent how to over on the grand prix forums. I've been meaning to copy it over, but haven't found the time.


As far as "must change" items, it's really up to you. Some people just drop it in, and others change everything! Personally, at the very least, change the torque converter bolts and make sure you use blue lock tight and torque to correct torque. For the rest, I'd at least change the spark plugs, oil, all fluids, flush the coolant system, and just check everything out well. Good luck!

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Depends on your budget and time frame.  Personally, I'd regasket everything you can access.  Ol pan, rear cover (that is known to leak oil as the bolts are usually only finger tight, use locktite on them on reinstall), valve covers, etc.  This is your one time to reach any part of the motor you need to without the car being in the way.


Then I'd clean up the entire engine bay and check the power steering lines while you're at it.  If they're leaking, replace those too.  Then before you drop it in, make sure the rear knock sensor doesn't have the wire ripped off of it that connects to the power steering pump housing.  You really don't want to mess with that in-car.

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Replace the coolant elbows, valve cover gaskets, upper plenum while it's easy if the $80 isn't a big deal. Crank sensors fail too but they aren't bad to do on the car.


Engine up and out and you need probably every extension you and your best friend own to get the engine to bellhousing bolt on the back about half way down from the RHS wheel well.


It's usually necessary to pull the oil filter adapter housing off before trying to pull the engine - don't drop the spring and piston when you take it off. It'll give enough wiggle room to slide the engine forward and free it from the tranny.


Also in all likelihood the lower engine mounts are shot, and it's always a good idea to do an IAT and a CTS but it's never a good idea to use cheap ones.


Be really careful with and save the cap thing that holds the MAP sensor on top of the engine up front on the plenum before you toss the old engine. That's the door that covers the PCV valve and the little fingers that hold the MAP break easily so don't pass up a spare.


Welcome to W-Body.com!

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Thank you all for your suggestions! The W-Body family already seems MUCH more inviting that previous groups I have been involved with (VW/ Audi snobs especially).

Going topside seemed like the best option, and all gaskets, rear engine mounts, coolant elbows, etc will definitely be replaced.

I'm looking forward to having this car on the road as a DD soon, and how could you go wrong with a 3.8 Series II?

My brother and I always joke that those engines will see it through the apocalypse!

Thank you SO much, and I look forward to interacting with this community in the future!

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