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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have recently purchased a minty 78 lesabre turbo coupe with a seized engine. After inspection found the crank and piston are shot and have decided to scrap that dog of an engine and replace it with a olds, buick or poncho V-8. I have a nicely done up '69 Pontiac 350 in my shop already to go. Looking at the motor mounts am questioning whether they will work since they're different from the later 70's type mounts. Can anyone offer some help on making such a swap work? What should I use for mounts? What other things should I consider? As well, I will have all the parts to the old 3.8 including a turbo in great condition with only 70,000 miles. Your help is greatly appreciated.
 

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Deltona: Peace At Last...
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3.8's are so simple and cheap to rebuild I can't figure why go V-8? They aint dogs....they can be made to go with simple tweaks. Rich George has a whole write-up on simple upgrades that will wake her up some.

Why would you want to kill/write off a mint turbo engine that needs a simple rebuild?

If you're building a sleeper I guess it makes sense to go in another direction.

E-bay the turbo parts you'd be surprised how fast they'll go. Maybe not alot of money to be made from them but there's guys out ther hunting for 'em.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, you have some good points, believe me, I have mixed thoughts about "ruining" an original car, especially being in such good shape. But, the crank is gone, manifolds cracked, pistons broken, etc, etc, amounting to an expensive rebuild, for a car that is worth very little. Crankshaft is the big one, quite costly. Just thinking about all that finnicky "crap" on the motor....EGR, air pump, sensors, piping, 8 miles of vacuum line, etc, etc for 160 hp in a big Lesabre? It is a cool looking car however and responses from Buick fans like yourself is what I'm looking for......Its still not too late, the block is in the machine shop waiting for an answer whether to go ahead with the rebuild. And yes you're right about Ebaying the turbo parts.....made a killing on some spare turbo parts from my 2nd gen Turbo TA!!
 

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Turbocharged BrunoStachel
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Just thinking about all that finnicky "crap" on the motor

Dont forget that what ever you decide to swap in needs all that stuff too. I.e. PS,AC, fan blades and everything else to support the engine. The only real downfall to your situation is that it is an 78. If it was a 79 I'd be all over it swapping in a long block. I know I brag a lot but I believe if it was me doing the work I could have that gem running for less than $1000. Maybe even $500 if I got lucky in the boneyard. The only reason I say too bad is because of the cylinder heads. Lots more potential in the 79 and newer high ports IMO.
 

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Deltona: Peace At Last...
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Eric knows what he's talking about....I agree! I did it for $700.00 and I included high performace internals too!:eek!:

Here's another point: The crank does not have to be a turbo crank. A regular will tolerate just as much punishment, (Buick made the turbo crank as a precaution to the additional torque the turbo puts out). Getting a reguler one at a bone yard is easy and cheap. Getting it cut at a machine shop cost me $40.00 2-years ago.

OEM 3.8 pistons cost about $10.00-12.00 most anywhere, (again they don't have to be turbo specific). The Hyper ones cost a little more if you're building a higher HP plant, (about 220 HP).

And as far as the manifolds any good muffler shop should be able to weld those quite easily off of the vehicle.

I'd get a beat '79 on up 3.8 from a scrap yard, rebuild it and slap on the turbo parts and it'll still be an oem cream-puff.

Just a rebuilt 3.8 block alone w/heads from Advance Auto Parts starts at about $800.00. So is price really the issue? It'll probably be cheaper to slap on those other engines but remember fabrication and mods to make them fit may make up the differance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks for the great info guys! This Buick Turbo thing is new to me, I'm generally a Pontiac/Olds guy. Learning a lot....this is exactly the type of feedback I was looking for. If the NA 3.8 crank truly is sufficient then I will probably stick with the six banger and keep it original. I was under the impression that the block and internals are different on a non turbo car, maybe lower compression like the 301 Turbo in my Trans Am. Will search for a 3.8 out of the wrecker. Thanks again.
 

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Resident Slut
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Don't for get about the 4.1's
 

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Carb/Turbo
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Yep, I wouldn't bother with the original 3.8. Find a 4.1, port the heads and put the turbo on it. I bet it will outperform a Pontiac 350.

I'd even consider using a running 3.8 junkyard motor without a rebuild, if it's going to stay mostly stock. It will take 9 psi of boost.

A LeSabre Sport Coupe is a cool car.
 

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Deltona: Peace At Last...
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Yep, I wouldn't bother with the original 3.8. Find a 4.1, port the heads and put the turbo on it. I bet it will outperform a Pontiac 350.

I'd even consider using a running 3.8 junkyard motor without a rebuild, if it's going to stay mostly stock. It will take 9 psi of boost.

A LeSabre Sport Coupe is a cool car.
Yeah Rich I agree,

But he's out in Canada I think....it's bad enough trying to locate a 4.1 here in the States let alone B.C.

But if he could what an azz-kikka...:sw:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Are the 4.1's virtually the same motor and everything should bolt right up? What are the benefit over the 3.8 other than a few inches? Can you guys tell me what are some models vehicles that I can pull one from........sorry for my ignorance, but I'm a hard core V-8 guy but I'm all ears right about now. What ever is easiest....I live on an Island with only a few wreckers and hope to find what I need here opposed to travelling to Vancouver which is a major trip. I few more horses would be nice for this heavy car! You guys are awesome!!! Thanks.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ok, got my answer from the Before Black site on the 4.1 on the models.......as well, found two complete early 80's 3.8's. one complete and disassembled NA mill for 200.00 and one complete regal with a NA 3.8 in good running order for 700.00. Apparently the guy with the runner is a Canucks fan....check out the pix!!!! I'd be embarrassed to drive this thing home, maybe I'll rip the motor out in his yard and leave the piece of ------- car there! LOL
 

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Carb/Turbo
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That's a great looking car (the LeSabre ;) ). Keeping it a Turbo Buick is the right way to go.


The 4.1 is just a larger bore 3.8. Running 3.8's can be found in almost any RWD GM made in the '80's.
 

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if youre able to get to s.w. mich you can HAVE my 79 cent turbo motor/trans minus carb. keeping the lesabre a turbo 3.8 would be so cool, you would be the only one in canada probably?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
offer for engine

Thanks Kindly for your offer on the 3.8!!! Unfortunately I'm on a small Island off the West coast Canada and it would be extremely expensive to get it here. I've taken the advise from the good people and members of this forum and am sticking to the 3.8 Turbo, whatever it takes. The car is far too nice to molest. If indeed a NA 3.8 block is not a problem to use with the turbo, I've found a complete engine for 200.00. I don't know how many of this cars are in Canada but its the first I've seen in all my years of hotrodding. It would be interesting to see production numbers on this model. Am quite excited about the car considering it relatively "new" compared to other 150 or so classic cars I've owned in my life. Thanks again for the offer!!!
 

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i looked in my buick book and the lesabre sportwas made in78-80 3582 were made in 79, and the numbers for 78 i have the turbo was included in regular lesabres, some 56,000 but the turbo 6 option was expensive, and the 56,000 number included na 6, and v-8 options. given the powertrain rarety plus if you car has options such as power items or what not, it might be rather rare, plus factor in that the early turbo cars got engine transplants, I've seen many factory turbo v-6 cars with small block chevy changes, and currently own one now. good luck and hope everything goes well on the rebuild!!!!!:) :)
 

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production numbers

have a question reguarding the the 79 century turbo numbers I have a 2-door and it had the turbo, and the black out option so is it one of 1,653? info greatly appreciated, and if so, how many were made with the black out option and be non air cars? thanks rich if you're watching
 

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Carb/Turbo
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That sounds like a Century Turbo Coupe. That would be one of the 1653 Sport Coupe models. (Turbo Coupe were a subset of the Sport Coupe).


I doubt GM recorded how many Sport Coupe had AC or not.
 

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Irish Mick
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heads

Hey guys. Hey Bajarossa. Does the '78 have the 8445 heads? I've got a set here. And I'm spittin distance away.
Richard
 

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Irish Mick
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Anyways, Rolly these heads are yours if you want them. The crank needs to go another .010 on the rods so it's scrap.
 
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