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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've heard a lot of different things about the LC2. Some people seem to say that they are a very fragile engine that blow up very easily. From my experience I'd say they are the same as any other 3.8.. Maybe even smoother then most I've driven. It seems to me as long as you are not detonating these engines will last quite a while with some good upkeep. But I'd love to hear some stories and opinions from you guys on what you think of these engines? Is it a love hate relationship?

I'd like to think this whole car is a love hate relationship. When its broken I call it a she. But when its running good its one of the boys :D
 

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No...they're not fragile. If you're gonna beat on these things at the track you have to have the basics down cold. The engine must be mechanically sound...meaning even cylinder pressures, electrical system up to snuff including coilpack/ignition module, wires, plugs, grounds, hotwire etc. Your fuel system has to be up to par...and you have to stay out of KR. The majority of guys nail the loud pedal out on the street for 3-4 seconds...they see their 02's look fine. Wrong. Your 02's will lean out the faster you go. These guys aren't seeing the whole picture for 1320 feet...and when they get to the track it leans out going through the traps...and kaboom...or the boost gets away on them...with the same ending. 99 percent of engine failures happen at the top of the track. The CEA turbos that are out today...like the one on my car...make absolutely stupid power at low boost...and can overboost one of these engines in a hearbeat. You need a biggie sized puck like RJC offers...and port the wastegate hole...or go to an external gate. The other killer that's overlooked is ambient air temperature in regards to AF ratio. The cooler it gets...the leaner your AF gets. Guys will nail the throttle in colder weather...forgetting to add WOT fuel...and out come the head gaskets. I tune with 02's...but I don't recommend it...get yourself a WB. Remember...the higher the boost level...the less margin there is for error.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yea I agree with you 100% And its good to know that these engines are not a fragile little piece. For daily driven use my TR is out of tune a little but if I'm not boosting the car up I shouldn't be hurting. I find that what you say is true the farther you go into a pull the less O2's I get. I want to get a wide band and fuel gauge asap. The only crossroad I have to cross now is what items to buy first. I think I want to redo my front control arms before I start getting into performance. And I find these cars to be so funny.. Just today I was playing around and rust checking as well as repainting my wheel wells adjusted my breaks. I always heard what sounded like gears grinding once in while in turns and sometimes in the straights. I found out that the exhaust clamp was touching the drive shaft a bit. It seems like these cars always have little issues that are so rewarding to look for and find. Never before in my life have I cared about maintenance as much as I do now owning this car. Id rather make 3 steps forward then a step back. After much research and fiddling I'm finally in tune with how my car should sound and when something doesn't fell right. I just wish I could have owned one of these cars brand new.
 

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Get the car mechanically sound. The other stuff can come later.
 

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Not weak at all, guys have gone well into the 9's with almost completely stock bottom ends. Like BeachBum said it's all in the tune and everything else has to be up to par.
 

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We have Melissa's GN an my Mazda/Buick out for it's beatings an drivin around.. no knock 25/27#s of boost :D We will put at least 5k miles on each of them !!!
 

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aka: mOtOrHeAd MiKe
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The short comings of the LC2 is not in its physical architecture or material strength. But rather its design for the sake of performance is poor at best in stock form. The only reason these engines perform at all is because the turbo Buick slapped on it helps to bandaid what is otherwise a total boat anchor. If tuned properly it will perform and survive... but, when you compare it to a late model engine that you add boost to you'll quickly realize the LC2 isn't worth the investment of time or money to get it close.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's another interesting point I can say that compared to the NA Gutless Cutlass 3.8 the Turbo is a crazy feat fro this motor. From a 85 HP motor to a 245 HP. But compared to lets say the 2JZ or that powers the Supra I'd say all turbo motors are the same they would be gutless without the Turbo? I know the stock bottom end of the 109 where pretty advanced for the time. And wouldn't you agree that still even today these engines still hold quite a bit of potential against brand new powerplants:headbang::6:
 

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aka: mOtOrHeAd MiKe
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You can make anything fast if you throw enough cubic dollars at it.
 

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The short comings of the LC2 is not in its physical architecture or material strength. But rather its design for the sake of performance is poor at best in stock form. The only reason these engines perform at all is because the turbo Buick slapped on it helps to bandaid what is otherwise a total boat anchor. If tuned properly it will perform and survive... but, when you compare it to a late model engine that you add boost to you'll quickly realize the LC2 isn't worth the investment of time or money to get it close.
Mike do you think they were that bad? I think the worst part of the engine is crummy flowing heads. If they had the same heads and roller cam as the 3800s they would have been a lot faster.. Overall given the time that's gone by I think they were pretty healthy in box stock form, still not much today makes 355-400 ft lbs TQ unless it's a higher end V8 car. Even then.. new chargers for instance run generally high 13s.. I've seen the odd last gen Camaro run anywhere from 13.20s to 13.80s as well...

I don't agree the LC2 isn't worth the time or money... It's still a very viable performance option IMO and will run with just about anything out there today... the problem with LC2 is parts availability and the stupidly inflated prices of TRs... That to me is not worth the start out cost... but if Buick had built a fair share of these and you could snap up a decent one for 6 Grand and still find parts like, say my 2.3T or a 5.0, or LS stuff, I would consider running one again. I loved mine...

For overall cheapness of parts [shortblocks are 250 bux and will live into the low 11 / high 10 range] and ease of going fast in a relatively light car i'll stay with my 2.3s.. I had my SVO in the 11.80s on stock electronics and vam, stock fuel pumps, shortblock unrebuilt from 84, home ported stock head, stock intakes etc.. They are sort of like a mini Buick if you know them well, don't take much to make an 11 sec ride for about 1500 bucks in add ons to the car incl tires..
 
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