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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, all. This is my first post as I am new to this site. I purchased a roller 1987 Buick Turbo T at the Buick GS Nationals this year, and it is my first turbo Buick. The car came from Alabama, and is in pretty good cosmetic shape as far as I can tell. The previous owner has another child on the way and needed to sell it, so I figured i would purchase it. These were the cars that first got me interested in cars at age 15 and I have loved them ever since. However, by no means am I an experienced mechanic with turbos. Is this project too far over my head, or is working with a turbo charged engine not as scary as I think? I do not plan to turn it into a purpose built/dedicated drag car- I just want something I can drive on the street and take to the track every so often. Any advice as to what to look out for is welcome! Thanks
 

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Turbo engines need more maintenance than a regular N/A engine, but aren't as scary as you may think. To get more power out of the engines is not as simple as just turning up boost. If you plan on modding, get a scan master first then upgrade the fuel pump and work with that. Stock exhaust and headers are good enough for a very very quick car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you. I am about to complete my senior year of college this spring, so I hope to have more money (and hopefully more free time on the weekends) to spend on it. I watched them tune and race at the GS Nationals, and the high horsepower/high boost engines seemed very finicky-so aside from the fact that I do not need a car that fast, I would plan on running lower boost purely for the reliability factor. Is there any combination of aftermarket parts and boost that seem to provide a reliable and quick car? The car (at least according to the previous owner) has a Detroit Truetrac with the stock ratio, a Walbro 340 fuel pump, and alky.
 

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Thank you. I am about to complete my senior year of college this spring, so I hope to have more money (and hopefully more free time on the weekends) to spend on it. I watched them tune and race at the GS Nationals, and the high horsepower/high boost engines seemed very finicky-so aside from the fact that I do not need a car that fast, I would plan on running lower boost purely for the reliability factor. Is there any combination of aftermarket parts and boost that seem to provide a reliable and quick car? The car (at least according to the previous owner) has a Detroit Truetrac with the stock ratio, a Walbro 340 fuel pump, and alky.
Get a scanmaster if it doesn't already have one, and a powerlogger if you feel as if you'd like an even more accurate representation of whats goes on with the engine at all times! This is the most important part. Without it, you will be running blind with the car and will ruin it. A scanmaster can point to any small issues or big ones and you sure as hell can avoid catastrophes.

The walbro 340 will do you good for a while. I would check the chip you got on the ecu. If it isn't a turbotweak, get one. If it is one (high possibility it is), remove it to see what is written on it to tell what its good for. In your shoes, I'd get Razor's alky kit. That will let you run more boost (alky cools down the air so as to inhibit detonation). Also check your injectors and if they are stock, get the 60lb injectors from turbotweak as well. You can then run E85 (with the proper tt chip) and run a safe reliable and fast car. With E85 the mileage is not all that great though. We don't have high enough compression to fully utilize the potential of the corn fuel. If the chip you got is a TT you can get it re-burnt for what you want.

Check and see if the vacuum lines were changed out or still original. You will most likely encounter leaks (gaskets and any other type of seals). Check them out frequently. Go read up on turbobuick.com as well. You probably are already, but they got really good stuff as well. I don't know much about rear end stuff, but maybe other can chime in on that. Your turbo (if stock) can handle up to 20 psi, but make sure you get alky to see any type of gains at that point.

I will say this though, its always good for younger guys to learn from other mistakes as not to burn too much unnecessary dough. I learned the hard way and didn't read as much as I should have and burnt alot of money recently and now need the motor rebuilt and I'm low on cash. Put all the money I had in parts and didn't even fully check if the block was good to go. Being that you bought the car from a member here, most likely, and it looked kinda well maintained you shouldn't have much issues.

Other than that, enjoy the car and try to respect her. It'll go a long way lol :cool:

Get it? Got it? Good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you very much for the advice! I planned on getting the scanmaster, and the previous owner highly recommended an eventual upgrade to the FAST XFI, but I would prefer to run the regular ECU until I become more familiar with the system, then I could do those type of upgrades. And yes, I have been reading as much as I can, so I hope to not get burned too much. Since I need to purchase an engine, I will learn as much as possible beforehand, about it's history, it's upgrades, etc. I've heard that the stock engines had some oiling problems? I will respect and enjoy it!
 

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Thank you very much for the advice! I planned on getting the scanmaster, and the previous owner highly recommended an eventual upgrade to the FAST XFI, but I would prefer to run the regular ECU until I become more familiar with the system, then I could do those type of upgrades. And yes, I have been reading as much as I can, so I hope to not get burned too much. Since I need to purchase an engine, I will learn as much as possible beforehand, about it's history, it's upgrades, etc. I've heard that the stock engines had some oiling problems? I will respect and enjoy it!
What type of oiling problems?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
What type of oiling problems?
In the February 2013 issue of Hot Rod, there is an article that talks about how strong a Buick V6 Block is..."Speaking of oil, the factory Buick oiling system is definitely a weak link." It goes on to describe TA Performance's solution that consists of a close tolerance front front cover and oil-pump assembly.

And to baceiredo and G-boz, thank you!! I will try to get more pictures up soon, but we just got our first snow here in Ohio the other day, so it's tucked away right now.
 

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In the February 2013 issue of Hot Rod, there is an article that talks about how strong a Buick V6 Block is..."Speaking of oil, the factory Buick oiling system is definitely a weak link." It goes on to describe TA Performance's solution that consists of a close tolerance front front cover and oil-pump assembly.

And to baceiredo and G-boz, thank you!! I will try to get more pictures up soon, but we just got our first snow here in Ohio the other day, so it's tucked away right now.
Its not crucial, but when you start modding for some serious power it starts to be a problem. Usually if you go to one of the Turbo Buick mechanics that know our engine really well, they can modify the oil pump and all that stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Its not crucial, but when you start modding for some serious power it starts to be a problem. Usually if you go to one of the Turbo Buick mechanics that know our engine really well, they can modify the oil pump and all that stuff.
Are there any other well known issues that should be addressed before aftermarket mods? (besides the scanmaster)
 

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Are there any other well known issues that should be addressed before aftermarket mods? (besides the scanmaster)
Clean out the intercooler and do the spring cleaning thats on gnttype.org. WIth that out of the way and your numbers look good on the scanmaster, begin the modding.
 

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Nice car. I never raised a wrench on a car before I started adding stuff to mine. I have made so many mistakes, I can't remember all of them! I'm getting back into it after a long time but listening to the much smarter guys like on this list helped me tons. I didn't have much knowledge (still don't!) about these cars but the easiest mod I could make myself that gave me the best improvement was changing the exhaust and downpipe. Something I could do myself while I was learning more complicated stuff.
Art
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks. Haha, yes, I am in the same boat. Whenever I get my engine (hopefully soon), I'll change the downpipe, but the previous owner installed a magnaflow muffler and fairly new pipe, so that much is already done!
 
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