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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello to all. New here. Have a 1982 with 3.8 L V-6 231 Distributer in the front. The bearings are shot. I was going to rebuild the engine, but I am having trouble finding some of the parts I need. Parts guy said that is normal for this engine, and I should think about changing over to a 305 or 350 engine.
My question is simple, I tried to find the answer in previous posts, but had no luck.
If I should decide to swap to a 305 or 350 will I need to change anything with the tranny? Will it just bolt up?
The current engine is carbed without any ecm of any kind.
Powertrain products says I can get a replacement reman block but it will be 8 weeks out. I need to get it back to my son sooner than that, another reason to consider the swap. thanks for your help. great site.
bill
 

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You need a new parts guy. I don’t know where you’re looking for parts for the 3.8 but any good machine shop or parts store should be able to order them. You’ll need the crankshaft out though to mic it before ordering bearings. It may be good enough to polish, it may need to he turned, or you may want to look for a crank kit with bearings. If time is your biggest factor a running 3.8 will be quickest. Next is a running 305 or 350 with transmission (because the 3.8 mates to a BOP pattern trans, not Chevy unless it’s the dual pattern) but you’ll also have to change mounts and maybe the shroud (and more).
Patrick
 

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pbr makes a number of valid points, but there's a couple of things we need to know.

-why 8 weeks or less?
-what's your budget for the rebuild or replacement?
-where will the vehicle be located? in an emission-controlled state like California?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. let me answer your questions.
Ordering the crank kit, was told it was hard to get. will know for sure by tomorrow noon if i can get it.
You answered my biggest question, which was, will it all bolt up?

Time is a factor because my Son is using a car I was giving to my daughter for college graduation until his camino is fixed. kids. lol

vehicle will be in Kansas, so not emission issues.
looking to spend 2k or less.

Next question.
Powertrain has the 229 v-6 in stock. Will most of the ancillaries bolt up to the 229 from the 231? Might be quicker to get that reman block instead of waiting the 8 weeks.
will the tranny bolt up to the 229 as well?
 

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well, you can certainly get a used v8 engine for less than a $1000.

I'm not really familiar with 229 v 231 issues, but I know it COULD BE a issue. just because they're both v6's means nothing, could have totally different design philosophies


if one is a Chevy and the other a Buick , then yes, that probably WILL be a problem. it would probably be a lot easier to find a running SBC and do a swap.

don't know where you are in Kansas but searching CL found this for $150


and this for $1500
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks cybarry.
The 231 is actually a gm block. they call it a buick 231 for some reason, but the cast numbers on the block are: 3.8 L GM 25514290 weird but that is why I was wondering
if most or some of the pulleys and other stuff would bolt up and hopefully the bell housing will match.

Hoping some one on here know the answer to that one. It would make all of this go quicker and smoother.

Not going to do the V-8 swap. Too many things to change and modify. He can upgrade at a later date when time is not so important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
BTW The truck and I are in Arkansas. Just my son is in Kansas. will be returning the truck to him when running.
 

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Its called a Buick 231 3.8L since its based on the Buick 350, designed by Buick, which is completely different than a Chevy, Olds or Pontiac 350's. The Chevy 229 3.8L is also completely different than the 231.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the great info.

Yet, the saga continues. we have decided to rebuild the 231 and move on. except.

Having problems finding connecting rods from that era. everything I have found is from the 3800 series of engines.

It appears that at least 4 of the 6 rod bearings are "spun". The one we pulled off looked scored on the crank and the connecting rod, so it seemed a good
idea to replace the connecting rods. Hence the trouble. Can't seem to locate any.

Ideas and help would be appreciated.

bill
 

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AFAIK, unless your conn rods are actually damaged you shouldn't have to touch them, just the bearings. and if you're going to have to goto that extent, then IMHO you should swap it out for a used 350 SBC because now you're getting into the money factor
 

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The machine shop can resize them; you’re supposed to with spun bearings but thousands of us have gotten away with putting a crank kit in without doing anything to the rods. You could look for a used engine for parts, too. Or, like Sabba Ray said, look for a used small block with trans.
Patrick
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the input. I agree with your assessments as well, concerning the rods.
I have done the same thing you have, put in new bearings or crank kit without changing rods.
I will probably move forward and hope for the best.
My father-in-law a retired mechanic is advocating the new rods.
 

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If you stick with the 3.8 engine I would highly recommend to replace the front timing cover, they make them new. The oil pump housing is part of the front cover, aluminum cover with steel gears and this was a weak spot on the 3.8 engines.
 

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I would suggest you giver TA Performance a call. If it is Buick engine related they are usually the place to go. Also get an oil pump shim kit from them. When you assemble the buick timing case coveer it is VERY important to get the oil pump gears shimmed correctly. the gasket that comes with a timing case cover is just a generic thickness and is usually way too thick causing a lot of low oil pressure problems.
(480) 922-6807 TA Performance Products Inc. - Your Leader in Buick Automotive Parts and Accessories
 

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Hey 464! The Buick GS Nationals is happening next month in Bowling Green, KY; that Camino would be quite welcome there...
Patrick
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the great info.
I will call TA performance and order the shim set and new cover. Their site says they have the connecting rods as well. hope so.

I will keep you updated on the rebuild.

thanks again
bill
 

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If you're going with the rebuild of the Buick V6, by all means do pay proper attention to the oiling system, as mentioned. I spent a number of years in a Buick dealer in the late 70's thru the 80's and saw more than enough issues, things like a brand new long block installed under warranty with the old timing cover, still showing less than 10 lbs. oil pressure at idle on a brand new car. They also had a service bulletin recommending a replacement parts oil pressure switch, which didn't trigger the light until 7 lbs., replacing the stock 10 lb. switch. By 1987 the then-labelled 3800 engine had a geroter oil pump that delivered 40 psi at idle and Buick motors longevity became almost infinite.
As 464 indicated, TA performance is the place to go. They have the discontinued-by-GM front covers manufactured for them, as well as longer pump gears and shims for less serious cases.

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Billy Jack. Thanks for the great information. I am ordering the new cover and shim kit today.
I am hoping they will have the connecting rods if we need them.
thanks again. I will keep you updated.
 

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Hello to all. New here. Have a 1982 with 3.8 L V-6 231 Distributer in the front. The bearings are shot. I was going to rebuild the engine, but I am having trouble finding some of the parts I need. Parts guy said that is normal for this engine, and I should think about changing over to a 305 or 350 engine.
My question is simple, I tried to find the answer in previous posts, but had no luck.
If I should decide to swap to a 305 or 350 will I need to change anything with the tranny? Will it just bolt up?
The current engine is carbed without any ecm of any kind.
Powertrain products says I can get a replacement reman block but it will be 8 weeks out. I need to get it back to my son sooner than that, another reason to consider the swap. thanks for your help. great site.
bill
[/QUOTE This is a 1982 El Camino 383 Stroker to fours full roller, 700R4 transmission. At one time I had the same setup as you have. But I think your best bet is to go with at least a 350 & 700R4 I stripped all the wiring out of it and put in Painless wiring. Not an easy job to do but you can do it one wire at a time. They have good directions and all of wires are numbered, if you not familiar with wiring. I also took that stupid computer out of the car. You also need to buy a GeForce crossmember. That way you can change over from single exhausted dual. I know it probably sounds like a big challenge, but it least start with a 350. The 700 R 4 transmission is 3 inches longer then the transmission you have in there now. Just take the drive shaft to a machine shop then they will cut it to size for about 100 bucks. This is only if you're thinking of keeping it for a long time, if not, just get it rebuilt. Just something else to think about before you go and spend a lot of money on getting it rebuilt.
 

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