So I found locals who also own wbodys and need help,,,

MonzaRacer

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You get involved.
So after doing lots of research over the years of owning my 98 regal, and Grand Prix's.
So I have been looking around for forged pistons, and cheaper rods that can handle more abuse.
Yeah I know these can make yada yada hp, holds up fine, trans weak link.
BUT they do have weak pistons.
So found pistons and rods that will work forged pistons and 4.3L rods narrowed to same width as Buick. Also this allows for some adjusting of deck height during blueprint.
I figured out a 0.010" and a 0.020" piston, rings and rods. All the parts are on order, the father and son are happy and I still need to get up to my friends and deck and hone a block. Wo opened up the oil feeds, blocking the balance shaft oil ports and getting some machine work done on the crank.
The reason they are both building engines is the pistons and rings come in sets of 4. So three sets of each and the prices are much better. After we get everything back from machining and mock it up Ill post up some pics and specs. Considering a stock rod/forged piston setup can be had for less than other companies pistons alone.
They have dyno time scheduled so we hope to get some solid numbers soon. They are also supposedly going to have custom ground cam based on flow numbers from their heads.
As for the building of the long blocks I'll handle that but they dreamed up the idea of the doing a custom cam.
I am hoping for some easy, cheaper build parts that allow for building an engine that wont break, thus leaving the weak trans issue. Dad is interested in a 4t80e swap for the rail.
I know everyone says just swap engines but around here the cheapest are 200+k for $400-$450. And these folks have had more issues with bottom ends than anything else.
So I will post up numbers, specs, and dyno time even if we get good numbers.
 

RICH17

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Cost vs gain isn't there in my opinion. Built 3800's never seem to last either.
 

Mike K

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A properly built 3800 should not be popping pistons on power. That means you're monitoring for knock. Other than that, the built cars with the forged pistons were always the ones to blow up. Keep in mind with forged pistons you're not building a bullet-proof bottom end; you're just moving the fuse. But in terms of failures, a chipped piston on a 3800 is a pretty easy swap and if you remove that fuse, what fails next isn't as fun (or cheap) to fix.
 

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MonzaRacer

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Hey Bill and his boy Carl WANT forged pistons, and want to blueprint. They are quite a pair. Dad started racing like 20 yrs ago, plain jane Berlinetta, swapped in a used 307, then we build it up over time. First cam went flat, so he gets an older Cam Dynamics cam from buddies shelf, Then headers and duals, clutch, slapper bars, etc Over 20 yrs they have built from a stock car with used engine and flat cam. Car is now waiting for boy to get license so he can race it, dad has built, sold and built again drivelines. Then picked up a real race car and swapped in big engine from Camaro. Grandmas car will run again but they want to build up engines. SOOOOO we build engines. As long as it isnt MY money and if it all works fine, Ill post up results.
Never had any issues building so time will tell.
 

MonzaRacer

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Mike K, I am in business(I do performance engine building and tuning, carbs till now) to satisfy my customers. Dont get me wrong I hope to pick up some spare engines/parts from these guys and do some experimenting/designing. And to get farther up on the tuning curve and the car being tuned wont have to be depended on as a daily driver.
BUT saying popping pistons is moving a fuse is not a very good analogy. In racing we add stronger parts so things dont break. Personally I DONT want to break a piston or spin a bearing. So swapping in different rods allows for pinning the bearings, upgrading the oiling and forged pistons and different rods also allow me to adjust compression accordingly.
At least the dad wont trash a piston in his sandrail if we can swap in forged pistons. He knows the trans is the weak link, has started scrounging 4t80e.

10sec, I know you all think my questions, work and such are a waste, but IF a guy came to me and wanted to build a Studebaker 283 to drag race, I'll build one.
If I happen to find some good parts that can be sourced cheaper and still be strong and satisfy people then so be it. I really had not planed on moving this way but with some locals to me interested and funding some machine work, paying me to build an engine then great.
As I have said on different forums, most people are modding NEW cars then dumping them, I grew up buying old cars and rebuilding and modifying them. So I am doing the same thing on this 04 I got. I got my 98 Regal for a song, fixed it cheap and drove a nice car for 2 1/2 yrs. I really miss it as it was comfortable, affordable, and efficient. I also was pondering adding performance then was off work for a year. So now I am back with a 6 yr newer car than before, 4 yrs later and actually gonna have fun and do some mods.
 

Bru

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I've been out of the game for a while but I recall the stock bottom end handling more than any super built transmission ever could. So even if a properly built engine lasted, all of that power is still going through a ticking time bomb transmission.
 

1quick

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I'd save the built motor money and dump it into the trans, on the weakest version of the 3800 I made 522whp with no engine issues stock head gaskets and bolts never even pulled the heads just like it came from the junk yard with my cam a double roller timing chain and valve springs
 

Mike K

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Mike K, I am in business(I do performance engine building and tuning, carbs till now) to satisfy my customers. Dont get me wrong I hope to pick up some spare engines/parts from these guys and do some experimenting/designing. And to get farther up on the tuning curve and the car being tuned wont have to be depended on as a daily driver.
BUT saying popping pistons is moving a fuse is not a very good analogy. In racing we add stronger parts so things dont break. Personally I DONT want to break a piston or spin a bearing. So swapping in different rods allows for pinning the bearings, upgrading the oiling and forged pistons and different rods also allow me to adjust compression accordingly.
At least the dad wont trash a piston in his sandrail if we can swap in forged pistons. He knows the trans is the weak link, has started scrounging 4t80e.
I don't doubt your experience but you're making common mistakes. When I owned a company that made parts for the V6 Taurus SHOs there'd always be someone coming in there with a traditional mindset of what you needed to do to the engine and they were almost always wrong. Sure there are rules of thumb however different engines have their own nuances.

With the 3800 power was never a problem with the bottom end. They ran 9 second quarter mile passes on L36 junkyard blocks and you generally didn't have a problem unless you ran into knock which presumably you were constantly scanning for. The guys that did have problems were the guys running the built bottom ends. I can elaborate on all the reasons this is a bad idea but it sounds like you've made up your mind that your way is the best way and that's it. You are moving the fuse because as it sits the engine is generally not going to pop as a result of too much power. So if you're experiencing a situation where the engine is going to fail, it's because you're experiencing knock and if you're experiencing knock your forged pistons aren't going to save you. They're just going to move the failure to the next weakest component. So you didn't fix anything; you just made a more expensive failure. The best investment is preventing knock and that comes in the form of an properly built intercooler setup, a cam and a properly spec'd pulley as well as monitoring for knock.

I'll leave you with this... I had a monetary interest in selling people pistons because I was one of the major vendors for these cars when they were really popular. Despite it not benefiting me, when asked I would recommend against buying the forged pistons we sold. There just wasn't any need for them. Unless things have drastically changed, I personally still don't think there's a need for them.
 

DanJoy

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This thread needs more [MENTION=53]Turbocharged400sbc[/MENTION]
 

boostedguy05

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No, he shouldn't waste his time typing. This guy isn't going to listen anywsys.
 

MonzaRacer

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Guys, dont get me wrong I listen to everything, and I was passing on doing anything with engines other than swapping and using the intake I am buying.
These guys want to try doing this and I have nothing in it but giving advice, both you guys and mine.
And as I work through things on my other cars, I know a guy over on the theturboforums.com, ran a 150k stock cast piston 357 short block, two turbos and ran 9.37 in an uncut GTA Firebird, a roll bar and only a transbraked 400 and 9 in rearend.
Now my 77 Monza is getting a 283 with twin turbos and get this, I was given forged pistons and got good deal on some Eagle rods and factory steel crank. Even gonna run 202/160 double humps.
BUT its getting an LT1 FI intake!
Just posting up what project is looming. Darrel and Paul are the ones with this plan, yes I did the math for them.
The pistons are $300ish for 4, rings are $63 a set and 4.3 rods are cheap and plenty strong, especially with good bolts.
So for little over $1000 for three sets of pistons and rings and 2 sets of rods It sure cant be that bad.
Heck if they want to spend the cash who am I to complain?
I told them to just scrounge a few more engines. Boy says he found an intercooler in Illinois not far from us. Go figure.
They want to play and I can help and keep them from blowing huge cash and maybe get a shortblock out of it.
Time, their patience and funds will see where it goes.
By the way, I got a text from a JY with 3 GenV S/C and made me an offer BETTER than $76 each and free shipping, and all are low miles!
 

GTPpower

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I think I've seen a higher percentage of forged piston fail than stock.
 

98GrandPrixIraqVet

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I bailed on all the 3800 stuff since 1 inch chains basically dont exist.

I could care less about everything else. Nothing else is hard to find or expensive but its all worthless without an unobtanium filled transmission.
 

Handsome Jesus

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Spend time and money adapting a stock block and rotating assembly of a 3800 to a TH400 or other common transmission, get a good converter and suspension into a RWD platform and have 100x more fun.

That said, what adders are going on these engines where they expect to break factory pistons and rods? I would imagine at power levels needed to do this, factory head gasket seal is going to be the hardest part to manage with 8 bolt heads.

Or you could pour money into the LC2 engines in the turbo regal. Can get an 84 hot air car for cheap and do a conversion to a better intake and turbo setup from the newer cars and have something worthwhile.
 

MonzaRacer

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Well Granny's car had chipped pistons and dad's building sandrails,,,

Spend time and money adapting a stock block and rotating assembly of a 3800 to a TH400 or other common transmission, get a good converter and suspension into a RWD platform and have 100x more fun.

That said, what adders are going on these engines where they expect to break factory pistons and rods? I would imagine at power levels needed to do this, factory head gasket seal is going to be the hardest part to manage with 8 bolt heads.

Or you could pour money into the LC2 engines in the turbo regal. Can get an 84 hot air car for cheap and do a convaersion to a better intake and turbo setup from the newer cars and have something worthwhile.
So dads building 3800 powered sandrails. Boy is fixing Granny's car with chipped pistons and he wants Blower on it and they have bought 5 or 6 bad engines. So because they see chipped pistons they want stronger parts. I did little leg work on finding different pistons and rods over current overpriced parts. And all off the shelf too. We have rough price of 600-700 for rods, pistons and rings. For 010 and 020 over. Only other piston found is 020 5.3 l 4" stroke motor. Will fit std block. Rods are basic 4.3 rods narrowed on big end. Hey just hoping to pick up some spare parts along way.
 

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"because they see chipped pistons, they want stronger parts"

Hm.... OR they could investigate WHY the pistons are chipping in the first place? Why the hell wouldn't that be the first step?
 

boostedguy05

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ya, a stock n/a 3800 should not be breaking anything, except the trans :s00ls:
 

1quick

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Sounds like they need a better tune, they have been through more engines than everybody on tcg combined
 

MonzaRacer

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"because they see chipped pistons, they want stronger parts"

Hm.... OR they could investigate WHY the pistons are chipping in the first place? Why the hell wouldn't that be the first step?
So people buy/aquire specific vehicles, see deficiencies, and decide to fix things up differently than people on here. Whats wrong with that? If they bought 70 Nova used and had busted cast crank and knew they might be rough people with limited experience may decide to replace it with steel crank.
These two fellows are following their own plan.
As I see it they will spend cash when and where they want. I have theories, and ideas. I was told I cant rebuild a 3800 and it live, but wonder how reman companies do it. I talked to another machinist I know and he has prepped and built few with zero issues.
If this works out fine then there may be way to eliminate certain issues and deal with trans issues later on.
I remember when AOD and 700r4 were considered junk as were 2004r, GN crowd now can push 1200hp into them.
I would have figured someone would find the idea interesting and not come out as cynical as many have.
Oh well, I'll still post up when it gets closer to firing. Figure these two are having fun so who cares and if son get good at trans repair so be it.
 

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MonzaRacer

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Hey I told them there is limited sources of transmission that hold up. Dad is nearly done mocking in a l67 w/ 4t80e, but I believe he is using aftermarket controller for that on, besides it's in sandrail. Supposedly pistons all shipped, ring sets are still week before shipping and boy is working on narrowing rods as work allows. And girls, and fairs, and what ever else he try to add to his busy summer! I am just hoping I can scrounge a spare engine or two out of them!
 

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