GM 3800 Reliability

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Thread: GM 3800 Reliability

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    Walking
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    GM 3800 Reliability

    First off, I would like to say I'm new to gminsidenews and I would like to say hello to everyone here.

    I'm in college and I love working on GM Cars, thats why im here.

    I used to be an import (Toyota or Honda) lover until I got behind the wheel in a few of the GM cars. The Pontiacs mostly, as well as my friends Eldorado, etc. It switched me over.

    I'm driving a 2001 Saturn SL1 (Yes the SOHC) with 116,000 miles currently and an Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais Base model from 91 with only 70K. (yes they still have those around every now and then) It's a nice car but I'm looking for something reliable and much nicer. Although my parents would prefer me to get a honda or toyota me and my best friend are into cars and I hear a lot of good talk about this 3800 Motor I hear its good and I would like to buy a car which will last forever. I see a lot on craigslist for around 4500 in my area the (GT version) under 80K miles.

    I have a few questoins

    1.- How good is the 3.8 on the 2000-2002 Grand Prix

    2.- HOw many miles can I typically get out of one.

    3.- Is around $4500 a decent price

    4.- if i get one with close to 100,000 miles how do i know if its a safe buy

    Thanks everyone, I hope to hear from you all soon!

    I would like to get rid of the saturn

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    2.4 Liter SIDI ECOTEC JonathanRohr's Avatar
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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    I drive a 2000 Firebird with the 3800V6, but in a RWD setup. I have 187,000 miles on it now. I have had no direct engine problems, but I did have to replace the tension pulley around 120k, and power steering around 130k (although this one may have been my own fault.. lol). I was able to do both by myself, for way less than 100 bucks.

    I would say you're probably going to be pretty happy with the 3800, but you might have problems with everything that's bolted to it once you get past 120 or so.
    1988 Ford Taurus - Dead at 342,683
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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    I do tend to drive a lot of miles and i want my car to last. remember my saturn has 115,000 so it doesnt make sense to buy a car with lots of mileage. remember I want an upgrade, not a downgrade haha

    im assuming if i get one around under 85K or so it should be good? Also, how were the Grand Prixs

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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    The Series II had issues with the lower intake manifold not being compatible with the then-new Dexcool coolant but by now it's safe to say that most all engines have been fixed. I wouldn't be afraid to buy a 3800 with higher mileage...I've seen them with 300k+ and still running great. They're pretty powerful, mechanically simple, and can push 30 mpg even when hauling around a big, heavy Buick or Bonneville.

    Grand Prix is a good car, just don't take one over a G8
    '07 Subaru Forester 2.5X 5MT. Bought new. 164k miles. '05 Dodge Durango Limited Hemi AWD. Mom bought new. 90k miles. '74 Buick LeSabre Luxus convertible. 455/7.5L, Quadrajet, dual exhaust. '89 Buick Reatta. 3800 SII L67/F40 six speed swap to be completed someday.

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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by F14CRAZY View Post
    I've seen them with 300k+ and still running great. They're pretty powerful, mechanically simple, and can push 30 mpg even when hauling around a big, heavy Buick or Bonneville.
    I'll second that. I'm kinda in a pissy mood about my car lately because I've gotten a parking ticket, just paid registration, and got hit 3 times in the parking lot (no note left) in 1 year. So she aint as pretty as she is in the picture to the left.

    That being said, mileage has been pretty awesome. I get 24ish in city driving, and 30 on the highway, but I hit 31.8MPG (for the tank) once on a roadtrip. I also really like the 45-70mph acceleration on my car, though I think its pretty slow off the line.

    I would bet you can get a much better deal on a car at about 100k, because thats such a tough psychological barrier for most buyers, thats what I did with the bird.

    I've owned it from 98k-187k and it has never left me stranded or without a working car - all of the problems I've had have been minor, and I've still been able to drive around with for a while until I can fix them for myself, very cheaply.
    1988 Ford Taurus - Dead at 342,683
    2000 Pontiac Firebird - Totaled by a drunk driver at 203,501
    2008 Ford Focus - 37,540 and counting

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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    I would have to say that the Series II 3800 is excellent. My old car only has like 70,000 on it but it still runs like a dream.

    My newer Grand Prix (Series III) has 52,000 and is also running excellent save for what I believe to be a clogged fuel filter.

    As for the Grand Prix themselves, they are excellent cars. I only sold my old one to get one with 4 doors. I also think that $4500 is reasonable for a GT with 60-80K on it.
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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    The 3800 is simply the best engine GM makes.
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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    The 3800 is unbreakable. You can drive those forever.
    Drives a 2011 CTS Coupe (crystal red tincoat) and a 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk (mango tango pearlcoat).

    Used to drive the 2010 Camaro pictured, until a deer hopped in front of me on I-79. Before that, I had a CTS sedan, two Firebird Formulas, a convertible Trans Am, a Reatta, a couple of Monte Carlos, an Avenger coupe, a couple of Cavalier hatchbacks, and a Saturn coupe.

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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    [qoute]The Series II had issues with the lower intake manifold not being compatible with the then-new Dexcool coolant but by now it's safe to say that most all engines have been fixed.[/quote]

    Not sure what gives you confidence that "most all engines have been fixed". The recall on that came so late, I would say very few still qualified. So ya, you may have U/L intake manifold issues, but other than that, the engine will probably be one of the last components that will cost you money on a car that comes with a 3800 Series II.

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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by F14CRAZY View Post
    The Series II had issues with the lower intake manifold not being compatible with the then-new Dexcool coolant but by now it's safe to say that most all engines have been fixed. I wouldn't be afraid to buy a 3800 with higher mileage...I've seen them with 300k+ and still running great. They're pretty powerful, mechanically simple, and can push 30 mpg even when hauling around a big, heavy Buick or Bonneville.

    Grand Prix is a good car, just don't take one over a G8
    Certainly the one over here has not been fixed

    I'd wager there are another 100 000 running around leaking coolant but nobody cares enough to fix them...

    "GM cars run bad longer than most cars run at all" definitely fits in regards to 3800's!

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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by ksr View Post
    The 3800 is unbreakable. You can drive those forever.
    Thats true my 98 Buick LeSabre has 399,980 KM on it and runs great.

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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianGMGuy View Post
    Thats true my 98 Buick LeSabre has 399,980 KM on it and runs great.
    Come on, how can you sit there and say that... go out to lunch and come back and give us the magic number

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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    Quote Originally Posted by Smaart Aas Saabr View Post
    Certainly the one over here has not been fixed

    I'd wager there are another 100 000 running around leaking coolant but nobody cares enough to fix them...

    "GM cars run bad longer than most cars run at all" definitely fits in regards to 3800's!
    well yeah but GM says they made like 25 million of them...if 100k are bad that counts as most all being repaired
    '07 Subaru Forester 2.5X 5MT. Bought new. 164k miles. '05 Dodge Durango Limited Hemi AWD. Mom bought new. 90k miles. '74 Buick LeSabre Luxus convertible. 455/7.5L, Quadrajet, dual exhaust. '89 Buick Reatta. 3800 SII L67/F40 six speed swap to be completed someday.

    '87 BMW K75. Pichler V1 fairing. '87 Kawasaki 650SX. '85 Bayliner Capri 1952. 3.0L OMC. Restored. '71 Chris Craft Coho 33'. Twin 327QA's. Basketcase but restoration in progress. '70? Amphicat 6x6 AATV. 13 hp Honda swap.

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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    I enjoy my Series II in my Regal, constantly pulls 28mpg highway, great passing power,. Though it seems W bodies eat rear shocks. Also if you live in a snowy climate look into maybe a couple sandbags in the trunk or some really sticky tires. 3800 maintains all the weight up front making the rear really swirly in 3-5 inches of snow.
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    Re: GM 3800 Reliability

    My wife and I drove (she still does) '90s-era Buicks with the 3800 and both cars' engines proved to be very rugged and reliable, though they each developed the same issue when nearing the 100,000-mile mark: Each engine began to leak oil from the block-seal.

    My '95 eventually cratered, as it had reached the point of pouring out 4-5 quarts a week or more. My wife's '98 still uses two quarts or less per oil change.
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