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Buick Forum: A for the hell of it question (Engine swap)
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  1. #1
    Neelix is offline Buick Newbie My Buick(s): Buick Lucerne
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    A for the hell of it question (Engine swap)

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    So, I'm a little older, little more boring than I was in my early 20s. But, no regrets, love the ride comfort of my 2006 Lucerne CXL.

    One thing I was a little disappointed with was the Series III 3800 V6. I just feel like its a little underwhelming in terms of power, and my main gripe about 4 speed automatics after having a stickshift for 8 years, its an annoyance to me that they seem to have issues figuring out what gear they should be in at a given driving condition. Not that I bought the car for power, but even so, some of my inner teenager isn't entirely dead. I kinda feel like my 30th Anniversary Mercury Cougar with the 4.6L SOHC that I had years ago could take the Lucerne, willing to put money on it actually. My previous vehicle in between those 2, an Acura RSX Type S 6 speed could take BOTH of them without question.

    What are my options for an engine swap? Not really sure I'd bother tackling such a project, like I said, I picked the Buick because I test drove it and fell in love with it on its merits of ride comfort.

    I kinda don't regret getting the 3800 V6 option for the simple fact that I feel like while it makes less power, experience and anecdotal information from others has led me to believe 3800 is a superior motor in terms of durability and quality. What about a Series III 3800 supercharged V6 swap? Obviously I'd need a crate motor to make that happen. What about wiring? Will it bolt up to the transmission? I'm sure this has been done before. Any insight from someone who has pulled it off would be appreciated.

    Like to see this car hit the 14s in a quarter mile run on the cheap cheap (sub 4000 dollars- and you're amazing if you know that reference of "on the cheap cheap") or I'd deep six the idea. I always wanted to do a Cobra DOHC swap in my Cougar, I knew how to make that happen, but that was back in 08 when the recession hit, had the Cougar and the Acura at the same time, Cougar had tranny issues and it made more sense to keep the car that had no problems. Still kick myself as I sold the Cougar for 400 bucks because on top of the transmission slippage, I let some idiot friend borrow it and he hit a tow hitch right in it hoods "lip" and trashed the hood entirely. In hindsight I made the right choice, the Acura was the reason I was able to get back on my feet and commute to a town with jobs and start my life over again... But I digress..

    Feasibility? Would a Northstar be a better option to pursue despite my preconceived misgivings about it?
    Last edited by Neelix; February 6th, 2017 at 12:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Neelix is offline Buick Newbie My Buick(s): Buick Lucerne
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    Re: A for the hell of it question (Engine swap)

    Edited for clarity, worked 12 hours last night. I mean 3800 Series III supercharged if anyone read it and scratched their head why I'd want to put the same motor it already has in it..

  3. #3
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    Re: A for the hell of it question (Engine swap)

    I never heard of anybody doing an engine swap on that car. That would probably be more trouble/expense then to just buy something more compatible with your desire for raw speed. Also keep in mind there is a speed limiter on this thing. (see previous posts)

    The only other engine ever sold in that car is the V8 Northstar, but that engine has been a disaster. Just read all the threads about Northstar disasters, and you'll soon realize that this problem isn't unique to my car. I would LOVE to have your V6.

    That said, the Northstar IS fast. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing, and the engine has won many awards for power and quiet. If it was any faster you would need 4 wheel drive to transfer the horsepower to the pavement.

    I really don't think an engine swap would work though. The Northstar engine comes with a bunch of other stuff, like magnetic shocks and some other active handling features that makes it handle like a race car around corners. I think the Northstar engine control module would miss all that stuff if it didn't detect it.

  4. #4
    Neelix is offline Buick Newbie My Buick(s): Buick Lucerne
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    Re: A for the hell of it question (Engine swap)

    Thanks for the feedback, I really am not interested in going super fast beyond the speed limiter, acceleration is what I'm looking for. The fastest I've had this car since I bought it is 80mph, and I was pacing traffic in a 70mph zone, not being crazy. But speed limiters are easily removed/raised with power programmers.

    Sure an engine swap would work, people put crazy stuff in cars all the time. People put Mustang Corbra motors in Mercury Cougars, one crazy dude put a 5.4L Triton motor in one that I know of. Turbos, superchargers, etc. The question is though is how much are you willing to spend on it. Like I said, if it can be done around 4-5 grand, I'd be willing to consider it. I figured if anything the simplest option would be to take a 3800 SC out of a Grand Prix GT, but maybe not if it doesn't bolt up to the tranny. I figured a "brain" swap is pretty much an absolute necessity as well. thats a given, but depends on how involved the project is.

    Hell I'd love to have a newer Lacrosse, they have a 6 cylinder engine with like 300hp, but I don't have 61,000 dollars lol.

  5. #5
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    HotZ28 is offline Full Member My Buick(s): 1996 Roadmaster Limited Collectors Edition 58k - 1996 PAU
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    Re: A for the hell of it question (Engine swap)

    The links below should help with this question. If you want 300-hp + you will need the differential and axle upgrades. I have 320 hp + and the aftermarket axles will not hold up to the torque! Broke several!!
    http://zzperformance.com/3800/superc...arger-kit.html
    http://zzperformance.com/3800/transm...ferential.html
    http://zzperformance.com/3800/transm...s2axle-38.html

    1996 PA Ultra Series II - 3.4 pulley (11.5 psi boost), Autolite 104's, MSD coils & wires, 160 deg. T-stat. Flashed '97 PCM, Lucerne 17" Chrome Wheels
    Cold air is OK.....Turbo Charging is better....but, I'd rather be Blown!!



  6. #6
    Neelix is offline Buick Newbie My Buick(s): Buick Lucerne
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    Re: A for the hell of it question (Engine swap)

    Thanks, now that supercharger you linked says its for the Series II 3800 v6, how does it work out with the series III and how does the computer work out? I figured aftermarket diff/halfshafts might come into play. Years and years ago I worked at an Autozone in Carlisle PA, lot of car guys there. We had this guy who had a 11 second timeslip on a twin turboed Civic 4 door, late 80s model, we had to cut him off on the lifetime warranty on halfshafts lol.

  7. #7
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    2007LucerneCXL is offline Full Member My Buick(s): 2007 Lucerne CXL, 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
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    Re: A for the hell of it question (Engine swap)

    I looked in to this, well somewhat about getting a used complete used block & transmission note that the stock Lucerne v6 transmission may not handle the extra HP, toss in the more than likely custom reprogramming and the costs start to get pretty high, the new exuaust, cold air kit, etc and it will get out there. Options check out ZZPerformance, toss in a plenum Insert, high ratio rocker arms, make a cold air intake (no one makes it for the Lucerne lol), put on a better preformance exhaust from the heads back, throttle body upgrade and get a tuner shop to dial it in, cant say that additional parts may be needed as injectors etc. Nope you won't do the 1/4 in the 12s, but you can squeak out as much, without a engine swap or complete teardown, HP on a budget. There are other small tweaks to the 3.8L series 3, so you may get another 30 to 40 hp total with all the mods, nope I'm running my 07 stock so I can't say how this all goes, but was looking at a lot of info since I picked it up and wondered where the anchor was attached LOL

  8. #8
    ClayBelt is offline A Regular My Buick(s): 2005 Buick LaCrosse CXS (3.6L)
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    Re: A for the hell of it question (Engine swap)

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    I know the LaCrosse Super came with the LS4 in place of the North Star that the Lucerne Super was sold with. You could always try to a) find one and b) swap it into your vehicle. Stock, they only make 300HP, but there is a tuning community for them.

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