'95 3.4 rebuild/replace question - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 09, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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'95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

Hi Gang...I have a '95 convertible with an auto/3.4. I'll try to make this brief and to the point. I bought the car on EBay from an online dealer in AZ. This summer I discovered a leaky frost plug above the oil filter. I tried to replace it, but it wouldn't budge, so I took it to a local mechanic and had them do it. Within this same time frame, the heater began to perform badly, so I suspected the thermostat. I took it back to the same mechanic and asked him to replace the thermostat, and clean out the EGR passage at the same time, as I was having issues with that as well. He ended up doing all that plus replacing the water pump, pressure flushing the cooling system, and replacing another frost plug at the front of the engine. He said that it had a lot of rust build-up, probably due to poor care of the cooling system by previous owners. As I was driving it home, I could smell antifreeze burning, so I went back and we found another frost plug leaking, the one behind the right exhaust header. He said there were more behind the tranny and that either the tranny or the engine had to be pulled to fix those if they ever went. Based on the others that were leaking because of rust, I could expect these to leak sooner rather than later. I also suspect the heater core is still partially plugged as the heater is just lukewarm. So here are my options as I see it and I would love your input...I am not a mechanic so I don't have have more than just a rudimentary set of tools, skills and knowledge.

Option #1. Pull the tranny and fix the back frost plugs...cost around $500, defer the rebuild until it actually needs it.
Option #2. Pull the engine and have it rebuilt...quoted around $2500
Option #3. Buy and install a rebuilt 3.8...cost unknown but mechanic figured about the same as option 2 or up to $500 higher. I did find an outfit in Mission KS that sells rebuilt 3.8's for around $1750.

The mechanic I'm dealing with on these options is a Corvette shop here in town and he has his own machine shop, so he's not farming all the head work etc. out Seems to have a good rep and when we talk, seems to have a good working knowledge of GM engines. He says that the 3.8 is a superior engine to the 3.4, but maybe not enough to warrant all the extra headaches of finding a rebuilt 3.8, an ECM and wiring harness for it, and dealing with the old block. I'm assuming there would be a core charge involved with the 3.8. The existing engine has 140,000 miles on it, doesn't use oil, knock, and seems to run good and smooth. Mechanic says those facts would point to a less expensive rebuild. I also realize that I'll have to pull the heater core and replace it, but that I can do myself I hope. I am 60 and my wife and I have this car for fun and vacations, not for any kind of speed performance. So dependability and good fuel mileage are the keys here. We also want to spend the least amount of money possible and get the most bang for the buck. It should also be noted that we want to keep the car. In fact, before I typed the previous sentence, we discussed it again and agreed that we want to keep it. So what say you, guys and gals. What makes the most sense to you? Please weigh in with your thoughts, tips, experiences, and suggestions. We will greatly appreciate them.
Regards...Bruce
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 09, 10:02 AM
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Re: '95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

The 3.8 is an entirely different engine family than the 3.4 that is in there now. I'd be shocked if they would do all of the work and you could get the 3.8 installed for under $3000, parts and labor included.

I don't know what kind of mileage the 3.4's typically last (a lot depends on how well it was taken care of before you got it)...I've got a hair over 200K on the DOHC 3.4 in my Lumina and it still runs great, although the pistons are really getting noisy and the tranny finally died in it.

If it runs good now and is mecanically quiet, I think I would just have the freeze plugs replaced, and maybe get a timing set thrown in, and call it good.

"This is not a cheerocracy...I make the cheercisions around here"
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 09, 10:17 AM
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Smile Re: '95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

Travis, wouldn't he need a different computer by going to a 3.8 ? (Among many other parts) Isn't the 3.4 a revised version of the S-10 2.8, and the 3.8 the Buick 231 V-6 ? I think that is almost as bad as going to a V-8.

Just replace the frost plugs...

69 Camaro -originally a LM1 car. 327, Edelbrock E-streets, hooker, DUI performance distributors, ultradyne cam, stewart, TRW etc. Vintage Air, AGR steering, Corbeau GTSII seats, 700R4 transmission, 12-bolt w/Eaton 4.11:1
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 09, 11:58 AM
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Re: '95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

personally, i'd find a wrecked Z28 of around the smae year and swap the LT1 and all it's associated goodies into it..
but that's just me.

you don't plan sincerity.
you have to make it up on the spot.

wanna hear about 20 years ago when i was too smart to know any better?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 09, 12:17 PM
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Re: '95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJS69 View Post
Travis, wouldn't he need a different computer by going to a 3.8 ? (Among many other parts) Isn't the 3.4 a revised version of the S-10 2.8, and the 3.8 the Buick 231 V-6 ? I think that is almost as bad as going to a V-8.

Just replace the frost plugs...

That's what I mean...they are 2 entirely different engines. Labor alone on the swap is going to eat up a lot of that $2500-3000...and thats not including the needed computer, wiring harness, engine, etc etc. I'm not even sure that the tranny's use the same bolt pattern.
I've never met a 3.8 Buick I didn't like. They are a really sweet engine in just about every form they came in.

Of course, a GN type turbo 3.8 under that hood would be very cool...

"This is not a cheerocracy...I make the cheercisions around here"
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 09, 12:48 PM
 
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Re: '95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

Right, imho too.

Replace ALL the freeze plugs w/ brass ones and go.

Sounds like the engine is a dandy at 140,000 miles.

pdq67



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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 09, 07:00 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: '95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

What's the main difference between the 3.4 and the 3.8? It's still the 60 degreee slant GM block, correct, with different heads. Or is there more to it?
Thanks for all your input!
Bruce
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 09, 07:12 AM
 
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Re: '95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

Please correct me if I'm wrong b/c I really don't know?

Didn't the 3.4 V-6 come from the 60 degree 2.8 V-6?

And didn't the 3.8 V-6 come from Buick's 300" 90 degree V-8 minus two cylinders?

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 09, 07:31 AM
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Re: '95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

The 3.8 is a Buick based 90* engine, while the 3.4 is a 60* "corporate" (GM) engine. 2 very different animals

"This is not a cheerocracy...I make the cheercisions around here"
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 09, 05:27 PM
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Re: '95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

just look at a 3.4 and a 3.8, and you will see the differences. .the 3.8 pretty much fills the engine bay from strut tower to strut tower, where the 3.4 leaves a lot of room on either side.
about the only things the two engines have in common is the number of cylinders and the bellhousing pattern.

you don't plan sincerity.
you have to make it up on the spot.

wanna hear about 20 years ago when i was too smart to know any better?
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 19th, 09, 07:35 AM
 
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Re: '95 3.4 rebuild/replace question

That's what I thought. One's 90 and the other, 60 degree V'd..

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