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Hydraulic Roller Valvetrain Install - Turbo Buick Basics, Part 5 - Tech

Rebuilding The 3.8L V-6 And Switching To A Hydraulic Roller Valvetrain In The Quest For Lower E.T.'S And Years Of Enjoyment

Dan Foley Nov 18, 2010
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It's been quite a while since we featured our buddy Tim Cairone's Turbo Buick. In the April '10 issue we left off installing, dyno, and strip testing PerformaBuilt Transmissions' rebuild of the GN's original 200-4R along with its 10-inch billet, 2,800-stall converter. The original trans didn't hold up under the power increase from all the bolt-ons we dyno and strip tested, and also the stock-type remanufactured 12-inch converter offered too low of a stall speed for low e.t.'s we seek. The PB transmission and billet 10-inch converter lowered the 60-foots from an average of 2.2 to 1.65, and in turn the quarter-mile e.t.'s dropped significantly from mid 13s to low 12s. All the bolt-ons from the first three installments were worth over 100 rwhp and 200 lb-ft torque to the bone stock 100,000-mile engine. The beefy PB trans/converter really helped put the power to the pavement. After considering that PB backs its transmission and converter package with a 2-year unconditional warranty (racing included) we now felt confident to shoot for the 11s.

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Next on our build plan was to replace the outdated stock hydraulic flat-tappet cam (0.400/0.422-inch lift, 193/196 duration at 0.050) for a more recent technology hydraulic roller-tappet stick (0.504/0.504-inch lift, 212/212 duration at 0.050) from Comp Cams. Also a set of well-ported stock iron heads by Jose Torres (over 20 years experience porting TB heads) of Jose Motor Sports would be beneficial for increased airflow through the forced-air fed Buick V-6. What began as a head and cam swap turned into refreshing the high-mileage motor because with so many miles on a turbocharged motor, it was the logical thing to do. The plan was a simple refresh (gaskets, seals, rings, and bearings), reusing the stock pistons and rods so as not to skew the gains we'll see from the roller cam and ported heads. Since the motor ran smooth, we didn't even bother to balance the rotating assembly. At Jose Motor Sports, Dan Smith (engine machinist/builder since 1970) would handle the machine work on the long-block while Jose would port the heads and assisted with engine assembly. These guys have been in the Turbo Buick business since the late 80s and have been known for being extremely thorough.

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In this episode we'll feature the engine removal, teardown inspection, all the parts, gaskets, machine work, engine assembly, and port work to the heads. In the next episode we'll drop in the motor and check out the dyno and strip testing results. We're expecting big-time gains from the roller cam and ported heads. Together they will make for a lot of added airflow to be able to move more rapidly through the Turbo Buick motor.

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Comp Cams
Memphis, TN 38118
Cometic Gasket, Inc.
Concord, OH 44077
G Body Parts
Bethel, NC 27812
Jose Motor Sports
Camden, NJ 08104



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