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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-27-2000, 08:20 PM
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4.3 Chevy vs. 3.8 Buick

I have been keeping an eye out looking for a Chevy 4.3 V-6 to swap into my '80 CJ-5. Today I was informed of a low milage 3.8 Buick that could be bought very reasonably. Either engine will be mated to a T-350 auto with adapter to my D300 tc. Any thoughts, pro's, cons, ect., welcome.

Grant
60 CJ5
80 CJ5
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-27-2000, 09:08 PM
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Re: 4.3 Chevy vs. 3.8 Buick

I like the Chevy Vortec 4.3. I have had 2 of them in Trucks and feel it is a very good motor. I will be considering the 4.3 when I swap my I-6 in my 83 CJ-7. I am not saying the Buick 3.8 is not a good motor I have just never had one. Both of my 4.3's had well over 100,000 on them when I sold them and still ran very well. I would go with the 4.3.

post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-27-2000, 09:59 PM
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Re: 4.3 Chevy vs. 3.8 Buick

One thing to remember is that the 3.8 uses a buick bellhousing and the 4.3 a chevy bellhousing so if you already running the 225 buick it would be wise to go with the 3.8.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-27-2000, 11:32 PM
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Re: 4.3 Chevy vs. 3.8 Buick

I have the Buick 231 in my CJ 7 and it holds its own , but I'm getting ready to swap axles, trannies, put 35" tires on, and t-cases and I would rather have a 350 V8 (but it probably isn't going to happen). There isn't anything wrong with the 231 but I'm wooried I will not have enough power to turn the 35"s. A carbed 231 makes about 105 hp and 185 ft/lbs torque while a TBI 4.3 makes 140 hp and 225 ft/lbs torque. The other thing that I found with the Buick engine is it is much more difficult to mate a manual tranny to it (b/c lack of adapters) than a small block chevy. I would say if you could get a TBI or MPI 4.3 cheap and can wire it then get it; unless the 231 happens to be a turbo then that could be interesting (235hp and 330 ft/lbs). However a carbed 231 would also be easier and cheaper to wire so it is a matter of how much you want to spend and how much time you want to take.

Tim Springer
1980 CJ7
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-28-2000, 01:26 AM
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Re: 4.3 Chevy vs. 3.8 Buick

I like Tim's idea about a 3.8 turbo...out of maybee a crashed GNX!!! I think they were close (if not over) to 300 hp! Seriously though, I'd take a 4.3 over the Buick. The Buick motors have always had oiling problems, and finding a good used one may be hard. If you do buy one, make sure it is in a running car with a good oil pressure guage. Check also for sludge under the oil cap. This is a good indicator that the motor didnt have it's oil changed at regular intervals (which adds to the already poor oiling problems). I hope I didn't upset too many 231 owners. It is a good motor, it just needs a better oil pump to get oil up to the top better.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-28-2000, 02:35 AM
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Re: 4.3 Chevy vs. 3.8 Buick

Boy Mike, you upset me big time! Just kidding. The Buick's oiling problem can be dealt with by proper gear clearance on the oil pump, the right spring and a booster plate which runs about $20. This is assuming that the timing cover housing that the oil pump resides is not worn. The Buick 3.8 weighs appx. 150 or so pounds less than the Chevy 4.3. Buick parts and performance parts are not as readily available as Chevy parts and thus tend to be a bit higher priced. There are both Chevy and Buick/Olds/Pontiac, (BOP), versions of the TH-350 with adapters to go either way, I believe, if you had one engine and the other tranny. You could swap guts with present TH-350 to the other type TH-350 to avoid an adapter. Fuel injection and all the wiring/computers is way over my feeble brain, so I would have a carbureted engine. I have a Buick 252/4.1L V-6 that I had built up. It's now in the process of being mated to a Chevy 700R4 via adapter and Atlas II xfer. It's a great motor. I do sometimes wonder if I would have used the money I spent on the Buick to instead buy a 4.3 Chevy from Goodwrench, I could have bought a spare with the change left over. That's what I get for being different. Now to throw an idea to TimsCJ7. You could replace your Buick 231/3.8L V-6 with a Buick 350 V-8. Will mount up to same tranny as 231, uses same motor mounts. Might need to move radiator forward some and increase the capacity of the radiator. Otherwise it's a direct swap. Kinda depends on the strength of your tranny though. Like the V-6, the Buick V-8 also is lighter than the Chevy V-8. So many possibilities.

Tim
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'70 Wagoneer w/Buick 350 V-8
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-28-2000, 04:55 AM
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Re: 4.3 Chevy vs. 3.8 Buick

Hmmm...some good points to ponder. The start of this is my wanting an automatic in the CJ-5 and still have something that resembles a driveshaft. It currently still has the 258-T176 4sp. This is just a driver, parts-gopher, snow pusher, ect. Will probably graduate from its wornout P235 Firestone Town&Country Mud'snows to a set of 30" somethings, maybe BFG AllTerrains. (Those Firestones were GOOD tires!)
Have any of you folks who have done the T350 tranny swap have any front driveshaft clearance problems near the trans pan?
Thanks for the input!

Grant
60 CJ5
80 CJ5
post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-28-2000, 10:58 AM
 
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Re: 4.3 Chevy vs. 3.8 Buick

I have a 4.3 Chevy in my '70 CJ5 and so far I like it a lot...I have been told that for it's size it is has a good amount of tourqe to it...It sure makes my little jeep get up and move fairly well....

Josh Lavalleur
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-28-2000, 11:22 AM
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Re: 4.3 Chevy vs. 3.8 Buick

Most of the Buick 3.8's from lets say '86 and newer are in front-wheel drive cars. Does this present any type of problem when trying to swap into a Jeep. I know that it does make a difference (FWD vs RWD) with some of the Chevy V6's that some people have considered for a swap.

post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-28-2000, 11:35 AM
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Re: 4.3 Chevy vs. 3.8 Buick

I could put a Buick 350 in but I'm going to put a NV 4500 and the adapters are expensive. The front wheeldrive versions (transversed) of the buick V6s actually has the same bolt pattern as a Chevy 60 degree V6 (2.8). This can also make it more difficult to get adapters and motor mounts.

Tim Springer
1980 CJ7
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