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Thread: help on building a stout turbo 3.8 firebird?

  1. #1

    help on building a stout turbo 3.8 firebird?

    I've read this forum up and down, and theres a good deal of information about physically turboing a 3.8, but not a lot on parts used and whatnot.

    Basically, I've been looking for a 4th gen for a while now, but I had previously only been looking for a v8 car. The ls cars are out of my price range, so I had been looking at the lt1 cars. I know they have their issues but I was willing to deal with them, for the sake of having a firebird. Not to mention I absolutely love the formula firehawk... those things are just amazing.

    Anyways, I recently found a really good deal on a 3.8, so I started reading up on them. From what I've been reading, they're not too shabby N/A, making about 220 at the flywheel. However, when boosted, apparently they can make upwards of 350 wheel on like 10 psi.

    So, considering the v6 weighs a good deal less than the lt1, the car, even with a turbo, should be better balanced than the lt1 car, and with a turbo could be making more power for less money overall.

    So my question is, What's the easiest and cheapest way to have a decent turbo setup that rev's fairly high without floating valves, and makes somewhere in the range of 300-400 wheel hp? I don't wan't to get the zzp or other kits, because from what I've researched, and what I know about other turbo cars, they're overly expensive for what you get.

    I was thinking that if the manifolds can be reversed, I can fab up a simple crossover pipe, run a holset hx35 from a junkyard, and use the extra intercooler I have from my alltrac build.

    The only thing I'm unsure about is what cam to use, what valve springs to get, what injectors to use, and how to tune it. Also, can the factory pcm be unlocked and used like the ls one? or do I need a standalone?

    Any help on doing a so called "junkyard" or "low buck" build would be awesome.

    The whole point of this car is to build a lower budget drift car that's reliable enough to beat on, but still make great power. the car comes with a set of aftermarket arms, I already have an angle kit being built by duncan performance (which should warrant me around 55-60 degrees of angle), and I have a great lead on a set of custom made and spec'd coilovers, so I'm pretty much set chassis-wise. All I need help to figure out is engine/performance.

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Half Throttle alex553's Avatar
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    https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAMARO-FIRE...torefresh=true


    You can try that

    Also theres Blawson selling his ffw hotside on facebook for 400 dollars
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  4. #3
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    Look on ZZP site for JE forged pistons, clevlite 77 bearings and L32 rods, cam is your choice. Then youll want to do head work and valve springs probably 130lb or 136lb springs. You'll need retainers heavier pushods and double roller timing chain.

  5. #4
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    What year 3.8? You can use Hptuners to tune it.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by alex553 View Post
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/CAMARO-FIRE...torefresh=true


    You can try that

    Also theres Blawson selling his ffw hotside on facebook for 400 dollars
    Is there a group for f-body turbo 3800 stuff? assuming his kit is still for sale, where is he located?

    thanks!

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 1996Camaro View Post
    Look on ZZP site for JE forged pistons, clevlite 77 bearings and L32 rods, cam is your choice. Then youll want to do head work and valve springs probably 130lb or 136lb springs. You'll need retainers heavier pushods and double roller timing chain.
    thanks for the response! however, forged pistons and upgraded rods are a bit too in depth for now. As I said, I don't want to go crazy with it. i want to leave the bottom end stock, and only run around 350 hp, which I've heard is plenty doable on the stock block. I don't want to build this engine, as I have a 4200 atlas and a turbo setup for it on the side to swap in when time and money allows. that engine will be the higher hp setup. i have enough parts to make a cheap turbo setup on the 3.8, so I wanted to make a bit more power and have some fun with the car until i'm in a position to change the entire drivetrain.

    thanks!

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 1996Camaro View Post
    What year 3.8? You can use Hptuners to tune it.
    It's a 96 model w/ a t5 and a 3.23 posi. I had heard about hp tuners, but wasn't sure the difference between which they offer and what one I'd need.

    thanks!

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by boostcrazy13 View Post
    It's a 96 model w/ a t5 and a 3.23 posi. I had heard about hp tuners, but wasn't sure the difference between which they offer and what one I'd need.

    thanks!
    since your a 96' youll have to swap in a 97' pcm to use hptuners.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by 1996Camaro View Post
    since your a 96' youll have to swap in a 97' pcm to use hptuners.
    What does said swap entail? will the 97 ecu plug up to the 96 harness? is there a writeup on the swap?

    Thanks!

  11. #10
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    Yeah, its simple plug and play , just plug a 97' pcm in and tune it with hptuners. To make it easier find a 97' pcm with the m5 already, then you can put your own tire/gear ratio you want with hptuners.

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