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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - 3.8 V6

Hey, I have a chance to get ahold of a low miles 3.8 out of a Camaro for about 1/4 the price of rebuilding my 215. I know its a 90 degree so its like the 215 but with 2 less cylinders and itll hook up to a T5 ill probably pick up at the same time. Anyone running/ know anyone running one? Any fitment issues? Thanks.
Jarrod Hills

Don Zeigler has built a nice CB with a Series II EFI 3800. It can be seen on several of the V8/V6 sites. Everything fits without bulges.
George B.

While at the v8 convention in Townsend (beautiful place, and a great time!) There was a 4.3L V6 there with Nascar heads on it making 364hp. No cutting except for the exhaust going through the inner fenders, and everything else looked frighteningly stock. That was a SWEET car.

specs on that car:
Make: Chevrolet V6
displacement: 266ci
Horsepower 364
compression: 10:1
Rocker arms: roller bearing
cylinder heads: 18 nascar
camshaft: comp cams
intake manifold: modified edelbrock
exhaust: custom stainless steel headers
carburetor: 600cfm holley
radiator: griffin
cooling fan: nascar
Transmission: camaro 6 speed

Pictures of the car can be found at and the folder "v6 mgb"


Justin as I remember that was one beautiful and highly detailed MGB conversion but he wasn't at the V8 meet with the rest of us, just at the British Car show in the motel next to ours. Also he had less than 100 miles on the car as the only time it ran was to drive it on and off the trailer.

What I liked best about that car was the stainless steel allen head bolts holding the fenders on and the cut out stainless steel trim plates for the exhaust going through the inner fenders. It sure was pretty!
Michael S. Domanowski

Very nice.

Was it dynoed with that air cleaner? Looks small to support that kind of horsepower, even for a K&N.

Thats [b]100 MILES IN 2 YEARS[/b] on that piece of sculpture! I don't consider it a car!
anthony barnhill


Here's a link to a car I built several years ago. The 3.8 does a pretty good job and consider that it is 5-1/4" shorter than the 215 (smaller on the outside and bigger on the inside). I no longer have this car, but I remember many of the details of building it!

Just copy and paste:
Randy Forbes

Cool, makes it own link (just click on it, no need to copy and paste).

ignore below, just testing...
Randy Forbes


Is this a Buick 3.8 or a Chev 3.8? the two preety much share the displacement badge, but are otherwise significantly non-interchangeable
Greg Fast

I believe that all the 90 degree 3.8L GM V6s were really Buick engines; it is the 4.3L that is Chevrolet and it is considerably different, and heavier with the Chevy traditional rear mounted distributor.
George B.

Buick and Chevy had their own 3.8 V-6's and they are totally different engines. The Buick shares a lot of design features with the Buick 215/Rover 3.5 V-8, including having the distributor at the front of the engine. The timing covers on some Rover and Buick V-8's and the Buick V-6' are interchangeable. The Chevy 3.8 V-6 has it's distributor at the rear of the engine just like a small block Chevy V-8. I believe that one had a 230 cubic inch displacement and the other a 231. There was a big stink a few years back because GM criss-crossed engines from one division into bodies from others without notice. I seem to remember them sending rebate checks to buyers because of this.


What year engines are you referencing? I have a 3.8 from a Chevrolet Monza that is definitely a Buick engine, and the 1980 Monza factory shop manual shows the Buick engine (front mounted distributor) as the only six cylinder available. The 230 Chevy was a stovebolt (I6) that replaced the 235 and then grew to 250.
George B.

The displacement of the 3.8 chev is supposed to be 229 ci. They were introduced in the late 70's or early 80's on GM B and A/G bodies (Caprice/Roadmaster are the B cars; A/G were Malibu, Cutlass, Grand Prix, & Regal.) This was a 49 state engine used (I think) exclusively in Chevrolets- I think that the Buick was used in all other divisions. All california 3.8's were Buick (I guess they figured volume didn't justify the additional emissions certification work.)

The 3.8 in the Monza (I believe they were considered H-specials to distingush them from the H bodies- Vega and Astra) should be a Buick- as were all H bodied V-6's.

IIRC. the 4.3 Chev was introduced in TBI form in 1984, and the 3.8 Chev was available that year only in parallel with the 4.3 on the B & G's- the 3.8 Chev was dropped in 1985 and all V-6 Chevrolet B & G's got the 4.3, while all other divisions maintained the 3.8 Buick.

Don't quote me on years and applications- I'm working off a probably defective memory
Greg Fast

I need to add that my defective memory has no recollection of a 3.8 in Camaro (F Body)- I thought the V-6 they ran was the 60 version in 2.8, 3.1, & 3.4 displacements, based on the citation motor introduced approximately 1980.

Doesn't mean I claim they don't exist- it means that i don't remember that they existed-

With one exception, now that i'm thinking about it- Didn't a mid-80's Firebird (also an F-body) come with a permutation of the turbo GN 3.8 Buick? I'm not thinking of the 301 turbo v-8 from the late 70's or early 80's
Greg Fast

I had a 1981 Monte Carlo that had a Chevy 3.8 V-6.

The 1996-??? V-6 Camaros/Firebirds were all 3.8's. 1994/1995 were 3.4 60 degree engines with 3.1 and 2.8 60 degree engines prior to that. The 3.8 F bodies are God-awful quich for a 6.

Just goes to show how little I know about V-6 F cars
Greg Fast

The 3.8 used in the F-Bodies was a Series II 3800 with roller tappets and an internal ballance shaft. Few parts(maybe none) are interchangeable with the 3.8. This is probably the six cylinder engine still used in the F-Bodied cars, introduced in the late 90's IIRC.
George B.

Never really liked the fourth gen Camaros. Explains my lack of knowledge about the use of the SII 3800 in these cars-
Greg Fast

Another item to consider was that some of the GM 90 degree V-6s in the early years were odd-fire and then came the even-fire. I had a friend who put an odd-fire in his Vega in the late '70s and it was one rough running engine.

Bob Fish


The 229 ci was the first edition of the 4.3 90 degree v6 basically a Chevrolet v8 with 2 cylinders omitted and a splayed crankshaft. The 3.8 has always been the Buick v6 as found in Buick/Pontiac/Oldsmobile. Also available in the 3.0 size -all 90 degree v6 engines. For what it is worth, 1 liter = 61 Cubic inches. The v6 engines in the F body Firebird / Camaro was/is 2.8 -3.1-3.4 60 degree v6.MPFI and SFI no TBI. When GM installed engines from other car lines it was the Chevrolet engine (distributor at the rear of the engine) installed in Buick and Oldsmobile cars. The size and power range was about the same. However the Oldsmobile engine has a higher nickel content in the block material and tends to wear longer. GM was accused of scamming the public and they said "a GM v8 engine is a GM v8 engine no matter what division actually produces it" . They were not obliged to actually put a Chevrolet engine in a Chevrolet car or a Buick made engine in a Buick car etc. I have a mint Buick Electra Park Avenue 1983 model with only 72,000 miles on it and it has the original 307 'y" engine made by Oldsmobile with O/D transmission.


As stated before, the most recent F-Body V6 is the 90 degree 3800 Series II, unless they changed back to the 60 degree in the last year or so.
George B.


You are right George! Sorry for my mistake. I forgot about the late model GEN 4 F body cars. These are Buick based engines as well, 90 degree v6. Now known as 3800 series. I think that GM is about to bring out (or has already)an aluminum 3.5 v6.

I thought that GM had dropped the Camaro/Firebird for the year 2003?

The 1996-2002 V6 F-bodies were 3.8L displacement and the last couple of years were supposed to be drive-by-wire setups... No throttle cables.

The 1982-1989 Camaro V6 were 2.8L
The 1990-1992 Camaro V6 were 3.1L
The 1993-1995 Camaro V6 were 3.4L
The 1996-2002 Camaro V6 were 3.8L 90 degree V6.

Interestly enough, in my research, I have found that the 1996 Camaro with the 3.8L V6 had more power and Tq then the early 1980s Camaro V8, yet has not as good of gearing in the gearbox. They did this, I think, to keep the V6 from getting to be too nice and make the V8 look faster! Also, to everything I find, the V6 engines were detuned from even there economical power points and could have been even faster yet. GM could have built them with more power, but didn't because doing so would have meant building the V8 even better.

BMC Brian McCullough

Okay Jarrod, assuminug that this is an SII 3800, I believe the bellhousing differs from the 215 (aka 3.5) BOPR. I've been told (and I con't verify this independently) that the late 3.8 bellhousing pattern differs from the old 215 and Rover 3.5. So bellhousing may be an issue- does the camaro have a stick or an autobox?

Other than taht, I'm not aware of any significant issues- others may have more information
Greg Fast

Guys, just to confuse me more...does anyone know where the Australian General Motors Holden 3800 fule injected motor comes from?? is it the Buick or Chevy version?
mark mathiesen

The 3.8 Commodore engine comes from both Buick (VN and up to the VS) and Chevrolet (all Ecotec and later engines up to the current VY II series).

A few differences from the US engines though as we get full electronic engine management including ingition (so no distributor) and a balance shaft to smooth things out somewhat.
I think both places get the multi strand power accessory drive belt.

There are slo a lot of minor changes to things like radiator hoses, heater hoses, fuel injectors, catalytic converters and so on to bring up the local content and fit the car into the standard Holden dealership servicing regime.

Within the V6 engines themselves there are also significant differences.

The Buick derived engine had two different combustion chamber tyes within the same engine as a direct result of make 6 from 8. 4 of the six are the same but 2 are different from the first 4. The balance shaft is roller bearing not bushed and the cam drive is Morse chain.

The Chevrolet engine has all chambers the same and uses exhaust gas recirculation to improve fuel economy and decrease emissions. The deck height is also one inch lower for the Chevrolet engine and the throttle body is centre inlet not the rear inlet of the earlier series.

Cheers, Pete.
Peter Thomas


The 3800 SII engine has the 60 deg bolt pattern on back - the engine as used in the Camaro could be had with 4L60E automatic trans or with a 5 speed manual transmission.

1993 marked the introduction of the all-new fourth generation of the F-Body. The engine available was the L32 3.4L V6 (60 degree). For these models, the standard transmission was the Borg-Warner T-5 5-speed manual, with the 4L60 4-speed automatic available as an option. Final drive ratio was 3.23. 1993 models came with 10.7"single-piston caliper front discs (the same as their V8 counterparts) but came with 9.5" rear drum brakes, a steel two piece driveshaft, a 16.9:1 ratio steering rack, 30mm front sway bar, and a 17 mm rear sway bar.

Noteworthy V8 Parts
1LE suspension components include a 32/21 mm front/rear sway bar combination in lieu of the normal FE2 suspension 30/19 mm. The front spring rate was 51 N/mm as on a normal V8 Formula/Trans Am. Rear spring stiffness was 19.9 N/mm also as on a normal V8 Formula/Trans Am. This Package also included different shock valving, stiffer transmission mount, panhard rod, front and rear control arm bushings, and engine oil cooler.


In 1994 the 4L60 automatic transmission was overhauled and re-designated as the 4L60-E. The major difference was that the new transmission was computer controlled. There were no other significant changes for the 1994 model year.

Noteworthy V8 Parts
1LE Package is the same as 1993, except the suspension components include a 32/19 mm front/rear sway bar combination in lieu of the normal FE2 suspension 30/19 mm. The front spring rate increased from 51 N/mm on a normal V8 Formula/Trans Am to 63. Rear spring stiffness carries a variable rate of 23 to 30 N/mm compared to 19.9 on a normal V8 Formula/Trans Am.


In 1995 there were two engines available. Initially the L32 3.4L was standard, with these being almost identical to 1994 models. Halfway through the year a few F-Bodies in California were sold equipped with the new L36 3800 Series II V6 (90 degree) engine. These cars only came with automatic transmissions, 3.42 rear gears, and an open differential. The 95 L36 marked the debut of OBD-II (On Board Diagnostic system, second generation) in the V6 F-Body. The OBD-II system included 4 oxygen sensors: one in each exhaust manifold, one in the Y-pipe before the catalytic converter, and one in the intermediate pipe just after the catalytic converter. Brakes, driveshaft, steering rack, and sway bars were identical to models of earlier years.

Noteworthy V8 Parts
1LE Package same as 1994.


In 1996 the L36 became the only available engine. The standard transmission was the Borg-Warner T-5 5-speed manual, with the 4L60-E 4-speed automatic available as an option. The final drive ratio for the manual was 3.23, with 3.08 being standard for cars with the automatic. New 5 spoke alloy wheels were made available. Brakes, driveshaft, steering rack, and sway bars were identical to models of earlier years.

BDA Bryan Ayers

This thread was discussed between 01/10/2003 and 16/10/2003

MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical index

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