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Thread: Dust Buster Race Car...help needed

  1. #16

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    OK, today was major deconstruction day. Interior except the dash is gone. Anyone wanting ANY interior parts from a 1995 Trans Sport with tan and leather interior let me know.

    Rust is a little more pervasive than I expected. Front subframe mounts and the subframe are sound but what appears to be a jack point that extends from the "frame rails" to the spot exactly behind the front wheels, at right angles to the frame rails, is gone as well as the outboard pinch weld area outboard of the channel. This does not appear to be important for a race car but indicates that water traveled down under the fenders and attacked this area. The channels themselves where I would normally put a jack stand are punky as well (12" behind the firewall where the weird pinch weld ends). I am guessing this should get reinforced if for no other reason than this is a natural jack point (subframe mount is my preference).

    Seriously any interior parts are yours for free IF you falsify a receipt for about $400...plus shipping The exception are the passenger seats which look like we will be able to remount. We even have a possibly functional electric door mechanism whole and complete. I say possible because it was not functioning but this does not appear to be an issue with the mechanism but with the creative wiring in the van.



  2. #17
    Senior Member thesam1984's Avatar
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    After driving many light weight astros during the winter we always put weight in the rear for safety traction... for us it was a cut piece of thick steel that preserved storage room... try this on for size... I would take the rear seats and remove the "seats" from the rear buckets attachments... then weld on to the seats mounts a heavy bed box from a small truck.. you could also attach a fullsize spare to the box (I dont know the rules so not sure if a spare is allowed.... but it would give a secure place to store tools and be removable if this race van ever gets used as anything else...

    Im very interested in seing what your theme would be. Inspector Gadgets van would be cool. Mystery Machine? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.... shuttle craft from star trek... or a giant dust buster vac...
    Roads.... Where we're going, we don't need roads.

  3. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by thesam1984 View Post
    After driving many light weight astros during the winter we always put weight in the rear for safety traction... for us it was a cut piece of thick steel that preserved storage room... try this on for size... I would take the rear seats and remove the "seats" from the rear buckets attachments... then weld on to the seats mounts a heavy bed box from a small truck.. you could also attach a fullsize spare to the box (I dont know the rules so not sure if a spare is allowed.... but it would give a secure place to store tools and be removable if this race van ever gets used as anything else...

    Im very interested in seing what your theme would be. Inspector Gadgets van would be cool. Mystery Machine? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.... shuttle craft from star trek... or a giant dust buster vac...
    Any weight system needs to be easily removable at the track as that is where I and my 95# Bernese Mountain Dog will be sleeping. A ballast box of some sort is a good idea.

    Themes...you hit a couple but the list is virtually endless. I admit, the Inspector Gadget van was not one I had thought of.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnkelUdo View Post
    Any weight system needs to be easily removable at the track as that is where I and my 95# Bernese Mountain Dog will be sleeping. A ballast box of some sort is a good idea.

    Themes...you hit a couple but the list is virtually endless. I admit, the Inspector Gadget van was not one I had thought of.
    Just have Wally lay in the back during the race, that should even it out a bit.

    Maybe you can teach him how to counterbalance the car so he can move around like they do on the side car motorcycles and he can work as an active suspension component.

  5. #20
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    Keep the motor cool, 180F thermostat.. The trans cooler you were talking about would be good as well.. Use plugs at least a stage cooler.. If you are keeping the stock airbox, find a way to open it up, the 3800 wants that air..

    I know that all of the Vin 3 3.8's and all of the 3800's could kiss valves if they jumped time... Non of these were 0 deck motors, so the crown of the piston comes above the deck.. If you are unlucky, its catastrophic when it happens.. I have seen a couple crunch valves at 80 MPH, not pretty but very very rare..

    As for the suspension, on the rear make sure the shocks are in good shape.. May be more that anyone would want to spend but Addco does make a 1" rear bar for the dust buster.. On the front go poly all the way if possible..

    I have run a 235 60 16 on the van, however it required longer wheel studs and spacers to keep from rubbing the struts.. On the rear I had a little shock rub on hard turns..

    As for gearing you could also install a GX3( 3.33 ) diff, really a little overkill for a 3800... the 3.06 ratio diff thats in it is kind of the best of both worlds if that makes sense..

    As well get an adjustable modulator for the trans, dial it up a bit just so that the trans shifts firm..

    On the intake side, there is some room to clean up the lower intake to gain a bit more flow into the motor..

    Valvetrain wise you should be able to use 1.8 roller rockers to bump the valve lift to .460 iirc( cost attached to this tho )


    Now if this 95 has the original motor, then it would be the series I oddball.. It was a series I 3800 using the 3800 Series II crank, oil pan

    It is a shame that 95 was the last of the 3800V6 GM vans..

  6. #21
    Senior Member Duke George V's Avatar
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    3.33 gearing would be great, except the computer would wig out and put the drive train in limp mode. It's not like Bob's Ciera, which has a dumb box of rocks behind the engine that the computer doesn't control.

  7. #22

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    So I have now sourced (after many false starts) a complete 5-bolt, 2005 Uplander rear axle with all brake hardware attached. I even got to look at it and verified the hub bolt pattern.

    We are now going to "challenge" the notion that it requires 16" wheels by shaving one caliper and checking clearance against a our lone OEM steel wheel. Rear disc conversion is less about braking power and more about easy of maint and inspection.

    The addco bar is in our plan...maybe not race one.

    We noticed a lot of weirdness on the 3800 in the 1995. The throttle body is very different than the series I i pulled off a 1995 Buick. Different diameter, TPS part number and even orientation of the other sensors (forget which).

    Front bushing replacement for the first race will be on a case-by-case basis but are Urethane bushings off-the-shelf items or a challenge to find?

    "As well get an adjustable modulator for the trans, dial it up a bit just so that the trans shifts firm." I am still trying to wrap my head around how this can be an electronically controlled tranny that cannot be converted (easily) to manual shift. I am willing to run it as a real automatic but the ability to avoid the throttle-off, hard braking upshift is highly desirable. Again, this is not a track day it is 14-24 hours of full throttle, full brake, rinse, repeat.

    We have notice a whif of hot coolant and a tiny bit of oil smoke off the front manifold. After safety and basic upgrades this is probably #1 on the list of troubleshooting. reinforcing the punky "frame" rails that are not able to be used as jack points is next. the frame horns that go from the front of those rails to directly behind the rear wheels are gone but do not appear to effect our goals.

    Fuel and brake lines are surprisingly out of the line of fire for cage welding. they lie on this frame rail or inside it and are well clear of the outside 5" of the floor pan.

  8. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by lemons bob View Post
    Just have Wally lay in the back during the race, that should even it out a bit.

    Maybe you can teach him how to counterbalance the car so he can move around like they do on the side car motorcycles and he can work as an active suspension component.
    Yeah, that ain't happening. They do not make a fire suit in his size. The harness just pisses him off and he hates motion...all of it but especially any that he did not create in the pursuit of bacon or bratwurst.

  9. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke George V View Post
    3.33 gearing would be great, except the computer would wig out and put the drive train in limp mode. It's not like Bob's Ciera, which has a dumb box of rocks behind the engine that the computer doesn't control.
    This was one of my initial concerns. Will the switch to a much lower profile tire do the same? we are talking a change in circumference of almost 14.

  10. #25
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    Actually it won't... It will bounce the rev limiter on the stock chip.. If he has the constants changed for the shift points and or shift RPM's then that problem will be corrected.. In a manner of speaking the 94-95 3800 PCM is dumber that a box of door knobs.. This PCM reacts faster and has more brains per say but still a bit on the brain dead side..

    What it looks at is Vehicle speed, it doesn't really care about the gear ratio as its not using an input and output reluctors.. as long as the 3.33 has a 31 tooth reluctor the PCM will be fine with it, with the exception of WOT shift speed / Shift RPM's.. If the WOT shift speed is not changed( lowered ) then it will bounce the limiter..

    I'll use an example... When the trans in my 95 TS died( it was a 3.33 ratio, Somebody screwed that rebuild up bad ) The only issue it had was you'd hit the rev limiter at WOT.. Never had any issues shifting.. I swear to this day with the 3.33 it could pull a house..

    Ok the GX3 4T60E failed( burned up )... We then installed a 4T60E HD, this had the 37 Drive and 33 Driven sprockets, with the HD 3.29 Diff making it an overall 2.93 ratio with a 30 tooth reluctor.. In this case the shift speed would happen before you got to the rev limiter so I never hit the limiter.. We never tuned for any of this..

    The 97 PCM is a bit of a different story.. However, when using the 4T60E there are only a couple of constants that it deals with... The 4T65E is another story..

    96-97 PCM's got pissy with this and had to be flashed with the proper info for the gear ratio used..

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnkelUdo View Post
    This was one of my initial concerns. Will the switch to a much lower profile tire do the same? we are talking a change in circumference of almost 14.
    Changing tire size will throw the speedo off a bit... Say the speedo says your going 25, you drive by a radar speed sign and it says 22 Mph.. We ll your really doing 22, but the PCM will think its doing 25 Mph... It will still shift hit TCC lock and the like..

    Do you know anyone with a tuner that can flash that EPROM chip?

  12. #27
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    Don't quote me, but I think you could get a front dog bone from a 96 U body, I forget what exactly I did for mine.. But the front part on the radiator header is from a 96 3400 powered U body, iirc the other part is from a 3800 W body, I did this so I could use poly on both ends of the dog bone..

    For the front sway bar there is an energy suspension bushing for the sway bar to control arm, and for the center bar bushings I am not sure of that one, but I would think you could find one that would work..

    On the rear addco bar, all of the links in the kit are poly..

    Did you by chance find a throttle body from a 95 Series II 3800? Or maybe a 95 Supercharged? Was this buick you got the part from a LeSabre or a Park avenue?
    94-95 L27 3800 throttle bodies are the same, and 94-95 L67 throttle bodies are the same( largest 3800 TB made).. with the series II things changed a bit..

    I still feel that the 3.06 would be the better all around ratio, The 3.33 will run the 3800 out of breath quick towards the top of the rev band..

    The stock torque converter on the 95 van is a 1900 stall, most will stall 2000-2300 depending.. This was to help get the 3800 into its fat torque curve quickly..

    As well if your going to run it hard, I would recommend that oil cooler too..
    Last edited by Jr's3800; 11-05-2014 at 01:46 AM.

  13. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jr's3800 View Post
    Changing tire size will throw the speedo off a bit... Say the speedo says your going 25, you drive by a radar speed sign and it says 22 Mph.. We ll your really doing 22, but the PCM will think its doing 25 Mph... It will still shift hit TCC lock and the like..

    Do you know anyone with a tuner that can flash that EPROM chip?
    Not off the top of my head and honestly, what would this gain us in our VERY limited application (honest question, not combative)? It we are approaching the rev limiter, we want to shift if it is 35 mph or 25 mph ground speed. If the tuner would allow us to hold a lower gear while braking violently, that would a plus (seriously, 60% of the braking is threshold modulation and with 10 turns in 1.9 miles there is a lot of braking).

    the lower profile tires on 15" wheels change the effective gearing so much some of the courses could theoretically become all 3rd gear course. Gingerman is a 3-4 course for our 5-speed manual Saturn.

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jr's3800 View Post
    Don't quote me, but I think you could get a front dog bone from a 96 U body, I forget what exactly I did for mine.. But the front part on the radiator header is from a 96 3400 powered U body, iirc the other part is from a 3800 W body, I did this so I could use poly on both ends of the dog bone..

    For the front sway bar there is an energy suspension bushing for the sway bar to control arm, and for the center bar bushings I am not sure of that one, but I would think you could find one that would work..

    On the rear addco bar, all of the links in the kit are poly..

    Did you by chance find a throttle body from a 95 Series II 3800? Or maybe a 95 Supercharged? Was this buick you got the part from a LeSabre or a Park avenue?
    94-95 L27 3800 throttle bodies are the same, and 94-95 L67 throttle bodies are the same( largest 3800 TB made).. with the series II things changed a bit..

    I still feel that the 3.06 would be the better all around ratio, The 3.33 will run the 3800 out of breath quick towards the top of the rev band..

    The stock torque converter o

    n the 95 van is a 1900 stall, most will stall 2000-2300 depending.. This was to help get the 3800 into its fat torque curve quickly..

    As well if your going to run it hard, I would recommend that oil cooler too..
    I am 90% sure the TB came off a Regal and it certainly was NOT supercharged but it is much larger diameter so maybe it was a one of the LeSabre's or a swapped car, late 1995, who knows. I do know thevalve cover was blank as were all the other series I's but this means nothing.

    We will be running hard. On the Saturn we used an oil filter relocation kit using the GIANT Ford 5.0 oil filter and a GM HD van/truck tranny cooler in line. The pump on the Saturn was a high quality (unlike most of the car) gerotor pump with more than enough flow to handle the extra line, friction loses, etc. Also one of my original questions...is the 3800 similar? This all increased our oil capacity 25%.

  15. #30
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    I think I have the gist of what you're saying... A lot of the shifting is speed and load based.. If you put it in first and held it to the floor on the stock size tires it would force a shift to 2nd even if you are in manual 1.. If you left it in manual 3rd it could be forced into 4th gear if you are going quite fast..lol..

    But for what you are describing with the smaller tires and in 3rd gear, I do think that could work.. I could see you coming out of a turn and nailing it, catch second shift to 3rd, brake, floor it shift.... So I do think you may be ok..

    As for the tuner, yes you could change the shift speed tables to stay in a certain gear until a higher speed, and just the same the other way..

    I guess Tap shift would be nice

    Too bad its not a Manual..

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