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Thread: introduction from (to?) California

  1. #1
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    introduction from (to?) California

    New member with old G-body Malibu afflicted with LD5 Buick V6 (computer-controlled carburetor), which I've been hassling with for years to the extent that work toward something (anything) else has not progressed very far.

    This is a California car (engine is California certified), and the rules here state that any swap ("engine change") must also be California certified. The difference between California and Federal usually boils down to the Calibration PROM, and little else.

    One idea is to "change" this motor to EFI without an actual swap, by turning it into an '84-'85 "Hot Air" Buick turbo (SFI, no intercooler). I have a lot of parts for this, including a couple PROMs, but issues have had me dragging my feet. Other ideas: an LO5 (only known California-certified year being 1993, B-body or D-body); or an LT1. Either swap would entail logistics yet to be named, let alone actual parts.

    By "known California-certified year" I mean with an EO (Executive Order) from CARB (California Air Resources Board) that explicitly grants the certification. This is what they want you to hand the state Referee when you take your swap for inspection and testing. The CARB website has an archive of EOs you can download.

    So that's where I stand.
    Last edited by jiho; 04-10-2019 at 08:45 PM.

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    A L98 would be a fun engine in that car too. TPI setups were smog legal in California in the TPI F-cars and Vettes from 19987-1991 or 1992.

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    Those motors are hard to find around here. And "smog legal" remains in doubt, for swapping at least. The EOs I mentioned are missing. There are a couple EOs that allowed them in, but under Federal emissions, not California. The problem was the NOx limit. There is an "Engine Change Hotline" I plan to call, to inquire about this very point.
    Last edited by jiho; 04-10-2019 at 08:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jiho View Post
    Those motors are hard to find around here. And "smog legal" remains in doubt, for swapping at least. The EOs I mentioned are missing. There are a couple that allowed them in, but under Federal emissions, not California. There is an "Engine Change Hotline" I plan to call, to inquire about this very point.
    It would not be hard to piece one together by my thinking. A 350 bottem end is a 350 bottem end. Truck or car block should make no difference. If the block made a difference how could you put a crate engine or reman engine in any of those cars? When you deck a block the ID numbers are taken off anyway. 638 casting block was the same for a F-Car, Vette or Truck. Put a set of centerbolt heads on it and put a TPI setup on top. Grab the serpentine setup off any GM TBI engine. Since those G-bodies had V8s shouldn't be hard to find certified headers or use stock manifolds and get a stock Y-pipe for the exhaust.

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    Yeah I know, but you missed the point about the "configuration" (as CARB calls it) being legal to swap. The way around that MIGHT be a J.E.T. chip (aftermarket), but that's one of the things I want to call and ask about.

    Using a truck block is a good way to do an LO5, too. Lots of truck LO5s.
    Last edited by jiho; 04-10-2019 at 09:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jiho View Post
    Yeah I know, but you missed the point about the "configuration" (as CARB calls it) being legal to swap. The way around that MIGHT be a J.E.T. chip (aftermarket), but that's one of the things I want to call and ask about.

    Using a truck block is a good way to do an LO5, too. Lots of truck LO5s.
    I did not miss the point at all. Just saying that if the internal and external parts configuration was correct I don't see how the actual engine source makes a big difference provided the casting number matches.

    Then again don't get me started on California's anti-car laws.

    Here in Texas I would clean up a 4.8 or 5.3 truck engine, install a LS6 intake manifold onto it and bolt it in front of a 4L60E and put it in. Tune the PCM a little and it would blow fractions of the emissions numbers the carb V6 did, have 3x the power and get better mileage. Wouldn't spend much money on it either. The last 5.3 I picked up I spent $150 on.

    I did a 6L/4L80E swap on a 1987 G20 van for my brother a while back. Has 2x the power the 305 TBI did and since it now has an automatic OD with a lockup converter in place of the non lockup 3spd TH400 the highway fuel mileage is 3-4 mpg better. That whole swap was done for $1500.
    Last edited by Fast355; 04-10-2019 at 09:21 PM.

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    My 99 Tahoe also has a 2002 8.1 in it here in Texas. Gets roughly the same MPG as the 350 I pulled out and alot more power.

    This was the 6.0L G-van swap post I made. Only thing we have changed is rebuilt the rear end with a new set of 2.73 gears and a locking differential. It runs down the road at 1,600 rpm @ 70 mph and gets 21 mpg. When you want to pass now, you lay into the throttle it drops to 2nd gear, revs up to 4,000 and is up to 100 in a scary little amount of time.

    http://www.gearhead-efi.com/Fuel-Inj...d-another-swap
    Last edited by Fast355; 04-10-2019 at 09:32 PM.

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    One of the Buick V6 EFI conversion I've been involved with was to use the 1985 Buick Electra FWD V6 EFI intake system on a RWD Buick V6 engine. The Buick V6 intake is a mirror image, so reverse mounting a Buick V6 Intake forward / backwards on Buick V6 block works. The Large Cap HEI distributor clearance is a challenge with the FWD intake.

    Would using ALL FACTORY Buick V6 EFI components be CARB legal?

    dave w

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave w View Post
    One of the Buick V6 EFI conversion I've been involved with was to use the 1985 Buick Electra FWD V6 EFI intake system on a RWD Buick V6 engine. The Buick V6 intake is a mirror image, so reverse mounting a Buick V6 Intake forward / backwards on Buick V6 block works. The Large Cap HEI distributor clearance is a challenge with the FWD intake.

    Would using ALL FACTORY Buick V6 EFI components be CARB legal?

    dave w
    Speaking of which. Weren't the 4.1 Buick RWD V6s GM used in the older cadillacs PFI?

    3.8L from a newer F-car might also be a smog legal alternative? Those were strong running and had 4L60Es or 5spds behind them.
    Last edited by Fast355; 04-10-2019 at 09:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fast355 View Post
    Then again don't get me started on California's anti-car laws.
    They would allow an LS swap, but it would have to be bone stock. You'd have to retrofit a pressure sensor onto your gas tank, along with everything else.

    "Everything else" is a worse problem with older swaps though. You must have the smog pump and vapor canister stuff, and critical parts like the smog pump switching valve and canister purge solenoid are typically not available, unless you scare them up at the junkyard.

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    forgot the quote

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave w View Post
    One of the Buick V6 EFI conversion I've been involved with was to use the 1985 Buick Electra FWD V6 EFI intake system on a RWD Buick V6 engine. The Buick V6 intake is a mirror image, so reverse mounting a Buick V6 Intake forward / backwards on Buick V6 block works. The Large Cap HEI distributor clearance is a challenge with the FWD intake.

    Would using ALL FACTORY Buick V6 EFI components be CARB legal?

    dave w
    No, I talked to them about that. The motor you swap in must have the factory exhaust from heads to catalytic converter, and there's no way to make the FWD parts work in a RWD car. The intake manifold would be fine, but not the exhaust.

    If somebody made conversion exhaust parts for that hack and got them CARB certified it would be fine, but nobody will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fast355 View Post
    3.8L from a newer F-car might also be a smog legal alternative? Those were strong running and had 4L60Es or 5spds behind them.
    Yeah, you can do that. Kind of like an LS swap, though. Of course there's no way to do the really interesting swap, the supercharged 3800, because that was only FWD.

  14. #14
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    The more you expand on this. The more I am thinking a TBI 305 or 350 may just be the way to go. GM also released some B-bodies with a 4.3 V6 and from 94-96 a LT1 based 4.3 V8. A 1992-1995 S10 4.3 CPI would run pretty strong with a TBI intake on top and do well on fuel. I say those years specifically because they did not use swirl port heads, had a hotter roller cam and had a balance shaft.

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    Anybody got a BBBX chip? 1993 B-body LO5, California emissions, EO on file.

    BBB is the code on the underhood emissions label for my LD5. An LO5 would X that out nicely.
    Last edited by jiho; 04-10-2019 at 11:45 PM.

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