1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham

gdouaire

Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Aug 7, 2013
462
43
Châtauguay, Québec CANADA
My father's Oldsmobile, a 4-door Cutlass with an anemic 231 2BBL V6. That engine used to make 110 hp when it was new, but now it's probably lower. The car is loaded with options - A/C, power everything, vinyl roof, rallye wheels. It has a 200C transmission and the gears in the differential are unknown. The suspension is incredibly soft. It has a few surface rust spots.

My goal is to keep the car stock looking inside out but improve it. Keeping a Buick six is a must. A mild turbo setup, with TBI, a 200-4R, to increase power but keep the "economy". It currently runs at 11 liters/100km / 21mpg. I'd like to improve that gas milleage, along with much more power & fun. Eventually, a bit stiffer suspension.

This year:
* install a rallye pac cluster (found one on eBay, also found the sender for temp and oil )
* buy a "staging" Buick V-6 engine (bought one, a 1977 odd-fire )
* buy a "GN" turbo kit (bought one, eBay )
* get a camshaft ( Isky 1171-TA, bought)
* buy a 200-4R and have it rebuilt ( will go tomorrow to see one for sale)
* setup the engine in the basement, and build it all winter.
* of course, the Olds will be stored for Winter ( by end of September )
 

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gdouaire

Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 7, 2013
462
43
Châtauguay, Québec CANADA
This is the engine I will eventually be putting in the Olds, an odd-fire 231 Buick V-6 that came from a 1977 Pontiac Sunbird. The guy tore it from the car to hot-rod the Pontiac. It has 92,000 miles on it and ran fine when pulled from the car. It's too bad, because these Sunbirds are very rare. The engine:



For this engine, the first step will be to change most of the gaskets (but not the head gaskets), replace the water pump, rebuild the oil pump to make it a "high volume" unit, change the camshaft and timing chain.

And then the fun, a T40E unit from DNA Motoring:


Performed a fitment test on the engine, and the "Speed Daddy" headers to pipe the turbo are not too impressive, will require a lot of adjustments:



Furthermore, I have been doing a lot of reading, and came to the conclusion that I will run this setup as a "pull" (called "suckthrough") turbo, to avoid running the TBI under pressure. 8 PSI, no intercooler. In turn, this means that the turbo needs to have a carbon seal. Will need to get a Garrett backplate that will allow me to use a carbon seal, I'm assuming that this made in China turbo has a standard dynamic seal. Changing the seal is a partial "rebuild" of the turbo. Got a T40E rebuild guide/ shop manual, more learning to come. Also found a correct backplate on eBay, awaiting confirmation of the seller that this fits the right seal.

Also discussing with a guy on eBay regarding a TBI setup for this odd-fire engine. The plan would be to recycle a stock GM 4.3 TBI setup, including ignition control. That's a tough one, but doable, using a magnetic crank trigger. Not sure how the setup will react feeding this turbo engine. I'm thinking that putting the TBI before the turbo will make it look like the 3.8 engine is actually bigger than it is...and therefore, the 4.3 setup will be able to somewhat cope with that. But I expect a lot of tweaking come next spring.
 

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gdouaire

Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 7, 2013
462
43
Châtauguay, Québec CANADA
I'm a software engineer. Just getting that engine on the engine stand made my day :)

aside from that : Found and bought a Monte Carlo SS 200-4R transmission. Was part of an abandoned rebuild project, so apparently the transmission is already rebuilt. Will need to "inspect" that for sure. That transmission also came with a B&M manual torque converter lockup, which is an unexpected plus.

I just had forgotten how messy a half-filled transmission can be ...! :/

dilemma - install the transmission only when the turbo engine is ready, or ahead of time...? I'd be curious to see the impact of this transmission on overall fuel economy with the current engine in this current state.
 

gdouaire

Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 7, 2013
462
43
Châtauguay, Québec CANADA
The engine that will go in the Cutlass is being slowly taken apart. Carb, Alternator out. Oil pump is next to go.
 

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gdouaire

Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 7, 2013
462
43
Châtauguay, Québec CANADA
Further engine rip-apart.
 

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gdouaire

Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 7, 2013
462
43
Châtauguay, Québec CANADA
Sometimes, your "Cutlass as a daily driver" gets in the way of the "Cutlass as the long-term project"...! I had to change the distributor, rotor, coil and wires on the Cutlass. Can't think how this would have cost me doing this on a Toyota, but on that Olds, it added up to 140$ - in Canada.
 

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gdouaire

Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 7, 2013
462
43
Châtauguay, Québec CANADA
The distributor/coil/wire change did a lot of good - the engine is now stable at idle. Must have improved the fuel economy as well.

In other news, found this "Zoom Performance" 3.42 pinion and ring gear set, used, in excellent condition, for 100$. Another thing to install on the cutlass. It's a standard 7.5 /10 bolts/28 splines setup that will fit in the current housing.
 

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GT_80

Greasemonkey
Apr 23, 2013
240
18
Massachusetts
looks like a fun project! I still want to turbo something. Not sure what or when, but Someday. I like that your another 'office guy' workin on cars. I am in Marketing in the day time (not my forte but pays the bills) - a lot of guys I work with don't "get" driving an old beater instead of spending the money on a new car. I have a 2003 Sierra that I drive daily, the Cutlass is my fun toy.
 

gdouaire

Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 7, 2013
462
43
Châtauguay, Québec CANADA
GT_80 said:
I like that your another 'office guy' workin on cars. I am in Marketing in the day time (not my forte but pays the bills) - a lot of guys I work with don't "get" driving an old beater instead of spending the money on a new car. I have a 2003 Sierra that I drive daily, the Cutlass is my fun toy.

Doing the dirty and "real" work under a hood is important for me - "connects" me to non-virtual stuff :) I liked checking your thread - really well documented & inspiring !
 

gdouaire

Master Mechanic
Supporting Member
Thread starter
Aug 7, 2013
462
43
Châtauguay, Québec CANADA
So this is the swap, the old and the new:


I followed the usual link, very well done -- http://tech.oldsgmail.com/eint_rallye_swap.html

The first step was to add the green and blue mica to get the correct color for the turn signal and high beams:


The next one was to adapt a "PRNDL" indicator to my cluster, as the one I bought on ebay did not have any. I shopped for an indicator by size, finally settled for a Citation "PRNDL". I drilled holes and used mini-screws to fasten everything together. I used some leftover aluminium bracket to make sure the stuff stayed in place:


I used LED bought online - very cheap - to replace the original bulbs. LED's are polarized -- need to test them to make sure you are connecting them OK - + on + and - on -.
 

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