In the pantheon of great GM engines, the 3800 V6 might not be the first powerplant you think of. Nevertheless, one YouTube mechanic is tearing down this engine in a recent extended video to explain why the GM 3800 V6 is in fact quite good, indeed.
Clocking in at a little over 31 minutes, the video comes to us from the I Do Cars YouTube channel, and includes a full engine teardown and highlights from what’s going on under the covers.
“These engines have a propensity of outlasting every transmission that’s been bolted to them, outlasting every chassis that they’ve been bolted into,” the video host states.
“These engines are easy to service, they are great on fuel, they’re low stress, the parts are inexpensive. The only real thing I hate about the 3800 is the fact that I can’t sell any,” the host adds, referencing just how cheap examples of the 3800 can be.
As the host points out, the 3.8L 3800 90-degree V6 engine is based on the same tooling as the 215 aluminum V8 produced in the ‘60s, with a broad variety of iterations released over the years, from naturally aspirated variants, to turbocharged variants, to supercharged variants. This particular 3800 featured in the video is an atmospheric L26 variant plucked from the engine bay of a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix GT, with 126,000 miles on the clock.
After draining the crankcase and pulling the spark plugs, the host pops off the fuel rail and upper intake plenum. The engine clearly has quite a few miles on it, with the crankcase draining some really nasty milkshake, but the host states that engine was likely capable of running when it was pulled out of the Pontiac.
Checking out the intake gaskets, however, things start looking a little rougher, with some really nasty build-up caking the coolant passages. The cylinders look pretty good though, as do the cylinders – possibly because they were drinking coolant.
While an intake gasket failure turned this GM 3800 V6 in a crusty mess, the fact that it was likely still capable of running really says something.
Check out the full video here: