3.8l N/A conversion - TCCoA Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2006, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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3.8l N/A conversion

hey everyone. I just bought a 1993 lx thunderbird yesterday. I traded a worn out iroc Z to it and a complete supercharger setup from a supercoupe. I've got the intercooler, supercharger, radiator, etc etc..everything except the bottom end of the block. The previous owner of the car before me had placed the supercoupe heads on my block about 8 months ago. I've researched for about 5 hours last night on my question and I still remain confused. some threads say it's possible to supercharge my motor, others say it's motor homicide. I just want to supercharge my lx. I don't care about huge boost or anything, I just wanna use my SC. Is is safe to run or attempt to put this setup on my lx with a low boost without blowing a rod through the hood? I've got access to the ECU from the supercoupe if it's benefical. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks and looking forward to becoming a thunderbird owner family.

Last edited by flamingtator; 12-22-2006 at 09:26 AM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2006, 11:46 AM
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This conversion is one of those that we see all the time and I myself have probably asked enough questions regarding this as well to know enough about it. Basically, it comes down to looking at the utility versus driveability when considering not just the motor, but the drivetrain as well and how adding a M90 supercharger to an car that was not intended for it. First off, even if you did come up with a way to lower the boost (6 psi - 9 psi, instead of a SC's 13 psi) using a smaller pulley, you are still going to shorten the lifespan of the 3.8 L N/A. To date, I have never heard of anyone who has successfully managed to do this swap, which means there are probably a few reasons for it.
The 3.8 L, regardless of what many will say, is not a durable engine. Unless the whole bottom half has been rebuilt to withstand the additional strain of a supercharger, it will eventually go boom because it simply was not built to handle the strain than a positive displacement supercharger puts on the engine (crank snout and boost). A good tune is critical to maintaining a strong running engine, and though I may not know much about tuning the SC, I'm willing to guess that if you set it up to run on less boost but use the ECU in stock form, something will go wrong. I'm not positive but I also believe the piston design differed from the SC to the LX and the LX definnetly has hypereutectic pistons that won't like a lot of knock before they break into a bunch of pieces. What I'm trying to get at is that you would be better off taking another approach to getting more power than this conversion not only because you'll be on your own for figuring out what do, but also because it just isn't as viable as a V8 swap or a straightup SC engine swap. The 3.8 L N/A is not the 3.8 L SC and, in my opinion, should not be converted to run in SC form unless you're just looking to do an experiment and don't intend for this car to be a daily driver.
Aside from the engine, the rear end in the LX is a 7.5" as opposed to an 8.8" in the SC, which also has larger half shafts. It also has a stronger AOD transmission. Though some may contrast my thoughts on the 3.8 L N/A engine, I'm sure not many will contradict me saying that the AOD transmission is pretty crappy and does not take punishment well. This being said, I'm sure a great deal of how the tranmission holds up depends on the driving. However, the 3.8 L in N/A form was the weakest built one that you could get and after only 55,000 km of granny driving and then an additional 30,000 km of my 'spirited' teenage driving, mine was toast. With the additional torque of a supercharger, this transmission won't hold out for long. My point is that when you add the strain of a supercharger to the whole system that makes up the car, you will drastically increase the wear of all parts that incorporate it.
But enough of my rant. If you want some help in the right direction, explain exactly what you want out of this car and I'm sure many people on this forum will chip in with great ideas. However, in my opinion, this conversion will not be one of them.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2006, 12:25 PM
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there are plenty of people who have successfully put an m90 on a 3.8L NA engine. Most of them are mustang guys. Mickey on here did it with his NA bird as well. 9psi is about the max you'd want to run. The transmission COULD last, it's hard to say. Mine lasted to about 220rwhp NA but I dont have the torque of a supercharger. Once I tried nitrous the tranny didnt hold up, and that was about 270rwhp (estimated, havent dyno'd yet, still need a new tranny).

point is, it is doable. You may eventually want to upgrade everything else though. If you go to v6power.net you'll find a lot more people willing to give positive info and encouragement.


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2006, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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well thanks for the help guys. Guess I'll just store the supercharger away for a while. The other alternative I've thought about is a 4.6l change. I can get a 94 crown vic for dirt cheap. IS this a option?
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-22-2006, 03:04 PM
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If you're talking about swapping to a 4.6, you're looking at rewiring/rebuilding the whole car.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-23-2006, 09:39 PM
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I didn't think the 3.8 na could handle a SC supercharger, now y'all saying it can be done? Hell, I wish I'd have known that 4 years ago when I saw a complete SC setup for sale on ebay for $250.00. Anyways, can the 96/97 3.8 n/a's last longer than earlier years with a supercharger from an SC?

My other home:

'96 Ford Tbird 3.8 SC
'06 Chrysler Sebring "Vert 2.7
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