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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Remember the days when you could get a couple of friends together on a Saturday morning and yank a motor out, put another in and test drive it on the way to get a cheesebuger for lunch? Well that was before the 97 Camaro RS. I know balance and handling are a good thing, but a motor that sits 2/3 the way under the front cowl are not when you have to work on them.



These things were built to come out the bottom and with a lift . Since we didn't have one of those laying around here's how we did it. First get the back end high enough off the ground to be able to pivot without hitting the ground.







After draining all the fluids up your arms and mopping them up with your hair and pulling the radiator, find the person who started this project and let them start taking off the 5006 wires a motor needs to run now. :shock: :lol: :lol: :lol:





Undo the top strut bolts and you're ready to go. Here's the part where the lift is nice, but not having one and wanting to be able to go slow with the lift, we put the boom on the tractor, hooked a chain hoist to the boom, chained to the body and up it went. Another thing I will add is Chevrolet made no provisions to hook a chain anywhere to these bodies.









Last couple of wires (that no hands could get to) and you're ready to pull out with one jack under the motor and one under the transmission.





Here is where Melinda came out with some cold drinks and said " It will never run again." :shock: :shock: :eek:







Set the body back on some blocks and take a break.





Nothing to it after that, and a good time to clean everything up.



Wasn't joking about the 5006 wires and hook up, or at least it seemed like it. Luckily we just happened to have a motor and trans out of an identical silver 97 RS laying around with 65,000 miles on it from three years earlier...which is where this project really started I guess, but somehow after leaving the road at 105... through a telephone pole... over a concrete culvert and cleaning out 200 feet of creek bank... it just didn't drive as good. Hence the earlier remark about the person responsible for this project.





The only thing aggravating about going back together was the body comes down at a angle, so a good pry bar is handy for lining up the frame bolts.
The last two pics are of the most important aspects of the job...one is the technical adviser to remind you of the Camaro you had... and the last of a person just too old for this stuff anymore. :D :D :D



 

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I hadn't looked through these pictures in quite a while... we were both a bit smaller then too I suppose - at least I was. It's not a project I would want to jump in to again, but I'm confident we could if we had to... not that we should have to... I'm just saying. Thanks for posting these up, Dad. Let me add in that this car, 7 years later - is still doing the best! I should start another thread bragging on the 3800 series II engines... just not the part about swapping them in a 4th generation F-Body.
 

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I have a 96 RS with 381,000 miles and still going fairly strong. The 3800 is bullet proof. I admire you for even attempting to do the swap. There is no way I would even start on it.

Mine has a problem with the tranny under the console area. It makes a clunking grinding sound when you put it in gear. I hope it is just a tranny mount or u-joint. I really don't want to junk the ole girl. A tranny swap is just too much for a car with this kind of miles.
 

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Chevy's not alone. Helped brother replace a engine in a ford pickup and had to take the cab off
 

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We used to do front wheel drives that way years ago. Never seen a rear wheel drive go out the bottom.
 

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Had a '00 Grand Prix with the 3800 in it. Very powerful and reliable. Never had an issue with it. Only put about 40,000 miles on it before it was traded for another vehicle.
 

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I will add that this one had to be swapped out due to horrible neglect from the prior owner... whenever I changed oil the first time right after getting it.. it was probably the first time in a while - they must have just added to it over the year(s.) The first taste of clean oil baked all of the sludge off the oil pan and went straight on to the oil pickup screen coming down the interstate... one can guess how that went. The motor that we put in is approaching 140xxxk miles now and runs just as strong and smooth as the day it went in, it has been maintained though, as opposed to the other (which was pulled at 130k.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
4imnotright said:
Chevy's not alone. Helped brother replace a engine in a ford pickup and had to take the cab off
to many irons said:
pulled on on a s 10 blazer it was not nice !
could pull a motor out of frieghtliner smoother .
and looks like that was a pain !
BruceG34 said:
We used to do front wheel drives that way years ago. Never seen a rear wheel drive go out the bottom.
They aint like they used to be for sure. Seems like they are doing every thing they can to make sure that you have vehicles worked on now rather than doing it yourself.

JamieJ said:
Had a '00 Grand Prix with the 3800 in it. Very powerful and reliable. Never had an issue with it. Only put about 40,000 miles on it before it was traded for another vehicle.
johndeerefan said:
I have a 96 RS with 381,000 miles and still going fairly strong. The 3800 is bullet proof. I admire you for even attempting to do the swap. There is no way I would even start on it.

Mine has a problem with the tranny under the console area. It makes a clunking grinding sound when you put it in gear. I hope it is just a tranny mount or u-joint. I really don't want to junk the ole girl. A tranny swap is just too much for a car with this kind of miles.
I have owned three vehicles with the 3800 and to me they are as good of a motor as you will ever run. Keep the oil changed and they will run for ever get good milage and plenty of power. One of the best engines I have ever delt with.
The only problem we had with the swap was when you would pull it in gear it would vibrate bad but as soon as you gave it throttle it would be as smooth as silk but at a stop light drive you crazy. Checked everywhere and couldnt figure it out so I called a guy who was a retired chevy mechanic and he ask if I put new motor mounts on when I changed engines. I told him we had got them at Car Quest he said if you still got your old ones put them back on and the vibration would be gone. Changed them back out and it was smooth as silk. They ones I bought looked identical in every way and could see nothing giving with the engine running.
Johndeerfan The transmission mount is a easy change. Get it up on ramps put a jack under it and you can take it up enough to change the mount.
 

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Johndeerefan, there is also a really common exhaust rattle/grind sound that can develop around the transmission where the pipes run under the car. Mine developed it years ago, I kept thinking that it was the transmission or universal but it wound up being the exhaust (though it sounds like a horrible grinding when it does it.) As Dad said - the tranny mount is a 20 minute job they aren't bad at all... I would steer away from the Poly mounts if available to you as they will increase vibration in the car as opposed to the traditional mount which will look like a rubber doughnut with a shock in the middle. Let us know if you run in to any snags... we have been through my car in and out in any way that you can imagine - beautiful 96' btw. Glad to see you've been able to keep the RS lip kit in tact! You had better luck than me. :lol:
 

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Nope, a dog running across the road took care of the lip spoiler in the front. I had just had a new one put on too about a week before. Boy it sure scooted him down the road.

I agree with the exhaust rattle. I checked the rear tranny mount, but it seemed to be intact like it was suppose to be. The front u-joint was just a little loose, but not enough to cause that much noise. Plus, I have noticed it does it also when I hit a bump in the road just right. I think it might be the heat shield.
 

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Sorry to hear about the dog :( Mine was demolished whenever I got it.. and in this area would have been an impossibility to keep in good shape so I got rid of the kit on mine (except the spoiler) and touched up the body - but I've always liked the look of the kit.
 

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Yessir Gordon, the good old days of engine swapping in a few hours are loooooong gone. That sure was a handy crew you had together on that project...three generations of Chevy men !!! You are a much better man than I, even attempting to change the motor in that thing. I don't know how you kept track of all the wire connectors either. I get mixed up sometimes on an old tractor so I'd still be scratching my head on the Camaro. Brandon really "gets into" his project, doesn't he? THAT picture is a classic.

I am totally impressed with the entire project and I liked snooping inside the shop...kinda reminds me of someone I know pretty good. You've mistakenly accused me of being a fellow of many talents, but I think you have been sandbagging us a little bit...I think you three Kentucky boys will tackle just about anything and come out on top !! By the way, where is the picture of Melinda's disbelieving look as Brandon peels out of the garage in the background ? A job well done and thank you for presenting it for all of us to enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the kind words Wendell. Glad the car hid most of the mess in there. What the pictures didn't show was all the junk I had to carry out to get the car in there. Had a good time doing it but hope it dont have to be repeated anytime soon. Just to ADVANCED for my simple mind. There was something to be said for the time when one hot wire was all you needed to make one run.
 
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