V6 worthy to put back in service?

GRWeldon

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I have a 94 V6 LX. I bought it for parts but the body is almost perfect except for the normal thinning paint and clearcoat. The interior has just a few flaws...the drivers seat plastic side piece is missing, the dash trim panel is broken but repairable. The guy I bought it from says the engine doesn't run. I didn't really care because it's not a V8 but it looks complete. The former owner believes it has a blown head gasket(s). My inspection reveals that the oil isn't a milkshake, but the radiator and recovery tank are bone dry. My suspicion is that it may be overheated and that would support a head gasket problem. With the extra room in a V6 car, head gaskets would be a fairly easy job.

I'm looking for opinions as to whether or not it makes sense to repair it and how much I could expect to sell it for. It is a southern car with zero rust and most of the paint is actually shiny. I planned to use the rear glass and part of the sheet metal below the glass as well as the deck lid to facilitate repairs to my 94 SC. I was going to use the hood to replace the one on my 97 (if it would fit). All other parts would be available to part-out but I most-likely wouldn't.

What say ye?
 
I have fond memories of my 94 3.8 XR7. The 3.8s do have a rightly deserved reputation for head gasket issues and lack of power, but IMHO the lack of power is really only an issue when you put your foot down. There's plenty of power available for daily driving needs, and the weight off the nose helps a ton with handling.

The trans is still a weak spot on the 94s but the 3.8s are less likely to spontaneously grenade, a polite way to say the lack of power helps with drivetrain reliability.

A 94 3.8 N/A would no major mechanical or cosmetic concerns would probably command $1500 or so, depending on the market in your area.
 
The 3.8 doesn't make a ton of power, but it is a good, solid engine once the HG's have been replaced. It would be a shame to tear apart a T-Bird with such a clean body, but it is your car. No clue what you could sell it for.
 
Certainly could be a nice car to drive if you fix it up. These things are getting to be scarce nowdays anyway. I don't think I'd send one to the scrapyard just because of the engine choice.
 
You could probably work out a trade from a midewstern/northeastern member for a body swap if all you need is the trunklid and back glass, I don't think in all my years of sifting through crusty chicago area tbirds seeing a single one that had a spec of rust on the trunklid.
 
A new engine is ~500 to 2000 bux, depending on what you want. You'll want a later model 2v 4.6l, which here I can get a mark motor for 500.
Looking on carpart for alabama, it looks like an 02 mercury gran marquis engine is about $700. People put 500k miles on those engines. You'll need a tune to run it,but it's do able pretty easily.
 
A new engine is ~500 to 2000 bux, depending on what you want. You'll want a later model 2v 4.6l, which here I can get a mark motor for 500.
Looking on carpart for alabama, it looks like an 02 mercury gran marquis engine is about $700. People put 500k miles on those engines. You'll need a tune to run it,but it's do able pretty easily.
It's not a V8 car
 
Engine harness from the fire wall connector forward, or the whole eec/harness swap?

I guess I've been lucky with the 4.6's, I've mixed and matched a lot of stuff. I know it's doable; the whole swapping sc's was the reason for the original divide in the clubs.
 
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Engine harness from thefire wall connector forward, or the whole eec/harness swap?

All, plus fuel lines, plus transmission, plus differential and halfshafts, plus......


He's debating between simply getting a car running and junking it for parts, I don't think advocating for a full drivetrain swap is going to sway the decision towards the former
 
No, that's not a viable alternative. That's way more effort than just fixing a HG. Is there a fix to keep them from blowing again?
I'm happy I started in the 96 v-8 segment. The firebird with a gm 3.8 that I had blew a hg; I fixed it and drove it for years, until I got Lazarus.
 
Head gasket repair can be done for a couple hundred if you're doing the work yourself. The composite gaskets usually last a while as long as the cooling system is maintained. The biggest question at this point is if the lower bearings are still good and if there may be any other issues. If it's just the HG, it could possibly be sold for more than it cost in parts and purchase if that's worth time / effort / funds / a little luck. 😉

@Grog .. resurface the block and heads, MLS gaskets and ARP studs.
 
Didn't I read a post that said to use the gm 3.8 arp bolts for some reason? Or was that the SC?
 
Little details are important, lol. I did the hg on the firebird in the parking lot at work, after work.
 
Well. These are ALL good thoughts. If I were doing HGs, I'd pull the engine and put it on a stand, thus allowing checking of the bearings, but the car has under $100K miles (unless odometer gear is broken). The V8 option is a good one seeing as I have a 95 XR7 that was a V8 for parts...at least the wiring harness and probably a few other parts including differential and half-shafts, however... That's a TON of work. My first MN12 was a 95 XR7 with a 3.8. It did fine as a daily driver and I even thought it was decently quick. When I totaled it I replaced it with a V8 XR7 (the one I now have for parts). The 4.6 had much more power, got better fuel mileage and I LIKED the way it was a bit heavy on the nose. I was used to old, large (midsize for the day) GM products like the mid-70s Old's Cutlass and Pontiac LeMans. It was familiar feeling, but much nicer!

My SC has a rip from a backhoe bucket tooth right at the pinch weld where the back glass sits. I really need a replacement piece to weld in AND as I said, I need a dash trim panel that goes for as much as $300. The one in this car is broken but repairable. It COULD be put back into service as dDUBb said for very little cash assuming nothing else is wrong. Also, I thought in 94 they started putting 4R70Ws in instead of AODE, even for the 3.8 birds. Is this incorrect?

I don't have a battery for this car, but I did connect it to my tractor battery using jumper cables yesterday. The starter did work, but it was draggy. Could be the set of cables I used, small Harbor Freight set. They DID get a bit warm when cranking but not hot. It was about 70 here so it wasn't thick oil slowing it down. My biggest concern is that this engine was WAY overheated and is junk.

I'm very wishy-washy about what to do. As far as selling prices go, in this area...even in the Tennessee area where Grog lives, it's hard to find a non-ragged out Thunderbird in running condition for less than $2500. I paid $1000 for #3 and then wound up putting easily another $1500 in it and it's not even on the road yet (but I did get it insured today). For #4 (the one this post is about) I paid $450. My expendable cash fund is now really low since I quit my job last week but I still keep looking for cheap Birds/Cats. It's an obsession at this point. Again, not quite sure what to do.

Thanks for all y'all's input (all y'all...that's plural in the south)
 
They switched from the AOD in '93 to the 4R70W in '94. Those were the only automatics ever available and they apply across all engines. The 94/95 4R70W's were not the greatest, but might be fine behind a 3.8 V6.
 
Love the pontiac lemans!

Gone are the days of those MN12 prices.

 
The v6 cars did get the 4r70w trans. It's built differently internally, so there are some things that need to change to use with v-8
 
The v6 cars did get the 4r70w trans. It's built differently internally, so there are some things that need to change to use with v-8

Including the entire case, the bell housing pattern does not interchange
 
It fits a 5.0 v-8, lol. :) The big difference is one of the pressure plates is different(thicker), and the number of plates in the clutches differ. As well as all the springs in the valvebody. The trans from the red cougar was going to be replaced with a v6 trans, after I sent an idiot to the jy, lol. I don't think I kept anything from that trans except the output shaft.
At this point, there are no JY trans out there that will work with our cars, and have any real chance of working. The one I took apart for the tbird was a 2002, and its seals were coming out in chunks. Once the rubber gets brittle, it will not work long.
While I'm ranting about transmissions; the truck valvebody has the strongest springs, which are the same as the Superior shift improver kit. Do not use the thin alto friction plates, they burn, and there's too many of them in the recommended direct stackup. Use the standard thickness Raybestos stock plates, with kolene std thickness steel plates, one piece instead of scarf cut teflon seals. Loss of direct clutch pressure is the cause of death for 90% of these trans fails.
 
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Love the pontiac lemans!

Gone are the days of those MN12 prices.

That bird looks like the MY V6 bird, only my interior looks better, it's a judgement call on whether my paint job looks better...it might. I've been seeing that bird on classifieds. Not in MY price range. I buy the cheap ones that don't work! :)
 
It's worth it in my book, to fix something that someone else couldn't.
 
I don't think it was a matter of the last person couldn't, but more of a lack of love for Thunderbirds along with the lack of willingness to sink more money into it. The guy had already replaced a transmission. I don't have any idea how much that cost him. Apparently the one in it came from a mustang which to mean doesn't really mean anything. Normally I wouldn't hesitate to fix, but I have an 94 SC 5-speed with a broken back glass sitting with a tarp on it in the yard. I really need IT fixed more than anything else since it is one of 722 made.
 
I'm in Mobile and I've got a parts car with a back glass and trunk lid. I thought about making an offer for this car but I can't take on another project.
 
I have a 94 V6 LX. I bought it for parts but the body is almost perfect except for the normal thinning paint and clearcoat. The interior has just a few flaws...the drivers seat plastic side piece is missing, the dash trim panel is broken but repairable. The guy I bought it from says the engine doesn't run. I didn't really care because it's not a V8 but it looks complete. The former owner believes it has a blown head gasket(s). My inspection reveals that the oil isn't a milkshake, but the radiator and recovery tank are bone dry. My suspicion is that it may be overheated and that would support a head gasket problem. With the extra room in a V6 car, head gaskets would be a fairly easy job.

I'm looking for opinions as to whether or not it makes sense to repair it and how much I could expect to sell it for. It is a southern car with zero rust and most of the paint is actually shiny. I planned to use the rear glass and part of the sheet metal below the glass as well as the deck lid to facilitate repairs to my 94 SC. I was going to use the hood to replace the one on my 97 (if it would fit). All other parts would be available to part-out but I most-likely wouldn't.

What say ye?
I guess you have not watched "VIse Grip Garage" on YouTube. His belief is "let no car go to the yard!" Save em' and keep them running! I have done heads on my V6 twice and it is an easy job. If the car runs, put a lil' money into it and keep it going for someone else to enjoy.

Just my two cents.
 
I guess you have not watched "VIse Grip Garage" on YouTube. His belief is "let no car go to the yard!" Save em' and keep them running! I have done heads on my V6 twice and it is an easy job. If the car runs, put a lil' money into it and keep it going for someone else to enjoy.

Just my two cents.
I watch almost every "Vice Grip Garage" video. One of my favorite YouTube channels. I'm not bound to believe what he believes. I bought the car for parts. I may fix it, I may not and I wouldn't feel guilty using it for parts, especially since I have a 94 5-speed SC, one of 722 produced, that is degrading because the rear window is missing. If I had to make a choice between the two of which I'd keep it would be a no-brainer.

I'm not afraid of doing heads on a V6, easy or not. I'm afraid of WHAT ELSE is wrong with the engine because I have no clue of it's history. If I knew for sure that was the ONLY thing wrong with it I would most-likely do what is required but I don't know that. I have a very limited budged and I've got two V8 Thunderbirds besides the SC that I'd rather spend my money fixing.

Thanks for your two cents...
 

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