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GM 3900 engine. #4621583
01/02/18 11:28 AM
01/02/18 11:28 AM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 10,788
Buffalo, NY
JTK Offline OP
JTK  Offline OP
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 10,788
Buffalo, NY
Is there anything horrible about this "High-value 3900" 3.9L series engine? I'm not scared of these "old" pushrod GM V6s LOL.

Reason I ask is, in the not so distant future one of my kids will be driving and we'll eventyally have the need for another car. I've been eyeing a 2011 Buick Lucerne for this purpose that has this engine.

Last edited by JTK; 01/02/18 11:29 AM.

2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L. 2016 Nissan Quest SV (Babe magnet IV)
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: JTK] #4621612
01/02/18 11:55 AM
01/02/18 11:55 AM
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 334
Ohio
Dorian Offline
Dorian  Offline
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 334
Ohio
From what I understand, the lower intake manifold issues were not nearly as bad as they used to be. If the car was maintained properly and the dexkill was removed at and appropriate time, the car should be ok. I never liked the term "high-value". It just sounds like a poor name to compensate for an otherwise outdated design.


15 Camry Hybrid SE 48K 0W20 Kendall bulk
14.5 Camry SE 2AR 0W20 M1 AFE 44K (Mom's)
98 Chevy Prizm 1ZZ M1 AFE 0W30 148K (Brother's)
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: JTK] #4621617
01/02/18 12:00 PM
01/02/18 12:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 19,093
Sunny Florida
SteveSRT8 Offline
SteveSRT8  Offline
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 19,093
Sunny Florida
Most everyone has realized that dexcool was not the issue. The gasket material was poor. It is recommended to simply replace the gasket with an updated one and end the problem for good...


"In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith."
J. William Fulbright
Best ET-12.79 @ 111 mph
4340 pounds, Street tires
Just like we go to Publix
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: JTK] #4621626
01/02/18 12:05 PM
01/02/18 12:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 4,405
Storrs, Connecticut
jeepman3071 Offline
jeepman3071  Offline
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 4,405
Storrs, Connecticut
I hate to be the typical person who just repeats "buy a Toyota" but for first time drivers I'd buy them a cheap (but decent) Honda or Toyota. You want something safe and reliable, but the statistics are they will likely crash their first car.


2000 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L (181k) - Pennzoil 10w30, Napa Gold 1516, Magnefine trans filter
2009 BMW 328i (33k) - Castrol Edge Euro 0w40, MANN HU816X
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: JTK] #4621659
01/02/18 12:29 PM
01/02/18 12:29 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 560
MN
14Accent Offline
14Accent  Offline
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 560
MN
The 3900 is an excellent engine, however if you want simplicity I would go for an Impala or the like with the 3.5 instead.

The 3900 has AFM as well as VVT, which adds another layer to things that can go wrong. The 3500 has VVT only, and they're mostly bullet proof. Intake gaskets are no longer an issue, the coolant now flows through the coolant crossover which is on the passenger side of the cylinder heads. Those gaskets DO leak, however it's much less involved to change them, somewhere around 2.5 hours vs. 6 for a LIM job on a 3100/3400.

One bright side of buying a Lucerne: with the 3900 installed the engine bay is HUUUUGE. The Lucerne is based on the Cadillac DTS platform, therefore was designed (and equipped with) the Northstar/4T80 combo. When you put a 3900/4T65 in it's place it almost looks like you could slide an entire 4 cylinder in next to it.


2013 Chevrolet Volt - Saves enough in fuel to pay for itself!

2003 Cadillac Seville STS - The winter "beater", it uses the Volt's fuel
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: JTK] #4621674
01/02/18 12:46 PM
01/02/18 12:46 PM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,033
Illinois, U.S.A
RamFan Offline
RamFan  Offline
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 2,033
Illinois, U.S.A
No mechanical issues with the 3.9l in the Monte. However, I've leaked oil out of every gasket. Last gasket to be replaced is the Oil Pan and since I have to drop the cradle to do that job, I'm just letting it be.


18 Giulia Ti Sport
+2.0l turbo - Factory fill & filter
16.5 CX-5 Touring
+2.5l - 48k - SynPower w/ Maxlife 0w20 - PureOne - 8k/1yr
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: JTK] #4621685
01/02/18 01:02 PM
01/02/18 01:02 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,162
Colorado Springs
Drew99GT Offline
Drew99GT  Offline
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 22,162
Colorado Springs
Yup, hate to say it, but the 3500 and 3900 High Value engines are pretty much junk after 100,000 miles IMO; our Impala with the 3500 has also had the oil pan gasket replaced, head gaskets replaced, water crossover gaskets replaced twice (this was the design GM implemented to curtail the previous intake gasket fiasco - FAIL (it uses a cheap o-ring style gasket that has been redesigned multiple times but still leaks). Stop leak has worked to stop the coolant leaks for now - it gets expensive coughing up 500 bucks every 50,000 miles for gaskets!

Engine still runs great though, it just leaks like a sieve from every gasket - including multiple transmission leaks.

I wouldn't touch one with a 10 foot pole personally; would never buy a GM EVER, even if someone put a gun to my head, but if you like the car, know it has potential issues.

Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: JTK] #4621694
01/02/18 01:08 PM
01/02/18 01:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,868
Kalifornia Kollective
BrocLuno Offline
BrocLuno  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,868
Kalifornia Kollective
So, for a first time driver - why the Lucerne ... Kind of a big box to fit into places newbies try to fit vehicles laugh


Formerly in marine engineering. In an earlier life I owned my own petroleum tank truck, and hauled for the majors and independent's.
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: BrocLuno] #4621755
01/02/18 02:05 PM
01/02/18 02:05 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 10,788
Buffalo, NY
JTK Offline OP
JTK  Offline OP
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 10,788
Buffalo, NY
^ Just thinking ahead. I've seen a few last year production of these Buicks for sale locally pretty cheap. Kids will most likely use my Forester and I get the ol'man cruiser for my work commuter. Insurance will be a killer for me, thus a vehicle that has as low insurance cost as possible.


2017 Ram 1500 4x4, 3.6L. 2016 Nissan Quest SV (Babe magnet IV)
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: 14Accent] #4621887
01/02/18 04:26 PM
01/02/18 04:26 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 553
DFW
JustN89 Offline
JustN89  Offline
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 553
DFW
Originally Posted By: 14Accent
The 3900 has AFM as well as VVT, which adds another layer to things that can go wrong. The 3500 has VVT only, and they're mostly bullet proof. Intake gaskets are no longer an issue, the coolant now flows through the coolant crossover which is on the passenger side of the cylinder heads. Those gaskets DO leak, however it's much less involved to change them, somewhere around 2.5 hours vs. 6 for a LIM job on a 3100/3400.


I've read on here and other sites that the LIM gasket issue was pretty much resolved by 2003/2004 for the 3100 and 3400 series motors. How does the problem perpetuate on a different engine that came into existence in 2004, when the problem was supposed to be fixed? If the LIM gasket was really an issue with the 3500, I don't see how it wouldn't still be an issue for the 3100/3400 series motors.

As for buying the Lucerne, just be wary of the 4T65E. Drop the pan and make sure it has had new magnets installed per TSB 08-07-30-040C. It should, being a 2011 and all, but I would still check. I also added a few extra in my 4T65E, just to be safe. While you're at it, replace the filter and use Valvoline Maxlife ATF. I have found it to work really well.

Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: JTK] #4621960
01/02/18 05:44 PM
01/02/18 05:44 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 3,226
Central Virginia
Silverado12 Offline
Silverado12  Offline
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 3,226
Central Virginia
I'm a GM fan but stay from those engines; they have gasket problems (incl. headgasket) like others said.


12 Chevy Silverado ext. cab LS, 2WD 4.3 auto
18 Mustang GT 5.0 auto
07 Harley Dyna Street Bob 96 c.i. 6 sp.
00 Mustang GT auto
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: Silverado12] #4622042
01/02/18 07:04 PM
01/02/18 07:04 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,201
Fort Worth, Texas
clinebarger Offline
clinebarger  Offline
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,201
Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: Silverado12
I'm a GM fan but stay from those engines; they have gasket problems (incl. headgasket) like others said.


I'm a GM guy as well, And I agree....Stay away from the 3900. Not a huge fan of GM 60 degree V6 engines in any form really.

If you want a Buick Lucerne.....Get a Northstar/4T80E.


2001 Chevy Camaro L92/4L80E
2006 Chevy 2500HD LBZ/Allison 1000
2010 Toyota Corolla 2ZR-FE/Auto
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: jeepman3071] #4622229
01/02/18 10:11 PM
01/02/18 10:11 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,262
Waco, TX
Linctex Offline
Linctex  Offline
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,262
Waco, TX
Originally Posted By: jeepman3071
You want something safe and reliable, but the statistics are they will likely crash their first car.


I didn't crash my first car, or my 2nd.... it was the 7th (just a minor fender bender) grin

I was 20.... 7th car at 20 (but still had 3 previous ones)


"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."
Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: JTK] #4622245
01/02/18 10:30 PM
01/02/18 10:30 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,351
toronto
PeterPolyol Offline
PeterPolyol  Offline
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,351
toronto
Boy, I'm sure glad our first and only GM 60 degree V6 is the last year of the non-VVT models. Everything that should have been revised was revised, then they made it for 2 years and nixed the whole series for this new one. Our old 3500 has a relatively short 200K KM/160K Mi, no Dexkill, no oil burning and all original gaskets. No leaks. Lucky?

Re: GM 3900 engine. [Re: JTK] #4622711
01/03/18 01:46 PM
01/03/18 01:46 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,351
toronto
PeterPolyol Offline
PeterPolyol  Offline
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,351
toronto
oops 200,000KMs is 120,000Mi, thinking too much of the 1.6x factor conversion rate

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