'81 Buick Regal engine replacement


#1

I have a 1981 Buick Regal Ltd with only 120k on it. It’s in excellent shape, though the original engine is a total slug. I would like to replace the engine and have a “new” car. Suggestions?


#2

bickwiz:
No offense but you would not have a “new” car. You would have a 26 year old car with a “new” engine. You would still have the same steering, suspension, brakes, interior, and body of a 26 year old car. If you like the car and want to keep it by all means replace the motor. Do not expect it to be trouble free. It will still ride and handle like a 26 year old car.
~Michael


#3

It’s very possible to perk this toad up, but it will take - money.
These cars were detuned slugs for the most part due to Federal regulations and were slathered with emission control junk.

Short of dropping in a Buick Grand National power/drivetrain (expensive and hard to find) the best bet is to build an Olds 350.
The Olds will bolt up to the Buick transmission and a perked up Olds should have plenty enough power to smoke the tires, along with shucking U-joints and transmissions if tire smoking is a chronic habit. :slight_smile:


#4

I agree, if you want a “new” 1981 car it will take a lot more than an engine. What is the overall condition of the car, and how much are you planning on spending?


#5

I agree with the last post however did yours come with the 3.8L and if so there are many updates now that allow you to build a fairly stout little V-6 that will have some more pep and go. or if you so chose you can get a 350 Small block motor from any of your local parts store that will swap in just as easily and more inexpensive then a Olds BB 350 or 400


#6

The olds 350 is a small block motor.


#7

The worst cars ever made were made in 1981. Save your money, buy something made in the 21st century…


#8

I agree the 3.8 can be built up. Seems to me there is a company now that is even making a stroker crank for the 3.8.
One of the recent issues of a performance mag I get has a Pontiac 3.8 running in the 9s at the strip. Wow.

The only problem with that is that narrow market performance parts (3.8)usually bring a bundle.
An Olds 350 would have a lot of low end grunt even in stock form for a lot less money.
A friend of mine put a 401 Buick/Powerglide/Mercury 9" rear in a '60 VW bug sedan. If that rig will go in there then there should be no problem on a larger displacement V-8 swap.

It also seems to me there are a lot of these cars still motoring on today. This Buick is 26 years old and still moving.


#9

I had an 81 Buick Regal about 10 years ago. I pulled out the tired 3.8 and swapped it with a Olds 350. It was basically a direct bolt in. I had to replace the 3.8 fan shroud and radiator but that was it. The engine mounts, bell housing, and torque converter were direct bolt up. Just make sure you get and olds 350 not a chevy 350 they are different.
~Michael