• Mar 13, 2008
Normally, we get our recall notices directly from NHTSA, but since the fed's search section is down for maintenance, we'll rely on Kyle's tip to point us to GMInsideNews. The forum for all things General-related has posted a directive addressed to all Buick and Pontiac dealers regarding an upcoming recall issued by NTHSA that affects the 1997-2003 Buick Regal GS and the 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP fitted with the 3.8-liter supercharged V6.

Both models apparently have a problem with oil leaking onto the exhaust manifold under hard braking. If the oil makes it underneath the manifold's heat shield, it's possible that it could ignite a small flame which could spread to the spark plug covers. The engine fire normally happens five- to ten-minutes after the vehicle has been shut down, and GM is suggesting that all of the 207,542 vehicles affected shouldn't park inside garages, carports or other parking structures until the required fix is completed. The recall notices were sent out today, so we'd suspect that dealers should have the necessary parts in stock by the end of the month.

Until NHTSA's site gets back online, follow the source link below for the full directive.

[Source: GMInsideNews]


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  • 29 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      As the owner of a 1998 Grand Prix GT I think I need to step in to clear some things up. First of all it's not uncommon to hear about these cars with 225K miles or more and still running strong, bad fuel pressure regs cause the car to die out not catch on fire and are easily repaired, the 3100 engine in the Prix's are the ones that leak coolant not the 3800, and I've never heard of valve seals(?) causing alternator failure. As for the recall we as community knew one was coming for engine fires but expected it to be related to fuel injector o-ring failure and not this valve cover thing so WetheSheeple that may be your problem as many 3800's (N/A and S/C) have burnt up because of worn o-rings.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have a '98 Bonneville with a 3800 in it that has 350,000 miles on it, had it since '99. Not one single problem with it, and it gets driven pretty damn hard. I did have to have the transmission rebuilt last year, but the engine still runs smooth and quietly.

        This is the third car I've had with a 3800, and I have to admit, it is indeed a great engine. Sure, it's outdated by todays standards, but in it's day it was probably one of the best engines available.

        I very rarely hear of any problems with the 3800.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You know you're a 3800 fan when you brag about 200k miles like it's unheard of and unexpected.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sheeple, I had a `98 LS that just spontaneously combusted too. I'll let you know if I find any info.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You know, at one point it was just ford, now GM ?fire recalls can never be good,how many recalls have the big 3 have since the start of this year?anyone counting?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd like to know how hard braking can cause oil to leak on the exhaust manifold, that's what I'd like to know. Leaking valve cover gasket or what?
      • 6 Years Ago
      These spontaneously combusting stories are a little too popular here!
      I'm thinking I'd rather have an engine that just broke early on instead of a reliable engine that burns my garage down with it at 300K.
      • 6 Years Ago
      WoW!!
      Seems elprogramer has a little problem with freedom of speech and the right to ones own opinion. He also does not understand sarcasm.
      I could be as petulent as you elprogramer, but I am an ADULT and have RESPECT for other people and the opinions they have. Therefore I will leave the childishness to you little man.
      Have a nice day el.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Freedom of speech you say? Then I have to say that all the post demonstrates is level of stupidity, arrogance, and ignorance of the author. Just out of curiosity - what are you doing for living? Ah, I know, you are the lead designer for M5 perhaps.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Petulant? You insult me and my kin. Did I do that to you? Don't claim moral superiority when you're the one being rude and brutish.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My sisters 98 Buick is in this recall list. It caught fire in March of 2006 and burned up in the garage and took my classic GTO with it. I am spear-heading a possible lawsuit against GM. So if you or anyone you know has had this fire please email me at buickpontiacfire@hotmail.com

      Jack.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I spent the last two years in Flint building the 3800, and believe me when I say that the workers of Buick (or what's left of it) have pride in that motor.

      I'm very much saddened that these ever left our doors. :/
      • 6 Years Ago
      So is this the same 3.8 Litre engine they put in the Commodore here in Australia? The same one that was in my Commodore that spontaneously combusted a few weeks ago? Would be interesting to know.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes and no. Holden started making their own 3800 a few years ago, but I don't know if this is a supplier issue, design flaw, or just a manufacturing goof.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Before this comment section is flooded by people who consider domestics to have two uses, rental cars and police cars I'd like to point somthing out.
      GM's 3.8 is a great engine. Good power and great torque. It's strong, lasts long, and drives smooth.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Don't compare by peak horsepower boiling at 6000+ rpm, these aren't sports cars.

        The 3.8 gave 220-230 ft-lbs from just off idle to a little past 4000. Further than that it noisily falls on its face of course, but consider the part of the tach you use in the real world (the one with traffic and police radar and other people in the car).

        That was and is a major step up over every other affordable sedan engine prior to the 02 Altima, and within the lower rev range it's not as far off the new wonder 3.5s as their 6250 rpm brochure horsepower numbers would have you believe.

        Great engine, can't say the same about the cars it went into.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Performance-wise, this engine is outdated by today's standards because it has hardly been updated in the last 15+ years. It is, however, quite impressive (fuel economy listed in 2008 terms with pre-2008 ratings in parentheses):

        1997 Toyota Camry V6:
        17city/24hwy (19city/25hwy)
        194hp
        209tq

        1997 Pontiac Grand Prix 3800:
        17city/27hwy (19city/30hwy)
        195hp
        230tq

        2008 Pontiac Grand Prix 3800:
        18city/28hwy

        2008 Toyota Camry:
        19city/28hwy

        The fact that an engine over 10 years old can hold its own next to a modern Toyota V6 as far as fuel economy and be down less than 20 lb ft of torque is nothing to scoff at. Horsepower is down about 70, so it won't be winning any drag races, but the rest is pretty relevant considering the 3800 makes do with 2 valve/cylinder and a 4 speed where the Camry has 4 valve/cylinder, variable timing, and a 6 speed auto.

        I drove a 1992 Series I 3800 supercharged for a while. For it's time, it was seriously fast and I have no doubt the engine will outlast the car around it. I'm pretty sure the reason the Japanese makes all went to 3.5L and larger V6s over their old 3.0L and less setups was due to the solid torque and MPG performance of this motor (and to a lesser degree, other large 6s).

        The Achilles heel of these motors has been intake gaskets (or so I've heard) and it sounds like the plastic valve covers they used can warp, causing this oil leaking problem. Not great, but hardly the cost of a rebuild if you catch the problem before it gets out of hand. The internals, the block, the heads, are what people are talking about when they say it's reliable. It's just a shame that they cut corners with the intake manifold and the valve covers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I keep hearing how great this motor is. I really don't think its all that powerful with 210 hp, 235 lb·ft natuarlly asperated and 260 hp 280 lb·ft supercharged. This is the current rating for the genIII the genII before only had 200hp! So really its a boat anchor ment for cheap large sedans.. As for long lasting its definitely had its share of issues ranging from fuel pressure regulators that can cause it to catch fire to leaking coolant that can hydro lock the motor and leaking valve seals that kill the alternator. If this is what's considered a good modern motor I'm really confused.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is the first time I was happy that I just have a "GT" instead of the GTP. To the prior responder back in 97 a sedan with 200 HP was "fast" and with 240 HP it was almost getting Mustang GTs. So the 3800 is outdated now, but in its heyday it was one of the best engines made.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I need some info, I hope some of you can help. OUR '98 REGAL LS (Not supercharged) CAUGHT ON FIRE IN OUR GARAGE YESTERDAY, PRETTY MUCH DESTROYING THE CAR AND GARAGE. Car was pulled in garage and about ten minutes later, it was Flambe. Does anyone know if GM has had a problem with the regular 3.8's in the buicks and pontiacs with this same problem? It sure sounds like exactly the same problem as what is described above. Any input or feedback would be great. Thanks.
        Bizz826
        • 6 Years Ago
        but yes i also think that this problem is finally showing its nasty head, because car owns never open the hood themselves and look for an oils leak....owners need to be doing this, of course i also have ownd 2 grand prix gt, with the non-superchargded 3.8 in them and i never had a problem with fires, its all about paying attention to ur car, and checking for these things, it would prevent alot of these problems. and the ppl that have the supercharged 3.8's neeeed to run premium gas, cause it keeps the temp down in ur engine. ( just a little tip).
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