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NeonLX

3500-3900 60-degree V6s

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I'm still amazed that they were able to punch out the 60-degree V6 to 3.9L displacement. There just can't be much meat left in those blocks with those big 3.9" holes.

I remember when the 2.8L V6 first came out in the X cars. When I saw my first one, I was amazed at how puny it looked. I couldn't imagine that it could be bored or stroked any more...but then along came the 3.1L.

Anyone know a good source for info on these engines? I'd love to see the innards. Wikipedia has a decent description but I need visuals!

Thanks.

Edited by NeonLX
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I'm still amazed that they were able to punch out the 60-degree V6 to 3.9L displacement. There just can't be much meat left in those blocks with those big 3.9" holes.

Thanks.

I don't think 3.9L translates to 3.9" (inch) holes. 3.9 is the sum of the volume of all the cylinders in litres, isn't it?

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Info and pictures of all GM engines

"This new generation V-6 allows a high level of flexibility, with common castings over a range of displacements. The 3.9L V-6 shares its block, pistons and cylinder heads with GM’s new 3.5L (RPOs LZ4 and LZE). A common bore measures 99 mm; displacement is increased in the 3.9L with a longer stroke (84 mm, compared to 76 mm for the 3.5L). The two engines share 80 percent of their parts.

Thanks to its relatively narrow 60-degree block angle, the 3.9L V-6 is compact, giving vehicles teams more latitude with platform design and styling. More importantly, the 60-degree configuration is inherently balanced, ensuring powertrain smoothness without the additional cost of balance shafts. The new 3.9L V-6 differs from previous GM 60-degree designs in its offset cylinder bores. The centerlines through the bores on each bank do not intersect at the crank axis; rather, they intersect 3 mm below the crank axis. The offset bores present a number of advantages, including room for larger cam journals and flexibility to stroke the engine for more displacement."

Edited by CaddyXLR-V
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I don't think 3.9L translates to 3.9" (inch) holes. 3.9 is the sum of the volume of all the cylinders in litres, isn't it?

Essentially correct - it's the displacement. The displacement is affected by not only the size of each cylinder, but the length of the stroke on each piston.

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I don't think 3.9L translates to 3.9" (inch) holes. 3.9 is the sum of the volume of all the cylinders in litres, isn't it?

Actually, both the 3.5L & 3.9L V6s do have 3.9" bores (99mm ~ 3.9"). The displacement difference between the two is a function of the stroke length.

The "offset bore" concept in the description intrigues me.

On edit: thanks to everyone for the responses! :)

Edited by NeonLX
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I like visuals, too. But I also like numbers/stats.

Is there any longevity data on the 3500/3900 versus the previous 3100/3400? All 3500 and 3900 V6s (Chevy) feature VVT, right? Also, is there a longevity difference between these units and the 3800 V6? I didn't want to deal with this "issue," so I defaulted right back into another 3800 V6.

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From what I have heard the 3500/3900 don't have the kind of headgasket issues the 3100/3400 had. Also by design of the engine the chronic Intake Manifold Gasket leak has been removed by using some sort of coolant bypass system. All in all completely bulletproof.

All Impala and Monte Carlo applications of the 3900/3500 have been VVT but the 3500 in the earlier G6/Malibu models pre 2007 were non-VVT and that makes a big difference coming from the point of view of having one 3500 VVT (Impala) and one 3500 LX9 (Malibu).

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don't laugh, but one fallback option i have considered to replace the aztek is with either a late gen rendezvoux or something like an uplander / montana. NOT FOREVER! just for a couple years. the RDV had the 3.5 for awhile and i am not sure but the CSV's even had the 3.9 i think. so i am interested in the relaibility as well.

of course if they still have the crappy 4 speed auto then its probably not worth a look again either.

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The RDV could also have the 3.6HF

yes for only two years. but it also had the 4 speed. plus, the 3.6 has issues the first couple years.

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don't laugh, but one fallback option i have considered to replace the aztek is with either a late gen rendezvoux or something like an uplander / montana. NOT FOREVER! just for a couple years. the RDV had the 3.5 for awhile and i am not sure but the CSV's even had the 3.9 i think. so i am interested in the relaibility as well.

of course if they still have the crappy 4 speed auto then its probably not worth a look again either.

In Canada we had the Uplander and Montana SV6 from MY 2005-2009 (mainly because they sell like hotcakes, I both think combined they were in the top ten best sellers in Canada) and the Buick Terazza and Saturn Relay MY 2005-2007. The 3.5 was used in the CSVs from 2005-2006 and the 3.9 from 2007-2009. The 3.5L was the LX9 (no VVT or E85) and the 3.9L had E85 and VVT.

Again so far as I have heard most of the problems with these vans come from electrical, the transmission and power-train are rock solid.

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yes for only two years. but it also had the 4 speed. plus, the 3.6 has issues the first couple years.

Really? In just the RDV or everything? I had a first year 3.6 and had no issues with it.

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We're coming up on 3 years of ownership with our '07 Maxx (hard to believe!). At 61,000 miles, I'm happy to report no mechanical issues whatsoever from the powertrain. We're averaging around 24 MPG with the car, and I've seen over 30 MPG on highway trips. The only "worrying" issue is some clunks from the front suspension over rough pavement--sounds like bushings to me, but it ain't worrying me too much yet.

Coworker of mine with an Accord is amazed at the smoothness and quiet of the 3.5L V6 (though her Accord is powered by a 4-cyl). I'm still impressed with the power of this engine; even with a full load on board, the car will get up to expressway speeds without any fuss.

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We're coming up on 3 years of ownership with our '07 Maxx (hard to believe!). At 61,000 miles, I'm happy to report no mechanical issues whatsoever from the powertrain. We're averaging around 24 MPG with the car, and I've seen over 30 MPG on highway trips. The only "worrying" issue is some clunks from the front suspension over rough pavement--sounds like bushings to me, but it ain't worrying me too much yet.

Check the Intermediate Steering Shaft... we've replaced this part twice on our 2006 Maxx but it didn't fix all the clunking, yet they couldn't find anything else wrong... the front suspension is poorly designed it would seem. Ditto for the electric steering but that's another kvetch for another day.

Considering the amount of livery Impalas I see up here the durability simply *has* to be there in the 3500/4spd setup. At least 40% of all the cabs I see nowadays are 06+ Impalas. The last time I took my 07 to Vancouver I got 37MPG (not a word of a lie) too, made the trip on more or less one tank of gas (850km), and you can't beat that.

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After owning several Mopar vehicles with that unfortunate A604/41TE transaxle, I'm happy to hear that the 4T45 tranny is durable. The Chrysler 4-speed slushbox is a real box of fragile Christmas tree ornaments. I still grit my teeth every time the tranny shifts in my Neon, just waiting for the sound and feel of the grenade going off (got to experience it twice in the old Voyagers we had at work).

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Ah yes you gotta love the 60 deg pushrod v6

They often return better than advertised mileage.

Gotta love the low end torque for getting up to speed around town while saving gas.

The 3x00 series are all pretty reliable aside from the lower intake manifold gasket leaks.

The only thing you really hear much about is people spinning a bearing; usually as a result of letting

a lower intake manifold gasket leak go for too long.

the 3500/3900 series (VVT and the non-VVT 3500) completely eliminate these problems.

the 4T40E and 4T45E have horrendously tall gears but are otherwise great.

I'd love to experience these engines with a 6 speed! (Or even a 5 speed, know there are a few 5 speed grand am's floating around there).

There's plenty of info about the 60V6 here, visit and enjoy

http://www.60degreev6.com/

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Hey, thanks for that link Mike! I've got to come up to speed on this particular engine family and that site looks like just the place to do it.

I had some experience with a 3.1L version of the 60-degree V6 engine in a circa-1991 Corsica that was in our fleet at work. The thing had a 3-speed ATX and was a real rocket. Except for the uncomfy driving position, I always enjoyed driving it. We currently have a 2008-ish Chevy Uplander minivan (SWB) with the 3900 in the fleet and it moves right out too.

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I can tell you that the 3500/3900 are literally bulletproof from what I have seen. My 2008 3900 has close to 80K miles and has never seen a wrench. My buddies 2006 Impala 3900 with 82K is the same. His 2005 Buick Terrazza 3500 now has 140K and runs like new and has never had an issue. Numerous law enforcement Impalas with 3900's have well over 100K and run as new in my town and there are often high mileage examples on Ebay that run as new. All in all a great engine IMO.

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I frequently consider getting an 09-10 Lucerne with under 30,000 miles on them because they're a steal and they have the 3900 (which affords a little more power and refinement over the 3800). Oldsmoboi recommended it highly--my parents have the Lucerne with the 3800, which although is quiet, it definitely is unrefined especially for the target it was aiming for. From 0-10mph (so every time you launch the car from a light), the sound/vibration resonates in the cabin. I've spoken to others with the 3800 in the Lucerne and they say the same thing happens, but from what I understand, the 3900 doesn't do that.

My only gripe with the 3900 is the low fuel numbers reported, so I'm hoping it returns higher-than-advertised economy as the 3500 does. It'd definitely be a great daily commuter!

Edited by Paolino
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I got 27mpg on a highway cruise to Columbus with a trunk FULL of PCs and flat panel monitors.

Got 27mpg on the way back with an empty trunk and the A/C on.

edit: in the Lucerne.

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