Hey guys I was wondering if you can help me with a question. My grandma gave me her 96 v6 3.8l camaro. I was wondering what engine can I swap for way better performance and acceleration

Asked by May 23, 2015 at 12:06 AM about the 1996 Chevrolet Camaro Base Convertible

Question type: Car Customization

It's my first car, I'm 16 and don't have
the biggest budget please help, thank

12 Answers


Personally, I think you should be MORE concerned about the high cost of insurance coverage for the 3.8L V6 that the car already has. Also, you need to put aside some $$ for repairs and upkeep. I say work with what you have until you really can afford to do an engine swap (which I wouldn't recommend anyway...just step up to a newer car with a bigger engine...when you graduate college maybe AND get your 1st job making some REAL $$).

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I couldn't agree more with what "racer" said above. First, there's nothing wrong with the V6, plus, the high cost of fuel, insurance and repair. You're 16, unless you've got some hot shot job, which I doubt, how are you going to afford to swap out this engine anyway? It's a bad financial investment to do this for a 19 year old car, you'll never get a return on your investment. Plus, you're not some kind of dragster with this car, are you? Stop thinking like American Graffiti and start thinking of getting an education like this first person said. Besides, the temptation to go faster with a big V8 will only get you citations from the police! Save your money for dates, girls love convertible cars, they're not going to care about how fast it will go, only where you take them. Trust us old guys who've been there, done that. We were 16 once and know, you can learn a lot from us. If you spend any money on your car at all make sure you have a spotless interior and nice paint job. Forget about the speed.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

the power from the 3.8 is fine.. just make sure u have good traction. this camaro has no stability control. be cautious on wet days.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I agree, keep the car as is and hone your driving skills before stepping up the performance of the car.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

to hell with that. lol. do good in school for sure, but i suggest you aquire every piece of literature concerning your car ypu can get your hands on. learn to fix your own cars. thats what i did or i didnt drive. as for power...check out turbo kits or an ls motor. you can buy a complete 350 for $150 maybe less if you get lucky. salvage, machine, or refurbish everything you can except the crank and rods and cam and valve springs. sell the stock ones. take that money and have your block machined .30 over, magnaflux, and decked. now find a 400 crank and build a 383 stroker. lol. my fave. youre gonna want to start beefing everything else up now. they are cheap. they are fairly easy to build, and they will push 500 loooow end torque horsepower...very very fun. thats what id do.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

If your budget is low you have the wrong car to swap. Leave it alone. Did I just read "500 torque horsepower"?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

No way in Hell that a 16 year old needs a 500 HP car. That's a traffic fatality just waiting to happen!!

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Get an education first so you'll have the skills have a career! Then, you'll have the time and money to spend on nice cars that are faster and SAFER. OK, maybe a WRX STI? But, 500 horsepower, that's for fools! You need to get your priorities straight.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Leave it as is. It's a VERY major project to convert one of these to a V8. I'd keep the car original for Grandma's sake as well. She didn't give it to you to go out and get killed in! My Grandmother had a cool car too, once upon a time. It was a 1970 Chevrolet Nova 2 door. In 1979 when she bought a new car she sold the Nova to my (older) cousin. It was a 6 cylinder with GMs Torque Drive transmission, AM radio, no A/C, a very "plain jane" car. But it was Grandmom's car so it was special. My Cousin had the car repainted in the original colors, aqua and white, and kept the car all original. When my Grandmother died in 1982 he drove the Nova in her funeral. It was a nice tribute to a very special lady. Sometime in the '80s my Cousin got hit and the Nova was totalled. But he drove and enjoyed the car the whole time he had it. That's what Grandmom wanted. I'm sure your Grandma wants the same for you! HTH. - Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

You know, I looked up the specs on your 3.8 V6 and discovered that you have 200 horsepower and 225 pounds of torque, so, exactly what are you complaining about? And, your fuel mileage is 19 city and 30 highway. How many miles are on this car?? I imagine since it was your grandma's car, its an automatic? You're much better off with the automatic transmission, so, at 16 be happy that you have a nice first set of wheels.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

So Andrew, are you convinced now to keep your car as is?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

A 5.0 302" V8 or a 350". A doner 96' Z28 engine from a salvage yard is a good place to start. Shop around.

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