2008 Pontiac Grand Prix Base L27 3800 Series III from North America


Decent, but there are "gotchas"


First I'd like to say the "running costs" and "reliability" would be 10s if we were just talking about the 3800/4T65-E drive train, which is superb. Now I'd also like to point out I bought this directly off the auction block in August 2010 for $11,450 and it already had 53K in 2.5 years, which means it was run hard in a short time (I believe was used as a wholesaler's car). This example was fully loaded with everything including leather/heated seats and a moonroof, but was missing traction control, the HUD on the windshield, nav, and the supercharger (which was dropped for MY08).

This is what I have had to do:

Rear sway bar links both wheels / 50 + 50 labor.

Front shocks/springs both wheels / 500 all.

Front tie rods both wheels / 400 all.

Front control arms both wheels / 200 + 250? labor.

Power steering rack replacement at my cost (due to breaking in drive) / 500 all.

Master cylinder due to leaky seals (told GM doesn't sell just the seals) / 500 all.

Standard maintenance I have done:

New spark plugs/wires at 80K / 100 for all.

Drained the devil's Kool Aid, DEXCOOL, replaced with Prestone / 60 for pro.

Changed transmission fluid / 100 for pro.

Switched to Mobil 1 oil (which does nothing for the 3800 per se, but I baby my cars) / 55 a 5K change.

Cleaned throttle body (beware! This has an electronic throttle and has to be cleaned with a partner) / 5 for a can of cleaner, did it myself.

Changed rear tail and turn signal bulbs (a real bitch) / $2.50 a bulb, did it myself.

Putting new head lights in due to fogging and slight damage (cost $80 on sale / will do my own work).

General Comments:

Here is the thing, in 2010 where are you going to find a newer mid size car with standard/reliable V6 and luxury features for $11,450 at the auction or at retail? I did research and couldn't come up with a better one that wasn't an MY01 at the time at that price. This model sports the 3800/4T65-E combination, and the 3800 is the sixth best motor of the 20th Century per Wards. The rest of the car is crap and I have no doubt it will continue to nickel and dime me. However the 3800 will start and will run for many years and miles to come; this motor in Series II guise has clocked 500K. I doubt I will come anywhere close, but she will do 150K easy and I can count on her to start when I need her too.

Given the realities of my climate and my limited budget at the time, I do not regret the purchase, but I am neutral on the overall outcome as there is good and bad. 80% highway she does 26 MPG and 40% highway she does 22.x MPG on average. I think EPA was 19/30 at the time, so reasonable power, mileage and reliability from a V6 MPFI, but not the 300 BHP of today's DI gas motors (but none of their problems either). You will see plenty of clapped out G-body LeSabres, Park Aves, Lucernes, and Grand Prix for years to come because of the 3800. Just know what you are getting yourself into folks.

A great beater, especially for the shadetree mechanic, but a lousy new car purchase.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st October, 2015

21st Oct 2015, 22:16

I had Park Avenues and loved them. I can't think of a car that GM currently makes that I would buy. It is sad how things have changed for the worse in such a short amount of time.

22nd Oct 2015, 03:38

There never was a G-Body LeSabre, PA or Lucerne, and the G-Body Grand Prix was from '78 (technically '82) - '87.