I had a fair amount of experience
with this engine in a '68 Jeep that my dad bought in the fall of '67 and
I bought from him in '79. I don't know the exact year that the Buick V6 came
out but I beleive it was about '63. We had a '64 Olds that the factory shop
manual covered all Olds models. In the f85/Cutlass series the Buick V6 was an
option (actually base engine) and it was exactly the same engine as the Jeep
had in it. I think the Olds may have listed a 1 barrel carb (can't remember
for sure--its been many years since I looked at that manual). The Jeep had a
Rochester 2GV or 2GC (again can't remember exactly) two barrel. The V6 at that time was 225 cubic inches, which is 6/8 of a Buick 300 CU V8. I'm not sure
which models the 300 was used in, but I'd suspect the early mid size cars. Jeep
had started using the Buick V6 in 65 as their Dauntless V6. The one we had was
built by Buick, and had a Buick turquise paint job, Rochester carb, Delco
Window distributor (had a wierd point cam and rotor with a flag on it) and a
Delco starter. The points were the same as a V8. Jeep used a Motorolla
alternator. They also used two Buick right side exhaust manifolds--the left
side exhausted toward the front and hooked back on the pipe. The block was
a 90degree design, using the "odd fire" that has been mentioned before. This
is because using both ajacent rods on a single crank pin (like a V8), the 90
deg. spacing between two ajacent cylinders does not go evenly into 720degrees--
the 2 revolutions it takes to fire all the cylinders. So, the engine had a
90-150-90-150-90-150 firing angle, which caused it to shake at idle and have
what a good friend of my calls a "fart in a bathtub sound" from the exhaust.
I believe this was also the cause of very short timing chain life using steel
timing chain sprockets. The timing chain was constantly under a shock load
because of the wide and narrow spacing of the cam lobes. A GM/Jeep parts
manager friend pointed out that the same chain was used on the 300V8 without
the short life problems, and, without a set of spring-loaded rubber snubbers
that were on the V6.
Sometime shortly after our Jeep was built, GM sold the manufacturing rights of
the V6 to Kaiser Jeep. The jeep built V6 engines are the same, except they
had Prestolite distributor and starter and some other non Rochester carbs.
I've been told that during this time, the replacement parts were being supplied
back to GM by Jeep Corporation. In 1970, AMC bought out Jeep, and the '71
model year was the last to use the V6. AMC used their own 6's and V8's after
that and the V6 was dead--until the 1973 gas crunch came along. GM decided
the V6 would be a good solution and bought it back from AMC/Jeep. I don't
know the particulars regarding the increased displacement, but when it came
back the displacement went from 225 to 231 Cu. In. --3.8 liters. It still
had the same "odd fire" design and looked and sounded exactly like the one
we had in the Jeep. Several friends had them in 75 or 76 Buick Skyhawks and
Olds Starfires (the upper end Vega chassis). I thought seriously about
putting one in my 72 Vega. At the time, V6's were expensive at the bone yards-
they were in high demand. There was quite a deal made of the "even fire"
version of the v6 when it came out around '77. I remember a Popular Science
article about it where they described the crank as "looking like its broken."
The idea was to offset the crank pins so the crank compensates for the 90
degree block--making the engine fire at 120-120-120-120-120-120 firing angle.
I've looked at newer front drive versions of the Buick 3.8, and they certainly
look like they have much of the same design in them--but of course changed
to fit the newer cars they're used in. My guess the basic engine is much
I'm sure there are some inaccuracies in my knowledge, but this is what I
remember of these engines.