just a thought on rods
the 96-04 rods are crappy, simply put. at the neck at the small end, it gets narrower... i'm not sure why they actually made them smaller, but they did. we didn't bother measuring them because they really need to go if you plan on building building any motor, n/a or boost/n2o.
we took a look at 94-95 3.8 rods and they are not bad. they look at first identical to 351 rods. so... we measured stock 351w truck (cast) rods and were surprised to see them only be 5 thousandths wider and 7 thousandths thicker than the 94-95 rods. the 351 guys vouch for those rods up to 500rwhp, so for our 6 cyls that'd be somewhere around 400 for us. my friend is more knowledgeable than myself, but it's safe to say 94-95 rods are good to at least 350rwhp+ and the 351's to 400rwhp+. all in all, unless you're going just crazy with your 3.8, find some good used 351w rods and convert from pressed to float pin, shave the outside ridge off, and be happy... i doubt you'll ever break one. it'll save you several hundred if you decide to build a motor. forged 351w rods aren't cheap, and will last longer than the block will for sure. and you can have 351w rods drilled and polished off for cheap... the rods themselves are almost dirty cheap. they will be going in my motor unless i happen upon some forged that are a good deal.
and if you're not going to rev the crap out of it, a 4.2 crank will still hold up fine... i guess i'll make another thread about comparisons of 3.8 (blah) and 4.2 (nice) and SC (forged, real good!).