1997 LeSabre Purchase

I am looking at purchasing a 1997 Buick LeSabre Custom 3.8 V6 (70,000mi) from a local dealer. I looked it over yesterday but couldn't test drive it because the dealer had only just got it in and they had to do their "safety
check". Today I called the sales person and he told me that the car had failed the check because they found that the intake manifold gasket was leaking, but he told me that they would get the gasket replaced in the next couple of days and that he would call me to schedule a test drive as soon as the work was complete.
My question is why would an intake manifold gasket fail after just 70,000 miles? Is this a known common problem with this engine, or could there be a more serious underlying cause? What else should I look for?
Several people (with more auto knowlege than I) have told me that "I can't go wrong" with a LeSabre, and that the engine is one of the most reliable in the industry, that's why I am looking to purchase one. A problem like this does have me concerned though.
Any input would be appreciated.
Cal.
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Hi
Do a serach in Google groups for 3800 intake leak You will get quite a few hits dealing with upper intake manifold and an EGR design defect. . Ted M PS If the dealer is going to repair the intake manifold gasket, he should replace both, the upper and lower inatke manifolds. Chances are he will not replace both of these. Anything less than this and chances are you will blow the intake gasket again and quite possibly blow the engine. Do quite a bit of reserach on this issue before you buy. I have 2001 Lesable but apperantly the defect was corrected around 2000, therefore I feel quite safe with mine.
Cal wrote:

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<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en"> <html> Hi <p>Do a serach in Google groups for <b>3800 intake leak</b> <br>You will get quite a few hits dealing with upper intake manifold andan EGR design defect. <br>. <br>Ted M <br>PS If the dealer is going to repair the intake manifold gasket, heshould replace both, the upper and lower inatke manifolds. Chances are he will not replace both of these. Anything&nbsp; less than this and chances are you will blow the intake gasket again and quite possibly blow the engine.&nbsp; Do quite a bit of reserach on this issue before you buy. I have 2001 Lesable but&nbsp; apperantly the defect was corrected around 2000, therefore I feel quite safe with mine. <p>Cal wrote:<blockquote TYPE=CITE>I am looking at purchasing a 1997 Buick LeSabre Custom 3.8 V6 (70,000mi) <br>from a local dealer.&nbsp; I looked it over yesterday but couldn'ttest drive it <br>because the dealer had only just got it in and they had to do their"safety <br>check".&nbsp; Today I called the sales person and he told me that thecar had <br>failed the check because they found that the intake manifold gasketwas <br>leaking, but he told me that they would get the gasket replaced inthe next <br>couple of days and that he would call me to schedule a test drive assoon as <br>the work was complete. <p>My question is why would an intake manifold gasket fail after just 70,000 <br>miles?&nbsp; Is this a known common problem with this engine, or couldthere be a <br>more serious underlying cause?&nbsp; What else should I look for? <p>Several people (with more auto knowlege than I) have told me that "Ican't <br>go wrong" with a LeSabre, and that the engine is one of the most reliablein <br>the industry, that's why I am looking to purchase one.&nbsp; A problemlike this <br>does have me concerned though. <p>Any input would be appreciated.<p>Cal.</blockquote> </html>
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Make that Page 6 of the PDF with the breakoff for VIN serial #'s.
Also you may want to order a Carfax.com report for $19.99 for any vehicle you purchase. Buick has a customer service number 1-800-521-7300 you can call and they'll probably tell you if your VIN# has any outstanding recalls, recall types, etc.
Good luck !!
Guido wrote:

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Related forum: http://www.automotiveforums.com/t121846.html
Seems that the plastic intake manifold causes problems. This is in addtion to the problem I posted above. Some say replacing trhe oem radiator cap with a Stant 180 degree spring center cap helps keep the engine running cooler and helps prevent warping of the manifold..
Guido wrote:

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"Guido" wrote

Using a 180 degree thermostat on these engines should never be recommended. The intake manifold debacle is a manufacturing defect/screwup plain and simple and should just be repaired properly. I.E:.....replace the upper and lower intake manifolds and gaskets.
Ian
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Cal wrote:

Known problem. It seems to be a roughly 25% chance per 50K miles - so some cars have it, some go 200K without it failing.

Have them check the radiator, water pump, and timing chain. I'd not but it without the starter and water pump replaced, since those will fail in the next 10-20K miles. The radiator is likely on its last legs as well, though once these are fixed/replaced, you should be fine for another 50-70K.
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Depending on how you drive, this car could last you 10 more years. The intake manifold is the main issue with the engine. Once its repaired the right way no telling how long she'll hold up. As long as the dealer is doing all this safety check stuff, find out what else they plan to do to the car. They might even change the trans oil, antifreeze, engine oil & if it needs it - brakes .
A seven year old car would have me given it the evil eye ( ؿ ) for signs of body work. LeSabre is a " Senior Preferred " car and many seniors driving have been known to smash up a car a few times. Also it could of had more than one owner. One poster mentioned getting a Carfax report, might be smart to check into it.
Also, it this car was purchased new from the dealer your looking at they may have a service history on record.
I know a few people with 99 LeSabre with no problems yet, but they don't have many miles on them. My Aunt has a 99 with barely over 6000 miles on it.
One common problem was the black powder coating wearing off the drivers side power window switch plate.
Might also be a good idea to replace the battery if its still the original.
Good Luck
========= Harryface ========= 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE ~_~_~273,437 miles_~_~_
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