All 96 GM have Dexcool I have had 4 cars with D'cool all went high mileage
and no isssues changed coolant at 3 years, new rad cap. Air getting into the
system and lack of maintenance have given D'cool a bad rep, imho.
We have one. Aside from the plastic plenum pendejada, it has been a good
We changed the plenum after a failure a couple of months ago.
The plenum issue is the major problem with that car.
We are going to buy a new car soon, and if you are near us, you might want
look at our car. It is lower mileage, has had the air conditioning computer
has the plenum changed, new struts, etc.
I live in Texas.
If you stumble in off the street, to a dealership, the cost would be
likely. Some stealerships could hump you a lot harder.
I had documented my complaints to Buick a year in advance, etc, and put some
pressure on the dealership. They replaced the plenum, flushed the old
and replaced with new for $350. I could have had it done at a local
mechanic's shop for about $250, but went this route to document it, in case
Buick/GM ever decided to accept its responsibility for shitty engineering.
The upgraded plenum apparently has a very good durability record.
The 1990-1992 3800 engine was a bit different. It had no plenum problems.
As a chemist, I would say that I don't believe that DexCool, in itself, is a
It is NOT the be all, end all, for sure. The newer HOAT technology is
I do not believe at all that DexCool caused the gasket problems in some GM
and certainly didn't cause the plenum problems.
I decided to check rather than 'believe'. The 3800 Generation I was
available in some models in 1995. The 3800 Generation II was introduced in
1995, according to the references I have.
So, I don't really know if there was an overlap or not. Might depend upon
particular car. A VIN number check should tell the tale for sure.
I will research it a bit further and maybe I can find out which engine
were actually in use at that time.
Apparently the supercharged version didn't exist in 1995, if this link is
It suggests the SC was introduced in 1996.
Wikipedia is not always spotlessly accurate however.
I found some reference to vin code C being initially used for the 3.8 Gen I.
This does not agree with the Vin code chart however. There was a
3800 Gen I back in 1992, at least, but the Gen II apparently did not exist
a supercharged version until 1996.
I give up. I suggest the gentleman post his vin code and lets have a look.
When I researched this a year or so ago, I had reasonable evidence to post
the following in my blog:
"The problems are seen on GM 3800 Generation II engines from
at least 1995 to 'present'. 'Present' is a bit vague, but
some variant of the problem may persist up to 2004."
The trail is a bit cold now, but I would say that there is a good chance
our colleague may have a Gen II engine. Some of them probably never fail,
but for most, I believe, it is a matter of 'when' rather than 'if'.
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