98 Buick LeSabre

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I have a 1990 Buick LeSabre that has been the best car ever owned. It has 176,000 on it. My wife seen 98 LeSabre for sale. It has 87,000 miles with a 3800 series II
engine. We are thinking of upgrading to this car with lower miles, but would like to hear how if this series II is a good at the 3800 we have.
thanks
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That engine is even better than the original with proper maintenance of course, have one myself, but the issue with the failing upper intakes is a cautionary note here.

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I noticed it has dex cool in it.

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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.

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Tim or Linda wrote:

No, it's not even close to being as good as the older 3800 engine. But that's simply my educated opinion.
Ian
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I don't know Ian., my 90 PA went thru a t' chain pretty quick and bent the valves, never idled as smooth as my 98 and generally was not as responsive, also never could stop the oil pan leaks.

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Shep wrote:

Just take it from a guy who's been working on 3.8 liter engines since they were odd firing.
Ian
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I have a neighbour that was commenting the other day about the oil pan on his '98 3800. He was saying it feels soft around the level sensor and it's seeping oil. Where were your leaks?
Steve
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Its in good condition. Cloth seats but had both front power seats. Asking price is $4900.00. I think its a little high with the mileage that's on it.

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II
would
We have one. Aside from the plastic plenum pendejada, it has been a good car. 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 to look at our car. It is lower mileage, has had the air conditioning computer replaced, has the plenum changed, new struts, etc.
I live in Texas.
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Michigan

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What was the cost of replacing the plenum?

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If you stumble in off the street, to a dealership, the cost would be $700-800, most 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 coolant and replaced with new for $350. I could have had it done at a local independent 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 problem. It is NOT the be all, end all, for sure. The newer HOAT technology is probably better. I do not believe at all that DexCool caused the gasket problems in some GM series, and certainly didn't cause the plenum problems.
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It also has the weak one, I believe.
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I decided to check rather than 'believe'. The 3800 Generation I was apparently 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 your 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 versions were actually in use at that time.
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Doesn't having a supercharger eliminate the plenum from the top of the SC 3800?
Harryface
05 Park Avenue 36,232 91 Bonneville LE 306,191
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_3800_engine#L67
Apparently the supercharged version didn't exist in 1995, if this link is correct. It suggests the SC was introduced in 1996.
Wikipedia is not always spotlessly accurate however.
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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 supercharged 3800 Gen I back in 1992, at least, but the Gen II apparently did not exist as 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 that 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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Correct - on the Wikipedia point that is. I owned a '92 Park Ave with a Series I 3.8L, supercharged. Not at all sure if that applies to the LeSabre, but the SC 3.1 was certainly around.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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