Life after Park Avenue

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I think the time has come to get rid of our '95 Park Ave Ultra. I hate to admit defeat, but I have just about come to the conclusion that it's problems can't
be fixed, or at least not economically. For the background, see my past threads on the Herky-Jerky and climate control. The upshot seems to be the onboard diagnostics don't help much, and all the techs can do is replace a seemingly endless list of expensive parts.
So, the question comes to what to jump to. This is the third high-end Buick we have owned and have liked them all. With the exception of this one's late-life problems, they have been not been too expensive to maintain and have been reliable. Having always bought them used with 15-20k miles, we could go to a 2005 Park Ave. Or, perhaps it's time to buy new, which would have to be the Lacrosse or the Lucerne. Trouble is, I can't help but wonder if they would fair any better than the '95. So now I'm thinking about looking at Crown Vic, or the Mercury Marquise. Or, maybe Chrysler has something I should look at.
Thoughts?
Ed
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Ed I would consider the 300C (Hemi) over the other cars you mention. The Lucerne with the V8 is nice but you only get a 4 speed and its FWD. The Crown Vic/Grand Marquis hasn't been updated for a long time. The LaCrosse is too small compared to the others cars you listed and again you get a 4 speed and FWD. I wouldn't recommend the 3800 because it has only a couple more years of life and is underpowered in today's market.

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Yeah, the 300C ... IF you don't mind more blind spots than Stevie Wonder has. It looks like an old 50s Mercury with a chopped top.
Too bad Chrysler doesn't offer periscopes and outside remote TV cameras. Then it might be a safe car to drive.
--
Kent Finnell
From the Music City USA
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Kent,
Well, that kills it for me. But to be honest the Park Ave has never been great in that department.
Ed

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The Cadillac CTS is nice with its powerful 3.6L 255hp V6 engine and 5 speed auto (plus RWD) but I am not sure if they fixed the rear end whine some people are complaining about.

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Too small interior wise from a PA.

-
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Vince,
Yes, I saw it at the LA auto show a month or so ago. Wonder how they get the extra power out of the same liters? I don't really know what the power of the '95 Ultra, but it really goes. But, I didn't feel so good about that supercharger when I had to replace it (twice) because of the drive mechanism in the nose cone. I don't think the CTS is supercharged, is it?
Ed

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Your 95 Ultra has 240hp/280 lbs-ft. The CTS isn't supercharged and it has 255hp/252 lbs-ft. The reason why the CTS makes good power is because it is an DOHC 24 valve engine with Variable Valve Timing. In the Lacrosse application it is detuned so it doesn't compete with the CTS. The 3800 is a really old pushrod engine that needs a supercharger to make good power.
Kent sure hates the 300C but I liked it when I rented it. You might want to try renting it for a day or two. What I did notice is when you stop too close to an intersection you have some difficulty in seeing the traffic light. Sure beats anything that GM has in that price range. Yeah I like the STS more than the 300C but it costs a lot more money.
Vince

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Ed - you're being delusional. Relax - take a couple pills - any pills. Think about what you're saying brother - a Ferd product - worse a Chrysler product? Breathe - breathe deep for a minute. Get ahold of yourself bro. Now... grab the checkbook and the little lady, and head out to the nearest Buick dealer...
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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OK, Mike. Skipped the pills but took a big gulp of Balvinie.Thinking Buick again.
Now, tell me how the newer models address the issues I've been having with the '95. Probably an impossible assignment, though, since we don't know what's causing the problem how could one speculate on how GM might have addressed it. Which is why I was thinking of jumping ship. Oops, I'm slipping. Excuse me while I refill my glass!
Ed

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You didn't mention any foreign cars, but... if you buy and keep a car for many years, have you considered a Benz, a Beemer or a Volvo?
How about <sounds of breathing> Ed, embrace the dark side... Get an Avalon...
Seriously, if you've been driving an Ultra, are they all supercharged? If so, I'm guessing you like some power. I rented one once and it impressed me. So, you mighty consider giving a Volvo S80 a test drive. A friend of mine bought one for his wife and he says it really moves out. The 2003 with the T6 or Elite package has 268hp and gobs or torque. You might be impressed. The T6 no longer seems to be available, the newer S80 are T5s, which is an inline 5-cylinder with somewhat less power.
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Although I have an older Jaguar, we have otherwise always Bought American. However, this experience with the Buick may be the last straw.

How does the size compare to the Park Ave?

Yes.
Didn't Volvo have some quality problems a while back?
Ed
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Edmunds says it's 9" shorter and 2" narrower on the outside but the interior dimensions are pretty comparable (edge does go to the Buick). However, Edmunds also says it has a significantly smaller trunk.

I'm not sure about their reliability. All my Volvos, so far, have been '80s/'90s I-4/RWD cars (I would very much like to buy an S-60R, 300hp with AWD but that's not going to happen until all the kids are out of college). In spite of Volvo's reputation, we did not find them to be super-reliable (nor did Consumer Reports, some years back, ranking them as good but not "anvil-like" to match their reputation). Our '86 was, in fact, a good, reliable car, with relatively few repairs. We kept it for 18 years and it probably cost well under $80/month overall, purchase price plus repairs. We gave it away and took a large tax deduction in '04. Our '91 was not so good (but we bought it used in '01 and I think it had been abused before we bought it) but it still probably cost well under $100/month for the four years we kept it and our '93 ( in '03 we moved up to a turbo!) has been OK. However, the simplicity of those RWD cars, along with the amount of room in the engine compartment around the 4-banger made them easy to diagnose and repair so, overall, the repair bills were low and we have been happy with the cars.
The new Volvos are much more... sophisticated. The S80 T6, for instance, has twin turbos. There's lots of gadgets under the hood and in the passenger compartment that a 240 owner would not recognize or appreciate. I think it would compare favorably with Buick repair history, but I'd suggest you go to the library and get reliability rankings before you buy. I'd bet they're more difficult to repair than they used to be. However, our Volvo dealer has well trained people and that helps keep my costs in line. I was having transmission trouble in our '93 recently and an independent transmission shop (with a good reputation among my co-workers) wanted to swap it out with a rebuilt for $1200. Taking it to Volvo instead saved over $800 and it's not clear the independent would have actually replaced the failing part along with the transmission (it was actually a control cable problem).
And, of course, I'd suggest you try it out to see if it has the level of luxury and power that you seek.
I think you'll find that you can obtain one for significantly less money than a similar age Lexus but it might be significantly more than a similar age Buick. They do not seem to hold their value as well as they used to. Not necessarily because they're not as good as they used to be but because they seem to appeal to a different kind of owner, nowadays. I don't think they get kept as long by the initial buyer, so I think there are more of them on the used market than in the days of the RWD boxes.
One other reason I think Volvo owners have changed is that I have now, several times, seen late-model Volvos with Bush/Cheney bumper stickers. Republican bumper stickers on a 240 would be unthinkable!
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news:j1mMf.16693we > it's time to

We have been a Buick family for quite a while. But probably wont buy one next time. The Lucerne is a little interesting, but is too small, too expensive for what you get, and GM in general has not provided the quality and reliability that we now expect.
I cannot even consider the F word.
So our next car will probably be a Toyota. The Avalon is the next thing to a Lexus, and for competent and comfortable transportation, the Camry is hard to beat.
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Just set up a referral to a local Buick dealer from CarsDirect.com for a Lucerne CXL Northstar DOHC V8. Any thouhgts on this before I get in too far? Seems I've heard about some issues with the Northstar, but don't have the details.
Ed
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Ed,
If you got friends or relatives that you regularly haul and there over 5' 10" tall, rear seat headroom is chopped off in the Lucerne & the LaCrosse is even worse
Harryface
05 Park Avenue 34,477 91 Bonneville LE 306,078
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Harryface,
How do you like that '05 Park Ave? Does it have the same 3.8L engine as my '95 Ultra?
Ed

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Ed,
My Park Avenue has the base 3800 V6. 205 HP and 230 TQ. It had 13,000 miles on it when I bought it. So far no problems with runnabilty. Ended up replacing one wheel and having one repaired.
Overall its a nice car. Big trunk space. Smooth, quiet riding car. Getting 29 mpg on the highway while doing 72mph.
Headroom is tolerable. My other choice before purchase was a Lincoln Towncar.
Some of the electronic gadgetry I can do without. I would prefer a manual climate control sytsem over the automatic. I don't like how the air conditioner compressor is programmed to run in all modes. I hate having to press all the damn buttons. Give me slide levers and a round dial twist switch anyday.
I would also have preferred the car to have a voltmeter, oil pressure & temp gauges. Very little room to add these kind of add ons.
I Would of prefered cloth interior over leather. It definately needs bigger footwells in the rear. The front seat leg tracks wipe out alot of floor space in back. A Coke tray won't even lie flat back there.
Glove box is tiny, door map pockets are thin - for maps only - not glasses or garage door remote controls.
I don't like the way the keyless entry is set up. Its so damn hard trying to get the back doors to unlock sometimes, you got to press unlock once then hold it down. I hate Day Time Running Lights and the automatic headlights. Another thing - you got to be in PARK to pop the trunk. In other car's I'd cruise up along the curb & hit trunk release as I came to a halt.
Another gripe is the fact the armrest doesn't rest on the seat cushion. Its up about 1.5 inches off the seat. Constant pressure from leaning on it press the box down and can crack the storage box around the piviot point. I rectified the situation by putting two 3/4 inch boards under the armrest.
At least I found a Park Avenue not equipped with OnStar. No heated memory seats either.
2005 was the last year for the Park Avenue - so hopefully GM worked all the bugs out of it since they started building this body style ( since 1997 ).
There were very few made for 05 so finding one with the options & colors you want can be difficult.
Good Luck.
Harryface
05 Park Avenue 34,477 91 Bonneville LE 306,078
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Harryface
Thanks for the report, including the bad as well as the good. We have been very happy with the '95 up untill it started with the mysterious Herky-Jerky stuff. OTOH, when I really think about it there have been other serious problems, namely the crankshaft position sensor ,or rather the piece riding with the crankshaft, which cost $600 and interrupted a trip, and the supercharger nose cone which cost $800. The herky-jerky has cost about $600 so far and is still not fixed. Strangely, it behaved just fine today as I was driving over to the Toyota dealership to look at the Avalon.
Cheers,
Ed
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You probably should have bought a LeSabre. You don't seem to like the gadgets and when you buy a top of the line car from any maker you get them.
Harry Face wrote:

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