I just bought a 3.8L Regal 2000 LS with 34K miles.
I have the service records - and the car had a warranty job done (engine
coolant leak recall -- done last August, and according to the dealer service
receipt, the whole job consisted of the replacement of a nut, and new
coolant, along with coolant "sealer pellets" added.)
The car's systems -- fuel, mechanical, electrical -- all appear to be in
I'd appreciate any advice/recommendations for its care, its weak spots and
things to watch out for, worthwhile preventive maintenance items,
The nuts that were replaced were for the intake manifold. The redesigned
nuts are supposed to tighten down better to prevent the gasket from
leaking antifreeze. The 3800 has had gasket problems and previous years
had problems with the upper intake manifold cracking around the EGR
tube. Your car I believe has the redesigned upper intake, which is
plastic by the way.
Other than that one problem the car is a good choice and should provide
years of service. Did you luck out and get one without ABS?
1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE
3800 V6 ( C ), Black/Slate Grey
_~_~_~_~278, 469 miles_~_~_ ~_~_
Thanks for the good wishes. As for ABS -- it has it. Frankly, this is the
first car I've owned with ABS and I've always been curious about it. I can
see you are less than enthusiastic about ABS -- I'm curious -- nix on this
model's ABS, or as a general principle?
am looking forward to it
Nix on ABS as a general principle. I just don't think it has been
perfected yet. Plus I hear to many complaints from people of not being
able to stop on uneven surfaces or while towing. Dad had three accidents
with a Ford truck that just wouldn't stop, two times he had the boat
with him. If it was the former Chevy truck without ABS that he had, we
wouldn't of had to buy a F250 bumper, grille & headlights and a rear
clip for what he had hit.
1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE
3800 V6 ( C ), Black/Slate Grey
_~_~_~_~278, 900 miles_~_~_
I had an Accident in my first 1998 Buick Century. It was a semi-warm
night, about 55 degrees air temp, mid spring, it had been 75 thru out the
day. No chance of ice. It was about 4 in the morning and raining. I had
new tires on the car. Coming out of a corner on a country road I saw a
genuine Trophy Class Buck in my path. I swerved, and tried to correct, while
braking. FWD with ABS, your supposedto be able to do so.
The dang car would not correct. I lost control, and slid off the road.
Both air bag blew after leaving the road, and deflated right before the
Large tree that stopped me.
Long story short. $9,780 in damages to a car I still owed $9,000 on in
2002. It was a total write off (like a idiot I bought another 98, for WAYto
much), This one is worse in the wet weather, or on gravel.
When it rains or snows, I park it. I would rather drive my super high
mileage 84 C-10 2WD 1/2 ton then the car. Atleast the truck is predictable
when I mash the brakes down, and correctible.
When your off-road, or on snow, your brakes locking up is a good thing.
It allows material to pile in front of the tires, which stops you quicker.
This is why newer Four Wheel Drive trucks have an ABS off switch.
I frigging hate it when I hit a pot hole, then the "LOW TRAC" light comes
on. Same damned light comes on anytime I need to stop quickly and the car
slides. POS last new GM I am keeping ABS on.
P.P.S. A Deer that large, in that car would have killed me. In my truck It
would have hurt a bit. If I would have had my rifle with me, I would have
went deer hunting after the wreck.
That's what you get for FWD and nearly 200HP. A silly combination of
power, torque-steer, and wieght distribution. All of the big FWD boats
fail in emergency situations like this.
ABS is junk. What isn't is AWD with stability control. This is what
keeps you from sliding or slipping under hard braking and rapid
direction changes. ABS just makes you stop quicker, nothing more.
Part of the problem is that people think that ABS allows you to
do the same thing as the more modern and expensive stability control,
thanks to nearly two decades of advertizing and reviews.
Sorry to hear you bought another FWD Buick. I'd have gotten something
RWD or AWD myself.(The Vibe in AWD is a good car, actually)
Also, air bags are junk as well. They are made with the idea that they
need to function as a primary safety device. Ie - replace the seat
belt. It has been shown that wearing a seat-belt is more effective.
Yet - I bet $2000 in the damages was for replacing the airbags. Nice
scam they have there.
If he was applying the brakes I fail to see how much HP and torque the
engine makes matters. Torque steer only comes in when you're giving it gas.
Weight distribution I can see though.
No, it's also supposed to help you control where you want the vehicle to go
when you're braking. You know, my uncle has an AWD van, we've been able to
get that thing to slide on snow. We have a 4WD Blazer, we've been able to
get that thing to slide also. All stability control does is cut the engine
power. AWD does the same thing as 4WD, it helps you get moving. 4WD doesn't
help with braking, how does AWD? UNLESS...you use your gas when you're
slamming on the brakes, which I don't really see as helping any.
They both have their places, ABS is for braking, traction/stability control
is for traction/stability. You wouldn't say that the Volvo XC90 with it's
stability control that'll apply the brakes when it feels that it might tip
over is the same thing as ABS would you? Nope, just like how you wouldn't
say that ABS will stop an SUV from tipping over.
Air bags DO work to a degree if people in the vehicle also have their
seatbelts on. Some of the newer ones won't even deploy unless a seat belt is
worn since it could do more harm then good.
Yet GM's version can't seen to do this. Neither can Ford's.
Not reliably, at least.
Then it's not true stability control. The real thing effectively turns
your car into a 4*4*4. Every wheel braking and accelerating
independantly. Very slick technology that GM can't seen to get
it's brain wrapped around. Mercedes has it and you can drive figure
eights on ice with it. Toyota seems to make a decent implimentation
as well. My friend can slide his 4-Runner and the rear end is
virtually impossible to loose control of.
Well, that's a problem with weight and center of gravity. No, it's not
the same thing as ABS, either, though ABS is a requirement for the
Yes, but he was also applying the brakes. If you're slamming on the brakes
do you give it all the gas you can? No. Torque steer comes into play when
you're giving it alot of gas.
They might not do it well, but then again I've never had to find out. Wait,
scratch that. A couple years ago we were going up for deer hunting. My
gramps in an 01 LeSabre, uncle in 99 Safari, us in a 97 Silverado. Gramps
had to slam on his brakes and swerve to avoid hitting a turkey. My uncle and
dad had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a couple deer that ran out in
front of us. Not one of us had a problem with it.
Hmm, call me stupid but name one vehicle that can give all engine power to
just one wheel. Acura is currently working on a system like that and it's on
a concept car. BTW...you should read about Stabilitrack
(http://media.gm.com/news/presskits/safety/safety_features.html ). And I
wouldn't say that GM doesn't get it to work unless you've been in a C5 with
and without it on.
"Stability Enhancement Systems provide greater driver control under a
variety of driving conditions and circumstances, such as unexpected
emergency maneuvers. Steering wheel angle sensors and yaw rate sensors
compare how the driver is steering to how the vehicle is responding and,
when necessary, apply the brakes at one or more wheels to help bring the
vehicle in line with the steering commands. GM's stability enhancement
systems include StabiliTrak (available on Cadillac Escalade, Escalade EXT,
DeVille, Seville and Eldorado; Buick LeSabre and Park Avenue, and Pontiac
Bonneville); Active Handling (Chevrolet Corvette), and the Precision Control
System (Oldsmobile Intrigue and Aurora)"
Cars can roll over too you know. Glad that we agree ABS has its place and
traction control has its.
Interesting. I was considering even partial power while other
wheels brake to be sufficient. My friend's 4-Runner does this
and he can accelerate through a gravel turn and the rear end
slides back in line right on cue with no slowing or input.
Just drives a perfect line around the corner. Toyota seems
to have a very good implimentation - but it's only on their
4*4 models so far.
100% power would be slick. Any idea when this might come to the
Sure. I just don't think that ABS is the same as stability control,
despite what the marketing people want us to think. IMO, Stability
control is the most valuable feature other than side impact airbags.
Honestly I'm not sure. I think that it's something that'll be in development
for a few more years. If you're interested it's on the Acura RL concept.
That I wouldn't mind having. Oops, first time I read it wrong. Still it's
not a bad AWD system.
"The Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive System' (SH-AWD') is the first and only
all-wheel-drive platform that distributes the optimum amount of torque not
only between the front and rear wheels but also between the left and right
rear wheels. During straight line cruising and moderate cornering, up to 70
percent of torque is at the front wheels. During full throttle acceleration
or spirited driving, up to 70 percent of available torque goes to the rear
wheels for increased acceleration and enhanced cornering. In addition to
varying the torque front to rear, SH-AWD varies the amount of torque to the
left and right rear wheels. When cornering, this ground-breaking technology
overdrives the outer rear wheel, sending up to 100 percent of rear torque to
that wheel to dramatically enhance the RL's cornering, steering feel,
handling and stability. The result is class-leading cornering performance
and cornering stability as well as enhanced traction on dry or wet surfaces.
It can be be pretty useful. I remember when I was looking at RWD cars awhile
back I wanted to make sure that I got one with stability control since we
get a decent amount of snow and rain here. In the few years of driving that
I've done I've only had the brakes lock up once and I don't think I've ever
had ABS kick in (once I was driving my aunts Z28 and I had to slam on the
brakes to not run a stop sign and avoid hitting another car that just came
to a complete stop in the middle of the intersection and the ABS wasn't
pumping but the brakes weren't locked up either), but with damn near every
FWD car (the lone exception is the 01 LeSabre with Stabilitrak) I've driven
on snow it completely understeers. Those times I wouldn't have minded TCS or
Stability Control. But I still prefer RWD in the winter months :P
I find that FWD is only really good for lighter, smaller cars in snow.
Guess I've been driving RWD cars to long. Can't wait until my beater
LeSabre dies. See- I can't justify a third car if mine is still
running. My last Buick, a 1984 Regal, was like that. Ran worse and
worse and finally 3/4 of the computers were dead - but still ran
(had that wierd electro-mechanical FI). Silly thing wouldn't die.
Kind of reminds me of The Last Remake of Beau Jest, where their
father was always "still alive and dying" :)
Go ahead :P
I drove a 95 Cavalier in the snow and I don't think that I would ever do it
again by choice. When I learned how to drive I got an equal time in both FWD
and RWD vehicles and I prefer RWD. But then again most people I know that
drive both the same amount of time do. I think that I could justify having a
few vehicles but no more then 3 or 4. Sorry to hear about your Regal :P
1998 Bucik Century with a 3.1 V6 has 200 HP? You must be thinking of a
Super Charged Regal. Try more along the the lines of 130 to maybe 140.
Torque Steer was not an issue either as throttle was not used for
braking manuver.If I would have thought a blip of the throttle would have
helped correct, I would have done so.
How can anyone call a COMPACT car a boat. They market it as a "full"
size car. When I got the First 98 Century I also had a 93 Buick Park Ave.
Which made the Century look Mid-size. My 79 Buick Lesabra made the 93 Park
Ave look mid-size, for that matter.
Stability controll is just a little computer that shuts down fuel, or
spark. I know I can do better my self. But then, I have racing experiance
and experiance doing a bit of extreame driving.
I beleave Anti-Lock Brake Systems are supposed to keep the brakes from
locking, overpowering the traction of the tires. The car plowwed and skid.
ABS cars should not do that in RAIN. The car should have only plowwed if
when the wheels were turned to sharp for the speed of travel. Not with a
reasonible amount of turn, with the brakes on.
I transport my disabled Mother. Doing so requires a vehical she can
enter and exit. She can Enter and Exit the Century with ease. So my only
other option in the price range was a used S-10 Extreame, and a set of
firestone air bags.
As for a Vibe, you could not pay me enough to own one. If I want all four
wheels driving at once, I will buy a Truck with a LOW range. If I ever get
an AWD Astro, I have already found out I can mate a NP205 transfer case in
to one. They do make 6 & 8 inch lift kits for them as well.
Air bags are to protect small people, who sit close to the steering
wheel from chest and head injuries. I sit far enough back that all the air
bag did was knock my hat off my head, and knock my hands off the wheel.
While the passengers side air bag broke the windshiels Via it's door, and
knocked the rear view mirrior off. If my 4 foot 8 inch tall sister in law
had been driving, she would have needed the air bag.
Ah. You got the baby Buick. It's a fine car. The latest version puts
out roughly 170hp, IIRC.
The problem is that you are trying to turn at the same time you have
engine braking on those same wheels. FWD works best on small cars.
Sure - but even a Century is well over 3500lbs with fuel and a driver.
Well, if this is what GM is foisting off on us as stability control,
then I can understand your reservations. The real thing requires
true 4 wheel AWD and ABS working in conjunction.
My guess is the front-heavy design. My Buick LeSabre is notoriously
bad in emergency maneuvers as well - all that weight is just too much
for the front end and it overpowers the wheels when you brake hard.
I once stopped so hard that the front of the car hit the pavement.
Yes, the rear end slid out on me as well - it had nowhere to go once
the front suspension was overloaded and essentially immobile.
Thanfully it was only 3-4 ft to the side, but still - crappy design.
Never had any car do that. I still drive it as a "beater" because
it won't die, but I drive it like it's got zero safety. The Volvo 240
is what I drive in the rain. Rock-solid implimentation of the
Yes, that's the problem. ABS should but it ususally seems to
have half-assed computers as far as I can tell. Wet pavement
or hydroplaning or mud or gravel gives it a brain-fart as it doesn't
see enough friction to think it's going to lock up, even when
basically locked up.
Doubly so if you have a vehicle like the F150 - ABS on the rear
Im not sure what the 1998 3.1V6 W cars are rated at. It could be 170 HP,
it sure doesn't feel like much more.
Actually at the speed of travel, the car was in over drive. I do not
beleave it down shifted untill I slammed in to the tree. One I left the
road surface traction was a moot issue. Wet grass, and mud with a vehical
like that at over 20 mhp. Well it's like trying to drive on snot.
To me that is still not a heavy vehical. I am used to driving vehicals
with a very heavy front bias.
All Wheel Drive is a mis-nomer. Just like Four Wheel Drive. Unless you
have a constant 50/50 out put from the transfer case, and locked
diferentials, it's really 2 wheel drive any time one wheel has less
traction. I can not count the number of people I have recovered off roading
where they got stuck due to no locking differential. Locking Diffs in Four
wheel drive trucks are not for street drivers. Yes I did try it. Detriot
Lockers in Dana 60's under a 3/4 ton chevy. It went stright real fine,
turning was a nightmare.
Your front Struts and Springs need replaced. Bad Struts and springs
cause Excessive Brake Dive. It also causes lose of controll.
I could actually lock the brakes up on dry ground with that car.
Something my current one has done before, yet the dealer can not reproduce.
Rear only ABS is to keep trucks from sliding out when unloaded, and to
prevent trailer jack knifing. I jack knifed a wrecker once, on ice. Came
with in a hair of putting the boom thru the winshield post of the car on the
wheel lift. Company insurance covered the damage to the suspension, and
fender. Since it was a police tow, in foul weather. Rear ABS would have
prevented that, as both seats of dual rear tires locked up on the ice, the
rear of the F-super duty slid right, the car on the wheel lift whipped left,
hard enough to pull the truck around. I was going 10 MPH, down hill.
Differance is, I already have 75% of the parts needed. Im just looking
for a AWD Astro going cheep at the Auction. I don't need to dream.
I wouldn't say that. The front end sheet metal was wasted by the Tree.
It also twisted the front subframe. A fallen tree I brushed put a crease
down the side of the car. $3,600 in damage was done by the idiots the
sherrifs called to tow it. Even though I had already called for my own
Harts Towing using their roll back, and a unexperianced driver. Back
down thru a ditch to load the car. Instead of using snatch blocks, or
attempting to lift the rear of the car, they drug it on to the flat bed.
This ripped the rear bumper cover, as the cable, not a recovery strap, but
bare cable pulled against the cover. Cutting it like a hot knife. When the
got the car to start loading, the idiot operate failed to note the exhaust
system going under the lip of the bed. Nor did he notice when it wrapped
around the rear axle. Not did he care about it being smashed in to the
passengers rear floor pan. Nor did he care about the bed corner punching a
4x4 inch hole in the passengers front floor pan. Then the Dumb Asses, cut
the positive and negitive battery cables, because the park lamps would not
go out. That may have been because I turned them on at the switch so the
car could be seen from the road.
The insurance estimator stopped the damage count at $9,780. The car was
considered a total loss. If not for the damage done by the idiot towman, I
would have only have had $7000 in parts and repairs needed. My insurance
company has a open lawsuit against them, and the sherrifs of the county it
Yes I am a Profession Recover Specialist, and there is a differance between
a Pro-Towman and some Goober who thinks he is a Towman.
Ah. I don't consider part-time AWD/4WD to be the real thing. Full-time
4WD is a joy to drive, but it does require a *lot* more parts in the
drivetrain. Most of the new "AWD" cars are unfortunately cheaping
Yeah I know. Never was made quite right. Of course I have the
old late 80's LeSabre(wedge shaped one), which sucked a lot.
Very poor front end suspension, though I only had it do that once.
Ick. I feel for you. GM seems to have fixed the problems since ~2000,
Charming. Can't idiot-proof everything.
So that means that minus the airbags and the morons, the damage was
closer to $3000.
I can see it now. Lol.
The right thing to do is stop once things start breaking.
Perfect. Well, at least you got his insurance to get you a new car.
As they say, if you build a better mousetrap, a bigger idiot will
come along to mess it up. OMG what a mess.
Good for them. In this case, your rates shouldn't go up as much as they
did far more damage than the original crash did.
I had a "full" time 4 wheel drive 78 Suburan, 3/4 ton, NP 203
Transfercase. Factory Locking/Posi-Traction Rear End. Get a rear wheel
hanging in the air you were fine. Get a front wheel in the air, or with
limited traction, and you were not going anywhere. All AWD systems I have
looked at are like this. Almost all Factory 4x4's are like this. It's not a
problem of being cheep. It's a problem with being able to turn on hard
All Wheel Drive is basicly a four wheel drive system, with out a gear
reduction, or "Low" range. Since most AWD vehicals (out side of Trucks and
SUV's), are not intended to be used off highway, they do not require heavy
duty designed parts. A good example is something like a Dodge Caravan AWD.
Chrysler made a minor modifacation to the trans-axle housing and to one C/V
drive shaft. They added a housing for a rear drive shaft, and a rear drive
unit. All light duty stuff, as it was never intended for more then a muddy
drive way, a lose sand beach, or a snowy back road. Driven for it's intended
useage it does fair enough. Attemp to do much off highway driving, and the
The only decent AWD systems are found on Turcks & SUV's. Where in most
cases the only differance in the drive line parts is the transfer case. A
good example of this is the AWD Old Bravada. You can convert one to four
wheel drive by changing the transfer case, putting in the vaccume switch,
and interior range selector. I can't remember if the drive shafts from the
transfer case to the axles are the same. If not it uses the same axles as it
S/T syblings. Just like the GMC AWD S & T trucks did.
The 2 AWD vehicals I would like to own, that I would keep in their
factory AWD configs, are the GMC Syclone & Typhon. Yet finding affordible
examples that do not need ground up restorations is a challenge.
You said before You have a 2001 Lesabra that does that. The 80's FWD
fullsize GM's brake very well, when in good shape. There are two different
bolt patterns to the cars, and two different brake sizes between 1984 to
1992. Every example I have driven has had the larger brakes to them.
As for the Suspension, Struts and coil springs are only good for so
long. 80,000 to 100,000 is the service life of most struts. Yet people
will drive on them till they out right fail mechanically. When the customer
has the money, I perfer to install new springs when I install new struts.
This is especially true for rear coil spring, FWD GM's. As my business
partner calls it "Ass-Drag Syndrome" Where the cars tend to ride down the
road with the rear end squatted down. This is caused by engine torque, and
weak rear suspension parts. GM FWD cars for the most part are fighting them
selfs. The direction of motor placement, causes the torque from the motor,
straning against it's mounts, to try to lift the chassis. Old Muscle cars
used to torque the front ends lifting the left fender, and dropping the
right. OLD RWD cars would also tend to torque at the rear end putting the
left rear tire in better contact with the ground while rasing the right
rear. GM FWD cars do not have the driveline torque absorbtion of the OLD RWD
beasties. Probably why the FWD drivetrain has more mounts, and they tend to
fail after a cirtant milage.
It looks to be a while before I will be purchasing any 99 up GM
vehicals. Unless I win the lottery.
Want to test durability? let an idiot try it for a month. --A engeneer
who shall remain nameless.
I was actually looking to do the repairs my self. Before talking to the
insurance adjuster, who could not look at the car for a week. Which did not
bother me since I had a rential car the evening of the wreck.
During that week I made a few calls, dropped by a few salvage yards,
look at the cost of new parts,ect. Going from memory of what the car looked
like the last time I saw it, I had even accoutned for sub frame damage. I
could buy Air Bags from a 98 Century, with insterment cluster, for $650.
That's with the same color covings. Not an Excessive cost at all for late
model car parts.
I estimated my labor, Majority used parts, paint, and consumibles to
come out to $7000, roughly. Which the insurance company would have paid.
That's too late. By then you have damaged the vehical. The right thing
to do is call for some one with the proper knowledge and equipiment to
recover the vehical.
No My insurance paid the loss. Since I had a rider in the policy stating
they would pay full *loan* ballance. Something one claims adjuster I spoke
with did not see in the policy, untill I pointed it out. At the time, the
amount owed on the loan, exceeded the value giudes, or book value of the
car. WE bought the new one, with only a small amount paid for by my
insurance. Well it's actually a used one. It is the LAST car I will purchase
for that dealership, or any one I know will purchase from there. But that's
a story I am going to keep to my self, for now.
Yes it was and is a very large mess. Once things are done in the courts,
I will personally get involved. The loacl Towing, Recovery, and Repo
community is a small one. Every one seams to know every one else.
Actually it did quite a number on my insurance rates. My insurance rates
before were low by compairson to other males my age. Especially with high
perfromance cars (I have always had one in that insurance catagory).
The county the wreck happened in, is known for being a fund rasing thru
citations county. They stuck me with a "fauilure to controll" ticket. If I
would have nailled the deer, I probably would have gotten a simular ticket.
The ticket put 2 points on my drivers license. I asked my lawyer about the
ticket, his reply was this:
"You could pay me $500 to fight it, and probably lose, because it is
that court system. Or you could just pay it, and deal with higher rates. We
both know the traffic court in that county is crooked".
I took his advice. He has yet to ever give me advice that was not built
on a factial basis. Not that he is always right, but he checks the laws
before he speaks.
So basically I got the shaft all the way around. I still am because the
hosptail won't bill my insurance company, who will not pay me to pay the
hosptail. Nor since the hosptial says my back problem was tempory will they
pay for me to get it fixxed. And trust me, my back is worth more then any
True, but done correctly, it's not so bad. That Lexus system, though,
looks to be amazing. Can't wait. Oh - to do full time 4wd, you need
two transfer cases, IIRC, to keep that fro happening. Very very few
4*4s shipped with dual transfer cases and locking axles. Most that did
were military vehicles, hence my love for them. :)
IIRC, Pinzgauer also made a functional 3 transfer case 6*6. Lol.
I still see these(Pinzs, not the 6*6) run in the Dakkar Rally from
time to time.
Nice :) Since they depreciate like rocks, maybe I'll keep that
on the list of candidates :)
OOOO... A GNX in a 1/2 ton truck. What's not to like? :)
NO - I just said MY LeSabre does it. I suspect that the design
is better now, but from what I heave read, it's all dependant
upon whether the car has the touring suspension or not. It
makes a drastic difference in ride and safety.
I found this out the hard way, too. GM - eh - all I know is that
my Volvo never needed new springs until it was well over 200K.
Oh, tell me about it. Lol.
Ahahahah. Exactly what I call it. :)
Hence, why I like RWD cars. Well, mid-engine is even better, but they
are kind of rare outside of small tin-can roadsters.
Yep. I still remember my father's old Cutlass Supreme. Someone had
dropped a 350V8 in it and omg it was hellishly fast if the ulgiest
turd on the block. Okay, with the botched re-paint(somehow dark
metallic blue ended up being bird-egg torquiose), calling it a
turd gave the turd a bad name.
The new models have 240HP, IIRC - with the supercharger. THat's
just too much torque on the front end. Even Lexus came to
its senses with the 400 series - RWD.
I like older Volvos and of course, Lezus makes a couple of slick
cars like the IS300.
Heh. I heard that suggested recently that the best way to engineeer
anything was to have two focus groups - one with very bright one full
of later thinkers like computer geeks, engineers, and RPG players, and
the other with morons.
Well, sure - but you think when stuff started to BREAK, he'd stop.
You can get one poijnt removed by going to traffic school, though,
IIRC, every 18 months(the traffic fine). The second point will stay
there, though, as that's a legitimate accident.
Still, that will drop your insurance down I bet.
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