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Buick Century



  • Heh heh. Yes, I'm aware the problems don't occur with all 3.1 and 3.4 engines, or all Centurys. But they affect enough to make it a significant concern...a costly and aggravating repair to encounter.

    What really bothers me is how The General responds (or does not respond) to these type of issues. How long have they been making these engines? How long have they been aware of the problem and allowed it to continue (the "improved gasket" semi-fix's a design problem that should be properly corrected).

    I'm not a GM basher (I'll always have a soft spot for my 76 Camaro LT Sport Coupe...I loved my 99 S-10 pickup...and my 2002 Blazer is a pretty good truck, although not especially sophisticated...the 4.3 "Vortec" is basically the ancient small block Chevy 350 with a couple cylinders lopped off). BUT...a responsible manufacturer who actually cares about quality deals with this type of thing quickly, and definitively. They don't allow it to be a nagging concern for years and place the engine in a multitude of vehicles.

    GM (and Ford and Chrysler) still have a lot of lessons to learn from companies that I'll refrain from naming here (however they rhyme with "Royota" & "Konda").

    Barn :P
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 289
    Barney, I think you hit the nail on the head. I've owned vehicles from all of the Big Three and can honestly say that I'm convinced more than ever that while their engineers might have their hearts in the right place, it appears they are quickly overruled by the bean counters. But it isn't just American makes. From what I've read (and heard from 2 friends who own them), it sounds like Volkswagen is the same way.

    The East Asians seem to have a better response in fixing problems, but this is said in a general way. Some of the Korean makes still aren't up there with the Japanese yet.

    Nevertheless, I still believe American build quality is improving, enough at least that nowadays I am comfortable at buying used ones. Buicks are my current favorite, but who knows down the road? I tend to keep cars for many years, and saving all that front end depreciation feels wonderful!
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    As I said already, the intake manifold gasket is not a big problem by itself. I believe that something like 20% of 2.8, 3.1, and 3.4 GM engines develop the problem sooner or later. However, if your dealer will fix it for $800 with lifetime warranty, it is OK with me. Just subtract the $800 from what you would pay for the car otherwise.

    My problem was with multitude of problems, not with a single one. As well as I understand, Century is much more reliable than 98 Malibu.
  • Excellent point re build quality. I totally agree, North American manufacturers have made tremendous improvements in initial quality, as JD Powers surveys are showing and my own observations in owning several recent domestics. Now that they've achieved this, they need to concentrate on improving durability and long-term reliability.

    I too have a feeling that it's the bean counters at work, not the engineers. DeLorean outlined this quite well in his book (On a Clear Day you can see General Motors). This is a problem inherent for decades...and they must fix it if they are to survive.

    I am still considering a Century. Both you and Yurkam make good points....get a used one at a fantastic price (because of the depreciation) and build in the $800 1 in 5 chance repair. One question the repair really guaranteed for life? Is this through a goodwill bulletin or secret warranty of some sort? Reason I ask, is that most GM repairs are guaranteed for only 90 days after the fix....can you guys point me to info re this?

    Thanks to both, you've been really helpful and forthcoming with information and your experiences!

    Barn :shades:
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 289
    I don't recall that GM had a special campaign to cover this particular problem and warranted their repair for life. It might be best to call a local dealer and ask them first. Many years ago Ford had a "Repairs Guaranteed for the Life of Your Car" program, but the fine print said it was only for certain "authorized" repairs, so if your repair wasn't in that list you might have been in for a cruel surprise.

    I think for the sake of our discussion I would find the part number and insist that the repair be made with the newest upgraded metal version of the intake manifold gasket. That alone would make me feel a lot better.

    Moreover, if I could remember to ask for it, I'd like to get the old gasket back. IIRC, there's a class action lawsuit brewing about this issue. And, as always, save the paperwork.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    To my understanding, GM does not guarantees the repair. However, many dealers do.
  • day9day9 Posts: 57
    I see alot of century 2002, 2003 for sale now. They are typically less than 30000 miles and cost about 10K. Are these good deals? Any suggestions?
  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,675
    Hi day9,
    You might also check here for some suggestions:
    Used Vehicles: Best Values

    Roving Host
    Host, Future Vehicles & Smart Shopper discussions

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 289
    $10k might be a little high. Also, be aware that antilock brakes that were standard on 2002 models were made optional in 2003 and beyond, so if you are looking at 2003+ models be sure to check if they have ABS. If they don't and you don't care, you might be able to wiggle a little more off the price.

    For comparison, a year ago my son bought a 2003 with ABS and factory CD player for $9995 from a dealer. It had 24k miles on it.
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westPosts: 255
    My 2000 century started leaking in the trunk when it rains. Last night I got in the trunk and had my kid shine a flood lamp around the lid gasket. I didn't detect anything but the water is getting in some how. Any experience in this matter?
  • Karen@EdmundsKaren@Edmunds Posts: 5,028
    A reporter in Southern California is looking to interview a retiree who has been very loyal to the Buick brand over the years, right up to the present. Please send an e-mail to no later than Wednesday, March 22, 2006 containing your daytime contact information and a few words about the topic of interest.

    Jeannine Fallon
    Corporate Communications

    Karen-Edmunds Community Manager

  • baveuxbaveux Posts: 175
    My turn, my Century have a drinking problem !!! Unbelievable how GM can be slow to correct a known problem for the last 15 years.
  • vicmatvicmat Posts: 1
    My 2002 with only 90,000 km (approx. 55,000 miles) lost it's coolant, so I filled it up, but now it's low again...talked to my corner mechanic, who laughed and said it's the intake manifold leaking into the engine... he does 4 or 5 a month (all Buick Centuries with 80-110 km on them)for about $800. This is CRAP! I think GM should take some responsibility...No wonder their stock is plummeting...I'll bet they will be out of business in 10 years (or bought out by Kia...)
  • The issue you had with the Buick Century wiper blades stoppiong straight up is over 5 years old. I was wondering if you ever found the solution to this problem. My mother has a 1998 Buick Century with the very same issue.
  • agiorgioagiorgio Posts: 2
    We just had to have the #6 fuel injector replaced. We had an intermittent "Service Engine Soon" light for a few months, and I could feel the engine "missing" at times. A few weeks ago, the problem suddenly got a lot worse, and the #6 cylinder stopped firing completely. The vibration at idle was very noticeable, and the SES light started flashing.

    We had the faulty injector replaced, and the engine smoothed right out. The SES light is no longer illuminated.
  • I am new to this forum and find all the information very helpful. Here is my problem and maybe I can get a response by YURAKM or any of the other Buick know-it-alls (he!he!he!)

    1. My daughter used the passenger control for her a/c needs this weekend and after sometime we noticed her side of the floor was wet. It didn't smell and it looked like condensation maybe. I lifted the mat and it looked like sweat and the floor under the mat and on top of the mat was damp. Also, every time I made a left turn, the a/c made a noise like a screeching sound. Any suggestions? :confuse:
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westPosts: 255
    Any one install a xm radio in a Century before? What's the best way to run the antenna wire?
  • hoodlatchhoodlatch Mid-westPosts: 255
    Another chronic problem buick has is the transmission. My 2000 Century at 56k started shifting hard. From what I read, the valve body is made of softer material than the piston that controls pressure. After a while the piston seal leaks pressure and requires a repair kit with sleeve. Like you said, GM needs to start taking responsibility for poor engineering and do the right thing. Or maybe they plan on merging with Yugo.
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 289
    I've read in some places where the rubber tube that directs the condensed water from the evaporator sometimes gets a kink in it or is misdirected into the front passenger foot well. Inasfar as the screeching noise is concerned, does it only happen when the A/C is on? It could be a myriad of things, including a serpentine belt slipping against a sticking pulley on the A/C compressor. Or perhaps it is time to check if the A/C refrigerant needs recharging. The refrigerant acts not only as a cooling agent, but as a lubricant as well. Good luck, and please let us know how it all turns out.
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