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Buick Park Avenue

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  • what did you finally discover to figure this problem out?
  • might I suggest, that if you've had both front wheel bearings replaced, and you've checked that they replaced the grease pack and felt washer to prevent the grease from being thrown out....
    one looks not at the front wheels, but at the rear transaxle
    housing. Check to see if the rear suspension bushings are not badly worn, that no part of the transaxle is bearing on the chassis, thus transmitting noise that sounds like it comes from the front end.
    After checking all else, check to see if the rear suspension is greased and rear wheel bearings are in good condition, similar to front end.
    Often it is easy to confuse front end noise with noise transmission from the rear of the vehicle. Any good transmittor can be any part of the suspension or exhaust that sets up a resonance in time with wheel motion or suspension movement.
  • schwenk1schwenk1 Posts: 4
    I went to dealer again and he convinced me it was tire noise. I bought new tires for the rear and the noise was gone. Those rear tires were 10 out of 10 per the tire dealer, but had some uneven wear. Lesson: no matter how much it sounds like a noise is coming from the front, be open-minded that it could be coming from the rear.
  • i own a 98 park ave ultra. love the car,however my paint is chipping. my car is pearl white. every time i see another car like mine i ask,and the response is same as mine. paint chipping!not in one small spot,large chips. on my car its chipping on back left fender above tire,front right mirror,front strip between windshield and driver door. others i have seen on trunk,hood,well just all over the car. its only on the white 98s.these chips go straight to the metal! however there has been no recall on this cars paint job.
  • rboldrbold Posts: 1
    Hi, I am wanting to know a few things about a Buick Park Avenue auto. Front wheel drive with a east-west motor? is the housing alloy? how any speeds? and are they electronicly controlled. If anyone can help that would be good
  • 97ultra97ultra Posts: 14
    Couple of good articles here:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/1270031.html
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/reader_rides/1270981.html

    Important things to know:

    They changed the body style in 1997. If you get one, I'd recommend a '97 or newer.

    Mine is the Ultra (supercharged), and it's surprisingly quick for a big car (0-60 in 7.7 seconds or so). Yes, it's front wheel drive, transverse engine, iron block and heads (I think) but the transaxle case is aluminum. Transaxle is a 4-speed automatic, electronically controlled.

    The above Popular Mechanics articles give you some pretty good info, I think.
  • qcdudeqcdude Posts: 3
    I bought a 03 PA with the Prestige Option package and only 15750 miles and thought "what a great ride" and a week later I ran it up past 70 mph and guess what? :mad: Well, I read a lot of posts about wheels, tires, rotors, and other stuff. I believe the guy is right about the wheels and I believe the other guys are right about the tires, so... I logged onto tirerack and ordered after market alloys and Michelin Pilot XGTs that are mounted and force balanced before shipment. I will get them Tuesday or Wednesday and I will repost the end of the week and let you know if the vibes are gone. I hope so because I love almost everything about this car.

    ps Anyone in the market for a set of Goodyear Conquest with a lot of tread remaining????????? (I'll include the stock Buick rims for free) :P
  • Picked up a check engine light that indicates loss of signal for cam shaft sensor and engine runs rough. Replaced sensor, still has check engine light and runs rough. Changed coil, still has engine check light and runs rough. Changed plugs and wires. Still runs rough with check engine light. Disconnected wire to fuel injector one cylinder at a time. This had no effect on two cylinders so I assumed I had two bad fuel injectors. To make sure, I switched fuel injectors but they worked at new locations. What else could be the problem? Maybe ignition module?
  • qcdudeqcdude Posts: 3
    OK, I guess that I will follow-up on this now. The tires and wheels are a great improvement. A lot less road noise, smoother on all road surfaces, superior tire without a doubt, and the wheels look great. The stock wheels had accumulated brake dust that was not removed prior to storage (which was due to a factory buy back) which resulted in rusting and pitting. The tires had never been rotated so the front had lost a lot of tread while the rear were like new. Because of these facts, the $1000+ bucks that I spent on the tires and wheels was not a total waste. However, the vibration did not go away completely. :cry:

    I am very disappointed that a company with a name and previous reputation like Buick let a problem like this go un-addressed for a decade. This is apparently one more reason that Toyota is now the number one auto retailer in the world and will soon be the number one auto retailer in the US. Shame on Buick and GM for what was obviously a very poor management decision to let the "Buyer Beware" and for turning their back on the American public. :mad: :mad:

    Let the readers of this forum take notice if you are thinking about a used Park Avenue. When I get mine paid off I will be turning to our foreign auto manufacturers. I have driven a Hyundai Sonata and plan to purchase one in about a year. I wish that I had gone with my gut feeling a few months ago and I would not have this problem today. :sick:

    Now that I have vented, does anyone out there know of other solutions for the vibration issue????? What about stiffer shocks, or changing the springs?????????????

    It would be nice if Buick would come clean, but I am sure that there are warranty claims still pending, so there is no way that they will admit to what the REAL flaw happens to be.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,475
    I'll overlook your your aimless rant that Buick did something wrong. I can give you links to all the problems about Toyota, Camrys are problems right now. If you believe your rant, don't read the rest of my helpful post--just go see your Toyota dealer since the Japanese company needs your money.

    I probably can find the posts about vibrations in Camrys. I believe I posted for the owner to get the wheels and tires force-balanced as a check. It worked.

    Now for your Park Ave if you are still reading and aren't on your way to the Toyota place... You bought Michelin tires which are usually more round under load and stay round longer than most others. GM used Michelins as replacements when they were fixing cars with this problem due to the high quality stiff frame on the Park Avenue which started with the sleek Riviera and Avalon of the early 90s.

    I'm assuming your force-balancing is right on from the mail order company. Myself I'd find a local dealer of Buicks to run a force balance again after 5-10K miles. I'll bet your problem is the alignment. I have an 03 LeSabre which is a soft suspension version similar to the H body you have. It reacted to the Michelins that were on it new even after the first road force balancing. The alignment turned out to be somewhat off from the exact middle, the ideal setting, for the alignment. Many stores would have throw it on the alignment rack and said, "It's within specs. That'll be $89.95 please." My service manager started as an alignent guy. He did the check himself and found the rear toe-in was off. He carefully checked the Symmetry tires for signs of wear beforehand and found none.

    The alignment helped lots. And the tires seemed to improve after 15K miles and must have broken in and gotten used to flexing or something.

    Actually I think you bought a great 3800 motor with lots of torque that's geared through a good transmission for great driveability short of hotrodding that will still give 30+ mpg at interstate driving with 4 adults and AC running in summer and will give 22-24 around short trip driving.

    The rims are chromed and the chrome deteriorates on the inner surfaces. The outer part and the the tire part are prepped before plating; the inner face is not prepped and the chrome adheres and then starts to break down. Usually the salt and other chemicals are going to affect the outer visible parts before the inner part is meaninfully deteriorated. I had wondered the same thing and found a poster in another group that knew the factual answer.

    There is a tire discussion on Edmunds and capriracer may be able to tell you if I've got the wrong answer or not.

    I hope I've been helpful. I think you bought a good car. The vibrations are from the quality stiff chassis and imperfections in the tires and that slight up and down vibration from imperfect tires move the light suspension parts made of alloys instead of heavy steel and the vibration transmits to the frame.

    Things to check: there was a recall in LeSabres up to 03 to change taps holding the throttle body to the upper intake manifold for more even pressure and adding organic pellets to the DexCool for sealant. They had put them in originally and left the out with 00 to have better looking reserve tanks; but the seal slight seeps. Check to see if that recall is applicable to 03 Park Aves and has been done. Check to see if your DexCool has been flushed and replaced with DexCool since new. It should be done 2 years or 30K miles approx. It is not perfect as a coolant. But it's better than the green stuff. It is NOT a 5 year 150k mile coolant. My LeSabre will be changed this spring in my driveway again at 50K mile. I add two crushed coolant sealer pellets after rinsing and refillng. They're available at the parts counter at Buick and other GM dealers for about $3-5.
  • qcdudeqcdude Posts: 3
    This will be my last post on this thread!!! I owe this to the readers/PA owners and I guess to imidazol.

    First I would like to elaborate on my emotions from my $1000 wheel/tire purchase from tirerack.

    I drive 30,000+ miles a year that is work related (from 60 to 500 miles a day). I needed a vehicle that was easy on the wallet and the back, as well as a pleasure to drive. From my perspective, the vibration was an issue that was totally unacceptable, not just an annoyance. I elected to purchase wheels and tires because I needed the problem to go away. I had the patience to trouble shoot with multiple trips to a service center, but due to my work load I did not have the time. I was anxious when I read the various posts and then placed my order. I felt like it was Christmas when the tires and wheels came in a day early. When I left the service center that mounted my new equipment I thought that I was going to die when I realized the vibration was worse. :cry:

    I then posted my second comment about my Buick PA.

    I began thinking that maybe it was a Tirerack flaw. I had several trips in front of me and fortunately did not have the time to get anyone to look into the problem. My first trip was 120 miles one way. I did stop after 70 miles and consult a tire specialists (ha, right). He explained that several things may be wrong and when I asked if tires had a break-in period he said absolutely not, they should ride great from mile one. WRONG
    I noticed later that day that my return trip was somewhat smoother. That night I read every word of the Tirerack literature, very carefully. Michelin states that the performance tires that I purchased needed at least 500 miles before any aggressive maneuvering takes place (which I will never do anyway) to allow the lubricants to be released in all layers of the tire.

    To shorten this story, I have just exceeded 1200 miles on these tires and all, yes ALL of the vibrations are gone, with the exception of a (new) slight vibration when braking heavily at high speeds. I am guessing the front end alignment that imidazol was referring to in the previous post. So I will take his recommendation and rotate, balance and align after 4 or 5k on the tread.

    Soooooo, PA owners with the vibration, new wheels and michelin tires (notice I went high speed rating on the tires) WILL definitely smooth out that suspension and allow your PA to ride the way it was intended to ride. You MUST "Road Force Balance" and "Dynamically Balance" each tire/wheel. As it turned out, Tirerack did a great job, and it was free because I bought tires and wheels at the same time online and selected the free balance option.

    Now for Buick.

    IMO. Corporate should have solved this problem instead of apparently forcing individual dealerships to field the repairs. It seems as though some dealers satisfied customers, others did not. The "Buick" dealership where I purchased my factory buyback PA appeared to be ignorant about how to resolve the issue. I will still be getting a free rotation and front end alignment from them, but I did pay for the wheels and tires that actually solved the problem (not warranted on used cars).

    THX edmunds
  • pau03pau03 Posts: 14
    I have a 2003 Park Avenue Ultra with the factory 17 inch chrome wheels. I've had new Kumho tires put on it and I still get a vibration in the steering wheel at highway speeds. I drove 3 other PA's before I bought this one and they all had a vibration of some sort. This should have slapped me in the face that there is a design flaw here. I've had the car aligned and the wheels balanced again. Rebalancing helped but not completely. Then I had to swap the front struts driver/passenger sides (different issue) and the vibration got real bad. I didn't do anything to the tires then. This tells me that the suspension itself is contributing to the resonance. I've read a TSB that states that there is a hydro bushing for the control arms. Has anyone had any experience with changing control arm bushings to solve a rotational instability issue? Another piece of the puzzle is that the mph at which the vibration occurs goes up with higher ambient temperature. I guess as the tires warm up the vibration speed goes up with it. Probably the tires are getting softer and changing the dynamics of the mechanical system. Any ideas? Thanks.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,475
    See response in Buick Park Avenue Maintenance and Reapir.
  • bawlmercbawlmerc Posts: 17
    Go to your Buick dealer and ask about a service bulliten.

    Shake/Vibration in Steering Wheel, Floor, Seat at Highway Speeds on Smooth Roads (Diagnose/Balance Tires/Wheels) #00-03-10-007G - (10/01/2004)
    Models: 1998-2005 Buick Park Avenue, Park Avenue Ultra

    It involves replacing front control arms if needed.
  • pau03pau03 Posts: 14
    Yes, I've seen that bulletin. It mentions an "incremental" improvement. What does that mean. Alot or a little? Before I go through the hassle of changing them out I was hoping someone else outh there could give me some feedback about how much success they had with it. I was hoping I could just change the bushings in my existing arms.

    Also, per a previous email question, these are factory 17 inch chrome wheels. All Ultra's from 2003 and 2004 have these wheels. They look nice but must have a bad resonance mode in there somewhere.
  • O.K. Got no fire I've replaced the coil and module. It was stalling then now it wont start thats when I replaced coil and module. still nothing. It has after market alarm system. Can anyone plz help?
    :mad: :confuse:
  • I have a 99 Park Avenue that's been working great. Recently I've been having a problem with the headlights turning on when the car is turned off.

    I have heard a "clicking" sound from the dashboard. I've adjusted the dash lights from the light switch and the sound does go away.

    Today I had to get the car jumped. I did go to Autozone and had the charging system tested. The battery (4 years old) and alternator checked out OK.

    I am looking at replacing the headlight switch (@$60 to $100).

    I was wondering if this is a known problem or if I'm going in the right direction.

    Thanks!
  • epbepb Posts: 2
    My wife's 2002 Park Avenue came with analog On-star and will be deactivated at first of next year. Since it can't be upgraded we checked into trading, she decided not to do that. Since the on star has a GPS in side the onstar, I wanted to try to salvage it and hook it up to an old laptop.
    My only problem is I don't know it is located.Could you help me in finding the on-star unit location in 2002 Buick Park avenue.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,475
    PopSci conversion

    I knew there were articles about doing this.
    Search the web for "use onstar gps laptop."

    Note the PopSci article says to be sure your car does not REQUIRE the VIU to be present. That sounds like it's integrated into some cars.

    I don't recommend or encourage this. I'm concerned you'll run into a quirk and have a major problem. But I supplied a link with a caveat to you.
  • It could possibly be the headlight switch, but it's more likely a fault with the Lamp Control Module, I think. Even if you leave the headlights on, the LCM will shut off power to the headlight switch after a few minutes, at least on my 97 Ultra.

    Before these malfunctions started, did your headlamps turn on by themselves when it gets dark? Many (perhaps all) PA's have an automatic headlamp system, but it only works when the ignition is on.

    There also could be an electrical fault in the ignition switch that is making the LCM think the ignition is on when it's not, thereby turning on the headlights when it gets dark (if you have the auto headlamps).
  • Thanks for the reply. The headlights have always turned on automatically when dark. It's just that every so often when the car is parked and turned off they "flicker" on/off.

    We did notice, but only for a while, that when driving during daylight that there was a loud "clicking" sound. I did find that by playing with the light switch it went away. I did not put the "clicking" and the light problem together until recently.

    Last week I did replace the light switch. So far it's working great, but, it has always been an intermittent problem.

    If the problem returns I've try the light control module.

    Thanks again for responding.
  • I have a 2000 PA and had the fuel gauge spin around and stick at the stop. After several calls and sticker shock from estimates to drop the tank and replace the pump/sending unit to replacing the instrument cluster. I came to the forum. I was reluctant to drilling a hole in the dash to try and manually adjust the needle. I read an entry about the use of a magnet. It worked like a charm and saved me well over $700. I took several magnets from the refrigerator and held them near the cover over the gauge...and voila...no more problem. I also added a dose of Lucas fuel treatment to the tank just as an extra precaution. Thanks for the tip!!!
  • I noticed my car was sounding as if it was bogging down when i gave it gas and would hardly go. I did a transmission service on it, but it still is doing the same thing. After I changed the fluid and filter it did seem better at first. I went about 75000 miles without have the transmission serviced. Could it be the pc solenoid valve is getting clogged or something else or is the transmission possibly not good. The car has 145000 miles on it. I also noticed that there was a sound coming from the motor. As I looked for the sound I noticed it was coming from inside the engine at the air intake. I think I also here tapping in the engine but I know the A/C compressor is no good and it also makes a tapping sound also so it is hard to tell where the tapping sound is coming from in the engine. I think it might be the lifters.
  • This car is painted in Ruby Red and overall is in very good condition, save a couple of scruffy spots. How should one correct and protect these faded areas? I assume the clear coat is gone and it appears the red pigment is going as well. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    For another experience, happened on my 98 after I had replaced the starter. Tried several magnets, even went to Northern Tool and tried their 300 lb magnet, but it wouldn't go around. I didn't want to drill in the gauge cover so I removed the cover and flipped it back over by hand. Mine was not a sealed unit as some have replied. Took about 20 minutes and a small 1/4" drive socket (maybe 6 or 7 mm).

    0) disconnect battery
    1) remove left Instrument Panel endcap - it pops off with a little pull
    2) remove left IP accessory trim plate - woodgrain piece to the left of steering column, pulls off with gentle prying
    3) remove right IP accessory trim plate - woodgrain piece to the right of steering column, pulls off with gentle prying (may need to disconnect wiring connectors, or just leave hanging temporarily)
    4) Block wheels
    5) Put transmission lever in 1st gear

    6) Remove IP cluster trim plate fastener from the left IP endcap area (small socket needed)
    7) Gently pry the IP cluster trim plate away from dash cluster - this is the piece that frames your dash gauge cluster

    8) Remove 4 screws that hold dash cluster in place and pull clear plastic cover away from gauges
    9) Flip fuel gauge needle around counter clockwise
    10) reinstall in reverse order.

    I think you need to have the key turned back off before you reconnect the battery or the problem may re-occur.

    Sorry if I added too much detail for this forum, I don't know what the norm is and just wanted to relate my experience. :D
  • PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
    Do yourself a favor. Drill a 1/4" hole through the cover of panel, just below fuel guage. Insert straightened paper clip and manually rotate needle. Go to hardware store and in the isle where all the pull out trays of screws and fun stuff, you will find 1/4" black plastic plug that will snap into hole you drilled. It becomes invisible. You will have this problem again, guaranteed
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Wow, do you also break off a piece of your car window when you lock the keys in it and repair / hide damage later? :D

    You're saying it's better to drive maybe 15-20 mins each way to the hardware store, obtain rubber plug and maybe a drill bit, spend a little more on gas and end up with a 'invisible' plugged hole in your dash?

    Take a close look at this cluster pic of a BPA on eBay, look at the XL view pic #23.

    cluster pic

    Looks like this drill repair job cracked, is about 3" long and not as invisible as you describe. I'm sure with the right bit and time spent it may be 'less' visible, tho not 'invisible'. Maybe this person was unlucky or unskilled at drilling in cramped quarters.

    Why not do it the right way (apparently several ways are non-destructive), save time, money, and leave the gauge cover intact ( 'invisible')? :confuse: If you have a small socket set, you are good to go in 20 minutes.

    Mine has not re-occured, fwiw
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,475
    Ouch. Sounds terse.

    Drilling a quick hole is a common method. I don't know what that has to do with breaking off part of your window; it would actually shatter in most cases unless it's safety glass like a Lucerne. Smallbites was offering a helpful suggestion--the same one I would have offered.

    I'm glad you haven't had a recurrence, yet.
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    I apologize, by using the smiley I intended to indicate humor. :D ;)

    On the other hand.. the PLEASE.. reply to my post seemed a little condescending to my eyes. :confuse:

    I realize he was just repeating the advice he asked for and received last year, on this very forum. If I could I would go back and edit out the terseness for the benefit of future readers, and if you have the privilege to edit, please do so. I appreciate the forum.

    I simply tried to show what seems to have happened to another person who tried the drill option, so that your members can look at all the options/risks.

    My opinion obviously is why damage an expensive car when you can fix it so simply?

    I will work on the delivery. :)

    Sorry.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,475
    I didn't take the smiley as meaning it was in humor. I'm sorry.

    I visualize taking off the dash front as a real problem. I've done that in the past on Buicks. It is potentially a chance to damage something else or break off a prong needed to hold the thing back on. It's also a chance to have something rattle that didn't used to rattle.

    So I view removing the dash as a real negative, for me with my hands. I'm glad you successfully did it.

    I think the caveat could go both ways; I'm great with sharp drill bits and handling that. so people need to use good equipment for the drilling and need to have dentist's hands to stop the bit as soon as it's through the plastic.
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