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Buick Regal



  • Is this a common problem with these headlight plastic housings? Has anybody replaced them and if so, what is the best place to buy besides looking on Ebay? Are the bulbs too hot for the plastic? I don't get it... just another quality issue here from General Motors.

  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 853
    What exactly was done to the 2000-2003 3.8l engines in reference to the recall? Are any of the 2004s affected?
  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 289
    Yes, I would tend to believe that Buick owners are a litter older and not as vocal as, say, Chevy or Pontiac owners.

    My son just bought an '03 Century with the 3.1L V6 (Hertz rental return). 23k miles. The first day he had it I took it in to have the Dex-cool changed out (still under warranty, so didn't convert to green stuff). There was some yellowish crud at the top of the radiator filler neck, but overflow tank was clean, as was the original coolant. An optimist on the Century Townhall guessed the crud was probably stop-leak that GM put in.

    Anyway, I'm curious; is there any chance GM has improved on their notorious plastic intake manifold gaskets installed at the factory since '01 on the 3.1L and 3.4L engines?
  • jbmjbm Posts: 29
    Hi folks.

    Curious to know if anyone has experienced a dash rattle (over bumps/uneven payment) that seems to be coming from the top of the dashboard on the passenger side. It's driving me nuts and if someone has already bagged a fix for it, I'd like to know. Many thanks,

  • I'm sitting here looking at the recall notice for our 2000 LS Regal.Its for all 2000-2003 3800 Series II engines and of course mine says Buick since thats what we have.It says some engines have developed coolant leaks at the upper intake manifold to throttle body gasket or at the lower intake to upper intake gasket.

    What GM will do is replace the engine throttle body fasteners with redesigned fasteners and add cooling system sealent to the radiator tank at no charge thru July 31,2005.If you have already paid to have this corrected before 8-8-03 then they will reinburse you for parts,labor,fees,and taxes.

    The 2004's must be OK from the factory?

    I find it strange that GM recall's the 3800's for potential intake leaks when the 3.1's and 3.4's are having far-far more problems.I can literally find thousands of them on the internet.For ever one thats mentioned on the internet there 100's,maybe 1000's that arent.

    Heres a service bulletin dated March 2003 about the 3.1-3.4 intake gasket problem.It tells about the new improved gasket which they say still has the same part # as the old one.I have heard that most every 3.1-3.4 GM V-6 built from 1995 to Oct 2003 has the potential for a leaking intake gasket.Some will leak while others never will.

    Our 2000 LS Regal has the famous dash rattle too.It comes and goes.It drives my wife crazy.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 853
    Why in the world would GM add a coolant sealing liquid to the radiator if the new fasteners, supposedly, will fix the potential or real problem?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,702
    Sealant had been added to the radiators at the factory for decades(?), or at least a long time. With the dexcool is caused a discoloration in the reservoir tank and that didn't look good to a buyer who checks under the hood. So GM started leaving it out in 2000.

    The tablets are about the size of a quarter and 1/2 inch thick. Somewhere I had read what they contained to act as a sealant.

    I have changed the coolant in my 98 two times and I wondered if some of the sealer may have been flushed out. Plus the intake manifold and gasket had been replaced. I bought the tablets and put 2 into the tank while the car was hot.

    I feel it will seal a minor seep somewhere.

    This message has been approved.

  • tsu670tsu670 Posts: 289
    For giggles I went into and sent an e-mail via the "Contact Buick" button asking if 1) there was indeed a new head gasket to replace the plastic one; 2) if so, can a Buick owner request a replacement before the warranty expires; and 3) if replacing Dexcool with green coolant would void the factory warranty. Here's the response:


    I have researched this matter for you and I do not have information on any planned changes to the intake manifold gasket.

    Parts can not be replaced under the 36,000-mile/36 month warranty unless there is a manufacturers defect on that part.

    In regards to changing the engine coolant, I have found the following in the owner's manual under section 5-23 and 5-24.

    Engine Coolant
    The cooling system in your vehicle is filled with DEX-COOL® engine coolant. This coolant is designed to remain in your vehicle for 5 years or 150,000 miles (240 000 km), whichever occurs first, if you add only DEX-COOL® extended life coolant.

    The following explains your cooling system and how to add coolant when it is low. A 50/50 mixture of clean, drinkable water and DEX-COOL coolant will:

    o Give freezing protection down to -34 F (-37 C).
    o Give boiling protection up to 265 F (129 C).
    o Protect against rust and corrosion.
    o Help keep the proper engine temperature.
    o Let the warning lights and gages work as they should.

    Notice: When adding coolant, it is important that you use only DEX-COOL (silicate-free) coolant.

    If coolant other than DEX-COOL is added to the system, premature engine, heater core or radiator corrosion may result. In addition, the engine coolant will require change sooner - at 30,000 miles (50,000 km) or 24 months, whichever occurs first. Damage caused by the use of coolant other than DEX-COOL is not covered by your new vehicle warranty.

    What to Use
    Use a mixture of one-half clean, drinkable water and one-half DEX-COOL coolant which won't damage aluminum parts. If you use this coolant mixture, you don't need to add anything else.

    Adding only plain water to your cooling system can be dangerous. Plain water, or some other liquid such as alcohol, can boil before the proper coolant mixture will. Your vehicle's coolant warning system is set for the proper coolant mixture. With plain water or the wrong mixture, your engine could get too hot but you wouldn't get the overheat warning. Your engine could catch fire and you or others could be burned. Use a 50/50 mixture of clean, drinkable water and DEX-COOL coolant.
    Notice: If you use an improper coolant mixture, your engine could overheat and be badly damaged. The repair cost wouldn't be covered by your warranty. To much water in the mixture can freeze and crack the engine, radiator, heater core and other parts.

    If you have to add coolant more than four times a year, have your dealer check your cooling system.

    Notice: If you use the proper coolant, you don't have to add extra inhibitors or additives which claim to improve the system. These can be harmful.

    I hope that this is of assistance to you. I have created a file to document your inquiry, please refer to file 1-''''''''' when corresponding about this matter.

    If you should need to contact us in the future, simply reply to this message or call our Buick Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-521-7300. Customer Relationship Managers are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

    Again, thank you for contacting Buick.


    Jennifer Bastian
    Customer Relationship Manager
    Buick Customer Assistance Center
  • I was just cruising your Regal board and was interested to see the posts about dexcool. My brother sent me a link to GM about a study they (GM) did on the stuff. I thought I saved it but I can't find in on my computer. If I do I'll post.
        Anyway, the conclusion of the study was that dex-cool does what it was designed to do. The problem seems to be that when it gets contaminated it gels and becomes toxic to the gaskets, heater core, ect. I'm sorry that I can't remember more about the specifics (I read it about 3 years ago) but it seems that when it goes bad something grows (organic?) in it. The main cause of this contamination was traced to a few things. Air getting into the system (as stated above), topping your radiator with reg. antifreeze, and RUST.
        It seems they found that the underside of the radiator caps were the major cause of this. The advice was to replace the caps when even a slight amount of discoloration was found. I think they even had a recall on some early GMs that first used the stuff. I'm not sure what kind of caps the newer Regals have (I'm a '00 Intrigue owner thinking of getting an LS). I know that the Intrigue has a plastic cap and I've got 80,000mi. on it with no problems with the antifreeze or cooling system. I'd say that you should check the level of the dex-cool every time you check your oil and keep it full at all times. I also wouldn't mix dex-cool with "drinking" water and instead use a 50/50 pre mixed dex-cool. Just my $.02.
        Guess this isn't much help without the artical, as I'm not that good at explaining things. I'll give it a good look tomorrow and post the link if I can find it.
        As long as I'm here, I'm thinking of buying a used LS Regal and wondered if you good folks have any advice? They have some '03 in the paper out here for about $13,000 with 25 - 30Kmi on them. Its between a LS and another Intrigue but I'm not having much luck locating the Olds. Am I right to assume that if an LS has alloy wheels that it comes with the touring package? I've looked at tons of LS listings and they never list the GT package as an option, but some have wheel covers and some have alloy wheels. Also, if it's two tone paint does it have the Abboud(sp) package. I won't get one unless it has the stiffer suspension. Thanks for any advice. Hope to be a regular if I can find the right LS.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    When they say not to add anything other then dexcool they are correct unless you do a complete flush and assure that only clean water is running out. then you can refill with the green stuff and you will be fine. Change every 2-3 years.

    There there is the infamous Toyota red coolant. Love it, can't tell the diff between the coolant and the PS fluid or tranny fluid if a leak develops.

    Ah, brilliant minds!!!!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,702
    The recommendation is to keep the dexcool. It IS much better with the aluminum and other metals in today's engines. The silicates in the green stuff don't work as well. I asked about getting it out of my 3800 LeSabre after the intake manifold leak (slight).

    The key is don't leave the stuff in there for a long time. Change it two years or 24000 miles. The stuff is relatively cheap.

    Be sure the radiator is filled completely at the cap, not just the reservoir. There's something about air present that had caused breakdown of the coolant. Imagine coolant blasting past an air entrapment and mixing with it all the time the engine is running and hot.

    I'd recheck for the full level after a few days of driving to be sure any trapped air from the heat core isn't still in the radiator cap area.

    This message has been approved.

  • Look under the trunk lid for code Y56. This is the gran touring package. The tires and wheels will be 16" alloy. There was a prerequisite for another luxury package before the GT suspension package could be ordered. I bought a 2002 that was bought new by a GM employee as I did not find a program unit with the GT suspension.

    Also Bob de-contented the 2003 as he did throughout GM.
  • Thanks for the info. I'm going to look at some Regals this weekend. They're '03's ( about 12 of them at one dealers)and they seem to have most of what I'm looking for. I figure they must be rentals or lease returns. They all have the same options on them and include leather seats and alloy wheels. I'll run any vin #'s through carfax if they look worth it. I thought $13,000 sounded like a pretty good deal. The ones with fewer miles cost more of course. I'll have to compare an '02 to an '03 to see what the content differences are. Still would love to find an '02 Intrigue GL, maybe sky blue with a bose system in it with about 20Kmi on it. Love that 3.5L engine. I can dream i guess, but in the mean time I'll just keep looking. Buick, here I come
        Thanks for the advice. Sorry I haven't been able to find the link about Dex Cool but I'll check with my brother to see if he still has it. Thanks again.
  • Jack44Jack44 Posts: 221
    Bennycheck...Just look at the Regal GS...Lots more power than LS and lot's more fun...Big difference...

    ...And you can always install your own Gran Touring Supension after you buy...New sway bars, strut tower braces, and traction control arms...You get all the parts at

    Very inexpensive upgrade...
  • Yea, the GS is a great car but the extra $.20/ gal and higher insurance I can live without. That plus the fact that the wife will be driving it more than me. I did some more research today and coonhound is right. The '03 has a lot less standard equipment than the '02. No ABS, Magna steer, traction control, side air bag, cd, sw radio controls, duel zone climate control,and some other stuff. You can also get alloy wheels without the gt suspension with 15" wheels on the '03. Almost made a mistake on that last one. They list the suspension as a "sport suspension" but it's not the gt.
        As for doing it my self, not my thing. I'll change my own oil, filters, and brakes, but that's about it. I'll start a new search for a '02 LS tomorrow and keep my hopes up that I might find a nice '02 Intrigue or Aurora.

    coonhound: Thanks again for the info on the '02 vs the '03. I guess Bob can be pretty sneaky. Later.
  • jbmjbm Posts: 29
    Hey guys, I posted the problem of a dash rattle and I found the solution myself. Occasionally the panel for the fuse box (right side of the dash, panel that runs parallel to the right front passenger door) will rattle, it's just a matter of pushing it back in. Just an FYI.
  • rbritlandrbritland Posts: 11
    Thanks to dlt1 for post #2517. I took the headlight switch out of my 1999 Regal and found a badly burned terminal where the wiring harness plugs in. I took the swich apart, wire brushed each electrical connection then sprayed it with electronic contact cleaner. When I got it all back together I had two tiny brass bullets left over and possibly tiny missing springs to go with them. I couldn't figure out where they came from, but the switch is as good as new and all the lights work properly now.
    By the way, the switch is made in Mexico, the headlight assemblies are made in England, and the car was built in Canada. Is there anything on this U.S. car made in the U.S.? No wonder there is so much unemployment in this country!
  • coonhoundcoonhound Posts: 174
    My wife is thrilled with her 2002 Buick Regal, and she should be. It only has 8500 miles on it and was a local one owner lady driver. But I liked the 8 speaker 200 watt monsoon sound that my wife will not let my crank it up. Now moving along I took over her 2000 GX Intrigue and she was not thrilled to give it up even with 49,000 miles on it. The Intrigue has had the intermediate shaft & steering rack replaced under warranty. The Ignition switch was just replaced as a cost of $362.00.
    My opinion is that I feel better with The old tough 3.8 push rod engine. The 3.5 is great but I have concerns that if it ever has a problem I'll have to mortgage the house to pay for the repair. The 3.8 made Wards ten best two years in a row, and the 3.5 only made it once. The 3.5 is smoother and quieter and has the higher rpm torque curve that most people like. But the 3.8 has a better low end torque. I was surprised to find that the 3.8 spec is for 10/30 oil. I didn't know that GM recommended anything other than 5/30. As a result the Buick gets about 1 to 2 mpg less than the Intrigue with 5/30 Mobil 1. Also the Regal was rated #1 in mid sized sedan reliability by Consumers Bible, surpassing the camcords and Maxima.
    My vote by a small margin is for the Regal.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,702
    difference between 30 and 30 synthetic is causing a difference in gas mileage. Isn't 30 weight defined by flow viscosity at a certain temperature? That would be the same for any 30 weight oil, plus and minus tolerances.

    This message has been approved.

  • The more research I do on the Buick, the more I tend to agree with you that it would be the better long term buy. I've been very lucky with the '00 Intrigue. I've got 80Kmi on it and have only replaced the hvac fan (about $180) so far. It's going in next week for the ISS lube as I think I am starting to feel the problem that others on the Intrigue board have described. I have driven a Bonneville (my brothers) with the 3.8L and it has alot of power, but I still like the 3.5L better. Just feels smoother and more refined to me. Parts could be a problem down the road, but GM says they'll support them for 10 years which would take us to 2013.
        As for the searching, not much luck so far. A ton of '03 LS rentals that don't look to bad. None have the GT suspension. Many don't have ABS or traction control. That's a must for my neck of the woods (central NY). The thing I find very odd is that there are very very few '02 Regals or Intrigues to be found. Took a test drive in an Aurora on Sunday. Nice riding car but was surprised at how small the trunk was compared to the Intrigue. No fold down rear seats either. I have to admit if I could find a 4.0 with low mi. in good shape, I would be tempted. What ever I end up with, it will have to be soon. Want to take it to NC for vacation in early April. Hope I don't have to compromise too much. I'll keep you posted.
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