Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!





I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

19099109129149151075

Comments

  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 1,773
    Around 1998 or '99 I worked for a time with a fellow who was a bit of a gearhead who had one of the early Olds 88 FWD coupes. I think it was an '87. He still had the original transmission and attributed the longevity of it to the fact that he installed an aftermarket transmission cooler shortly after buying it new.

    This is a fellow who had a Northstar-equipped Cadillac around that same time whose starter failed when he went to leave work one Friday. He left the car in the open-air parking garage for the night, bought a replacement starter and all the gaskets you'd need to replace it (in the Northstar it was buried in the valley between the cylinder banks, under the intake) and returned on the weekend with his tools and replaced the thing on the spot.

    2011 Buick Regal Turbo, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Not two minutes ago, from my upstairs home-office window, I spotted a white '86-'88 white Buick Park Avenue...earlier style of that body with the earlier-style trim and taillights, but looked bone-stock and took off quickly from the stop sign down the street. Funny since we were currently discussing these cars.

    And people say GM's don't last. ;)
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    I know of someone who put over 250K on an 88 LeSabre. The car was certainly rough around the edges and leaked just about everything but it kept going on original engine/trans.

    He gave it to a family member known for destroying cars and he managed to get two years out of it before something fatal happened.

    I am the first one to knock the 3800/4sp when comparing to modern drivetrains (in terms of refinement/power etc) but properly maintained they are certainly bulletproof. I'd put them right up there with Ford's older "lopo" 5.0s and 4.6 modular motors.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,641
    edited January 2013
    I am the first one to knock the 3800/4sp when comparing to modern drivetrains (in terms of refinement/power etc) but properly maintained they are certainly bulletproof. I'd put them right up there with Ford's older "lopo" 5.0s and 4.6 modular motors.

    I agree. Nothing wrong with the durability of the late 3800, but like you I just don't like it. I know some chime the 3800's torque delivery, but I never found the 3800 Series III in my wife's '07 Grand Prix particularly powerful. Sure it was quick to about 40, but after that if always seemed sluggish to me. The 3.5 powered Taurus she has now feels far more responsive and her gas mileage has gone up by 2-3 mpg overall in mixed driving (despite having over 50 more hp and weighing 700+lbs more). Plus I really disliked how crude the 3800 sounded to my ears. Just not my cup of tea.

    But yeah, if you avoid the 3800s that had intake issues they will last longer than the cars they're in.

    Ford's 4.6 seems to be able to last a long time too. My dad put 230k on a '92 Crown Vic with relative ease. Of course it was burning oil and would smoke. That seems to be a problem with high mileage 2v 4.6s. But like the 3800, the 4.6 was a great engine in the 90's that were out classed in the '00's.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    I am the first one to knock the 3800/4sp when comparing to modern drivetrains (in terms of refinement/power etc) but properly maintained they are certainly bulletproof. I'd put them right up there with Ford's older "lopo" 5.0s and 4.6 modular motors.

    I think towards the end, that combination was getting outdated, so if you wanted the latest and greatest, there were much better choices out there.

    However, for used cars, often priorities are vastly different. So if you want something cheap to buy (thanks to depreciation) and fairly reliable (as long as you can avoid the intake gasket issues that Dieselone mentioned) and just want something that's "good enough", I think they make decent cars.

    If something happened to my Park Ave, I don't think I'd actively seek out another though. Not that it's been a bad car, but I just want to experience something different the next time around. Back when my Intrepid got totaled, the first potential replacement I found was another Intrepid. It was a nicer model though, the ES with the more reliable/cheaper-to-fix-when-it-does-break 3.2, and leather, alloys, and a sunroof. But, I figured that after ten years with one Intrepid, it was time to get something else. And, if something happens to the Park Ave, I'm going to try and keep the same attitude.

    One good thing about the 3800 is that, in the bigger cars at least, usually there's enough sound insulation to drown out any engine coarseness or undesireable sounds.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 1,773
    I bought an '09 Lacrosse CXL new when GM dealers up here were having a fire sale post-bankruptcy because it seemed like a screamin' deal and I needed a new car at the time. I wasn't totally in love with it even at the time of purchase but it looked good and certainly had all the creature comforts. I had nothing but grief with the 3800/4T65 combo though, mostly transmission-related. Combined with an inept dealer and it was a lethal combination. The trans was out of the thing at least 3 times in a bit over 2 years of ownership, and the engine never impressed me much either. It wasn't that it was rough but it never seemed to deliver the torque those engines were supposed to have. Maybe it was due to the transmission being flawed, I don't know. Anyway, after a little more than 2 years I had enough and traded it. Too bad.

    2011 Buick Regal Turbo, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    I think towards the end, that combination was getting outdated, so if you wanted the latest and greatest, there were much better choices out there.

    Exactly, but I was flamed a few times on here for saying it!

    What would you replace the Park AVe with? There isn't much out there for those who want a large cushy sedan. My LaCrosse that my wife now drives is a pretty good balance of "old Buick" and modern sedan.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    Ford's 4.6 seems to be able to last a long time too. My dad put 230k on a '92 Crown Vic with relative ease. Of course it was burning oil and would smoke. That seems to be a problem with high mileage 2v 4.6s.

    The 91-95ish ones will smoke a little after 150K or so. Its the valve seals. That got much better with the later models.

    The 4.6 is darn near indestuctible. They had a few issues over the years (plastic intake, timing chain tensioners) but I've seen many with 300K+ on them.

    I rode in a Lincoln TC limo with 450K on the clock. I'd love to know if it had the original engine.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    The 91-95ish ones will smoke a little after 150K or so. Its the valve seals. That got much better with the later models.

    That's what my buddy's '95 Grand Marquis GS was doing towards the end. I don't know when the smoking started, but it had 175,000 miles on it when he traded it on his '04 Crown Vic LX.

    That '04 however, was still running fine at 230,000 or so, when he traded for a used '09 Grand Marquis LS Ultimate which had, I think, either 51 or 54K miles on it. Oh, and now that I think of it, the '04 did have an issue with the plastic intake. I forget what the mileage was when it happened, though.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    What would you replace the Park AVe with? There isn't much out there for those who want a large cushy sedan.

    Well, if I go brand-new, what I really want is a Dodge Charger. But, what I need is a sensible, 4-cyl midsize. I have a feeling though, that in this case want will trump need. :shades:

    If I go slightly-used, maybe a 2011+ Charger or 300, or one of the final few years of Town Car, Crown Vic, or Grand Marquis. Town Car would be my first choice, because of my hang-up on sunroofs.

    I think I'd also consider a Lucerne. Okay, so that's not *that* much different from my Park Ave, but at least it's an update. I've been in a few, so I know that the fit and finish is a lot better, and the interiors aren't near as plasticky.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    Oh, and now that I think of it, the '04 did have an issue with the plastic intake. I forget what the mileage was when it happened, though.

    That problem was supposed to be only for 96-02 models. Ford changed the coolant crossover to aluminum sometime in 01. Naturally with higher miles I guess anything is possible.

    I like your idea of an late model Town Car. There are deals to be had for sure. I don't like how on the 11's they no longer had rear air-suspension but that could be a blessing in disguise in terms of reliabilty.

    Nothing wrong with a Lucerne either, but in all honesty yes it is very similar to your Park Ave.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,641
    Nothing wrong with a Lucerne either, but in all honesty yes it is very similar to your Park Ave.

    Unfortunately with the Lucerne you pretty much have to find a Northstar powered sample to avoid having a heavy underpowered car. Why GM didn't use the 3.6/6speed combo in them is beyond my comprehension.

    A 3.8 or 3.9 powered Lucerne would be substantially slower than Andre's supercharged Park Ave. From what I've read a v8 Lucerne will offer about the same performance as a Park Ave Ultra, granted with an extra helping of 32v v8 refinement.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    Why GM didn't use the 3.6/6speed combo in them is beyond my comprehension.

    I said that way back when too. It made no sense to me at all. The previous generation LaCrosse had it available at some point. Knowing GM they probably had to put in the 3800 to keep a union plant running or something equally stupid.

    It would probably be hard to find a Northstar Lucerne, I don't believe many were made. It would be much easier (any probably not that more costly) to just get a DTS.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    A 3.8 or 3.9 powered Lucerne would be substantially slower than Andre's supercharged Park Ave. From what I've read a v8 Lucerne will offer about the same performance as a Park Ave Ultra, granted with an extra helping of 32v v8 refinement.

    Yeah, the engine choices are what makes me think twice about the Lucerne. The 3.8 is just overmatched in this car. I think the 3.9 has about 30 more hp and 25-30 ft-lb more torque, but don't know if that's enough to make much difference. And then, you have to get a Northstar just to get performance similar to my supercharged Park Ave. But, it still takes premium, and will most likely get worse economy.

    I'm also a bit leery of the Northstar because of repair costs and such, but it may be the older ones I'm thinking of. Didn't they improve them in later years? Also, I've heard the Northstar that the Lucerne uses is a little less powerful, but a bit more durable, than the Cadillac version.

    One car I'd really like to have is one of those long-wheelbase Town Cars they offered for a few years. IIRC, it was a 6-inch stretch in wheelbase, all of it in the B-pillar area. It made the back seat in these cars HUGE! It almost wouldn't make sense, because chances are I'm going to be DRIVING the car and not riding in the back seat. But, I still think it would be kinda neat!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Unscientifically, it seems like I saw as many V8 Lucernes around as V6's...you could always tell by their four 'portholes' instead of three.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    edited January 2013
    those long-wheelbase Town Cars

    I love those! Incredibly huge in the back seat. For a few years in the early 2000s they made "Cartier L" models with rear heated seats and radio/HVAC controls (switches directly stolen from the steering wheel, parts bin engineering at it's finest!) in the rear armrest.

    Here is one: Huge!

    Little known fact that Ford Fleet also made a long wheelbase Crown Vic for taxi use. They pop up on Ebay from time to time.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    four 'portholes'

    I could be mistaken, I just figured since many Lucernes went into fleets that there would be more V6 models available.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    I just did a search on cars.com. 30 miles from my zipcode, it lists 25 Lucernes, total. 5 are Northstar, 20 are V-6.

    The newest is a 2009 Super, with 57K miles on it for $21,654. I'm not a big fan of the revised grille treatment the Super got, but I could live with it.

    At the bottom of the barrel is a pair of 2006 CXS'es with about 90,000 miles, for $9995 each.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    Little known fact that Ford Fleet also made a long wheelbase Crown Vic for taxi use. They pop up on Ebay from time to time.

    Yeah, I've seen pictures of those. IIRC, they put that added length into the rear door window, rather than doing the thicker C-pillar with the rear door extending under it.

    In the case of the Town Car, I think it was a 6" stretch that took the wheelbase to something like 123.7" and overall length to 223.4? I wonder if the Crown Vic was just a 6-inch stretch of its wheelbase, or if they took it all the way to 123.7"?
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Well, so much for my being 'unscientific'! Four sixes to one V8 is significant, for sure.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    edited January 2013
    In the case of the Town Car, I think it was a 6" stretch that took the wheelbase to something like 123.7" and overall length to 223.4? I wonder if the Crown Vic was just a 6-inch stretch of its wheelbase, or if they took it all the way to 123.7"?

    The CV uses the same 6" stretch. I think Wiki is wrong on the wheelbase. It shows the TC as being 3" longer. I don't believe that is accurate for 92+ models.

    In the boxy years the TC had a longer WB than CV/GM and even the AOD transmission had a longer tailshaft.

    ***Edit*** after checking a few sources it does appear that the TC is still on a longer WB.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,641
    Well just because the used market has far more v6 models vs. V8s doesn't mean you don't see a more equal number out on the roads. It's likely the v6 model is bought and dumped by fleets and owners probably won't be as happy with the v6 trim. My neighbor didn't keep his v6 lucerne 2 years.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 1,773
    The back seat in those Town Car "L" models is huge, but unless you are running a livery service I can't see the value in owning one. It's not like the back seat in the regular model is small.

    I think if I were you I would consider a 300 over a Charger. The interior is just so much nicer.

    You've mentioned the Lucerne before, but even though I like Buicks, I was never all that enamored of them. The 3800 would be overmatched, and the 3.9 is derived from the Chevy V-6s which I always thought were crude. BTW, GM never put the 3.6/6-speed combo in either the Lacrosse or the Lucerne. The Lacrosse 3.6 had a 4-speed. Something about the package with the 6-speed not fitting in the engine cradle or whatnot was the reason. I know I was surprised how tight the 3800 was in the engine compartment of my Lacrosse. The power steering pump was hard up against the firewall and barely accessible.

    2011 Buick Regal Turbo, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    One thing that always threw me off is that, at some point wheelbases on those Panthers changed slightly. Starting in 1979, the Ford and Mercury versions were 114.3" and when Lincoln joined for 1980, its models were on a 117.3" wb, although the Mark VI coupe was on the 114.3".

    But, starting in 1993 (odd, since the changeover was 1992), my book shows the Crown Vic going to 114.4" through 2002, which is as recent as my book goes. I wonder if that's a typo though, because the Grand Marquis stays as 114.3 all the way through 2002.

    This same book shows the Town Car going from 117.3" to 117.4" in 1991, and then to 117.7" for 1998.

    Sometimes, I wonder if those are just rounding errors. For example, I've seen some of GM's '77-90 B-bodies listed at 115.9", and some at 116.0".

    For 1977, the Newport/New Yorker are listed at 124.0", 123.9" for 1978.

    And one oddity...the 1974 LeSabre is listed at 124", 123.5" for 1975, 124" for 1976.

    I'm sure most of those must be rounding errors, or in the case of the LeSabre, a typo. I can't imagine the auto makers doing such minute changes to the wheelbases like that.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,641
    BTW, GM never put the 3.6/6-speed combo in either the Lacrosse or the Lucerne. The Lacrosse 3.6 had a 4-speed. Something about the package with the 6-speed not fitting in the engine cradle or whatnot was the reason.

    Strange considering they found a way to put the 3.6/6 speed in the Impala.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 1,773
    Yeah, I know. They must have redesigned the cradle or the trans case. Or, they were lying.

    2011 Buick Regal Turbo, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,897
    It's likely the v6 model is bought and dumped by fleets and owners probably won't be as happy with the v6 trim. My neighbor didn't keep his v6 lucerne 2 years.

    That's what I'm thinking. When the Lucerne came out, its sales were way down compared to the LeSabre it replaced. However, the LeSabre was becoming a fleet queen, itself, with most of the Custom models being sent that way. With the Lucerne, they cut back seriously on fleet sales.

    So, the ratio of V-6 to V-8 models probably was more evenly split than most people would think. But, like you said, the V-6 buyers probably dumped them more quickly, where the V-8 owners would cherish what they had, and hold onto them longer.

    I probably could get by with a 3.8 or 3.9 Lucerne, as it's not all that often I floor the Park Ave, or my Ram for that matter. Most of the time, I'm trying to see how high I can get the instant mpg readout on the Park Ave to go (or in the Ram, get it to where the readout says ECO ON, which means it's running on 6 cylinders). But, it's nice to have that power when you need it!
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,273
    OK, I admit I did not keep up with this thread, but why are you looking at new cars? I thought you were going to buy the Ram, sell the Buick to the roommate, and use the ram and your fleet to back it up?

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (when daughter lets me see it), 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again), and new Jetta SE (son's first new car on his own dime!)

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    Don't forget to look for a well-cared-for Pontiac G8!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,144
    Trouble is, I think those long wheelbase models would probably be beat to heck because they were probably used in livery service.
Sign In or Register to comment.