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Buick LeSabre



  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,774
    Does anyone have a Buick LeSabre comment or
    question for this group?

    I've got 12000 on my 03. It's a great driving road car.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 854
    Did you get the recall work done on your LeSabre(concerning the 3.8 engine)? Have you had any trouble with the LeSabre?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,774
    This has the chrome 16inch wheels with Michelin Symmetry tires. I had
    a slight vibration problem at first. The dealer road force balanced the wheels.
    Moved one tire on the wheel. That has fixed the vibration pattern 99%. It's very
    pleasant to drive now. It is taut and follows the road much better than my 98 did before
    I replaced the struts.
  • Maybe this will interest a few. On Nov. 28, 2003, I purchased a 2004 Le Sabre custom. I have only 1700 miles on the car so far and have not had any problems. The car is a good car and I really like it. I have owned Buicks before and always have had the 3.8 engine. In my opinion this is a great engine.

    What would I change on this car? Well, I should have looked a little closer before the purchase. The radio has great sound and it has a CD player but I did not notice that it did not have a tape player until after the purchase. The heater and air conditioning controls are the old type that use a slide switch for the temp. and fan speed controls. This is fine with me because the digital controls are just one more thing to go wrong. Some of these controls have a tendency to become dim after awhile and need to be replaced. One disadvantage, this presents, is that the car has no outside temp. read out.

    The car came equipped with load levelers on the rear. This may be nice, but I do not really need this. Each time that you start the car a pump can be heard (rather loud) running to pump up the rear shocks. I just wonder how long it is going to take for these rear shock to fail!

    I looked around in an attempt to find an after market exterior temp. Gauge. The parts houses do have them, which requires running a wire to a location in front of the radiator. I do not mind running the wire, but the read out head inside the car is large and has both inside and outside temp readings plus a clock. The heads are larger than I would be happy with and finding a place to mount the head is not easy.

    I went to the dealer to check on a passenger compartment air filter, because the car did not have a filter installed. The compartment for the filter was easy to access. The dealer’s computer shows that these filters are never placed on a new car. It is something that you have to purchase separately. I did purchase the filter and plastic housing. The cost was about $35.00.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,774
    The load levelers on my 98 have gone 100 K. I replaced struts at 70K. The pump and all are still working. On my 93 the second set of struts went to 150K. Having the autoleveling rear keeps the alignment more stable with loads or people so it doesn't wear the rear tires as much with camber changes when loaded. The rears are more a wear problem than the fronts -- rotate wheels often... to equalize tire wear.

    I understand about the outside temperature gauge. It's a nice feature. Is it true the 04s have a metal upper manifold, instead of the plastic ones used from 95 to 2003? Those had a tendency to leak at the gaskets or the internal EGR tube.

    Have you talked to the dealer about a swap on the head unit for the radio for one with cassette? (haven't used the cassette in ours yet, but I understand.)

    Congratulations on your purchase.
  • Regarding the question about the intake (upper) manifold. I looked at it and did some tapping on it with a screw driver. In my opinion, the manifold is still plastic as it has been for several years.

    I did not try to have the dealer change the radio head. I doubt that they would consider this after the contract was signed. I can live without a cassette player.
  • rbritlandrbritland Posts: 11
    My in-laws have a 2003 LeSabre Custom with 27,000 miles. When lightly braking while turning left or right you can hear a loud CLUNK which seems to come from the right front wheel. It doesn't do it all the time. Sometimes you won't hear it for a couple of days, but some days it does it a half dozen times in one day. I can't find anything wrong and the Buick dealer couldn't find anything either. Does anyone have a clue as to what this noise could be? They have been loyal to Buick for about 20 years and have been quite happy with all of them including the 2003, but the noise worries them.
  • sonet1sonet1 Posts: 7
    A little info about my Buick LeSabre and it's plastic manifold. Upon parking the vehicle one night it cracked and sprayed coolant into the intake runners and in turned filled all the cylinders with coolant and then leaked down into the crankcase filling it with coolant. Needless to say it wouldn't start the next morning....had to haul car to mechanic and it only cost me $950.00 to get it back. Had to pay a tow company to haul vehicle to mechanic, replace the manifold, clean all the coolant out of the cylinders and crankcase, replace oil and filter, replace sparkplugs, and replace starter because the starter housing cracked when I tried to start it with the cylinders full of coolant. It has been running fairly well but as of Friday the starter wouldn't work and I have now found out that the Security System will not reckognize the key and has locked up the starting system to prevent the car from starting. Looks like another haul job to the dealer as I've now found out that the GM dealer is the only place that can get parts to service the Security System. Looks like another big bill coming up to get it fixed.
  • sonet1sonet1 Posts: 7
    Prior to the other troubles mentioned, the Air Conditioner quit. It cost me around $600.00 to get that fixed. The computer unit that controls the automatic temperature settings went out and had to be replaced.
  • sonet1sonet1 Posts: 7
    The first night I brought the car home it rained! The next morning the floorbards were full of water...took the car back to dealer and finally got it back two weeks later. Seems that not all of the factory body seams got sealed around the cowl area at the factory. When it rained the water poured in and filled up the floorbards with the water. The water also got into the stereo system and it had to be replaced. Thankfully I didn't have to pay for any of these problems.
  • sonet1sonet1 Posts: 7
    The day I left the dealer and was traveling down the road I rolled the power window down and then tried to roll it back up but it would not stay in the window track leaving a big gap at the top. Had to drive back to dealer and wasted the rest of the day waiting to get that fixed. I should have seen right away that this vehicle was a lemon but I thought surely old GM wouldn't send out a vehicle from the factory that would cause me problems. Well I sure learned a lesson!!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,774
    these stories are awfully hard to believe.

    My LeSabre, 2003, Limited, has been great. It get 32 or so on highway interstate driving. It's roomy. It hasn't leaked. It doesn't rattle. It has tires that the dealer rebalanced with force balancing and drive great. Michelins, with chrome wheels. Leather interior in soft, pleasant two-tone mauve.

    Like the arm rest with cup holders on the bench seat. No center console to bump my leg against. I just sprawl out and enjoy the drive.
  • kkollwitzkkollwitz Posts: 268
    I'd guess the steering column may need to be tightened and greased.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    All those LeSabre problem stories are typical problems on this car. Unfortunate that they all seem to happen on the same car. The manifold has been a well-discussed problem; the water leak too. And the window regulators are junk. It just seems some vehicles are cursed while others are not (different days, different shifts, different batches of parts at the assembly plant?).
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    If it happens when stepping on the brake, I'd have them check the brake calipers. I had this same problem on an '85 Camaro, went away after a brake job.
  • gabtechgabtech Posts: 2
    First of all, I would like to congratulate all of this board's members for their information. I am considering buying a 03 LeSabre, Custom, with 24,000 miles. It is a GM certified car. I have been reading the postings as back as page 22. I have read about vibration, flooding, and some electrical issues. Should I purchase it, get an extended warranty, is it a good buy ($13,995), how can I make sure that all the TSBs (59) been done? Is there any real advantage of it having a GM certification on it? I have test driven it and do feel a vibration at 65 mph. Could it be the tires or something else? Also, I tried pressing the recirc button on the A/C and it would not light up. Is this a cause for concern? I am excited about this car, but I am scared because I've been going through hell with my KIA Optima 2001. I always get a Check Engine light every three weeks and have to drive to the dealer 30 miles away, and the window regulators go out every six months. I would like to the replace the KIA with the Le Sabre. I thank-you in advance for any help you can provide.
  • Sounds like there might be some issues with that car. The price doesn't seem too bad but why even consider a car that isn't perfect? Be especially leery of the air cond problem. That control head (the buttons you push for the different funtions..air cond, vent ,heat etc) is VERY expensive to replace, and it can work and not work for periods of time till it finally goes totally bad so check it closely.
    Oh and warranties and being a certified car sound comforting when buying car but remember they only as good as dealer behind them. Good luck
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,774
    If the car has 15inch wheels and standard tires, the cyclic tire vibration is not as likely a factor. That's a 16 inch item.

    The air conditioning should go into recirculate mode within 45 seconds or so when the recirculate button is pushed. Turn the blower up to 4 or 5 in normal mode, then push the button. If the light doesn't come on, it probably is not getting a connection from that button through the "data link" and the unit is probably not working right. If dealer wants to sell the car, have them replace the unit with a new one and check the guarantee that it covers this for another failure later. Lots of warrantees have holes in them you can drive atruck through -- like the block that cracked is not covered because warranty covers only lubricated parts...
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,774
    If the car has 15inch wheels and standard tires, the cyclic tire vibration is not as likely a factor. That's a 16 inch item.

    The air conditioning should go into recirculate mode within 45 seconds or so when the recirculate button is pushed. Turn the blower up to 4 or 5 in normal mode, then push the button. If the light doesn't come on, it probably is not getting a connection from that button through the "data link" and the unit is probably not working right. If dealer wants to sell the car, have them replace the unit with a new one and check the guarantee that it covers this for another failure later. Lots of warrantees have holes in them you can drive atruck through -- like the block that cracked is not covered because warranty covers only lubricated parts...
    Unless this is a Buick dealer with a good reputation, I'd look for another car...
  • gabtechgabtech Posts: 2
    Thanks for the advice, I don't have any experience with this dealership. I have just verified that the tires on it are 16" General. I am just waiting to see what it would cost to insure it. I will bring the vibration and the A/C issues to their attention if I decide to go with it. Any tips on bringing the car down in price because of these two issues, or at least a break on the GM service contract? Because of my very bad credit, I will have my wife finance it, but she is 24 and I am 25. I am just hoping she will get a break with the insurance company because she is a female nurse and the car is a four door, not sporty, model.
  • gweilogweilo Posts: 118
    My Dad has(I believe) a '01 LeSabre. it has around 25k miles. He has a shimmying that dealers say is due to bad tires, supposedly due to infrequent rotation. He suspects alignment etc. Even if tires weren't rotated enough, seems premature to me. Any thoughts?
    He also had an issue iwth brakes making a nsaty ABS noise under normal circumstances. Typical?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,774
    No. Take it to a Dealer who has the Road Force Balancer by Hunter 9700. That will test each tire/wheel combination for unequal crush under load.

    It's possible the rear tires have worn from not being rotated at 6-8000. My 93, and 98 LeSabres both tend to do that. I find keeping high air pressure in the rears makes them more likely to wear that way. Lower pressure makes them more compliant.
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 854
    Can you enlighten me on the difference in the 15 and 16 inch tires on the Lesabre(reference the vibration problem)? I am not doubting you but where does your information come from?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,774
    That was what I understood from the service manager at my dealer when we first went about checking my tire/wheel combinations.

    The 225s that I have are wider than the standard tire. The tires should have about the same rolling diameter; so I would think the height of the tire for 15 inch rims is taller. The larger rim means less height for the tire itself and less room for flex.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,774
    Antilock noise;

    Check that the tires are all at the same pressure and check that all tires are the SAME size and brand. A difference in rolling size can cause the antilock brake to kick in. It thinks one tire is locking up because it's rolling more slowly.
    Had friends on 2000 LeSabre where a damaged tire was replace with a different size by Cincinnati tire store, 205 instead of 215 maybe. When going down driveway and putting on brakes, antilocks kicked in.
  • I tried, with the help of a friend who works on trucks all day, to replace my aging serpentine belt. Unfortunately, it's unclear to me how excactly the belt is to be removed, since the engine mount is in the way. Any suggestions would be helpful, as my mechanically-inclined friend was almost ready to consider pulling the studs that help bolt the engine to the engine mount bracket (probably not the solution). Anyone who has done this on this model, I'd appreciate the input.
  • My LeSabre intermittently throws the 0171 code (I'm pretty sure that's it), indicating that it's running lean, which I've been told can be traced to the O2 Sensor. This car happens to have two, however, and no one seems too sure of which one it might be, if any. The light usually comes on cold mornings before the engine has warmed up, and will stay on usually until I start the car again later that day or the next. The light then stays off for weeks on end at times. Also, my car runs its best when the air is damp or humid, for some reason (definitely more responsive). My highway mileage is awesome, but local I'm suffering (15 mpg or so). I've read that O2 sensors can really put a wrench in local mileage. Is this true? Anyone with any knowledge, please weigh in on this. Also, how hard are the O2 Sensors in this car to remove and replace? I like to do these things myself when possible.
  • Post #940 is also in regards to my '97 LeSabre.
  • Hey, Stan13--Bet you got tired of waiting for me back in June '02 to tell you more about the MBQuart speakers I had installed in the used '00 LeSabre Limited I'd just bought (had 30K miles). Sorry! I assume the info is no longer of use. Will be happy to give info if anybody's still interested.

    Now have 65K on this '00 Limited. Great road mileage (30-31), my wife loves the dual power front seats. Ride improved hugely when the original eqpt 15" Generals wore out and I replaced them with 88K-warranty Michelin XRadials.
    I'd get another LeSabre Limited with dual power seats without a second thought.

    BUT I did have concerns immediately with a slightly harsh, stuttery upshift from the cruising gear (about 1750 rpms) to the next lowest gear about 2300 rpms. Had to punch the gas harder than I should have to get the next upshift (to just under 3K rpms). The prob has become slowly but steadily worse, and is especially bad when I'm at about 45 or 50 mph and head up a very slight incline. The tranny immediately bucks and slurs. Have to hit the gas fairly hard to get a clean upshift to either of the two higher gears. I'd love to keep this car until it has about 120K on it. But the tranny is scaring me right now.

    Any thoughts? Anybody else dealt with this? What will repairs cost? Am I looking at a major tranny overhaul?

    Again, apologies to Stan13 about sound.

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