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Buick LeSabre



  • Does anybody have some answers to the following issues? 1. Front end is very low to the ground. When parking, front tires can not stop against tire stops since plastic bottom of car under radiator rubs on cement tire stop first. 2. Slight vibration when idling in drive at stop and engine a little loud. Motor mount problem? 3. Slight vibration at highway speeds. Tires at 30 psi spec. Our '97 Olds mini van drives smoother. 4. Coins fall out of center arm rest tray when raised. 5. Does AC recir button work or system is already running recir automatically? 6. Are rear head rests available? 7. Black paint coming off of plastic tray near rear lic plate. 8. Does having On-star ant off effect radio reception? Radio reception not good. Could custom window tint cause this problem?
  • For vibration issues, take it back to a GM dealer who has a road force balancer. I think the engine vibration and a little loudness upon cold start is inherent and benign, but complain to the dealer anyway.Recirc works on demand, but you can over-ride. On star should not affect Radio reception, but having a metallic tint might. Ask your tint installer or there is an Edmunds tint forum in the aftermarket, I think. My dealer will fix little stuff like paint coming off around the licence, but ask how they will fix.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,236
    I think the idea is not to pull up onto the concret stop blocks. It's hard on the air dams under the front end when scraping over them. Put the front bumper where the block is.

    The engine noise is almost none existent in ours after about 30 seconds of warmup. There may be a hose touching the firewall or other part transmitting vibration. Ask to try another new vehicle if the dealer says it's normal.

    The antenna system is tremendous in ours w/ OnStar present. Best antenna I've had -- something about both front and back windows having antennas. I'd blame the tint.

    The force balancer is the way to go. I assume yours has Michelin Symmetry tires too. They seem a little stiff. But the suspension is sensitive to balance. Dealer had to zero out the balancer rather than balancing to nearest 1/4 ounce. The road force variation in tires was 11 and below. 19 is considered the high number measured by the force balancer. There are service bulletins about this which have been changing.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • We had terrible experience with the GM dealer and their local representative in getting our 2003 Limited problems corrected. They tried to convince us the problems were in our head and not with the car. Luckily, we found a dealer who was able to fix the problems.

    GM is a terrible company staffed with incompetent and dishonest people. We will never buy another GM car.

    My advise will be to go to other dealers and see if one could fix your problems.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,236
    Hagrawal said: "competent and dishonest people. We will never buy another GM car."

    Oh come on. Give me a break. You had a problem with one dealer, therefore the whole company is inept and criminal. You should read the Honda Accord Problems Part II and the Honda Accord Quality Control issues forums and others. A major problem and the Honda Company still builds the most wonderful cars in the world. A GM part breaks and they remember it for two decades and indict the company and all its associates forever.

    My car's been great. Few problems; much fewer than if I had fallen for the accord or camry. Check their forums with a reality meter.

    To others: I'm sorry for responding to the bait.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • I remember your initial (two-three months ago) comment on my problems that you donot want to hear about them. I hope GM rewards you well for doing their dirty job; but please donot mislead other people. You have right to express your opinion and I have my right to condemn GM car's poor quality and their mistreatment of customers.

    LeSabre is suppose to be a great car, but based on my and others experience it does not deserve that rating.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,236
    After reading your complaints about and ridicule of GM/Dealer in posts #809, #811, #814, #816, #818, #823, #851, among some other posts of yours, I grew tired of the repetition. If you feel the Lexus model that's $5000 above the Buick you bought is better -- go for it. They take trades...

    I believe you'll pay more, spend more for service, and may find the same problems you're currently having. IF you buy the comparable car (2nd in series) you'll pay a lot more and more to maintain, which another poster pointed out to you in July.

    When you accused me of working for GM, that was wrong. If I worked for GM, I'd be much clearer in my message. Then you told me, "You like GM cars: so go and buy them, but donot try to mislead others people." sic.

    Read the Pilot, Accord Problems Part II!, Accord Quality Problems, CAmry, Avalon, etc., columns, and tell them h ow bad their dealers are.

    Just my opinion.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • LeSabre Limited costs $32K-plus, is a luxry car and top of the line Buick. If you want to compare it with imported cars, compare it with top of the line Toyota'Lexus, Honda's Accura. There is no comparison given LeSabre's problems and GM's terrible quality problems and dishonest dealer behavior. In any case just because some Hondas have problems does not permit GM to sell poor quality cars. Finally, just look on the road and judge for yourself by the growing number of foreign cars, which represent consumer preference for high quality vehicles. GM will keep losing market share by making poor quality cars.
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    The marketing folks at GM claim that LeSabre's key competitors are Toyota Avalon, Chrysler Concorde, Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis. I interpret this one of two ways: either these are the products GM wants LeSabre to match up with or these are the products that GM feels LeSabre is on par with. I feel that as one of GM's premium (luxury) brands, Buick should be aiming higher than Toyota and Ford, to say the least. But at least these seem like reasonable comparisons for what the car is, which is not what it should be, in my opinion. It should be on par with Lexus and Acura, in terms of engineering, quality and brand reputation (somewhat subjective, of course).

    I think Buick is still soliciting the same demographic that it has been catering to for at least the past 20 years (Tiger Woods or no, and the resurrected Harley Earl isn't working for me) and that has been and continues to be a problem for them. GM has been trying lately to overhaul their entire way of thinking about car design in an attempt to recapture this market segment (cars, not trucks) but so far all I've seen are expensive new Cadillacs.
  • Mr. Imidazo once you had the opportunity to own a luxury car you would appreciate the quality of parts and service delivered by an honest car in that class. If you want to buy my LeSabre at the purchase price I will gladly sell it to you.

    Enjoy your Chevy or whatever car you own.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    You two are not accomplishing anything. It's time to recognize that you both see things differently and neither is going to change the other's mind. Let's move on now.

  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    Originally posted by greenlarry:

    "For those who have the Stabilitrak option on your Buick LeSabre, have any of you had the Stabilitrak come on while driving? I'm a relatively new Buick LeSabre owner with the Stabilitrak, but have yet to see the Stabilitrak activated. For those who have seen Stabilitrak come on, did you notice it, how was it like, and did it help in preventing a skid or going out of control?"

    I have had several opportunities to use stabilitrak, and it is wonderfull. Unless you are deliberately trying to drive like Micheal Schumacher in the rain (I confess to this), you probably won't notice it coming on. And that is a good thing! Because the system is very subtle and just coaxes the car back onto the right line. In comparison, the stability control in my wife's BMW is heavy handed and, I think, ultimately destabilizing as it causes extreme inertial shifts at the wrong time. To test stabilitrak, wait for a rainy day and find a wide, lightly-traveled road, like a state highway, which allows an entrance with an 90 degree right turn. point the car and floor it. you'll be amazed. the car will drive a perfect line onto the highway, with just the right amount of wheelspin to keep it pointed in the right place.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,236
    Can you describe that a little more step-by-step for the merge that would cause skidding and engage STabilitrak? I'm not clear on what you're describing.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    I'm describing a 90 degree turn from a side street onto a 60 mph highway under wet conditions. As you are executing the turn you also are attempting to accelerate from full stop to 60 under full throttle. Floor it and turn: The car will go exactly where you point it; it will hold the line precisely. It's fun.

    Obviously, you don't want to try this in heavy traffic!

    My point is that stabilitrak will allow a certain degree of wheelspin, so it is very subtle and not easy to notice. In contrast, my wife's BMW will snap the throttle pretty much full shut the moment any slippage is detected. Sort of weird, really. The "oldster" buick supports and even encourages enthusiastic driving, while the "ultimate driving machine" discourages it.

    I might add that I have a supercharged 2000 ultra, not a LeSabre. The stabilitrak should be the same, but because I've got a bit more power the results of my "experiment" might be a bit more dramatic in the ultra.
  • I am considering purchasing an '04, and I would like feedback about the quality & comfort of the car. Years ago we had a used Park Avenue, it ran great with minimal problems. Any thoughts on the LeSabre? Also, how comfortable is it for long trips--say from Florida to Ohio? Any thought appreciated.
  • We had serious quality (wind noise and seat heating system malfunction and service (dishonest dealer and incompetent GM regional manager) problems with our 2003 Limited.

    It is best to find a good dealer and test the car thoroghy: on the highway at relatively fast speed and in slow traffic. Cabin noise due to defective workmanship is quite common. Finding a honest and well regarded dealer is a must.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,236
    We have an 03 Celebration. It's very, very comfortable. The ride is almost the same as the Park Avenue. The Ride is more controlled than the Park Avenue which has the struts tuned for smoothness. The interior room is the same within 1 inch. I've sat in both in the showroom and can't tell the difference. The seats feel the same to me. The shape of the dash makes the legroom in front feel a little larger but it's really about the same.

    Radio is superb with 8 speakers. HUD display is great for driving.
    Wheels needed to be rebalanced by the dealer on a force balancer to get rid of some slight vibration. The car is sensitive to the large tires. Since the Park Avenue, Aurora, Deville, Seville are all built with essentially the same parts and design, they all have had problems with tire balance and roundness. My LeSabre has Michelins, best of the bunch for roundness.

    34-36 mpg on level interstates. 31 is typical average for long interstate trips. 24 is around town short trips driven by my wife during the week.

    Recommend you drive the one you're going to buy and take it up to interstate speeds. Dependable engine.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • Can't really yet say I have been entirely pleased with the brand switch. New LeSabre has had only 1500 miles and so far had 12.5 mpg city mileage and a rattle while in drive. Dealership was responsive and changed the torque converter. Mileage has improved only slightly and still don't seem to have the pickup I did with my old GrMarquis. This Buick is easier to park and I seem to have more electrical doodads but I am curious if anyone else has dealt with such items listed so EARLY in the game. Is this a forecast of trouble to come or just one bad part off the assembly line?
  • We had serious problems with our 2003 LeSabre Limited and it took us six months to get them corrected. The GM dealer and their highest level local representative were totally dishonest and unhelpful. We were lucky to get help from another dealer not controlled by this GM manager.

    Good luck with your car. I hope your dealer corrects the car problems.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,236
    Are you resetting the DIC to check the mileage?
    I can't imagine that low, ours gives 24 in short trips and suburban drives, 1 mile type trips when my wife is driving it. Maybe in center city with a stoplight every block it could give 12... Is the DIC set on English units or metric???

    Glad the torque converter noise was fixed. I hadn't heard of that problem. I know of no one with a LeSabre with a legitimate gripe about the 03s and up.

    Make sure yours does not need the update bolts on the air intake and the antiseep pellets in the radiator which was a service update done on some 03s and earlier models of 3800 engine a few months ago. Your service manager will know what you're talking about when you ask. IF yours was built late in the model year it won't be in the group.

    Enjoy your car.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • Thank you for your response, I will make sure the service manager checks this. Most of my driving is city, but I was expecting at least 17-18 range. I am in English units rather that metric, and I make for sure I do the reset to get the most recent batch of miles seeming as the engine is still "breaking in". I am going to drive 100 miles strictly freeway only to verify my highway mileage, to see if it agrees with the electronics. I have even considered that those sensors may be in error.
    Monday before posting I went to a used car lot to see what they would give me, as I was worried that going into the transmission so early was a forecast of trouble to come. After discovering I would be losing $5K from original purchase price, that calculated to $4.76 per mile used if I sold a 4mo old car. I have until next week to decide and would appreciate any reassurance from folks out there that I should keep this car and not worry. My previous cars have never had any problems so I am unfamiliar with dealing with warranties and what I can expect from the dealer as to help if this car continues to have problems.
  • I am still pleased with the Lesabre and the engineering that has gone into it. The more I drive it, the more I like it. If the car was mine, I would continue to work with the dealer until everything was right. I know of 3 other people who own late model Lesabres, and they have no problems. I had a few with mine, but it is a 2000 model and everything was fixed. I just have to get the tires balanced now.
  • It has been my experience that the LeSabre is a wonderful vehicle with few problems. I was a dedicated Cadillac man, but traded for an '01 LeSabre that I am certain came out of a rental fleet in February of '02. I have put 20,000 miles on the car and I love it. I have had no problems with the vehicle, and while it is far from perfect it is a good, solid car with simple components that is built to last. I am young (28) and tend to drive the car "like I stole it" and it has never let me down.

    As to your warranty concerns, do not let it, or your dealer intimidate you. Think of it like a health insurance policy for your car. For the first 36 months or 36,000 miles; whichever occurs first, anything except normal wear items such as brakes or fuel filters should be repaired without hassle or cost to you. If the service department at your dealer gives you any flak find a new dealer. If you have an extended warranty the same applies except there may be a deductible you pay for each event. However, even if you purchase an extended warranty, the initial factory warranty with zero deductible takes precedence over the extended warranty until after the initial 36month/36,000 mile warranty period. If you have questions or concerns do not hesitate to get in touch with me personally or contact this group.
  • Thanks to kcwolfpack59 and imidazol97 for input on Oct 1 questions.

    I do have Michelin Symmetry tires and but do not have the Grad Touring suspension option (kind of wish I had it though, read below, but one sales guy in 2000 said it didn't make a difference).

    Took off (3 hour job) the rear window metallic tint (which the owners manual says not to use metallic) and had 3M non-metallic non-fade guaranteed but expensive tint added. AM radio works great again.

    As far as the vibration and other issues with visits to the dealer at around 2660 miles, here is what has happened with more questions:

    1. First visit to the dealer for vibrations (and other issues) and they did road forced match balanced the tires (were 3, 8, 20, 14) per the TSB 00-03-10-003C (is this really a TSB and what does it say?) and they got 6, 9, 17, and 13. As 17 is high, they replaced it with a new tire of 6. Also, they replaced the front motor mount (part 25736430) as they said it was a little low. I believed they looked at the mount since I complained about the car vibrating and noisy when idling in drive. Further, they tried to put the rear AC duct that was laying on the floor from the factory up into the front center armrest hinge area per design. When I picked up the car, the duct was hanging half way out, showed the service writer and he had the shop shove it up all the way. It is now all the way out again. Does anyone else have this problem with the rear duct hanging out on the floor? For the record, they did satisfactorily fix (and wash car) on the first visit 5 other minor complaints including seat cover detachments under front driver seat area.

    After driving away, car vibrated about the same and now pulled to the left when cruising at highway speeds. Do you think installing the motor mount could cause the pull? So, after my first visit for warranty work, the car seemed worse than it was before service and I was pretty happy the way it was before I took it in - just trying to get it perfect for paying $30k.

    2. Took it back a second time and went for a test drive with the shop manager. He accelerated and said it has a slight left pull. They checked the tires and rotated with same result so they performed an alignment (receipt says "align ... pull and torque steer analysis"). Set front caster toe and rear toe adjustments. He said rear was way out.

    After driving away, car still vibrates (guess I am getting use to it), pulls a little left or sometimes now right (all on smooth flat roads), and now really vibrated above 65 mph.

    3. Took it back a third time and had another test drive with the shop manager for a long highway ride. He brought an electronic vibration sensor that did show unacceptable vibrations (7 readings) at 65 and even worse at 75. He said the slight pulls were acceptable and that a pull to the right is preferred if the driver falls asleep. This time, they did another road force balance and rotations. Manager had to road test it 3 times during repair until it got better. They also have ordered a steering damper (PN 16866989) per some TSB I believe to help with idle in gear vibrations even though the whole car vibrates slightly. Further, they said it probably would not help but should do it to satisfy the factory steps. Should I let them put this in and what exactly is it?

    Car still has slight pulls and vibrations. High-speed high vibrations have been for the most part fixed.

    Now going back for a forth time next week to have them add the damper part I guess. Read that the bolts and holes on the hubs and wheels may not be centered (or run out on the bolt patterns problem). Has anyone had this problem with the 2003 platforms? Also, shop manager said he thought for other related platform vibrations, but not the LeSabre, that there is a TSB that says to add the heavy-duty suspension parts for vibration issues (I guess he is referring to the grand touring option parts?). Has anyone heard about this and have more details? I did find on an Edmunds Pontiac Bonneville (same platform as LeSabre) sight discussions about vibrations TSB 00-03-10-007E (April 03) for Aurora, Bonneville, DeVille, Park Avenue & Ultra, and LeSabre, that says to replace, as a last resort in the TSB, the lower control arms with a newly developed hydro-bushing lower control arm with improved damping characteristics (PN 25746324-Left, P/N 25746325) but only not on the LaSabre! Maybe this TSB is what the shop manager was referring too when he talked about heavy-duty grand touring suspension TSB addition? Further, the TSB says, "Customers who have become "tuned in" to the shake condition may still feel some shake in the vehicle..." Dose anyone know why LeSabre was excluded or if it is worth trying to get it implemented?

    Other further side notes: Friends 2000 LeSabre Limited (with Grand Touring Suspension/Stabil Track but different stock tires then the 03's, think they are self sealing) rides really smooth with no vibrations. Also, I did complain about the headrests not raising far enough as I am 6' 2" and they said that's as far as they go. (As an aside, thought I read that the head rests will auto rise if not up already up if in an accident?) Finally, I thought about adding Park Avenue Ultra rear head rests. Any comments on this rear head rest addition idea? Thanks.
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    I think it's morbidly humorous that they would suggest that pulling to the right is preferable if the driver falls asleep.

    If the car is well-aligned then the car may seem to pull or drift with the crown of the road. Also a front-wheel-drive vehicle will have some torque steer (pulling to the left) under heavy acceleration -- my Bonneville does. All normal for this car.

    Not sure about the steering damper. I give them credit if they are trying to follow the TSBs carefully but there's always the risk that they will make things worse by messing with it too much.

    Sounds like you've done your homework and are paying close attention to what the dealer is doing. Keep us updated if you learn anything new.
  • vet5vet5 Posts: 9
    Bought a 2003 LeSabre Custom that we love, but the alternator totally died with only 6,100 miles on it. Dealer replaced swiftly (and acted surprised). Does anyone know if this is a common problem? Can I expect more of the same?

    Otherwise great, 24/30 MPG's, smooth, powerful. Have touring package, 16 inch Micheline Symetry tires, but have noticed the aforementioned slight vibration in drive at a stop light. Thanks.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,236
    Third LeSabre, 7 or 8th Buick. One alternator at 75K. It developed a growl, indiating a diode open, I believe. I replaced with a GM remanufactured alternator that lasted another 80K when I traded the car. Alternator failures -- really rare.

    Congrats on your car.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • Alternator failures are rare in deed. I have driven GM cars since the early 50's, several over 100,000 miles, never had an alternator failure. The closest was a serpentine belt at 109,000 miles on a 1993 Cadillac Fleetwood. My 2003 Le Sabre has been faultless for 9150 miles. Fuel mileage average 28.0625 MPG since new. My first Buick since 1956 Special 2- door. Mostly drove Chevrolets. My last 2000 Impala LS was good but the dealer service was poor. The local Buick Dealer " Bill Marsh in Traverse City , Mi has a good reputation, so it was time to buy a Buick. Buick is not as fun to drive as the Impala LS, but probably shouldn't be , as it is a different type car. I do miss the fold down rear seat. Enjoy the ride.
  • vet5vet5 Posts: 9
    Thanks for reassurance, re: alternator. Car is super, dealer service is even better (family owned/brothers).
  • theo2709theo2709 Posts: 476

      (P05) Wheels, 16" (40.6 cm) aluminum, chrome-plated, 7-spoke exclusive
      (N66) Wheels, 16" (40.6 cm) aluminum, cross-lace
      Exterior Color (54U) Light Bronzemist Metallic
      Exterior Color (87U) Cabernet Red Metallic
      Engine compartment lighting
      (DR2) Mirrors, outside rearview, electrochromic, driver
      (PDB) Platinum Edition
      (PDJ) Comfort and Style Package

    New Features

      Exterior Color (15U) Cashmere Metallic
      Exterior Color (23U) Sagemist Metallic
      Exterior Color (49U) Bordeaux Red Metallic
      (QC4) Wheels, 16" (40.6 cm) aluminum


      (UE1) OnStar is now standard on all equipment groups.
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