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Oldsmobile Aurora



  • larryfllarryfl Posts: 214

    I've put about 3500 highway miles on my classic over the last 2 weeks and weird things are starting to happen (car now has a total of 85K miles). I typically run about 85MPH +or-.

    The biggest concern to me is what seems to be the torque converter locking up and releasing under a steady cruise. After about 2-3 hours at speed in the Florida heat, I can see the tach drop about 200-300 RPM and a few moments later it jumps back up (very fast, like you threw an electrical switch)and I feel a jolt (kinda disconcerting at 85-90MPH in the middle of nowhere late at night). This happens over and over again with varying frequency.

    Other weirdness that began in the last few weeks:
    1- The car has started surging at low speeds. When pulling into a parking space or up to a stop light it will suddenly want to surge forward.
    2- My 95 doesn't have the security system but does have the GM Passkey. The security light (owner's manual says it indicates a failure in the passkey system)came on one day for the whole day. The next day it's off and hasn't come on again.
    3- The check engine light hasn't come on once so I assume there are no fault codes being written.

    So what do you think, guys? Is it finally time to get that 3rd party warranty?
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    What do you think of painted calipers? Not painted some bright or outrageous color, though. The only way I'd consider it is painting them the same exact color as the exterior. I think it might look nice that way. Maybe not, though...

    I'm not sure what I'd have to do to paint them with exterior paint, though. There is already a black coating on them.
  • javidoggjavidogg Posts: 366
    I'm considering painting my calipers red or blue. I have 18inch chrome wheels, my Aurora is Onyx Black. What do you guys think?
  • shucknetshucknet Posts: 98
    Nothing says I like "Uncle Ben's" like painted calipers. If you're really going for the gull wing / giant air dam / green turn signals / clear tail lights look - sell your classy Aurora and go purchase a Civic. I hear their calipers are easier to paint without feeling like you just ruined something good.

    If you want your calipers to look nice behind the wheels, get them polished. Or get them POWDER COATED black. The powder coat will be more durable and the black won't be obscene like some other colors mentioned above.

    The only time red belongs on calipers is when it is in the shape of the word "CORVETTE"
  • shucknetshucknet Posts: 98
    If you have those 18" wheels on the car, you really should go buy a Baer big brake kit for the car (Deville kit would probably work) and put the 13" rotors and 3 piston calipers on it. Now that would be a nice look.
  • musclecar97musclecar97 Posts: 111
    Thanks blk97 I figured it had to be some type of relief valve when I couldn't find a hose to hookup to the outlet. Is the metal fitting which connects the part to the engine rusting on yours?

    T-minus 10 days till the carshow/ 1/4mile runs, starting to get pumped!
  • blk97aurorablk97aurora Posts: 573

    You are welcome. Yes, my bracket is rusty also; I hadn't noticed it until seeing your post.

    Good luck with the 1/4-mile runs. I look forward to seeing your results.
  • blk97aurorablk97aurora Posts: 573
    Henry and rjs200240:

    It could be named the 4-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-2. For 4.0 liter, 4-on-the-floor, 4 camshafts, 4 valves per cylinder, 4-bolt mains, 4 doors, 4 ignition coils, 4 wheels and tires (stretching a bit here), and dual exhausts (sort of).

    Seriously, as the owner of a 1970 4-4-2 I cannot agree that either Aurora carries out the "name." Don't get me wrong, I love my '97 Classic. Its luxury creature comforts exceed the 4-4-2 without a doubt. But 500 ft-lbs of torque certainly exceed our 4.0's output; that 500 gross equates to something like 350 to 400 ft-lbs net as measured today. Zero-to-60 in less than 6.0 seconds versus 7.3 to 8.0+ depending on whose figures you believe. Comments are always made about how heavy the classic Aurora is; it is less than 200 pounds heavier than my 3800-pound 1970 4-4-2 sport coupe. 1970 top speed of 132 mph at 6000 rpm redline (with 3.42 rear end) is lower than the Autobahn top speed. While today's radial tires are far superior to 1970 Goodyear Polyglas bias-belted tires, I do not believe the rest of the suspension is better for handling.
  • blk97aurorablk97aurora Posts: 573

    I enjoyed reading your tasteful comments about brake caliper colors. Clever, insightful reference to Uncle Ben.

    The calipers on my '97 were showing some rust, so I pulled the wheels, sanded off the rusty spots, and painted the calipers with a medium gray spray paint called Cast Blast. I cut a piece of card board to use as a shield to prevent spraying paint on the rotors. Powder coating would be nice, but is mucho more than I can afford.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    You don't think matching the body color (mine is a dark red) on the calipers would be tasteful? Well, that's why I asked. Actually, I went and stared at the wheels for a while and I think it would be pretty tacky. They are already black, so not much point in painting them black or powder-coating. Blk97Aurora, there are some do-it-yourself powder coating kits, but I think you have to bake the part. This would be a problem if you didn't want to disassemble your brakes.

    I guess the Z06 has the red lettering? In 1996 the Collector's Edition and the Grand Sport had white lettering on the front caliper. Maybe I should get some stencils and paint "Aurora" on mine... :) Just kidding...

    Blk97, by 1987 (the last RWD 442) the 442 only put out 170 horsepower and 250 lb-ft and had a top speed of 120 mph. Plus, a 0-60 time in the mid 8's. By 1990, the 442 was a FWD Calias with only 4 cylinders. So I have to say, I don't think the Aurora would be the car that cheapens the 442 name...

    If your 1970 442 weighs 3800 pounds, then it is pretty dang close to the new Aurora's 3802 pound weight. Plus, the new Aurora tops out at 132, but isn't at it's redline. So the new Aurora could keep pulling to an even faster speed (perhaps with 2003 442-specific Z-rated rubber). I suppose you could make the case that the 442 was about the biggest power, in which case the Aurora and Calias are still cool as they have the most powerful engine Olds offers at production time (even the 3800 didn't make the 180-190hp of the Quad 4 in 1991). You could also make the case that the 442 was about putting this biggest of engines into the lightest car that can fit it (which would make the Calias a legit 442). While the Intrigue might fit a 4.0 Northstar (but I doubt it) there won't be any Intrigue for 2003. That leaves only the Aurora and the Alero. I'd say the V8 Aurora is much more "442" material than the V6 Alero... If they do go with 442 for the last year, I hope like hell they don't paint "442" onto the doors!
  • hammen2hammen2 Posts: 1,313
    In a recent message, someone commented on the poor AM reception on the Classic. I'd like to echo that - had to drive to Fond du Lac (about 75 miles northwest of Milwaukee) the other night. With previous (GM) cars, I used to be able to pick up WBBM in Chicago all the way up to Green Bay, but I couldn't even keep it all of the way to FDL. Heck, I could barely hear Milwaukee AM radio! I also noted there seemed to be a lot of engine interference - when I stopped at a gas station and shut the engine off, reception clarity improved significantly. Is this everyone's experience with their AM radios? I have the Bose/Accoustimass stereo, and thus don't listen to AM much, but was trying to keep up with a news story...

    Also, a favor to ask of anyone who has had a road-force balance on your Classic (to eliminate the "65 to 74 mph vibration" issue). May I ask what you paid to have this done? Has anyone had this done and had it NOT resolve the vibration?

    Thanks, in advance,

  • renmundrenmund Posts: 1
    Replacing all 4 rotors and pads on my 96 Aurora (well my dad is actually doing the work, as I am not exactly automotively inclined) and I have a question. Are there any secrets for getting the brake knuckle away from the rotor on the rear brakes? The front is allready done, but we seem to have hit a snag with the rear brakes. After a buch of looking and experimental bolt unfastening we seem to have everything apart. The knuckle is off the rotor and we seem to have found that there is some swivel that might have been the easy way to go from the start. We have the new rotor on but are having a heck of a time getting the pads to stay in their retaining clips and getting everything to come together again. If you could give me some advice on how to get the knuckle to swivel away from the rotor easily that would be great so that we can at least do the other side the right way. ALso a little help on what we might need to do to get everything to come together again without the brake pads falling off the clips everytime we try to slide them on the rotor would be great as well.
  • oldsman2oldsman2 Posts: 14
    Doing this has reduced the vibration problem, but not 100%. I also live in the Milwaukee area (Oak Creek), and there are aparently very few tire shops and/or Olds dealers that have this equipment. I had new Aquatreds put on the car back in October, and that ios when my problems began. The morons at the Goodyear shop I went to never heard of any balancing issues with this car (these particular morons are from the Goodyear shop located on HWY 100 across from Budget movie cinemas). After locating the service bulletin my self, I took the car back to them and told them how they should correct the problem...after 2 tries, they seem to have at least gotten close enough where I will not have to go back. An important side note is that they had to drive my car to their shop out on Bluemound Road in Waukesha because that is the only Goodyear shop in town to have the proper equipment. Good LUCK!
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    Hammen2 - I had this done at Discount Tire where I bought the new tires. I had this vibration problem right from the first mile with the new MXV4's on the 98. (I think we have the same black 98 autobahn - options and all).

    Anyway, they did this without charging because I had just bought the tires and was having problems. They said the normal charge was $15 wheel.

    It seems to have worked. They said they found two of the wheels over the limit of 16 lbs of force. They remounted them to cancel out rim/tire high spots. Apparently they monitor the rolling force and a high spot will produce a spike in the force reading as the wheel rotates. The tires and rims were OK, they just were unfortunately mounted in the worst way - just bad luck. Sometimes the tires can be defective or the rim bent as well. They can detect all this.

    Apparently, there are different levels of sensitivity this test can be done. I'd ask about this too.

    This equipment is pretty expensive - 11k or 12k. Some Goodyears have it (I think they quoted me $150 or so). But try Discount Tire if they are around. Just remember to re torque all the lugs. They can't do that right as I documented before.

    Oh yeah - absolutely go with the weights clipped on the rim. The ones they stick inside the barrel are less accurate and actually end up using more weight.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    That was great.
  • daevendaeven Posts: 28
    I'm not an expert of any kind, but I did do the rear brakes on my Aurora. I remember the only difference was having to back out the calipers (I think). This was done by rotating what you might be calling the knuckles. I figure a real mechanic has a special tool to attach to it. I just put a screwdriver to it and tapped it with a hammer to loosen the thing.

    Like I said, I didn't know what I was doing, and I can't say that it will work for you. Be careful and don't break anything.

    The high mileage Aurora is no longer in my possession. I sold it with 213,000 miles on it. It apparenly got pissed at me for listing it last weekend. The A/C compressor siezed. I got one for $200 in a junkyard and had it installed. Now it's colder than I ever remember.
  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    I'm just curious, but what was the Aurora like at 213,000 miles?? A lot of squeaks and rattles? Any leaks? Did you have to replace a lot of components over time?

    Just checking, but what's the general reliability and problems with 95-99 Auroras? I'm just now starting to look into a first car (though probably still many months off), and have always been a fan of 1st gen Auroras and Rivieras. My current fave is the Intrigue, I just love driving my grandmother's 99'. Seeing that an Aurora had 213,000 miles before being sold is quite inspiring.
  • hammen2hammen2 Posts: 1,313
    Beach15, look up approximately 100 or so messages - for jonb I put together a list of the "common" problems with the car. I don't think that squeaks/rattles are a consistent problem with the Aurora (the Lake Orion plant, which built both the Classic and the New, is known for its inconsistent quality - and, after hearing stories from my mother-in-law, who used to work there, I can understand why).

    I have a black interior in my black car, and the center console is more likely to squeak/groan going over large bumps than my mother-in-law's tan interior on her pearl white car - probably due to the higher heat levels inside my car causing the plastic surfaces to distort somewhat. I'm just super-picky about my car - the average person would probably not notice anything.

    The big achilles heel of the Classic is the A/C compressor - very common, and easily a $1k+ dealer repair. Lots of other "common" GM problems - water pump, alternator, etc. The fuel pressure regulator is another common repair item. Some people have tranny problems. Every model of car has its "known" problems, some are just more extensive (and expensive) than others.

    I don't want to scare you away from the Aurora - it's a great car - but, if your expectations are flawless reliability, it ain't the one to get. I highly recommend an extended warranty - mine paid for itself when my A/C compressor seized earlier this year, and I've had a subsequent repair, too. These third-party warranties can be expensive ($1k - $2k), and you have to clearly investigate what they will cover, and what they won't (and the financial soundness/backing of the company). There's more info/horror stories on the finance and warranty board here on Edmunds.

    I know the thought of having to spend another $1k-$2k for a warranty probably doesn't appeal to you, but this is mitigated by the fact that the "street price" of used Auroras is so low (due to the demise of Oldsmobile, as well as other reasons), the car represents a tremendous deal as is. Of course, resale value also isn't great, so don't plan on it holding its value. If you intend to drive it until the wheels come off, it's a great car and will, with proper maintenance and care, do 150k-200k miles (the engine is fantastic).

    Hope this helps,

  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    No, I know all about GM and inconsistent build quality, so I wasn't expecting the Aurora to be stellar either. I'm beyond anal when it comes to cars and have my own detailing business, so little things tend to annoy me big time. Rattles are one of the main reasons we got rid of our 2000 Chrysler 300M. That and it was way too noisy, wasn't very powerful, was too small for us, etc., etc. It was our second Chrysler and now we're back to GM only. We currently have a 1969 Chevy Chevelle Malibu, a 1979 GMC van, and a 2002 Chevy Avalanche. The first two are my father's, and he swears by most GM products (as expected), and it's all he'll probably ever buy.

    I'm still thinking more towards an Intrigue. I just loved driving the 99' GX with the 3.8 my grandmother has. I've been looking around at just about every other GM sedan or coupe (used) in the same price range, but keep coming back to the Intrigue, with the Aurora a close second or third.

    It's a beatiful car and no doubt luxurious and high performance, but maybe a bit too large and/or fancy. But, you never know. I haven't driven one yet, but sure would like too!
  • gisomgisom Posts: 144
    has just turned over a 100k and I want to replace the struts on front. Do I need power tools to take struts off? Since I replaced the rear shocks, my load levelers still buzz while driving. I plan on letting the dealer look at that and also ask about the decals for the steering wheel controls. My controls for the volume and seek are really getting scratchy.
  • hammen2hammen2 Posts: 1,313
    Beach15, I was thinking about an Intrigue early last year when I began looking at a new car. I've driven pretty much mid-sized or compact GM cars (Lumina, Grand Prix, before those Grand Am and Corsica). I loved the looks of the Classic Aurora when it came out, but couldn't afford one. I always looked longingly at them, but figured I'd "settle for" an Intrigue as my next car.

    I was checking out Intrigues after-hours at an Olds dealership when I sauntered over to check out a black Classic on their used lot. It was loaded (Autobahn, chromes, Bose, changer, sunroof, etc.), had only 27k mi, and was stickered at about 20k. My interest level rose - even though I could get GMO/GMS pricing on a new car.

    I drove an Intrigue and both a new Aurora (couldn't afford a V-8, didn't see the point of the V-6) and the Classic. The Intrigue was OK (all they had was a base cloth GX) - the motor is the car's strong point. It tries to be a good-handling European/sporty midsize car with some luxury (esp. in GL and GLS trim).

    Contrast that with the Classic, which is a luxury car first and foremost (ride and comfort come first). It also is somewhat of a "muscle" car (with the V-8 and lots of grunt - though no real competition to Corvettes, Mustangs, and Z-28's, it's a bit stealth in that regard). Sport and handling come third, but are respectable. It is somewhat larger than the Intrigue - once in awhile, when pulling into a tight parking space, I'll feel the size of the car. But actually, its turning radius is smaller/the steering is better than my old Lumina (a somewhat smaller car) was.

    I loved the ride, the comfort, the dash, the performance, and the looks of the Classic. It took me a month of research (including finding out that my car had been on the dealer lot for nearly a year) and negotiating before I ended up purchasing my ride (talked 'em down to 17k).

    I'd recommend that you take both cars out for a test ride - more than once. Then, you need to figure out what's important to you (ride, handling, etc.) and what you like and dislike about each car. My daily commute is 10 min each way (yes I know I'm lucky), but I bought my car for the 2-3 hour trips I make regularly on weekends - and the Aurora is a great luxury cruiser (was getting 28 mpg at 70mph the other night). If I had to drive it in stop-and-go city traffic a lot, I may not be as happy with the car as I am.

    Regarding your comments on the family's Chrysler 300:

    I've been in a few Auroras, and mine is the only one that I have heard any squeaks/rattles in (going over bumps, just a groan from the area to the right of the radio, where the plastic faceplate and the top and bottom halves of the HVAC/radio sweep meet). I don't think rattles and squeaks are that common, and again, I am super picky and sensitive (plus the black car/black interior issue).

    >That and it was way too noisy

    The Classic is extremely quiet, unless your right foot is buried on the pedal :-)

    >wasn't very powerful

    Definitely not a problem with the Aurora 4.0

    >was too small for us

    Also should not be a problem. I regularly take 4 other folks to lunch, 3 in the back seat, no problem. No one has to adjust the front seats so their knees are in the dash, just so the rear passengers have legroom.

    Again, I recommend you try a Classic. But beware, you might get infected with "Aurora Fever" :-)

  • gillum1gillum1 Posts: 2
    Slid into a curb off a ramp and bent both right side lower control arms. My mechanic says there are two ways to go about the repair. One, replace the control arms by themselves, taking apart the assembly and rebuilding it with the new control arms. Second, replace the entire assembly to save time and cost - and trying to reposition all the corresponding parts of the assembly. Is the assembly a bolt-on? If so, should I replace the unit out to the hub, or go piece by piece?
  • HenryHenry Posts: 1,106
    I paid $39.99 for a four wheel forced balance with the latest Hunter machine in Northern New Jersey. Solved the vibration and made the car drive better over all speeds.

    I also did an alignment on the car. Many many posts back people were saying that the car is almost impossible to align properly. I did not find this to be the case.

  • HenryHenry Posts: 1,106
    Once again I was coming home from church going back to New Jersey through the Holland Tunnel.

    The Problem:
    I am in the tunnel and I start hearing this very very slight sound coming from under the dash "Kush -- kush -- kush."

    I speed up and slowed down, yet the rate of the sound did not speed up or slow down with the car or the RPMs on the engine.

    The Outcome:
    This time the car did not strand me at the bottem of the Hudson River. I was able to identify the problem and correct it while I was in the tunnel.

    The Fix:
    Turn up the radio so that i can hear more than just the drummer keeping the beat.

    Like I said, I am no Tech Head.


  • larryfllarryfl Posts: 214
    I just had my '95 force balanced (again).

    I've gotten to where I don't rotate my tires but every 10-15k miles because every time they're touched, the vibration issue comes back. This time, with 35K miles on the Continentals (pair) and 5K on the Goodyears (new pair after a blowout) the vibration still hasn't completely gone away, but is very slight and somewhat intermittent at 75+,-MPH. I drive 85+,- :-)

    Other than the dealer, the local shop for me is a neighborhood Tires Plus. Last spring they wanted $80 for a 4-wheel force. This time they had gone up to $100. Damn. It's a good thing the tires are wearing evenly without the standard 5K mile rotation.

  • beach15beach15 Posts: 1,305
    Thanks for all the commentary!

    I have always loved the Aurora's style, though I'm less enamored by the new model. To me, it's just not as upscale and distinctive looking, but otherwise, quite a nice car. I'm not even remotely sure yet when I'll be buying a vehicle, but looking at price, I'd probably have to look more towards 95'-96' Auroras if that's what I liked. I'd like to stay away from first model year anything, but sometimes it rarely matters.

    Here's why I liked the Intrigue so much. Granted, I haven't driven very many cars, but in my experience, the Intrigue was the nicest. My grandmother has a silver 99' GX with the 3.8 V6. I've always liked the car from having ridden in it before, but didn't know what I was missing by not driving it! For me, it had the most comfortable driving position and seats, was easy to manuever, and had great performance. Mainly, terrific, firm and precise steering, excellent brakes, very ample power, and just had an amazing tight, trim, controlled feel. No float, very little body roll, and very easy and intuitive to control.

    As far as the Aurora, it still seems like it may be a little to large and soft for my tastes. Mind you, it's surely no Buick float boast master, but it's not as tight, trim, and controlled as an Intrigue. Great ride and handling, but I'd probably prefer something smaller and sportier.

    I know exactly how beautiful your black on black Classic is too! The closest Chevy-Olds dealer has had a 99' Classic that's Black on Black, with with chrome wheels, a power sunroof, and the Autobahn package. Wow, is it ever gorgeous!!! It's also been sitting around for almost 7 or so months now in the used car lot with little action. I'll tell you, if I could afford it, I go and take a look!
  • daevendaeven Posts: 28
    I never really thought of it as a squeaky/noisy car. But since I got it with 150K miles, I'm not very familiar with how one feels brand new. The interior is still in excellent condition.

    I had to replace all the follwoing things from 150K to 213K:

    Fuel pressure regulator
    Water pump
    Fuel rail
    Spark plugs, wires
    Driver-side heated seat wiring
    Brake rotors-front
    And just last week (right after listing the car for sale): AC compressor.

    BTW, I got an AC compressor from a junk yard for $200. For an additional $500, I got all the other parts needed plus installation. It can be done for less than $1000.

    I was also experiencing the loose window seal trim, but I never did anything about it.

    BTW, while I'm travelling for business for the next several months, I've got an Olds Alero rental. It's not a bad little car.

  • HenryHenry Posts: 1,106
    IS IT the case that if you rotate the tires the tires will need to be forced balanced again for their new position?

    Has anybody already done it twice?
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    I have rotated my tires and not experienced any problems. I had them balanced once - a simple balance - and no problems. One tire has been replaced (with a used tire) and no problems. The orginal 3 tires have 50,000 on them now.
  • larryfllarryfl Posts: 214

    I do seem to have an issue with the tire balancing. Every time my tires are touched (replaced, rotated, whatever) I get the 75MPH shuffle again and have a devil of a time getting it out. The Road Force balancing seems to do the best job for me, even though it's not perfect.

    When I finally do get it smooth again it stays that way until the tires are "touched" again and it starts all over. That's why I'm real close to not rotating the tires at all as long as they are wearing evenly.

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