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Oldsmobile Aurora



  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    I just found this and thought it was interesting. Even with the sales drop-off and eminent demise, they still made some minor changes to the engine. Maybe because they changed them on the Northstar. Anyway, it's interesting. Basically the engine has a new forged-steel crank and polymer-coated pistons. Probably not a big enough change for me to trade mine in... :)
  • larryfllarryfl Posts: 214
    I drive with my fog lights on (at night)on my '95 classic. No real reason except I like the way they look. Yeah, the lights a little better but not enough to justify having them on all the time. I've been doing this for the 18 months I've owned the car and haven't had one burn out yet (knocking on wood)- but it could happen any time.

    Henri, I haven't had a center hubcap piece turn up missing yet... but since I've seen you and a few others post on the board about it, I've notice at least one other classic in my area without the front ones. How strange is that? Is this the new thing to rip off, a' la the Merc and VW ornamentation of years past?

    RJS - I agree with you 100%. As a former Infiniti Q45 owner, I tend to keep up with Infiniti. I really like the latest Q and the G35... but the M45 is uglier and duller than a camary! I don't know what Infiniti was thinking, but these car magazines continue to show their complete and total biased for anything non-domestic.
  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    The classic looks awesome with the lamps on. Seeing one cruise down the road at dusk - with the sunroof vented up and the fog lamps on is what finally sent me over the top to go buy one.
  • jonbgoodjonbgood Posts: 157
    When my '99 is in the garage - I hear a high pitched squeak (of maybe a chirping is a better description). Still under warranty so I can afford to be picky. Any ideas? I'm taking it in for an oil change today and I'd like to know something before the dealer tells me its "nothing". Also, the suspension makes a very noticeable squeaking noise when I exit the car. (I'm only 195 lbs - so no jokes please!) Is this normal? Car only has 22k on it.
  • About to hit 100K on my awesome black 1998 classic. Just wondering who is well into the 100Ks and maybe coming up on 200K miles. How are the classics holding up? thanks
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    Thanks for the link. Very interesting. That lighter crank should translate into a little more peak power too - shouldn't it? If so, maybe it's really small and not worth mentioning, but I would not be surprised if it actually made a significant difference and it's just not going to be documented by GM.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    Yeah, I'd think it would make some difference since there is less resistance from the weight of the crank. But I don't know. I guess it would be kind of like when you put a lighter flywheel on a car. It doesn't change the power the engine makes, but does change the weight it has to turn while making it. I don't know, though. I don't think the weight saps power like friction does. So it wouldn't be like an engine that goes to a roller valvetrain for less friction (which can free up about 5+ lb-ft, apparently). Maybe the polymer piston coating would reduce friction enough to make some difference. It would have been nice if they said that, even if they didn't change the rating. It could add 3-4hp and they could just say they didn't want to change the rating (what with the difficulty of having to then change the website... But really, they'd have to change the brochures and sales stuff and all).

    Actually, the website should get fixed, and the weight distribution thing on the site is now correct. So the site should be all correct now. I emailed a nice person within GM Communications who was very helpful about getting them corrected.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    I was looking at a high performance 350 for my 77 monte, and the crate motors with the aluminum pistons sure seem to start cranking out the power over the cast iron pistons. Sure there are other differences probably in the heads and all too. There is a big difference between aluminum and cast iron. Probably not as much weight difference between steel and cast iron. But still if it's lighter, it should help.

    The polymer thing struck me as not making much difference. I'm basing that on the fact that my 2 oil analysis (and comments from the lab) has showed that there is almost no wear going on in my engine. If you are insane and use M1 oil and change it every 3k, there is very little, if any, friction that could be eliminated by some other advancement. Just MHO. Last test showed only 1 ppm of iron and 1 ppm aluminum. That's as low as they can detect. Also, there just doesn't seem to much of an accumulation of dirt (the small stuff that the filter can't get)to wear things when you are changing that frequently. I'm sure the polymer stuff is great for withstanding some abuse, but if you are a maintenance nut, I don't see it making any difference.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    I just wanted to post my impressions while they were fresh. My wife and I went and test-drove a 1999 black Aurora. It has 45K miles, Autobahn, sunroof, gold package (who cares), Bose, 12-disc changer, and heated seats. The interior was a light grey. Keep in mind that we just went for a test drive so take it for what it's worth. Also keep in mind that I'm used to my car.

    I really like that the pillars are felt-covered. They are plastic in the new car. The classic is much more cockpit-like with all the buttons on the doors. I think it's neat, but sort of prefer the cleaner interior on the new car. I also like the center cluster and instruments on the new car better, although the center cluster on the classic is neater (more in keeping with the cockpit theme). However, the trip computer is a great idea with the flip-up cover because you can just select the info you want to see rather than scrolling through it like on the new car, and you dont' have to see all those buttons all the time. Visibility seems a bit better in the new car because it feels a bit more upright. However, this is not everyone's preference. I like how the dash and doors integrate on the classic much better. It's much cleaner. And the vents on the doors really direct air at the occupants better. I didn't realize the dual-zone control was on the passenger door on the classic too. I really think that's neat. Oh, the new Aurora has framed windows. I tend to prefer that because when the window is partially down they bang around when opening the doors. However maybe they don't do that on the Aurora. I didn't try it. Framed doors also tend to have fewer leak/alignment problems. Non-framed windows look cooler when the window is down and the door is open, though.

    Driving, the classic feels a little more floaty. The new car is more buttoned-down. However, the classic is better over potholes and transfers less noise. My car makes a "thud" over potholes, although very little feel is transmitted. Just the noise. But the classic didn't "thud" nearly as much (I drove on familiar roads, so it was a good way to compare). The steering is noticeably lighter on the classic. I like how the wheel has thick parts right where your hands go. But the new wheel is thick everywhere.

    Ok, please no anger, but my car feels faster. I punched it a few times, and one time I punched it from a light on a 55mph road. I put it in 2nd, trac off, power button on (in). It laid down a bit more of a patch than my car can, but it feels like my car pulls harder above about 3500 rpm. I stayed on it until about 70. The car was an autobahn, the fuel tank was at about 1/4, and it was a nice 80 degree day. It was just me and my wife in the car, and I've punched it in 2nd/TC off in my car plenty of times with her riding with me. Of course, feel is very subjective. The amount a car lifts up, the engine noise, and all sorts of things can skew the impression of acceleration. So take it with a grain of salt. Oh, the engine noise is different. I really noticed that there is more intake noise on the classic. It's not objectionable, but there is a difference. I think it allows a little more exhaust burble to come through on my car since the intake isn't as loud.

    Driving both, it is easy to see where the new car came from. Many similarities to the classic. They are both really excellent cars. The tranny on the classic was sooo smooth. Even under hard throttle the shifts were quick yet not jarring. It really helped underscore that mine shifts hard. It isn't hard compared to other cars, but it is smooth sometimes and hard others. Which is why I thought something was up. So I guess I need to shop around for another dealer. Mine just says it's normal (and a mechanic on a ride-along tried to tell me the 4T-80E is supposed to be a hard-shifting tranny...). So maybe I'll try a Caddy place. It was nice to take a classic for a drive. I'd never been in one before. It really is a great car. I can't believe it didn't sell better, or that Olds is gonna be gone soon...
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    There is a press kit now on GM Powertrain's advanced technology. It's got stuff about the new high-feature V-6's, as well as the new Northstar and displacment-on-demad. It's pretty neat.

  • hey woodranch-had my '95 classic for quite some time now. She's got 136,000 on her and I haven't had any problems since I bought it...other than an unnatural obsession with driving, but I guess that is to be expected. Anyone else with more miles?
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    Here's what Autoweek surmised about the Aurora. This is from their annual model guide. They go over the changes and such, and then have their little opinion of each car. Here's the "In Our Opinion" on the Aurora: "The General's best car - too bad Olds couldn't sell it". I'd say that sums it up pretty well.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    Yeah, but don't ask them what they think of the 4.0 compared to the glorified Camry - the ES300 for the same (probably even more) money.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    I think that a big part of the sales problem was price. At the introduction, the price was $32000. By the time my 98 model was in production, the price was $37,500 or so. Way more than it was worth. They are doing the same thing to the Park Avenue - its $40,000 now (Ultra).

    I hope that the CTS will not be inflated in the same way. The CTS is probably the car that the Aurora should have been in the first place - rear wheel drive, good handling, luxury options. I am waiting for a decent engine and hoping that the SRX will not cost too much.
  • HenryHenry Posts: 1,106
    " I am waiting for a decent engine and HOPING that the SRX will not cost too much."

    I always say that HOPE is whats left when reality fades away.

  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    It's depressing to think what the Aurora could be with the next generation (or even with just an engine update). The new "high-feature" 3.6L V-6 that will appear in the CTS makes 260hp (at 6500 rpm) and 250 lb-ft (at 2800 rpm). So imagine what sort of horsepower the Aurora V8 could have made... Assuming they tuned it for more torque instead, it probably could have easily made 280hp with 290+ lb-ft... Actually, extrapolating from the new RWD Northstar's power, the Aurora should make about 285 hp and about 270 lb-ft with variable-valve timing. I guess I'll have to start viewing the Northstar as the next Aurora V8 since there won't be anymore Aurora engines. :(

    FJK, I'd have to disagree with the CTS being what the Aurora should have been. I wouldn't buy a CTS even if the exterior looked like the Aurora. The interior is smaller and I hate the interior design. I like the wood and all in the Aurora. I hate the lack of it, and that angled steering wheel, in the CTS. I also prefer FWD as I don't notice any torque steer, I didn't buy the car to autocross, and FWD is much more predictable and useful in bad weather. I don't know why Cadillac wants to go RWD for the Seville (except that they want to be BMW for some idiotic reason...). RWD also intrudes on the passenger space more, and vibration can be more of a problem with the driveshaft. And I think the Aurora has good handling. Especially for the driving I do. I would also find it very difficult to pay $35,000 for a vehicle with a 6-banger.

    You are right about the price. At least on the classic. I think between 95 and 96 the price went up like $5000-6000 so they could offer more rebates. Pretty dopey. The 2001 was noticeably cheaper than the 1999, even the 4.0. Plus, it had extras like stability control, 17" wheels, and Solar-Ray glass. So I don't think price was nearly the problem with the current car. I think lack of advertising was the problem for it. Plus, Olds really didn't have time to turn it around. It wasn't until 2000(2001) that they really had the Alero/Intrigue/Aurora lineup (in 1999 they still had the Cutlass, LSS, and 88). And the next year Olds got killed. That's just not enough time. Oh well...
  • What issue was the Aurora comment in? I heard Caddy was looking for a hybrid design from the Corvette engine to put in the CTS...
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    It was the most recent AutoWeek. October 7, 2002. That's really all they said about the Aurora, though. They mentioned no more V6, and about the last 500 being collector's editions. Also, they didn't list it with luxury cars, which sort of annoys me, but whatever.

    The 3.6 "high-feature" V6 has been in the works for the CTS for a while now. It will most likely be the new base engine. That 3.2 isn't really that great. There will be a whole line of "high-feature" V6's in varying displacements. They will probably replace engines like the 3.5 and 3800s in more upscale-ish cars. The downscale-ish cars will get versions of the 60-degree OHV V6's (3.4 and 3.1 currently). Apparently they've been updated to be more reliable (fewer leaking problems) and to be a bit more powerful and efficient. I doubt there will be anymore 90-degree V6's. Apparently the CTS V-series (the new name for Caddy performance cars) will have a version of the Corvette V8. But I doubt that will happen in other Caddy V-series cars. Really, it seems a bit too rough-and-tumble for a Cadillac in my opinion.

    But I guess time will tell. I think the new Northstar looks good and the prospect of a Cadillac V-12 is awesome. I just wish a Cadillac with luxury, style, and a V8 could be had for under $40,000. Maybe I need to buy another Aurora, seal it in a big bag, and open it up in about 5 years... There was some talk of a small high-tech V8 for front-drivers (no bigger than about 4.0 liters). I haven't heard any GM news on that for a while, though. It was supposed to be a 75-degree engine so it would be quite a bit smaller than the Aurora V8 (which isn't that small. Supposedly it can support up to 5.4L of displacement).
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    When the Aurora was introduced in 94, it was supposed to be a BMW 5-series/Lexus 400 class car. Obviously it was a lot cheaper. The 95 Aurora's ride and handling were not quite up to par. This was due (I think) to some suspension issues that were corrected by 97/98. I know that my 95 Riviera did not ride quite as good as the 98 Aurora does. I think that the Aurora's handling is quite good for a FWD car, but it simply is not a "sports sedan" which was the target market. This is probably why the Aurora just never quite sold like they wanted.

    I for one do not like the Aurora repair costs. $1200 to replace a valve cover seal is bad. I would guess if the car were RWD, that cost would be much less. To replace the power steering pump requires removal of the radiator first! Of course with a RWD probably you would still have to remove the radiator to fix anything on the front of the engine.

    The CTS is aimed at the 5-series. The next STS is aimed at the 5-series V8. The CTS is really aimed more at the highend 3-series/lowend 5-series. The SRX is said to be a CTS wagon, so the northstar should also fit into the CTS. But I think the SRX will be a bit wider body. I do agree that the CTS interior is too lowend compared to the Aurora - which is way too lowend compared with my 86 T-type Electra. GM interiors are just too much plastic now.

    The 2001 Aurora price is better, but now its a LeSabre (not a Park Avenue/Deville), so its still overpriced. With nav and other stuff the price is $40,000. The CTS with nav, sport pkg, zenon lights is close to $40,000 too. I hope a RWD (not AWD) SRX with goodies will run only a bit over $40,000 and have lots of room for stuff. The CTS does have 5 speed automatic.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    ...Greg, after you said wait until AutoWeek does a comparo that will surely bash American products. I started to think are there any decent reviews of American cars? Then I remembered. I watch MotorWeek on PBS (surprising they are pro-American, ehh?) whenever I notice it's on. They are always pretty even-handed in their reviews. But I don't catch it that much because I only happen to notice if I'm watching some TV and it is on. I guess I need to find out when it airs.

    They have an archive of their reviews on their website. I found one of the 2001 4.0. It's pretty good. I noticed a few little things like they mention the power recline/lumbar on the drivers-side only (the driver's and passenger's seats have the same adjustments) and the transmission-life monitor. I wonder if they had an early car or if they just looked up some of that info later and it was listed wrong. Anyway, I thought this was one of the best reviews yet. Of course, that's because I agree with most everything they said in it.

    Greg, so far I haven't noticed any comparos in AutoWeek. Even their car reviews are pretty short. I think they focus more on breaking auto news and motorsports. I like it so far (as there just isn't as much opportunity to be offensive). Maybe I'll let my subscriptions to Car & Driver, Motor Trend, and Road & Track run out and just read AutoWeek and watch MotorWeek. But then I'll miss out on C&D's tuner showdowns and R&T's excellent photography of exotic and classic cars. I guess I won't miss anything in specific about Motor Trend. I'm not really sure why I started subscribing to it.

    Does it seem like the board has been pretty slow recently? Is everyone out enjoying an early-fall drive through nature? If so, post a picture and a narrative about it... :)

  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    I did a build you own on GM's buypower and found that the 2003 Aurora with nav and stuff that was standard in 95 would run about $37,000+. Not bad. Cheaper than the CTS. Best deal would be to find one at a dealership already made->probably with a sunroof that I can do without. Then with a 7 year-100,000 mile extended warranty, an Aurora might be a good deal. The CTS's nav comes with a dash 6 CD changer though, which I would like better than a trunk system I think.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    rjs - I was just kidding, but if the comparo were ever done, no points would be given to the Aurora for offering an awesome V8 with more power for the same or less money.

    Anyway, I'm still amazed that a loaded up ES300 would take you over 40k. I'm sure they are great cars, but not 40k great. I guess I'm just a domestic car owning rube that doesn't get it.

    As for Old's demise I have to agree with RJS and also have to acknowledge that FJK's assessment of the Aurora not quite being a sports sedan. It's an awfully sporty luxury car. It a bit too heavy and the FWD omit it from the sport sedan category. Yeah, I don't give a rip about RWD either. I haven't run across the pylons in the road yet but I have seen some real nasty slop every winter. Just give me good looks, lots of room and comfort, and as much power as possible and I'm happy.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    When I went from my 78 Old 98 to FWD with the 83 Buick Skyhawk, I really liked the FWD on icy roads. But this was before anti-lock brakes and traction control. Now, with anti-lock brakes, traction control and other goodies, RWD should not be as bad as it was. My 86 'Vette was really fun.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    yeah, I've wondered how much the traction control helps with RWD. Probably a lot. I think TC on a FWD car is not really needed, but you gotta have it on any car in that price range. The Aurora gets going in snow pretty well.
  • javidoggjavidogg Posts: 366
    Ever planned an Aurora gathering. I was over at the Alero's site and I was looking at some pictures from their Alero & Grand Am gathering from 10.5.2002 in a suburb in Elk Grove Village, It think that's were it was. I would like to see everyones Aurora from in a gathering or event of sort. Peace.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    that a while ago there was talk that the 275hp Northstar and the Aurora V8 had the same cam timing? I don't think anyone ever had concrete evidence, though? If so, I apologize. I found a post on GMForums about the specs of the 275hp Northstar from 2000 (so this is for the new engines, but maybe the same for the old ones).

    The cam timing specs are exactly the same. He didn't post the lift, so I don't know (although I'd guess they are the same). Duration @ .150mm lift, Intake: 242 deg, Exhaust: 236 deg. The rest of the specs like overlap and centerline are the same too, but I didn't want to flood with numbers (at least not more than I already am).

    He lists a cylinder head combustion chamber size of 48.6cc. I wish my manual listed that spec, but alas it does not. I imagine if the stroke is the same, either the combustion chamber or the pistons (besides just their width) would need to be different or else the compression ratio on the 4.0 would be lower than for the 4.6. But since the pistons have to be different anyway (different bore) maybe the pistons handle the compression change. I'd really like to know, though, because it would give some insight on how to bore to a 4.6L block. The chamber depth-to-surface is listed for both, and both are the same at 10.470-10.710mm.

    The valves are not the same size, though. So even if the heads had the same combustion chamber, the valves would need changing (which may not be very hard). The exhaust valves are the same with a head diameter of 27.880-28.140mm. The intakes are not with the Aurora having 34.090-34.350mm and the 275hp Northstar having 36.090-36.350mm.

    Interestingly, the 3.5 V6 has the exhaust valve listed as 28mm (not a range) and the intake as 36.2mm which is basically the same as the Northstar motor. Although the 3.5 does have a cylinder volume that is like the 4.6L V8, not like the Aurora V8 (a 6-banger Aurora V8 would be 3.0L not 3.5). Also, the 3.5 does have the combustion chamber volume listed (this is in the same manual as the 4.0 info, so I don't know why it isn't listed for the 4.0) at 56.0cc. The 3.5 has a 9.3:1 compression ratio. I can't think of anything to infer from the 3.5 info, though. Just thought it was interesting (and maybe you all can come up with something).

    Anyway... I just thought someone might find this interesting.

    As far as the FWD/RWD discussion. I would imagine TC helps a lot on RWD. But it helps on FWD too. So since FWD gets better traction than RWD when no electronics are involved, I'd think that the TC on FWD would have more to work with, and so FWD would still be preferrable. I don't think RWD would change my driving experience in any way, so I'd prefer FWD for those bad times. Also, traction control doesn't cut down on the huge hump that runs through the floor of a RWD car... :) Although, I can see having RWD on like the XLR or even the CTS. But the Seville or Aurora? I personally don't think they should (but I think the Aurora and CTS have different audiences). Interestingly, nobody gripes about Acuras or Audis having FWD.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    I think that the Aurora is a low priced STS/DTS alternative. Cadillac is moving the STS to RWD to make it into a highend (read 5-series BMW) sports sedan. The STS was always aimed at the sports sedan market - thats why the suspension is stiffer. With the DTS, the STS no longer makes much sense. The STS really does not replace the RWD Fleetwood sedan. A RWD STS won't replace it either, but I can see a sigma platform based on the STS that might be a Fleetwood replacement.

    As for the hump - if I remember right, the FWD Toronado/Eldorado did not have any hump. But my Aurora does have a hump and with bucket seats in front, humps don't matter much anyway. My Aurora isn't wide enough to carry 3 big guys in back very far anyway. So if you figure that you've got a 4 passenger car anyway, then the hump doesn't matter much.

    Regarding the tuning: Since the Aurora's peak horsepower matched up with the 275 hp northstar, I assumed the tuning was similar. One would think that they could have had the HO tuning part of the autobahn package. Part of the tuning is the intake manifold tuning too.
  • garnesgarnes Posts: 950
    I really think the 275 er is the "high output" tuning IMO. It's got loads more torque almost everywhere on the curve. The difference of 5 on the peak is misleading. Also, it has a lot more HP all the way to 5000 rpm. I think the 275 engine mated to a 3.71 would be quicker to 60 and maybe even the 1/4 mile - or at least very close.

    I think a lot of the 300 Hp thing is simply being able to say "300 HP". Marketing. The torque curve and most of the HP curve on the 300 engine really give up a lot just for that high peak HP. It's sad. Finally the VVT is coming though - a bit late IMO.

    So, if the Aurora is tuned like the 275 4.6 that sounds good to me. If I ever were to put the 4.6 in an Aurora (I have the 3.71), I'd want the 275 HP engine.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    The HO northstar gives up a lot of lowend torque to get a little more highend horsepower. The Aurora's torque peaks at 4400 just like the HO northstar, so I wonder about that. Still, some back of the envelope calculations suggest that the 4 liter Aurora engine would probably not do any better than 260 hp @6000 if it was tuned more like the HO. And then the low end torque would be bad. The VVT is a good thing but for now is only going into the RWD cars as the cooling system is changed for RWD. So the Devilles won't get VVT for a while.
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    if you scale the 275hp motor's output down by the displacement difference, the Aurora should only make 240hp. However, it makes 250, and the torque curve peaks at little higher rpm (perhaps because the torque curve is more extended due to better efficiencies, which would explain the higher hp rating). I suspect it is because of some higher efficiencies with the smaller displacement. Also, as I've said before, the Aurora is more of a stroker than a scaled-down 4.6 would be. Plus, it has basically the same intake and exhaust, yet it is a smaller engine (displacement-wise). So I'd bet with the 300hp tuning, the Aurora would make more like 270hp. Anyway, I too would prefer the current state of tune and the fatter torque curve. I didn't think the 275hp and 300hp Northstars had different intake manifolds, though. I thought it was all cam timing (and probably ECU programming).

    I have to say, it sounds like Garnes theory is close. Now that there is a better Northstar, the engineers seem freer to discuss the FWD one. If you read the press release on the new RWD Northstar, they mention how the new one doesn't suffer from the 300hp engines crummy torque curve. I guess they have to explain why 315hp is really a better improvement than it sounds like. I've also read a few other articles where GM reps mentioned it. They say the engine could be tuned to either deliver high horsepower or high torque as if they were mutually exclusive in the FWD Northstar. It sounds like that's a polite way of saying the 300 hp Northstar wasn't really the best.
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