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Buick Rendezvous Owners: Meet the Members



  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239

    We will soon have 2003 RDV CX (???) sitting in our driveway by this weekend. I read a few previous posts that V6 3.4L head gaskets may need to be re-done. Someonething about a plastic thingy and over time, it starts to leak. My neighbour had the head gaskets / Plastic thingy recently re-done on his 2002 AWD RDV model - that has 150,000 kms.

    In the old days, I had a 1990 Sunbird car with a 2.0L engine. It ate head gaskets every year. After its second head gasket replacement, my local mechanic told me to install an Aux tranny cooler under its hood. Yes, over kill for a 4 cylinder but I did it. This aux tranny cooler kept its engine "a little" cooler and thus, it stopped burning out head gaskets.

    With the above solution in mind, should I get my local mechanic to install an Aux Tranny cooler under the hood of our future 2003 FWD RDV as well? We don't plan on using our 2003 RDV for towing but if a $120 Aux tranny cooler will stop its "plastic head gasket thingy" (or what ever its called) from blowing, then spending $120 now might be worth it.

    thanks for your idea on this possible long term solution.

  • I dunno botu the head gasket but the RDV has a bad history with the intake gasket and i hear that has to do with the Dexcool system . so flush the cooling system GM claims 150K 5 years on the coolant but it sludges up soooner. research the intake gasket and the dex cool sludge
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    Thanks for your feedback intrepidcub.

    Found some great info at:

    Very interesting reading in the above sites...

    I talked my wife into allowing me to install an Aux Tranny Cooler. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of installing more "cooling" then needed. She said after 1 month (after the dealer end/end 30 day warranty period), I get to install a few mods on it. First mod will be the Aux tranny cooler install - by my local tranny specialist. While doing this work, he can flush, push or change the rad fluid the best way he sees fit. He rebuilt the tranny in my 2001 AWD Safari van and based on his technical feedback, he knows his trannys inside and out. Especially the GMC trannys. If he feels the factory RAD should be also be replaced (with a larger HD 3rd party RAD, we'll get it installed a well. Installing a larger RAD is much less expensive then head and intake gasket replacements - if over heating from sludge build up is the problem. Next time, I'll consult him before buying a future vehicle.


  • dilldill Posts: 31
    I have owned my 2006 Buick Rendezvous now for 14 months. In short, I love it. I have the standard 3.5 liter powerplant that although isn't neck snapping on accelleration it is fast enough for merging and other things it would be called upon for. There is nothing specific that the Rendezvous does exceptionally well. But it does a whole lot of things very well and that is how it gets such glowing accolades from me. Comfort is very good, ride quality is extremely good for its segment, get up and go is reasonable, fuel economy is very good considering its a CUV (Crossover Utitlity Vehicle). Most of my driving is highway in nature to and from work its about 35 miles each way. I get roughly 19 city/27 highway as I have calculated a few times over the last year. Relaibility is not stellar but nothing too bad either. I had a winshield wiper motor die, a front tie rod replaced and a generator replaced because of a potential recall issue. The old generator worked perfectly fine except for a dummie light that came on very rarely on the dashboard for a few seconds at a time. It only has gone on when the AC was on and I was under medium to heavy acceleration going uphill. GM said replace it, the replacement generator which is much heavier duty, also makes the dummie light glow on the dashboard. after the replacement generator didn't solve the problem, The dealer by GM that there was nothing more to be done until they(GM) find a solution for the issue. The light is never on long enough to pose a problem. ( Always a few seconds at a time) GM knows about the problem that appears to be fairly widespread across the range of Rendezvous. My documented problem is now in the service computers and if any further problems occur, I will take it up with the GM techs. The GM techs said no damage will happen with the light going on. I realized this before he said it because whatever it is its minor, no loss of performance when it does come on. Besides even if there were damage with it coming on, their computers show that I had this issue well before the 4/50,000 mile warrantee was long from expiring. Therefore it would be covered under warantee since they have known about it for so long. They told me that once they find the appropriate fix they will send me paperwork to bring it in under warrantee service. I am not nor have I ever really been concerned about the dummie light issue. But outside of this minor thing and the other things stated above the car has been great. I have 37,000 miles on it at present and it is just as nice and fun to get around in now as it was when I first got it. I would gladly buy another if I were in the market for another car because it fits the need for carrying people and supplies, it does everything comfortably and with good economy and with lots of utility.
  • buickinvabuickinva Posts: 1
    I've been browsing through these forums for the past week and I'll be honest and tell you that owning a 2002 Buick Rendezvous scares me. She's getting close to 100,000 miles - I got her used and still owe on her .. thought about trading in for another vehicle but everywhere I turn, they'll only offer me $3500 or 4 grand. I owe alittle over 8.

    As of now, I haven't had any problems with her at all. I did have to change the right rear hub assembly but since I'm the service advisor at an auto shop - it pretty much was at cost. I'm lucky in that regard. I have changed rotors and pads last year and just did the spark plugs a couple of weeks ago - otherwise, I haven't had her in the shop at all for anything.

    What worries me is I've never owned a vehicle that had close to 100K miles - I've always traded in. But with the trade in value, this is one I'll more than likely keep until she's paid off.

    How many of you own the 2002 RDV with over 100K miles on it. Any problems? I mean, once you hit 100 - did it suddenly become a lemon? I'm really concerned and worried about hitting that mark for some reason and wanted to hear from some of you fellow owners.

    I love my Buick ... absolutely love it. Great room - no problems - nice feeling ride.
  • Depending on when you bought it, about every 50k, you'll need to replace the front wheel bearings. Its not too bad, just make sure you don't puncture the boot around the 1/2 shaft : ).

    I'm getting ready to flush the radiator and change the plugs and harness. Did you reach the plugs from underneath or did you rock the engine forward?

    '02 'Vous CXL AWD 102K currently
  • Hi I am Phillip and Live in Rocky Mt. N.C We have owned a RDV for a while and although I like the way it drives and, handles and the gas mileage average about 24 mpg`s with 3.4 V6 we are starting to have problems with it first the intake gasket went out on it $850.00 then problems with the transmission $1800.00 and just yesterday the drivers side front window just fell down in the door. I called the dealer and he said to expect about
    $450.00 but thanks to the forum here I have ordered the plastic clips for about $40.00 and expect to fix this myself, It is hard for me to understand why buick would use a cheap plastic part to hold up something as heavy as these windows and according to the forum a lot of others are having the same problem. This car has less than 100,000 miles and seems to me that it is falling apart.
  • crudcrud Posts: 5
    How did you end up getting to the rear plugs? Did you need to remove any other parts to access them?
  • brithor52brithor52 Posts: 3
    Our 2003 Buick Rendezvous CX had a strange problem back in March of 2010. We were driving along when all of a sudden we lost 80% of power and a loud clanking, thacking sort of noise could be heard coming from the engine compartment. We limped home for about 3 miles and long story-short... the cylinder #2 (front head passenger side) exhaust valve rocker arm bolt had pulled out of the head taking the aluminum threads with it. The power loss and bad emissions were from the exhaust gases not being able to exit in the normal way and blowing past the open intake valve and into the intake plenum forcing the engine to run on less O2 than normal. The noise was the push rod bouncing around.
    ****the fix**** The dealer wanted to sell me a new engine or new or repaired heads. Minimum charge: $2000. They led me to believe the problem was on the rear head which is inaccessible for purposes of repairing the threads. But I went to the dealer and saw for myself that it was actually the front head that had the problem and knew from talking to an independent mechanic that if he could get to it, he could replace the threads with a Heli-coil thread insert. I paid the dealer for the towing and the work they did to remove the valve cover (actually 15 minutes of work if you know how) and towed it to my mechanic and he fixed it for $200.00. Everything was great until about 2 months later when it happened again. This time to exhaust valve rocker arm bolt for cylinder #4 (middle front bank). This time I knew what it was and drove it to the mechanic's place and he fixed that one for $200.00. So at least the first on (#2) heli-coil held. But it implies that they all might go at some point. Luckily we've been in our home town of Tallahassee Florida for both breakdowns. If we'd been on the road it would have been total disaster. So now the vehicle cannot be trusted. It does have 123K miles but it has never overheated and has had synthetic oil in it since day one. I used to rev it to the limiter (5500 RPMs) at times but now I take it real easy. My mechanic wants to drop the engine and do all of the remaining threads on front and rear banks. Dropping the engine is the alternative to pulling the rear head. He says it is a 15 hour job and estimates $1500 to $2000 to complete it.
    My theory is that the front bank was not torqued correctly on the assembly line and that maybe the back bank was torqued correctly. The current plan is to do all the front threads (replace the threads with Heli-coil inserts) and drive is like I used to - good and hard - and see if any of the back ones go. This morning I pulled the valve cover (steps: unplug spark wires-set to side, unclamp harness and move aside, pull out PVC and set aside (up and over obstacle), unbolt top pass side dog-bone motor mount and flip up (remove bolt closest to engine 15mm and 13mm) loosen radiator side bolt then flip up), move clamp -at engine- away from the 90 degree hose to bypass pipe and pull it off that end, remove oil filler cap and dipstick, then remove bolt (8mm) holding the bypass pipe to the head (also disconnect any other brackets holding the bypass pipe to the engine- you don't need them anyway- then pop the pipe out of the hole- it has an o-ring so make sure you don't lose it, or buy a new one from the dealer or install any one that fits- lift pipe over mount bracket and leave it there. it should move without too much effort- if it feels like it is solidly held in place you'd better investigate more closely- unbolt four cover bolts (they will not come completely out-captured) and take off the cover -takes a bit of twisting and manipulating. The rocker arm bolts have "10.9 m" and "SPS" cast on the head. Not sure of the size but I think the threads are 8mm. I need to verify if I try to fix them myself. So.............. I hope that helps anyone that might have it happen to them. I've not heard of another such incident but would like to hear from anyone who has. This vehicle has be very good to us and we'd hate to loose it to such a stupid problem.
    Good luck, Brian
  • juliaomjuliaom Posts: 29
    Well you should be worried and scared. These RDV's are junk.
    I bought mine in 04, and its a 2002 at about 29,000 miles.
    First thing that went was the AC, then both front windows, tie rods, head gaskets started to leak at 97,000 but Dealer did not point it out to me.
    On the highway on the TN/KY border near Bowling Green, KY the car started to get hot and smoke. All the head gaskets blew. I crept home stopping often to cool it off, and the dealer charged me close to $3000 to replace them.
    Now the All Wheel Drive sensors are out, $800, and the brake something is out.
    Also the dealer said the gasket under the motor is bad and leaking, another $700.
    This car has cost me close to $11,000 and I cannot afford to get a new car.
    It is not worth about $4000, if that.
    I just had the radiator drained and something else for $300.
    It has 136,500 miles on it. I am thinking of donating it to the Fire Dept. after I set fire to it.
    I missed the first Class action suit by a couple of months.
    You had better hope that someone hits you while texting their friends. :mad:
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,652
    For the AWD disabled message, many times its a wiring problem that causes it, not the sensors themselves, I would have that checked first (including the c305 connector )
  • juliaomjuliaom Posts: 29
    Thanks RAY, it was checked by this infamous Dealer repair dept. They said it was the sensors, it has 135,000 miles on it. I don't know who else to take it to.
    Will check the c305 connector. This car can drive you to drink, but that gives me a headache too.
  • juliaomjuliaom Posts: 29
    Love your comment, "It'll only get better when it breaks in 5,000 miles.
    BREAKS is the operative word here, just get the extended warrenty, or a second job.
  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,652
    When they plug in the magic computer to get codes, the first thing it will indicate is a problem with sensor and that will be the first they they want to replace. Many times though it is a wiring issue to the sensor thats the problem (which includes the 305 connector)
  • juliaomjuliaom Posts: 29
    Wow, kisses and hugs. Where were you four years ago!!
    I am taking this email to my dealer and watching the computer magic. They know me by sight and know I don't put up with their crap.
    Sometimes I take them bourbon for Thanksgiving or Christmas to grease the wheel.
    My rear view mirror fell completely off three weeks ago in the heat, so I went in at 4:30pm as they were closing and they reglued it free. HA.
  • I can understand how you feel. I love my Rendezvous, absolutely, but I had another rocker arm bolt pull out today on my way to, of all places, the dentist. This is the third time this has happened to me. The first time was the day I started it up to drive it off the lot (I bought it used). The salesman (who is a friend of mine, yes, still) had it fixed and I picked it up the next day. About one year later, another one came off. Repair cost of about $200.00, and now, another. Told me it would cost about $200.00. Was this ever a recall issue? I never received anything about it, but maybe it should have been. Like I said, I love that car and would hate to think about having to get rid of it. Just thought I would put in my 2 cents worth.
  • brithor52brithor52 Posts: 3
    edited August 2010
    I eventually had my mechanic drop the engine and replace the remainder of the 12 threads with heli-coils. If I'd done this from the very first incident, the total price would have been about $1600.00. Which IS a lot but the car is paid for and we really didn't want to pull the heads and now I can drive long distances without fear that another bolt will pull out.
    I could have lived with it if it only effected the front head, but the back head was the real killer.
    If there is any way to roll the engine far enough forward or backward to be able to work on the back head, then you could have it done for a lot less.
    BTW I emailed Buick with my displeasure with the situation but they didn't have the guts to respond.
    Good luck.
  • rvrsdrvrsd Posts: 9
    edited September 2010
    Hi guys,
    Well, I just bought a 2002 RVD CXL with 48K @ 7,500. I test drove it and the ride was nice. The interior is very nice, the leather seats were well taken care of. I bought it from a hyundai dealer, a few days later I get the check engine and they fixed it at no cost. It needed to have the Air pump replaced. I picked it up and noticed some vibrations on the break pedal, I had to bring it back b/c it was doing it too frequent. Right now I'm waiting from their reply, I will keep you guys updated though.

    According to the info displayed in the dashboard, it's only giving me average 14 mpg!!!!! I read that some of RVD owners changed to K&N Filter and this noticitibly helped in the mpg, so I will try that sometime this week. Do you think I need to replace other parts in order to improve the mpgs? Thanks a lot :)
  • juliaomjuliaom Posts: 29
    edited September 2010
    Good luck, the milage is the least of your problems, I would not worry about that.
    The bigest problem is that you "bought it" in the first place.
    The next to go will be your AC, ($2000) and then probably your front power window motors, then some tie rods, the gaskets leak due to the Dex Cool (class action suit over), the head gaskets will start to leak around 75,000mls, mine blew up at 84,000 miles and my new heads were $2700. Buick said "tough" you have too many miles.
    Now my AWD light has been on for months, my power lock break lights are on, and the sensors are $700.
    The gasket under the head is leaking, and now the Torque convertor is stuck open, its overheating, and I just replaced the pcc solenoid, and now the Tcc solenoid is gone, and the car is at the shop and will not run.
    I had to have it towed 65 miles on I64 back to Lexington when it stopped running.
    I am buying a new car this weekend, it will not be an American car, (the Rendevous was made in Mexico), and I am salvageding the Buick, or donating it to the Fire Dept.
    I want to watch it burn.
    Get rid of it, do not wait till you are upside down in repair costs that you can't even afford another car, like me.
  • Wow... scary... I hope I dont go through that. I bought the extra powertrain warranty I hope the major problems happen within the next 3 years or 36,000 miles. By the way I think it has already started, the passenger's power window makes a squeaky noise when bring it back up. gggrrrr
  • If I were you, I would cut back on the groceries and save for all your future RDV repairs.
    Bless the Lord and the Nissan Dealer, I AM FREE. I traded that RDV in this weekend, bought a Nissan Murano 2007, dealer was wonderful in Richmond, KY and I love the way it drives, like a sports car.
    I am really broke but its worth it, maybe I will have a monthly cash flow now that I am rid of the RDV. Go drive a Murano, and trade that RDV in today or you will live to regret it. :D
  • I am looking at buying a used 2005 with 75000 miles awd. Please tell me experiences that others have had and you feel about that yr bruick.
    Thank you.
  • jordandjordand Posts: 1
    I have had the same problem with my 2003 CXL. I was on the highway, got on it, and my car started knocking and missing terribly. I talked to several mechanics and they said that there was no way to tell with either one, replacing random parts or two, tearing into the engine. I had a compression test done, and I took it to my mechanic and he said the the rocker arm assembly, on cylinder 3, had stripped and fallen into the bottom of the motor. He used a magnet and pulled out the parts, and replaced the rocker arm assembly with a new one with a longer bolt. He fixed it and a few months later, the same thing happened on cylinder 2. We took it back to him and he fixed it again. We had him check all of the cylinders to make sure it was not going to happen again.
  • Dude, there is no way your mechanic can tell if it is going to happen to more cylinders. So far I guess it has only happened to the cyls on the front bank. Otherwise your mechanic would not be fixing them so easily. A longer bolt is not the way to go. a heli-coil is the only permanent fix that will also make it stronger than it was originally. If it happens to a cyl on the back bank you are in a world of crap. As I probably stated in my original post, you need to drop the engine and do all 12 bolts. Or, if possible do the pull engine forward trick to get to the back bank. Since my car was done nearly a year and a half ago, no problems and it seems to pull harder and stronger than ever. Good luck.
  • cjk1794cjk1794 Posts: 1
    Are there any types of other engines I can put in her to make it faster. I don't know why i just want to an idea of all the crazy things i can do with it.
  • Hello to all! We just purchased this vehicle, it seems to be highly rated....only one problem. My husband cannot locate the PCV Valve!!! It's a 3.5 L . He is a great motor head but this one has him stumped!! Please help.....
    Sincere thanks,
    Janine aka Bifford
  • Interested to hear of high mileage RDV owners. Just bough an exceptionally clean 2005 CX AWD with 147k on it. Previous owner put about 23k/yr since they bought it in 2007. Just went through all the maintenance on car (flushed all fluids - coolant, trans, brake lines, oil, versatrak). I was surprised at how clean the old fluids were for the mileage. Car has all signs of being well looked after. I preemptively replaced two rear 17-inch tires and the brakes are all new. Very solid, well built car. I bought it with the 3.4l which has been bullet proof in our 2002 Montana (caught manifold gasket problem early about 6 years ago with no problems since). I needed AWD and another vehicle for teen driver. I plan to get many more years of trouble free service. I'll keep you all posted. Please share your thoughts on keeping high mileage RDV's on the road.
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