Olds Intrigue Brake Problem

stanionstanion Member Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in Oldsmobile
I own a 1998 Intrigue with 50,000 miles on it. I
have had Brake "shuddering" problems especially
when braking at high speed. (60 to 70 mph).
It first occurred at 20,000 miles., again at 37000
miles and again at 48000 miles. Each time I was
told to have my rotors turned. I did that twice but
don't believe that is the answer. The dealer tells
me it is normal for the car to perform like that.
I dom't think so. Does anyone have any advice for
me so I can get this problem resolved and not just
have the symptoms relieved for a short time. (80%
of my driving is 500 to 1000 mile trips on the
Interstate) Thanks, Bobb S


  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Have you looked through our active Brake topic? I don't know whether it will help, but it might be worth your time to check it out. Just click on that link to go directly there.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • oscarzoscarz Member Posts: 1
    E-mail angietoo at [email protected] with your situation. She has the same dilemna and is gathering ammo from other owners of 98s to (I believe) initiate some sort of class action. She may have new info that may be helpful.
  • kessler392kessler392 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Intrigue and have experienced the same vibration problems. I also had the rotors replaced at 20K miles and the pads sanded. I now have 54K miles and the problem is back. This must be a common problem. Popular Mechanics Magazine had the same problem with the 98 Intrigue they tested (long term test). As I recall, the problem started at around 20K miles for their test vehicle also.
  • ken118ken118 Member Posts: 1
    I have had brake problems on my 1998 Intrigue, too. At about 20K miles, the dealer "resurfaced" the rotors, and everything was fine. At 30K miles, the dealer said I needed new rotors at which I was shocked. I do all highway driving and went about 65-70K miles before pads needed replacing on my last 2 Pontiac Grand Prix's with 4 wheel discs, and I never replaced the rotors on either of those cars. The dealer was actually very nice about this - I argued that the rotors were defective because of my previous experience, and they did eventually replace them under warranty.

    But now at 44K miles the shuddering is back, and I am thinking about an after market rotor. I have heard that the problem is the Autobahn package which is no longer offered. I have a friend who also has a 98 Intrigue but without the Autobahn, and he has had no problems.
  • tbird2usatbird2usa Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone know if Olds corrected these problems or am I to worry about a 2000 Intrigue ?
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Hello tbird2usa, welcome to Town Hall!

    Did you have a chance to look at the Intrigue topics over in our Sedans conference? That's the best place to find folks who have recently purchased or are interested in purchasing the current model.

    You can easily get a list of all relevant topics by keying Intrigue in to the Topic Search feature on the left side of the page. Here is a link to one of them: Oldsmobile Intrigue III (Topic #3206).

    Glancing through the last 60 or so posts, it looks to me like the consensus may be that this problem was specific to the '98s with the autobahn package, and that, as noted in post #5 here, that package has been dropped. But read through the topic yourself to be sure.

    Good luck!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • 63636363 Member Posts: 8
    98 Intrigue owned 12 mos-27000 miles total when it was returned to its maker. Brakes --rear rotors & pads replaced @3000 miles also turned @21000 miles---front rotors turned @18000 and pads replaced.

    99 Intrigue owned 10 months and has approx 20500 miles-Rear rotors turned @16000, replaced rotors and pads @18000 miles and fronts were turned @19000 miles. Rear brakes are still noisy and fronts are shuddering are high speed useage.

    Life of an Intrigue brake according to some service managers is over @18000 and the lucky ones get 30000 miles.

    Neither car had the Autobahn package.
  • diggy2diggy2 Member Posts: 1
    I recently brought a 98' Antares/Intrigue and having problems with the front brakes making nose and shuddering when slowing from high speeds. While the car was still under warranty at 33,073 I brought it into the dealer to simply check the brakes. When picking-up my car I was pleased to be informed that the dealer replaced both front rotors and brake pads. I was told that it was error in the brake system and they did the replacement free of charge. nice!
  • gt_33gt_33 Member Posts: 1
    I recently bought a new 2000 Intrigue GLS and I couldn't be happer. However after reading about the problems with brakes on earlier models of the Intrigue, I find it very interesting that the dealer warned me to avoid sudden hard stops for the first 500 miles. He said that sudden hard braking could warp the roator if done during the first 500 miles. I have about 400 miles on the vehicle and so far it's been a real blast.
  • jmmmbjmmmb Member Posts: 2
    I don't own an Intrigue, but a 99 Alero. After reading these posts, I found the topic interesting. I took my car in (12300) miles. While traveling at 60 mph and apply the brakes, the car and steering wheel shudders (sound familiar?) Dealer said that a service bulletin was issued, and they ordered new rotors and brake shoes. In the meantime, I can't find reference to this service bulletin anywhere on the internet. I wanted to let you know, sounds like a problem with some old's braking system.
  • bryang29bryang29 Member Posts: 1
    The consensus is that the 1998 Autobahn package was the culprit for most the rotor warpage. An Olds rep posted the service bulletin number in the Intrigue Topic two section (toward the end).

    But in general, I think warping of rotors is due to using cheaper parts. I have had rotors warp on a 94 T-Bird (rotors were replace twice, but they both warped) and on a 96 LSS.

  • wireman1wireman1 Member Posts: 1
    Here's another story in this long list of experiences with warped rotors. My '98 with the autobahn package, had a shimmy from the first day. After a number of false cures, the dealer turned the rotors after about 20k miles. For a time short after it was pretty good, then the shimmy came back when the brakes were applied. I did nothing further, and later the shimmy was present without applying the brakes, but would stop when the brake pedal was pushed! I still did nothing further about it except fume internally, and at about 40k miles it all went away. Still no shakes or shimmies, now at 65k miles. All my driving is interstate, so I think the pads are still good, but frankly I'm afraid to look! Hopefully it all hangs together until Jan 2001 when the lease expires. I would buy another Intrigue, as long as everyone is "sure" the whole problem was with the autobahn package. Does anyone agree, GM should have run a recall on this problem?
  • tensortensor Member Posts: 25
    I have a '98 with the Autobahn, and I have had the rotors replaced twice in 50K miles of driving. Olds has covered them both times, but it is irritating. I also do a lot highway driving and have never had an experience like this before with brakes. I am surprised to see that you are on your original set of rotors, because I can hardly get 20K on a set on my Intrigue. I watch these message boards, and the Autobahn package seems to be the culprit as owners of the 99 and 00's do not seem to be complaining about brake pulsation.

    There is a mention here of the TSB that the Olds rep posted on the Intrigue brakes, but my dealer told me that was for squeaking brakes across all GM intermediates and not specifically for the Intrigue brake pulsation / rotor problem.

    As for a recall, I wish they could fix this for good. They just stopped offering the Autobahn package after the first year and deal with the problem customer by customer. After my last fix (rotors and pads) the dealer told me I am on my own, and I have no confidence that the problem will not come back. I am told that my driving habits are causing the problem, but they have been fixing it up until now which does not make sense to me if they really think it is abuse on my part. The car is running beautifully at the moment.
  • piano3piano3 Member Posts: 1
    I purchased a 2000 Intrigue GLS 6500 miles ago. I too have had brake problems. The rear brakes were dragging and making noise. I took it to the dealer in Traverse City, Mi. and they said the rotors were rusted and pitted. They put new ones on. I had to take it back a week later and they said the rotors were sanded down. I am still having problems. They stated there were no bulletins on this. If there is, let me know. I am a retire GM Supervisor, so this doubles my agravation. Other then that car is great.
  • darrenpbdarrenpb Member Posts: 2
    I've got a 99 Intrigue with no autobauhn package. The rotors were turned at 35,000 miles after several thousand miles of pulsating. At 50,000, they are pulsating again. I called GM customer service to discuss the issue. They said this is the first they heard of it and refused to provide any kind of relief. They are not taking responsibility for their problem. There appears to be a high enough percentage of owners with this problem that GM should address it. I would like to press this issue with GM, legally if need be. Anyone with a past or present problem with this issue, please send a short Email with contact info (or email adress only) to

    [email protected]

    I would like to start a contact list and approach GM with it. The more names the better.


    Darren Brandes
  • darrenpbdarrenpb Member Posts: 2
    Brake problems are a safety issue. Voice your concern to the National Highway Safety Administration. They have a webstite with online forms to fill out requesting an investigation.

  • vcjumpervcjumper Member Posts: 1,110
    I don't think that is unreasonably low mileage to get out of a pair of rotors.
  • sebring95sebring95 Member Posts: 3,241
    All these brake problems, you guys are scaring me! I'm coming up on 200K miles again on my second Camry, and getting a bit tired of driving the same car over and over again! Rented an Intrigue awhile back and thought it was nice enough to consider a change. Brakes are a pet peeve area of mine, which is one reason I've stuck with the Camry so long. So it figures the first new car I like in along time has brake problems! Do you think a set of high quality replacement rotors would fix the Intrige problems? Other than that, do the pads make any squealing/grinding noises? I can't stand brake noises so as long as I could perm. fix the rotors this might be an OK change. I just can't be going into the shop every couple months for brake work. Also, is the oil filter easy to reach on the 3.5L?
  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Actually, most of the discussion here is on '98 Intrigue brake problems. And really, this is not one of the more active topics in this conference, so don't let it scare you!

    You should find a much broader perspective on the relative merits of this car over in our Sedans conference. If you haven't already, why don't you check out Oldsmobile Intrigue IV (Topic #3583) over in Sedans.

    Hope this helps.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • 3and143and14 Member Posts: 36
    Just found this site and wanted to add my two cents. I have a '98 Intrigue with the Autobahn package and the brakes are definitely junk. All four rotors were replaced at 8K. All four replacement rotors were turned at 29K and the rears again at 33K (!). Neither the dealer nor GM acknowledge anything systematically wrong with these cars. I believe the defective brakes were a contributing factor as to why the autobahn package was dropped after only one year. The dealer claims ignorance and hints it is the driving style. Such lack of accountability is appalling-Olds service is simply pathetic. My car will be off lease soon, I would of course never consider buying it given its continuing problems and shoddy dealer service and warn anybody tempted to buy a '98 with the autobahn package to be wary.
  • tensortensor Member Posts: 25
    3and14: I know exactly what you are saying about the brakes as I have had problems with the Autobahn, too. I really believe it is the pads, though, that are causing the problem. Although I have been told that my driving habits have caused the warpage (totally untrue in my opinion), they did keep fixing them under warranty. The last time at 51K miles they did the pads and rotors, and so far with over 9K miles I have had no signs of the warping coming back. I have seen other posts in the general Intrigue forum claiming the same thing about the pads. You might want to cite the TSB # in my post 10 in this topic and see what they'll do for you.
  • tensortensor Member Posts: 25
    3and14: I meant post #18...typo
  • ian18ian18 Member Posts: 133
    Just wanted to jump in here as I have been monitoring the Intrigue braking problem for some time. I have a 1998 Intrigue with the Autobahn package and have had the rotors machined at 18,000 and 33,000 miles. At 42,000 miles (out of warranty of course) the shuddering at highway speeds became intolerable. Knowing that others have had similar problems gave me the info to argue that there was some sort of design problem with the brakes. The Olds Warrany Service Coordinator implied that maybe if I let them do a "lifetime brake job" they would consider some sort of solution. I let my dealer rotate the tires and inspect the rotors and brakes. They found all four rotors to be warped but lots of life left on the pads. I talked with the service manager (a different person), told him that this was a ridiculous situation and asked for the rotors to be replaced. He said he would discuss it with Olds and get back to me. Later in the day he called me to tell me that Olds would replace all 4 rotors at no charge which they have now done. Also said he orderd rotors for the 1999 model and hoped that the problem would not reoccur (I really don't buy this). But for now I am happy and feel somewhat pleased with Olds reponse.

    I should also state that, except for the brakes, the car has been perfect. I have every option on this car and really like it.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    That's Kent Moore, who supply all GM special service tools. Snap-On tool trucks carry them too.
  • kyskierkyskier Member Posts: 1
    I have read the posts about the 98 Intrigue with the autobahn option for quite a while. I have a 98 Intrigue with the autobahn package with 72000+ miles on it. I have had no brake problems and last week had the brakes checked while getting the wheels balanced and I still have about one half of the pads left on the front. I have never gotten this many miles out of a set of brakes before.

    I don't know why I have made it this far without more problems. Quite a few of the miles on my car are road miles, but a good percentage are city miles too. One thing I do which the brake shop said may be helping is to let the car creep forward slowly after a stop. I figure this helps keep the hot pads off the same spot on the rotors and helps distribute the heat on the rotor better. I don't know if this helps, but it sure must not have hurt things.
  • oilchangeroilchanger Member Posts: 5
    A month later the oil filter wrench arrived but does not fit. Called Kent Moore and was told that was the wrong part number. They then furnished me with a correct part number(?), J-29142, which would equate to a standard end cap filter wrench with a 74mm cup size, with 15 flats or flutes. Was unable to find that size cap wrench here and did not want to wait another month for correct part. However, I did find a plastic end cap filter wrench at Walmart (Vector Type I) which was a 74/76mm - 15 flutes. I easily modified this to fit by cutting down the cap inside depth to 3/4". This work well for me and saved the day.
  • 14151415 Member Posts: 249
    kyskier::::::your brake story is unreal and you have been blessed----tell us your secret!!!!

    Many posters on this brake forum and the Intrigue
    section know of my 2 Intrigue experiences-98GLS and 99GLS.

    The brakes are not durable nor reliable; and offers Mr Goodwrench a beautiful way to screw Intrigue owners... GM bought my 98 back after 26k miles....steering problems, tire vibrations, forever brake problems and replace of rotors and pads, and front end rattles.

    The 99 GLS 3.5 in many ways mirrors the 98s aches and pains. We are at 35k miles with front end noise/rattle, totally screwed up brakes, flickering lights, and a terribly noisy car. The 3.5 is fun to have around; but overall the car is of little value with some very expensive long term repairs seen on the horizion.....

    Having owned some 43+cars starting with a 35 Ford with mechanical brakes; I feel qualified to comment on poor quality and the bilking of the public in offering a car called Intrigue with brakes only fit for a Cushman motor scooter.

    Having the Olds service people tell us our driving habits are questionable is comparable to the butterfly ballot in West Palm...
  • etharmonetharmon Member Posts: 399
    I have a 98 Intrigue(no autobahn package) with 32K and had to have the front rotors resurfaced last September. Other than that, no other problems with the brakes.
  • jdfehrjdfehr Member Posts: 1
    I have a 00 GLS Intrigue (owned since Jan 13/00).
    Other than some short comings on fit and finish compared to my previous 90 Accord, I'm quite pleased with the car. The flickering lights problem is caused by a faulty alternator (arcing brushes they tell me), but GM technical has developed a new alternator with a capacitor to correct this. It only seems to happen in cold weather about -10C or colder. The noisy front end, yes its there on rough ice or pavement. On smooth surfaces, the car is very quiet and smooth riding. The noisy sound is similiar to what you might expect if you were pulling an empty utility trailer. Yes, I could wish the above noise problem weren't there but oddly, the car always seems pretty solid. The ABS and traction control work quite well. Re: brakes, I'm at 24000 km and the brakes seem fine although in recent weeks, I've been hearing a light squeal when first touching the brake pedal. Hopefully this is much too early to be concerned. I look forward to responses to my comments.
  • mfryarmfryar Member Posts: 1
    You guys make it sound easy! I have had to replace my rotors on my Intrigue for the 3rd time. The car only has about 35,000 miles on it. I take it in every 6000 miles, and they either turn the rotors or replace them. Luckily, my dealership has taken care of the responsibility. I have made 2 calls to GM and they assure me that they will continue to treat the problem. I want the problem fixed! As some of you have mentioned, they tried to claim that it was my bad driving habits. I know not!!! Hopefully GM will fix the problem soon!
  • tensortensor Member Posts: 25
    mfryar: Make sure that they replace the pads. That is what I believe was the culprit on my '98 (see my previous posts). There apparently is something with the pad compound that they used on the autobahn package that does not disapate heat well, especially from highway stops. Once they replaced them on mine, I did not have the problem anymore. The stops were screetchy with the metallic pads but there was no warping in 20K miles which was a definite improvement.

    One last thing, make sure that your lugnuts on the wheels are only torqued to 100 lbs as is specified in the owners manual. These rotors are very sensitive to over torquing and that can also cause this problem. One of mine was overtorqued, and they said it contributed to the problem. After that, I made sure that that never happened again.
  • mge35mge35 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98' Intrigue with the autobahn package. As msg 32 stated, the brake pads may contribute to the problem. But apparently GM replaced the dot-3 brake fluid with a new less temperature tolerable fluid. The overheating of the rotor causes the fluid to boil. It in turn maintains pressure on the calipers. This pressure doesn't allow the brakes to fully release compounding the problem. My dealer has fixed the brakes 9 times now, a combination of replaced and turned rotors. I have 98,000 miles on it. Other than the brakes the car is great. However to those that have not had any brake problems, DON'T ever drive over 70mph. Interstate driving up to and over 80 mph will warp the rotors in a very short time. Also, I have heard that car quest has come out with a replacement rotor that is equipped with cooling ducts. Also, a good machine shop could do the same. But for those that are fixing the brakes every 8,000-10,000 miles like me, as long as the dealer pays for it I wouldn't try any home fixes. Its just a pain to take the car in every 2 months or so. Another fix would be to drain some of the brake fluid. Its too bad we all were suckered into buying a high performance car only to have to drive it like its a pinto.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    You might want to read post #8 in the archived topic "Brake system flushing-a needed service?" before making any more false and misleading statements about brake fluids. And you DO understand the concept of fluid thermal expansion and master cylinder compensating ports, right?
  • mykalmykal Member Posts: 1
    I have a 99 DX model. At 29,000 the rotors, pads and bushings were replaced. At 40,000 the Anti-lock Braking system went out. It wasn't any of the typical problems like frayed wiring. The power brakes are fine so I decided not to pursue the repair of the AS. I am at 50,000 now and the brakes are beginning to act-up again. From what I can tell, I am not the only one experiencing these problems. It seems there is a systemic problem with the brake assembly on that model. Except for the brakes, the car performs well!
  • jcnejcne Member Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Intrigue( no Autobahn) with 40K miles and have been told by my dealer the front rotors are warped which is causing the unsteady road feel at 60 MPH. Also there is a slight grinding noise when braking at high speeds and the brakes just don't seem to be very strong.

    Of course,the front pads have at least 10K miles left so they advised to wait to replace the rotors/pads.

    The Old customer service re said there wasn't anything they could do.

    How are other owners getting replacement rotors out of warranty?

    If I have to pay, I may as well just look for another brand rotor. My mechanic has recommended Bend ix / or Brembo(if available)

    I'd appreciate any comments from Edmunds or Oldsmobile.
  • vicki39vicki39 Member Posts: 2
    I'm am so disgusted with this problem....we have a 99 Intrigue.....last Oct it needed a complete brake job (pads, rotors - everything). The rotors had never been turned down and were so thin they could not be turned down. The rotors are smaller than your usual rotors so we could not put different rotors in the car. Our mechanic bought the replacement rotors from our Olds dealer ($191 each!!!!). We kept the old rotors. Our mechanic said one problem was that these rotors are so thin to begin with we'll probably never be able to turn them down....we'll just have to replace them again. NOW......not even 8 months later....brake problems again! When you brake, whether going fast or slow, you feel a thud on the brake pedal....the faster you're going the faster the thud happens. The car is going into the shop tomorrow to see what exactly is wrong. If we need new rotors again I'm going to hit the roof. We filed a complaint last year when this happened and they just might hear from us again. If it was totally up to me I'd sell this car and never buy another Intrigue. What a ripoff...nice way to get more money off their customers, huh? A person can buy almost 4 regular rotors for the cost of one of their Intrigue rotors.
  • lee18lee18 Member Posts: 45
    There are aftermarket rotors for the Intrigue available for at least half the price of OEM (non-Autobahn), so if your mechanic told you otherwise he was lying to you and/or cheating you.

    The rotors on the intrigue are comparable in size and thickness to other cars in the Intrigue's weight class, although they could be better for the Intrigue's price class.

    More often than not, rotor warping (the pulsation you feel) is caused by a mechanic improperly torquing the wheels in place. This usually shows up a few thousand miles after the wheels were done.

    Someone was complaining for months on this forum about his Intrigue rotors repeatedly warping, and then he took his other car to the same dealership for wheel service and found it developed warping soon afterward. That was a pretty strong indication the service department was the cause of the problem. Of course they will blame it on poor quality parts and happily charge you for new rotors (which they will probably also ruin).
  • tensortensor Member Posts: 25
    Vicki39: Lee18 is absolutely correct about the torquing of the lugnuts. These brake rotors are really sensitive to it. ASK AND MAKE SURE anywhere you have your tires rotated or brakes worked on that did they torque them to 100 pounds as is specified in the owners manual. In my experience, overtorquing is a surefire way for them to warp.
  • vicki39vicki39 Member Posts: 2
    we got good and bad news from our mechanic. Both front rotors did indeed need to be replaced......BUT, when he called our dealer to order the part the dealer said since it hadn't been a year since the existing rotors were installed they would GIVE us the rotors. So that saved us some money. One rotor on the rear did need to be turned down though...a minor thing.

    Our mechanic had told us all about the proper torquing with this car...he said whenever we went to have new tires put on to tell the mechanic about the problems that can occur with the rotors. In fact, since we needed two front tires, our mechanic ordered the tires and put them on himself for us - that way we KNOW they were put on right.

    We trust our mechanic implicitly...you've no idea how good these guys have been to us over the years. They are a family business and worked out of their backyard garage in my neighborhood where I grew up....the father ran the business. He got more and more successful and rented a garage of his own and does a wonderful business. Without a doubt they would not ever lie/cheat us...trust me on that.

    A question for you guys.....do aftermarket rotors come with any kind of guarantee?
  • nonposter2nonposter2 Member Posts: 1
    I have about 53000 miles on my 98 GL with autobahn. About a month ago, I pulled all of the wheels and checked the inside & outside pads on all of the brakes. All of them were fine -- probably about one-third of the pad left on each.

    I have driven about 70-80% "around town". Since this is my only car, anywhere I go is in it.

    I prefer to work on it myself, to reduce the possiblity that dealers/mechanics can screw it up... err, I mean, have an accident. So, when rotating the tires or whatever, I tighten the lug nuts on the wheels just about as much as I can by hand. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but there was talk about over-tightening may cause problems.
  • edwardh5edwardh5 Member Posts: 130
    even small ones will put out 200 or 300 lb ft of torque - more than the 60 to 100 typically specified for your lug nuts.

    many people running the wrenches are clueless and since its set to max to remove the nuts, it stays that way when they go back on.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Torque limiter sockets work well on an impact gun. I check mine periodically by using a torque wrench on the wheel nuts after tightening.
This discussion has been closed.