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Oldsmobile Aurora: Care & Maintenance



  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 2,018
    As I celebrate my 01 4.0 reaching the 60k mark, I ask my fellow Aurorians (?) for advice. I have had the transmission serviced and the radiator coolant replaced. Also replaced the air filter, and fuel filter. Anything else I need to consider? Brake fluid/power steering flush? I'm open to suggestions. I want to keep her purring for miles and miles.

    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX

  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    Sounds like you've got it well covered. I'd probably flush the brake fluid instead of waiting for it to get gross, but if you do your own brakes, it's easier to do it when you change the pads since you are taking it all apart anyway. But if your pads are wearing well, that's something to consider.

    Power steering is one of those ones I'm not sure of. I've never flushed it on a car and never had a pump fail. But it can't hurt. How would you do it? Just suction it out the top and add new? I would definitely not run the pump with the line off as it is waayyy too easy to starve and ruin the pump that way. Be wary of getting air in it also if you do mess with it. :)
  • sdasda Indian Land, SCPosts: 2,018
    I'm curious about the power steering service, too. I have never had any problems with power steering in any of my cars. But the dealership where I have my car serviced offers this maintenance. I am wondering if I shouldn't just take a turkey baster and draw some fluid out and replace. Some fresh fluid couldn't hurt. Similar to a transmission fluid change when you drop the pan and replace. You don't get it all, but you add new. I think I'll flush the brake fluid when I have the pads changed. I am leary of waiting until 100k to change the spark plugs. 75K a good interval to do this? Couldn't ask for the car to run any better than it does now! S-m-ooth and powerful. Thanks, as usual, RJS for the sound advice. Your dad still delighted with his?


    2010 Pilot EXL-RES, 2013 Accord EX

  • larryfllarryfl Posts: 214
    Before the Aurora I owned a '92 Q45. Lots of the guys recommended flushing the power steering fluid and had a recommended procedure. Actually it's pretty simple:

    They would disconnect the return line from the pump and feed it into a container of some sort.

    Then have someone get into the car, start it, and begin turning the steering back and forth to put a load on the pump while they would stand over the Reservoir filling it with fresh fluid as it emptied. When the clean fluid began to come out of the return line - it's done. Reconnect the return line and you're good to go.

    Of course, the PS Pump and return line on the Q was a little easier to get to than ours.. :-)
  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    Yup, that's the insta-destruct method... The pump will move fluid whether you turn the wheel or not, and it can really fly out depending on the pump. If you don't pour fresh in fast enough, or you go through fresh containers too quickly (or the person doesn't shut the car off quickly enough), you'll run it dry and ruin the pump. I personally wouldn't try something like that as the coordination required is pretty high and the damage potential is huge, IMO.

    sda, my dad still loves it. He mentions it fairly frequently about how much nicer and sportier it is than the Regal. :)
  • ethinkethink Posts: 32
    My 1996 Aurora recently passed the 90,000 mark.
    I do mostly highway driving and travel at speeds up to 75 mph.

    The F/R brake pads were replaced at the 45,000 miles, so I anticipate that I will need new pads soon. I anticipate that I may need new rotors as well.

    Therefore, I am looking for recommendations for replacement Brake Pads and Rotors.

    I have seen "Cross-drilled and Slotted" Rotors for $129 for a set of (4) on ebay. I think that these are rotors are made in China and I am concerned that these rotors may NOT be equal to OEM quality.

    The GM list price for (1) front rotor is $127 and the rear rotor is $93, for a total set cost of $440. I can get these items for approximately 25% off the GM list price.

    Brembo rotors for the 1996 Aurora are approximately $48 per rotor for total set cost of $192. Based on the Brembo reputation, these appear to be a good deal.

    I am also curious about the benefits of ceramic based brake pads.

    Please share your experiences, suggestions and recommendation on this issue.

  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    Just my two cents, but I'm inclined to stick with the OEM rotors on my car when they eventually need replacing. They seem to be of high quality. I've been noticing the rusting on the hubs and vanes and such, and they have much much less than the Regal rotors have, which are much newer, not cheap aftermarket ones. I think they were Bendix or something? For 4 rotors and pads they were like $500 or so. I thought about cross-drilled as that seems to help in the wet in my experience, but now I'm not so sure. The factory stuff is pretty good.

    For pads, OEM would be a strong candidate for me as they are low dusting, quiet, and seem to brake strongly. They don't seem to be gouging the rotor and have decent life.
  • javidoggjavidogg Posts: 366
    I think OEM brake disc are okay, but honestly they suck, I heard of warping on the disc, and I think that's what I'm currently going through.

    For me almost anything is better than OE, I for sure will be looking at some newer brake discs, I think mines are warping or something, I hear this light thump noise coming from my right side, keeping in mind that, I just recently had my pads replaced, so now more than ever I'm leaning toward the warping on the discs.

    ethink, I would look into them BREMBOS, they make good stuff, Porsche has BREMBOS on their cars.

  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    doesn't have the Brembos that you can buy for $50. Brembo seems to have come out with a lower-end line for regular cars.

    Any rotors can warp. A lot of it is about how they are used, and on a heavy car like the Aurora, it's certainly possible to warp them. At least the fronts are a good 12" size though, which helps a bit.
  • mrdubyamrdubya Posts: 200
    my 95 got dangerously bad brake fad when i got on the brakes a few times on the highway, to the point were i wanted to let of because i could tell i was ruining them, but it was that or the car in front of me, so i stayed on them. i changed to cross drilled (i now here i should have gone slotted on a big heavy car...). i dont think it stops any quicker, except for the fact that the brake fad is much better, i noticed some 1 time, but not as much

    also, 95's got the worse brakes anyways, i think 96's fronts were 1" bigger
  • mrdubyamrdubya Posts: 200
    oh, i got them off brakewarehouse .com, they weren't very expensive.
  • mike98cmike98c Posts: 293
    I believe you can goto a recycling yard and get the rotors and calipers from a 96 (past midyear build date) Aurora or 98 up Seville as a direct bolt on. When my rotors got thin enough to warp I went to the yard and got a set of rotors with 18,000 miles on them for ten bucks a piece. They've been on the car for thirty thousand miles with no problems. You also need to have the torque on the lug nuts close to the proper value and more important perhaps, have the nuts tightened down evenly in a crisscross pattern. The Eclipse I had was notorious for warping the rotors if procedure was not followed.
  • davet82davet82 Posts: 6
    I was just looking at the ac delco site..
    they have two part numbers listed for the rear
    504-96 reg
    504-547 air??

    from what you said..the -96 has the air leveling feature??
  • blk97aurorablk97aurora Posts: 573
    I was confused by the several choices for rear shocks. I still do not understand all the differences.

    What I do know is that ACDelco 504-96 is a pair of leveling air shocks with upper mounts. The cost from RockAuto is about $90 plus shipping. The GM part numbers (different left and right) cost about $115 each with a discount; list is >$150 each.

    With such a big price difference I was a bit concerned that I was ordering the wrong parts. But they fit perfectly and have worked great for the seven weeks since I installed them.

    I think one difference in the parts we see is that some come with the air hose kit, which isn't needed as long as your hoses are OK. The other thing I am not sure about is if all replacments come with the upper shock mounts. Since 504-96 come with the mounts, I didn't examine carefully to see if the old ones could be swapped to new shocks.

  • I just received the 504-96 shocks in the mail from RockAuto.
    It is pretty fast shipping if you live in the midwest, I believe they are out of Dubuque, Iowa.

    Anyways, the shocks look exactly like the ones on my Aurora now, and include the mounts. I was wondering though if people have reinstalled hoses also? My car has 107k, and I'm switching out the rear shocks this weekend, so I was wondering, am I going to get the tires off, old shocks off, and then need new hoses?
    Has anyone experienced this, or do they just hook in really easily?
    I was wondering about things being brittle since they are 7+ years old.



    '96 Aurora
  • mike98cmike98c Posts: 293
    Greg, the air line slip over the nipple on the shock and a little spring clip slips onto thje hose where the nipple is grooved. The air lines on my 98 were in perfect shape. It takes only seconds to detach, reattach the lines.
  • blk97aurorablk97aurora Posts: 573

    My experience with shock air hoses was same as Mike's. My '97 had 111,000 when I replaced the shocks. The air hose connections were very clean and not brittle. I did bend one of the clips so that it did not retain the fitting upon reinstallation. But I was able to bend it back into correct shape.

  • oldskoololdskool Posts: 4
    I currently own a 98 LSS, which I love(d), and the Aurora, car of my dreams, is my next purchase. I like the 3.5 v6 (because I don't want to feed a v8. I would like to hear about the merits of the 3.5 over or under the 4.0, as well as how people intend to handle servicing their vehicles if they are not mechanically inclined, after the 2004 model year closes out the Olds name. any suggestion on wear and tear would be appreciated, since I followed instructiosn on my LSS and it still siezed up on me!
  • javidoggjavidogg Posts: 366

    I see you have a 1998 LSS, first of do you have any pictures of it? I like to see the LSS I was thinking about getting one of those before I got my 1999 Aurora. I really like the LSS, did you know that the LSS shares some parts with the Aurora like the leather seats, I think also outside mirrors, steering wheel, and some other parts.

    Well back to your V6 or V8 decision, I would go for the V8 over the V6, more power, quicker response on the road, but if your looking at it from a savings solutiuon on gas, yeah stick to the V6. If you do get an Aurora, here are some things to keep in mind, warping rotors, I know the Classic Aurora are known for that, the newer ones might not be that bad, also if you do get a 2001-2003 Aurora, go for the one that has the one piece in the trunk, license plate display area, the one with the 2 pieces looks kind of weird.

    Well good look on your hunting for that Aurora, let us know what you find.

  • rjs200240rjs200240 Posts: 1,277
    One thing to keep in mind is the 4.0 has much more standard equipment. Many of the 3.5's were strippers to keep the price down. Also, many used ones were lease vehicles. The 3.5 is a nice car, no doubt though. But used, the prices of 4.0's are very low, and 3.5's and 4.0's might be quite similar in used price. I don't know if options or transaction price matter that much to you, though, as you mentioned mileage as the main reason. You will probably find much more selection of 3.5's though, as they were the most common model in 2001.

    The mpg difference is small according to the EPA, but I'm not sure or real-world mpg. I can get about 25 mpg pretty easily on the highway doing 75+ mph, so I think I could get 27-28 mpg if I could stay closer to 60 mph.

    From a service standpoint, the 4.0 is nearly identical to the Caddy powertrains, so any Caddy dealer should be able to service it ok. I imagine the same is true of the 3.5, as well. It's the 4T65-E tranny, which is quite common on W-body cars, and the 3.5 that at least a lot of Intrigues also have.
  • davet82davet82 Posts: 6
    Found replacement shocks for my tail happy aurora, Monroe Max-air (ma-822)
    Direct replacement for the oem shocks, far better priced compared to the dealer or AC/Delco

    they're super easy to replace for the diy'er with simple tools, and the strange part is there's metric and imperial OEM hardware. (I was surprised!!)

    -two floor jacks
    -jack stand (for the safety folks)
    -some rustbuster/penetrating oil (soak two lower 10mm bolts)
    -1/2inch long socket (for 2x upper shock mounts)
    -13mm socket for nut on stem
    -10mm socket for the two lower bolts on the control arm
    -17mm socket for the new nut on the stem
    -pliers (to remove the clip on the nipple)
    -3/4 socket with torque wrench

    -remove center cap (with jack handle, might want to have a towel handy so you don’t scratch the rims when prying off)
    -position the floor jack and raise the car a bit (still load on tires)
    -crack wheel nuts loose (if you have a locking key do that one first)
    -open trunk, remove trim plug on side (just one)
    -crack loose the three nuts ½ x2 and the 13mm stem nut
    -raise the car, and place jack stand for safety
    -loosen/remove nuts and tire
    (check pads while you’re there.. you can even bleed the brakes if you want to do more)
    -soak two lower 10mm bolts that attach the shock to the control arm
    -place the second floor jack under the control arm
    -put some tension on the control arm
    -remove the two lower 10mm bolts (with the two spring clips attached to the shock you’ll need these two clips for the replacement shocks)
    -with the pliers remove the clip and plug
    -remove the two ½ inch upper shock nuts
    (here the shock will either be free, or you might have to lower the second jack to remove the dead shock)

    *the shock should be out at this stage* congrats!

    -grab the new shock and open the package with the upper and lower bumpstop washer (larger one on the bottom/bumpstop/smaller ring)
    -convex side facing away from the bump stop
    -remove the top 13mm stem nut and get the bump stop
    -finger tighten the new 17mm stem nut (upper shock part should be now assembled)
    -install shock (note the upper bolts only go in one way!! And Nipple facing front of the car)
    -finger tighten the two ½ inch nuts
    -extend the lower shock and attach the two lower clips
    -mate the lower shock to the control arm, and replace the two 10mm bolts
    (if you have a thin slot screw driver its easier to align)
    -re-attach the plug to the nipple and clip (make sure the nipple and plug are clean)
    -tighten the lower and upper nuts and bolts (17mm stem one too)
    -straighten trim out
    -re install the wheel, and lug nuts, slightly lower and torque (wheel lock LAST)

    then the same for the other side should be good to go!!

    save some money.. do it yourself its that easy!!
  • 95mushroom95mushroom Posts: 230
    the AC Delcos I bought were 89.99 for a pair with brand new mounts (the bump stop in your post) and bolts.

    were the control arm bolts that bad for you? Mine came out w/a tiny wrench.

    Will be doing the struts this weekend. looking to see how the KYBs will be.
  • HenryHenry Posts: 1,106
    Hey what was the answer to the eractic idle problem? My car just started doing it. It now idles fine but the service engine light is on.
  • Anyone have experience replacing a Classic radiator? My '97 with 114,000 miles is leaking intermittently. I repaired a small leak in the passenger-side end tank a few months ago. Now it is leaking from the other end tank, so I think it is time to replace rather than try to repair again. My Classic has the engine oil cooler.

    I can get a Visteon radiator for $205 plus $15 shipping. OEM from RockAuto is $420 plus shipping -- very high compared to prices for other OEM parts from Rock. Or $394 plus 6% sales tax from a NJ GM discount dealer. Does anyone know about reliabilty/longevity for Visteon radiators?

  • ethinkethink Posts: 32
    Yes, I had to replace the radiator on my 1996 Aurora. The leak was on the passenger side also. My Aurora also had the engine oil cooler.

    The lead mechanic at the dealer strongly recommended that the radiator should be replaced and not repaired. The reason was that they had seen re-occurences of leaking from the other side after repairs.

    I have an extended warranty with a $100 deductible, so I went with the GM radiator. The radiator cost was over $500 at the dealer, plus labor (approximately $160).

    No further problems experienced with the radiator.
  • HenryHenry Posts: 1,106
    I replaced the raditor with a GM part. Did you get pricing from they are good. Also, there have been postings about aftermarket radiators causing the car to run hot. I would suggest you search under radiator for the postings.

  • 95mushroom95mushroom Posts: 230 price: $262.78 part# 52472781

    I know, sometimes rockauto is really cheap on prices, but on certain parts they're ridiculous.

    Also, could someone refresh me of what the differences between years (classic wise) was? (oil coolers, part #s, etc).
  • Henry and Shawn,
    Thank you for the pointer to GMPartsDirect; their price is 50% off GM list.

    1995, 1996, and 1997 first design had an engine oil cooler (EOC) in the radiator; 1997 second design and 98-99 did not.

    Numbers from my parts microfiche for Aurora radiators:
    1995, code NB, AC-Delco 20735, 52461512;
    1996, code ZF, AC-Delco 20318, 52469654;
    1997 1st design, code 20890, AC-Delco 20890, 52472781;
    1997 2nd design, code FCM, AC-Delco ?, 52476569;
    1998 and 1999, same as 1997 second design

    Did your question cover other differences in Classics, or just about the EOC?
  • 95mushroom95mushroom Posts: 230
    Les, my question was primarily about the technical stuff in the engine about the classics that the news sites didn't cover. Not just the EOC if you want it ;)
  • A few posts back, there was talk of the Optima spial cell gel battery. Of my 3 Aurora's, 2 have the Optima Red Top in them. As soon as the third dies, I'll put one in it, too.

    The Yellow Top is for marine use, and would probably blow the electrical system in the Aurora. The Blue Top is a deep cycle battery, good if you're going to be taking your car to an spl compitition, but not for a daily driver or a performance battery.

    The battery is physically about half the size of the original, so you need to drop a mounting screw or two into the floorboard (at least, that's whit I did) and on the 97 (but oddly enough, not the 95) I had to replace the main ground line with a longer (and heavier gauge) wire because it wouldn't reach to the new battery. Total install time: like 10 minutes. At 825 CCA's out of 2 cells, it's a very impressive battery with almost no fade, and no problems in the winter.

    My 2 cents.
This discussion has been closed.