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Buick Lucerne: Engine & Performance



  • aalteraalter Posts: 2
    My son has the old Impala design that I liked so much better with a 3800 and it is really great. This horsepower rating really drives me crazy. When I see the rated horsepower, it always is under RPMs that you wouldn't see in normal driving conditions. I like to look at low end torque ratings, because that is where the 3800 beats any V-6 that I have ever tried. A lot of Japanese engines have higher horsepower ratings but don't have the low end torque that the 3800 has, so I can beat them from a cold stop. My other car, a Taurus with a 200HP Duratec engine doesn't feel as powerful until I'm in 4th gear. My LeSabre with the 205HP 3800 has a very even power curve. Even though the two engines have nearly the same horsepower ratings, the 3800 is clearly more powerful. And it is hardly working most of the time. I check the tachometer often and most of the time it is under 2000RPMs, even at 65MPH on the highway.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Will not effect engine life.
  • I just bought a 2006 Lucerne CXL, up till now I have had 3 Park Avenue's.
    Every Park Avenue had intake manifold problems, a inherent problem with those engines.
    Can I expect that same problem with my Lucerne with V6 engine?
  • I owned a 1994 Park Ave (Bought New) for 12 years, it had 157,000 miles when I sold it, and the engine only needed
    a water pump during that time! It still ran great when sold.

    I respect your remarkable allegiance to Buick after your
    repeated problems.

    I frankly did not believe your situation until I "Googled"
    same and sure enough I found aftermarket "kits" for this
    situation for the 3800 Engine for the 1995 thru 2003 model years! It would seem that after 2003,problem resolved.

    You and I are now in the "same boat" as I too bought a new Lucerne CX (3800 Series 3 Engine).

    My car now has 1000 Miles on it and it has exceeded my expectations for it's really comfortable ride, smooth engine and transmission performance,and MPG 29-30 highway.

    Buick had a longer warranty at 4years/50,000miles as compared to Chevy/Pontiac(3/36,000),but Gm has just increased the duration on all 2007 GM cars.

    It is now 5 Years/100,000 miles on the Engine/Transmission.
    (We will automatically receive info about the extension in the mail)

    Good Luck, and I hope you enjoy the new Lucerne.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,511
    colors among the spiffy stuff. The Blue rims at the top with the blue car I could like but I hate rubber band tires.

    If Lucerne came in more colors and style like this they'd sell even more!

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • vic10vic10 Posts: 188
    Yo Mamma! Amazing how with just a little bit of tweaking and some sharp tires and wheels you can turn what I consider a fairly dull design into a RIDE. If Buick sold the Lucerne dressed like this (call it the Pimp option), they'd pull me in (and at 60, I still like my comfortable cars to be exciting)....
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,511
    We bought a leSabre in Crimson Pearl Red with Chrome rims because it looked sharp-better than the burgundy Park Avenue that ws the brightest red available in Park Avenues in those days.

    Some colors in the lineup and some sharper rims would really make the sales pick up. I note a lot of carefully picked rims show up on the last generation of Prk Aves and even leSabres around thise area. Many are NOT on the rubber band tires. They really have some sparkle that way. I've even seen some repaints that are good colors, and some that aren't, I'm sorry to say.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • jpstax1jpstax1 Posts: 197
    While waiting for an oil change for my '99 Regal GS, I test drove an '07 Lucerne CXS. The salesman went with and was trying to get me to trade my car for the Lucerne. I laughed and said no friggin way, my Regal could beat this thing going backwards. Of course I didn't tell him I had a 3.5" S/C pulley installed. I said if Buick ever decided to install the 5.3 liter engine in the Lucerne, give me a call. He said (as others in this forum have said) that Buick was going to come out with a RWD, V-8 car sometime in '09. I said it had better have plenty of low-end torque and active fuel management like the 5.3 in the Impala SS and Pontiac GXP.
  • pawel1pawel1 Posts: 1
    Lucern has now rigid aluminum intake manifold.
    This should fix an old problem.
    IMO this is one of the best engines ever manufactured.
    Plenty of torque.
    Old design is not necessarily bad.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,511
    >I frankly did not believe your situation until I "Googled"
    same and sure enough I found aftermarket "kits" for this
    situation for the 3800 Engine for the 1995 thru 2003 model years! It would seem that after 2003,problem resolved.

    What you found is that the intake manifolds FIT the same years. The "condition" doesn't exist up to 2003. The changes were made in 1999 to ameliorate the symptoms. Gasket materials were changed, upper intake manifold design was changed and those went on 2000 cars. Changing DexCool at 2 years or 24000 mile intervals like regular antifreeze prevents the possibility of deterioration from people who believed it should have lasted 150000 miles not changing it. When DexCool additives wear out the coolant becomes problematic in some systems, especially if they're not filled to eliminate air bubbles properly.

    There were continuing changes made for replacement brands of upper manifolds and, I presume, for GM's replacement. The original gaskets are rumored to have deteriorated. The passage up through the upper intake manifold for the hot exhaust gases to pass deteriorated from the temperature and deteriorated into the nearby coolant passage allowing leakage (there is a metal tube sticking up through that passage that's part of the lower metal manifold);

    There is a replacement gasket for lower intake manifolds that has not been around too many years. Some of the manifold leak problems are not from the upper but from the gaskets on the lower (metal manifold to block) gaskets deteriorating. The replacement, from GM, has aluminum as a frame to hold it in place.

    After 2003 the UIM is metals so the replacement manifolds don't fit after 2003.

    The motors were a very good motor. Part of the problem is that people didn't check their coolant level regularly to notice a slow loss of coolant at first so they could have the problem checked and an early repair made (I did). The maintenance schedule in the owner's manual says to check fluids regularly.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,511
    I have owned 3 of these motors and one before that which was modeled on the 3800 (the 3300). They are very good. They last hundreds of thousands of miles with regular maintenance.

    I'd buy my next car with one and I'm sorry to hear they're being phased out. I may buy a used car with one since I fully understand the intake features.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • gregmangregman Posts: 24
    I too am a fan of the 3800 and am considering another, but mine's not done yet!
    Had the intake failure at 168,000 miles. Now have 234,000. GM knew these engines were prone to fail but managed to cover up the problem all these years. When I asked the dealership why the intake failed, they said it wore out!
    A little research revealed that other gm engines had the same problem including the 3.4.
    I get a constant 30mpg on the hwy, and sometimes better!
    Does anybody know if the new "aluminum" intake is one piece, or 2 piece aluminum/plastic? Don't know if I want one that may still fail. I checked my fluids regular and had it in 2 shops 3 times for slow coolant loss to no avail. The coolant apparently was leaking into the combustion chamber and burning away until the gasket really let go. Oh well. Good car, my '95 Bonneville.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,511
    The Series III intake completely solves the problem, be it Dexcool related or just poor intake design for the EGR tube related. Some have asked if they can put the aluminum upper onto a Series II-based 3800. Grin.

    But the original GMs are good for about 75000 miles. Many people never have had a failure, like yourself, in the time most people would keep a car. It's low but irritating percentage. I've seen how they used a different EGR tube up through the plastic intake with a larger air space around the metal tube and that would fix the heat deterioration. People who repaced with a different brand on first failure don't usually have a second failure. Some think the Dexcool not being changed at 24000 miles/2 years like ordinary antifreeze is a factor since in some cars it deteriorates, primarily those who have low coolant levels and the hot coolant is mixed with air.

    The replacement of the upper intake is relatively cheap. At first some dealers were really gouging, almost like foreign dealers. But now individuals change their own and many find independent shops doing it cheaply.

    Series III-okay. Justchange Dexcool frequently, it's cheap.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I'd buy my next car with one and I'm sorry to hear they're being phased out. I may buy a used car with one since I fully understand the intake features.

    I know this post is old, but I figured I'd respond anyway.

    Here's why its being phased out:

    Buick Lucerne: 4-speed Automatic 197horsepower, 227 lb-ft 16/25 EPA Estimates

    Ford Taurus: 6-speed Automatic 260 horsepower, 245 lb-ft 18/28 EPA Estimates

    Toyota Avalon: 6-speed Automatic 268 horsepower, 248 lb-ft, 19/28 EPA Estimates

    The 3800 in the Buick is not really competitive at all with cars from the 21st Century. It was fine 10 years ago, but when you can have more power AND economy from one of its competitors (even GMs own Impala has more power and mileage), the Buick starts looking obsolete.
  • I have a V6 2006 Buick Lucerne with 24000 miles. I have recently noticed a vibrating noise from the engine compartment that sounds like a hollow plastic box, when the engine is under torque. I removed the black plastic cover that says 3800 and the noise seems to have disappeared. Is there a way to tighten down this cover so it doesn't vibrate?
  • mborakmborak Posts: 1
    When driving at steady speeds I sense periodic subtle resistance and slight tugging resulting in a choppy driving experience instead of smooth.
    I have taken it into 2 different dealers who have not acknowledged the problem. I drive 80 miles each day and still feel like something is not right.
    Vehicle has only 2000 miles on it.
    Any ideas?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,511
    At 2000 miles, the dealer can go over tire pressures and wheel alignment. If the tire pressure recommended is 30, I run 32-33. I like to feel the road. I'm suggesting your push and pull sensation could be tires.

    It also could be alignment. They will realign up to 12000 without having to stomp your feet.

    The other could be fuel quality? Or a misfire in the plugs in the motor. Try driving in 3rd gear instead of OD which allows the car to shift into 4th gear. How fast are you going when you feel this tugging sensation?

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • I will try to explain this and not try to confuse anyone. I have a new 2009 lucerne. Sometimes when I make a slow 90 degree, 20 mph turn or so, I feel something in the steering wheel. My other car that I still have is a 2000 olds intrigue. It had somewhat of the same problem. Sometimes when I made a slow turn there would be a feeling that you were turning a ratchet a few clicks. It turned out to be the intermediate steering shaft. I can't remember if there was any noise associated with it or just the feel of it. Now imagine turning a ratchet one click. This is what it feels like in my lucerne. This does not happen every time I make a turn. Probably 10 percent of the time, maybe more. If I take it back to the dealer, which I will eventually, it may take several trips before they can recreate the problem. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions I would appreciate it.
  • Has enyone seen any oil spots on the floor?
    I have seen one or two everytime we come in from a drive. We have ownes two parkavenues
    before the lucrene cxl we bought two weeks ago. Mabey it's not bad but our park avenues
    never leaked any thing. Should I take it to the
    Thanks Mike.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,511
    You don't say if the Lucerne is new or used. Is it under the 4-year warranty or 50,000 miles, which I think is the warranty now?

    Is it oil? Or coolant, which is orange and can feel oily to the touch.

    It could be an oil filter seeping slightly or a drain plug on the oil pan seeping.

    I'd check with the dealer.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • I am pretty sure it is oil. They are just two or three so0 it might not be
    serous. The car has 20,000 miles on it.
    Have owned two parl avenues in the past and loved them.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,511
    Also might be power steering fluid which is clear and a mineral oil if I recall. It has no smell.

    I'd put a newspaper or white paper under the car where the drip occurs to see the color of the drip and the consistency. Also look at directly above the drip on the motor to see what parts are in the area so you can tell the dealer under which part of the motor the drip "appears" to be falling--sometimes the drip travels from where it starts before it falls off to the ground!

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • I took it to the dealer and found out it was the right drive seal.
    They are going to fix it under the warranty so it turned out fine.
  • I took my Lucrene to the dealer and they fixed the leak. It still has some warranty left. We took a short highway trip yesterday and I
    love the way it drives on the highway just smoth as silk. Sometime
    will have to take a longer trip and see what kind of milage we get.
    The onlu compalints I have is I'm 6'4'' tall so I can't see all the rear
    view mirror and the headrests are righ aganist my head. It's not bad
    so I can live with it. The color is dark crimson mettalic and am in the
    process of waxing it. Is'nt pretty the way water beads on it. Never
    thought I would have so much fun waxing a car.
  • In November I bought a new 2009 Buick Lucerne because I had such good service out of my 1997 Buick Riviera. I am now thinking I might have made a mistake. The Lucerne apparently has an oil leak. The dealer put a dye in it the other day and is going to check it out Tuesday. When standing under the car looking up, the oil is in the corner of a square area beside the oil pan. He said the gasket may have had a nick in it when it was installed. I am worried that this will be an ongoing problem with this car. Does anyone know what the chances are that this can be corrected and not happen again for many, many years or is it most likely going to be a problem always? The car has 1300 miles on it. I am so disappointed because I really like this car.
  • rysterryster Posts: 565
    If the issue is a simple gasket, and the dealer properly repairs it, the problem should not recur for several years (if at all.) Now if your leak is massive, and is resulting in quarts of oil being lost in a short amount of time, that would be very concerning and may indicate other issues.

    I wouldn't allow this seemingly minor issue to ruin your enjoyment of the car. It sounds like the dealer is working with you, which is a good thing. Your car is only 3 months old. Make sure you document all visits related to this issue. In the event the dealer cannot completely fix the problem in 3 or 4 visits, you could always look into the Lemon Law in your state.
  • Ryster, thank you for the encouraging words. The dealer is a very reputable dealer and I had no doubts they would fix the car, if possible. It did put a little scare in me since the car was so new. The oil pan gasket was replaced on 1-22-2010 and I have not seen any more oil, yet anyway. I hope that was just a fluke that is now fixed for many, many years. I still really like this car a lot.
  • jetboat2jetboat2 Posts: 1
    Has anyone had experience with coolant loss? Had this problem on 97 park and of course it was the plastic plenum. My Lucerne has 61,000 mile and seems to have lost about 2to 3 quarts of water from resivor in last 1000 miles. My engine has an aluminum plenum. Dealer has not seen this problem in these cars. Any help would be appreciated.
This discussion has been closed.