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Buick Park Avenue



  • jb7227jb7227 Posts: 86
    Just picked up car (ordered 1/15/03) - 120 miles on it so far. Very impressed - Gran Touring susp not as harsh as I thought. This car is a true American luxury car - quiet, powerful, and tons of stretch out room. Heads-up display is neat, and steering in the Ultra is light years better than my LeSabre for road feel. Ming Blue/Shale combo is great - but i will have my work cut out to keep it looking clean. Let's hear from some PA owners out there!!!!
  • carlrjrcarlrjr Posts: 35
    I recently purchased a one-owner '89 PA trade-in from an eighty-something year-old couple at a local dealership. I anticipated 20 mpg in such a large, comfortable car. Boy, was I shocked when I logged 27 mpg for my first tank! I affectionately refer to the car as "the couch." Since I have a long commute, I find the numb, floaty ride strangely soothing.
    The car has all the options except leather (was that an option in '89?) and no digital dash (fine with me). I'm glad I got the car; it has "only" 118,000 miles, it runs and drives perfectly, and all the nifty accessories still work.
    The only thing I can find to complain about is a couple of drops of oil left wherever I park. I've always thought that the 3.8 V6 was one of the best engines GM ever made; I look forward to many more comfortable, couchy miles in my 'new' Buick.
  • majordonmajordon Posts: 2
    I have a 1999 PA w/51000 miles. THe problem is that while making a right turn and accelerating at the same time I get get a vibration coming from the front end. The vibration stops if I take my foot off the accelerator. This vibration does not happen if I "coast" into the right turn. The vibration doe not occur when I make a left turn.

    Any ideas?????
  • suvshopper4suvshopper4 Posts: 1,110
    Maybe a motor mount problem?
  • red99pared99pa Posts: 1
    Has anyone found a roof rack solution for a '99 PA? We are looking to put a storage box (thule or yakima) up top, but neither company has a fit kit for the PA. thanks.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    What year was your LeSabre? I find my LeSabres have been very comparable in road feel in the steering to the loaners my dealer uses for service. They also were similar in handling -- but I didn't compare the touring suspensions, just the standard. I'm comparing older (98 and 93) ones to the PAs of the same or similar age.

    I bought a 2003 LeSabre when I compared the two, I found the LeSabre had all the options I wanted and more, drove the same, rode almost the same, but came in a CRIMSON red and chrome wheels and Michelin Tires. When I learned they are assembled in one plant on the same assembly line, along with Aurora and Seville, and I'm not sure which other Cadillac models, I made my decision. If Buick offered a few more strong colors in PA and LeSabre, they could attract a "younger" set that aren't going to buy Regals or Rendevous's but will go Camry, Volvo, etc.. The color was what my wife wanted.

     I actually had been hoping to find a red one or two-year-old PA, but that didn't happen. PA owners seem to keep them in this area for several years. The red (dark) PAs rarely showed up on any Buick dealers lot around here. That says something about the car -- a lot of owners here are GM retirees and workers.

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

  • jb7227jb7227 Posts: 86
    My LeSabre (Custom) was a 2002 - std. suspension. Rode very smoothly - no complaints here - but I always wanted an Ultra PA for the extra room and lux features. Problem was, when the 2003's Ultra's came out, the Gran Touring suspension was standard. I was a little apprehensive at first - didn't want a harsh ride -but I am happy to say it is much smoother than I anticipated. LeSabre's are built in 2 plants - Lake Orion, Michigan (code "4" on VIN) or Detroit-Hamtramck, Michigan (code "U"). The Hamtramck plant also produces the deVille and Seville. The Lake Orion plant also builds the Bonneville, Park Avenue and Aurora, although I'm not sure when production of the Aurora is to end. Youre right about the colors - I wish the PA came in a dark red like the LeSabre Special Edition does - but more importantly, I wish we had more choices for interior colors. Remember the old days, when interiors came in more than 2 colors (tan or gray)? Another cost cutting measure I would guess. I would have loved a PA Ultra in Black with a nice black or deep burgundy interior! Good luck with your LeSabre.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    Thanks for the info on the plants and what they build.

    You're right on the interior colors. They were bland, except for the two-tone in the Celebration LeSabre; graphite and a grey, I think. I found the two cars very similar in interior sizes according to Edmunds and when sitting in them. I feel they are very similar in nature; a salesman even mused that PA may eventually be a top model of LeSabre, if sales keep dropping.

    I find my ride in the standard is stiff enough without touring! I would like to drive an Ultra just to see how it rides. The Ultra wheels are eye-catching; aren't they 17" and chrome!

    There are buyers being lost to some other brands that might stay with Buick's reputation for quality build and components if there were more choices in exterior color and interiors.

    Had a black Olds with burgundy interior. Beautiful, but hard to keep black clean.

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

  • jb7227jb7227 Posts: 86
    I have Ming Blue now (dk blue) - just as hard, if not harder to keep clean since I find it shows swirl marks more than solid non-metallic black - but of course, it looks great when its waxed! I hope they keep the PA as a separate model (C-Body) - I feel like I'm driving a Cadillac! And yes, the 17" chromes look great (along with the portholes).
  • I just inherited my father's 94 PA. The automatic
    sunroof does not close soundly. Instead, when I close the sunroof it immediately raises the rear part of the sunroof in the vent position. Recently, it looked closed, but there must have been a small opening & with all of the rain we've experienced on the east coast, it flooded the interior! Is this just a fluke, or has anyone else experienced this problem before? As it is now, when I use the sunroof, I have to get out of the car and inspect it upon closing it to be sure it has made a tight seal. Oh, I blew out the drain holes so they are not the problem. With the help of a wet vac, a steam cleaner, a dehumidifier, and an ozone machine, the interior is dry and odor free. And I want to keep it that way! All suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
  • tomi60tomi60 Posts: 6
    I have a 98 P.A. purchased new. It developed a vibration after about 1000 miles and had Goodyear tires. Goodyear dealer checked tires and said they were within tolerance. They rebalanced and was better for another 1000 miles and then vibration got worse. After many balances I changed to Michelins. Problem seemed to be solved until I rotated them after 5000 miles and then the problem returned. I have rotated and rebalanced several times at different tire dealers with little improvement. I think there is a design problem with the suspension platform on this car. I am interested in purchasing a new car but if owners of 2003 Buicks are still experiencing this problem it will not be a Buick.
  • stickking1stickking1 Posts: 247
    Hey tomi, I know a few of my friends have had similar problems with their Auroras with a funny vibration at certain speeds. Tried switching tires, balancing...then rebalancing, nothing seemed to work for very long. Then one of my buddies went to the chevy dealer in town and had them do a "force balance" on his tires, and the vibration went away...for good. I have also had it done, and my vibration problems have been cured. I'm not sure if this will do it for you, or if it's even available in your area, but I suggest trying it out. It seemed to work for us.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    My 2003 LeSabre doesn't have it. Wheels were rebalanced at dealer after tires broke in. I could feel a little tire imbalance. Michelins are usually great -- these are large size Symmetry tires by Michelin. Some contributors on Edmunds indicated they don't like them as well. I have XOnes on my 98 LeSabre and they are PERFECT as a quality tire.

    In some of the Bonneville, LeSabre, or Cadillac discussions here, it sounds like there may be a problem with the bolts on the hubs not being centered, i.e., they have runout in the bolts. I note that's in the LeSabre service manual to check when there is a vibration problem to troubleshoot. It was not in the 1998 LeSabre manual.

    Have a dealer check the runout on the bolt pattern. A little runout there, with a little runout in the wheel, and a little in the tire can give a ghostlike problem with a wheel/tire on front that seems okay when that wheel is on the rears, etc. I had an 80 Cutlass with a bad hub that I finallly found at 40K. GM replaced it at _no charge_ after they checked the runout at the dealer.

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

  • tomi60tomi60 Posts: 6
    Thanks to stickking1 and imidazol97 for the suggestions. I had never heard of the force balance so checked Discount Tire and found they had the equipment. I had them balance the tires and it greatly improved the condition but not completely. We are leaving on a long trip so will see if the condition gets worse as before after some road miles.
    If no worse than now I can live with until I decide to trade.
  • dmz3dmz3 Posts: 1
    I'm a new (and young) PA Ultra owner as of yesterday.Did the hunt - drove all the imports, including Lexus, and bought a fully loaded 03 ultra - white diamond. I absolutely love this car - for all the reasons you listed! Quiet and smooth - room (I'm 6-4)- conservative look but with some style in the lines. Got a great deal - 0% on top of it. I'm a happy camper - Classy car!

    Read the vibration posts before buying. I noticed the vib problems in the sedan PA's - three new ones and at least 4 used going back to 2000 - all between 55-75!! I drove three ultras and none of them did the vibration thing.?.

    So you've heard from this new PA owner. Glad to be joining the club after years of Chrysler New Yorkers, Concordes, an LHS, and my recently departed Dodge Intrepid.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    Dealer just finished "fixing" the vibration on new LeSabre. Same problem as Deville, park Avenue, Bonneville, since they're on same platform. The first round was force balance and move one Michelin one the rim to minimize force during balancing. Force value measurement was reduced below 9 or so on all wheels (GM said 17 is max for okay). This LeSabre has Michelin. GM replaces tires on problem cars with Michelin if the other tires will not give low readings on force balance, service manager said. Most other brands of tires have had problems with higher variations in force due to crush differences around the tire's circumference. This was done at 1300 miles. GM likes to wait and not try to fix tire problems too early before they've taken their "set" for the rest of their running life.

    Slight wheel balance still noticed on trip to Pigeon Forge. Trip to Nashville gave more symptoms of wheel imbalance at 3500 miles. Went back to dealer after talking to highly knowledgeable service manager. HE with their balance expert went over the wheels again. Found some balance problem. Changed from the standard 1/4 ounce adjustment on force balancer to "zero" he said. The 1/4 ounce increments in weights and balancer tolerance left some error in wheel balance. Most balance shops think 1/4 ounce is "close enough." But I've read in another topic (Bonneville or Bonneville Problems) about needing closer balancing work. (Service manager explained that off a quarter ounce in one plane and off a quarter in another plane can leave up to 1/2 ounce effective imbalance in the wheel. So they rebalanced down to "zero.")

    He drove the car with electronic vibration sensor attached to seat frame and got a minimal reading that didn't seem to be from something on the car causing vibration. It was from the paving job on the new road.

    I couldn't feel a thing on the way home in that car that felt like wheels vibrating.

    Service manager explained that the stiffer platform on these cars and lighter components are more sensitive to wheels. That probably has been most of the problems people have had that "can't be fixed." It's the equipment used for balancing with a high tolerance that used to work with older cars, tires that are poorly made (I've always bought Michelin since '67 with one exception) after Firestone sold me Wide Ovals that were good for 10000 miles in '67, AND
    service folks that don't care to do the best job of troubleshooting. GM's service manual has pages of vibration troubleshooting diagnostics in the new manual for 2003 vs 1998.

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

  • ryanm5ryanm5 Posts: 1
    I'm ready to buy a '99 or '00 Ultra. I've read about the gran touring option, and it sounds like a must for myself. I know the code, Y56. Now how exactly do I go about finding out whether the PA I'm looking at has the option or not? I'm betting the Y56 code is stamped on one of the identification plates under the hood, on the door, etc, but where? If I have to crawl under the car to find out, that's fine - but I need to know what to look for. Thanks in advance for any input.
  • onlyagirlonlyagirl Posts: 45
    My parents have had 2 PAs.....the last one was maybe a 96 or so....the style now looks almost the same....does anyone here know if there is a new look coming out for 04? ....or even 05?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    I waited for someone who knows for sure to post, but I'll give it a guess.
    There had been a paper stuck to the cover for the spare tire under the trunk
    mat that had the list of codes for everything on that car. I recall having to check
    that in 89 to see which brakes were on the front or rear of 89 century. There were
    two different sizes for hydraulic parts.

    I haven't had time to look on 89 LeSabre (too much stuff to take out of trunk
    and too little time), but I'll bet there's a sticker there.

    Ask a salesman showing you the used PA with touring and ask him how to verify
    for sure -- if there's a trunk label or not... Especially at a Buick dealer they'll know
    how to be sure it's got touring rather than just having had the rims switched for the
    touring rims.

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

  • Can any of you Ultra owners confirm that you must run with premium gas. I'm looking to buy a used PA, and have seen some Ultra's advertised saying they use regular unleaded. Any info would be appreciated.
  • steelcbsteelcb Posts: 2
    I bought a low mileage '98 Park Avenue a year ago. There was severe vibration above 60 mph until I replaced the Goodyear tires with new Michelin tires, now it feels like I'm riding on a sheet of glass. However, there was also serious surging vibration when braking at any speed. The previous owner told me it was the anti-lock brakes, but I took it to my garage where they turned the rotors and took out the vibration altogether. Now it's back again just like before. Does anyone know of a performance rotor (one that won't warp) to replace the badly designed original equipment ones. I hate to replace bad rotors with more bad rotors.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    For the rotors,
    get the higher priced Raybestos, not the $25 ones, I believe they were about $50 each.
    Get the quality, not cheapest, rebuilt calipers and replace the bolts on which they slide.
    Put on Raybestos no dust, no squeak pads.

    Your current calipers are probably dragging on the bolts and not releasing completely at times which heats up the rotors and shazaam, bad rotors like a new Accord!!!

    I've a 98 LeSabre (same parts) and had a rotor that tended to drag. Replaced everything myself at 50K. Only wish I'd put on dustfree pads by Raybestos. I used OEM (not long life pads) and have great brakes, but don't like the dust. The long life pads are hard giving a harder pedal and perhaps affecting the temperature of the rotors during braking...

    Make sure whoever does the brakes does not force the caliper pistons in with a c-clamp; the bleeders should be opened to allow old fluid out when compressing pistons. Do not force the old fluid back through the ABS unit.

    Michelins always have given a quality, round tire. Which ones did you buy. I put X-Ones on the 98. My 03 came with Symmetrys. Half the reason I bought the 03 was the Michelins from the factory.

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

  • steelcbsteelcb Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info. I'm printing out your fix in a large font and giving it to my mechanic. I've found a really good garage run by two brothers who are, while not the sharpest blades in the pack, honest to a fault and good mechanics. I am really grateful to you for sharing your (probably hard-won) wisdom on rotors.

    I don't remember for sure, don't have the car with me at the moment, but I believe the Michelins were X-radials. I do remember being astonished at the treadwear rating of 800 on the side. I never saw one that high before. Their manufacturing method
    that uses the 8-part radial mold is one that US manufacturers should adopt. I never had a bad Michelin and have used them off/on since 1972.
  • I have a new PA Ultra which, when I drive through a puddle with the right side I get a loud thump
    when I drive over a manhole cover or other bumps, after several minutes it drys and the noise is gone until what ever gets wet again. Service manager rode with me after the last rain but we could not get it wet enough for real loud noises. Any one else have this problem??
  • I own a 97' Park Avenue Ultra with 115k miles on it and recently started having problems with what I think is the transmission. The problem is that the car will not move (in any gear) after the engine has been off for a couple of hours or even overnight (completely cold engine), it will however start working after about 10-15 minutes of keeping it in park and will continue to function properly as long as the engine isn't off for an extended period of time. I am hesitent on taking it to the dealer for fear of hearing those dreaded words "bad transmission" I have had the transmission serviced at 90k.

    Does anyone have a similar problem or suggestions as to what might be the cause?

    Also at about 100k I took it to the dealer and was they told me that 3 motor mounts needed to be replaced which I reluctantly agreed to ($1,100) and I replaced the Supercharger with a rebuilt one because of grinding noises coming from it ($500 internet) I ready to get rid of this money pit.
  • I will be picking it up tonight. My main thought on this car is that you get a lot of car for the money. I am on the young side for this car (38, woman) but I wanted something very comfortable for my long commute, and something that would hold my teenage sons in the back seat without my feeling their knees in my back. I also have an intense dislike for "Stupid Useless Vehicles" (SUVs). I am selling my 97 Accord now, which I purchased new. It's not a bad car, very good mechanically, but just not very big and not as cushy as the Buick. I tried some Devilles, but they are about 10k more for comparable year/mileage, and they seem very similar. There is more room in the back of the Park Ave, though.

    Now I am just keeping my fingers crossed that I don't get any of these vibration problems that I've heard people talk about on this board.

  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    Not a tranny expert, but i've heard of similiar problems being caused by a dirty trans valve body, and being cleared simply by a real good tranny flush and refill, preferably with one of those machines that "suck" all the fluid out as opposed to a simple gravity-drain.

    The theory is that the valve body passages are partially blocked and until the fluid warms up it is too viscous to make its way through the passages. Even if a simple flush doesn't do it, you should be able to drop and clean the valve body without pulling and rebuilding the entire transmission (though this may be more difficult on a FWD car due to access issues).

    Was the service at 90k the first one the car ever had? If so, it was LONG overdue. By that time the trans would be so full of dirt that the servicing might only have dislodged large particles, causing them to build up in the valve body passages.

    As for the Supercharger, did anyone ever check the oil level on that thing prior to failure?

    $1100 for motor mounts? WOW! I'm not surprised that the mounts were gone at 100,000, but the cost is pretty darn high. you might try a different mechanic.
  • My front rotors are taking a beating. I suspect that the rears are not doing their job and putting alot of work on the fronts. When I adjust the rears to drum tight, the brakes are good for a while. After about 500-700 miles, the front vibration returns and I have to have the rotors redone.
    Are the rears a problem? What can be done about it. I don't want to keep changing out rotors. I love the car except for this problem.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    I assume the car has more than 60k miles since it's a 95!

    #1. Replace the calipers, slide bolts with quality rebuilts. Dragging caliper causes misery.
    #2. Buy Raybestos higher cost rotors -- I think mine were about $40 ea
    #3. Put on Original equipment pads or the no dust no squeal from Raybestos

    All came from Pep boys on my 98 LeSabre. Solve all problems. Do not
    turn the rotors. If they went out of round, they will do it again after turning because
    you removed some of the metal serving as a heat sink and the rotor already has a
    tendency to twist. Originals on 98 were called sintered metal. Replacements from
    Pep Boys were about twice as heavy.

    You might check the rear bands. Mine on 93 LeSabre were still good at 150 K when my wife made me trade the car for 03. Service manager said the rears on some do very little work in normal braking; hence all the problems with front rotors.

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

  • 1998 Park Avenue Ultra
    One day I could not start my car because a battery went down.
    While trying to start the engine I noticed a fuel gauge needle moving all the way clockwise. It passed a full tank position and kept
    moving until it stopped at empty tank position UNDER the rest. Normally, when ignition is off the pointer is above the rest.
    I changed the battery, and everything is O.K. now, but the fuel gauge pointer is still UNDER its rest and is not moving anywhere.
    Does anybody know how to fix(reset) this?
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