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Buick Park Avenue



  • My front passenger door handle no longer works. It feels like its in lock mode. All the other controls operate that door lock. Inside handle works,and opens door, inside lock button works, key in door activates all 4 locks, and the door lock button inside the door works. I removed the interior panel and all the control arms are working except an arm from the exterior handle to the striker. That arm appears to be activated, or allowed to function, from an electric module at the strike. Anyone have any thoughts, or a service manual that explains how the electric locking system works? Thanks
  • I am having the same problem with my car except it is the back door. i do have a manual but it is in my car and my car is in the shop, AGAIN.
  • Buy the best rotors you can find...I agree Raybestos are probably the best. Then send them off to have them cryogenically frozen. I did this some time ago and it has worked great. The -300 freezing process changes the molecular structure of the metal, making them very hard. I also opted for the ceramic pads as well.
  • 129 PSI is almost certainly not a true figure, since that is the number that would be displayed by a dead short in the oil pressure sensor. A healthy 3800 L67 with 10W30 synthetic oil shows 60-65 psi when cold and 50ish when hot.

    Try turning the key to the "run" position WITHOUT starting the engine, and see if the display still reads 129 psi. Mine had that problem (read 129psi always, even with the engine off), and I replaced the oil pressure sensor and it now reads normally.

    The engine clattering is probably a separate issue, and one that is very worrisome. I would DEFINITELY have that checked out before driving it. It could be anything from low oil level, to a stuck lifter, to low oil pressure (which you can't see since your pressure sensor apparently isn't working). Get that one checked ASAP.
  • I have a '97 PA with 96K miles and lately I've notice it feels wobbly while slowing down/braking. I have previously experienced vibrations at high speeds, but this is different. It almost feels like I am on an uneven road as I am driving at slower speeds and it is more prevalant while stopping.
    Anyone experience this or have any suggestions?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    Tires first choice. How many miles? What brand/type. Frequently rotated? My first guess would be a belt that's weakened in one area or a slipped belt.

    Alignment second. How recently and by how competent an alignment facility?

    Brake rotor warped or caliper dragging. Brakes done when?
    Calipers and rotor replaced then with quality brand rotors or just pads replaced?

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

  • 96,000 miles
    Tires were rotated at start of year and I think they did an alignment too. I have to go back thru my records, done at a dealer. I proabably am in need of brake pads, was told they would need replacing by end of summer.

    Big question here, is it dangerous to keep driving????
    How quickly do I need to get in to have it checked?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    My question should have asked how many miles on the tires too.

    If they have 30K miles on them and have been rotated every 7000 miles then they're probably evenly worn. They also could have a belt defective in one. The check for that sometimes if when they are on the balancer or just rotated on the car while off the ground a trained eye spots the unevenness in the belt. Other times it's moving the bad tires from the front -to back and having the effect move that tells that there's a tire problem. If the problem stays where you feel it in the steering, it's something mechanical on the front.

    How many miles on the brakes? If the pads were changed once before you might be due after 40-50K miles. But the rotors need replacing if you've got unevenness in the braking. And the calipers need replacing, in my opinion, then you're starting over with a new system. Don't put on cheap brand high mileage pads, or let the shop skimp on the quality of the pad. If you want good, like new, feel to your brakes do what I suggested.

    I did it at 45 K on my 98 Le Sabre and used original equipment quality pads--not long life. They have a better friction coefficient. Brakes were like new. I had had trouble with a draggin caliper and one rotor would sometimes run hot and when I'd brake I'd feel the warped rotor. Other times it wasn't noticeable. So the rotors had been damaged. Plus the original GM rotors tend to pit probably from road salts in this area along with normal heat from braking.

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

  • I know this sounds bad, not sure how many miles on my tires, but at least 30,000. Same with the brakes.
    Any idea on what rotors and/or calipers should run me? Don't want to put a fortune into an old car, but don't want to be unsafe either.
    I guess my fear right now is, am I taking a chance by driving it like it is?
  • Voltage is present at the switch,fuse,and relay.Voltage is also present on each line of the grid circuit in the glass.The two side view heated mirrors on the same circuit are working.
    The GROUND has failed at the REAR DEFOG/ANTENNA Module INPUT
    Connector.The Connector has PURPLE(hot) and GREEN (ground) leads.The GREEN conductor has no continuity to ground.
    I have physically traced the GREEN Wire to under the rear seat in the area of the REAR FUSE PANEL but cannot find where it should be grounded.
    A quick fix would be to just ground the green wire and be done with it,but I want to know where it should be grounded and why the ground wire is routed so far from the glass.
    I need a schematic.Anybody ?
    Thanks, and best regards
    Garret near Boston,MA
  • paulv6paulv6 Posts: 1
    I had the same problem with driver door handle on my 99 Park ave.
    The door handle itself was broken. A plastic cam breaks off the inside of the handle and fails to activate the pull rod.The only fix is to replace the handle. Its about a $40 part as I recall. That isn't the bad news though. The handle only comes in primer and has to be painted before replacing.
    You can buy basecoat paint to match and clearcoat in spray cans online or from some auto paint suppliers. They may cost more than the part. You have to go through some contortions to reach inside the door after removing the inside door panel but is is do-able. If you are not flexible just take it to a bodyshop $$$, Good Luck
  • This is my own reply to how I solved this issue. I pulled the front dash panels and removed the entire speedo cluster. I took to a fabulous place in Detroit called Specmo, Madison Heights actually. For $185 they rebuilt it, installing new power supply and upgrading connections and installed a new clear plastic face. 3 day turnaround on the work and works great. They have a warehouse with thousands of GM radios, CD's, speedo's, etc. for all year cars. Very clean in appearance. Reach them at:
    Specmo Auto Sound & Speed

    Repair GM radios, CD's, speedometer clusters, other audio electronics.
    "Delphi-Delco Audio Sales and Service"
    "Automotive Electronics"
  • To pull that plug on the front of the supercharger takes a 3/16" hex wrench and the factory spec to tighten is 10newton meter (NM). To be safe, use only the synthetic oil sold by the dealer. Mine uses very, very little oil, with 157k miles, but I check it at 5K miles to be safe.

    P.s., the power steering fluid is hard to reach and I find that to really reach it, I pull the alternator belt. A lubrication engineer I know says the GM power steering fluid is the best you can buy.
  • The final couple years of the PA Ultra had higher hp. It went up from 240hp to 260hp I believe. They also had a "business console" between the front seats and cup holders there.

    The last of the PA's from 2000 on were great cars IMHO. I run from 75 to high as 90 in burst to clear trucks on the freeway and with 158k miles, maybe use 1/2 quart in 5k miles.

    Consider a used PA. Otherwise the Lucerne with 3.8 or if you like speed, the Northstar V8, is a very good car. Rates better than the Toyota Avalon.
  • For everyone with a vibration, lower quality aluminum wheels almost never balance out perfectly, especially if they came from the dealership "un true" or not perfectly round. A static balance will get you closer to a smooth ride but it will not get rid of your vibrations totaly.I have been in the auto business and what I have found is that your delarship will try to tell you what ever you want to hear so you will leave them alone. A mechanics least favorite thing to do is warranty work, they are not going to put forth much effort if they are not getting paid. Also most mechanics do not speacilize in wheels and tires and might not know that the buick rims are junk, so its probably a learning curve for them to.I used to sell and install tires and rims so that is why I know about aluminum wheels. Every once and a while we would get bad rims right out of the box that would cause a vibration. You might want to have your dealer put the rim on the balancer without the tire and I bet ya a million bucks you will find a slight hop or wabble in all of the rims. If you dont believe this is true, check out how many used chrome ultra wheels are on ebay or craigslist. they probably all have hop in them to.
  • I will be putting after market wheels and tires on my 97 P.A so I will let you know if my wheel vibrations stops. Although I am 100% sure it will.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    I don't think the rims are aluminum on the leSabre; they are called alloy.

    I don't agree that a static balance will solve the problem with tires being out of round at all, but a Road Force balance will compensate for the uneven crush that some tires have under the load of the car. As you know we're not talking out ofroundness that shows up on a spin balancer with nothing pushing on the tire. This out of roundness is when the tire is being crushed by the weight of the car and different parts of the tire crush different amounts.

    Hence a tire that appears perfectedly round mounted on the rim and spinning on a dynamic balancer may actually not be round when it rolls under the weight of the car.

    Indeed, on one wheel on my car under warranty that was highest on road force, they unmounted the tire and put the rim on and checked it for out of roundness. Then they mounted the tire and put them so that ones high spot matched the other's low spot to have the errors balance each other out.

    I don't think static balancing like Sears insisted on 40 years ago when I got my first Michelins will work these days. They used a bubble balancer. Sears must have been last to go to dynamic or spin balancing.

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

  • I wasnt talking about using a static balancer, I meant for your tech to use tape weights on the inside of the wheels because they are more acurate. As far as out of roundness I was refering to the wheel. As far as I know rims are either aluminum or steel. You can take a new aluminum wheel out of the box and it can be off so little that you might not notice, but it is not perfectly shaped and will cause vibration. After putting on a tire this wheel might balance out but if you spin the wheel it will not. I have replaced several buick rims with steel rims and aftermarket rims and the vibration would stop. I will say that alot of them were bent but sometimes they looked perfect.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    Static balance is using a bubble balancer instead of spinning the wheel (dynamic balancing).

    Rims are steel, aluminim, and other alloys.

    Any wheel can be off from perfectly round for radial and lateral runout. They also can be out of balance even if within tolerance for lateral and radial runout. These runouts are measure in thousandths of an inch. The tolerance for runout is in your service manaul for your particular car model.

    A good technician must use weights on both inside and outside of rim to get best balance.

    The road force balancing is the best especially for stiffer frames. Perhaps some of the Pilots and Highlander type cars that have problems won't have their problems solved by road force balancing.

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

  • I posted a similar question in the Regal forum a few days back, but for those of you that have owned a PA from this time frame, or maybe have owned two+, what is your overall opinion of them?

    I presently have a 1998 Regal GS and thought I'd sound out folks on what they think about the other Super Charged car in Buick's lineup. I am doing the math on whether it is worth doing maintenance upgrades/replacements on my higher mileage car or perhaps making the leap into a newer one.

    I prefer FWD, the stability of the base 3.8 with the luxury of the SC attached to it, and the overall comfort of Buicks vis a vis other rides. Even when dealing with the gran touring suspension, you are not necessarily talking something that will rattle your bones. I'm not in Buick's traditional demographic, 39, but appreciate their historical virtues (ride/reliability/balance of old and new technology).

    Anyway, if anyone is good enough to respond, I'm not asking you to type a manuscript, just what were/are the highlights or lowlights?

    Thanks in advance...
  • I have a 1997 Park Avenue that I bought last summer with 126000 miles on it. Fortunately 1 week after I bought it from the dealership the intake issue occured and that was repaired under warranty. At the same time I had them look at the front end, because I was experiencing a groaning noise. They replaced the driverside wheel bearing and said that they still noticed something, but it should be OK. A month later I replaced the passenger side wheel bearing which quieted things down quite a bit, but it allowed me to hear that the driver side was still making noise. I put my breaker bar on the nut on the Driver side and found that it was not tight at all, after tightening the passenger side with a 4 foot pipe, it thought that something was wrong. The dealership agreed to free issue a new bearing to me under warranty so that I could replace it myself. Now I am at 140000 and the Driver side is getting really noisy again.
    Here is my question? I did not torque it to any specification ( what should it be?), but I did tighten it pretty good ( 4 foot pipe X 250lbs on it with a 3/4" Breaker bar). How critical is the torque? Could the groan be caused by something else, Also it definitely gets more pronounced when I turn to the right.

    I called the local NAPA thinking about replacing the CV/drive shaft, but they said I should look at the brakes and go back to the wheel bearings adn that the torques is very critical.

    Your thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    The drive axle nut on a 1998 LeSabre is...107 lb-ft. That means on a 4 ft long bar you would press down with a force of 27 pounds. I would believe the Park A is the same front unit for the wheel. Easiest way is to stop at a dealership, the one giving you the bearing?, and ask them to verify. The guy in the shop who does the bearings will have it memorized. The tech writer may not know unless they have been a mechanic as well.

    It's odd the bearing would go bad again unlessthe tightness damaged it. The groan could be tire treads giving a sound on tires that have worn unevenly. I had Michelin X-Ones on a car for several years and started to get a bearing sound from one of the two tires left (I had intentionally worn two faster than other two to replace and get good bite in snow-so older pair had 5 or so years of age). A mechanic in the scout troop said the rubber in tires hardens as it ages when I had him look at the crazing in the rubber treads to see if it was rot.

    I got a sound on front and it was still there when the tire was on the rear. New Harmonys to replace the old pair and sound was gone.

    I have also read in H-body discussions that a bearing the differential (transfer case I think they called it) part of the transmission can cause a noise. But it wouldn't have gone away with the first bearing replacement. Did your noise go away? That wuold eleminate tires and transfer case bearing.

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

  • Even after replacing the bearings both fronts at different times, the noise never completely went away. I recently put new tires on the car(about 3000 miles ago) and did not notice any step change in the sound old / vs new. I saw a TSB talking about a groan and it was telling how to loosen the rear mounts for the transaxle and trying to center them back in their slots. I am going to jack the car up and see if there is any loosness in the bearings. If anything they are to tight and definitely not to loose.
  • >I posted a similar question in the Regal forum a few days
    >back, but for those of you that have owned a PA from this
    >time frame, or maybe have owned two+, what is your overall
    >opinion of them?

    >I presently have a 1998 Regal GS and thought I'd sound out
    >folks on what they think about the other Super Charged car
    >in Buick's lineup.

    >I'm not in Buick's traditional demographic, 39, but
    >appreciate their historical virtues
    >(ride/reliability/balance of old and new technology).

    >Anyway, if anyone is good enough to respond, I'm not asking
    >you to type a manuscript, just what were/are the highlights
    >or lowlights?

    I really like my '97 PA Ultra, which was the first year of the final PA generation ('97-'05). Handles well (rolls a bit, but grip is good); acceleration is good for a car this size, especially off the line, though I'm sure it's not as quick as your Regal; brakes are very good; mileage is surprisingly good (low 20's in around town mixed driving, 35+ at 55-60 mph, 30 mpg at 70-75, 27 mpg overall across Alabama and Georgia with the cruise set on 80); quiet; comfortable (my wife loves the heated seats and dual zone climate controls); huge trunk; great sound system; keyless entry, etc.; and it's a Q-ship without being too stodgy looking.

    BTW, I'm 36. Yes, it's possible for Gen-X'ers to like PA's...the little SUPERCHARGED badge on the trunk helps...I love it when I pull up to a stop light, and the kid in the Civic behind me jumps in the left lane because he thinks I'm going to be slow off the green...hehehe...

    One of these days, I'll probably put some exhaust tips from an '03-'05 PA Ultra on it, and I did rig it so I could switch the DRL's off (they are brighter than the high-beams on many cars, aargh--instructions at, but other than that it's as I bought it. Interior is holding up VERY well, despite the two enthusiastic kids that it regularly transports.

    FWIW, here's a Popular Mechanics review of the PA Ultra compared to some other full-size cars, from '98-ish. The PA Ultra rates pretty well:

    Performance figures, from page 8:

    Buick Park Avenue Ultra
    EPA mileage rating: 18/27
    PM observed mileage during test: 20.8
    0-60: 7.7 seconds
    1/4 mile: 15.6 sec, 89.8 mph
    Passing acceleration, 40-70 mph: 5.9 seconds
    Braking 60-0: 131 feet
    PM Slalom: 44.9 mph
    Skidpad: 0.72 g (w/all-season tires, not bad)
    Interior noise, idle: 52.8 dBA
    Interior noise, full throttle: 77.8 dBA
    Interior noise, 60 mph: 68.6 dBA

    Mine doesn't have the center console, just a fold-down armrest with storage, and the way PM tells it, I'm not missing much.

    Considering that you can get a nice latest-generation PA Ultra used for $5000 to $10,000, I'd say they're a good buy, and the used ones are often in excellent shape. I'd definitely get another one. The one thing I might look for that mine doesn't have is one with the optional heads-up display (I'm a gadget geek).

    The only downside I see--they are expensive to have worked on, but mine has been pretty reliable, and considering the car now has 145,000 miles (IIRC) it's doing well. I did invest in a factory shop manual, but so far I have had the dealer change the SC belt and serpentine belt for me (requires removal of engine mount on this car, no fun), had a fuel line leak when I bought the car (seller paid for dealer to fix it), and I have replaced the front brake pads/rotors and changed the SC oil and plugs, minor stuff. It needs a set of rear shocks now (it's still on its original set), and I'll probably get those installed this week.

    Also, the Ultra requires 93-octane fuel, or else performance and mileage suffer (that's probably true of all the supercharged 3.8's). But to me, the fuel requirement is well worth the increased performance over the normally aspirated 3800.
  • These are remarks about the status of a Year 2000 Buick Park Avenue, which now has 160,000 miles.

    Oil consumption is 1/2 qt./5,000 miles running Mobil 1 10w/30 EP (15,000 rated oil between changes) and Mobil 1 2x filter.

    Fuel consumption is around 25.8 long term, mostly highway miles running 75-80;

    Recent work required:
    >> Speedo Cluster PRNDL died, readout of gauges (oil pressure, etc. died); Fixed for $185 by Specmo of Madison Heights, MI, including new cover clear plastic, new power supply. I did the R&R myself. They have thousands of units in stock;
    >> New Michelin MVX4 high economy tires, great ride, handling, smooth, roll like crazy, good fuel economy. These replaced identical tires removed, that had 110,000 miles on them, with a little tread left (3/32's");
    >> Replaced original struts/rear shocks with Monroe sensatrac gas struts in front, Maxair shocks in rear; Tremendous improvement in ride and control- very close to Mercedes I have owned.
    >> Installed all new rotors on brakes- performed by dealer with GM OEM parts- now extremely smooth, transforming the brakes and driving impression;
    >> replaced Alternator at 157,000 with GM reman unit, although orig was performing well and had no problems. I was impressed that its bearings were still smooth!

    This continues to be a great car and is solid even with high miles, like my prior Mercedes were. No rattles, smooth, still quiet, interior holding up well. Just tried Lucerne and Chrysler 300 and seats in both were not as good IMHO as my 2000 PA. I have the heads up display (HUD), which I really like, regardless of what the car mags weenies say. Also, I have the business console, which isn't the highest build quality, but which performs well- I like it! This car has 3 12v outlets up front- 1- the cig lighter, 1 at base of business console, and 1 inside the storage console between front seats.

    Most common complaint I and others have is that the rear speaker for bass, is too loud and boomy for rear seat passengers.

    I think this is one of the best cars GM ever made and it is the 6th Buick I have owned. GM never put the junk parts on the supercharged engine, like they did with the standard 3.8. They fixed the standard 3.8 in year 2000 (intake manifold). Also, the year 2000 has the "rolling code" garage opener. I have drived the latest Mercedes E class and they really feel like my PA.

    I have hit two deer with Buicks, the latest one with this car and the deer came at the windshield, but did not break through. Thank God For Buicks! They are solid.

    I will try to drive this car as long as I possible can- there are no new cars on the market that run as well or are more durable- yes, including Toyota, which is starting to have some quality issues. My 34 yoa daughter-in-law that thought she would hate this car, had to drive it on the freeway recently and was very surprised how well she liked it.."it doesn't feel like a great, big car".

    So that is my Buick PS attaboy for the record.
  • Ultra97

    Glad to hear there are other 30-somethings that appreciate what Buick had to offer in these cars. I'm really surprised at your hwy mileage, I think I saw once a listing for the Regal GS that said its 0-60 times were in the 7.3 - 7.4 range, so the extra Ultra weight doesn't hurt it too much in the response time. And, an ultra is the perfect "toy" to have if you enjoy a bit of performance yet want to appear all practical and family-oriented at the same time...and sure does beat a mini-van ;) posted this: Replaced original struts/rear shocks with Monroe sensatrac gas struts in front, Maxair shocks in rear; Tremendous improvement in ride and control- very close to Mercedes I have owned.

    Not meaning to over-parse words, but did your ride end up smoother or stiffer? I'm guessing you mean stiffer/more controlled/not too stiff though.

    I will now seriously put the PA on my Regal-replacement list when the time comes. Later model Regals are very hard to find, that is for sure.

    Buicks may have a stodgy image with some, but people who care more about cars usually own and take care of them, making them wiser investments as used vehicles.
  • >I'm really surprised at your hwy mileage,

    I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but I run full synthetic oil (Mobil 1), and I have read that for a given viscosity rating, synthetic oil flows a little more freely, and I run the tires at 35 psi on road trips. But the supercharged 3800 is surprisingly efficient when not on boost, and it also helps that the PA Ultra is geared pretty high; at 55 mph, you're turning less than 1500 rpm in 4th gear, and about 2100 rpm at 80 mph, which is probably the big reason for the highway mileage numbers. By comparison, the 4-cylinder Camry I used to own ('87) was turning around 3200 rpm at 80 mph.
  • Does your dealer carry the synthetic or do you buy it yourself?

    For 97Ultra or anyone else reading: Is it best to change to synthetic at "an early age" or can a car with any # of miles safely make the switch?

    Also, is it as simple as having a regular oil change your last visit and then switching to synthetic - no other steps needed?
  • I buy the oil at Advance Auto, but you can also get it at Wal-Mart. It's pricey (~$5/quart) but lubricates better than regular oil, especially at high temperatures (which is why race cars use synthetic oil instead of the dinosaur-derived kind). I use "Mobil 1" brand, and stick with 10W30 weight like the manual recommends. I also like the Mobil 1 filters.

    A car with any number of miles can be switched over--it's just a matter of filling it up with synthetic instead of petroleum distillate oil the next time you change it. The only caveat is, if you have oil leaks around gaskets and such, they will leak get a bit worse with synthetic because synthetic flows more freely than regular oil and sludges less, so it's more likely to seep past a bad valve cover gasket or pan gasket.

    My PA has 145K miles at the moment, and I'm getting ready to replace the valve cover gaskets for that reason; it doesn't leak much (maybe half a quart in 2000 miles), but it's enough to bug me. I bought a pair of GM gaskets from the dealer and just need to get around to swapping them out.
  • I have a whining or rubbing sound between 20 and 30 mph. The dealer replaced the front wheel bearings under warranty, but it didn't help. Then the dealer said it was tire noise so I replaced the front tires which were staring to show wear. Then I had the wheels aligned and asked the dealer to try to find the noise again. They couldn't hear the noise. The next time I went back, they sid the hub caps were loose. I knew they were loose from the wheel alignment job and it wasn't the type of noise I thought they were looking for.
    Any suggestions before I try again?

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