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#1096029 - 02/29/08 08:19 AM Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
It's been 6 months today since I purchased this big monster.

A charcoal grey/cream leather 2003 Buick Park Avenue, it was in fantastic shape, 44K miles at purchase, 50K on it now. It has the non-supercharged 3.8L engine, with rear automatic level control, concert-level stereo, and almost all the bells and whistles GM provided for their top-of-the-line sedan.

I purchased it (after a good deal of research, on BITOG and elsewhere) in August of '07 because (a) it was a great deal, and (b) my '97 Mercedes C230 was about to lose its 5-speed autobox. There were a couple of other issues with the Benz as well. I'd looked at and driven the current model Buicks, and might have bought a used '06 LaCrosse had it not been for that dealer's unpleasant and difficult attitude.

In the 6 months, I've spent money on the following:
Air filter
3 oil changes (Auto-Rx treatment)
Dex-Cool coolant
Front brake rotors, pads, new brake fluid
Rear self-leveling shocks (originals leaking, car bouncing)
PCV valve
Power steering fluid (extracted old, filled with new)
1 new tire (old one developed an "egg")
Transmission fluid and filter
Gasoline (more of that in a moment)

All of these things, except the tire and maybe the shocks, are normal maintenance/wear-and-tear items that would need to be done around 50K miles. I chose to change the coolant because I don't think any fluid can last 100K miles. About all I have left to do is window tinting, a safety brake tag, and the April oil change, and I hope to coast for quite a while.

Gas? Runs on regular, and gets within 10% of the mileage the 4-cylinder Benz got -- and the Benz required premium. I'm breaking even on that. Normal (75% city) mileage is 21-22, and I saw 31.9 on the open highway in November.

Drawbacks? A much larger turning radius than the small Benz, of course. A column automatic shifter, which I hadn't dealt with since 1995, but I'm used to it now. Pretty small potatoes.

The Park Avenue is truly a great car. Yes, I know it has a reputation as a rolling sofa and an old folks' car; I know that if it were alive, like a pet, and wanted the company of its own kind, I'd do best to bring it to a Piccadilly Cafeteria during the Early Bird Special, or to the local church for Bingo Night.

But you know what? I don't care. The cracked broken streets of The Swamp require a car with a softer suspension to soak up the bumps. And its resale value, insanely, drops like a stunned condor, so I paid about 1/3rd of the original MSRP. The dark grey paint, plus blackwall tires on chrome wheels, give it a stealthy, powerful appearance, too.

I'm driving Cadillac/Mercedes quality for Chevrolet money!
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1096034 - 02/29/08 08:35 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
chet2 Offline


Registered: 07/19/07
Posts: 1408
Loc: NH
GM and Ford make pretty good cars now, but some people dont seem to realize it

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#1096177 - 02/29/08 12:51 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: chet2]
MGregoir Offline


Registered: 08/30/07
Posts: 1784
Loc: Bonnyville, AB
My next car is going to be a Buick. I had a '94 Regal I beat like an ugly girlfriend I used as my company car where I was paid flat rate wages.

I used to have to drive 105 miles to a service call, and I'd average 74 miles per hour INCLUDING disassembling and rebuilding a computer to replace the motherboard as well as stopping to pick up a box of donuts. I used to set the cruise at 98 mph and still get 22 mpg with it.

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#1096486 - 02/29/08 10:08 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: chet2]
Stanley Rockafeller Offline


Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 691
Loc: Van, B.C.
 Originally Posted By: chet2
GM and Ford make pretty good cars now, but some people dont seem to realize it


That just makes it better for us as we can pick up cars that are far more reliable than their predecessors, and get alot more reliability out of them than we could before.

As for those who insist on imports, I feel kinda sorry for them. I used to be one of them...but not anymore!
_________________________
-88 BMW 325ism-the Model 3

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#1096796 - 03/01/08 03:46 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Stanley Rockafeller]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp

Stanley, I did my time in imports. My first, a Volvo 164, burned up while I was driving it -- a broken fuel line, a known problem with those mid-70s Volvos, I found out later. Then 10 years of Mercedes: a Euro gas engine 123 coupe, a big grey 420SEL (hence my username), and the '97 C230. All were fun to drive, but sometimes pricey to keep up, and all required premium gas. (At least I could change my oil easily on 'em!)

For the first time in a while, I'm not thinking about what my next car will be. I'm just enjoying this one.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1097116 - 03/02/08 02:07 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Stanley Rockafeller]
ThirdeYe Offline


Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 6691
Loc: Grand Rapids, MI
 Originally Posted By: Stanley Rockafeller
 Originally Posted By: chet2
GM and Ford make pretty good cars now, but some people dont seem to realize it


That just makes it better for us as we can pick up cars that are far more reliable than their predecessors, and get alot more reliability out of them than we could before.

As for those who insist on imports, I feel kinda sorry for them. I used to be one of them...but not anymore!


Don't feel too sorry, nothing's gone wrong on my car since I purchased it! My mom's '03 Malibu money pit on the other hand... we won't go there
_________________________
1995 Acura Integra LS - 207,5xx - Valvoline MaxLife Synthetic 5W-30/Purolator Synthetic PSL14459
2001 Honda Civic LX - 56,4xx - Gulf oil/Honda A02

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#1097167 - 03/02/08 07:12 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: ThirdeYe]
simple_gifts Offline


Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 8434
Loc: Middlesex County CT
LeSabre/PA are definitely underappreciated cars. I had a 92 Lesabre (shocks wore out @ 30K) but had zero problems with the drivetrain until I burnt a valve @ 180K miles. (pre-BITOG) Push the pedal and the car will move....

I let the car sit for 3 years and after I charged the battery, I turned the key and it fired right up.
_________________________
2003 Echo, >330K, Supergard 5W-30
2006 B2300, 84K,ALM;

I prefer cats over dogs; Cats have the sense not to roll in their own poop

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#1097228 - 03/02/08 09:13 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: simple_gifts]
JustinH Offline


Registered: 04/17/04
Posts: 2951
Loc: Round Rock, TX
Those park avenues are one of the best cars that GM ever built.

I'd say its right up there with fords crown vic.

The 3800 is a very stout motor, change all the fluids in that car and it will run for longer than you care to keep it.

The car has a trunk big enough to throw a few bodies in there, and seat 5 people.

Great cars for long trips.

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#1098346 - 03/03/08 10:18 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Stanley Rockafeller Offline


Registered: 03/29/05
Posts: 691
Loc: Van, B.C.
 Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral

Stanley, I did my time in imports. My first, a Volvo 164, burned up while I was driving it -- a broken fuel line, a known problem with those mid-70s Volvos, I found out later. Then 10 years of Mercedes: a Euro gas engine 123 coupe, a big grey 420SEL (hence my username), and the '97 C230. All were fun to drive, but sometimes pricey to keep up, and all required premium gas. (At least I could change my oil easily on 'em!)

For the first time in a while, I'm not thinking about what my next car will be. I'm just enjoying this one.


Hehhe, sounds like my experience with imports!
i've owned some of the most reliable, stout and simple vehicles to ever have been built in Europe starting with my 81 245DL I received when I graduated high school. That car was a tank! too bad the rust consumed it very quickly, and the SU carb was so hard to tune with nobody to give a poor student a break! I kinda miss that car, even with all it's quirks..my "fave" was when the fuel line slipped off the carb, and the mechanical fuel pump continued to pump fuel all over the deteriorating wire harness insulators (common on those late 70's up to about 86 or 87 Volvo's.) not fun, but suprisingly the car always ran...and never blew up!

Don't get me wrong, I love Euro cars, that's why I still have my 88 325is. I keep it monty and only drive it one week per year when I visit family in my home city. After owning an 86 325es, I vowed to never own another old Euro car as a daily driver, as it's too much of a headache. Sure their lots of fun, to drive and tinker on, but one week per year is all the stress and agrivation I can handle! but would i sell it?

HECK NO!

... there's just something beautiful about performing a valve adjustment and getting it "just-right" your first time, and having that engine sing all the way up to red-line. And for that, I cannot put a price tag on :)
_________________________
-88 BMW 325ism-the Model 3

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#1105030 - 03/12/08 09:52 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
pastmaster Offline


Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 615
Loc: Alma, Michigan USA
BUICK is one of the most under-rated cars in the world. I have grown up with them in the family and own a couple, now.

I am glad that you are happy with your 2003 Park Ave.

You had a problem with leaking of the rear air shocks, I read in one of the forums here. What did you do to fix the problem? Did you keep it stock or change the automatic level control system, and what were the costs? Are you happy with the results? I was for you keeping it stock.

With the price of fuel approaching $4./gal., at least you'll be safe and comfortable, when you will be driving.
_________________________
Don't care if the body gaps line-up, but when the driver floors it, he ****'* his pants!
ENZO FERRARI

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#1105039 - 03/12/08 10:02 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
XS650 Offline



Registered: 12/21/03
Posts: 12385
Loc: Northern CA
 Quote:
And its resale value, insanely, drops like a stunned condor, so I paid about 1/3rd of the original MSRP.


Every time I hear someone say that a car isn't a good car to buy because of it's high depreciation, I think, buy a used one then you idiot.

You, sir, are obviously not one of them.
_________________________
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

--Mark Twain

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#1105937 - 03/14/08 09:03 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: pastmaster]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
 Originally Posted By: pastmaster

You had a problem with leaking of the rear air shocks, I read in one of the forums here. What did you do to fix the problem? Did you keep it stock or change the automatic level control system, and what were the costs? Are you happy with the results? I was for you keeping it stock.

With the price of fuel approaching $4./gal., at least you'll be safe and comfortable, when you will be driving.

Hey, pastmaster,

Yes, I went with stock -- that is, the updated shock kit from the dealer, which was $211 for everything (both shocks, fittings, hoses, la whole enchilada). Compare that to $340 for the two shocks alone. The car rides a bit more firmly (closer to the ride of my late 420SEL), which is not always a good thing here in The Swamp. But it no longer wallows or bounds over uneven pavement.

True, comfortable is very important to me. And as I said above, I'm spending about the same on gas per month as I did in the 4-cylinder Benz. I've always been one to consolidate trips, so I'll just have to do it a bit more. . . .
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1108121 - 03/17/08 07:57 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 8064
Loc: Upstate NY
The LeSabre is a good car. I've been fairly impressed with the 1999 version. Yes it rides like a couch on wheels. But it has some real get-up when you need it to. And the 3800 never seems strained, even when you're flogging it on a long hill or around another vehicle.
_________________________
2009 Honda Fit Sport
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#1108572 - 03/18/08 11:12 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: sciphi]
javacontour Offline


Registered: 06/26/03
Posts: 7218
Loc: Illinois
I used to call my '87 LeSabre the LeSofa, FWIW
_________________________
network down, IP packets delivered via UPS -BOFH

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#1109742 - 03/19/08 05:58 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: javacontour]
mwsku83 Offline


Registered: 02/24/08
Posts: 11
Loc: MI
 Originally Posted By: javacontour
I used to call my '87 LeSabre the LeSofa, FWIW


That's pretty funny. I used to drive a 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme back in college that my friends called the couch on wheels.

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#1109791 - 03/19/08 06:58 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: mwsku83]
Steve S Offline


Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 18449
Loc: East of IGO
My dad had a 1987 Olds Delta 88 loaded with the FE3 suspension a real nice car but was in the shop as a G.M. is expected to be.
_________________________
Why do people post I want the best for my car,,, When there isn't anything that is the best on the car to begin with.

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#1162311 - 05/30/08 01:33 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Steve S]
Jaymus Offline


Registered: 05/11/07
Posts: 1209
Loc: Tennessee
We have a 2000 Buick Park Avenue in the family. Around 55k miles on it right now. The transmission whines around 1800RPM, and quits whining around 1500RPM or 2000RPM. The owner went from an 85 Buick to a 95 Buick LeSabre. Both of those were absolutely trouble free, but were also relatively low mileage (old woman, lol). But, this 2000 Buick Park Avenue seems a little cheap. The driver seat control panel on the side of the seat used to pop out all the time. Dealer fixed it. The lumbar doesn't work on the passenger seat and the seat belt adjuster doesn't work on the driver's seat.

The engine (3.8), as always, has been excellent. No oil consumption whatsoever. Great highway gas mileage (31-34mpg, depending on weather, gas, etc.) Pretty easy to hit 32mpg on the highway doing 55+ no matter what.

But, city driving and backroads give poor mileage in it. But, it's a heavy car with a V6, so, it takes a little more to get up and go.

That's just my experience with it. Oh, and as far as style, I think it has a muscle-ish look to it. If I wasn't a Ford man, I wouldn't mind having a Park Avenue like that in black. It would look very sharp.
_________________________
1986 F150 5.0 EFI 4x4 NP435/NP208 9" rear 3.50:1 31x10.50 Wrangler Authority's
2006 Suzuki GSX-R 600 MotoGP pipe with cat removal

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#1162338 - 05/30/08 02:05 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Jaymus]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Well, Jaymus, I haven't noticed any transmission whine. I just had the fluid and filter changed late last year at about 49 or 50K, and I hope that regular 30K changes will make the box last.

True, city mileage by itself would be kind of poor. But I drive about 18% highway, and that pulls my numbers up to the 21-22 range over each 7-10 day period.

Mine is so dark a grey it's almost black, along with blackwall tires and chrome factory wheels, all of which keep the monster from looking too much like a Bingo Night Express. It does have a muscular look to it -- seen head on with that toothy grille, it's rather like a powerful killer whale bearing down on you.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1163773 - 06/01/08 08:21 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
bobfather99 Offline


Registered: 10/21/05
Posts: 700
Loc: Northwest Indiana
We have 2 3800s in the family fleet:

95 Bonneville w/167k(mine)
00 Park Ave w/100k(Dads)

Great cars!!!
Keep an eye on the coolant. If it drops, you may have an intake leak, which needs to be changed quickly(hydrolock in extreme cases of leakage)

Change out the coolant every 2 years, as the used Dexcool doesnt like the intake gaskets.

Ive changed out the gaskets and plastic manifolds on both, but still very happy..
_________________________
95 Pontiac Bonneville 190996 miles
Current fill, Formula Shell 10w30 STP filter

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#1165992 - 06/05/08 01:20 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: mwsku83]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 24989
Loc: Ontario, Canada
 Originally Posted By: mwsku83
 Originally Posted By: javacontour
I used to call my '87 LeSabre the LeSofa, FWIW


That's pretty funny. I used to drive a 1990 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme back in college that my friends called the couch on wheels.


That's hilarious! My friends call my Town Car "The Couch", though it is also known as "Binky" and the "LHO".
_________________________
Network Engineer
00 BMW 328i
02 Expedition
01 BMW ///M5

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#1166085 - 06/05/08 09:12 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: OVERKILL]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
If you drove on what are laughingly called "streets" here in The Swamp, you'd be glad of a couch on wheels.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1174458 - 06/17/08 03:24 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: OVERKILL]
JohnBrowning Offline


Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 9448
Loc: USA
My wifes 1997 LeSaber is a pile of junk! I have to replace just about everything under the hood or bolted tot he engine. Wire harness for ignition module and crank sensor,water pump,plastic water pump tubes,upper intake manifold,starter,all sensors, ignition control module,caliper,master cyclinder,brake lines,transmission and on and on.........The plastic parts in side the car are rotting and cracking and falling off the car. The door panels have shrunk so much that they no longer fit properly, the trunks locking cylinder no longer works with the key you have to use the electronic accuator, the engine leaks oil from multiple seals.

My grandmother bought it used with 40,000 miles on it and ran nothing but M1 in it and followed the oil life monitor. All maintence was always performed by the book by the dealership.When I got it with 104,000 miles on it it was already showing sings of it's poor design. I managed to nurse the transmission another 40,000 miles before I had to get a used low milage one from a salvage yard and replace it.

I am convinced that GM can not build anything that will last very long with like new performance and functioning. I have had Toyota's that wherer 17 year old and still had the same fit and finish as they did when they where new and still where squeak and rattle free. It is completly unacceptable that I had to replace a transmission at 140,000 miles. Their was a TSB for the problem but it only applied to the origanal owner. GM had a hard time boreing a round hole for the TCC apply piston and knew about it. If the owner complained under warranty about the surgeing they replaced the transmission. That should have been a recall not a TSB. How hard is it in 1997 to bore a round concentric hole in aluminum and cast iron? The upper intak manifold fiasco should have ben a recall as well not a TSB since coolant leaking into your engine is a durability issue and intake manifolds are not normal wear items!

In fact at the time when I bought my Toyota Camry I was working for GM and could have gotten a GM Supplier Discount. The fact that I bought a Toyota should tell you something.

When I had to replace the transmission all the bolts,nuts hardware and busching under that car had to be replaced due to rust. Some of them had rusted completely away! Gm has always been in the rust belt so their no excuse for that other then them useing cheap componets!

The only way you would get me in a GM vechile with my own money doing the purchaseing would be if the cost of the vechile was 1/3 the cost of the same type of vechile offered by Toyota!

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#1174699 - 06/17/08 10:22 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: JohnBrowning]
brianl703 Offline


Registered: 05/07/04
Posts: 10487
Loc: Manassas, VA
The GM Employee discount isn't all that great and the GM Supplier discount is worse.

I didn't even get the GM Employee discount (I work for EDS) when I bought my Saab 93 2.0T since I got it with European Delivery. You can't use the Employee discount with the European Delivery discount. My desire to drive on the Autobahn at 135MPH in Germany won out so I went with European Delivery.

BTW there is NOTHING that Toyota makes that is comparable with the Saab 93.

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#1232116 - 09/08/08 01:42 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: brianl703]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Update at one year: The Buick remains the serene cruiser it was when I bought it a year ago.

Mileage today: 56,400. After an AutoRx clean and rinse, and w/ 4 oz. maintenance dose in PP 5W-30, I still see about 21-22 mpg w/ 80% city driving, about 30 pure highway (A/C use cuts it down from ~31). On my recent evacuation to Birmingham for Hurricane Gustav, averaging 65-70 mph, using 10% ethanol gas and with five passengers (one lightweight human female, four feline females in light carriers) plus 2 suitcases, A/C on and driving rolling hills, I came up with 28.5.

Things needed: 57K oil change, new battery (soon? expiration was 8/08), tire rotation/wheel balance. Cosmetic: window tinting, repainting of front bumper.

Value in comfort, driving pleasure, and reliability, even in times of 3.60/gallon gas: Tremendous.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1232161 - 09/08/08 03:25 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 8064
Loc: Upstate NY
My 99 LeSabre gets similar mileage on the highway, slightly lower around town. Exact same 3800 Series II engine and 4T65E transmission. 1999 was the first year for that combination before the re-design, IIRC. And needs a new battery, still the original OEM Delco. Starts have been a bit hard lately.

And yes, after restoring the fluids, Auto-RX cycles, and adding a transmission cooler, this car is great. Does its job and hopefully doesn't break.

Next modifications are polyurethane swaybar endlinks and an aftermarket PCM. I've heard good things about both, and both together will only run about $160.
_________________________
2009 Honda Fit Sport
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#1232353 - 09/08/08 09:21 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: JohnBrowning]
John_K Offline


Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 2250
Loc: Columbus, Ohio
Sounds just like my wife's 98 Lesabre POS. Same kinds of problems, constantly. Junked it at 98k miles. No more Garbage Motors for me. Her Hyundai is holding up much better.

John
_________________________
2009 Mercury Grand Marquis, 8 cyl auto, 39xxx miles, QS syn
2005 Hyundai Sonata, 4 cyl auto, 81xxx miles, Pennzoil/Castrol
Current oil stash: 565 qts.



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#1233112 - 09/10/08 02:15 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
bobfather99 Offline


Registered: 10/21/05
Posts: 700
Loc: Northwest Indiana
Wow, sorry to hear a few of you having problems with your full size GMs. Mine is still doing just great.

Maybe Im lucky, just this once???
All Ive done is brakes, the intake mainfold work, and the ICM(its underneath the coils)

Good luck to everyone, what ever youre driving now... \:\!
_________________________
95 Pontiac Bonneville 190996 miles
Current fill, Formula Shell 10w30 STP filter

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#1235945 - 09/14/08 06:44 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: bobfather99]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 8064
Loc: Upstate NY
I just had to do the fuel sender on my LeSabre. Mild steel and road salt do not mix. What a pain to drop the tank! Eh, at least the tank itself was holding up.

The sender was leaking at the fuel line quick-connects. Some salt got inside and made a pinhole leak. The car would weep fuel when parked. A hot parking lot made matters worse. So no fuel in the lines when starting made for some really hard starts. A new sender means it starts right up!

Benzadmiral, be glad you live in a much less salty place than New York.
_________________________
2009 Honda Fit Sport
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#1584243 - 08/31/09 09:15 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: sciphi]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Update at two years:

The Buick has had a couple of oil changes over the last year, I've had the windows tinted and the front bumper repainted, I put in a new air filter and PCV valve, and I keep the tires at 34/33. The big gray beast and I cruised up to Knoxville, TN, this past May, and it returned about 30 mpg on the highway when I could get real gasoline. A baffle behind the rear seat came loose, resulting in an annoying thump when I drove, but the dealership traced it down. It has been quite inexpensive and rewarding to drive.

Best of all, I plan to pay it off next month, October, thus saving a boatload of interest and freeing myself of a car note for the foreseeable future! ("I got the pink slip, Daddy!")
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1584249 - 08/31/09 09:22 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
addyguy Offline


Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 13419
Loc: Canada
BIL has a 1999 Buick LeSabre with 100k miles he bought off his boss. Has noting but problems with it, constantly. Just as he fixes one thing; another unrelated thing goes...as a backyard wrench, it keeps him REAL busy.
_________________________
2003 Mazda Tribute LX V-6, 162K miles.
Oil: Edge SPT, PP, and Lucas syn; MPH2 filter.

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#1584324 - 08/31/09 10:20 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: addyguy]
daves87rs Offline


Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 12935
Loc: Michigan
I've wanted a park ave supercharged....
_________________________
“Life is like photography. You need the negatives to develop.”

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#1584526 - 08/31/09 02:13 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: addyguy]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: addyguy
BIL has a 1999 Buick LeSabre with 100k miles he bought off his boss. Has noting but problems with it, constantly. Just as he fixes one thing; another unrelated thing goes...as a backyard wrench, it keeps him REAL busy.

I've got a ways to go until then; mine just turned 66,666 miles last week. My Mercedes, not so much the 420SEL but the C230, were kind of like your brother-in-law's LeSabre, and the C-Class had a lot fewer miles on it. It never broke down, but there were always things to replace as it went from 59K miles to 89K under my watch. Then the electronic 5-speed tranny began to hitch and buck at weird times. I realized I needed to jump ship.

By comparison the Buick has been dirt cheap to run and very relaxing to drive. In a city with the finest of Third-World cart-track streets, a big comfortable car is a joy.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1585098 - 08/31/09 09:51 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
addyguy Offline


Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 13419
Loc: Canada
His in in really, really nice shape, and he got it for very little, so he'll be keeping it, just has to keep fixing it...
_________________________
2003 Mazda Tribute LX V-6, 162K miles.
Oil: Edge SPT, PP, and Lucas syn; MPH2 filter.

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#1585359 - 09/01/09 06:41 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Oil_Can_Harry Offline


Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 165
Loc: Maryland, USA
Congratulations! It sounds like you got yourself a really nice automobile. I would not worry one iota if other people thought it was an old folks car. Those big cars have a ride comfort few cars today can match.

Enjoy your car and know that the GM 3.8 liter is one of the most reliable engines around.
_________________________

2000 Toyota Tundra reg cab SR5 V8
2009 Mercury Grand Marquis LS

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#1585402 - 09/01/09 07:56 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Oil_Can_Harry]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: Oil_Can_Harry
Congratulations! It sounds like you got yourself a really nice automobile. I would not worry one iota if other people thought it was an old folks car. Those big cars have a ride comfort few cars today can match.

Enjoy your car and know that the GM 3.8 liter is one of the most reliable engines around.

I stopped worrying about that a while ago. To have a car that people, especially cute or hot women, exclaim over is too expensive for the return I got!
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1588532 - 09/03/09 10:29 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
daves87rs Offline


Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 12935
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Originally Posted By: Oil_Can_Harry
Congratulations! It sounds like you got yourself a really nice automobile. I would not worry one iota if other people thought it was an old folks car. Those big cars have a ride comfort few cars today can match.

Enjoy your car and know that the GM 3.8 liter is one of the most reliable engines around.

I stopped worrying about that a while ago. To have a car that people, especially cute or hot women, exclaim over is too expensive for the return I got!



They ride great!
_________________________
“Life is like photography. You need the negatives to develop.”

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#1588814 - 09/04/09 08:02 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: sciphi]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: sciphi
My 99 LeSabre gets similar mileage on the highway, slightly lower around town. Exact same 3800 Series II engine and 4T65E transmission. . . .

Next modifications are polyurethane swaybar endlinks and an aftermarket PCM. I've heard good things about both, and both together will only run about $160.

Will the polyurethane endlinks make the car ride more firmly, or just reduce sway on turns? (Mine doesn't sway much; I suspect it has the touring suspension.) And what is an aftermarket PCM?
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1631158 - 10/14/09 08:45 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
I thought I'd put this in the same thread, since it's kind of the car's history.

This month I paid the car off, almost two years early, and saved, I calculate, about $580 in interest! That will go to the new tires I'm getting tomorrow. Oil changes every 6 months, coolant and transmission fluid every three years and brake fluid every two, and I think I'll be set for a while.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1631168 - 10/14/09 08:51 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
CROWNVIC4LIFE Offline


Registered: 04/13/09
Posts: 3735
Loc: Miami-Dade County
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
I thought I'd put this in the same thread, since it's kind of the car's history.

This month I paid the car off, almost two years early, and saved, I calculate, about $580 in interest! That will go to the new tires I'm getting tomorrow. Oil changes every 6 months, coolant and transmission fluid every three years and brake fluid every two, and I think I'll be set for a while.


The way you take care of your cars you will be set for a while...The Buick has a good home.
_________________________
05 Ford Crown Vic
5W20 Motorcraft Full Synthetic
Bosh D3410 Filter

07 Merc Grand Marquis
5W20 Motorcraft Full Synthetic
Motorcraft Filter.


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#1631337 - 10/14/09 11:35 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: CROWNVIC4LIFE]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Yeah, I like to think of it as a big pet . . . one that carries me around. Like a cowboy and his horse in the Old West.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1632160 - 10/14/09 09:39 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 8064
Loc: Upstate NY
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Originally Posted By: sciphi
My 99 LeSabre gets similar mileage on the highway, slightly lower around town. Exact same 3800 Series II engine and 4T65E transmission. . . .

Next modifications are polyurethane swaybar endlinks and an aftermarket PCM. I've heard good things about both, and both together will only run about $160.

Will the polyurethane endlinks make the car ride more firmly, or just reduce sway on turns? (Mine doesn't sway much; I suspect it has the touring suspension.) And what is an aftermarket PCM?


The poly bushings just make the car roll less in the turns. The aftermarket PCM is a reflashed engine computer (Powertrain Control Module). Makes the car do things like 3rd-1st downshifts when you need them.
_________________________
2009 Honda Fit Sport
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#1632240 - 10/14/09 11:29 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: sciphi]
mrsilv04 Offline


Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 5878
Loc: Illinois
Are you going to give us a hint on which brand/model of tires you decided to use?
_________________________

President of the Illinois chapter of 'Motorcyclists for Global Warming'.

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#1633516 - 10/16/09 06:44 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: mrsilv04]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
I went with the OEMs, the Goodyear Eagle LS. Ride comfort is the most important thing to me, followed by price, and the Eagles do well in both.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#1633529 - 10/16/09 07:19 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
G-MAN Offline


Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 8762
Loc: SC
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
I went with the OEMs, the Goodyear Eagle LS. Ride comfort is the most important thing to me, followed by price, and the Eagles do well in both.


I hope you have better luck with the Eagle LSs than I did. That's what came standard on my 99 300M and I spent a fortune trying to get them balanced. I never could. These were the roughest most unrefined tires I've ever experienced. I wound up replacing them with well over 2/3 of the tread remaining.

The tires on my 07 300 are the Goodyear Integrity and these seem to be doing okay. Nice and smooth.
_________________________
2010 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro: Castrol Edge 0w40
2008 Ford Taurus X: MaxLife 5w20; MaxLife ATF

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#1633541 - 10/16/09 07:40 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
G-MAN Offline


Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 8762
Loc: SC
Here's a spy video of Paul driving his Park Ave on some of the Louisiana roads. LOL



(Yes, I know this is the wrong model year.)
_________________________
2010 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro: Castrol Edge 0w40
2008 Ford Taurus X: MaxLife 5w20; MaxLife ATF

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#1633681 - 10/16/09 10:14 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: G-MAN]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
stooges LOL

You caught me! The only thing missing is the so-called "street repair" crews standing around doing nothing. . . .
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2005330 - 09/02/10 08:07 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Update at 3 years!

The PA and I have been rolling along for 3 years now. In the last year, with no more car note, I've spent money on the following:

New battery
2 oil changes, Oct. '09 and April '10
An interior rattle repair
A new gas cap
Oil sender replacement
Brake and PS fluid drain and refill
3 tires
Window lubing; replaced interior A/C filter

(No, I'm not going to total it all up. I like my hair the dark color it is, thank you.)

Car needs:
Oil change, late Oct.-early Nov. (which may lessen/cure oil leak)
Polish and wax; leather treatment of seats
Polish headlight lenses; maybe replace bulbs
Lights replaced in stereo
Rear defroster not working -- relay?
30K mile trans. fluid change in Jan.
A road trip (well, okay, that's me . . . but it'll benefit the car, too)

It's been a very good beast, and at 77K miles, I think, it has a lot of life left in it.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2005500 - 09/02/10 10:20 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
mrsilv04 Offline


Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 5878
Loc: Illinois
Benz-

Are you going to try a high mileage oil (such as Maxlife) for the oil leak?

Odd that you mention the gas cap. We had to replace the cap on the '99 P.A. as well. Kept turning on the "check engine" light.

Did you do the interior air filter yourself? I did it once, will never do that again.
_________________________

President of the Illinois chapter of 'Motorcyclists for Global Warming'.

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#2005506 - 09/02/10 10:27 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: mrsilv04]
cchase Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 3960
Loc: New England
A friend of mine had a mid-90's Le Sabre. It was an absolute boat but easily the most comfortable long distance car I've ever driven (I had to take it on 4 11-hour drives). It had 175,000 on it when I was using it and everything was original at that time, only tires, brakes, oil changes.

It's funny but a lot of the stuff that American cars get panned for in the press make them ideal for long distance driving. Numb steering and spongy brakes and a soft ride conspire for greatness on long road trips. When I had to take our 2003 Accord for that same 11-hour drive I was about to kill myself by the end, yet the Buick and my truck (which I had on a 4000 mile road trip over 8 days) were excellent.

The 2002 Malibu I have driven is absolutely perfect for long driving. The steering on that thing might as well be connected to nothing for the steering feel but it holds a line like no other vehicle in my experience except the Buick.

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#2005844 - 09/02/10 02:17 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: mrsilv04]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: mrsilv04
Benz-

Are you going to try a high mileage oil (such as Maxlife) for the oil leak?

Odd that you mention the gas cap. We had to replace the cap on the '99 P.A. as well. Kept turning on the "check engine" light.

Did you do the interior air filter yourself? I did it once, will never do that again.

The oil is slated to be the Mobil Clean 5000 10W-30 I bought a month or so ago. Currently I'm on Castrol Edge 5W-30, which has accelerated the leak or consumption. If the MC5K doesn't improve things, I might have to try MaxLife -- or maybe Rotella T5 10w-30.

No, that interior air filter -- my mechanic says there are two or three pieces to it -- I left to him. If more car makers would put them someplace we could reach, say at the base of the windshield on the outside . . . but noooo, they're most of them under the cramped dashboard.

And cchase, that's one of the wonderful things about the Buick: "numb" steering and "detached" ride. If I lived where people actually insisted on properly paved streets, as they did in Denver, I might find the ride a bit boring. But in Third World Land, I need all the cushioning I can get. I'll have to test-drive a Malibu and a LaCrosse one of these days.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2005856 - 09/02/10 02:28 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 8064
Loc: Upstate NY
It's the same way in the land of the freeze-thaw cycle. Lots of torn-up pavement where a floaty ride isn't the worst thing in the world.

Maxlife did slow the leaks in my Buick's engine.
_________________________
2009 Honda Fit Sport
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#2005986 - 09/02/10 04:27 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
mechanicx Offline


Registered: 10/23/09
Posts: 8576
Loc: Ohio
My Dad has an '03 Impala LS with 50K some miles. Miles aren't high but its time and short trips that and the rough rods, salt and climate that breaks cars. It's has had nothing done to it besides oil changes and air and cabin filter changes except: 1 brake job, 1 battery, new tires, and 1 coolant flush.

Basically those are just normal maintenance items for any 7-8 year old car. In full disclosure it could probably stand to have the intermediate steering shaft replacement performed and I think the belt tensioner squeaks on start up and could stand to be repalced or greased. And the IMG could be done but it doesn't lose coolant. A brake fluid and trans flush could be performed and has been put off. But those are really just preventative maintenance items. Other than that it runs and drives like it did since new.

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#2006030 - 09/02/10 05:19 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
mrsilv04 Offline


Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 5878
Loc: Illinois
Benz-

I'd be really curious to see if something like MaxLife would make a difference in your oil leak.

Can you tell where the engine is leaking the oil?

The underside of Mom's '99 is 'wet' in spots, but it hasn't yet dripped. This is using Pennzoil Platinum... changing it every 6,000 miles (per the OLM).



The cabin air filter is something that you *don't* want to ever change yourself.

There's three pieces to it, that you slide each piece into a thin slot to the right and above of the gas pedal.... one at a time.

You put one in the slot, the push it up and hold it, while sliding the second one in **underneath** the first one... while making sure that a tab on the top of the second one slides into a slot on the bottom of the first one.

Then repeat a second time for the third piece... and this is all while trying to work down by the gas pedal.

If your mechanic charged you anything less than an hour to replace it, you got a bargain!
_________________________

President of the Illinois chapter of 'Motorcyclists for Global Warming'.

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#2006250 - 09/02/10 11:01 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: mrsilv04]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 8064
Loc: Upstate NY
Mine's leaking from the oil pan gasket. Big drops of oil are on every bolt holding the pan to the block, and the pan is wet the whole way around.

I'm not surprised Maxlife swelled that particular gasket a bit, and slowed the leak. Could be the bolts just need tightening...
_________________________
2009 Honda Fit Sport
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#2006484 - 09/03/10 08:42 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: mrsilv04]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: mrsilv04
Benz-

I'd be really curious to see if something like MaxLife would make a difference in your oil leak.

Can you tell where the engine is leaking the oil?

The underside of Mom's '99 is 'wet' in spots, but it hasn't yet dripped. This is using Pennzoil Platinum... changing it every 6,000 miles (per the OLM). . . .

I don't see drips under the car when it's parked overnight. I've crawled under, and the entire oil pan and filter area is dry. Grimy, of course, but not wet. And the front exhaust pipe up top, which is right below the head gasket, is dry and unstained as well. So no idea where it's leaking -- or consuming -- oil.

The consumption first showed when I finished the AutoRx treatment soon after I got the car and went to Pennzoil Platinum; I had to add a pint of oil at 2800 miles. It stayed the same with 2-3 succeeding fills of PP, decreased a bit (first pint needed at 3000 miles) on Castrol GTX, back to the 2800 with NAPA Synthetic -- then it shot up to a quart in 1200 miles with this Castrol Edge. All 5W-30.

I'll pop in some MMO during the last 500 miles on this fill, then go with the MC5K 10W-30.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2006566 - 09/03/10 10:10 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
addyguy Offline


Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 13419
Loc: Canada
With how warm it is where you live, something thicker, like Maxlife 10W-30, or the suggestion you made of T5 10W-30, would be a good oil to use, IMO.
_________________________
2003 Mazda Tribute LX V-6, 162K miles.
Oil: Edge SPT, PP, and Lucas syn; MPH2 filter.

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#2006583 - 09/03/10 10:38 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: addyguy]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: addyguy
With how warm it is where you live, something thicker, like Maxlife 10W-30, or the suggestion you made of T5 10W-30, would be a good oil to use, IMO.

I'm truly beginning to think so. I went with 5W-30 because it's allowed in the manual and because I was trying to eke out a little more gas mileage with an oil a bit thinner at startup.

(We do get some cool-to-cold weather in The Swamp; we saw some below-freezing temps last January and February; and I head off to work at 6 am. But losing more than a quart of oil over an OCI cancels whatever savings I might see in mpg.)

I wish the T5 didn't come only in gallon jugs. I suppose I could buy a quart of Formula Shell 10W-30 to mix with the T5 in my 5-quart sump.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2006775 - 09/03/10 02:16 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
mrsilv04 Offline


Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 5878
Loc: Illinois
Paul-

An engine will tend to use oil more after changing brands. Not sure why, but I've seen it happen multiple times.

That said, I don't like what you're seeing with the Castrol Edge, and your 3800 clearly doesn't like it. Your numbers show that it isn't working well.

I think I'd stay away from Edge in the future.

I'm in Illinois and use 10w-30 in the '99 year round. We see temp ranges from +95 to -15 (yeah... that's a 110 degree swing).

With those kinds of swings in temperature, 10w-30 is not going to be a problem in New Orleans at any time.

Mom's will use right at a quart between changes (5000-6000 miles).

I'm quite sure that in '99, 10w-30 was the preferred weight.
_________________________

President of the Illinois chapter of 'Motorcyclists for Global Warming'.

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#2006874 - 09/03/10 04:08 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: mrsilv04]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Yes, the Edge was a flyer, bought and used because of the great deal I got in late '09. It just may be too thin.

The manual does say 10W-30 is preferred, but for temps below x (I can't recall the exact number -- 32 F., maybe), it says 5W-30 is okay, with 0W-30 if you're seeing temps below even the x. So I expect 10W-30 will be fine. I've discovered at least one gas station here that serves up 100% gasoline, and once I don't need to run the A/C as much, my gas mileage should be quite good, too.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2007257 - 09/04/10 05:39 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Johnny Offline


Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 14013
Loc: Retired | Wausau, WI
PYB 10W-30. The older 3.8L GM's love this stuff.

As for as long road trips I agree with one of the above posters, hard to beat a Park Avenue.

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#2007650 - 09/04/10 07:30 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: OVERKILL]
GMBoy Offline


Registered: 11/22/04
Posts: 6548
Loc: Texas
You did good by choosing the PA over the 1st generation Lacrosse. The Lacrosse today is a very nice car, but the prior one's were so boring and cheap. That PA is way nicer. I had a 1996 PA Ultra and loved it. It had the SC engine and was a little sleeper at times :)

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#2007771 - 09/04/10 10:41 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: GMBoy]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 8064
Loc: Upstate NY
Road trips is where the floaty Buicks shine. Lots of room, very quiet, they stay in line without constant correction, and not much affects their disposition. Even 30 mph gusts blow them only a little bit. Plus getting ~30 mpg, more if you keep it at the 65 mph speed limit here, is icing on the cake.

I'll be running Edge 5w-30 this winter in a 3800 that's spotless inside. Although I should replace the leaking pan gasket first to see how it consumes it.
_________________________
2009 Honda Fit Sport
2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#2009210 - 09/06/10 03:57 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: sciphi]
ls1mike Offline


Registered: 06/14/08
Posts: 2848
Loc: Bremerton Wa
All my 3800 cars have been very good. Two Supercharged ones and Two N/A one. The most recent one, a Regal has been the second one that required the intake gasket. After that I haven't had to do anything except for brakes which it needed when I bought it.
_________________________
Mike
00 Trans Am
02 Silverado 2500HD
04 Grand Prix GTP
13 Equinox
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#2010004 - 09/07/10 11:33 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
TMoto Offline


Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 237
Loc: CO
Just read through this post and glad to hear you're PA is doing well. I was recently in the market for another vehicle and had been looking for anything with the GM 3.8 since I've owned several over the years and they've always been good to me.

I stumbled across a 2000 Century with the 3100 that was in excellent shape and couldn't pass it up for the price they were asking. It needed a blower motor that squealed like a pig, which I suspect is what drove customers away. Hopefully the 3100 proves as reliable as the 3.8l v6's I've owned in the past.


Anyway, a couple questions.
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Window lubing

Was this meant to be window tinting or ???

Quote:
replaced interior A/C filter

I owned an '06 Altima that you had to drop the glove box to access this filter, but it wasn't too terribly bad. Replacing the one on your PA sounds like a real PITA!! Funny, my Century is easily accessed by removing a few clips from a cover below the windshield from the engine compartment.

Quote:
Polish headlight lenses

Is this something you'll do yourself? I recently saw an AAP ad that had a Sylvania kit for something like $21-$22 and was wondering if anyone else had tried it?

Quote:
Lights replaced in stereo

Another thing that I think affected the sales price on my Century was the LED lights for the Auto-Climate-control are very dim. I researched and found that there are flat resistors in the control unit that can be resoldered. I'm reasonably competent with a soldering iron so that'll be something I'll be taking care of some time in the future. Is this the same on your PA, and did you do the repair yourself?

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#2010827 - 09/08/10 08:03 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: TMoto]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Hey, TMoto,

By window lubing I meant that the front passenger window is occasionally slow to run down -- generally when the rubber weatherstripping is damp. I cleaned it up some, and my mechanic did some more. The problem recurs from time to time, but it's not yet at the point where taking the door off is worth it.

Earlier this year I bought the Turtle Wax headlight polish kit for $9 (I think) at Walmart. My lenses are just a little cloudy, so it's not urgent. I plan on working with 'em when the weather cools off. Say about December.

As for the stereo lights, no, the dealer can't do anything but replace the entire unit ($$$). I've found a local stereo shop that will remove the unit, send it off to have all its lights replaced, and put it back in, for a decent price. I'll just have to do without the stereo for a week, I guess. Everything works -- but at night, the non-lit spots on the tape/CD controls and the station select buttons look funny.

I believe my previous GM car, the '94 Olds Cutlass coupe, had a 3.1L engine. While I only drove it for 2 years and about 25K miles, the car was excellent and the engine fine -- got about 29 mpg on the open road.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2010930 - 09/08/10 10:04 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
TMoto Offline


Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 237
Loc: CO
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
By window lubing I meant that the front passenger window is occasionally slow to run down -- generally when the rubber weatherstripping is damp. I cleaned it up some, and my mechanic did some more.

Thanks for the reply, I've had cars that did this in the past and figured the motor was getting weak. Does putting some silicone lube on the weatherstripping help?

Quote:
Earlier this year I bought the Turtle Wax headlight polish kit for $9 (I think) at Walmart. My lenses are just a little cloudy, so it's not urgent. I plan on working with 'em when the weather cools off. Say about December.

Put up a post as to how this kit works if you don't mind. My headlights are cloudy and I'm looking into which kit to buy. I probably won't deal with it until the spring so I'm in no rush.

Quote:
I believe my previous GM car, the '94 Olds Cutlass coupe, had a 3.1L engine. While I only drove it for 2 years and about 25K miles, the car was excellent and the engine fine -- got about 29 mpg on the open road.

I was actually looking for a LeSabre or a Taurus when I came across the Century. Mrs. TMoto prefers Buicks to Fords and this one's loaded and has leather so she's happy. It's been good so far, no sign of LIM gasket failure or anything else, other than an intermittent hard shift that I'm in the process of dealing with. Sciphi has been helpful with that, since he had a similar issue.

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#2328250 - 07/26/11 09:47 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Hey, all,

For the fourth year in a row, my applause is undiminished for the '03 Buick Park Avenue, now at 87,100 miles.

The front passenger window is still sticking under wet conditions, though it works fine in drier weather. The rear defogger is out, and I still haven't seen to the lights on the stereo, plus a couple of lights are out on the A/C control panel. There's an annoying thump from the right rear when I hit certain bumps, including speed bumps, which I don't hear when I go over the same bumps with the left wheels. And it still uses some oil over a 6-month, 4500-mile OCI.

That said, the big beast still starts every time, rolls beautifully, keeps me cool all summer, and returns astonishing fuel mileage on regular non-ethanol gas. I had occasion to run 60 miles up the Interstate both this weekend and the last, followed by my usual 20-mile mostly city commute for the remaining portion of the tank. The Driver's Information Center said I was getting 32 mpg on the open road, with A/C on, at 70 mph -- probably 10% too high, but ~29 is fantastic for a car this size. The overall mileage for the week: 24.5.

Yes, I've been driving it for four years, and now and then a sneaking admiration for something newer flashes across the screen of my brain. I think, "Life's too short to drive only one car all the time." At the same time I don't want to get rid of this one -- I merely want to add a different car, like an older BMW, for "fun" driving.

But this one is fun to drive too, giving a serene, economical kind of pleasure.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2329110 - 07/27/11 07:52 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
oilmaven Offline


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 627
Loc: Northern Michigan
I've owned 4 GM 3.8L vehicles...a 1986 Olds Delta 88, a 1987 Buick Lesabre (sold to my brother), a 1988 Buick Lesabre Limited (bought with 90,000 miles...sold at 136,000 miles) and a 1992 Olds Regency. I never had an issue with the engines but these models didn't have the intake gasket issue. Same for the transmissions...never a problem (always maintained them with filter/fluid changes). It was the "little" things...a/c was problematic in all of them at higher miles and required compressor/condensor replacements, electrical issues (power windows and the "info" center on the '88 Lesabre come to mind). In contrast, my 15 year old Honda Accord's a/c still works perfectly...blows very cold...never been touched. They CAN be money pits but will run forever with minimal maintenance (never ran synthetic in any of them). They are unrivaled open-road cars...quiet and comfy...great for long distance cruising and will deliver 30+ mpg...and the torque of the 3.8L engine is impressive.

My concern for the Buicks is the rocker panels. Up here in the "great white north" and it's dearth of reasonably priced (or available) car washes, the older Lesabres, Centuries and PA's have terminal rocker panel rot. Not just a little rust...complete rust out...pretty ugly. I'm not sure about the newer Buicks. It's obvious that the design of the rockers on those models was bad...allowed salt and moisture in and no way to dry out...they rusted like mad (not the rest of the cars so much...just the rocker panels). Same for the Chevy Venture/Pontiac Transport minvans. If kept clean they weren't so bad but still rusted.
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#2529231 - 02/08/12 08:17 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Update at 4.5 years:

The big gray beast remains a great car. Late last year I had to buy a new tire when the right front turned up with a long slash in it (?); the lights on the A/C panel are almost all gone, but everything works; I still haven't sent the radio off to replace its lights; and the rear defogger would take some labor to find why it's not getting power, so I'm letting that slide. The car fires up and drives perfectly, returns good mileage on regular gas, keeps me warm and cool as needed, and isolates me from the worst of the bad roads here.

Yes, now and then I eye other cars. The dealer where I bought the PA has a 2010 LaCrosse that may be to my taste; I've considered a W211 E-Class, and been intrigued by some 6 and 7-year-old BMW 5-Series models.

Yesterday I considered stopping at that used-car lot to test-drive a 5 and an E they have . . . but I shrugged and drove on home. The Buick is a hard car to beat in all the things that matter to me about cars, and will be tougher to let go of than even my late W126 S-Class.
_________________________
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-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2529252 - 02/08/12 08:41 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
I didn't mention it in the previous post, but the car's mileage is now at 92,400. The January oil change was with about 5000 miles on the oil, Mobil 10W-30, and with nearly 40% of its life left on the OLM. Still using a bit of oil; in July I may go with the MaxLife some have recommended.
_________________________
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-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2529340 - 02/08/12 10:15 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
dwcopple Offline


Registered: 10/11/04
Posts: 3348
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Still using a bit of oil
using or leaking? Those are notorious for oil pan gasket failure.
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#2529543 - 02/08/12 01:14 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: dwcopple]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
I haven't checked recently, but I don't think there's any leakage from the oil pan. Certainly there's no pool of oil where I park!
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2529957 - 02/08/12 08:13 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
VicVinegar Offline


Registered: 12/28/11
Posts: 664
Loc: Northern Virginia
That car seems to be a diamond in the rough. On another car forum, there was a member who was a well to do guy. He owned a number of 911s, including a GT3 RS and a GT2, a Cayenne, a M6, a SL500 among others over the years. Yet he always would post fondly about a Buick Park Avenue Ultra he owned.

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#2529981 - 02/08/12 08:44 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
ls1mike Offline


Registered: 06/14/08
Posts: 2848
Loc: Bremerton Wa
What is a bit of oil? My current 3800 doesn't use any. The last went through about 1/2 a quart every 3500 miles.
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#2533356 - 02/11/12 09:24 PM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
MuzzleFlash40 Offline


Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 747
Loc: Ohio
One of the lights on the A/C and heater control panel is out on my wifes Impala. Wonder how hard it is to fix, since she complains about it every time we drive it, lol
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#2536243 - 02/14/12 11:37 AM Re: Six month review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
My mechanic checked with the dealer, and they don't supply the lights alone for the Buick. The A/C-heater control panel is about $1500 from the dealer (guess why they don't supply the lights alone). However, racepages.com has the Buick units w a 12-month/12K mile warranty for $580. Before I go for that, I'll have my regular guy pop the unit out and see if the connections are all okay. Tapping on the plastic lens often makes the temp readout show up brighter for a while, which suggests a loose connection, hey?

MuzzleFlash40, for the '03 Impala Racepages.com has one for $150, and the '04 is on there for $185. What year is hers?
_________________________
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-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2731844 - 09/01/12 04:42 PM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
I wish I could change the initial title of this thread, which is, obviously, five years old. So is my ownership of the 2003 Buick Park Avenue.

As before, the big gray car serves quietly and reliably and remains remarkably fuel-efficient for a car its size. I just returned from a road trip to Jackson, MS. My run this morning back to NO, cruising steadily at 65-70, returned 28.5 mpg by the manual fillup method. Without the hampering effects of A/C and 10% ethanol gas, I suspect I could have easily touched 30.

In the last year, among other things, I've had the water pump and A/C blower motor replaced; two tire patches; a refurbishment of the A/C controller panel; two oil changes, the most recent to Quaker State High Mileage. At a little more than 1000 miles on that fill, the level has moved very very little on the dipstick, suggesting the QS may help with my oil burning. The rear defogger: still out.

On the radar: new spark plugs at 100,000 miles (?), which ought to roll up in about 2 months; lights on the stereo, dash, and doors; and a careful cleaning, claying, and waxing. And I may splurge on sheepskin seat inserts, partly because they look nice, and partly because they will cover some wear on the cream-colored leather of the front seats.

The beast remains one of the best automotive bargains I've ever stumbled across. When I think about replacing it, I find my head shaking and my brain murmuring, "But this newer car doesn't have ____________ like the Buick!"
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2732138 - 09/01/12 10:07 PM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
daves87rs Offline


Registered: 02/23/09
Posts: 12935
Loc: Michigan
Good to hear!
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#2732401 - 09/02/12 08:46 AM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
CROWNVIC4LIFE Offline


Registered: 04/13/09
Posts: 3735
Loc: Miami-Dade County
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
The beast remains one of the best automotive bargains I've ever stumbled across. When I think about replacing it, I find my head shaking and my brain murmuring, "But this newer car doesn't have ____________ like the Buick!"


One of my friends used to own a 2003 Park Ave..The Park Ave had 120K miles on it..It ran overall good..His mom stopped driving last year and she gave him her 03 Town Car with 70K miles on it..It was serviced only by the dealer every 3K miles or 4 months..I asked him recently if he missed the Park Ave..His answer was no way.
_________________________
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#2732768 - 09/02/12 04:33 PM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Crown, I've driven the Crown Vic and the Mercury Marquis, and liked 'em both, but I've never tried a Town Car. One of those three might well give as good an ownership experience as the PA has.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2733313 - 09/03/12 09:45 AM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
G-MAN Offline


Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 8762
Loc: SC
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Crown, I've driven the Crown Vic and the Mercury Marquis, and liked 'em both, but I've never tried a Town Car. One of those three might well give as good an ownership experience as the PA has.


Did you go look at that Cadillac? Drive it?
_________________________
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#2734546 - 09/04/12 02:31 PM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: G-MAN]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: G-MAN
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Crown, I've driven the Crown Vic and the Mercury Marquis, and liked 'em both, but I've never tried a Town Car. One of those three might well give as good an ownership experience as the PA has.


Did you go look at that Cadillac? Drive it?

I looked it over early that morning, before they were open. Cosmetically it was in terrific shape, a dark dark brown, almost black, over cream leather, with a dark steering wheel -- the BMW/Mercedes look that appeals to me. Sharp looking beast; exactly the kind of car I'd want to have if the Buick were totaled -- and I almost went back to drive it.

But I'd washed the Buick that morning. And as I sat at my barber's, looking at my gleaming car through the picture window, I said to myself, "Self, yours looks like a million bucks. And you own it already." So I passed on test-driving the Cadillac.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2734613 - 09/04/12 03:16 PM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
G-MAN Offline


Registered: 11/15/02
Posts: 8762
Loc: SC
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Originally Posted By: G-MAN
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
Crown, I've driven the Crown Vic and the Mercury Marquis, and liked 'em both, but I've never tried a Town Car. One of those three might well give as good an ownership experience as the PA has.


Did you go look at that Cadillac? Drive it?

I looked it over early that morning, before they were open. Cosmetically it was in terrific shape, a dark dark brown, almost black, over cream leather, with a dark steering wheel -- the BMW/Mercedes look that appeals to me. Sharp looking beast; exactly the kind of car I'd want to have if the Buick were totaled -- and I almost went back to drive it.

But I'd washed the Buick that morning. And as I sat at my barber's, looking at my gleaming car through the picture window, I said to myself, "Self, yours looks like a million bucks. And you own it already." So I passed on test-driving the Cadillac.


Probably a smart move. If you had driven it then you'd be driving it now. grin2
_________________________
2010 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro: Castrol Edge 0w40
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#2735189 - 09/05/12 07:57 AM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Pop_Rivit Offline


Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 3260
Loc: Midwest
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
In the last year, among other things, I've had the water pump and A/C blower motor replaced; two tire patches; a refurbishment of the A/C controller panel; two oil changes, the most recent to Quaker State High Mileage. At a little more than 1000 miles on that fill, the level has moved very very little on the dipstick, suggesting the QS may help with my oil burning. The rear defogger: still out.



Combined with the oil consumption issues that sure sounds like a lot of problems for a 9 year old car with less than 100,000 miles on it.

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#2736142 - 09/06/12 11:23 AM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
My list of repairs sounds worse than it is. The "refurbishment" was simply having the lights replaced in the A/C dash panel box. Everything worked, and I could have let it slide, but I wanted the lights to work too. The oil burning had settled down to about a quart in 3000 miles, so it's not like I was popping a quart of oil in every week or two.

As for the tires, well, when you live in a city that's Third-World and proud of it, you shouldn't be surprised to pick up some debris now and then in your tires. Can't blame the car for that one!
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#2736247 - 09/06/12 01:19 PM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
dja4260 Offline


Registered: 05/16/11
Posts: 592
Loc: Chicago
My dad has an 01 Buick lesabre. 190k and still running. AC doesn't work and dash lights burned out but other then that its been decent. The trans does have a shudder to it at times. My sister now has it at college.
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#2830144 - 12/10/12 11:38 AM Re: Five year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
The big beast hit 100,000 miles on Thanksgiving Day. It's at 100,500 now; I'm taking it in for plugs and wires on Wednesday.
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#3106944 - 08/27/13 10:58 AM Re: Six year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Hola, damas y caballeros,

Today marks the sixth anniversary of my purchase of the Great Gray Beast. It's at 107,nnn miles today. In the last year I've had to do some maintenance, but very little in the way of repairs:

Tire patch
January and July oil changes, 10W-30 QS Defy and Wix filter
Replaced chrome grille with an inexpensive but well-made aftermarket part
Added perhaps two quarts of makeup oil
New spark plugs and wires (100K miles)
New illuminated door and instrument panel switches; the old lights had burned out, though the switches still worked
Trunk detailing due to a water leak
Air filter & PCV valve (I do those every 2 years)
And the big one, the A/C compressor and dryer. Can't be without A/C around here.

Things to do:
Repaint front bumper
Detail entire car
Lights in the OEM stereo
Either reupholster the front seats, or purchase sheepskins

One of the great bargains of my driving life, the big Buick remains smooth, quiet, and squeak- and rattle-free. As I've said here many times, I may be tempted by other, newer cars; but the infatuation doesn't last beyond a test drive or a little Internet research into the potential new car's reliability record and gas mileage stats, or the insane costs in this stupid state of insuring it.

"Nope, I think I'll stick with the Buick." (A new tagline for the new century, like 1967's "Wouldn't you really rather have a Buick?")
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#3107406 - 08/27/13 08:17 PM Re: Six year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
jimbrewer Offline


Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 661
Loc: New Mexico, USA
Thanks a lot for posting all this. Reading from top to bottom is really interesting. Wife's Mercury Marquis is giving out and there is not too much to replace it. I believe the Park Avenue must be the best highway car GM ever made. They are kind of elegant looking, but perhaps their excellent function clouds my vision.

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#3107410 - 08/27/13 08:18 PM Re: Six year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
jimbrewer Offline


Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 661
Loc: New Mexico, USA
Thanks a lot for posting all this. Reading from top to bottom is really interesting. Wife's Mercury Marquis is giving out and there is not too much to replace it. I believe the Park Avenue must be the best highway car GM ever made. They are kind of elegant looking, but perhaps their excellent function clouds my vision.

P.S. If you get the BMW 5 series it will make up for all your good luck with the Buick.

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#3107411 - 08/27/13 08:19 PM Re: Six year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
cchase Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 3960
Loc: New England
I had the good fortune to drive a friends Buick Le Sabre about 11 hours from Vermont to New York several times.

That car is firmly entrenched in my mind as the most comfortable long haul highway cruiser produced.

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#3107642 - 08/28/13 06:28 AM Re: Six year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: cchase]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: cchase
I had the good fortune to drive a friends Buick Le Sabre about 11 hours from Vermont to New York several times.

That car is firmly entrenched in my mind as the most comfortable long haul highway cruiser produced.

I see LeSabres all the time, and even a few Park Avenues. But around here most look tired and unkempt, like a long-haired cat whose family doesn't bother to groom him. Sure, I'd go for an '04 or '05 Ultra to replace this one -- but where are they? California and Florida?
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#3107643 - 08/28/13 06:32 AM Re: Six year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: jimbrewer]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: jimbrewer

P.S. If you get the BMW 5 series it will make up for all your good luck with the Buick.

That's what I'm trying to avoid. My '97 C-Class Mercedes was a fun car, but looking back over my records, I see I had to do some repair or maintenance, or have it done, almost every month I drove the car. This year with the PA, there were entire months where the only thing I needed to do was to put gas in it and check the oil and tires!
_________________________
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-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#3239515 - 01/06/14 02:28 PM Re: Six year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Benzadmiral Offline


Registered: 10/12/05
Posts: 3317
Loc: Da Swamp
And . . . the era of the Great Gray Beast has at last come to an end.

Last Friday I traded it in on a CPO 2011 Buick Regal, not the turbo or GS, in the same granite gray/cream color combo as the PA. Though I'm excited about the new car, I was sad to see the big one go. It had begun to have little-to-big problems, a rattling seat belt retractor ($500 at the dealer), the intermittent transmission jerk that I've written about before, no rear defroster, etc. One of these things alone I could have shrugged off, but the combination was daunting. And I guess I was ready for something newer.

For 6.5 years, from 44K to 110K miles, the big beast served without complaint, riding smoothly, being economical and simple to maintain, and keeping me cool and warm as needed. Only twice did it ever fail: once when the battery died (but it did that when I was arriving at work!), and when the engine overheated in July of 2012 (but it did that as I got home from work!). So those were hardly real failures. And until the advent of the Regal, there was hardly a car I test drove that I liked as much, and none I liked more. As people have said here many times, the 3800 V6 was one of GM's best engines, and the Park Avenue a GM hidden gem.

I wish I could have sold it to someone who'd appreciate its virtues. In fact I did test the waters by posting an ad at
a local mechanic whose customers would have probably been the perfect demographic for it. Alas, no nibbles; and so, the dealer tells me, the Park Avenue has gone off to the wholesaler. Here's hoping a BITOG-type with a discerning eye will scoop it up before it ends its useful life languishing unkempt on some gravel lot in the rain.

Pics? I'm sure the link from 2003 isn't working any more, so here are pics taken by the dealer when it first went on sale: http://s1239.photobucket.com/user/Benzadmiral/library/2003%20Buick%20Park%20Avenue Except for the cell phone antenna, the car looked exactly the same the day I traded it. (Two pics in that album are from cool GM ads; I couldn't resist putting those in.)

Farewell, big car. We shall not see your like again!
_________________________
* *
-- Paul W. (The Benzadmiral)
('11 Buick Regal CXL, charcoal/cream, 2.4L NA)
My Man from U.N.C.L.E. Blog: http://benzadmiral-uncle.blogspot.com/

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#3239700 - 01/06/14 05:24 PM Re: Six year review: 2003 Buick Park Avenue [Re: Benzadmiral]
Vikas Offline


Registered: 07/22/05
Posts: 7337
Loc: NorthEast
no rear defroster? won't you need a brick to fix that?

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