Ownership Verified: My 98 Buick Park Avenue Ultra

Update time.

Getting the steering rack is proving to be harder than I thought it would be. Tom's been working solo for the past year after the one other guy who worked there fell off the alignment rack and tore his rotator cuff and Tom's looking to retire soon himself. And then in April he fell off his roof, tore his rotator cuff as well along with cracking his skull. He was out for 9 weeks. His arm isn't 100% yet so I asked around at a few other shops he trusts and they won't install the rack that I have. I understand why they don't want to touch parts I brought in, it just sucks, I can't afford to pay for a second rack through them you know.

So I'll be checking in with Tom periodically to see how he's doing and if he's up for the job, I've also offered to assist with the install however I can if need be. Hopefully this will all work out.
You'd think it would be easy to find someone that will fit a steering rack to a G-body.
It's not that they can't do the job, it's that they won't do it if I provide the part myself. And I understand why they won't, if only because they can't warranty the part if something goes wrong. I'm sure any shop could do it but it would cost me exponentially more. I've been sitting on this rack for I think 3 years now, and I bought it because there was no core charge attached to it. Everytime I had money set aside to get it put in something else more pressing came along and eat up the funds.

I need to get it ready for a road trip and frankly I'm sick of having to pop the hood to top off the pump reservoir. It's hidden just under the alternator and it's not just a pain in the ass to get to with my hands but also dangerous because it's surrounded by really hot shit everywhere. I keep a small towel in my trunk so I can wrap it around my hand and arm which buys me a few seconds to wedge my hand in there and get the cap off/on before I get burned.
Update time!

The steering rack is still sitting in its box untouched since Tom has since retired. Because I put off the wheel alignment for so long I was getting uneven tire wear which evolved into a wobble in the wheel which just got progressively worse and worse. It had also started hesitating a little bit when I first put it into gear, like I was rolling over a small speedbump which made me wonder if the wobble had caused damage to the wheel hub or CV joint or something else. So I took it to a new shop Tom told me about but it took 2 weeks of waiting before they had an opening to get me in.

There was more wrong that I suspected but it wasn't as bad as I feared. The front passenger strut had been leaking for a long time, I have a broken swaybar link on the driver's side, and the wire leading from the wheelhub for ABS and TC had been knocked loose and damaged. The strut had to be replaced because there was no point in aligning it, I'm going to do the swaybar link myself, and the wheelhub is totally fine except for the wire. I can live without ABS and TC.

The tire on the passenger side was BAD, like really really BAD. I knew it was worn and needed to be replaced but I didn't know that it had the cords showing throw on the inner side. The guy there said "If you just put a new tire on this and do nothing else, this car will drive 100% better". I told them to go ahead and do the strut because I still lack the gear to do something like that in my driveway, and while they waited for the part to arrive I went to the local tire shop to get some new rubber.

For the strut, tire, and alignment it was almost $700 but it could have been so much worse. I did the rear air shocks back in 2009 but it's time to do them again. After getting fucked I don't know how many times on the strut mount, the strut leaking, and now the air shocks, I have lost ALL faith in Monroe as a brand. So this time I'm going to try KYB and do them myself in the driveway.

I also had a headlight go out last night so I gotta fix that. These are the joys of driving an old car.
Small update.

I fixed the headlight, wasn't sure if it was just a dead bulb or an electrical gremlin, but thankfully it was the former.

I'm not 100% on what I'm going to do with the air shocks though. Instead of replacing the shocks I could install an air shock eliminator conversion kit which would theoretically mean I'd never have to worry about the air compressor again. However the kit would be more expensive, a much bigger pain in the ass to install, and the reliability of the kits is highly suspect. Most kits out there are from no name brands, the most well known is Monroe and they can go suck a bag of dicks.

The kit would require yanking the rear seat out to get to the fuse that controls the air compressor and I do not want to deal with that shit.

If I just replace the air shocks I'll be getting some new air hoses on the off chance that they're leaking as well, as they are the OEM ones. I also need to replace the little gas shocks that hold the hood in place when you open it up, they're just old and worn out. Thankfully they're cheap and should be pretty easy to install.