Ownership Verified: My 98 Buick Park Avenue Ultra

Punisher Bass

He who drives a Buick
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98 Buick Park Avenue Ultra
Well, the mighty Buick is about to get another repair. A few months ago I started noticing a few spots on my driveway and then bigger spots in my garage, I was worried it had started leaking oil. After a trip to Tom, he confirmed that it looks like my oil pan gasket is shot and I need a new one. Thankfully it's not a horribly expensive part nor is it a tricky job to do.

I've heard stories about changing the gasket on an older Northstar and it's a 12+ hour job because you have to unbolt the exhaust system as well as a slew of other crap just to get to it. That isn't, or shouldn't be the case here.

The reason I haven't had it fixed yet is because I was only 1,500 miles into my current oil change, and if I don't get atleast 3,000 out of it then I'll feel like it was a waste, plus I use fully synthetic and that isn't cheap. I've had a case of fresh oil and a new gasket sitting in my trunk since the start of the year.

So I've been keeping an eye on the oil level and topping it off as need be as I march to the magic number. When the time comes, fellow forum member TheDGuy will be lending me a hand and equipment since I lack ramps, a floor jack, or jack stands.
 

Punisher Bass

He who drives a Buick
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98 Buick Park Avenue Ultra
The new oil pan gasket is finally on. Tom was gracious enough to let me use a lift at his shop to do the job since fate has kept TheDGuy and I from meeting face to face. It took 4 hours to get the job done (much longer than I thought it would) but atleast it's done and it's another feather in my cap. It's a good thing I did it at the shop because I needed to use a socket extension and torque wrench, neither of which I own.

However the job was not without a snag or two, once again the instructions and reality were two different things. This time I was armed with offical GM instructions atleast. Once you unbolt the pan, it should just drop off letting you unscrew the sump so you can then drop down the gasket. Well whoever worked down there last used a "Fuck ton" (Tom's words) of RTV and the gasket had totally sealed itself to the pan and block.

It took 2 prybars to get it loose, and then I had to break the gasket so it would get past the sump. With a hammer, chisil, and razor blade, I was able to remove the gasket from the pan with no damage. A trip to the fiber wheel took care of the remaining RTV.

The other problem was that the lift went less than 6 feet off the ground and I'm 6'6, so I spent the whole time in a position like I'm cowering from god almost.

Tom once again proved how cool of a guy he is by not only letting me use a lift, but doing it free of charge. Or atleast considering a case of beer payment enough.
 

prizrak

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I wish my car had a HUD :'(

Last summer that tape got wedged in there (no idea what the tape is of) and I've been unable to get it out. Pressing the eject button just causes a grinding noise of sorts and then "err" shows up.
I had a similar issue on my parents old Century (same year as yours btw). All you have to do is hit the eject and use something thin to push the tape up a little bit. It should eject the tape that way.
 
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vegasrebel29

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I've heard stories about changing the gasket on an older Northstar and it's a 12+ hour job because you have to unbolt the exhaust system as well as a slew of other crap just to get to it. That isn't, or shouldn't be the case here.

Just about every job on the Northstar is a 12 hour job.
It is without question a great engine - until it requires maintenance.
:cry:
 

argatoga

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Just about every job on the Northstar is a 12 hour job.
It is without question a great engine - until it requires maintenance.
:cry:

Bah just swap it for a SBC, with all the time you have saved you can convert the car into RWD (as God intended it).
 

Punisher Bass

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98 Buick Park Avenue Ultra
I just put new front rotors on. The current set is less than a year and a half old, but at some point recently they had become slightly warped. Because of this, there was a nasty shake that went through the wheel if you braked around 60mph and up.

O'Reilly's had two kinds of rotors in stock, $26 each or $68 each. I went with the cheaper pair. I opted not to grab new pads because I was sure these still had plenty of life in them and I was right, there's about a quarter inch of material left.

The job was a little harder than when I did it on our Ford Taurus, thanks to my own stupidity, but once I found the right sized socket everything went smoothly. Tom was once again kind enough to help out by lending me a breaker bar and torx head (I think that's the name) to take home and use, thing is that he didn't know it's a standard 15mm bolt.

I took it for a short test drive and all seems fine, but I'll take it out to the highway in a little bit so I can test that 60mph braking and make sure everything is good.

http://pic.armedcats.net/p/pu/punisherbass/2008/04/22/Brakes1.jpg

http://pic.armedcats.net/p/pu/punisherbass/2008/04/23/Brakes2.jpg

http://pic.armedcats.net/p/pu/punisherbass/2008/04/23/Brakes3.jpg

http://pic.armedcats.net/p/pu/punisherbass/2008/04/23/Brakes4.jpg

http://pic.armedcats.net/p/pu/punisherbass/2008/04/23/Brakes5.jpg
 

Punisher Bass

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No, if your current pads have a lot of material left on them (like mine do) then you're just throwing money away. If they were down to 20% or so, then it'd be smart to put new ones in.
 

Night_Hawk

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Thanks for posting that... seriously

I have a bit of an unsettling vibration during higher speed braking that I was never sure about myself. Now I know what it is
 

Punisher Bass

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No problem. My sister's Cavalier had the same problem only to a much worse degree. With her it was cuased by WAY too much heavy braking, like tailgating people at 85mph and then slamming on the brakes constantly. It can also happen if the brakes are hot and then suddenly hit a mud puddle or something, the thermal shock can cause them to warp.

You don't always have to get the rotors replaced, sometimes you can just get them resurfaced. But that's not always the best solution. While it might save a bit of money, new rotors are cheap enough that it makes sense to just go ahead and replace them. And secondly, the resurfacing removes a bit of material from the rotor which causes them not to disipate the heat as well.
 

LeVeL

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It has a Series II 3800 with a supercharger pumping out 240 hp and 280 ft?lbf of torque, along with GT Sport Suspension it's enough to handle any Mustang or Camaro at the stoplight.

:hmm: MAYBE if its a V6 mustang/camaro...
 

Punisher Bass

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:hmm: MAYBE if its a V6 mustang/camaro...

You obviously do not know the history of the 3.8. Check with Pontiac GTP owners and they will tell you the same, the engine has it where it counts.
 

argatoga

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You obviously do not know the history of the 3.8. Check with Pontiac GTP owners and they will tell you the same, the engine has it where it counts.

Too bad you can't say that for the rest of the drive train. I really wish Buick kept things RWD.

A stock Mustang GT is not really all that fast, or powerful.

So true :(. Thank god for forced induction, and invincible engines.
 

Punisher Bass

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Buick has been almost all FWD since the 80's. The last RWD Buick made in the US was the Roadmaster, and that wasn't much more than a Caprice with a few styling changes.
 

prizrak

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Buick has been almost all FWD since the 80's. The last RWD Buick made in the US was the Roadmaster, and that wasn't much more than a Caprice with a few styling changes.

Roadmaster was awesome, only way to stop one once it got going is to crash it into something :)

P.S. Have you tried my idea for getting the tape out?
 

Crazyjeeper

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Though not supercar territory, ~5 second 0-60mph is noticeably quick if you ask me.

Are you refering to the 05+ or the older SN95 and new edge? The 04 and older only had 260hp and did 0-60 in about 5.7 seconds, or about the same as a regular WRX.
 

argatoga

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99-2004 had 260hp, 96-99 had around 210hp. My '97 can do the 0-60 in just under 6 seconds according to Car and Driver, not super fast but respectable.

The last good Buick in my opinion was The Roadmaster. There is no point in giving a car a 200000 hp engine, when it is FWD.
 
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