Ownership Verified: My 98 Buick Park Avenue Ultra

Dsemaj

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I also wet sanded and polished the headlights. I didn't take any before pictures, but know what they look like on any older car that's been exposed to the elements for many years. Yellowish, rough, and just crappy looking. Well a little 2000 grit sandpaper and the proper compound has made them look almost like new.

After wet sanding.

http://pic.armedcats.net/a/an/anonymous/2008/08/09/BuickWash8.jpg

And after polishing.

http://pic.armedcats.net/a/an/anonymous/2008/08/09/BuickWash7.jpg

That's one of my pet peeves - yellowing and cloud headlights. You got 'em looking good! Well done with the rest of the car as well.
 

Punisher Bass

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That's one of my pet peeves - yellowing and cloud headlights. You got 'em looking good! Well done with the rest of the car as well.

Thanks. While they are not perfectly clear, they are much much better than they were. A few bucks for sand paper and compound beats the hell out of $150 a pop for new headlights. I should probably pick up some new bulbs though.

Also, if someone didn't see it in general, here is the the thread going over the painting I did.

http://forums.finalgear.com/general-automotive/painting-your-car-el-cheapo-style-29674/#post763515
 

Punisher Bass

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Sometime in the new few weeks it will be going into the shop to get the previously mentioned problems fixed and some TLC. In addition to the fluid flush and belt, I plan to get new rear shocks and possibly new springs put in. The rear end likes to bounce up and down a bit more than it should. I might be able to get away with keeping the current springs since they don't carry a huge load, but it's probably a good idea to do it anyway since they're 11 years old and have 126k miles on them. I also need a wheel alignment. And I'll need to get a new set of tires sometime down the line.

I'm also happy to report that my el cheapo paint job has held up very well since I did it a few months ago. It doesn't look any better, but it's stopped the damage from spreading. We shall see how it holds up to the winter months, but I have high hopes.
 

Mischief007

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You want to do my headlights? Clear is coming off the headlights and it is looking like crap.
 

Punisher Bass

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Headlights don't have clear coat. The plastic oxidizes (I believe) after a while and that's why they turn nasty and cracked. This is why you need the sandpaper to take off the damaged material to expose fresh plastic, and then you use a compound to bring the shine back. Mine would probably look better if I had a small buff pad to use on a drill.
 

Mischief007

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Cool.
 

Punisher Bass

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I took it into the shop yesterday, but since Tom is currently working there alone, only a few things were done. The fluid changes were done but the belt will have to wait.

As for the suspension, I'll just be getting new shocks in the rear, the springs are fine. I have these air over oil type shocks and after all this time the oil has leaked out and I've been riding on just air. It's not a big or expensive deal. On the front of the car, the passenger side front strut mount has broken. If you look back several pages you'll see a mention of the driver's side mount breaking and being replaced, it's the same deal here. I'm guess it was just a bad batch that was put on my car. But thankfully the mount is still covered under warranty so I will not be charged for it.
 

Hemily

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reading the thread, i'm amazed to how much trouble ya run into with a car that new, i've had less problems... err.. okay.. maybe not :p
my Buick had the marvelous 4.9 V8, that dies if you get high RPM, doh!
it keeled over in a cloud of smoke, the poor V8 got way to hot, had a lot of trouble with the cooling -_-

Great to see i ain't the only buick guy on the forum though, even if yours is the wrong wheel drive kind :p
i am jealous of all those fancy gadgets yours got, only fancy about mine, is electrical adjustment for the drivers seat and power windows...
 

Punisher Bass

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reading the thread, i'm amazed to how much trouble ya run into with a car that new, i've had less problems... err.. okay.. maybe not :p
my Buick had the marvelous 4.9 V8, that dies if you get high RPM, doh!
it keeled over in a cloud of smoke, the poor V8 got way to hot, had a lot of trouble with the cooling -_-

Great to see i ain't the only buick guy on the forum though, even if yours is the wrong wheel drive kind :p
i am jealous of all those fancy gadgets yours got, only fancy about mine, is electrical adjustment for the drivers seat and power windows...

It didn't have any trouble till it hit 100k on the clock. And even then, everything I've had fixed on it is because it annoyed me, nothing was a "if you don't fix this now the car will blow up or never run again" repair. It's really been the most reliable car my family has ever owned, it will keep on running no matter what is wrong with it. Plus I will never part with the car so I see these expenses as worth it.

Anyway, yeah Buick owners are few and far between around here. Young Buick owners are even rarer, and I'm shocked to see someone from Norway with a trishield in their car. But don't blame Buick for that engine, it was really a Pontiac.
 

Punisher Bass

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The second batch of repairs is set to happen middle of next week, but something new happened tuesday that I didn't plan for...

I had just pulled onto the highway and got to normal cruising speed (65mph legal limit, 75mph is what everyone really drives though) and I see there's a big dump truck one car ahead of me. Since I tend to have rotten luck, I decide it's a good idea to change lanes and get past the truck before anything comes flying out of it. I move to the middle lane and I'm about half way matched up with the car behind the truck when sure as shit, the truck hits a bump and both of our cars are sprayed with a nice helping of chat (little driveway rocks). It chips and scrapes up the paint on my hood and does a number on my windshield putting a couple dozen chips in the glass all over. :(

The truck has no company logo on it, no phone number, and I wasn't able to remember the license plate nor did I have anything to write it down on. I also feared hanging back and letting my precious take another shot to the face. This was right before my exit so I pull off and go home and call my insurance company. Thankfully there won't be a deductible to pay, but this claim might jack up my rates, so right now my insurance agent is in a holding pattern till she finds out if this will indeed raise my rates or not.

I took the car to a reputable local body shop just to touch base with them. I have to take the car back tomorrow to get a full written estimate, but the guy I talked to guessed it would be over $1,000 to repaint the hood and replace the glass. :|

My biggest concern is the windshield, sooner or later those chips will turn into cracks and that is not a good thing.

Hopefully I'll be able to get this repaired without taking it up the tailpipe one way or the other.
 

NooDle

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^my dad had a similar experience years ago, when a van driving infront of him had a big rock break the front windscreen. The drive could barely see anything with all the cracks, so the passenger kicked out the windscreen (!!), which went on top of the roof, broke into a thousand million pieces of glass, all of which hit my dad's BRAND NEW (he was driving it home from picking it up) Audi 100.

So he got home, immediately called the insurance dudes, and they did pay for everything, including a new windscreen (since it was chipped to hell) and a total respray.
 

Hemily

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dang, too bad yer over in americaland, i'd happily spray the hood of another buick, for much less than what that place wanted, and windshields ain't expensive here, i got a brand new windshield for a Bronco, for $71, for my buick it's $214, brand spankin' new.
Hoods are expensive to paint though, full price would be maybe $858.
But i work at a paintshop, i could have got ya a real good price on it if ya were closer :p maybe around $250 for painting the hood.

hope ya can get it fixed soon then, without costing an arm and a leg.
 

IMADreamer

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Nice car, I didn't know any Buicks came with an SC. That's an Eaton M90 right?
 

Punisher Bass

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Thanks, and yeah it's a third gen. The later Series III version of my engine came with a 5th gen making about 20 more hp. Go back a couple pages and you'll find a link to the thread I made about rebuilding the snout a year ago.

Buick is no stranger to forced induction. Back in the 80's they had the GN, Regal T-Type, and the all mighty GNX. All cars were powered by a turbo 3.8 V6 (the grandfather of the 3800 in my car) making anywhere from 200 to over 300hp. The 87 GNX was faster than the corvette of that same era, it went 0-60 in about 5.4 seconds.

Anyway, the 3800 generations of the 3.8 in both NA and SC form have powered many cars from Buick, Olds, Chevy, and Pontiac. It was a damn shame to see it go after being in production for over 40 years.
 

Blayde

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PunisherBass, that wetsanding you did, is it a cheap-ish job? My Xtrail has very yellowish and cloudy headlights and i always thought that happened from the inside, but i have learned otherwise :p

After nearly 7 years they are really cloudy and i'm sure i'm losing some light with that.
 

Punisher Bass

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Yes it was very cheap. All you need is a bottle of the right compound a package of 2000-3000 grit sand paper. I probably spent less than $10 for both, go to a local auto parts store (if you can) and tell them what you're looking for and they should have it.
 

Punisher Bass

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Well the belt and strut mount were replaced, but the rear shocks were not. Tom was able to find a kit for $250 and had it there when I walked in, but it could not be installed. It turns out GM no longer makes direct replacement shocks for my car even though they still were making the damn thing in 2005. What they do now is make one single universal kit that is meant to be used in like 8 different cars that had the same rear setup, it's different for each application but basically it's a good bit of cutting, drilling, trimming, fitting, and relocating of various things to get the new shocks to work right. I'd be looking at atleast 2 or 3 hours of labor just to get it done, so I passed.

So I don't have many options.

I can get the exact same kit at a local store for $150 (Tom found this out after making some calls) and spend another couple hundred on making it fit.

I can buy a conversion kit that eliminates the air shocks for $300 plus several hours of labor to make that one fit.

I can look around junkyards and maybe come up with a set of low mile shocks, but I give this a snowballs chance in hell of happening.

I can just stick with my old worn our shocks.

I can't really do anything else other than the last option, at this point it's just not sane to spend that kind of money to replace the rear shocks. So I'm stuck as is.

I also got the hood fixed up and the glass replaced, both look fine but the new glass has that blue tinting along the top while the old stuff was totally clear, it's going to drive me insane till I get used to it.
 

Nabster

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Look on Rock Auto at the Monroe shocks. First items under the suspension>shock absorber section for your car. Assuming that's what you're looking to replace those should be good for you, and cheap.

When I changed out all the struts/springs on my Grand Prix earlier this year I used Monroe quick struts and they're quite nice. Perfect fit and came fully assembled, rides much better now.
 

Punisher Bass

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RockAuto was one of the first places I tried. There is basically zero aftermarket support for my car, the only parts that could be found were not correct for my setup, they all exclude my setup.
 

Punisher Bass

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If I didn't have bad luck...

That strut mount I had replaced has broken AGAIN. It was fine for the last few weeks and then while I was driving to my grandma's on Christmas Eve, the noise came back with a vengeance. I forgot to call my mechanic monday so I'll have to today, but he probably won't be able to get me till after the new year. Cheap piece of shit chinese parts. :(
 
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