Ownership Verified: My 98 Buick Park Avenue Ultra

Punisher Bass

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I put well over 1300 miles on the Buick on the round trip to LeMons. Here are a few notes about the drive.

I LOVED driving through Indiana simply because the speed limit was 70 and it was almost all brand new smooth pavement. This is also where I took the car to 100mph, which it did with ease despite being weighed down with two tons of crap in the trunk and back seat. I normally would never do such a thing, but I had a wide open road, the theme from Back To The Future was playing, and I just couldn't help myself.

The Altimax HP's performed exceptionally well even in the mud and rain, they also held up as I was swerving in and out of traffic at 70mph keeping up with Serj in the LeSabre. He's a nutter behind the wheel and it took a serious effort to keep up. Not something I'd want to do again.

I didn't get nearly the fuel economy I was expecting, I averaged 26 or 27 on the way to Serj's. I guess the stickier tires and all the extra weight helped to bring the number down, I was thinking I'd get around 30 or more.

The roads in Ohio were hit and miss. Some had good pavement, some was brand new, other sections were in BAD need of replacement. And out by Serj's, they've closed down every other on/off ramp which made getting where you wanted to go a real nightmare for someone from out of town. It was a big pain in the ass.

The pavement outside the track was brand new, but once you turned in it turned to total shit. The pit area was mostly mud and the "roads" around them had more deep potholes than level surface. It gave the suspension on my Buick a real work out.

It was so bad I lost a wheel cover at some point, and I might need to pickup new rear springs and possibly another front strut mount. To say it was rough is an understatement.

The crappy roads didn't help while I was doing gas runs, "some" spilled out and left my car and all my stuff smelling like gas. I've had to wash all my clothes 3 times to get the smell out, and since it's been raining non stop since I got home I've had to deal with the oder every time I get into the car. When it stops pouring I intent to scrub the shit out of the trunk and then spray a shit load of febreeze in hopes that will take care of it.

I had to leave the track saturday night due to a family emergency, I drove 560 miles straight only stopping once for gas. My GPS said it would be about a 10 hour drive and I made it around 8. I kept it around 80-85 the whole time, there were many stretches where I wouldn't see another car on the road for 10 minutes or more. It made me start to think I was in a steven king book or something.
 

Punisher Bass

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I took the car to the shop today expecting to hear confirmation that I broke another strut mount, I was wrong. Turns out I bent the damn strut itself. It's real scary knowing that I drove all the way home with it like that. Thankfully Monroe offers a lifetime warranty on their struts, so I shouldn't be out of pocket, the problem is that I'm stuck at home till Tom can fit me in.
 

Hemihead

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It must have been one hell of a pothole you hit. :blink:
 

Hemily

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silly modern Buicks with their stiff suspension :p

mine would just have rocked a bit, and i'd have gotten seasick... but rather that than breaking the car! :lol:

joking aside...

sucks breaking parts :/
i got trouble with the light dimmer breaking all the time, so i'm stuck with no high beams... that and the stock engine being so silly it committed suicide...
at least you only got a strut... i have to swap an entire engine -_-
 

Punisher Bass

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It must have been one hell of a pothole you hit. :blink:
Some of the roads themselves were bad enough, but I'm 100% certain that it was the paddock area that did it. It was 10 times worse than anything I've ever seen, and that includes Michigan.
 

Matt2000

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The crappy roads didn't help while I was doing gas runs, "some" spilled out and left my car and all my stuff smelling like gas.
Mind expanding on that for me? Interested in how it managed to spill out, and what it spilt out of. Were you using an open container, Mythbusters style?
 

Clegko

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Mind expanding on that for me? Interested in how it managed to spill out, and what it spilt out of. Were you using an open container, Mythbusters style?
They were 5 (US) gallon gas tanks, but the "storage" lids didn't fit very well, and they had been brimmed.
 

Punisher Bass

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Yeah, that about sums it up.

Also, turns out I was right about my suspension, it was ANOTHER broken strut mount, the strut itself was fine. And thankfully it wasn't another all day affair to get the right part.
 

Punisher Bass

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Been a long time since the last update. I forgot to mention before LeMons I had a new steering rack put in because my old one was leaking... badly. I had a new Vistion unit put in and it comes with a 3 year warranty, which is a good thing because that unit began leaking as well and it had to be replaced a few weeks ago. I'm wondering if Quiky's curse has had more long lasting effects than I first thought. I'll probably have Tom give the car another once over before I head out to the LeMons at Summit Point in DC, but I'm not expecting any issues to come up.
 

Punisher Bass

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So for the last year and a half atleast, I've been dealing with a never ending series of strut mounts breaking on my passenger side. After this last one broke, I decided to stop throwing bandaids at this damn thing and pull out the big guns. This time I was armed with a new mount, new springs, a new strut, and new upper and lower spring isolator pads. I didn't know if the strut itself was damaged somehow, if the spring was fucked up, or if old worn pads could have been the cause of the problem this whole time. I wanted to have all my bases covered and not leave anything to chance. Thankfully I only ended up needing a few bits and everything else can be returned.

Once the passenger side strut was out and taken apart, it was apparent that there was a VAST difference between the springs on the car and the new ones. I had my springs and struts replaced a little over 3 years ago with springs I believe came from the dealer, you'd think official GM springs wouldn't cause any problems. Well the new Moog springs are made from a slightly thinner wire, but there's an extra coil in them, they also have a much more complete circle at each end of the spring making around 85% contact while the GM spring only contacts around 50% of the strut mount. I wish I had a picture to show just how different these springs are from each other. So the Moog spring went on along with the new upper isolator pad and fresh strut mount. On the drivers side the other Moog spring was installed along with a new bearing plate since the old one had warped a bit. As best Tom and I can figure, it was the design of the springs that have been the cause of this problem all along, since they didn't cover much of the mount, it would eventually cause it to warp out of shape and then fail.

I took it for a drive and you can obviously tell it has new springs, stiffer ride, less nose dive when you hit the brake. I really think that was the final nail in the coffin for this problem, because if it breaks again after this I'm just going to curl up in the corner and begin sobbing.
 
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EyeMWing

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Protip: OE partss are often inferior to even slightly uplevel aftermarket parts. OE parts are designed primarily for cost and to make you come back to the dealership for service. Uplevel aftermarket parts usually fix "problems" with OE style parts - things that cause premature wear, decreasesd performance, etc. - and the annoying thing is that they usually cost about the same as cars age and OE-branded parts disappear and are replaced by aftermarket OE-equivalent.
 

Wizegui

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Nice to know you might have finally isolated the issue. Kudos to you and Tom!
 

smokeyeager

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98 Buick Park Ave Ultra Palm Springs Edition
I have to agree with you that the Ultra is a sleeper. The L67 is a great motor, a lot of people don't realize it's the same beast that's in the Impala SS and the Monte Carlo SS.

Reading the story of the life of your car was pretty cool. We got a 98 Buick Park Ave Ultra Palm Beach Edition a few years back when my grandfather passed away. He used to drive it from Palm Beach all the way to Covington Kentucky 2 - 3 times a year so it has high mileage but mostly highway miles. It's a car we plan on keeping in the family for a while because it has great sentimental value. I'm attaching a pic for those curious as to what the Palm Beach Edition looks like. Essentially it's an Ultra with a cloth top to ward off heat, tinted windows, and a few extra badges.

 

EyeMWing

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I figure I should report that PB's Park Avenue made it through the entire weekend without being raped for spare parts.
 

Clegko

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Yeah, leave out the part about me fending you vultures off with a bat.
Oy! You are the one that posted, and I quote, "Any 3800 owners that show up to LeMons will be sharing any spare parts we may need."
 
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