1997 Buick LeSabre Limited

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Well, I just put a deposit on a car.

It's a 1997 Buick LeSabre Limited, 128k miles with just about every available option. It was owned by one elderly gentleman previously, who kept extensive maintainance records on it since it was new. So I think I'm getting a pretty good deal here.

I can tell this car has been well kept, it hasn't even been detailed yet and the interior is very clean:

http://img244.imageshack.us/img244/7229/hpim1042kj6.th.jpg (http://img244.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1042kj6.jpg)
http://img244.imageshack.us/img244/9986/hpim1043dr8.th.jpg (http://img244.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1043dr8.jpg)
http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/7762/hpim1044ak0.th.jpg (http://img405.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1044ak0.jpg)
http://img319.imageshack.us/img319/9880/hpim1045ll1.th.jpg (http://img319.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1045ll1.jpg)
http://img244.imageshack.us/img244/7631/hpim1046gz5.th.jpg (http://img244.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1046gz5.jpg)
http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/1712/hpim1047zt9.th.jpg (http://img405.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1047zt9.jpg)
http://img319.imageshack.us/img319/5117/hpim1048jk9.th.jpg (http://img319.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1048jk9.jpg)
http://img244.imageshack.us/img244/2946/hpim1049qe6.th.jpg (http://img244.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1049qe6.jpg)

I am getting it inspected by a qualified mechanic and I will be able to drive it home when I pay for it in full near the end of August.

Anyway, I do have a few questions.

What kind of problems are common to this car? I've heard about the intake plenum problems, but has a recall been issued for those? If not, there should have been. And, can this problem be avoided by not driving long distances or too harshly? I hear that the failure of the upper and lower intake manifold is caused by heat from the EGR, but if it's simply an around town car, it would not be exposed to this level of heat for long...at least that's my thinking. It has the 3800 Series II engine, as can be seen in one of the pictures above.

Just kind of looking for opinions, they would be greatly appreciated. How reliable and solid of a car it is, etc. My trusted mechanic said he felt that Buick was the most reliable of American car brands, so I feel pretty good about my decision.

Thanks again.
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posted by  hondaman

My dad has one, and like any car as long as its taken care of, it will be fine.
Buicks with the 3800 are especially reliable (in my expirence anyways). I agree with your mechanic about Buick. My dad has a '96 regal with a 3800 and it has 191,000, and still has life in it.
His friend is a Buick fan, and his has over 300,000 on his Park Avenue without major repairs.

As far as the intake problem I wouldnt worry too much about it. Just DO NOT overheat the engine and you will be A-ok. 1 other flaw is when the alternator goes out, do not drive the car (low voltage). This burns out the fuel pump in the fuel tank and thus means a costly repair bill, because the fuel tank needs to be removed to get to the pump.

It looks like a very nice car, and it should last you a long while. How much did you pay for it?

posted by  Pinstriper38

Thank you sir, it is a shame I have not been here since I wrote the above post.

I got it inspected, and everything save for a few routine maintainance issues are completely fine, the old guy took really good care of it.

The car is worth about $6500 or so, but I talked them down to $6000 out-the-door price. I finally paid it off on Friday, and I've been having much fun in it since then.

Anyway, I have loads of pictures to share now that it's actually mine.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/2145/hpim1068xd7.th.jpg (http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1068xd7.jpg)
Exterior front view.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/3476/hpim1070we3.th.jpg (http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1070we3.jpg)
Exterior rear view.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/6041/hpim1072os4.th.jpg (http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1072os4.jpg)
LeSabre Limited badge.

http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/3975/hpim1073db9.th.jpg (http://img109.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1073db9.jpg)
Buick emblem.

http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/184/hpim1074ba2.th.jpg (http://img109.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1074ba2.jpg)
Buick nameplate on the rear bumper.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/6538/hpim1075sk4.th.jpg (http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1075sk4.jpg)
Driver's area.

http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/3928/hpim1079zn0.th.jpg (http://img170.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1079zn0.jpg)
Front seating area.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/598/hpim1078hr9.th.jpg (http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1078hr9.jpg)
Rear seating area.
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posted by  hondaman

More pics (they wouldn't all fit in the above post)
http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/9914/hpim1080rr9.th.jpg[/IMG] (http://img170.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1080rr9.jpg)
16" alloy wheels.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/47/hpim1081bd4.th.jpg (http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1081bd4.jpg)
Another front shot.

http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/5117/hpim1083zo8.th.jpg (http://img170.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1083zo8.jpg)
View of the front from the back.

http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/6524/hpim1084co5.th.jpg (http://img109.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1084co5.jpg)
And a view of the back from the front.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/8896/hpim1087sn4.th.jpg (http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1087sn4.jpg)
Passenger's side door panel, showing the dual climate controls.

http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/1028/hpim1094aa1.th.jpg (http://img170.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1094aa1.jpg)
View of the command seat from the passenger's side rearview mirror.

http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/2863/hpim1095qn2.th.jpg (http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1095qn2.jpg)
All of the trim pieces on this car that look like chrome, actually [i]are chrome, rather than painted plastic. Including the door handles.

http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/3132/hpim1096kf0.th.jpg (http://img170.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1096kf0.jpg)
The original window sticker, showing an MSRP of $28,016.
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posted by  hondaman

And lastly, even more pics.
http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/2698/hpim1085mh0.th.jpg (http://img109.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1085mh0.jpg)
Me standing beside the car, looking somewhat pissed because I didn't know if the camera was working or not.

My proof shots, if anyone doesn't believe this car is mine lol:
http://img149.imageshack.us/img149/7666/hpim1088dd3.th.jpg (http://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1088dd3.jpg)
http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/8161/hpim1089pm0.th.jpg (http://img109.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1089pm0.jpg)
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posted by  hondaman

Hahahaha the 70's called they want their hair back! lol. It looks good man, not a fan of the wheels tho..

posted by  99integra

Haha yeah, sadly I'd gotten a hair cut that morning, so it was even bigger then...

The wheels aren't the best looking, but 5 spoke sport wheels really wouldn't look right on a car like that...

I'm just glad they're alloys and not some cheap wheel cover. :)
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posted by  hondaman

looks nice, I drive something with a very similiar feel :laughing:

http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h295/andrewsamms/Picture006.jpg
my bad big pic

posted by  nighthawk

Looks really nice...not my cup of tea, but enjoy. What happend to the honda?

posted by  newyorker

I don't typically care for Buicks, but I can apprciate any car about 10 or more years old that's in nice shape, plus, I must admit Buicks ride pretty dang well. But what's with the lopsided mileage?

posted by  jedimario

Ah, the Century. Does it have the 2.8 or the 3.1?


Thanks, and it's certainly not everyone's. Granny cars are fun though, in their own unique way.

I lost control of it, it went off the road and was totaled. This happened on July 4.


Yeah, the ride is excellent. Bumps and uneven surfaces are nothing to this car.

Lopsided mileage? What do you mean, sir?
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posted by  hondaman

3.1 - I dont know much to say about it, its the only car ive ever driven more than once or twice

posted by  nighthawk

How fast were u going that it lost control

posted by  newyorker

Only about 50 mph, but that was all it took under those conditions.
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posted by  hondaman

Sorry to hear...as long as youre still alive, its worth more than any car

posted by  newyorker

Thank you sir, and I was lucky. I missed a couple of trees on my way off the pavement.

Although now, I find that my check engine light is on. I cannot for the life of my understand why. It doesn't drive oddly, make strange noises or smells, voltage, temperature, and oil pressure are all fine. I checked my owner's manual and it told me that if the light is on solid, which it is, then it is a problem with the "emissions control system". I need this car, so I figure it's safe until tomorrow afternoon. It has no trouble starting either...other than that damn light I can't tell that there is anything wrong with it. The service department, my father, and I reached the conclusion that it was quite possibly a failed sensor somewhere along the line.
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posted by  hondaman

Ok some updates...

I have changed the spark plugs and wires after retrieving a P0305 - Cylinder 5 misfire at Autozone. Then, noticing some abysmally low mileages (15 mpg) I went back to Autozone and got a replacement fuel filter. Just now, I achieved 22.5 mpg so my repair obviously worked very well. I expect even better mileage next time because I spilled a little gas while changing the filter and I also ran 30 miles on that tank with the bad filter.

I also have a video in memory of my old Accord that I will be posting somewhere at some point.
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posted by  hondaman

Sorry for the double post, but...

I now have videos to share.

First, the video for my old Accord: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZF5-e2S5sg

And the one for my LeSabre:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxV_Yd71-LI

Basically they are bunches of clips with some pictures, set to music. They turned out well, in my humble opinion. The second half of the LeSabre video turned out very well, I think.
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posted by  hondaman

why did the accord have handicapped plates?

BTW it didnt look that bad except for the rear axle

posted by  newyorker

My dad had a stroke in the spring of 2005. We got handicapped plates so that I can take him places and he can get around easily.

And yeah, the rear axle is what killed it...suspension damage was pretty bad.

My first, and only visual mod:

I have recently installed a chrome exhaust tip. It hints at the performance exhaust system that I am planning to install someday:

Before:
http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/8546/exhaust1jp8.th.jpg (http://img155.imageshack.us/my.php?image=exhaust1jp8.jpg)

After:
http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/2828/hpim1319xt8.th.jpg (http://img254.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1319xt8.jpg)
http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/6595/hpim1320mm3.th.jpg (http://img254.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1320mm3.jpg)
http://img106.imageshack.us/img106/3885/hpim1321ru2.th.jpg (http://img106.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1321ru2.jpg)
http://img507.imageshack.us/img507/1533/hpim1322am1.th.jpg (http://img507.imageshack.us/my.php?image=hpim1322am1.jpg)
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posted by  hondaman

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