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Hi, I'm Reverend Brian K. Prince ( this isn't religious, don't worry ). I'm a 21 year old interfaith minister in Ohio -- and I need MAJOR help -- I think.

I just bought a 1983 Buick Lesabre Limited edition for 500$. . . knowing full well that there would be problems, and maintenance needed, but. . . not quite know what exactly that was.

My questions are these:

The vehicle has 170,000 miles on it. . .

what general maintenance do I need to perform . . . that the previous owner may have neglected to do?

from the air filter, there is a black tube. . . and a huge empty space. . . the black tube SHOULD be connected to another tube, that leads to a little connection at the front of the car -- it's sort of a square-ish tube, about 4" wide, 2" tall. . . anybody know what this is called, or, where I should look to get one?

on the left side of the car. . . near the engine ( i'm hesitant to say that it IS the engine, because I know allmost nothing about cars ) there is a set of. . . what looks like 3 or 4 black rubber tubes. . . they all connect to something, except one. This one, has a metal tube attached, that was broken off of something -- the car still runs -- is this diar, or. . . can I wait a month or so to get it fixed?

the speedometor doesn't work -- any suggestions on how to fix that?

the right windshield wiper doesn't work. . . it won't move at all. . . but the left one is fine -- I figured it's probably something electrical -- am I right?

and, last but not least ( this is where I sound like a total idiot )

the fluids. . .

What goes in the hole on the radiator,
and what goes in the jug labled "engine coolant"

thanks so much!!!! :banghead:

posted by  bkprince

Have you introduced yourself in the apropriate place might help attract sme attention.

Well its difficult to determine what your tubes and pripes are without being there.

Best surgestion is to go buy a haynes manual, costs about 15 mins of a mechanics time ($20) and will save you hundreds.

Do you have any paperwork with the car telling you when it was last serviced? if it was more than 10,000 miles ago then probibly needs a intermidiate service atleast. The specific's of the work will be in the haynes is there is anything more major that neds doing i would surgest that as a novice you use a mechanic. But we can help get you started.

Most of an intermidate service is just checking things.

So the first thing to do is to get to know your car.
Walk around it and can you see anything obviously wrong,
tyre tread (should be more than ~1.6mm [this is only a guide because im in the uk])
Are the tyres perished are there any stones or debris stuck in the tread, just pick them out this a screwdriver, and becareful not to stab the tyre with it.

(tyre is brit for tire by the way)

have a look on the floor for any fluid leaks, oil spots, there first indications of a problem, there are a number of fluids in your car, as you mentioned coolant is just one of them.

brake fluid (this is sometimes shared with the power steering)
hydralic fluid (more likly going to be power steering)
oil - engine
oil - gearbox
freeon (a compressed gas for your air conditiong)

there can be others depending on your car and i am not to aufet with servicing auto boxes so i am sure one of the other guys will help you out.

now open the doors and check that they move cleanly and no sqeeks or rattles, greese the hindges and restrainer on all the doors and the boot (trunk) same with the seat runners.

look at the wiper blaced to make sure they arnt split as if they are then you will wish you has changed them the day it rained.

now sit in the drivers seat and start pressing buttons, where ever you like but i surgest you work in a logical order or you will miss something. so turn the headlights on get our and look to make sure that both the bulbs work and that one isnt pointing up in the air or some other unusaul direction.

do the same for all the knobs and switches, as we know the wiper doesnt work then no need to do that dont forget the windows. when checking the lights make sure that the plate ilumnating light works. All the things you cant se when your driving. If there are probelms then refer to your manual and you will be able to first change the bulb and change the fuse as 95% of the time its relateed to one or the other.

When going through get your manual out and make sure that the lights onthe dash respond to your actions, ie headlights are on then the headlight indicator on the dash comes on etc.

Next thing, not sure if its discs all round or just on the front, but jack the car up, refer to your manual to tell you how to do this and suport it safely and take the wheels off.

on the front you will have disc brakes these work
this site is realy good at giving basic explanations of the principals.

on the rear you will probibly have drum brakes

All you need to do to start with is look and measure. With the disc brakes then look at the abrasive materal tht comes in contact with the disc. If there is a fair amount there 3-4mm+ then they will most likely last until the next service when they will need to be changed, it all depends how you drive.

same on the drum brakes, there will be 2 may be 3 or 4 retaining bolts/screws. Let the handbrake off and undo the bolts, obviously after taking the wheels off, and twist the drum round to help get it off you might need to persuade it with a hammer depending on how coroded they are. make sure you wear safty gogles and a dust mast as they may contain aspestos dust.

Then just look to see if there is 2-3mm on the shoes (see brake weblink). when looking at them try not to touch the abrasive material with your fingers

Once you have done all this then its time to lift the bonnet (hood) and have a look at some of your problems.

while you hav the drums off just scoop out any dust, give them a tap on the back of the drum this will help free it up. it would be an idea to have something under neath them or sweep the dust straigh up as its a pain to try and get off your drive if it gets wet.

put it all back together again.

lift the bonnet(hood) and lets start with your wipers, we know that they electrically work becuase one is moving and there is normally only one motor. There is a linking rod that runs between either the motor and the wiper or between the wipers. You might have to remove a plastic shield or sound insualtion to get at the wiper rods and motor. the manual will tell you how. then its just a matter of conecting the rods back up as the most liley have just parted company. If the rod is damaged, then go to your local scrapyard and you should be able to find a one for a $1 or so. If the coupling is damaged or nuts/bolts then buy new ones as other wise you will just be doing the same job again 6 months down the track. May sure that you line the stroke up with the position of the wiper or they will hit each other start wiping thin air or other helarity

Next problem. Does the odometor still increase the number of miles you ahve traveld. If it doesnt then its just a cable, simple but fidley on most cars. You should get a cable for $25 from your local motor factor, but you might have to go to a GM dealer depening on how comman they are to break. I would expect that its an order only part so go in a few days before you intend to change it and make sure there instock/ on order.

The easy end to find is on the gearbox, (i think there front wheel drive) there will be a number of tubs and cables coming out the gear box and the other guys are best to advise you what does what as autos arnt my thing. but near where the 2 shafts come out there will be a cable, easy to tell its a cable because it will be screwed in by a collor, most fluid pipes have jubilee clips.

posted by  cinqyg

you will need to take the dash board off, then uncrew the instrment pannel, there will be a seal on the face of it dont remove this part just take the thing whole sale off the car. Then on the back of it there will be the other end of the cable its just a matter of unthreding that one and replacing it with your new one. Should work then. If that doesnt work then its probibly a job for a mechanic.

the coolant is just a mixture of water and anti freeze. all you have to do is go and buy the anti freeze and read the label and all will become clear.

Dont undo the top when its hot!

Is there a hole in the radiator, is it threaded does it have a flandge?

Oil level and colour (color for you)
Pull the dipstick out make sure the engine is cold. first or a. you will burn youself, b. you will probibly bang you head on the hood when you jump. c. your a minister so you cant swear :-p, d. you wont find much out anyway as the dipstick is calibrated for cold oil.

So take this out, have a look around the engine, it will have a loop on the end to put your finger in, give it a tug and it should slide out, first thing colour, is it a light brown coffee/maple syrup colour? if it is then it doesnt need changing, if its black and bitty then it really needs a change.

now wipe the dipstick and put it back in and pull it out look to see if the oil level is inbetween the 2 marks, these can be twists, scored on line, recess use your comman sence. If the oil is ok in colour then just top it up unless you know it hasnt been changed recentally.

Changing oil, key to this is preperation, so you need, new oil, it will tell you in the service manual but most likely there will be a guide to type and quantity required at the motor factors. my guess 1 1/2 gallons would be about right for a inline 4, 2-3 gallons for a V6 and on a V8 make sure you get a trolley when you go shopping for it.

a bowl, make sure that its big enough to take all the oil and short enough to fit under the sump, washing up bowl is good or an old bucket but jack the car up and make sure that it fits unnder the sump.

When disposing of the waste oil the easiest way to transport it is in the containers the new came in, there will be a local reprocessing centre, or take it to your local mechanic as he will probibly have a heating system that runs on waste oil and will be glad of it.

also make sure you have an apropitate fitting key for your sump plug, a few rag and funnel will be useful you also need an oil filter.

unscrew the sump plug slowly and get the catch tray what ever you use handy. now that its finger lose and you have your reciver underneth it just undo it and watch the oil pour out. probibly a good iea to have soemthing to stand the bucket on to make sure its close to the sump otherwise if your doing it outside the wind catches it and sprays it everywhere.

then undo the filter, look for soemthing similar to the thig you bought on the side of the engine block normally but can be hiding in other places. you might need a belt or chain wrench to get it started they are under $5 normally.

undo the filler cap at the top of the engine and pour a litlle of your new oil though the engine letting it drain, it will help clan the gunk out. put the new filter on and do it again. then wipe the bottom of the engine where there will be slipage of the oil and the sump plug and put it back in only needs to be firmly tight not realy tight. with your funel you can guide the oil in to the filler start slowly and stop every few mins to let it run through As you get close to the required amount every 1/2 litre (1/2 quart) or so stop for 2 mins and look at the dipstick to see where its going.If you over fill it a bit then let a little out with the sump plug.

Spark plugs
i will get back to these got to go to work

posted by  cinqyg

A couple of the parts houses has on line manuals (autozone for one). Haynes, Chiltons, etc. are also good for Do-it-yourselfers

If the engine is running OK, basic maintenance such as but not limited to oil change, tune-up, transmission fluid change.

In the US, the minumum accepted brake pad or shoe friction material thickness is 2/32 inch

In most states in the US, the minimum legal tread depth is 2/32 inch. This however does not mean the tire is safe in bad weather condition - the tire may not work well in winter in Ohio @ 4/32 inch depth.

A vacume test and a compression test is in order for a car with 170K miles to ascertain the condition of the engine.

Most cars of that vintage have a snorkle leading to the front or side of the car. There is probably an aluminum tube running from the bottom of the rectangular tube part of the air cleaner to the heat riser (I think the Buicks in that time frame still had one)

posted by  tbaxleyjr

2/32" = 1.59mm so i wasnt far out

i was going to cover them but ran out of time sorry

posted by  cinqyg

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