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GMman

Regular Park Ave or Ultra??

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I am currently looking for a used (2002-2004) Park Avenue. My initial thought was only the Ultra would do...but I've found some great deals on the regular Park Ave, which has left me thinking that maybe I don't really "need" the Ultra. I am unaware of any inherent problems with the supercharged motors, but I thought I might ask everyone for some input.... I have discovered that Buick recommends premium fuel on the Ultra (as if anyone can afford premium these days...)

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I've never had any problem with the blown 3800s. I only use premium in mine. I average in the low 20s, but its mostly city driving.

The 2003 Ultra (my model year) benefited from a facelift along with interior upgrades.

Make sure you drive both the regular and Ultra models before deciding. The suspension and driving feel are different.

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You should not have any problems.. I hate to tell you this, but that engine you get will depend on the care it had from the previous owner. The 3800 in my 1992 Oldsmobile Toronado is blown. That is because someone did not take care of the engine and do the maintenance. I will be buying a new 3800 for the car. These engines are usually bullet proof and go a lot of miles.

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The Series II eliminated most of the problems inherent in the earlier Series I, especially most of the manifold intake gasket issues.

As far as Base vs. Ultra, as Ven said, the driving quality varies slightly between them. Ultras are also more likely to have certain features like a moonroof, HUD, and chrome wheels vs. base Park Avenues. They are also rarer in general. It all comes down to your driving preferences, whether using premium is a deal-breaker, and what you can get a better deal on.

In terms of reliability, well, I point to our 2000 Bonneville SSEi. Almost seven years old and nearly 130,000 miles with zero engine problems. Just change the supercharger oil (yup, it takes oil, too) as preventative maintenence.

Good luck!

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I have 2005 Bonneville SLE with a 3800 Series II. I love mine the big difference will be the "float" in the ride. Either motor puts out good power do look at a 2005 also, I would suggest going with a 2004-2005 is you go regular. Because those years had the updated metal sleeves in the intake. Also if you go Ultra I would got 2003-2005 because of the face-lift. They are great cars good luck you also could look at a LeSabre or Bonneville too. **Very similar!**

Edited by gm4life
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I like the fuel economy my 3800 Series II gets on my 1995 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight. I like the engine for that and the smoothness.

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I've never had any problem with the blown 3800s. I only use premium in mine. I average in the low 20s, but its mostly city driving.

The 2003 Ultra (my model year) benefited from a facelift along with interior upgrades.

Make sure you drive both the regular and Ultra models before deciding. The suspension and driving feel are different.

Two things:

"Only use premium"

and

"Low 20s"

... Does 1/4 of your income now go totally to gas? I can not imagine being a premium only guy in times like these. You're a brave man.

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Two things:

"Only use premium"

and

"Low 20s"

... Does 1/4 of your income now go totally to gas? I can not imagine being a premium only guy in times like these. You're a brave man.

HaHa... No... I live 3.5 miles from work and drive less than 10k a year. The 3.5 miles from work is the reason most of my driving is city. :pbjtime:

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I've never had any problem with the blown 3800s. I only use premium in mine. I average in the low 20s, but its mostly city driving.

The 2003 Ultra (my model year) benefited from a facelift along with interior upgrades.

Make sure you drive both the regular and Ultra models before deciding. The suspension and driving feel are different.

Averaging low 20's with mostly city driving in that big of a car is so impressive. I love that. So what happens when regular gas is used...spark knock? I'm guessing? What kind of real world MPG are you getting for HWY miles?

I've driven a regular 2003 Park Ave and thought it was pretty floaty. I've read the Ultra is more firm and that would suit me better...I think. Very classy in and out.

My brother has an Olds Intrigue with the 3.8 and 220k. Never a wrench on it and running like a top. Quite amazing.

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I would avoid any regular Park Ave with the base suspension. A touring suspension was an option on this series of car from 1997-2005 and is identified with the upgraded alloy wheels also used on 00-02 LeSabres. Check the option codes located under the spare tire cover in the trunk. It will read FE3 for the touring models and FE1 without. Another tell tale sign that it doesn't have touring suspension will be the lack of 2 buttons to the left of the dash for the trip computer. You had to get the 1SE package to be able to order touring suspension. All Ultras from 2003-2005 had the touring suspension but also added 17" rims which helped handling even more. Keep in mind that all 97-2003 NA Series II 3800's are candidates for upper intake manilfold failure. Some have been replaced and some haven't. A tell tale sign is antifreeze use or a sludgy residue in the overflow tank which indicates that the fluid hasn't been changed and you may be in for trouble. The SC motor doesn't use a plastic upper intake because that is where the supercharger is located and thus doesn't suffer this fate. As someone else mentioned in this post, you must make sure the supercharger oil is to capacity at all times and a good change interval wouldn't hurt. The Park Ave is a very roomy car with an enormous back seat and a big trunk. You should get many good miles out of one and they are capable of 30 mph highway all day long when in proper tune.

Edited by ponchoman49
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The vehicle should run well on 89 octane mid-grade fuel, especially if you do not put undue demands on the supercharger.

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Greetings All:

I just purchased a 1999 Park Avenue base sedan without the touring package (one owner, full maintenance history & only 42,000 miles on it). Overall, I decided on the Base vs. the Ultra for the following reasons:

--Base uses, as noted here, regular fuel. The cost difference vs. premium for my area of the US & driving plans is significant.

-- While both cars tend to have good reliability the standard maintenance on the Ultra is slightly higher.

--It was much easier to find, eventually, a regular Park Avenue that had been extremely well taken care of. All of the Ultras I looked at were some combination of: higher mileage, no service history and/or obviously driven hard (lots of "extra" wear even taking into account mileage.)

-- I -like- to float over the bumps in our deteriorating freeways & am in no rush to get anywhere.

-- I prefer the six passenger seating configuration instead of the huge and, to me, somewhat intrusive center console in the Ultra.

Overall, though, if I'd found a similar Ultra the choice might have been a difficult decision despite what I've noted. As it is I'm very, very, VERY happy with this Park Avenue and am even happier to be back driving a great GM product. If this car is any indication of what Buick was and the Lucerne is the direction they're going I think I shall be a very happy Buick customer for many years to come.

Best regards,

ParkAvenueGent

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Congrats on your new Park Avenue. May you have very many happy miles with her.

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