vonVeezelsnider

I Need Help Converting a Ricer

27 posts in this topic

The other day, my friend's 1996 Buick LeSabre died on him and he's already spent in excess of $2500 in the last two months rebuilding the engine and doing the head gasket... turns out there was something was screwy with the rebuild on the engine and the cylinder chambers need to be re machined... the fuel gauge and odometer have stopped working properly, and it's eating coolant into either the engine or tranny. For a car with 170'000K, he doesn't want to keep pumping money into it... meaning he's in the market for a new vehicle.

He says he doesn't want another American Car, and is looking at some Toyotas, Hondas, the Volvo 850/S70 and the Jetta. I've tried to talk him into another GM, but he won't budge, and I'm stumped as to what the best way to convert the guy would be. I already know what car I'm going to push, the 97-05 Buick Century, and maybe the 2001-2003 Malibu, as they are the big JD Power winners for quality and reliability, and he wants a car a bit smaller, but a lot better on gas than his previous car. I know these puppies have the 3100 in them which are reliable and thrifty on gas, but I'm not sure how I can present the info. Any Insight?

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A Regal LS both handles well and returns good fuel economy. Another consideration is an Olds Alero.

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The other day, my friend's 1996 Buick LeSabre died on him and he's already spent in excess of $2500 in the last two months rebuilding the engine and doing the head gasket... turns out there was something was screwy with the rebuild on the engine and the cylinder chambers need to be re machined... the fuel gauge and odometer have stopped working properly, and it's eating coolant into either the engine or tranny. For a car with 170'000K, he doesn't want to keep pumping money into it... meaning he's in the market for a new vehicle.

He says he doesn't want another American Car, and is looking at some Toyotas, Hondas, the Volvo 850/S70 and the Jetta. I've tried to talk him into another GM, but he won't budge, and I'm stumped as to what the best way to convert the guy would be. I already know what car I'm going to push, the 97-05 Buick Century, and maybe the 2001-2003 Malibu, as they are the big JD Power winners for quality and reliability, and he wants a car a bit smaller, but a lot better on gas than his previous car. I know these puppies have the 3100 in them which are reliable and thrifty on gas, but I'm not sure how I can present the info. Any Insight?

3800s had that problem. That engine is long gone.
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I suggested the Alero... as for the Regal, it's so similar to the Century in his mind that he'd rather sacrifice the handling and performance for the potential for more economy out of the 3100 (I've heard some great economy stories from that car.

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What about 2002 - 2005 Saab 9-3 or 9-5?

Out of his price range... He's considering the post 1994 Saab 900 though.

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Most of the cars he's considering are HUGE money-pits used.

Esp. SAABs, Jettas & FWD Volvos.

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Most of the cars he's considering are HUGE money-pits used.

Esp. SAABs, Jettas & FWD Volvos.

That's what I heard... My aunt had a 1998 V70XC... It just fell apart on her- she now drives a Fusion SEL.

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The other day, my friend's 1996 Buick LeSabre died on him and he's already spent in excess of $2500 in the last two months rebuilding the engine and doing the head gasket... turns out there was something was screwy with the rebuild on the engine and the cylinder chambers need to be re machined... the fuel gauge and odometer have stopped working properly, and it's eating coolant into either the engine or tranny. For a car with 170'000K, he doesn't want to keep pumping money into it... meaning he's in the market for a new vehicle.

He says he doesn't want another American Car, and is looking at some Toyotas, Hondas, the Volvo 850/S70 and the Jetta. I've tried to talk him into another GM, but he won't budge, and I'm stumped as to what the best way to convert the guy would be. I already know what car I'm going to push, the 97-05 Buick Century, and maybe the 2001-2003 Malibu, as they are the big JD Power winners for quality and reliability, and he wants a car a bit smaller, but a lot better on gas than his previous car. I know these puppies have the 3100 in them which are reliable and thrifty on gas, but I'm not sure how I can present the info. Any Insight?

I feel for your friend. Something similar happened to my engine on my Toronado. I have been wise enough to decide to get a new engine or re manufactured one and not rebuilt or used. You cited the very reason why. That is why I am putting my money aside right now for the engine. That engine is about to get worse and go out. They have already told you this already here. I just do not like the fact he is thinking id he buys another imported car that he would not have problems. That thinking is flawed.

I hope you can encourage him..

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I feel for your friend. Something similar happened to my engine on my Toronado. I have been wise enough to decide to get a new engine or re manufactured one and not rebuilt or used. You cited the very reason why. That is why I am putting my money aside right now for the engine. That engine is about to get worse and go out. They have already told you this already here. I just do not like the fact he is thinking id he buys another imported car that he would not have problems. That thinking is flawed.

I hope you can encourage him..

I'm not his only friend... The only other 'slightly' automotively inclined friend he has is my friend James, who, is a classic example of living with a 1980s opinion of GM... ( a little knowledge can be dangerous, remember that kids). Suffice to say, he's been listening a little to much to his rantings about how Toyota, Honda, and, gasp, Mitsubishi, are god's gift to the earth, and that him and I are both suckers for driving what we drive... I don't know how his 2-Car experience with Toyota can top my family's collective 45 years of almost exclusive GM customership. He doesn't know what he's talking about 'cause he's never owned a GM. It's really setting up to be a battle of the wills... turns out I may have an unexpected ally though. His grandfather drives the same car I'm trying to sell his grandson on. He's pressuring my friend to go for the Century as well. (God bless GM Loyal Old Codgers). It doesn't help that he hadn't been taking the car to the dealer to service but rather to some guy who barely speaks English and couldn't diagnose the coolant problem until the engine siezed. (It had been leaking for a while).

He needs to give them a second chance... heck, myself and my immediate family have developed such a loyalty to this company over the last few decades because of all the GOOD cars we've had (in my sig), that the only way I'd go anywhere else is if I bought a new Lucerne that would explode when I first started it, magically voiding my warranty, Bob Lutz would also have to kidnap my cat and spit on my shoes. Even then I'd probably give them atleast some consideration.

Edited by vonVeezelsnider
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That's what I heard... My aunt had a 1998 V70XC... It just fell apart on her- she now drives a Fusion SEL.

Now there's a good suggestion. Doesn't have to be a GM... just American.... What about a Fusion or Milan?

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Now there's a good suggestion. Doesn't have to be a GM... just American.... What about a Fusion or Milan?

Has to be relatively cheap... around 11K CDN, no more. Fusion would be too pricey, but not a bad choice. Canada hasn't had Mercury since 2000. He hates Chrysler, and has been stand-offish about Ford. I told him the previous gen. Taurus would also be okay though. He liked the looks of the Sebring, but also heard about the 2.7L Oil Sludge problem through Wikipedia and got scared.

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He seems to not do his own research. All his facts are based in fear. I hope someone can help him.

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Why is he not considering new? If he added the $2,500 in repairs to the $11k "budget" that he has, his options would expand. Right now, you can get a brand new Malibu for around $17,999 Canadian. Even the National Post had a glowing article on the Malibu a few weeks back (this latest generation.) I have a lot of experience with the Malibu and although the 4 cylinder is a little noisy (when pushed), it gets phenomenal gas mileage and the ecotec is bullet-proof. Gas is 1.03 a litre here, so he would save even more money with the 4 cylinder.

I, and most people I know would rather lease new (how can you beat the subvented rates?) then "buy out" your own leased vehicle in 4 years. That would be the far safer and cheaper route to go, IMO. It doesn't make a lot of sense to spend $11k on someone else's problems. An $11k car is not going to have any warranty and you don't know what you are getting, unless it is your aunt's car!

If he insists on used, I am sure he could find a "daily rental" Malibu for around $13k or so.

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VW, Saab & Volvos of that era are clear mistakes...

The truth is that a well maintained Japanese car from Honda or Toyota are good choices. Perhaps a Prizm as a compromise? Focuses that have been sorted out properly (recalls & maintenance taken care of) are great fun and cheap.

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I vote for the alero, you can get loaded GLS model aleros with low miles for CHEAP. They are a great buy have good performance and return good fuel econemy. My alero was super reliable for 55k miles. Thats the 55k miles I had it for 18 months before I traded it in, having lost only 3500 of equity on my new car. It had a total of 75000 miles on the clock when I got rid of it. It's drive train drove like the day I picked it up. It had had 1 big round of maitenance in that time, new set of pads and rotores, tires, shocks and springs, but those are all parts that ware out and I drove half of those miles, speeding through a potwhole ridden urban area. Anyway I'd push the alero. Even the 4 banger alero has pretty good pickup and my brother reguallary returned 30 MPG in 50 50 highway city. If it was all highway crusing he would get closer to 35.

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What is he out to do with the car? Does he have kids or something?

If he can get pretty close to today, an Impala would definitely be the move. Nice power, great on gas, and can already be had for a song.

As far as Stratus or Sebring, just go with the four cylinder. Doesn't sound like he really cares about performance, as long as the fuel economy is there. Really is too bad he hates Chrysler.

A Malibu or Alero isn't way too painful of a choice.

Unless he's hell bent on sedans, how about a Vibe?

Just make sure he avoids the disgusting 98-02 Accord sedan frumpmobile, as well as that bland wedge that is the 97-01 Camry.

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Has to be relatively cheap... around 11K CDN, no more. Fusion would be too pricey, but not a bad choice. Canada hasn't had Mercury since 2000. He hates Chrysler, and has been stand-offish about Ford. I told him the previous gen. Taurus would also be okay though. He liked the looks of the Sebring, but also heard about the 2.7L Oil Sludge problem through Wikipedia and got scared.

Tell him if you take car of that 2.7L...you know like actually changing the oil...it'll last at least 187k miles on it. Or just get a 3.2L or 3.5L or any other of there V6's which don't suffer from the same issues.

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A 97-01 Century would be a good choice, as would a 99-03 Mailbu.

The 3.1 can run awhile, and the bodys seem to be holding up quite well so far...

I've seen 04 Mailbus around here from 7900-9500 with decent miles (around 50k).....and the 2.2 Ecos are both good on gas long lasting....

Aleros are a good choice too, though I've seen quite a few people getting rid of them, Though they have all been for new cars

(The last Olds are starting to hit trade in time....)

Though a bit boring, Cobalts are a good choice too. I've starting to notice that they are getting Cavalier resale value thogh...

Monte?

Prism?

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A used Vibe?

Nope, they actually keep their resale value...

I don't think I've seen one cheaper than 12 grand (US) used...

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He's 19, no kids. The LeSabre was his first car and a gift from his other grandfather (now deceased). He basically wants a sedan. Good news however, he said the cylinder problems were the mechanic's fault when he did the head gasket and since he loves the car so much, he's trying to get the mechanic to fix his mess for free... It might also not be too late to catch the coolant problem.

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Another LeSabre or a Park Ave? Resale on them is terrible, I'm sure he could find something nice.

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The other day, my friend's 1996 Buick LeSabre died on him...

His car is 37 years too new! :wink:

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His car is 37 years too new! :wink:

With an intake manifold gasket 37 times weaker :P.

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