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 I drink this beer in memory of my Riv

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VegasScott
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PostSubject: New Riv Owner - New Member   Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:05 am

Hey Guys,
I'm the new guy in the bunch. I bought a 99 Buick Riviera last week. The car is beautiful! I didn't really have much time to buy a car and always liked these cars. I bought this car almost on the spot due to the condition of the body and interior. I was very happy with my purchase until 3 days ago. I took the family out to do the family shopping and I came back to see an oil spot under the car. mad

I am meticulous with my cars and this is simply not acceptable. So after a search online, including this forum, I found out that the rivs had poor designed intake manifold gaskets. Mine were leaking pretty bad and so was the oil pan. Add those parts to the list of maintenance items I already had worked up and I walked out of ORielly's with $360 less than when I walked in. rolleyes

I spent the weekend in the garage hunched over the engine compartment and replaced the manifold gaskets, supercharger gasket, valve cover gaskets, oil pan gasket, o-rings on the injectors, thermostat, pcv valve, Mobil 1 oil change, and coolant flush. I did all of this without a manual because I couldn't find one that covered my car. Thanks to this forum and others that I found, I was able to get the job done.

Next up, transmission fluid and filter change, supercharger belt change, Followed by plugs and wires.

Thanks!

VegasScott
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Abaddon
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:05 am

Glad you found us to help out. Welcome to the forum hi

Don't be discouraged if you happen to see more oil. 3800's like to leak from the little $12 seal between the engine and the transmission also. Unfortunately, you have to separate the two in order to change it. You may only notice this leak when you change the oil (at/near the starter).
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:10 pm

Abaddon wrote:
Glad you found us to help out. Welcome to the forum hi

Don't be discouraged if you happen to see more oil. 3800's like to leak from the little $12 seal between the engine and the transmission also. Unfortunately, you have to separate the two in order to change it. You may only notice this leak when you change the oil (at/near the starter).

Yeah, the Rear Main... when I had my transmission overhauled I had it replaced with a Timken seal, been find for over 100,000 miles...

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:08 pm

Welcome!

This is a great forum full of very intelligent riv owners and the best spot to learn all about your new ride...my oil pan leaks a bit but it's been below freezing for a couple weeks here in OH so it's on the list to fix come March, I'll park in the stones till then.

Good luck with your 99
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:43 pm

Whoops! I lied! It's actually a 98 Riviera.

I'm not excited about the rear main seal's potential to leak. frown I'll have to see how much of an effort is needed to correct that, if it's leaking. So far, I think I'm alright. I took off the two plastic covers that go over the flywheel and inside there seemed dry, There was no sign of oil there. wink

Albert, what part of the finger lakes region are you in? I grew up in Rochester, NY and spent a lot of time during the summers at Canandaigua Lake.

The only thing that would make me happier with my 98 is if it had a sunroof! I drove a couple of them that had them. There was a little button near the sunroof controls that said "ASC" on it. In the trunk there was a coinciding sticker that said American Sunroof Company. What was that button for?

Thanks for the welcome! I'm sure I'll have lots more questions! wink

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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:38 pm

VegasScott wrote:
Whoops! I lied! It's actually a 98 Riviera.

I'm not excited about the rear main seal's potential to leak. frown I'll have to see how much of an effort is needed to correct that, if it's leaking. So far, I think I'm alright. I took off the two plastic covers that go over the flywheel and inside there seemed dry, There was no sign of oil there. wink

Albert, what part of the finger lakes region are you in? I grew up in Rochester, NY and spent a lot of time during the summers at Canandaigua Lake.

The only thing that would make me happier with my 98 is if it had a sunroof! I drove a couple of them that had them. There was a little button near the sunroof controls that said "ASC" on it. In the trunk there was a coinciding sticker that said American Sunroof Company. What was that button for?

Thanks for the welcome! I'm sure I'll have lots more questions! wink

VegasScott

IIRC the ASC unit is aftermarket; OE sunroofs were by (I think) Webasto but had no logo on the button. ASC installs Webasto roofs. See http://americansunroof.com/.
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:44 pm

I wonder what that would cost to get an ASC sunroof installed in my car. (Not that i'd ever do it.)
Thanks for the help!

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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:32 pm

VegasScott wrote:
I wonder what that would cost to get an ASC sunroof installed in my car. (Not that i'd ever do it.)
Thanks for the help!

VegasScott

Sounds like a job for the Yellow Pages...
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:12 am

The factory Astroroofs had a black (window-style) rocker switch in the center of the front-seat map lights... And having had a dealer-installed ASC sunroof in my Eldorado, I would recommend against it (especially if you're over 6' tall.)
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:02 am

Its only a wishful thought most likely. But that's interesting on the asc feedback. So was the asc sunroof set up a dealer installed option that was an officially licensed gm product?

Thanks!

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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:29 am

I don't know about being approved by GM itself. It was installed by ASC in San Diego when the car had 40 miles on it, and the original owner bought it from Symes Cadillac in San Diego...
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:42 am

So, thanks to you guys I've now:
-replaced the oil pan gasket
-replaced the intake manifold gaskets
-replaced the supercharger to manifold gasket
-replaced the fuel injector o-rings
-replaced the upper and lower radiator hoses
-replaced the thermostat
-flushed the radiator
-changed the oil and filter to mobile 1 products
-bought a factory riv manual off of ebay
-placed my first rockauto.com order

Jobs next on the list that I've bought parts for (and are awaiting a warmer weekend)
-change the transmission filter and add synthetic fluid
-replace fuel filter
-replace plugs & wires (rockauto purchase)
-replace both belts (rockauto purchase)

I potentially may replace the pulleys too. I'm just not sure I'm hearing anything as of yet. I may call a buddy over to give me a second opinion. He's a former GN owner.

The way I see it, the car has 89000 miles on it. I don't know what service was done, where it was done, or when it was done. I'm doing all this work myself, so I don't mind plunking down the change for parts to be sure that the car is in tip top condition. I basically work out of my car, and I need to be in specific places at VERY specific times. I can't have the car effect my ability to provide for my family. So, cry once and enjoy the car! happy

I'm loving the car and definitely this forum! Thanks guys!

VegasScott
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stan
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:09 am

Hi Scott-welcome to this forus and a Happy New Year to you and your family.
About the sunroof-I have a 99 Riv with it and let me tell you, i don't rememer a single time when i used it except for the day i bought the car and for cleaning.I never even open the liner cover from within the car to watch the stars at night through the glass.So don't worry if you don't care too much about having an astoroof.
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:20 am

Thanks for the welcome stan!

My last 2 cars were mercury mariners and both had sunroofs. I then got a malibu for 3 months and lost the sunroof and my job! (Got layed off) So the company cars are no more.

People ask me all the time, "You live in Vegas! What the hell would you want a sunroof for? You'll bake!"

My answer is always the same. I explain that you don't use it during the heat of the day, but in the morning and evening it's beautiful to have that open or at least the headliner open and seeing the sky and the natural light!

I shouldn't even waste my time talking about it, since I'd never for over the money to retro fit one into this car. rolleyes But it's fun to dream! happy

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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:52 pm

VegasScott wrote:
So, thanks to you guys I've now:
-replaced the oil pan gasket
-replaced the intake manifold gaskets
-replaced the supercharger to manifold gasket
-replaced the fuel injector o-rings
-replaced the upper and lower radiator hoses
-replaced the thermostat
-flushed the radiator
-changed the oil and filter to mobile 1 products
-bought a factory riv manual off of ebay
-placed my first rockauto.com order

Jobs next on the list that I've bought parts for (and are awaiting a warmer weekend)
-change the transmission filter and add synthetic fluid
-replace fuel filter
-replace plugs & wires (rockauto purchase)
-replace both belts (rockauto purchase)

I potentially may replace the pulleys too. I'm just not sure I'm hearing anything as of yet. I may call a buddy over to give me a second opinion. He's a former GN owner.

The way I see it, the car has 89000 miles on it. I don't know what service was done, where it was done, or when it was done. I'm doing all this work myself, so I don't mind plunking down the change for parts to be sure that the car is in tip top condition. I basically work out of my car, and I need to be in specific places at VERY specific times. I can't have the car effect my ability to provide for my family. So, cry once and enjoy the car! happy

I'm loving the car and definitely this forum! Thanks guys!

VegasScott

If I was you I'd look at tires and brakes. Tires for abnormal wear (if you rotate them they won't wear all that fast). Brakes because the Rivs brakes are merely adequate, we have collectively spent a lot of time on brakes on this forum because of that.

The *least money* solution for brakes for a daily driver is to replace the wear parts (rotors & pads) with OE-or-better. That means no crap parts. Delco, Raybestos, ATE or Bendix rotors, Delco, Raybestos or other good pads. Just do a search on brakes you'll find all kinds of stuff including how to build your own pressure bleeder.

The top-level solution is to replace the front rotors & calipers/pads with F-body (late 90s Camaro) 2-pot calipers and matching rotors, perhaps the Raybestos or Delco vented/drilled ones. Rears wont give you much trouble as long as you screw the pucks in to change them; if you ever press them they will jam. OE stuff will do fine for the rear it may be as long as 3 years between brake jobs once you do one right.

There is another thread on here about maintaining high mileage Rivs, if you have not read it yet have a look - it is easy to find in the index.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:37 pm

It may have also been a good idea to swap out the rad with the hoses.Along with the breaks keep your eye on the rad for leaks. They are plastic and mine went at about your mileage, just sayin' but you definitely seem like a good owner. Great accomplishment Scott!
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:16 pm

Brakes are in great shape! No pulsating, no pulling, no squeaking, no scoring on the rotors! I'm not going to go the road of a performance upgrade in regard to an f body retrofit. My riv will be bone stock and I only use ac delco or better stock replacement parts. As for brake pads, I only use carbon metallic pads or better. I've used those on my heavy astro vans in the past (fronts do 90% of the braking) and I also use them on my cummins diesel dodge 2500. (Talk about a heavy vehicle!)

As for my tires, they're in great shape in regard to tread wear and depth. But they may be original to the car. (Michelin xw4s) I have a slight concern over the weather checked sidewalls. I'll just monitor them and see how they go from here.

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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:41 pm

XW4s were the optional OE tire supplied with the also optional chromeplate 7 spoke alloys. Sounds like those tires with 89,000 on them and the weather checking are about done. Thanks for the comments about parts and brakes. You might want to look at pad depth remaining on your brakes, wheels off so you can see both pads, and consider replacing if worn past the notches that are (usually) cut into the middle of the pad faces. Also the normal rules apply such as if the pads are worn uneven then you need to shop (overhaul) or replace the caliper.

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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:50 pm

Got my manuals in the mail yesterday. (2nd edition) those things are massive! Very well put together. Its interesting how the lawyers in this country have infiltrated every aspect of our lives. I thing 1/3 of the pages in these manuals is dedicated to disclaimers and safety information. When I compare these manuals to my official factory service manuals for the 60s vintage VWs, there are not nearly that many pages dedicated to our saftey.

I guess it goes to say that if you make something idiot proof, someone will always develop a better idiot! AND, lawyers will always find those idiots, and make money off of them. happy

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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:34 pm

VegasScott wrote:
Brakes are in great shape! No pulsating, no pulling, no squeaking, no scoring on the rotors! I'm not going to go the road of a performance upgrade in regard to an f body retrofit. My riv will be bone stock and I only use ac delco or better stock replacement parts. As for brake pads, I only use carbon metallic pads or better.
VegasScott
If your brakes also make no dust, then you probably want to stay with Delco ceramic pads. I believe that my car still has the factory pads on it, and the initial bite, linearity, and lack of squeal or dust are wonderful - I already bought a replacement set from the dealer to keep on the shelf!

VegasScott wrote:
Its interesting how the lawyers in this country have infiltrated every aspect of our lives. I thing 1/3 of the pages in these manuals is dedicated to disclaimers and safety information.
VegasScott
thumbsup I always say the same thing - that's why the '97 Riviera owner's manual is 4 times thicker than the one for my '81 Eldorado...
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:15 pm

albertj wrote:
Also the normal rules apply such as if the pads are worn uneven then you need to shop (overhaul) or replace the caliper.

Unless is just a frozen caliper slide pin wink

They make tons of Ceramic pads that are considerably less expensive than the Delco pads. They want like $160 just for the pads alone. We (my shop) sell a brake job (rotors, pads, hardware) with ceramic pads for $145 with labor included. Haven't had one complaint about the pads we're using either. They still have low dust, no noise, etc.
Mind you, it's the "Economy" brake service, but everything is new. To upgrade to say the NAPA Ceramics, it ups the price to about $200.
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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:20 pm

Abaddon wrote:
albertj wrote:
Also the normal rules apply such as if the pads are worn uneven then you need to shop (overhaul) or replace the caliper.

Unless is just a frozen caliper slide pin wink

They make tons of Ceramic pads that are considerably less expensive than the Delco pads. They want like $160 just for the pads alone. We (my shop) sell a brake job (rotors, pads, hardware) with ceramic pads for $145 with labor included. Haven't had one complaint about the pads we're using either. They still have low dust, no noise, etc.
Mind you, it's the "Economy" brake service, but everything is new. To upgrade to say the NAPA Ceramics, it ups the price to about $200.

I like the Carquest Blue ceramic pads. I would use Bendix, Raybestos, Wagner or ATE rotors. The ATEs cost least, if you buy them right (try AutohausAZ.com out of Arizona) - come to find out they were Asian; however they were ATE thru and thru, the technology is out of the bag so to speak.

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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:41 pm

Just replaced the original XW-4s this afternoon. I wasn't satisfied with the idea of 75-80MPH 2 hour cruise to St George, UT on 13 year old weather checked tires. If any of you are looking to replace tires, Costco has a great deal on Michelin tires. If you guy a set of 4, you get $70 off in the form of an instant rebate.

I went with the Michelin Radial X 225/60R16s which are the factory specified tire size. Click the link below to see them. The tires have an 80,000 mile wear warranty.


http://tires2.costco.com/product.aspx?ItemNo=152273&SearchID=b8306ea1-a524-48ca-8ca6-9a1583c2504c

I don't have but 5 miles on the tires, but for the price I paid, for the brand name Michelin tires and the warranty, I couldn't be happier. I let you know what I think of them once I get a couple thousand miles on them. Oh yeah, one more thing... Costco filled them with nitrogen, so now I have pretty green valve stem caps. lol I've never had nitrogen filled tires. We'll have to see if I can notice a difference in the properties of the gas once the temps warm back up.

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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:23 pm

VegasScott wrote:
Just replaced the original XW-4s this afternoon. I wasn't satisfied with the idea of 75-80MPH 2 hour cruise to St George, UT on 13 year old weather checked tires. If any of you are looking to replace tires, Costco has a great deal on Michelin tires. If you guy a set of 4, you get $70 off in the form of an instant rebate.

I went with the Michelin Radial X 225/60R16s which are the factory specified tire size. Click the link below to see them. The tires have an 80,000 mile wear warranty.


http://tires2.costco.com/product.aspx?ItemNo=152273&SearchID=b8306ea1-a524-48ca-8ca6-9a1583c2504c

I don't have but 5 miles on the tires, but for the price I paid, for the brand name Michelin tires and the warranty, I couldn't be happier. I let you know what I think of them once I get a couple thousand miles on them. Oh yeah, one more thing... Costco filled them with nitrogen, so now I have pretty green valve stem caps. lol I've never had nitrogen filled tires. We'll have to see if I can notice a difference in the properties of the gas once the temps warm back up.

VegasScott

I had a set of those, they are fine. They get very noisy when they are about worn out. Michelin X DT series. Got mine at Sams Club. It is more or less a tread copy of a tire Michelin makes for light commercial vehicles, but apparently on a passenger car carcass.

The nitrogen fill green caps is kind of a gimmick - many tire places do now, without the green cap thing, for their own reasons. Air is mostly nitrogen to begin with; I hope they did not charge you extra for the nitro fill. Basically doing 'nitrogen' in the shop is not much different cost wise (once you have the equipment) as running the shop air through a dryer. Air is 78% nitrogen to start with. Here are some small systems:

http://www.asedeals.com/rti_nitropro.html

What happened: room-temperature membrane separation technology advanced a lot.

It is not much different *cost-wise* to use nitrogen separation over and above a good dryer/compressor rig for shop air. There are some shops that use nitrogen as shop air, using larger separators - cuts some tool costs apparently. Some hobbyists use nitrogen as shop air instead of compressors, they buy it by the tank. Once you have a tank, each fill is not much $ I am thinking.

Trucking firms use as well, see

http://www.truckinginfo.com/trucks-trailers/news-detail.asp?news_id=71399&news_category_id=69



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PostSubject: Re: I drink this beer in memory of my Riv   Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:32 pm

Scott 1 ( tongue ): You're probably right about the retail price of the Delcos... I paid about $45 per axle and after years of plain old organics I almost swooned at that figure. But my current pads are so dust-free, noise-free, and with perfect feel, I didn't want to change.

Scott 2: That's cool about the nitrogen, it's probably good for the health of the rims, too...
Better idea: Fill them with helium for better gas mileage!
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