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 New owner of a Riviera 1997

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thinker1920
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Name : dave
Joined : 2012-10-10
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PostSubject: New owner of a Riviera 1997   Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:09 am

Hi Everyone,

I just traded some stuff for a 1997 Riviera, she needs some TLC but, I think it'll be a fun project. I don't have much money since I'm going to college at the moment so any tips/tricks would be apperciated. Currently I'm working on the gas tank since I think the previous owner's mechanic botched the job since the interior reeks of gas. She needs a paint job but seems to have hardly any rust which suprises me for upstate New York. I'm going to put her up on ramp stands and check out her underside but I have high hopes judging by the wheel wells and the rest of the car.

I own a LeSabre and have worked on my parents park ave but, this is my first supercharged 3800. So I was wondering what I should look for. Like I know the naturally aspirated 3800 has a tendency to have the plenum go bad that then causes the lowering intake gasket to go bad, I was wondering it the supercharged version has a similair problem? and I don't know how the supercharger is suppose to sound/behave when in normal operation.

When the person first ran/rev'd the car it sounded good I didn't hear any rod knock or anything but, when I had my head down, near the passenger's side wheel, when I was getting her on the car dolly I did notice a faint ping kinda sound, It didn't sound like the video's on youtube of rod knock but, I was wondering what that could be? A/c clutch? Beginning of rod knock?
So that's got me a little nervous.

Other than that I'm hoping to restore her inside and out and will take pictures along the way.


Last edited by thinker1920 on Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:10 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : misspelling)
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deekster_caddy
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Name : Derek
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Location : Reading, MA
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PostSubject: Re: New owner of a Riviera 1997   Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:23 pm

Welcome. Yes, the SC 3800 did come with plastic LIM gaskets, and they are occasionally prone to collapsing just like the NA LIM gasket.

The SC Coupler can make a 'rattling' sound if it has some play. Unlikely to cause any damage, worst case scenario is the noise. Usually mechanics will say 'you need a new supercharger' when in reality you can replace the coupler for about $25 and a few hours time.

Listen with a stethescope to determine where the knocking noise is the loudest. Could be a bad belt tensioner or pulley bearing too...
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thinker1920
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Name : dave
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PostSubject: Re: New owner of a Riviera 1997   Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:41 pm

Thanks for the info thumbsup

I ordered a gas tank from Morad, next on the list is to go over the engine. I ripped out the interior since it was dirty/muddy, I washed everything on the yard and then let dry (rinse and repeat lol )

The seats are pretty beat up but, I found a 96 Riviera that has nice seats at the junk yard, would seats from the 96 fit into the 97? If not I was going to break out the sewing mechine and try to redo the seats but, I wasn't sure where to buy leather for them (or a leather like material).
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albertj
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Location : Finger Lakes of New York State
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PostSubject: Re: New owner of a Riviera 1997   Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:51 pm

you can get copies of the Riv leather seat covers in the correct colors from Autocraft in Mass. See http://www.customseatcovers.com/. I have used Autocraft covers in several cars, they are a bit time consuming to install but worth every second. They are actually copies of the upholstery and attach just like factory using hog rings, velcro, cinch strips, etc. You will have to remove the seats from the car and as well remove the original covers to install them. You may want to get new foam and new polyester batting as passing - but I would re-use the Riv padding (it is varied density dep. on depth and location on the seat) but cover it with new batting.
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thinker1920
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Name : dave
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PostSubject: Re: New owner of a Riviera 1997   Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:07 pm

@ albertj Thanks, I didn't realize places like that existed, are they reasonably priced?

I noticed the exhaust seems to be white-ish frown so I'm wondering if I'm going to have to change the head gasket? confused also the climate controls says the outside temperate it 164 degrees tongue and the wiper control switch doesn't work but I'm going to go to the junkyard for that, also the horn doesn't work but I can't seem to find a fuse or relay labeled horn, I looked in the boxes under the rear seat and the fuse panel on the driver's side is there somewhere else too?


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albertj
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PostSubject: Re: New owner of a Riviera 1997   Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:21 pm

thinker1920 wrote:
@ albertj Thanks, I didn't realize places like that existed, are they reasonably priced?

I noticed the exhaust seems to be white-ish frown so I'm wondering if I'm going to have to change the head gasket? confused also the climate controls says the outside temperate it 164 degrees tongue and the wiper control switch doesn't work but I'm going to go to the junkyard for that, also the horn doesn't work but I can't seem to find a fuse or relay labeled horn, I looked in the boxes under the rear seat and the fuse panel on the driver's side is there somewhere else too?



Ahem.

Regarding Autocraft, I think they are very reasonable but if you're used to buying seat covers at WalMart you'll have sticker shock. It will be cheaper than having a professional upholsterer do it but much more than a polyester knit and herculon one-size-fits-nuthin cover. You'll just have to call them. The benefit is that Autocraft is probably the company that made the originals for Lear (tier 1 sub for the Riv interior) in the first place. They make **a LOT** of the OE covers, and sell replacements to the public directly and through JCWhitney and others.

As for the exhaust, it depends. With catalytic converters and ethanol in the gasoline, cars now put out a LOT of water vapor as part of normal combustion. If your exhaust system does not get hot enough (you drive short trips) that water vapor will tend to condense and accumulate in the exhaust system, primarily the mufflers. You can get enough accumulated in there that it would take more than a couple hours of highway driving to dry it out. Instead of guessing about the head, do a leak-down compression test on the engine. A while back I posted something about how to do a leakdown test, should not be too hard to find if you use the Search function on this site. Then you'll be able to tell if you have coolant leaking from the engine's water jacket or not. I suspect it's condensation but why guess?.

Climate control reading just means the external temp sensor is, I think, disconnected or broken. It's on the lower edge of the radiator support under the front bumper. Please go look for it... Same for that horn fuse, you just missed it, try using the owners manual to find it...

All that said, it's probably time for you to search the web for a owners manual on line (I posted a link some time ago but not for your year Riv) and on to eBay for a service manual set. Service manual has wiring diagrams and schematics that will make your troubleshooting and repair 8*much** easier. Also depending on your public library you may find they have AllData or some such on line that you can use as a service manual. Visit or call the library and ask for the reference librarian, ask that person about car repair manuals.
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ZEP
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PostSubject: Re: New owner of a Riviera 1997   Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:49 pm

Hey Dave - I bought my Riv when I was 14 and I'm going to college like you and still have the car. She's had some issues along the way but be patient with her. Usually, when it rains, it pours in my experience with the Riv, but people love it and it's always satisfying to get on that supercharger and let it loose.

Enjoy college, man - what year are you? I'm about to graduate and I'm hoping to keep the Riv for the rest of my life! bounce
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thinker1920
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Name : dave
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PostSubject: Re: New owner of a Riviera 1997   Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:21 pm

@ZEP I love the 3800, in both my LeSabre and in my parent's Park Ave. and I've had the same experience with them, when something goes it seems to be in a group razz but once you fix it, they're great and it's usually a good stretch of time before they need anything again, I replaced the lower intake mainfold gaskets on both of them, and they came right back to life. When they're running smooth, the steering, acceleration, brakes are all amazing. I've driven other cars but, none have I enjoyed as much as any car with a properly running 3800.

I've been back and forth with college :-P so I am still in my freshman year. Everytime I would work instead of college, the buisness would go out of buisness, circuit city, then a call center and then I would go back to college happy

Apperently I'm bad luck happy
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