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KDirk last won the day on November 19 2015

KDirk had the most liked content!

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About KDirk

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    St. Louis, Missouri


  • Biography
    A technically minded perfectionist who has found Reattas to be a perfect outlet for applying those characteristics. I also collect and repair vintage Sansui hi-fi gear (from late 1960's to late 1970's primarily) and dabble in pinball machine repairs. I play classical organ and like to mess around with electronic design as it relates to embedded systems. Am a capable mechanic ; and getting better by sheer necessity.

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  1. Found for sale in the UK

    That being the case, if the car interests you, and you don't mind the potential challenges inherent in getting parts shipped from the US when repairs are needed, what's to lose in making a low ball offer? I'd say (from the limited pictures at any rate) it is a nice car, certainly for the low mileage and it's paint and wheels look far better than average. On this side of the pond, this car would look to be in the top 15-20% on overall condition from what I see. Even then, the market here in the US isn't great for the Reatta, and coupes of any year in this condition or even better seem to top out around $6500, with most fetching less than that. Convertibles will fetch better if their condition warrants the premium. On the flip side, since Buick is not a particularly regarded marque in the UK, there probably isn't much to be said for the inherent exclusivity of owning this car. If you're the type who just likes something different for it's own sake, this would fit that bill nicely. However, I don't expect it will get a lot of attention at cruises and car shows though, based upon your assessment of how Buicks are perceived there. Really, a Reatta doesn't get much attention here except at all Buick shows where there are more people familiar with them present. As to the good old boy bit, a Reatta clearly is an incongruous car to present that image. A muscle car or a pickup truck would fill the bill for those wanting to role play as extras from Hazzard county.
  2. Found for sale in the UK

    The car has also had round amber side marker lights added to the front fenders ahead of the front door (as is compulsory in most ofI Europe). The rear lower bumper valence also has auxiliary turn signal/brake lights added (half red and half amber rectangular lamps). These probably were added as the Reatta lacks amber lenses for turn signals at the rear, and most countries in Europe will not certify a car with only red lenses at the rear. This car looks nice, and being probably the only one in the UK, might be worth the ask based on scarcity. You couldn't get one that nice from the US, have it shipped over and add the auxiliary turn signals and other mods for less I don't think. Now, whether there's a market for it in England is the question. Finding that eccentric buyer who wants a "one of one in the country" that will be difficult to source parts and service for is going to be tough.
  3. door hinges

    An update on this. Dug out a spare lower hinge that was kind of nasty (rusty mostly) and took a look at it. The main pin assembly can be removed, but only if one uses a grinder to remove the mushroomed portion off the bottom of the pin. It can then be driven out after the spring is removed to take the tension off. This, however, doesn't allow replacement of the check roller as I discovered it is held on by a splined pin that is pressed into the main hinge pin and is only removable by drilling it out. The issue then becomes what to hold the new check roller on with since the factory driven splined pin has to be destroyed. I suspect the drilled out main hinge pin could be tapped and a grade 10 shoulder bolt installed through the new check roller with thread lock, or perhaps a machine shop could make something up to replicate the original splined pin and press it in. That would be the more costly option of course. The only good news is that the check roller is readily available and the hinge can technically be serviced, just not easily. I'll be rebuilding a set before too long as my good 88 drivers door is getting some sag and squeak due to the check roller wobbling out. Will write up the process when I do so.
  4. Problem with reanodizing is the size of the tank needed to do a Reatta bumper. Very few places have the facilities to do so. Save for that, it wouldn't be that tough or expensive. But, if you have to ship it halfway across the country to get it done, it is no longer an economically viable proposition for most Reatta owners.
  5. Ronnie, have seen that a few times actually. I'm not really enamored of the painted bumper look, but if the finish is shot, it is a relatively cheap way to hide it, compared to stripping and polishing the aluminum and then either powder coating it or having it anodized again. I do like some bright work on a car. That said, I've repainted the chrome on the outside door handles on one of the 88's because the chrome was shot, and will be doing the same on the 91 convertibles. May also do that on the 91 coupe as the chrome on those handles is starting to pit.
  6. What's your favorite Reatta advertisement?

    Marck, an interesting ad for sure. First, it uses a black, not red, Reatta for the photo. Second, it lacks the Reatta logo (either the stylized typeface or the sunburst) which I find odd and yet does have the tri-shield shown which was conspicuously absent from the Reatta in all other respects. Finally, the translation is quite amusing. Appear it does that Yoda works as a translator at Google. Unlikely is it not, thought I did? And that red 91 looks like a steal for $4k.
  7. engine runs but keeps bogging out when you put in gear

    89RDG, surprised you could put it all together for that money. I based my estimate on Delco ICM and coils, dealer ordered plate and bolts. Prces may have come down as well since I first looked at it about 6 years ago. I'm sure aftermarket was less anyway, by at least a bit. There are other bolts one could use (modification or grinding needed in some cases) but i decided to keep it simple and get factory parts. Really, given the reliability of the Delco setup I had no problem putting used parts on my 88's when I did the conversion. Cost me about $50 for the bracket, ICM hardware and coils from a salvage yard, I think Ronnie also raises good points on troubleshooting. Spark plug wires especially, be mindful of the order. Very easy to mix up. Also, the factory service manual reverses the even and odd bank in the tuneup section. If you followed the book, you got it wrong. I speak from experience.
  8. engine runs but keeps bogging out when you put in gear

    88-90 all had the identical Magnavox ignition system with a "single" coil pack that contained all three coils as one unit. This setup mounts similarly but not 100% identical to the Delco design that superceded it in 91. The Magnavox module is its own mount and doesn't need the adapter plate. The Delco module requires an aluminum adapter plate and 3 special square flush head bolts/lock nuts to take the place of the integral mounting studs on the Magnavox module. The Delco module and the three individual coil packs are held to the mount plate by long metric bolts that install through the coil packs and thread into the plate beneath the module. 91 was the first year for this design (at least on the Reatta). It was used henceforth on most NA 3800 (pre-series one) equipped GM cars through 1995. Some models started getting incremental changes in 94, by 96 it was different enough to no longer be a direct swap to a Reatta AFAIK. EGR cannot be removed on the 88-90 3800 without setting codes (or reworking the ECM program and other mods). The 91 version has no EGR valve but is an updated version of the 3800 engine.
  9. engine runs but keeps bogging out when you put in gear

    You certain there isn't an obstruction somewhere in the exhaust (perhaps a collapsed catalytic converter)? That would usually take out the EGR (or at least set an error) due to exhaust back pressure. Would also cause it to bog out under any kind of load above idle. The Delco ignition setup with mount and hardware can be had complete from most 1991-93 GM vehicles with the 3800, some as late as 95, assuming you have a yard nearby to source one from. New parts may still be available from a dealer but will be much more costly, naturally. The coil packs and module can be bought new at almost any auto parts store and are sold individually as replacements. Again, better to get a used working one or you'll drop over $400 getting the needed parts new.
  10. Reatta BCM replacement - Help

    Present in 1991 as well, but no on 1988 or 89. And yes, that is triggered by logic in the IPC that compares the twilight reading (assuming the photocell is good) against the status of the headlamps being on. If the twilight reading to BCM is below a certain threshold (defined as dark by the BCM firmware) and the headlamps are not already on, that telltale will illuminate. So, it is a part of the twilight sentinel system inasmuch as it relies on the outside light reading from the BCM broadcast over the dataline. Control of that indicator however is entirely a function of the IPC internal logic.
  11. Reatta BCM replacement - Help

    Ronnie, one of the prinicipal functions of the twilight photocell in the Reatta is to signal the BCM when it is dark enough to call for switchgear backlighting being on and for dimming of the various displays (IPC, climate control and radio readouts on 90/91 and CRT on 88/89 cars). Since auto headlamps are not implemented on the 88-90 Reatta, the third major reason for it is goes unused. The Rivi and similarly equipement Cadillacs and Olds, of course, did have the auto headlamp feature. All The EL in my 88's is working after chasing down various issues (photocells, inverters, bad EL in some switches and gear indicators) and I am hoping to stretch their usable lifespan well into the future as usability is definitely impacted at night with them dim or completely dark. I do a fair amount of night driving so I consider this important, aside from the fact that I just like everything to work.
  12. Reatta BCM replacement - Help

    Using a fixed value resistor to spoof the BCM into thinking it is always dark out (thereby forcing the switchgear backlighting to turn on) won't have any major deleterious effects, but will do two things. First, on 88/89 cars it will cause the EL backlighting on the shift indicator, console switches and headlamp and wiper switch pods to always be on anytime the headlamps, park lamps or fog lamps are turned on, even in daylight . This will shorten the remaining lifespan of the EL backlighting and the inverters, as they wouldn't otherwise be on in daylght conditions under normal circumstances. On 90/91 models, all instrumentation backlighting is done with incandeacent lamps. These too will have their lifespan exhausted more quickly by being on more frequently. Second, anytime the head/park/fog lamps are on, it will dim the IPC displays and - on 88/89 models - the CRT as well, thereby reducing visibility in bright daylight conditions. This may or may not present a big problem for you, but you should be aware of it. Spoofing the BCM twilight input via a resistor is cheap and easy versus changing the photocell, but does have the above tradeoffs. This is especially noteworthy if you use the fog lamps full time as daytime running lights.
  13. Buick Reatta body gap size..?

    The headlamp cover panels are an aluminum alloy, not thermoplastic. Interesting too that I've noted a minor revision in the molds where some have a cross-hatch on the underside (almost as if to add some mild reinforcement) while others are completely smooth save for a few date stamp and ID markings. Be careful in removing the shim/spacer washers and against overtightening the nuts that go on the mounting studs as you can easily warp or dimple the cover noticeably in doing so. As far as vertically aligning the front bumper, I've found that it is good to support them with a wood block on a floor jack under the center when reinstalling them to be certain they are tight against the bottom edge of the front filler panel before tightening the bumper mounting nuts. Back bumper installation benefits similarily.
  14. Well, to the point of the topic, I am actually impressed it caught the closing bid it did. Lets be honest, in general terms the Reatta is still some - probably substantial - distance away from getting the attention and respect of serious collectors. The reasons why that is have been debated here at great length, and I'll not revisit that topic now. I will say nearly $26,000 for a Reatta - even this one which is about as premium as you can hope to find - is a pleasant surprise to me and perhaps an indication that things are moving in the direction for the Reatta to gain some credibility as a bona fide collector car. Now, I have mixed feelings on that actually. If it happens it will inevitably increase the cost of ownership for those of us who got in at the bottom. Maybe it is selfish of me, but I'm not so sure I want my modest and largely overlooked little car commandeered by big money, high end collectors. Ultimately, that makes parts, insurance, recurring property taxes - for those of us in states that levy such taxes - go up, and likely substantially. Probably the risk of theft increases as well if they are widely known to be valuable cars. Sure, I can probably parlay that into a profit by selling a car or two if it comes to pass and there is actual high collector demand. But, that was never my intent in acquiring these cars. The only thing such a change in the perception of and market for the Reatta really gains me is validation. In other words, it [perhaps] proves up at some future point in time that my taste in cars was prescient, and that I was simply way ahead of the curve, and all the high rollers were late to the party. Maybe that strokes my ego a bit, but if it costs me a bunch of money, I don't see it as a benefit, in all honesty. In fact, I expect I'd be rather resentful of such a development if it hits me heavily in the wallet. It would be like building a modest house in the country with the intent to have an affordable chunk of real estate to call home. 30 years on, the surrounding area suddenly becomes the hot new suburb of choice and gets built out with million dollar homes and fancy strip malls. Now the valuation of my little shack goes stratospheric and in turn my homeowners insurance and property taxes get obscenely high because of the surrounding new development. Very shortly, I get priced out of being able to live in my home and have to sell to a developer (even if at a handsome profit, which I will also be taxed on naturally) who will bulldoze my place and put up another million dollar house. And, keeping in mind I had no interest at all in moving elsewhere to begin with. So, do be careful what you wish for. There are likely knock on effects that come with increased interest and exposure in the public consciousness. Now, I understand there are undoubtedly some here who are hoping that this is exactly the trajectory that the Reatta takes so they can cash in on the appreciation that occurs under such a scenario. Different priorities and all that. But again, that isn't my interest in the Reatta. So, going forward, we're likely to see a divergence in opinion among the early adopters who bought these cars when nobody was really interested.
  15. Naw, teach a man to fish and he can escape his wife's nagging on the weekend.