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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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    Senior Member

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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. Brighter fog lights

    Apparently many new cars include bulbs on the CANBUS, probably to detect bulb outages as load sensing is no longer reliable given the much lower power requirements of LED lighting. Most of these advertised as CANBUS compliant (or similar such descriptions) are simply stating they will work properly with vehicles that monitor lighting load via CANBUS. I don't know if individual bulbs are actually "on network" in such applications (suspect there is a module that does this for a group of bulbs) but they should work regardless on a Reatta as they are not being polled by any type of network communications. I've installed LED foglamps on all of mine, has been a huge improvement. Regarding post numbering, there appears to have been a recent forum software upgrade that has effected some minor changes. I found nothing about it in the forum questions subforum the other day when I first noticed the updated look.
  2. Are Riviera headlight switchpods useable on a Reatta?

    That is...illogical. No one could possibly see it at warp 7.
  3. Are Riviera headlight switchpods useable on a Reatta?

    Dave, I trust you realize that is why both hands come equipped with a signal that never burns out.
  4. Dead Mouse in Reatta

    Eh, never say never. I extracted two baby mice from up inside the dash (behind glove box and adjacent to BCM) last winter from my good 88. They (or their momma, who was conspicuously absent) had shredded up a bunch of napkins I kept in the center console to make a nest. Sucked them out with a shop vac, luckily no damage to wiring or vacuum tubing was found. My tip off was that I heard them squeaking in there. No idea how they got in, but they did. This also raises the question: who needs a mouse when you have a touchscreen? KD
  5. Question about CD player

    CD player is powered by the head unit. Source switching is automatic when a disc is inserted or play is pressed on the external player. There is a communications path between the player and the head unit to facilitate this interaction. Button illumination is also controlled similarly to other switchgear on the dash. Sounds to me like either a failed player (most likely) or problem in the harness between the head unit and CD player. Given the cost of repair for the player, I'm not sure it is worth it unless one is wanting to stay stock for show and judging purposes. So much more can be done (and far better) with current aftermarket gear. I still prize my CD collection, but it is strictly for serious listening at home on high end kit. In the car I use SD cards, a thumb drive or Bluetooth streaming via smartphone (depending on which vehicle and capabilities of installed gear therein) and get much more enjoyment from any of those than slinging discs for a max of 74 minutes of music each.
  6. Looking for any history of a Buick Reatta

    I don't get the confusion on the interior colors that so often occurs. 88-90 Reattas had no "red" interior (excepting the select 60's whuch had white and flame red interiors) but rather Claret. Outside of marketing speak, this color is clearly what would be called burgundy (or maroon if you like) and not "red". I'll concede it is in the red color family but to call it red is a gross oversimplification. 1991 offered flame red which is a color that can properly be referred to as just "red". I would suspect the white top is original given the mileage, especially if it has pin stripes and they are white. The only other likely top color from the factory would have been tan, but that generally would've been fitted to complement a tan interior. Burgundy tops were supposed to be an option, but there seem not to have been any produced outside perhaps a couple of test units. A black top might have been done, but would have been unusual for this color combo I think. At only 32,000 miles this sounds like it would be a very nice car. If it spent its whole life in AZ it should be rust and corrosion free.
  7. Earliest Known VIN Owned?

    Indeed, 142 is the earliest I think I've seen in private ownership so far. That's pretty remarkable, considering how many of the first 200 or so were either test cars or photo/press pool use based on prior information posted here.
  8. Rear brake line

    Much, much easier. I would never go back to steel lines after working with it. Especially as it will outlast steel line by an order of magnitude. Sure, it isn't cheap, but something worth doing is worth doing right. Since I plan on keeping my cars long term, anything I can do to reduce future maintenance needs and improve longevity is a good thing.
  9. Reatta Rim Decision

    89RDG- Not sure about that. Near as I can tell the wheels are just cast aluminum like so many other GM rims of the era. I dont know if there was some sort of surface contamination that caused the clear coat not to adhere properly, or what happened. The effected areas have taken on a kind of beige discoloration and the clear coat is slightly raised due to bubbling underneath. This does kind of resemble the corrosion often found on "pot metal" type alloys. RetroJohhny - I have several spare 88-90 style rims. Not all are suitable for refinishing as some have curb damage to probably goes to deep to be machine out, although some places can weld in aluminum to fill gouges in the surface. If you want some spares, let me know and I will go through them to see how many are in decent enough shape to refinish. Shipping these is kind of a hassle due to the size and weight, so keep that in mind.
  10. Reatta Rim Decision

    Yeah, not sure what to think, but I'm not pleased at all. Moisture definitely got under the clear coat though, as it has discolored and corroded the aluminum noticeably. Now I will be faced with redoing them again or junking them in favor of something else. Have been spying some 17" chrome clad wheels from a more recent Lucerne that I like the look of. Cost comes out about the same as a refinish job, but of course will need tires too which makes it more costly. And, the 15" tires on the refinished rims were new when I got the rims back so they are barely broke in yet. Could probably use them on my Cadillac which has 15" factory chrome wheels and is about to need tires anyway. Another big issue with the stock Reatta 88-90 rim design is that they are good for one refinish before the engraved "BUICK" logo is machined off almost entirely by the lathe. So, no second chance on these. I have several more sitting around form cars that were parted, so maybe will just media blast and them paint and clear coat them. That way the aluminum is better protected and I can use some of the nastier center caps I have if I paint them instead of machining the surface. Maybe do a graphite grey color for something a bit more modern looking. Will hide the brake dust better as well.
  11. Rear brake line

    Look also for a product called SURNR, or SUR&R. It is a special alloy that comes in a roll for brake line work in the common sizes. Looks kind of like copper or bronze tubing (but isn't as it is specifically intended and rated for brake system pressure). I've used it extensively and it not only will never rust (as it is not steel) but is hand bendable and much easier to flare. They also sell their own line of fittings, but these aren't required if you prefer to use normal fittings that are the correct size and flare type.
  12. Reatta Rim Decision

    A word of caution on the 88-90 stock rims: I had four done a year ago. They looked great and the outfit did (what I thought) was a great job. A year later, depsite very few miles on them - maybe 900-1000 tops - I have corrosion appearing under the new clear coat on all 4 wheels. Now, they did not skimp on the clear coat by the looks of it, and I have had 91 style wheels done by the same shop that still look great, so I'm not sure what happened. Given the cost to redo these, and the fact that newer size compatible rims can often be bought for far less that refinishing work, I'd seriously consider upgrading to something else unless you really want to stay stock. As well, getting the stock center caps redone is a big problem, another wrinkle to consider. Many newer GM rims will fit, including many Buick and Cadillac rim designs.
  13. Windshield questions

    Dave is correct in his advice. Pilkington is still the only supplier, but they do both wholesale to other glass installers as well as retail through their own service glass division. So, yes, Safelight or anyone else can order it in. I would suggest - if you are comfortable doing so - removing the A pillar trims, dash top pad and vent window leading edge weather strips before having the glass removed. These items are easily damaged in removal of the old glass unless the installer is well familiar with the Reatta (hint: most aren't).
  14. Holy Cow!

    Yeah, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Then again, you get to look forward to driving the ol' 55. I hear seven bridges road is a nice drive in the fall...put in a SC 3800 and take it to the limit.
  15. 90 transmission

    I too will suggest a possible ignition control module fault. I had this and swore it was a tranny issue for a long time until the ICM died and the repalcement also eliminated the shudder at highway speed. Do check the routing of the plug wires also the FSM is wrong for at least the 1988 edition and has the even and odd cylinder banks reversed, which has probably lead some to unknowingly screw up the firing order by following what the book says. The MAF is also a possible suspect, so don't rule it out until proper operation is confirmed. Try not to rely heavily on the on board diagnostic. It is nice as far as it goes, but not comprehensive enough to accurately pinpoint many issues without some old fashioned seat of the pants troubleshooting.