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BuickFan71

1987 Buick Park Avenue -- Your Thoughts?

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A colleague has a clean 87 Park Avenue for sale ... one owner with 88K miles.

The car is in excellent condition. Can you tell me the strengths of this model? Any concerns/known weaknesses? Thanks!

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Watch out for Rod bearings. If the engine is good it will last well over 150K. If it is weak you will probably get to 130K.

Also be prepared for an A/C compressor failure eventually. New ones are available and the way to go, but it won't be cheap.

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How can I tell if the engine is the 3.8L or the famed 3800 V-6?

I have a 1988 Olds Ninety-Eight with the 3800 engine. Great car.

Wikipedia says the VIN number will reveal which engine.

What number or letter do I look for -- and where will this letter/number occur in the VIN sequence?

Thanks!

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You might be concerned about the transmission (or more correctly the transaxel). I bought a new 1986 Park Avenue and although I liked the car, it had it's share of problems. The original trans went out at 7000 miles. The dealer kept the car for almost a week while they rebuilt rather than replaced the trans. I found out later they were rebuilding rather than replacing because they didn't have any replacements because they were going out so fast. Number 2 trans was rebuilt at 30,000 miles again under warranty. Number 3 went out at 70,000 miles (warranty expired at 50,000).

The 3rd one went out during the week Buick Motor Division had their annual dealers meeting and they had borrowed my '47 Estate Wagon for display. I mentioned that the Park Avenue had been towed into the local dealer with transmission problems and the Buick reps at the meeting said "no promises but we'll see what we can do". When I picked up the car the next day the service manager said "I've never had so many phone calls on one car". The bill was $2000 (this was in 1994). He said how does $400 sound since we also fixed a broken motor mount. I felt this was more than fair since I was out of warranty.

The year before the paint simply peeled off. Although I was out of warranty they stripped and repainted the car for $400. I guess they liked that figure.

Both the service manager and the Buick reps back at the meeting said do yourself and us a big favor and get rid of the car. We built a lot of junk in the 80's and we're paying for it now. They even offered me a current model Roadmaster wagon with 8000 miles for $8000 off the sticker. We already had an '87 Mercury Colony Park for the wife and didn't need another big wagon. Hopefully, they improved the '87 models.

In all fairness to Buick, they went beyond what I really expected both with the tranny problems as well as the repaint. However, the Mercury was purchased new the next year and we put over 90,000 miles on it during the next 10 years and never had a problem. The Merc was a body on frame rear driver with a V8 up front while the Buick was a V6 fwd. It's no coincidence that even today you rarely see a fwd taxi or police car although they're running out of options.

If the tranny is sound, you'll probably be ok.

'47 super estate wagon

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