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Should I buy a 1988 Buick Reatta?

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<TABLE class=tborder2 id=post702946 cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=6 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD class=alt3 id=td_post_702946>I have an opportunity to buy a 1988 Buick Reatta that has 133k mile on it and no apparent problems. It is in excellent condition, everything works, it had only one previous owner and it has been garaged all its life. I would use it moderately because I will need it for occasional transportation. I'm really concerned about the unique parts on the car and any difficulties this might present, since I would not be buying it just as a collector's car. Also, I've heard that there can be issues with water leakage.

I would greatly appreciate any input because I need to make a decision quickly. :confused:<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

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Any car can have problems, some water problems can be tricky to find but nothing that cannot be solved with RTV.

Reatta has the advantages that while complex (was really the first massively computer car), there is unlikely to be anything insoluable and parts are available (glass can be very expensive so be sure to carry comprehensive insurance).

The question is more about you. The Reatta should be owned by someone who likes to tinker, has a garage to work in, and is on the Harbor Freight mailing list. IMNSHO, the 88 coupe is the best to start with since it was the original.

133,000 is nothing to be concerned about, are more likely to run into age related issues.

One warning though: they do tend to be addictive.

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As Padgett mentioned parts are not a problem. I have been parting out Reattas for about 12 years and usually have most parts available at reasonable prices.

The two most common parts to go bad on the '88-89 Reattas are the headlight switch module and the CRT/touch screen. I always have both of these available.

When the headlight switches go bad you might have trouble turning off the headlights, ( you might have to sort of punch the off button instead of simply pressing it ) The dimming of the dash lights and all the dash lights not coming on.

The most important thing though in buying any '88-90 Reatta is to change all the brake fluid. This is a must and should be done about every 3-4 years.

I can be reached for parts at jfinn@cpinternet.com

Here are the instructions for changing the fluid.

1. It is HIGHLY recommended that all the fluid in the whole system be

changed with new fluid to eliminate any built up moisture in the system.

2. Any time the brake hydraulic system is to be opened the brake pedal

should be pumped 25 times with the key off to bleed off the 2600

pounds of pressure in the accumulator.

3. Siphon out as much of the old fluid as possible from the reservoir and refill with clean fluid to the top. Another good way is to cut the rubber hose that comes from the reservoir right where it attaches to the ABS pump and let all the fluid in the reservoir run out. Then remove the piece of hose still attached to the pump and reinstall the rubber hose. It is long enough to do this. I like to cut it rather than try and remove it because the hose sticks really hard to the plastic fitting and you might break the fitting trying to take the hose off. Doing it this way you get all the fluid out of the reservoir before putting in new clean fluid.

4. When doing the rear wheels only let out about a half of a cup and then refill the reservoir. This is to make sure you don't take out too much and get air into the system.

5. To bleed the front brakes have the key off and bleed in a conventional

method. Have someone pump the pedal a few times and hold it down while the other person opens the front bleeders.

6. To bleed the rear brakes

A. Turn on the key and allow the system to pressurize

B. Have an assistant slightly depress the pedal and hold it.

C. Open each rear bleeder, one at a time, and hold open until clear

fluid comes out. (The pump and motor will do the bleeding)

When you are done there are high and low marks on the reservoir and after the system pump and motor has run and the lights are out the level should be at the low mark. When you have pumped the brakes with the key off 25 times the level will be at the high mark.

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DOT5 is no good, it is silicone-based and must only be used in a braking system designed for it. Plus, since DOT5 is not hydroscopic, it won't absorb water in the system. Instead, it allows water to pool in the low spots of the braking system, which will cause pressure variances when the heat flashes it from non-compressible water to very compressible steam, and will rust the brake lines from the inside out.

DOT4 is what you want, it is almost identical to DOT3, but has a higher boiling point. I've never seen a DOT3 braking system that wouldn't work better with DOT4. DOT4's boiling point is some 50 degrees hotter than DOT3, so it resists brake fade better. DOT3/4 is also hydroscopic, which means it will tolerate some water in the system without effect. Get too much in though, and it will act like DOT5 will right off the bat.

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