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Discussion Starter #1
my daily driver was recently totaled because someone not paying attention rear ended me on the expressway (I'm fine). That being said I was looking into getting a used STS or SLS from the early 2000's. A mechanic friend of mine said not to buy one because of costly repairs such as head gasket failures and a trans problem. Have any of you personally known this to be a problem? I know i can search the internet, but a lot of times people keep rehashing what they've read on another page. I want to know what to look out for from people with actual experience.

Thanks in advance :bow1:
 

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Yes and Yes. Those blocks are multi peice and have a bad problem of leaking oil. The motor is an off shoot of a race car engine and is very costly to repair. Most repair shops will not touch an oil leak or head gasket job on those motors anymore because the cost out weights the value of the car by a long shot.
 

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i think the starter is under the intake mani???
 

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From my Cadillac service days:

Head gasket failure, debris buildup in the area of the oil pressure relief valve and its seat would cause low/no oil pressure, oil burning (there was a technical service bulletin on this, and involved a good old cleaning (this was usually coupled with a cleaning of the EGR valve, or replacement)... Keep in mind that these were low-maintenance engines, meaning 100,000-mile plugs, long periods between oil changes, etc... so many were subjected to neglect. Add to that being an interference engine with two cams per bank, and if the timing chain goes, well, it gets expensive quick. Like anything, a good maintenance routine, and using the car wisely will make it last. If you can find one that's had the bugs worked out and been driven responsibly, if the price is right, go for it.

Personally, I'm a fan of GM's 3800-series engines. They last forever, run great, and are relatively cheap to maintain and repair.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Personally, I'm a fan of GM's 3800-series engines. They last forever, run great, and are relatively cheap to maintain and repair.
that's where i'm looking now. Grand Prix, Bonne, or even a Buick.
Any reliability issues with the supercharged 3800s?
 

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+1 thats what im rolling in my daily....cheap parts and easy as cake to work on....
 

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granted it was older, i drove a 1997 deville for 4 straight years with out replacing anything but oil and tires. it had a northstar v8. strong car.
 

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Just stay away from 2000-2004. I actually had one that the dealer had to buy back, because after pulling the motor, they still couldn't get oil to stop leaking.
 

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that's where i'm looking now. Grand Prix, Bonne, or even a Buick.
Any reliability issues with the supercharged 3800s?
Intake gaskets tend to go at around 80K miles, and the crank position sensor gets wonky around 110K miles (and is a bit of a bear to replace, having to remove the balancer, etc), but again, overall, they're brilliantly put together. Even non-supercharged units are pretty powerful.

The supercharged 3800's have a nasty habit of rattling in the supercharger snout (mostly at idle). The old repair was to replace the snout, but there are kits available now to replace the coupler (more common) and the bearing (less common to go bad).

Another oddity is corrosion on the ICM (that plate under the coil packs), or heat degradation of the 14-pin connector which runs there (to the crank position sensor, cam and ICM)... the heat separates and weakens the connector, and causes the car to stop firing the coil pack. A fix that you can do at home.

Again, an adult-driven model, well maintained, will last forever... Great engine/trans combo, and brilliant mileage/power. Happy hunting!
 

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Ive had 2. A 99 Eldorado and a 2000 STS. Drove both until around 80,000 miles.

- As others have said already head gaskets were a main concern on these car. After 80,000 miles they tend to blow.

- They burn oil like crazy. Both of mine did this even though they were in perfect running order. Between oil changes every 3000 miles i would have to add as much as 2 quarts.

- The shocks are air shocks and pricy to replace. I want to say companies have come up with replacements now on the aftermarket scene, but at the time i had mine the shocks were dealer only and very expensive.

- The brake pads have sensors on them that break when you replace them, so your normal break job gets a little bit pricier.

- The rear knuckle assembly was known to have the bushings go bad and have a terriable squeak. They dont sell replacement bushings you would have to buy the whole assembly.

Those are some common repairs i experienced and can think of.
 

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for the price of a nice "old lady" low milage GM with a 3.8 you cant go wrong......drive the piss out of it and sell it of to a kid for a first car.....win win!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
L4Play rules because of guys like you.
Thanks for the insight gentlemen.
 

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nice....I had a 99 GT thingy a while ago....

I will say they hold up to hitting a wall at 75+ rather well...!
 
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