: Is a Buick Riviera 90% of a Eldo, without the Reliability Issues?



devilleconcours100
02-10-08, 07:05 PM
I've been thinking about a sporty yet luxurious American car that I can use for commuting, without worrying about reliability or fuel economy. I'd love to have a Seville or Eldorado, but it seems like that the 95-99 Buick Riviera combines the best qualities of the Eldorado with the reliability of a Buick 3.8. The styling isn't quite as distinctive, but I can live with it.

Opinions, Dave.

Destroyer
02-10-08, 08:03 PM
Well yeah, pretty much. Kinda like an 80's Riviera or Olds Toronado convertible with a 307 would be a better choice than an Eldorado with a 4.1. Did they make those year Riviera's without superchargers?. If so that would be a good model to get cause the 3.8 supercharged models had some issues. Even supercharged it wont have the top end power of a N* but not having the fear of blown headgaskets is worth it to me.:thumbsup:

hueterm
02-10-08, 08:19 PM
I'm actually in the middle of this right now.

I have a '97 Riv S/C w/50K miles and am in the process of looking for an ETC. The Riv is my 2nd 3800 S/C (the first being a GP GTP). Both are/were great cars. The main differences between the Riv and the Eldo that will be a reliability issue are the N* headgasket issue, and the complexity of the road sensing suspension (RSS) in the ETC. I've read that the 3800 S/C's transmission is weaker than the N*'s, but I don't think that it's a major issue.

The 3800 has good power, especially right off the line -- but where the N* just gets going on the highway, the 3800 starts running out of steam. IMO it does not drive as well as the N* (which is the main reason I want the Eldo). And I hate the sound of the 3800 which sounds puny in comparison to the N*. Admittedly, I'm being pretty picky. The Riv drives very well on the highway. Both smooth and responsive. Obviously it's not a 5 series BMW, but it's not a Fleetwood either. The Riv is solid as a rock though.

I would say that the Riv's styling is more distinctive than the Eldo's. There is nothing else like it, for better or worse -- you either love it or hate it. The Eldo is much more conservative. The trunk is spacious, but oddly shaped. It's very narrow at the back end. It is deep, though. The Eldo's interior, IMO is much better. The Riv's is pretty stark, yet it's very distinctive. Again, you love it or hate it. I like the Riv's interior, but I just like the look of the Cadillac interior better.

The Riv does not have as many gizmos -- barely adequate stereo that is hard to upgrade due to the depth of the dash, no trip computer. TERRIBLE cupholder/cubbyhole areas for cell phone, etc. However, the CD storage area is easy to take out and makes a great place to install an XM radio. The Riv's front seats are comfortable, the driver's has both heat and lumbar (not sure if the pass seat had those as options), but I prefer the Eldorado's seats. It has actually very good rear seat room for a coupe -- better than the Eldorado. My Riv does not have a sunroof, but it has a TON of headroom.

I bought mine almost 2 years ago w/38K miles for $7K. I've put on new tires, a water pump, new brakes, new battery (which is vented, under the rear seat, and expensive...), a subwoofer in the trunk, and the XM Radio custom install. It has never left me stranded other than when I needed to jump it before getting the new battery. The only thing wrong w/mine is that the fuel gauge doesn't work accurately. I just use the trip odometer and get gas when I hit 200 miles.

I say all that to say that other than the reliability issue, the main benefit that the Riv has over the Eldo is the price. You should be able to find one for a few thousand cheaper than an Eldo w/the same year and mileage. I get about 15 MPG in town w/my Concours and I probably get 16-17 w/the Riv. On the hwy, I probably get 22-23 w/my Concours and 25 w/the Riv. The Riv does require premium fuel.

It's a great car, I'm just ready for a change. My parents are buying mine as a 2nd car. I wouldn't recommend it to them if it wasn't a good car. If you can find one, it makes a great daily driver.

creeker
02-10-08, 09:43 PM
I've been thinking about a sporty yet luxurious American car that I can use for commuting, without worrying about reliability or fuel economy. I'd love to have a Seville or Eldorado, but it seems like that the 95-99 Buick Riviera combines the best qualities of the Eldorado with the reliability of a Buick 3.8. The styling isn't quite as distinctive, but I can live with it.

Opinions, Dave.

Check out this website, carsurvey.org, opinions of actual owners.

creeker
02-10-08, 10:12 PM
I've been considering a riviera myself, I prefer the 80 -85 myself,I like the squarish lines better,if you need one for being reliable though I can see going as new as possible,mine would be a second fun car.Does anyone know if the
80's ones ever had leather interior with a consule?.

hueterm
02-10-08, 10:41 PM
The '79-85 was a beautiful design (as were the Toronado & Eldorado). My parents had an '83 Toronado when I was growing up, which was very nice.

That gen Riv Turbo/S-Type had bucket seats with a small console between the seats, but it wasn't a full length console and there wasn't a floor shifter. I think the Eldo and Toro had similar layouts in the Touring Coupe and Caliente editions.

devilleconcours100
02-10-08, 10:55 PM
I always liked the 79-85 E-Body (I've still got a 81 Seville, which was basically a 4 door version of the E-Body), but for a daily driver, I'll be looking for something along the lines of a 95-99 Riv. I would really prefer a non-supercharged model, which I understand was only available in 95-96, and was an rare model. I don't want the SC because of the possibility of expensive future repairs, but if I could find a well maintained SC Riviera, in the right color, I'd take it. I need something for a "commuter" car, but I still want something with a little "class", and that I wouldn't mind driving on a dinner date.

Dave

creeker
02-10-08, 11:15 PM
I always liked the 79-85 E-Body (I've still got a 81 Seville, which was basically a 4 door version of the E-Body), but for a daily driver, I'll be looking for something along the lines of a 95-99 Riv. I would really prefer a non-supercharged model, which I understand was only available in 95-96, and was an rare model. I don't want the SC because of the possibility of expensive future repairs, but if I could find a well maintained SC Riviera, in the right color, I'd take it. I need something for a "commuter" car, but I still want something with a little "class", and that I wouldn't mind driving on a dinner date.

Dave


Did the 79-85 have the S/C?. (good to know 79 is the same also,my car book didn't show a 79 picture).

Destroyer
02-10-08, 11:24 PM
In all honesty as a former Cadillac owner (a '98 Deville led me to buy a Lincoln), this is a great alternative to a N* powered car and is much more modifiable plus its RWD. This is my wifes '98 Mark VIII which currently has 24k original miles. These have a 280hp DOHC 4.6 much like the N* but they have no issues with headgaskets and the average guy can work on them. This is a base model but I gave it the LSC treatment with LSC moldings plus I painted the grill body color. Awesome cars, great power and reliability. We already put over 8k miles on it and have had no problems with it.

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z251/AstrocreepVIII/DSC04377.jpg

This is my third DOHC Ford powered car and not the last. I currently have a '99 Vert Cobra and had a '95 Mark VIII.

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z251/AstrocreepVIII/DSC04329.jpg

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z251/AstrocreepVIII/Mark%20VIII/DSC02591.jpg

hueterm
02-10-08, 11:30 PM
Did the 79-85 have the S/C?. (good to know 79 is the same also,my car book didn't show a 79 picture).

There was a Turbo 6 in the '79-85 (during some but maybe not all years) -- but it was nothing like the 3800 S/C (either Series 1 or 2) in terms of performance. However, I think it had more HP than the V8s of the time.

I don't think that engine was available in the Toro or the Eldo.

hueterm
02-10-08, 11:35 PM
Did the 79-85 have the S/C?. (good to know 79 is the same also,my car book didn't show a 79 picture).

Anymore, color is the biggest issue I have w/finding Rivs. Mine is the tan/champagne color, which is acceptable, but not preferred, IMO. And those are about all I seem to find. (There's one on eBay now, but mine is in better shape.) Mileage is the other main issue. It's getting harder and harder to find one w/under 100K, much less 75K.

I wouldn't worry about the S/C. As long as it's been serviced, and has a good belt. I put 50K miles on my GTP in under 3 years and never had a problem other than having it serviced once. And my Riv's S/C was just checked over and the dealer said it didn't need servicing again (it had been done once a few years ago).

Far and away, most of the people that bought these new were "older" in demographic...I doubt they were drag racing like the GP crowd.

hueterm
02-10-08, 11:40 PM
Destroyer -- is there any way to get rid of the rear window seal pucker w/o replacing the window? (From what I've read, that's the only fix and it's $$$$.) My '92 Toronado did that and it drove me crazy.

Although headroom in the Mark VIII has been more of a hinderance to my purchasing one. They are beautiful though -- if I found a '96 LSC w/the HIDs, I might have to get a spinal column reduction or something to comfortably fit into one (or at least shave my head so my hair doesn't hit the headliner).

hueterm
02-10-08, 11:47 PM
And to the OP, regarding your 90% question -- I would definitely say yes. I would also say they were equal if you could deal w/90% of the performance of the N* w/the S/C engine. Since I bought my Concours, I've really gotten to like the N* (rolling the dice, yes, I know...).

If you are considering, and in fact, preferring the non-S/C engine -- then I would say yes, they're equal for what you're looking for. The biggest difference at that point is whether or not you like the interior.

devilleconcours100
02-11-08, 09:39 AM
Well, I'm not crazy about the interior of the Riv (I prefer the rich trimmings and pure luxury of the Eldorado), I can live with it. With regards to a Mark VIII, I would love to have one, but what I have overheard about the Mark VIII, especiallly the Gen 2 models, are hard to get parts for, and have some quite expensive hangups (HID headlights, 4 Wheel Air Suspension, Electronics gremlins), and the fuel economy isn't much better than my Town Car. But, I've seen some examples that were clean for very cheap, so I guess it is worth discussing, also. Which do you guys think is the better value, the Mark VIII or Eldorado?

Dave

TSS
02-11-08, 12:03 PM
I see a lot of sagging Lincolns. Sort of like trading suspension problems for HG problems IMO. I have heard positive things about the Riv S/C. It worked well in the Park Ave too.

My 82 year old neighbor has a last year made LSC (1998?), black on black, with under 9K miles on it that he bought new. That car still catches my eye when he takes it out for a spin. It does not sag... :thumbsup:

devilleconcours100
02-11-08, 12:43 PM
I've got a 94 Town Car, and when I bought it, the rear end was sagging (dryrotted air springs). I bought a set of coils that were made for a Crown Vic, and it doesn't sag anymore. That having been said, I wonder if you could fit a T-Bird coil set under a Mark VIII? It would save plenty of money ;)

Dave

I~LUV~Caddys8792
02-11-08, 12:52 PM
If I was to buy a secondary car ever for daily driving, I would buy a Supercharged 3800 car, and of all the excellent S/C 3800 cars ever made, my first choice would be a 98-99 Riviera. My second choice would be either a GTP Sedan or a Regal GS Sedan. The reason I like the Riv the most is because it's a big personal luxury coupe, with that great history behind the name, and it's got that very distinctive interior and exterior design. The GTP and GS are nice cars also, but in all reality, they're just gussied up family sedans with a lot of power.

Shawn4.0
02-11-08, 01:53 PM
The 92-02 Eldorado and 95-99 Riveria have absolutely ZERO in common, mechanically. The Eldy never upgraded to the new G-body platform, remained a K-body till it's end in 2002. In theory, they're sort of similar, the Edly is obivously a bit more upscale, as mentioned. The S/C Riv is the one to get. The regular 3800 had lots of intake manifold problems where composite cracks. The S/C solves this by being made out of aluminum lol. The issues with S/C's are due to previous owner neglect.

As far as Mark VIII vs. a Riviera, there's a vid just for you! :D

http://youtube.com/watch?v=-OhVQGdDa2I

Slo-Mo-Shun
02-11-08, 10:05 PM
I have a 2000 park avenue ultra, which is 99% of a riviera. I've driven a 2005 DeVille, which is pretty much an Ultra with the Nstar instead of the supercharged V6. My mom had a 1995 Riviera which we got rid of for an old Jag XJ6.

The bottom line for the Riviera, and why I will never own one, is it has the most aweful seats GM ever put in a modern car. Absolutely no support whatsoever. "Car but" in 30 minutes tops. There is no excuse for seats this bad. If you want evidence of incompetance at GM, you don't have to look any further than the seats in the 1995-99 Riviera.

It's very strange because the Park Avenue has maybe the best seats I've ever sat in. Better than my STS-V, or the BMW 750 I had before that. Better than the DeVille. How could the same manufacturer have reached such extremes in such similar cars? My WAG is that somebody left over from the Electra 225 era got put in charge of the Riviera's seats and was gonna make dammed sure the sonofabich had seats like a "real" Buick, which he apparently thought meant velour and padding as supportive as cream cheese.

If the mechanicals of the Riviera are what you seek, get the park avenue with buckets. I agree that the supercharged V6 isn't quite up to the Nstar, but its plenty fast enough for a luxury car and is rock solid reliable so long as you remember to replenish the supercharger oil.

Mark0101
02-11-08, 11:29 PM
There are conversion kits for the Mark VIII to go from air to coil for $500. Really Its not that big of a problem as peopple seem to think it is. Riv is nice but I would say go for a Mark VIII. It has a lot better interior design and more technology. Just keep upi with the maint. and it will be good to you. But if headroom is the problem then I guess you can't really change that in the car.
here are mine
http://inlinethumb48.webshots.com/42543/2669245010102970895S600x600Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2669245010102970895PKiJLe)

JC316
02-12-08, 03:45 AM
The Mark VIII is a great car for sure, but I prefer the Eldorado over it. If you want more reliable, then get a Mark, or the Riviera, if you want handling and looks, get the Eldorado, if you want gadets, get a 98+ Seville.

gothicaleigh
02-12-08, 09:26 AM
Chimpanzees share 96% of their DNA with humankind.

Oh what a difference 10% can make.






*EDIT* Happy Darwin Day! :D

Slo-Mo-Shun
02-12-08, 12:23 PM
The Mark VIII is a great car for sure, but I prefer the Eldorado over it. If you want more reliable, then get a Mark, or the Riviera, if you want handling and looks, get the Eldorado, if you want gadets, get a 98+ Seville.

My mom in law has a 2000 Eldo. Handling has a certain subjective component, but on an objective level the Eldo is hands down the worst handling car of the three. It uses an ancient, 1980's era FWD platform. The Riviera is based on the more modern Aurora platform. Even my park avenue outhandles the eldo. As for the Mark VIII, it is RWD and uses the same IRS as the Mustang Cobra, which should tell you what its handling potential is. It is the hands-down, no contest winner.

gothicaleigh
02-12-08, 12:37 PM
As for the Mark VIII, it is RWD and uses the same IRS as the Mustang Cobra, which should tell you what its handling potential is.

So it has truck-like handling? The Mustang has never been known as a very good handler in any form.

The aluminum differential case and wheel bearings are all that the SVT Cobra and Mark VIII share between their IRS systems btw.

Destroyer
02-12-08, 03:33 PM
Well, I'm not crazy about the interior of the Riv (I prefer the rich trimmings and pure luxury of the Eldorado), I can live with it. With regards to a Mark VIII, I would love to have one, but what I have overheard about the Mark VIII, especiallly the Gen 2 models, are hard to get parts for, and have some quite expensive hangups (HID headlights, 4 Wheel Air Suspension, Electronics gremlins), and the fuel economy isn't much better than my Town Car. But, I've seen some examples that were clean for very cheap, so I guess it is worth discussing, also. Which do you guys think is the better value, the Mark VIII or Eldorado?

DaveI replaced the air ride suspension on my '95 Mark for $380 (shipped). Did the work myself in about 2 hours, it was easy. The factory HID bulbs are hard to find and expensive IF you want all factory stuff. The passenger side HID was out when I bought the '98. Instead of finding another factory bulb I spend $110 and bought an HID kit and installed two new brighter bulbs with new ballasts and spliced them into the factory harness. A 1 hour job and now I can use any 'ole HID bulb. I grant you the fuel mileage isn' t very good but no worse than my wifes '98 Deville was.

Destroyer
02-12-08, 03:42 PM
The Mark VIII is a great car for sure, but I prefer the Eldorado over it. If you want more reliable, then get a Mark, or the Riviera, if you want handling and looks, get the Eldorado, if you want gadets, get a 98+ Seville.Like someone said the Mark has RWD and IRS. I have not driven an Eldorado but I can tell you that I wasn't impressed with the handling on our ex-98 Deville. The Mark in stock form is a much better handling car and then there is the aftermarket which is very kind to Mark VIII owners. Anything from suspension to stroked motors and superchargers. Anything the Cobra Mustangs can have, the Mark VIII's can have. Looks are subjective but I personally think the Gen2 Mark VIII is more pleasing to the eye.

hueterm
02-12-08, 07:06 PM
I need to find a Mark VIII without a sunroof....and check the headroom.

Destroyer
02-12-08, 08:11 PM
I need to find a Mark VIII without a sunroof....and check the headroom.
How tall are you? lol. I'm 6' 2" and have at least 3" to spare. Mine does not have a sunroof.

hueterm
02-12-08, 09:06 PM
Oh, well that would work -- i'm 6'. I found a '95 base in Chicago w/55K miles, but it has a moonroof.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
02-12-08, 09:46 PM
As far as overall design is concerned, I prefer the early Mark VIII's to the later ones. I prefer the Riv's to the late VIII's, but between the early VIII's and Riv's, it's tough. But I prefer the Eldorados to all, as far as overall design is concerned.

Destroyer
02-13-08, 06:48 AM
As far as overall design is concerned, I prefer the early Mark VIII's to the later ones. I prefer the Riv's to the late VIII's, but between the early VIII's and Riv's, it's tough. But I prefer the Eldorados to all, as far as overall design is concerned.
The Riviera I never found attractive and the Eldorado has FWD and a N* so it would never even be a consideration even though I always found it to be an attractive car. I like cars that can be modified, I know you are not much into modifying cars Chad and you compare stock vs stock but to me its a big thing. Its a big thing to a lot of N* owners as well it seems who buy the car and then realize that there is no aftermaket support. Oh wait, there's the "AJ tune":suspense:

devilleconcours100
02-13-08, 09:36 AM
Well, I wouldn't really be thinking about modding this car, (at least, not to start with), but I can see where a good aftermarket for a particular vehicle can make replacement parts more easily accessable and lower the prices of those parts.

Dave

Slo-Mo-Shun
02-13-08, 10:53 AM
So it has truck-like handling? The Mustang has never been known as a very good handler in any form.



Compared to what? A vette or an M3? Granted. A FWD Eldorodo? Not even close. Mustangs have acheived reasonable road racing success; no sane person would even think of putting an Eldo on the track. Of course, no racer would choose a Mark VIII either, but at least he'd have a shot at putting together something that wasn't a total joke.

Please folks, let's get real. If "great handling" means light steering, a soft ride, and a (relatively) tight turning circle, then the Eldo qualifies. But let's not suggest its a performance vehicle on any level.

gothicaleigh
02-13-08, 11:56 AM
Compared to what? A vette or an M3? Granted. A FWD Eldorodo? Not even close. Mustangs have acheived reasonable road racing success; no sane person would even think of putting an Eldo on the track. Of course, no racer would choose a Mark VIII either, but at least he'd have a shot at putting together something that wasn't a total joke.

Any Lincoln on a track would be considered a total joke.


Please folks, let's get real. If "great handling" means light steering, a soft ride, and a (relatively) tight turning circle, then the Eldo qualifies. But let's not suggest its a performance vehicle on any level.

I agree and would suggest you do the same with the MarkVIII.

Destroyer
02-14-08, 12:36 AM
Any Lincoln on a track would be considered a total joke.



I agree and would suggest you do the same with the MarkVIII.Pfff, yeah...........a Mark VIII on the track?. Absolutely ridiculous!.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=L-pCOQf_cUY

http://youtube.com/watch?v=uOw0-96mOpk

http://youtube.com/watch?v=U6pknvXAhkM

http://youtube.com/watch?v=86wydyo5HT0

Your turn, show me a N* powered 11 second Eldorado.

Destroyer
02-14-08, 12:43 AM
As far as overall design is concerned, I prefer the early Mark VIII's to the later ones. I prefer the Riv's to the late VIII's, but between the early VIII's and Riv's, it's tough. But I prefer the Eldorados to all, as far as overall design is concerned.
Thought you might enjoy this Chad. Riviera vs. Mark VIII video!. Riviera won but the road testers seem to be gay so who knows?.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=-OhVQGdDa2I

gothicaleigh
02-14-08, 09:56 AM
Pfff, yeah...........a Mark VIII on the track?. Absolutely ridiculous!.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=L-pCOQf_cUY

http://youtube.com/watch?v=uOw0-96mOpk

http://youtube.com/watch?v=U6pknvXAhkM

http://youtube.com/watch?v=86wydyo5HT0

Your turn, show me a N* powered 11 second Eldorado.

Where was the track in those videos? All I see are dragstrips and pointless burnouts.

Destroyer
02-14-08, 12:29 PM
Where was the track in those videos? All I see are dragstrips and pointless burnouts.
A dragstrip is the only kind of track I'd go to. I'm not into road courses, way to much too much abuse on the car and too much money to spend getting a car prepped for. Any car can be setup for road racing though, I've seen anything from little VW's to full size Cadillacs so its a moot point.

ld00deville
02-17-08, 04:59 PM
In all honesty as a former Cadillac owner (a '98 Deville led me to buy a Lincoln), this is a great alternative to a N* powered car and is much more modifiable plus its RWD. This is my wifes '98 Mark VIII which currently has 24k original miles. These have a 280hp DOHC 4.6 much like the N* but they have no issues with headgaskets and the average guy can work on them. This is a base model but I gave it the LSC treatment with LSC moldings plus I painted the grill body color. Awesome cars, great power and reliability. We already put over 8k miles on it and have had no problems with it.

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z251/AstrocreepVIII/DSC04377.jpg

This is my third DOHC Ford powered car and not the last. I currently have a '99 Vert Cobra and had a '95 Mark VIII.

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z251/AstrocreepVIII/DSC04329.jpg

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z251/AstrocreepVIII/Mark%20VIII/DSC02591.jpg


Marks are great cars, I have had a 97 and 98 LSC;)

Mark0101
02-17-08, 08:25 PM
BTW I just had a chance to race my 93 (fastest model) vs my 97 base (slowest model)
Basically the difference between gen1 and gen2 preformance if you are wondering how much it would be.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=tij7y6P5EkM

Destroyer
02-18-08, 07:53 AM
BTW I just had a chance to race my 93 (fastest model) vs my 97 base (slowest model)
Basically the difference between gen1 and gen2 preformance if you are wondering how much it would be.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=tij7y6P5EkMGreat video. I know my '95 felt quicker than the '98. The '95 also had a nicer steering feel, less assisted than the '98. The Gen 1 is more of a drivers car and the Gen 2 is more luxurious and better looking IMO. Either way great cars and a good Eldorado alternative as is the Riviera.