: Was anyone aware of this recall?



Playdrv4me
07-08-11, 09:54 PM
Was watching Hardcore Pawn (Detroit) on TruTV tonight and a late '90s Impala literally caught fire right in their parking lot. The irony of the situation was that the car was owned BY a Firefighter! They actually show him pulling all his fire gear out of the trunk.

So anyway, he mentions "there's a recall on this car and I haven't taken it in yet". Thinking he was mistaken and talking about the Intermediate Steering Shaft instead, I looked it up and sure enough, it's a recall for fires due to oil leaking onto the exhaust manifold! :bighead: Amazingly, this is for the 3.8L motors only, which are otherwise invincible.

With all the news on the Ford fire recalls, and with as many cars as this affected, I'm surprised I don't remember hearing about it. I'm not even sure how hard braking can result in such a condition, but I suppose it's possible...

Details here in case anyone has a 3800 in the affected timeframe...
http://www.reuters.com/article/2009/04/14/us-gm-recall-idUSTRE53D31P20090414

(And yes, I noticed the completely irrelevant GMC grille pic lol).

brandondeleo
07-08-11, 11:17 PM
I watched that episode! I cracked up so hard when a fireman showed up and claimed the car... Lol.

Rodya234
07-08-11, 11:23 PM
I was aware of the recall, and told one of my friends with an '03 GP GT about it a year ago. I know most of the original owners probably received a notice about it, but I wonder about all the people who bought those cars used who have no idea about this recall...

Night Wolf
07-09-11, 12:12 AM
To my understanding that has either been a long time recall, or known about for a long time. I remember hearing about it years go.

Playdrv4me
07-09-11, 02:44 AM
I was aware of the recall, and told one of my friends with an '03 GP GT about it a year ago. I know most of the original owners probably received a notice about it, but I wonder about all the people who bought those cars used who have no idea about this recall...

Yep, that's exactly why it intrigued me. With as immensely popular as these cars are with a middle class who has far more important things to do with their time than address recalls, I bet a lot of them escaped into the used market without ever having it done. Of course, it's probably 1 time out of 10,000 that the oil actually catches fire. Hell, Northstars can spew way more than that little bit, and I know it hits something hot because the one we had with the bad case half leak actually had little wisps of smoke after you shut it off. If you looked at the headlight beam on twilight sentinel there was a nice cloud hanging out in front of the car.

ben.gators
07-09-11, 03:01 AM
Yes, I owned a 2000 Regal, and a few days after I sold the car I received a mail from GM (Buick maybe?) explaining the recall and asking me to take the car to the dealership. I tried to call the new owner, but he didn't returned my calls....

Jesda
07-09-11, 03:30 AM
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/upload/2009/04/fire-marshall-bill.jpg

drewsdeville
07-09-11, 01:34 PM
Amazingly, this is for the 3.8L motors only, which are otherwise invincible.


Tell that to the owner of the 90,000 mile '94 Olds Ninety Eight I just diagnosed 2 weeks ago yesterday. Intake manifold leaked so bad that it was hydrolocked when I got it. Pulled the plugs, cleared the cylinders. Once I got it to run, within a few minutes it spit half of the radiator's capacity in coolant out the exhaust!

After sticking a number of dollars into it earlier this spring, he's not pleased, to say the least :P

Rodya234
07-09-11, 01:43 PM
Yeah, my half brother was a GM tech in the late '90s, and said whenever a 3800 Powered car came into the dealership complaining of engine problems, they immediately got out the tools to change a cracked intake manifold. I also heard that those engines often get crank position sensor problems, but I wouldn't know from experience.

drewsdeville
07-09-11, 01:47 PM
Eariler ones had problems with pretty much the whole timing set falling apart. Cam and crank triggers, chain tensioners, and nylon timing gears all needed replacement at around the same time. Really don't care for doing those.

I've yet to find a trouble free, invincible machine. 3800 has it's own set of problems, just like anything else.

orconn
07-09-11, 02:07 PM
Eariler ones had problems with pretty much the whole timing set falling apart. Cam and crank triggers, chain tensioners, and nylon timing gears all needed replacement at around the same time. Really don't care for doing those.

I've yet to find a trouble free, invincible machine. 3800 has it's own set of problems, just like anything else.

"I've yet to find a trouble free, invincible machine" now that is a true statement of note! Northstar Cadillac, Mercedes, BMW even Lexus all have there problem areas .... all of which cost a lot to deal with and or fix!

If you can't pay the price take the bus!

OffThaHorseCEO
07-09-11, 04:49 PM
but theyre bulletproof!?!?

ben.gators
07-09-11, 04:52 PM
"I've yet to find a trouble free, invincible machine" now that is a true statement of note! Northstar Cadillac, Mercedes, BMW even Lexus all have there problem areas .... all of which cost a lot to deal with and or fix!

If you can't pay the price take the bus!

I liked this post so much that I am quoting it to repeat it again....

ryannel2003
07-09-11, 07:37 PM
We had a early 2000's Grand Prix come into the Pontiac dealership about 2 years ago that had caught on fire and charred half the engine compartment. The body of the car was fine, but the engine was toast.

brandondeleo
07-10-11, 04:28 AM
We drove a 2005 Pontiac G6 off of the lot with 20,000 miles on it (stepdad's birthday gift to my mom), and a week later we had to take it in to get the tranny rebuilt. Common factory problem, apparently.

jcresciSTS
07-18-11, 01:45 AM
Late 90's impala? Just an FYI they stopped making them after 96 (5.8L) until 2000 (3.8L)

Playdrv4me
07-18-11, 01:56 AM
Actually, Drew, you went right for the bait. I knew if I snuck the word "invincible" in there you'd find it. (I've seen you refute the solidity of the legendary 3800 many times in the past). See, I snuck "legendary" in there that time. :)

However, I still stand by the statement because it's all relative. No one seriously believes that any mechanical device is "invincible", but as far as engines go, the 3800 is definitely up there. That intake manifold situation was really the only crux that affected the 3800 series in any appreciable way on a grand scale during the course of the engine's run. 3800 powered cars are always the first on my list to recommend when someone wants a balls cheap reliable 2500.00 car. Starting with old Buicks... They may be butt ass ugly, but man do they last (assuming the body hasn't rusted to pieces around the motor). It's probably only second to the SBC in my opinion. In fact, production of that engine family was supposed to end sometime around 1999 if I recall correctly, but customer demand and complaints were so strong, it lasted another 9 years, finally ceasing production in 2008.

ga_etc
07-18-11, 02:54 AM
Late 90's impala? Just an FYI they stopped making them after 96 (5.8L) until 2000 (3.8L)

The Impala SS ('94-'96) was equipped with an LT1 displacing 5.7L.

ga_etc
07-18-11, 03:01 AM
I stand adamantly behind the 3800 as well. We had a '92 Bonneville with it, I had a '98 Camaro with it, my best friend just sold a '96 Camaro with 190k on it's 3800 and his brother still has a '96 Camaro of his own with the 3800. No catastrophic failures to report, and lord knows I gave my '98 enough hell for 3 people. I still like the 4.3 as well.

brandondeleo
07-18-11, 05:10 AM
Those mid nineties Impalas with the LT1 were beasts. I've always liked them.

Rodya234
07-18-11, 08:04 AM
Actually, Drew, you went right for the bait.


http://i644.photobucket.com/albums/uu166/4X3L/Death%20Note/JustAsPlanned.jpg

drewsdeville
07-18-11, 09:22 PM
Actually, Drew, you went right for the bait. I knew if I snuck the word "invincible" in there you'd find it. (I've seen you refute the solidity of the legendary 3800 many times in the past). See, I snuck "legendary" in there that time. :)


Oh hell yeah, you shouldn't expect any different. Like I always say, controversies like this are what makes this place fun. If an opportunity presents itself, I'll jump on it. Why not?

Frankly, the Lounge in this forum is pretty boring otherwise - typically lots of complaining about how Cadillac isn't as good as Hyundai and statements about how everyone here knows exactly what GM needs to do to climb back to the top (usually claims that GM needs to bring back the failures of the 80's and 90's).


However, I still stand by the statement because it's all relative. No one seriously believes that any mechanical device is "invincible", but as far as engines go, the 3800 is definitely up there. That intake manifold situation was really the only crux that affected the 3800 series in any appreciable way on a grand scale during the course of the engine's run. 3800 powered cars are always the first on my list to recommend when someone wants a balls cheap reliable 2500.00 car. Starting with old Buicks... They may be butt ass ugly, but man do they last (assuming the body hasn't rusted to pieces around the motor). It's probably only second to the SBC in my opinion. In fact, production of that engine family was supposed to end sometime around 1999 if I recall correctly, but customer demand and complaints were so strong, it lasted another 9 years, finally ceasing production in 2008.

And I still stand by mine. The 3800 is "up" where exactly? It needs the same maintenance and repair as any other engine. 3800's are prone to bearing knock, gasket leaks, sensor failure, accessory failure, etc just like any other engine. Been there, done that many times. Now, I admit, I DO find them very easy to work on (partially due to the chassis they were installed into), and many times the cost reflects that. A cheaper than average engine to maintain? Maybe. However, generally they require the same quantity of repair as anything else with relative age, mileage, and maintenance history.

And don't be so quick to pass off the intake problem as a minor "crux". It CAN stop the engine, and therefore the car, dead in it's tracks. It's not some minor little hiccup that can be ignored or fixed up with $5 in duct tape and a beer. In the case of the low mileage Olds I mentioned above, it trashed the bottom end due to damage from the hydrolock. At 90,000 miles, I find it hard to call it an exceptionally durable engine, especially since it's a well known problem (there are plenty of other examples out there).

STS_Seville_Hunter
07-19-11, 01:28 AM
Hmm idk My LeSabre T Type has 260k on its original engine and I got rid of a '86 Delta 88 with 388k on it (Not on the first timing set!).

Jesda
07-19-11, 03:14 AM
Fishing for Drews.

Playdrv4me
07-19-11, 06:18 AM
So Drew, I'm curious. In your estimation you have evidence to refute pretty much every cheap cash car that is generally recommended here as an *alternative* to expensive luxury cars. We can't recommend Town Cars, GMs and Crown Vics because they rust, or have plastic manifold issues, or any other of a number of reasons. We can't recommend 3800 powered Buicks because apparently, they eat timing chains and a LIM gasket leak (which I must re-iterate is fixed once for 700.00 retail and its done for good, but I digress), or maybe even just because they're "old" in general.

What exactly is your penultimate recommendation for someone seeking a budget car in the 2-4k range, recognizing that no sane person believes any car in that price range (or any price range) will be completely free from potential pitfalls. Certainly when we call these cars durable and bulletproof we don't actually mean they're *invincible* in the literal sense (though I've heard plenty of stories of ABUSED 3800s that continue to deliver where most engines would have given up the ghost long ago). What out there is so much better than those tried and true recommendations?

I mean, we get it... As someone who turns wrenches, you see the problems these cars DO have when they are brought to you. That's all well and good, but the way you always jump into threads where someone is recommending those vehicles, it sometimes seems like you feel we may as well be recommending a 1980s era Jag to someone. Maybe I'm getting it all wrong and all you want to do is point out the problems they do have for someone not to go into such a purchase blindly, but it sure doesn't seem that way. It seems like you refute the advice to buy these cars at all. I think the point stands, that the Fox body cars, and the 3800 powered GM cars, are some of the best bang for the buck for someone needing reliable transportation on a budget.

brandondeleo
07-19-11, 06:24 AM
I know! The only one I haven't seen mentioned. The Geo Metro convertible!

Jesda
07-19-11, 06:25 AM
They leak water but the door seals are so crummy the water all leaks out.

Everyone wins.

93DevilleUSMC
07-19-11, 08:04 AM
The 3800 may have it's issues, but you still see quite a lot of them on any given road, bodies beaten to hell, but the motor still running strong. They also delivered horsepower and torque outputs that the V-8s of ten years prior to their time could hardly manage, yet still return 25-30MPG highway. For a $2-4k budget, one can equal a 3800, but would have a hard time beating it.

drewsdeville
07-19-11, 08:24 AM
So Drew, I'm curious. In your estimation you have evidence to refute pretty much every cheap cash car that is generally recommended here as an *alternative* to expensive luxury cars. We can't recommend Town Cars, GMs and Crown Vics because they rust, or have plastic manifold issues, or any other of a number of reasons. We can't recommend 3800 powered Buicks because apparently, they eat timing chains and a LIM gasket leak (which I must re-iterate is fixed once for 700.00 retail and its done for good, but I digress), or maybe even just because they're "old" in general.

What exactly is your penultimate recommendation for someone seeking a budget car in the 2-4k range, recognizing that no sane person believes any car in that price range (or any price range) will be completely free from potential pitfalls. Certainly when we call these cars durable and bulletproof we don't actually mean they're *invincible* in the literal sense (though I've heard plenty of stories of ABUSED 3800s that continue to deliver where most engines would have given up the ghost long ago). What out there is so much better than those tried and true recommendations?

I mean, we get it... As someone who turns wrenches, you see the problems these cars DO have when they are brought to you. That's all well and good, but the way you always jump into threads where someone is recommending those vehicles, it sometimes seems like you feel we may as well be recommending a 1980s era Jag to someone. Maybe I'm getting it all wrong and all you want to do is point out the problems they do have for someone not to go into such a purchase blindly, but it sure doesn't seem that way. It seems like you refute the advice to buy these cars at all. I think the point stands, that the Fox body cars, and the 3800 powered GM cars, are some of the best bang for the buck for someone needing reliable transportation on a budget.

The problem I have is that many of the cars are either recommended for the wrong reasons or, as you mentioned, people recommend cars that are otherwise junk solely because of the engine under the hood that runs fine. It's happened plenty of times.

What's a good reliable used car to me? Anything with a solid chassis with a reasonable maintenance history. No brand/engine requirements or limitations. Engines are relatively easy and cheap to repair or even replace- a rotted, worn out, or trouble prone chassis is not and can easy exceed the cost of an installed replacement engine. I find it strange that most people recommend cars based on the engine when it's rarely the death of a vehicle. One can get themselves into a lot of trouble doing that. When the chassis is shot, it doesn't matter how good or bad the engine is - the entire package is junk anyway.

You may remember in our last panther discussion that I actually defended it for it's reliability. Where I "refute" is when the panther is recommended based on performance (V8 RWD automatically spells performance for some naive motorists, even when it's far from the truth as in a panther).

You are the first person I've ever heard recommend the Fox body for reliable cheap transportation btw...

Stingroo
07-19-11, 10:54 AM
Yeah, I was gonna say, Fox Mustangs are expensive down here because most have been modified and raced.

FWIW - I think most people who have the sense to come to an automotive forum for car recommendations have the presence of mind to check for signs of rust/neglect/downright abuse, and beyond that ARE just wondering where they can go while sinking as little money as possible.

Also I can say I got quite lucky with my $1900 wagon. All I've done in a year and a half of ownership is brakes all the way around, intake manifold gaskets, one brake line, and fluids. I just hunted around for something that was well cared for and fit my needs (which, like I said, I think most people who come to forums know to do).

Then again - we do get some bat-shit crazy people on forums too. Like the fellow asking about a cigarette lighter on his Plymouth Colt as his first post on a Cadillac forum, so maybe I'm full of crap.

Carry on, gentlemen.

:food-snacking:

ga_etc
07-19-11, 10:58 AM
The recommendation for 3800 and Panther cars comes from knowing the the car's mechanicals are solid. You have to remember, though, Drew that you live in an area that sees a lot of snow and salted roads every winter. Not everyone does. Those of us that live in a milder climate can pick up and old Oldsmobile/Buick/Pontiac with the 3800 or anyone of the Panther cars and providing it doesn't already have half a million miles on it, expect at least a year of reasonably reliable service out of it. No, nothing is perfect. But GENERALLY speaking these cars are safer bets on the used market.

drewsdeville
07-19-11, 05:55 PM
Also I can say I got quite lucky with my $1900 wagon. All I've done in a year and a half of ownership is brakes all the way around, intake manifold gaskets, one brake line, and fluids.



Not bad. I must say though, I'm curious about that brake line. Usually if a car is living in conditions that cause it to rust through a brake line, the rest of it isn't so hot either, but I don't remember your wagon being a rustbucket. What happened there?

And it's nice to hear that car was back on the road. How'd you get it running again?

Stingroo
07-19-11, 08:07 PM
I was traveling on a 55mph 3 lane road and somebody decided to jump out in front of me so I slammed on the brakes and felt the pedal sink to the floor. LF brake line decided to take a crap. Which is odd, the others are spotless. Made no sense.

It was interesting going home for 5 miles with just the parking brake, though. :lol:

Turns out the cap was bad. Replaced and was good to go.

Playdrv4me
07-19-11, 10:46 PM
The recommendation for 3800 and Panther cars comes from knowing the the car's mechanicals are solid. You have to remember, though, Drew that you live in an area that sees a lot of snow and salted roads every winter. Not everyone does. Those of us that live in a milder climate can pick up and old Oldsmobile/Buick/Pontiac with the 3800 or anyone of the Panther cars and providing it doesn't already have half a million miles on it, expect at least a year of reasonably reliable service out of it. No, nothing is perfect. But GENERALLY speaking these cars are safer bets on the used market.

Basically. And Drew/Ray you guys are right, I meant PANTHERS, not Fox bodies. I got my platforms mixed up. *Although*, if it were not for what Ray mentioned about kids scooping them up to race, I'd feel equally fine about the Fox as far as solidity is concerned. It too is a simple old design with very similar mechanicals. It's just much more highly desired, and abused on the used market.

And it's funny you mention the "half a million miles" thing Austin, because when searching for cheap TCs, I frequently come across ex-taxis etc. that are EASILY approaching that kind of mileage. Truly solid and hard working cars.

93DevilleUSMC
07-24-11, 05:40 AM
Basically. And Drew/Ray you guys are right, I meant PANTHERS, not Fox bodies. I got my platforms mixed up. *Although*, if it were not for what Ray mentioned about kids scooping them up to race, I'd feel equally fine about the Fox as far as solidity is concerned. It too is a simple old design with very similar mechanicals. It's just much more highly desired, and abused on the used market.

And it's funny you mention the "half a million miles" thing Austin, because when searching for cheap TCs, I frequently come across ex-taxis etc. that are EASILY approaching that kind of mileage. Truly solid and hard working cars.

"As long as you maintain them, they'll last forever. I've seen Town Cars with 600,000...700,000 miles. Nothing kills them, other than an accident."-
Automobile Magazine, "Last Call for the Lincoln Town Car"
http://www.automobilemag.com/features/great_drives/1107_last_call_for_the_lincoln_town_car/index.html

Playdrv4me
07-24-11, 05:53 AM
Christ, 700k! Those are DIESEL SEMI TRACTOR miles!

93DevilleUSMC
07-24-11, 05:55 AM
Christ, 700k! Those are DIESEL SEMI TRACTOR miles!

If there aren't any million-mile Town Cars, there will be soon.

Playdrv4me
07-24-11, 06:29 AM
Another line that caught my eye from a limousine conversion company...

"But a stretched Town Car rides better than anything on the road -- even a Maybach."

And it's their very simplicity that makes them choice for these applications. Stretching it out is apparently no more complicated than whacking it with a plasma cutter and a sawzall, because of its inherently simple ladder frame design. These things are basically nothing than compacted down pickup trucks which in my opinion, makes them perfectly acceptable as "budget beaters".

93DevilleUSMC
07-24-11, 07:19 AM
Another line that caught my eye from a limousine conversion company...

"But a stretched Town Car rides better than anything on the road -- even a Maybach."

And it's their very simplicity that makes them choice for these applications. Stretching it out is apparently no more complicated than whacking it with a plasma cutter and a sawzall, because of its inherently simple ladder frame design. These things are basically nothing than compacted down pickup trucks which in my opinion, makes them perfectly acceptable as "budget beaters".

The same attributes are the reason you still see so many of them as police cars.

ben.gators
07-24-11, 08:06 PM
I was traveling on a 55mph 3 lane road and somebody decided to jump out in front of me so I slammed on the brakes and felt the pedal sink to the floor. LF brake line decided to take a crap. Which is odd, the others are spotless. Made no sense.

It was interesting going home for 5 miles with just the parking brake, though. :lol:



Dude! You are a giant safety hazard to the state of Florida! :D

Stingroo
07-24-11, 10:45 PM
Nah, I made it home safely. :lol: