Last post on Dec 14, 2011 at 11:48 AM
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Buick LeSabre, Sedan
#341 of 1520 Chandler995 Buick Lesabre problems
Feb 27, 2001 (5:37 pm)
I recently purchased a 97 Olds 88 LSS with the same 3800 engine and 4T60E transmission as you have. I no sooner drove it a couple of days when I noticed the surging under light throttle application just after the transmission went into lockup. Needless to say I was quite annoyed and didn't know what it was. I pulled it out of O/D and problem went away and noticed it didn't happen at heavier throttle or higher speeds. (mostly at 80-90 Km) 45-55 MPH.
I decided to talk to a very friendly and informative technician at the local Chev-Olds dealer and he new exactly what I was talking about. He then printed off the GM Service Bulletin #87-71-75 which describes my problem to a tee. It affects only 97 Buick Lesabre, Pontiac Bonneville and Olds 88 with the 3800 engine VIN K RPO L36 and Hydra-matic 4T60-E RPO M13. To fix the problem the valve body must be replaced with part #24212569 or 24212571 depending on specific model of your transmission. The part is $380 retail US or $580 Cdn. with $50/75 back for your core. The labour is very high due to the left front end you have to dismantle to get at it. By the way this was the last year for this version of the transmission as they later brought out the updated 4T65-E. What is actually happening is the bore for the valve that pressurizes the transmission fluid to lock up the converter was machined too large and as the miles get on the tranny the fluid bypasses the valve in the bore and causes the converter to come out of lockup. Immediately, the signal goes back to the valve to lockup and it is a continuous cycle of locking up and unlocking. Perhaps,I'm not sure, but at higher revs there must be more pressure to keep the valve pressurized. It is not unlike the inside a brake master cylinder where the brake fluid slips by the brake rubbers and your foot goes to the floor. In my car I can see the tach moving back and forth about 200 or 300 RPM indicating the change in revs and therefore the surging feeling. You can see the bulletin titles for your car on ALLDATA.com, which will indicate this surging condition. I also contacted GM and because there was no history of this condition by the previous owner while it was under warranty they "couldn't" do anything for me. They offered to set up a case to document my problem. - wasn't that big of them. It is an actual defect but they won't pay to fix. The technician told me it doesn't show up until approx 40,000 miles or so. They tried everything on a gentleman's car and nothing fixed it until they replaced the valvebody. The dealership here has had to do 4 of them.
I noticed this same problem on the Pontiac Bonneville forum. (#89 jm200),(#13) and one other (dated March 9,2000, I didn't keep the number)
I hope this gives you some useful info. I had just sold my 89 Park Ave for this 97 LSS which was an excellent car - kind of disheartening to to buy a newer vehicle and run into an expensive quirk like this. I am undecided at this point as to what I'll do but I like the car otherwise. This is a GM Hydramatic problem and not a Buick problem as such.
#342 of 1520 3000 Mile Update
Feb 28, 2001 (8:47 am)
Time for the first oil change, so I thought I'd pass along an update on the LeSabre. The only real issue right now is a vibration right at 65mph; happens everytime. I did have a fight with a pothole about a month ago, so I'll have the alignment checked during the oil change.
And I'm sad to report my first body ding. I noticed a scratch on my driver's side mirror casing and upon further inspection, it's actually a crack. Goes all the way through the casing. It's a small crack right now, but it will probably grow over time. Had to have been someone in an SUV swinging their door open; a passenger car could not have hit the mirror like that.
What a great ride, though. I can't believe the punch this thing has, and without a supercharger no less. The 3800 really hits it's stride around 4000rpm and just keeps pulling. I did an impromptu 0-60 run the other night - just a hair over seven seconds. This thing is alot faster than advertised. When the warrenty runs out, I might have to see what this sucker is really capable of.
Mar 01, 2001 (1:38 pm)
This thing is a gas hog! I am getting 16 mpg on a 17 mile commute.
#344 of 1520 jimsxn - LeSabre mileage
Mar 02, 2001 (8:42 am)
Might need a tune up. How many miles are on it???
I'm getting about 20mpg on my commute; about half highway and half stop-and-go. That will probably get worse over the years, though.
Mar 02, 2001 (12:11 pm)
under the cover for the spare tire in the trunk is a list of all the options on the car. Or, if it has 16" tires, you got the gran touring. 15" tires is the dynaride suspension.
#346 of 1520 Thanks vtech83, Woodybuick
Mar 02, 2001 (1:59 pm)
Yes, I think that the engine requires tune up but I will have it checked out. Lot of white smoke in the morning could also be a symptom. The car has 85k miles on the odo.
Unfortunately, I only have a dynaride..not a Y56. But I will try to make up for it..somehow.
#347 of 1520 woodybuick
Mar 02, 2001 (2:25 pm)
good luck on changing anything on the radio. GM made it all but impossible to change any components. aLL CAR FUNCTIONS are tied up and go through the radio... it can not be replaced. On the new Bonneville, it does have a remote amp in the trunk and it operates on a 1 ohm system which means you can not add on speakers or amp... this sucks. If you find any solutions, please post them!
Mar 02, 2001 (4:41 pm)
Does that apply to the 2000 model as well? I have the 16" tires and nice alloys but there was no mention on the window sticker of Grand touring suspension.
Mar 05, 2001 (8:03 am)
Unfortunately, my formula doesn't apply on the 2000 or 2001 models. They had an option for 16" tires without the Y56. You will have to look under the spare tire cover for the option code. Or, another question I could ask is, do you have the aluminum lace wheel? They have a real nice wheel pattern with black paint on the inside of the "spokes". If you have these wheels, I doubt you have the Gran Touring. If you have brushed aluminum wheel, then you definitely have the Y56 suspension.
#350 of 1520 2000 Lesabre Custom-12,000 mile Report
Mar 09, 2001 (7:01 am)
Just rolled over 12000 miles on current trip to the Cheapeake Bay near Solomon Island MD. I've had two other Lesabres ( '86,92 ) and they have all been very good automobiles. The only problem with the current one has been some wind related noise which GM took care of. Gasoline mileage on this 375 mile trip was 27 thou the mountains increasing to an overall average 29 by the end of the trip. Mileage is 25/gal for my everyday use.
Consumer Report should rate this car much higher than what it does. It has too be a much better value than the Avalon which is $6000 higher in price.