Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your General Motors E-car (Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Aurora, Toronado or Toronado Trofeo.) After 1993, the platform received a major overhaul. The Toronado and its higher priced version, the Trofeo, were dropped and replaced in 1995 with the all-new Aurora. Also reintroduced in 1995, after a year hiatus, was the Riviera, the corporate twin of the Aurora. The Aurora/Riviera skip another model year in 2000 with the 1999 redesigned as a 2001.
Stalling has and continues to be a problem for the E-car platform. General Motors even had a special policy that covered repairs through December 31, 1992 or 100,000 miles. The problem was so wide-spread on 1986-87 Toronados and Rivieras, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated the defect but did not order a recall. On the opposite end of the scale, sudden acceleration due to the cruise control and shift cable has prompted NHTSA to twice recall these vehicles. In 1989, NHTSA recalled 1984-85 Rivieras and Toronados for defects in the Custom Cruise [Control] III units that prevented the accelerator to return to idle. The 1990 models were recalled for unexpected movement due to the shift control cable disengaging. Seat belt failure resulted in two recalls; one was for rear shoulder retractor failure in 1990 Rivieras, and the other for front outer shoulder belt retractor failure in 1990-93 Rivieras and Toronados. Some years of these models before 1992 had awkward door mounted seat belts that often hit a driver or passenger's neck and provided less safety in a crash.
Paint peel or delamination has been widespread on many models. In 1993 at CAS' request, GM agreed to pay for complete repainting for paint peel or delamination through six years and unlimited mileage. In March 1995, GM secretly cut the policy to 5 years, but if pushed, they will honor the 6-year policy.
You'll find information on these and other defects in the Aurora, Riviera and Toronado below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against GM on the defects we know about and help us spot new ones.
We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars. Your contribution is tax-deductible and entitles your to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times. Please submit the membership form along with your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis. Every home should have this invaluable consumer guide.
Clarence M. Ditlow
GM E-CAR (Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Aurora & Toronado) FACT
Technical Service Bulletins (TSB's) are listed in brackets below.
Brakes: Intermittent pull under hard braking (with ABS) 1988-90 Riviera, Toronado (315004); ABS pedal squeak 1988-90 Riviera (90-5-14); ABS pump motor failure/faulty pump relay 1986-90 Toronado (90-T-212); Rear brake vibration/noise 1986-88 Riviera (88-5-9); Instrument panel buzz/rattle with pedal depressed 1995-97 All (73-50-19); Front brake grunt, groan, grind, crunch, squeal 1997-98 All (73-50-23A)
Electrical: Low voltage reading/dim lights at idle 1990-95 All (43-64-07); Loss of drive/Erratic shifts - elect. cond. 1991-93 Riviera, 1991-92 Toronado (477121); Inop. cruise control 1991-92 Riviera (92-6E-16), 1988-92 Riviera (92-9-9); Battery dead/excessive current draw 1980-91 Riviera (91-6D-5); Intermit. dead battery 1986-88 Riviera (88-6D-7); Wiring terminal damage on engine sensors 1985-88 Riviera (88-8-6).
Engine: Continuous spark knock/excess oil consumption 1993-95 All (57-61-13); Cold engine tick/rattle after start-up 1990-94 Riviera, Toronado (47-61-15); Front engine knock 1992-94 Riviera, 1992 Toronado (306001); Stall on deceleration/Long crank on start-up/ High IAC counts 1995 Riviera (95-C-11), 1988-93 Riviera (93-6E-3); No crank/start &/or BCM code 334 1986-93 Riviera, 1986-92 Toronado (318113); Fuel pump - poor driveability 1991-92 Riviera (92-6E-29); Cold start stall - PROM change 1991-92 Riviera (92-6E-10); Front Hum/whine 1990-91 Riviera (91-6-8); False low oil warning 1988-90 Riviera (90-8-13); Oil pan leak 1989-90 Riviera (90-6-12); Engine miss above 3500 RPM's 1989-90 Riviera (90-6-8); Clunk/grind during acceleration/shifting 1987-88 Riviera (88-6-4A); Idle increases or surges 1992-95 All (77-65-15); Driveline vibration over 37mph 1994-95 All (53-65-06A); Cold start rattle 1991-97 All (57-71-06A); Oil leak at rear near flywheel cover 1995-97 All (77-61-16A); Oil pan sealing flange leak 1995-97 All (77-61-22)
Paint: Paint peels due to omission of primer layer; GM extended warranty to 6 years, then reduced it to 5. For more information, go to GM-Paint.
Steering/Suspension: Loose lumber/rubber thumping in rear 1995-96 Riviera /Aurora (53-34-04); Reduced P/S steering assist in cold 1994 & prior Riviera (033206); Steering column pop/noise 1992-93 Riviera (333210A); Tires slip on wheels 1988-93 Riviera (93-133-3); Lead/pull to left 1990-92 Riviera (92-3-15); Steering shudder at idle or during parking 1995-96 Aurora (83-32-06); Steering shudder or moan during parking 1995-97 Riviera (73-32-05); Intermittent steering column snap or click on turns 1994-96 All (56-32-02B). Secret warranty for loss of P/S assist when cold 1981-88, go to GM P/S Loss.
Transmission: For more info, go to GM-FWD Transmission.
Other: Door lock cylinders binds 1992 & prior Riviera (92-10-20); Oil pressure gauge erratic 1991 Riviera (91-6D-3)/ 1986-90 Riviera (90-6D-6); Low oil level message 1988-91 Riviera (91-6E-18); Shoulder belt rubs front passenger's neck 1990-91 Riviera (91-10-11); Wiper blades chatter/poor wiping 1988-95 Riviera (91-0-4); Inadvertent trunk opening with RKE transmitter 1996-98 All (73-90-16); Insufficient RKE transmitter range 1996-97 All (73-90-15); CD changer malfunction 1995-98 All (83-96-06); P/door locks inoperative 1991-97 All (63-10-41B); Waving or dimpling in roof panel 1995-97 All (63-10-50); A/C odor at startup 1993-96 All (53-12-12A); Headliner sag at front of sunroof 1997-98 Aurora (73-16-19); Excess vibration of inside rearview mirror 1991-97 All (73-16-08).
MAJOR SAFETY RECALLS
Copies may be obtained by calling NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.
Airbag/Seat belt: 10+ 1990 Riviera, Toronado with TRW airbag modules - Airbag component separation/hot combustion gas escapes into passenger compartment (90E-043-4); 1,000+ 1990 Riviera -Rear shoulder belt retractor failure (90V-028); 50,000+ 1990-93 Riviera/1990-92 Toronado - Front outer shoulder belt web sticks in retractor (95V-110).
Brakes: 100+ 1989 Riviera, Toronado - ABS failure (89V-055); 1,000+ 1989 Riviera, Toronado with 3800 V6 & ABS Brake fluid loss & partial loss of braking capability (89V-056); 100+ 1999-00 Aurora - Pedal assembly comes loose (99V-114); 500+ 2001 Aurora - ABS hydraulic control unit internal fluid leak (00V-114).
Electrical: 1,000+ 1990 Riviera - Brake light does not illuminate with ignition in "on" position/parking brake applied/shift selector is in park or neutral (91V-158); 1,000+ 1996 Aurora/Riviera -Malfunction alarm failure (95V-204).
Fire: 65,136 1986-87 Riviera, Toronado - P/S pump hose leak (88V-078); 5,000+ 1996 Riviera - Backfire cracks intake manifold (96V-116).
Steering/Suspension: 100+ 1992 Riviera, Toronado - Loss of steering control (91V-157).
Sudden Acceleration: 10,000+ 1984-85 Riviera, Toronado - Nylon bushing in "Custom Cruise III" units causes stuck throttle (89V-102); 1,000+ 1990 Riviera, Toronado - Shift control cable disengages and causes unexpected movement (90V-164).