Oldsmobile Olds 98

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Auto Defects > Oldsmobile

January 2000

Dear Consumer:

Thank your for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about problems with your General Motors "C" car (Buick Electra, Buick Park Avenue/Park Avenue Ultra, Oldsmobile 98). After 1990, the Electra was dropped and the Park Avenue, Park Avenue Ultra and 98 were completely redesigned for 1991. After 1996, GM dropped the Olds 98 leaving the Park Avenue the last of a dying breed.

Although redesigned, the platform still is prone to problems such as paint peel, seat belts, braking and steering loss. Nearly all 1987-94 C-cars have door mounted automatic front door mounted seat belts. When left connected, as they should be, they make entry and exit awkward, especially for older and handicapped people. Even worse, the belts can't keep occupants inside the car if a door opens in a crash. In 1990, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) refused CAS' request to investigate this belt problem.

Peeling paint (1985-93) has been a costly problem to take care of. 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 five years, but if pushed, they will honor the six year policy.

Power steering loss when cold has long been a problem in C-cars. In May 1989, GM issued a secret warranty that covered repairs for the defect on 1985-88 C-cars for up to 5 years/50,000 miles, but failed to notify most owners. Only customers who complained loudly enough were reimbursed.

The heating/air conditioning system in the Park Avenue and Olds 98 after the 1991 model redesign can only be called torturous with GM issuing service bulletin after service bulletin on problems ranging from too much heat to not enough defrosting to whistles and thumps.

You'll find information on these and other C-car defects below and what you can do about them plus a complaint box. Your information will help us build a strong case against GM as we fight for action on these defects.

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 which entitles you 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.

Sincerely,

Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

GM C-CAR (Buick Electra & Park Avenue, Oldsmobile 98) FACT SHEET
Technical Service Bulletins (TSB's) listed in brackets below.

Brakes: Front brake pulsation '95 & Prior O (43-50-09); Intermittent pull under hard braking w/ABS 1986-91 All (315004); ABS pedal pulsation '91-92 All (105202); ABS pump motor failure/faulty pump relay 1986-90 O (90-T-212); Rear brake noise 1991-93 O (93-T-10); Faulty ABS Relay 1991-94 All (435003); ABS & TCS indicator lamps on 1992-94 B (435004); Poor rotor finish, All (90-5-10); Dash panel buzz/rattle w/pedal depressed 1995-97 Park Avenue, 1995-96 Olds 98 (73-50-19).

Electrical: [Free repair: Headlamp switch 1994-95 O (95-C-01)] Faint buzzing from front of dash 1991-94 All (43-63-02); Cruise control inoperative 1991-92 O (92-U-31); Cruise control intermittent drop-out 1988-92 Olds 98, 1991-95 Park Avenue (92-T-48, 63-90-02); Speedometer won't return to zero 1991-92 O (92-T-33); Cooling fan runs continuously 1988-90 O (90-T-172); Cooling fan runs battery dead 1984-90 O (90-T-112); Loss of drive or erratic shifts 1991-94 B (4771211); Inoperative power seats/door locks 1992-93 All (53-81-28); Low voltage/dim light at idle 1990-95 All (43-64-07); Odometer lighting insufficient 1985-90 B (91-8-35); Dead battery/excess current draw 1980-91 All (91-6D-5); W/S wipers chatter 1994-95 All (53-82-03); Dim headlights/slow W/S wipers 1992-94 All (53-64-01); Fuel gauge responds slowly after fueling 1996-97 Park Avenue, 1996 Olds 98 (73-83-15).

Engine: Continuous spark knock/Excess oil consumption 1993-95 All (57-61-13); Exhaust pipe knocking 1985-93 All (436602); Cold engine tick/rattle after start-up 1990-94 All (476115); Knock in front of engine 1992-94 All (306001); Supercharger assembly oil weepage 1992-95 All (476002); Engine misfire 1992-93 Olds 98 (93-T-68), 92-93 Park Avenue (93-6E-13); Loss of power & hesitation on turns 1985-92 O (92-T-14); Cold start stall 1991-92 Olds 98 (92-T-43), 1992-93 Park Avenue (93-T-32); Oil pan gasket leak 1989-90 O (90-T-177); Cold engine - long crank 1989-90 O (90-T-77); Idle increases or surges 1992-95 All (77-65-15); Driveline vibration over 37mph 1994-95 All (53-65-06A); Pop, flutter, tick, spark knock on medium grades 1995-96 All (47-60-06D); Coolant leak near throttle body 1993-95 All (57-61-04).

Paint: Paint peels due to omission of primer layer; GM extended warranty to 6 years, then reduced it to 5. For more info, go to GM Paint.

Steering/Suspension: Reduced P/S assist in cold 1994 & Prior All (033206); Steering column popping 1992-93 All (333210A); Popping from front in turns 1994-96 All (63-33-01); Clunking in front suspension 1992-93 B w/F41 Suspension (93-3-17); Front coil spring noise 1991-93 B (93-3-16); Rattle from rear on bumps 1991-93 B (93-3-2); Slight torque steer during acceleration 1991-92 B (92-3-4); Front suspension popping 1991-92 B (92-5-5); Intermittent steering column snap or click on turns 1994-96 All (56-32-02B). Secret warranty for loss of P/S assist when cold on 1981-88s, go to GM P/S Loss.

Transmission: For more information, go to GM-FWD Transmission.

Other: Inadvertent trunk opening w/RKE transmitter 1996-98 Park Avenue, 1996 Olds 98 (73-90-16); Insufficient RKE transmitter range 1996-97 All (73-90-15); CD changer malfunction 1997-98 Park Avenue (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); Door water leak into passenger compartment 1991-94 All (431003); Roof rain noise 1991-95 All (30-10-03); Scrapping, hard closing doors 1991-95 All (43-15-10); Excess vibration of inside rearview mirror 1991-97 All (73-16-08); HVAC whistle 1992-96 All (53-12-13), 1991-94 All (43-11-07); A/C odor at startup 1993-96 All (53-12-12A); Excess heat on driver foot 1991-93 All (331213); Unbalanced defroster 1991-93 All (331223A); A/C defroster valve creak 1996-97 All (63-11-08); A/C system flutter &/or moan 1996-97 Park Avenue, 1996 Olds 98 (63-12-18); Intermittent A/C system, thump on passenger side 1995-97 Park Avenue, 1995-96 Olds 98 (73-12-07); AM radio static - replace radio 1994-95 All (53-96-02).

MAJOR SAFETY RECALLS
Copies may be obtained from NHTSA's Technical Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

Brakes: 1,000+ 1991 ParkAvenue, 98 - Parking brake failure (91V-167); 100+ 1987 Electra/98 - Brake loss (87V-093); 10,000+ 1997 Park Avenue - Control module causes ABS to cycle in non-ABS conditions (97V-074); 10+ 1999 Park Avenue - Wrong front brake assembly (99V-081); 100+ 1999 Park Avenue - Pedal assembly comes loose (99V-238); 500+ 2000 Park Avenue - Internal fluid leaks in ABS hydraulic modulator (00V-114).

.Cruise Control/Throttle: 10,000+ 1984-85 ParkAvenue, '85 98 - Cruise control servo slips/Sudden Acceleration (89V-102); 1,000+ 1987 Electra/98 - Throttle cable friction/Sudden Acceleration (88V-080).

Electrical: 10,000+ 1987 Electra/98 - In-line fusible link melts down (87V-135); 1,000+ Electra - Headlights flicker/go out (86V-131); 1,000+ 1995 Park Avenue - Drivers side headlamp has incorrect aim (95V-158).

Fire: 88,668 1986 Electra/98 - P/S pump control hose leak (86V-145); 10,000+ 1992-93 ParkAvenue, 98 -Trans. oil cooler line leak (96V-015.002); 5,000+ 1996 ParkAvenue, 98 - Backfire cracks intake manifold (96V-116).

Seat Belts: 1,000+ 1990 ParkAvenue, Electra - Owners manual info on front shoulder belt comfort feature (90V-112); 1,000+ 1996 Park Avenue - Incorrect safety belt &/or belt buckle ends (96V-044); 20,959 1997 Park Avenue - Rear center belt anchor bolt (97V-036); 77,952 1997-98 Park Avenue - Front shoulder belts jam in retractor (00V-117)..

Other: 100+ 1991 Olds 98 - Incorrect gear display (91V-198).

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