The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
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
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
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).
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 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.
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.
For more info, go to GM-FWD Transmission.
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.
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).
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).
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).
65,136 1986-87 Riviera, Toronado – P/S pump hose leak (88V-078); 5,000+
1996 Riviera – Backfire cracks intake manifold (96V-116).
100+ 1992 Riviera, Toronado – Loss of steering control (91V-157).
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).