Same problem, have to replace two broken rack mounting bolts, must have been broken for years, never hit anything, bought used. The rack is held by two strap clamps on the right side, that keep it from moving for a long time after the bolts are broken, until dirt, oil and grease get under the mount and lube it enough to move. Once it starts to move, it only gets worse. Replaced one bolt; this is now broken again after about 9 months.
Paul Stamm (941) 753-2360.
Wow... Same thing. My daughter bought a '97 LeSabre, and has been driving it to work for a few months. It had been up on lifts 3 times, replacing brake lines, being inspected, etc., and 2 different mechanics noticed nothing. I was driving it and stopped at a stop sign, and thunk... Couldn't believe what was hanging down when I looked under there. 4 rear bolts had pulled right through, and now I am wondering if it is worth fixing. We just got one quote for $440 from a GM dealer! We have always loved GM cars, but I really think they should do something about this. Hate to think what could have happened if my daughter was driving this at 55mph at the time it happened!
I have a 1996 Buick LeSabre in very good shape.
I was very surprised when the frame dropped because the body mounts rusted out. I replaced the mounts, and now the car's steering is difficult.
I'd hate to junk the car.
After hearing rattling and popping noises in the front end of my 1998 LeSabre Limited (mint, everything perfect, 53,000 original miles, I'm the second owner) I took it to my trusted mechanic who replaced the sway bar and links. Rattling went away, but I started noticing a popping noise from the right front of the car. Took it back and the mechanic said "rusted engine cradle" (subframe). I'm having it towed in for replacement with a salvage subframe (cost: $1000-1300), but the question remains: are the attachment points on the body sound enough to bolt to?
By the way, this was a Maryland car that has never left the mid-Atlantic region. These old Buicks are sweet, but get a pre-purchase inspection with a specific focus on front end rust issues.
I have owned Linc/Merc/Fords for my last 4-cars; loved them, but they also had problems. Rusting fuel, A/C, & brake-lines.
I just purchased a nice kept 1996 Buick LeSabre, 99-k, & elder-owned for the last 10 years. He did a lot of work to this Buick, & so far all is OK.
I've heard about the 'Sub-Frame Cradle' bushing & bolts problem. I'm bringing my 15 year old, 2nd hand GM to my mechanic in 2 days. It's better to be safe than sorry!!!
If all these cars (LeSabre, Bonneville, Delta 88, DeVille, Regency, and Park Avenue) lived their lives in southern climates, there is a zero percent chance of this happening.
As a follow on to my posting of 9-5-12 (1998 LeSabre Limited), my mechanic found that the attachment points on the body were sound and clean. He received the first salvage subframe from an NC salvage yard, but one of the attachment points was rusted through on that part. The second salvage subframe was clean, however, and with four new bushings from the local Buick dealer, the replacement subframe was bolted back in and the car is now roadworthy.
I cannot stress enough the need to put these cars FROM ANYWHERE ON THE EAST COAST/SOUTHEAST (not just the Rust Belt) on a lift and have your mechanic look very closely, as the bushings/washers conceal what could be fatal rust. These are great cars, but this subframe issue is an egregious engineering flaw.
Final tally: $1,172.00, and I consider myself lucky. The salvage part was $385.00, bushings $132.00, and the balance was labor. I hopefully now have a sound car for the next 100,000 miles, but I will have the car rust checked every annual inspection, as I live in No. VA.
97 Buick LeSabre.
Subframe engine cradle mount points rusted.
Bought this as a used car last summer, with high miles on the engine, and minor rust on the body on the driver's side. Have taken it in for inspection, mentioned a rusted brake line and it was replaced. Also told that fuel lines will rust. Living in the rust belt in MN, I wasn't surprised about the lines; they are replaceable.
Love Buicks; this is the third Buick that I've owned with the 3.8 engine. First time having a serious frame issue.
Took it in for tires and an alignment this spring. Was informed the retainer washer on the passenger side rear was rusting away. Was okay to leave, and was told to repair it as soon as possible.
The frame is rusted, so that even with the retainer washers (which was a hard part to buy, without buying a whole new bushing kit) being replaced, there is no frame left to support the engine cradle. Unable to repair, for the frame is extremely soft on the driver's side, which hadn't ever been mentioned. Quoted price for repair is higher than the worth of the vehicle; would involve welding a new frame and modifying the engine cradle mount points. Very bad design and engineering flaw on a Buick frame. Sad, for the engine and tranny run great (what disturbed me about this, is how many times it was looked at and put up on the rack, and no one bothered to mention the problem before, or they just didn't know to look at the frame and cradle more effectively!).
This is a dangerous issue. Reading prior comments, there should be a recall or warning issued about this problem on the Buick subframe and engine cradle. Who knows how many accidents were caused by this flaw?
GM revised the FWD H-Body in the naughts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM_H_platform_(FWD), does the infamous subframe still mount as it does in my 95 LeSabre? I'm wondering if they've addressed this issue on newer models.
I have a 95 LeSabre, just under 200K miles, which runs excellent and has had regular frequent maintenance. But my subframe cushions are blown out on the passenger side and the frame has dropped a couple of inches. I just noticed it today. Wow! The driver's side is still up there, but the washers on one are gone, and the bushings are about gone. With the stories here, I am nervous about even driving around to find parts for it, and wonder if the bolts will come out without breaking off, and how to put a new bolt in then, with no access to the back side??
I am thinking I will look under there and see if it is possible to cut a hole thru the sheet metal above the boxed in area, and pass an aircraft cable a couple times around that and the subframe, and secure it with a couple of U-clamps, just for safety's sake! Jack it up tight, and then pull the cable as tight as possible and clamp it good.
One could maybe do the same idea with a small sized high quality link chain, with the ends bolted together...
I agree with everyone, this is something that is unquestionably a critical safety issue that GM has gotten a pass on, so far! With the loss of steering, it could easily lead to head on crashes.
I have the same problem on my 95 Buick LeSabre. I want to know where can I purchase the bolts and nuts? I have replaced them twice and they continue to break. I believe they were not heat treated and were incorrect.
Same problem here with a 97 LeSabre. 2 of the 4 front cradle mounts. I live in Iowa, the washers were just laying in the driveway. One is completely gone; on the other the bushing is gone. This is obviously a real issue. Page after page of the same problem.
I would sell and move on. Just realize I got 17 years out of a car in the rust belt. Why risk an accident. I had trans after trans on my Acura. Just took a beating and moved on. I would never take the time to re-frame an old car.
I would think the critical safety issue is knocking holes through structural parts of the car, in order to hold the powertrain in place with lengths of chain and cable.
If the car is irreparably rusty, the only place it should be going is the scrapyard.