1995 Buick Riviera 3.8 Supercharged from North America


A great running fast luxury car


When I first bought my Riv it rode like a dream. I could not believe it. After my 1000 mile warranty was up, about two weeks later, I started to have problems. The first problem I had was that both belts broke. One was shredded the other was cracked. After I got that fixed the car still wasn't running as well as when I first bought it. The problem was one of the spark plugs was fried and two spark plug wires were cracked. I got a full tune up which I couldn't do myself because you need a lift to get to the back three spark plugs. This cost about two hundred fifty dollars to be done by a dealership. A few weeks after that both front bushings went bad which throws off the control of the car. Then the rotors and brake pads and shoes wore out this cost me almost six hundred dollars to fix. This is still less than six months after I had the car. Now I am in need of four new tires which aren't cheap because of the type of tires that are needed for this car. A problem that just happened today is that my traction control is going out which I have no clue why. In between these problems the car has run great!

General Comments:

The car is very fast and can out-run most other cars I have faced. The main problem I have had is that it over steers a lot. This is a car I would suggest buying, but, it can give you some problems which you would have with any other used car because you are just picking up someone else's problem. That is why they got rid of the car in the first place. At least that is why I got rid of my Celebrity.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th December, 2002

1995 Buick Riviera Supercharged 3.8L from North America


High maintenance and a disappointment


When I first purchased this car it came with a 30 day warranty, and 50/50 with the dealer on parts and labor. I owned the Riviera two weeks when the instrument cluster went dead. I was told that I needed to install a new one which would cost $1,200 or a re-manufactured one at half the price. I opted for the re-manufactured instrument cluster and had the GM Service Technicians installed it. I've not had any further problems with it.

I've driven the car now for almost three years and noticed two weeks ago that I had a severe spark knock. I assumed I had water in the gas, since I had just filled the tank when I immediately noticed the dieseling. I added Alcohol to displace the water and found no change. I then thought that perhaps the injectors were dirty and added fuel injector cleaner. The dieseling got worst. I brought the car into the dealer for service the very next day.

I was advised that the #4 piston had burnt through! They performed a compression test and found that the motor was blown. They removed the head and found that the cylinder was out of round to the tune of 13 thousandths. The engine was beyond fixing and I ordered a remanufactured 3.8L for $2.900 including the installation. The engine comes with a three year 36.000 mile warranty.

The cause of the engine failure was diagnosed as inherent to the engine design. Exhaust gases are circulated around the front to the rear and both sides of the #4 piston, on it's way to the exhaust manifold. This #4 piston runs hotter than the rest and is more likely to warp.

I accelerated the process by using regular gas on rare occasions. So to all of you Riviera owners beware, fill your car with Super or it will cost you $$$

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th November, 2002

12th May 2003, 19:42

That is very informative. Thanks.

Does anyone know if there is enough/any room between the manifold, and the #4 piston.

So that one might be able to wedge some insulation in there to protect the engine.

Everyone should run their car on the highest grade possible anyways. IMHO.

5th Nov 2004, 19:39

I always say, check the manual to judge what fuel grade will best suit your car. It's the best way to know for sure. And a higher ethanol level could be damaging to some engines. Been there and done that when I filled my Toronado with a 3.8 engine with Super. The ethanol boiled in the fuel line and stalled until I drove the Super grade out and filled up again with 87 octane gas (regular unleaded). I checked the manual, and sure enough, it stated that GM reccommends no higher than 87 in my car. BUT, there are newer versions of the 3.8 out there, the requirements for fuel on those could be different. I believe when I looked at a new Chevy Impala SS with a 3.8 supercharged engine, it said premium only. Just kind advise: Read the fuel requirements in the owner's manual of your vehicle the very first thing after you buy it, and before you fill up for the first time. Use no grade higher or lower than the recommended grade.