1990 Oldsmobile 88 Royal 3.8 from North America




Alternator replaced for second time at 180,000. First time at 90,000, replaced belt tensioner at same time.

Timing chain tensioner replaced at 175,000. Fell into oil pan. (Expensive repair.)

Catalytic Converter replaced at 100,000. Muffler replaced at same time.

All vacuum hoses replaced as needed to maintain good idle.

CV joints replaced at 124,000.

Engine computer replaced by dealer first couple of hundred miles, drive-ability problems. Engine computer replaced again at 160,000. (Speedometer went nuts and car just stopped, could not restart.)

EGR Valve replaced at 60,000 and again at 175,000. (Big dollar repair for small part!) When bad, causes really bad idle and or check engine light.

Starter (actually solenoid went bad, but changed whole unit) last week at 189,000.

Water pump, 90,0000. Thermostat replaced several times when coolant flushed and refilled.

Radiator at 100,000, leaked in center of core. Replacement is plastic and aluminum. Still OK even though I've been told the aluminum units have poor life.

Power Antenna at 75,000.

All normal wear parts including brake rotors, drums, wheel cylinders hoses, etc. Also engine belt, hoses, spark plugs and wires, and battery lasted what would normally be expected.

Oxygen sensor replaced on general principal after catalyst change.

Head liner separated from roof, hanging (in summer of 2003.)

AC Evaporator coil became clogged with dirt and muck at 150,000. Little or no air was coming through heater/AC. Cleaned, but was expensive to do. This happened slowly, first noticing a "musty" smell from AC when turned on at first.

Struts replaced at 60,000 for better handling.

Hood pistons went bad quickly, about 50,000. Replaced with aftermarket units. Hood stays up fine now.

General Comments:

This has been one whale of a roomy, comfortable, family ride and Interstate cruiser. Ugly as sin these days, but has really only let me down once in the 14 years I've owned it.

GM's 3800 engine-auto transmission combination can't be beat for reliability. Tops in the league of average performance. Gas mileage averages 25 miles per gallon or better on highway.

Brakes should have been better. Car is capable of out driving the brakes in certain conditions. Rotors seem to go out-of-round easily.

Paint and appearance held up well for 14 years. Clear coat still on top of gray paint in most places, The car never saw a garage in harsh east coast weather. A little rust, but not bad for the miles, years and winter salt exposure.

Vehicle handles exceptionally well in wet and snowy weather with "all weather" rubber.

Car had all maintenance and nothing was ever "let go". Oil changed every 3000, and Trans. at 24,000.

That routine stuff has paid off, car still good to go.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2004

11th Feb 2004, 15:11

Though I own a 1990 88 Royale, I too have been quite impressed with its reliability and comfort. There are only a few things I would wish different:

There is an intermittent problem involving the dash lights, head lights, and speedometer. The speedometer sometimes doesn't work when the headlights are on, but works fine when the dash illumination is turned all the way down.

The (probably) thermostat failed today on the drive home, leading to the usual roadside stop and check. It's not stuck, but keeps over-correcting and thus swinging the temp from 185 to 215. This probably wouldn't have been noticeable had the car not come with the digital thermometer.

The alternator has been replaced twice, but other than that, the car is a great first for me. It was bought at 115,000 and now has 140,000. Additionally, I am a high school student, and I love it. (That says enough on it's own.) Handling isn't spectacular, but the 3800 series engine packs enough punch to make up for it. Many of my friends didn't give it credit for the performance that it delivers.

End result: Great Car!

1990 Oldsmobile 88 Royal 3.8 EFI from North America


A Plane Jane fast car


Front ball joints.

Back ball joints.

Brake line.

Gas line.

Front pads and rotors.

Rear shoes.

General Comments:

This car a a race car in disguise.

Not many cars it's class can beat it.

I put a K&N air filter in it, Bosch 4 tip plugs, and opened the exhaust to 2&1/2"

Also ran dual exhaust pipes.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th January, 2004

12th Jan 2004, 08:49

Calling your Olds a race car in disguise is like saying Kathie Bates is a fashion model. In disguise.