1997 Oldsmobile 88 LS 3.8 V6 from North America
Avoid this car
The previous owner spent $1500. four years ago at 48k miles to replace the faulty plastic intake manifold and gaskets. At 66k, I had to perfom the same repair. This is a common problem with GM vehicles of early 90's to present. The previous owner kept meticulous maintenace records and the car was still like new. At 72k, it looks like the car is using ant-freeze again. A class action law-suit was won against GM for this problem - Dex Cool. But the age if the car does not qualify. I can see why GM is on the verge of bankruptcy.
The previous owner paid 25k for this car in 1997. I can think of better ways to spend that on a car even 11 years later. It does not have leather, sunroof, or auto-climate control for that price. Also, the rear seat does not fold down - you can carry more in sub-compact car with the rear seat folded. I do like the car though - it runs nice, rides smooth and is very comfortable. MPG is around 21 highway/city mix which is reasonable. I would advise anyone to stay clear of GM products that suffer from this Dex-Cool problem. The repair is expensive, and can re-occur. Used I spent 2500 for this vehicle, and sunk another 1500 into it. I thought it would be a reliable and safe winter car. For $ 4,000, I could have purchased a better car from the start.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 29th August, 2008
Actually to clarify the intake manifold problem began in 1995 with the introduction of the Series II 3800 V6. The previous version of the 3.8 litre, made from around 1987 or 1988 to 1994, was extremely reliable and durable.
Yes I can confirm that the 3800 Series II with the plastic intake is an absolute garbage engine. My landlord bought a '97 Park Avenue and by 40k miles the motor was trashed due to failure of the plastic intake. My boss's '98 Olds Intrigue with the same motor had the exact same problem at 110k miles. It too was trashed. Once upon a time, as recently as the early 90's, the 3800 motor was fantastic (pre-plastic intake). Not the case anymore though. GM turned it into a throw away motor.
If you catch the problem early instead of ignoring the signs, the engine won't be ruined. Is it a design flaw, yes. The manifold is not really plastic, it's nylon like the cookware utensils now. The problem was the EGR tube diameter which was to close to the manifold wall and has been corrected. So now you don't really have to worry about it. I'm a second hand owner of a 3800 engine car. The intake manifold on my car was replaced in 2003. I got it in 2006 and have put 40k on it since with no engine problems and no problems overall other than the usual high mileage items. It's at 148k now.
Then why do I have 220,000 miles on my car? The intake manifold does not wreck the engine, just needs replacement, and is a 150 dollar part that takes 3 hours to do.
Nylon is plastic!