Bought this 93 Cutlass Convertible a couple of years ago with one foot in the grave. Brought it back to life with an engine rebuild and transmission rebuild. If I had known then what I know now about this car, I would have left it alone.
First, the engine is a 3.4L Twin DOHC X code. The issue with this engine is the cam chain tensioner. It is a cheap piece of tin coated on the inside with teflon. When this piece of tin wears out, the chain loosens and over time will lead to timing failure. When this happens, the valves will interact with the pistons, then the entire engine has to come apart to replace bent valves. Nothing to do but replace the entire front engine assembly and rebuild the heads. It is doable, but very costly.
I will not run this motor on anything but Amsoil synthetic to minimize wear on chain and tensioner. Timing is very critical on this motor. I am also burning 89 octane only. Running Amsoil in the trans also. The engine runs smooth and strong right from start up. Installed AC Delco Rapid Fire Platinum plus plugs, so I don't have to tune it up again.
Second, I understand brakes were an issue with this car right from the factory. I have installed all four Kelsey Hayes ceramic pads, and have no dust or stopping issues. I have stood on the brakes as hard as I can just to test, and they are the only way to go. No problem with the brakes.
Third, the convertible version of the Cutlass hardtop was built by American Sunroof Corporation, now out of business since 1998. The A-pillar rubber seals are a hybrid graph of the 2 door weatherstrip seals. There are none in existence, and mine were leaking extremely bad in Florida weather, even filling up the floorboards. I put a cover on the car and proceeded to ruin the paint. I have found a suitable fix for the rubber strips with black BoatLife boat caulk available from Jamestown Distributors. No more car cover and no leak.
Exterior door handles are very cheap, and as mentioned before, made of potmetal. Replacements can be found at 1AAuto for a reasonable price. Not a perfect fit, but can be modified carefully to fit well.
I am running Riken Raptor 225/55/16 radials, and this car does handle like its on rails. I run 100 miles an hour hands off all day long with top down and get 20 miles to the gallon. It is a fun car to drive, and since it is such a rare vehicle, it grabs a lot of attention.
Still would like to find the window seals for the rear quarter windows.
I expect with diligent maintenance that the engine and trans should go 100k with no issues. Love the way it sounds and runs.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 24th November, 2010