13th Oct 2005, 19:09
Suggestion to all with the digital dash and other issues...
GM has reported that the three-point digital dash has a faulty chip called a "smart driver", and maybe a few bad solder joints as well. The DC to DC converter was another reported issue. Suggestion - replace it with the full gauge (digital or analogue) dash and replace the harness plug (you can obtain wiring/upgrade instructions from mycertifiedservice.com if you contact them), temp sensor and oil sending unit, and you're good to go. The full dash does not have the chip, and the digital simply relies on the same principals as the analogue full gauge panel, it's just represented in lights rather than a needle.
The power steering is another issue. If you buy this vehicle used and the previous owner has not done so, replace the pump and lines. The factory lines have a tendency to slowly deteriorate due to the aluminum being too thin. The pump reservoir also can deteriorate.
On the alternator issues. Do your research and double check which amperage your alternator is supposed to be. The issue is the first alternators that were issued for these vehicles were the wrong amperage. This wasn't really solved until around 1992 when GM repair shops started having a bunch of these come in with electrical issues concerning alternator and battery. The recommend amperage alternators for the V6 models are now 100 amp. Although that may seem low, it's perfectly suited for the 3.1 V6 and its components, and will last considerably longer.
As far as radio and "ETR" models, newer versions are always better. There are several Delco/Delphi models designed to fit the CS and several others. I recommend that if you want to keep the look of the Olds dash and buttons, but would like and additional 25 more watts per channel (50X4) and more reliability and features such as an equalizer, the model# 16155113, or the Buick equivalent model# 16085414. As for CD, there is only a Buick model I can recommend so far which is the model# 16085434.
Be advised that you can usually find all this stuff on eBay for much cheaper and in better condition than a junk yard; you just have to look.
I hope this advice helps you all.
23rd Jul 2010, 22:58
FYI - A/C performance - GM W-Bodies (Cutlass, Grand Prix, Lumina, Regal. et al) A/C was always marginal - even when new. I remember a GM service bulletin stating that the best you could hope for was a 20 degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature when measured out of the A/C vents - I.E. 90 degrees outside = 70 degree air coming from the center A/C vents after driving at highway speeds for 15-20 minutes. Typical cars issue 38-48 degree temperatures from the center vents under similar conditions.