Picked it up for a song with 44,000 miles. At that time the front seats and back seat cushions were reuphoulstered due to splitting.
This car consumed at least 1 alternator and 1 battery per year. There were no electrical problems that would cause such a fault. Alternator problems were always attributed to plastic brush holders which would crack and cause the brushes to fall out.
At 68,000 miles, after exiting expressway, front end felt real loose. Upon investigating, found 3 of 5 wheel studs completely broken off. Evidence of fatigue fracture was not visible, indicating that fracture was most likely due to improper heat treatment of wheel studs rather than improperly torqued lug nuts.
Turn signal switch failed at approximately 70,000 miles.
Ball joint completely collapses at 72,000 miles.
Headlight circuit problems at 75,000 miles. Never had brights after this point.
Transmission died at 85,000 miles - replaced with a used unit by myself.
Car would not run at 86,000 miles - after exhausting all possible routes of repair, took it to the dealership. Had to supervise employees of the local dealership (teach them how to use a fuel pressure gauge, jumper fuel pump relays, etc... basic stuff). After 2 weeks and several mechanics, car was worked on by senior mechanic who found a faulty fuel injector. Wanted 4 hours of book time and $120 for the injector. Disconnected the faulty injector to drive it home; Within 2 hours and $60 later was running smoothly again.
Egr tube cracks at 87,000 miles.
One more injector dies at 93,000 miles, causes instant no start on the highway. Luckily, I methodically disconnected injectors one by one until I found the culprit. Finished my trip on 5 cylinders.
Fuel pump dies at 95,000 miles and kills 2 injectors in the process. The fuel circulating through the injectors acts as a coolant - if car doesn't pump enough gas, the injectors fry.
Fuel pressure regulator at 98,000 miles.
Replaced all injectors at 100,000 miles.
Sold the car at 102,000 miles with everything in good running condition. Hope the guy had more luck with it than I did.
This car handled very well and was very easy to handle in wet and icy conditions.
Power was slight low, but adequate for almost all situations.
The dash layout was excellent.
Seating was excellent. The front seats (I had the model with all the air bags built into the seats) were adjustable in so many ways that almost anyone could be made comfortable.
Plenty of luggage space in the trunk and cutout into passenger area for long items.
Power assist steering allowed for a decent amount of feedback from the road.
Charging system is poorly designed from the standpoint of durability.
Insufficient airflow to the injectors (being hidden between the upper and lower intake plenum with little air flow) causes the injector coils to overheat and eventually melt. Later GM engines (such as the 3.3 and 3.8) used raised upper intake plenums or located the injectors in the open where airflow was present and this problem ceased.
The failure of one injector would cause it to draw all power away from the bank in which it was located (therefore rendering 3 cylinders useless). This would result in a car that would barely start and not move under its own power. I'm not a computer engineer, but it seems that they might have done something to rectify this problem so one injector failure would not leave the car stranded.
I had so many injection problems with this car that I could pull the upper intake in a parking lot, check each injector, and swap a bad one if necessary, in under an hour. I've helped several people who have been stranded with these cars in the same way. I was told several times that the injectors must be changed as a set - don't believe it. Invest in a cheap multitester and check them yourself - you'll save a lot of money.