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Old 08-10-2015, 05:51 PM   #1
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Smile A few issues with an old 98 regency

Hi, I was hoping I could get some input on a few issues I'm having with a 1993 oldsmobile 98 regency elite with a 3800 series V6. I figured I'd post up all my problems here in the hopes that a few resident experts can chime in on what they can while I continue my searches of the internet.

Background: The car was gifted to us by an older lady. The first owners took care of it and there is a detailed service history for the first part of it'* life. The second owner did what she could afford, wal-mart services () with little consistency or record keeping. The car currently has 203k miles on it. I just changed the oil, filter, air filter, plugs, wires, alternator, and starter.

1: There seems to be a whine coming from the drivers side around the transmission. The tone of the whine changes with engine RPM independent of speed. The sound is not coming from any of the pulleys on the passenger side. The best I can describe the sound is a continuous rhythmic 'bleep' that bleeps several times per second and increases in pitch and frequency as engine RPM rises.

2: The car overheats when idling in town with stop & go traffic. Especially with the AC on. It operates at normal operating temp while cruising or light city traffic. Though I just talked to a radiator shop today who said my radiator has hairline fractures and pointed out one of my fans is not working. I'm going to test the fan today when the car cools down to see if that solves the issue. The radiator is going to be replaced when possible. Hopefully a faulty fan or relay is the problem. I'll report back on this later.

3: That leads me to my next issue. The low coolant light keeps coming on, but when I check the coolant level, all seems well. In fact the over flow tank seems to have too much coolant in it sometimes as the level can get well over the 'hot' line. I'm not sure what to make of it.

4: The struts in the car are original as far as I can tell. I'm planning on replacing them with OEM components since the compressor still works. What can I do to service and extend the life of the compressor? Can I use standard air tool oil to lube it up a bit?

5: Will these be adequate to service the suspension? About the lowest price I can find.
Front:
Amazon.com: KYB  236007 Excel-G OE Replacement Strut: Automotive Amazon.com: KYB 236007 Excel-G OE Replacement Strut: Automotive

Rear:
Amazon.com: KYB  235025 Excel-G OE Replacement Strut: Automotive Amazon.com: KYB 235025 Excel-G OE Replacement Strut: Automotive

6: The transmission fluid looks red still and doesn't smell burnt. Shifts like butter. Should I go ahead and have the transmission flushed? Or should I leave it be? No idea when it was done last.

7: The AC system only blows cool air out of the driver side vents. The passenger side vents blow heat constantly. I've been told that it could be an actuator, I've also been told that recharging the AC system will solve the problem. Any idea'*?

8: Are there any known problems with this year/model?

Thank you very much all for your time. It'* much appreciated.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:10 PM   #2
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Those cars are pretty durable. A friend of mine'* dad had a '90 model Regency that he drove almost 400,000 miles.

On the vents, if you're getting cold air out of one side and hot air out of the other, refrigerant isn't the answer. It'* definitely an issue with the vents. It may be a blend door actuator but if the car has electronic climate controls, it'* also possible the manifold where all the vacuum tubes connect is deteriorated. Replacements aren't available but it'* pretty easy to bypass it with some silicone tubing slightly larger than what'* there. The manifold is located behind the glove box. Just disconnect each pair of tubes (they're color coded) and jam the ends into about a two-inch length of silicone tubing. Make sure all the colors match when you're done. I had to do this on a '97 Olds LSS I used to have and it worked like a charm.

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Old 08-11-2015, 09:08 PM   #3
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1. Check condition and level of tranny fluid for starters. It'* probably due for a pan drop and filter change. If the fluid is nasty, you may want to exchange fluid before the pan drop.

2. Definitely get those fans going. The large fan is a 2 speed, the smaller a single speed that runs all the time the large fan is on. If the big fan is out, you will be feeling that one for sure, and you should probably avoid running the A/C in stop and go traffic until it'* sorted out, because it could be excessive stress to the compressor.

3. The low coolant sensor is on the radiator, passenger side, about 6 inches from the top I believe, in the side tank. If it'* due for a radiator, it would be a good time to also check the condenser for obstructions and bent fins, as well as between the radiator and condenser. If the low coolant sensor has packed up, you may as well address this when the radiator is out. Also check the transmission cooler lines, as they are a notorious leak point.

4. I believe there are instructions in Tech Info for servicing the compressor.

5. The rear struts you listed do not have the air assist that the ELC uses. Rear springrates depend on this system, and anything heavier than a small child sitting in the back seat will give you problems. I need to do my fronts yet, but I know that bushings and everything is shot on mine. When you tear the front end apart, plan on doing it once, so check the steering rack, bushings, cv joints/axles, etc.

6. If you don't know when it was done last, have the pan dropped and filter changed. Don't flush. Refill it with Dexron VI. Don't be afraid of mixing fluids, it should be fine. You can also install an adjustable shift modulator if butter shifts are not your thing. I have had one in for years, no regrets.

7. If it'* a dual zone climate control, start looking at actuators. If actuators are not to blame, I move this a couple of notches down the todo list, after the radiator and stuff. Being a '93, it'* a R12 system if it hasn't been converted. In my interweb journeys, it sounds like R12 systems favor conversions to R-152 over R-134 (there is some 'a'* in there too somewhere).

8. Yes, the stupid bypass inlet pipe just behind and under the alternator was plastic from the factory. If it is still plastic, plan on replacing it with metal available at most any parts store. Do that the next time coolant is drained. Also, if the LIM gaskets have never been replaced, put that on the bucket list, and plan on replacing the UIM when that happens. Also keep an eye out for coolant leaks under the throttle body that may cause this job to move up the todo list.
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Old 08-13-2015, 05:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjolly87 View Post
1. Check condition and level of tranny fluid for starters. It'* probably due for a pan drop and filter change. If the fluid is nasty, you may want to exchange fluid before the pan drop.
The fluid level is adequate. The condition looks fine to my untrained eyes, nice pink/red color, no burnt odor, no obvious debris. That being said I am going to do a fluid and filter swap later.

Quote:
2. Definitely get those fans going. The large fan is a 2 speed, the smaller a single speed that runs all the time the large fan is on. If the big fan is out, you will be feeling that one for sure, and you should probably avoid running the A/C in stop and go traffic until it'* sorted out, because it could be excessive stress to the compressor.

3. The low coolant sensor is on the radiator, passenger side, about 6 inches from the top I believe, in the side tank. If it'* due for a radiator, it would be a good time to also check the condenser for obstructions and bent fins, as well as between the radiator and condenser. If the low coolant sensor has packed up, you may as well address this when the radiator is out. Also check the transmission cooler lines, as they are a notorious leak point. [/quote]

Well after testing I determined that the motor for the large fan was shot. Luckily a shop in town carried a replacement motor. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and replace the radiator while I was at it. When I pulled the coolant level sensor out of the old radiator I discovered the probe was covered in rust/corrosion, so I polished it all up before putting it back in. No place in town carries one, so I'm not going to replace it if I don't have too.

Right now I've got it full of RO water and a 'coolant flush' detergent. The low coolant light still pops up periodically, but I'm not sure if that'* because I'm still getting air bubbles out of the system. In any case both fan function now, and during preliminary testing the temp holds solid at ~190*F in town with the AC full blast and ambient temps at ~95*F

Now that I'm thinking about it, I should have put a drain line on the petcock while it was out..... oh well.

Quote:
4. I believe there are instructions in Tech Info for servicing the compressor.
I have a hanes manual now as well. I'll check that out. Hopefully I can keep it going for some time to come.

Quote:
5. The rear struts you listed do not have the air assist that the ELC uses. Rear springrates depend on this system, and anything heavier than a small child sitting in the back seat will give you problems. I need to do my fronts yet, but I know that bushings and everything is shot on mine. When you tear the front end apart, plan on doing it once, so check the steering rack, bushings, cv joints/axles, etc.
Do you know where I can get some replacement parts for the rear ELC system? I've come to love it and I'd like to keep in functional.

I'll keep that in mind. I plan on keeping it running for a while as a little beater so I want to do it right.

Quote:
6. If you don't know when it was done last, have the pan dropped and filter changed. Don't flush. Refill it with Dexron VI. Don't be afraid of mixing fluids, it should be fine. You can also install an adjustable shift modulator if butter shifts are not your thing. I have had one in for years, no regrets.
I'll do that then. I'll leave the shifter as is though, it'* the wifes car.

Quote:
7. If it'* a dual zone climate control, start looking at actuators. If actuators are not to blame, I move this a couple of notches down the todo list, after the radiator and stuff. Being a '93, it'* a R12 system if it hasn't been converted. In my interweb journeys, it sounds like R12 systems favor conversions to R-152 over R-134 (there is some 'a'* in there too somewhere).
Thanks for the heads up, I'll check into that.

Quote:
8. Yes, the stupid bypass inlet pipe just behind and under the alternator was plastic from the factory. If it is still plastic, plan on replacing it with metal available at most any parts store. Do that the next time coolant is drained. Also, if the LIM gaskets have never been replaced, put that on the bucket list, and plan on replacing the UIM when that happens. Also keep an eye out for coolant leaks under the throttle body that may cause this job to move up the todo list.
So what would be the symptoms of the UIM/LIM gasket failure?
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Old 08-13-2015, 06:59 PM   #5
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Cyrus wrote: So what would be the symptoms of the UIM/LIM gasket failure?

I reply: Oil in the coolant or coolant in the oil. Sooner or later, the car will quit running. UIM/LIM failures are the achilles heel of 3800 engines, although it'* a bigger problem with Series II engines running "Dex Kill" coolant. If it hasn't been done yet, you're much better off doing it as a preventive measure than waiting for it to fail.
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Old 08-13-2015, 08:36 PM   #6
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Agreed, the LIM gasket failures aren't too big of a concern, just be on the lookout for coolant in the crank case.

I did mine when the plastic started crumbling on the UIM, allowing coolant to leak out from between the UIM and LIM. I figured that since I was in there for the UIM, I may as well do lowers as well, since I was only 10 bolts away from them. They were showing their age, but were not an immediate danger.
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Old 08-13-2015, 08:45 PM   #7
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Amazon.com: KYB  SR1003 Specialty Replacement Shocks and Struts: Automotive Amazon.com: KYB SR1003 Specialty Replacement Shocks and Struts: Automotive

It looks like Rockauto is listing SR1003 as the KYB part for the rear strut.

Monroes are also another option, however Gabriels have never held a good track record on these cars, with failures noted relatively quickly.

When you replace the rear struts, make sure the air system is pressurized before the car gets set back down. I didn't do this and the airbag ended up binding up, which could cause issues.
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