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LH cars and Longevity

Discussion in 'LH: Large Cars, 1993-2004' started by voiceofstl, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. voiceofstl

    voiceofstl Well-Known Member

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    Love the LH cars but.............. For big cars like the Crown vic and the buick Lesabre. yes I know the crown vic was built till 2010 but the lesabre stoped in 2005.
    Question: I must see 10 times more Lesabres in St. Louis then I do LH cars. Is there something in the LH cars that they aren't worth keeping after 100,000 miles or so? I did have a friend that had a 2002 300M and everytime I drove in it it seemd like a great car but my buddy got rid of it around 120,000 miles, he said it was "nickle and dimeing" him to death.
    So am I just seeing things or is the Lesabre that good?
     
  2. DC-93

    DC-93 Active Member

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    Just met a guy that has an Intrepid with over 350K on it...
    I haven't seen a LeSabre around here for years...
     
    Dave Z likes this.
  3. Tomguy

    Tomguy Well-Known Member

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    I "Only" have 207k+ on my one. I wouldn't consider it to be higher than normal maintenance. It does stink that the OEM evaporators only seem to last ~10 years before leaking, regardless of miles. That's an expensive job to have someone do for you (or a weekend project if you DIY). Other than that, I can't complain. I have owned the car about 9 years now, and I paid $3200 for it at the time. I am fairly sure I've gotten my money's worth out of it!

    "Big" items I have replaced include the evaporator (pain in the rear), timing belt & water pump (scheduled service item), radiator (twice, the replacement one was non-OEM & done under warranty when it cracked after 4 years), front & rear struts (expected, IMO, with the 190k it had when I did them). Other than that stuff, a few leaking PS coolers from drivers that constantly back up into my fascia & knock it into the rad cooler, 2 batteries, brakes twice up front & once in the back, a few tire changes, a dozen or so oil changes, belts, hoses, coolant flushes, and a trans fluid change... I can't complain.

    Note: I did replace the front wheel bearings & CVs before a long trip. It wasn't needed, but it gave me piece of mind to not drive around on the originals for that length of a trip.
     
    Dave Z likes this.
  4. Ian

    Ian Car Freak

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    I think the Buicks and Crown Vics have been easier to repair/work on than LH cars. Quite a few mechanics have said that.

    I am also a big fan of the LH cars and if I had to choose between one and a Buick or CV, I would take the LH, regardless of if it's expensive to repair or not.
     
  5. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
    Staff Member Supporter

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    Our 300M sure didn’t nickel and dime us. Big question is always the mechanic.

    CV was an ancient design. Can't say anything about the Buicks. I thought the Park Avenue was really nice.
     
    Ian likes this.
  6. Tomguy

    Tomguy Well-Known Member

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    Informal survey, of course, but a walk around my office lot on my lunch showed:
    1 GM G platform (LeSabre)
    1 Panther (Lincoln) - Actually surprised me, considering how long the Panther was made for. But then again, most of the people who work here are under 50.
    I drove my Jeep today, so the LH was not represented.

    What vehicles did I notice were common, or out of the ordinary?
    At least a dozen Subarus (they are so vanilla to me I never noticed just how many there are)
    6 Wranglers (YJ to JK)
    4 WK2 Jeeps (2 of which, including mine, were 2014+); 3 WK Jeeps; 1 WJ Jeep. The WK2 quantity surprised me
    2 Mustangs (Both SN95), guess because it's summer now. Rare to see these in the lot when I come in.
    2 Jellybean Tauruses, both with 100% shot rear suspensions as always
    3 Calibers! Surprising to me, that there were actually 3.

    The lot is about 150-200 cars. It is not an auto maker - it's an Internet company - so no one brand really stuck out aside from just how many Subarus there are. Honestly, a dozen is probably a dozen short. They are everywhere, and if I cared to count them, it'd probably be the largest brand in the lot.
     
  7. movinyou

    movinyou Active Member

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    My 99 LHS has 390185 on the clock and still rolling. Even getting a new timing belt/water pump this weekend. It's 4th!
     
    PCRMike, JA Cumbo and Tomguy like this.
  8. ygdude

    ygdude Active Member

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    i've had 3 LH's. 1 was wrecked. have had good luck with them with the 3.5 engines (never had a 2.7) and have 220,000 on our 2002 intrepid with very little if anything we've had to fix other than the transmission solenoid pack. i've fixed other things like struts, rust brake lines, timing belt (preventive) that aren't unusual to fix at that mileage and 14 years in the rust belt needs driver seat power module worked on. won't go up/down anymore.

    the 2000 300m is a different story. it had 182000 when i bought it. has been ok but i think the previous owners didn't take care of it like i do so i've had lots of things to fix and replace. has 231000 on it but non of the front suspension is original, neither is the engine or transmission. thought i had a good deal but the nickels and dimes have added up to what a much mileage model would have cost. Hope to get at least another 40000 or more out of it. love the way they ride and drive.
     
  9. patricklynch

    patricklynch Happy R body St. Regis driver, blissed out Plymout

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    I have 205,000 miles on my 2002 Concorde Lxi and it's waiting for me to drop the gas tank to fix a huge leak. I've had to undo a lot of previous owner abuse with my car which has cost me a fair amount of money and definitely a lot of time. I see lots of both first and second gen LHs where I live in central Kentucky. They're still popular around here. If I had not tried to undo all of the previous abuse, my car probably would have ended up in the junkyard between 155-167,000 miles. 167k was when the original water pump and timing belt got replaced. I assumed because that I bought with a 152k on the odometer it had already been done. If it hadn't been for a leaking water pump, I'd never have known. I have a love/not quite hate relationship with these cars. They're great when everything is in spec, but often a pain to work on, so much so, I told my fiancee that our next car was going to be a 67-76 Valiant.
     
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  10. PCRMike

    PCRMike Well-Known Member

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    My mom just bought an 02 Intrepid with a 3.2 and 230K miles. She says it runs and drives like new. Was well cared for. Her favorite car ever was our 1975 Cordoba that (for the time) drove so smooth, yet stable and quiet. She correlates this feeling to the Intrepid. She has had it 6 months and already has it at 255K!
     
    Dave Z likes this.
  11. RLSH700

    RLSH700 New Member

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    Voiceofstl, I live near St. Louis as well across the muddy Mississippi and I will state that there are a couple reasons why I believe you see fewer LH cars in our area than LeSabres:

    1. Although they were both large cars in the same market, they were aimed at a different audience. The people I know who owned LHS & 300Ms tended to be younger and more aggressive drivers and tended to rack the miles up on their cars at a normal to faster rate. Most of the people I know who bought the LeSabre's new were seniors or at the youngest Baby Boomers. The key evidence of who they were aiming for can be found in the gauges. The Buick's numbers are oversized the Chrysler's looks sporty. The suspension also points this direction, the LeSabre has a very soft, bouncy suspension, the LHS (and even more so the 300M) is a much tighter suspension by comparison. The Buick LeSabre was trying to appeal to the audience that liked the classic full-sized cars just in a FWD package with an entry level luxury more a direct competitor to the Grand Marquis after they no longer had their own RWD platform to compete against it, with just the 3800 V6 (no supercharger available for it). The LHS and 300M were aiming for a Luxury Sport to be more European tuned suspension and with an engine to match it with 4 valves per cylinder. It is easy to find LeSabres and Grand Marquis with low mileage because to be frank for many people it was their last car. In comparison, I see 10 times the number of LHs compared to Pontiac Bonnevilles, non-police package Crown Vics, Olds Auroras, Olds 88s. So keep that in mind, if a car needs to only be merely a reliable, affordable cushy appliance a 10-20 year old LeSabre is a great deal as there are so many to choose from because it was many people's last car who drove them gently and not very far. The people I knew that owned LH cars were younger, drove them more and harder.
    2. LH cars are higher maintenance plain and simple. The engine requires the timing belt and water pump to be replaced; whereas, the LeSabre's 3800 ran on a timing chain. That is an additional $800 for replacing around 100K miles. The 42LE transmission uses exclusively ATF+4 and some shops STILL do not carry it. Pretty much every shop has Dexron which is what the Buick uses. Also the hardware in the LH cars was a lot newer than that in the Buick LeSabre. The LH platform began in 1993 where as the Buick's platform H began in 1986 (although the G platform started in 1995 for the 2000-2005 versions, the G itself was largely based on the Cadillac K platform which also dated back to the 80s). The 42LE transmission was made in the early 90s whereas the 4T65-E was basically an electronic version of the GM's FWD 4 speeds made in the mid 80s. The (new in 93) 3.5L 24 valve V6 at that time was state of the art and exclusive to the LH cars (unfortunately) vs. the (dating back to the 50's as a Buick V8) 3800 V6 was a traditional 12 valve OHV was used in almost everything except trucks and compacts (minivans, F body pony cars, personal luxury coupes, midsized W body, earlier A body), making parts plentiful, cheap and every mechanic knew them inside and out, with most mechanical bugs worked out.
    3. Teething problems and ignorant mechanics: The LH cars in the first generation seemed to have more problems with the paint, steering issues, Air Conditioner issues, and 42LE were still being "perfected." For the second generation, I would point to the 2.7L V6 as being part of the reason why we don't see as many entry level Intrepids or Concordes anymore. Don't get me wrong, I know one person who got to 237K miles before the 2.7L V6 went out but I saw many a bluish smoke coming out of 2.7L powered Intrepids and Concordes. If they would have kept the 3.3L V6 for the second gen, I would bet that a lot more of them would be on the road. When my Master Break Cylinder went out on my 99 LHS, the dealer couldn't figure it out so I brought it to an auto body shop. They found that and the intake gasket. They did a good job, but they were going to put Dexcool in my LHS because "It's pink" (Dexcool is OAT coolant, Chrysler's is a HOAT, NOT COMPATABLE) and told me how bad these "Mitsubishi" 3.5L V6 are in reliability. They did a good job on the breaks and other work, but they clearly do not know what they are talking about or what fluids to use without my supervision if they think the 3.3L derived Chrysler 3.5L V6 is a Mitsubishi engine. When mechanics like this have spent so much time on GM or Ford but no time around these cars to know to what transmission fluid, coolant, and other essential fluids to use let along how to install them as they are harder to work on, this results in more problems. From my experience, the people who had the dealers do the work had much more positive experiences with their Chryslers than the ones who took it to other places.

    "Is the LeSabre that good?" In my experience, they are good but not THAT good. The problem with GMs from that era is electrical particularly with sensors. 1 H.S. friend got a 97 from his step dad (in 2002) and several warning lights were on constantly and they didn't appear to be lying in the way it was operating with a just 127000 miles on it. My other friend got to borrow his no longer driving Grandfather's 98 LeSabre (2002-2005) and the transmission began bucking around 80,000 miles (I don't think it lasted 100,000 miles before the transmission blew). My dad's coworker had one (I can't remember the year) and the company retired it at 160000 miles because it blew its 2nd transmission. One friend had somewhere around a 92-94 model and it lasted about 250K miles and as far as I am aware it had the original powertrain before she retired it so that one was impressive. There are plenty of examples that I can no longer remember about with good 3800s reaching past 200K, but even they are not always perfect per the intake gasket problems (to be fair half the 3.5Ls we have owned have had this problem as well) found in the series II 3800 plus my brother had a low mileage 02 Grand Prix with the same engine and he replaced sensors (oxygen, crack), catalytic convert, coils, and a couple other things before he abandoned it with only 102,000 miles.

    I have had 4 LH cars in my family (97 Intrepid 3.5L, 02 Intrepid 3.5L, 02 300M 3.5L, and my current 99 LHS 3.5L). The only problem I have had with the engine aside from maintenance is having to replace the intake gasket (97 Intrepid and 99 LHS). Each has had about the same things needed (windshield wiper motors, tie rods, new engine cooling fan for the older two, refrigerant recharges,etc.). Each has had its own unique problems (power locks on 97, flashers not flashing 02 Intrepid, Master brake cylinder and Vaccum Booster on 99 LHS, etc.) but the one that was the most troublesome so far was the 300M. The transmission on that one went into limp mode (requiring a new solenoid) but even after that it would want to start in 2nd gear at times and would wait until 3K rpms to shift unless autostick was used to force it to act right. I blame that on the autostick because I have found similar problems with a Grand Prix with paddle shifters and my brothers current 2011 Taurus once shifted EXTREMELY hard.

    As far Crown Vics, most of those are ex cop cars, but are they and Grand Marquis that good? Yes, they are. My aunt has somewhere beyond 308K on hers (the odometer broke 8 years ago and she still drives it every day). The transmissions tend to die around 240-250K but they engines don't die from what I have seen with numerous Panther Platform owners. Not a good breathing engine (or not that great for truck use), but they last.

    In what I have observed, you can have positive or negative experiences with any brand (including the major japanese brands despite popular belief/Consumer Report's propoganda), some models are better built than others within the same company and each company has their strong points. In my view, as long as you maintain it correctly, you can easily get at least 160K miles out of the LH cars without too much trouble and I know some that have gone to 200K. I know some people that had GM G/H/K body cars that will do the same if maintained correctly and others didn't. The Panther Fords from my experience seemed to be the most trouble free but that makes perfect sense as the platform dates to the 70s, the transmission to the 80s, and the 4.6L V8 while no hot rod is quite reliable. Which car do I like the best? The LH as they had the best interior, best exterior, best handling, and the best compromise for the engine between power and gas mileage. The Buick is good cushy appliance car that gets great gas mileage for what it is, decent power, and cheap to maintain. The Panther Fords will probably last the longest but they will have more problems in the snow. I'll take a slight amount of power steer any day verses not being to get around in the snow (and snow tires and a sand bag still doesn't cut it as well as FWD).
     
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