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LT1 powered Buick


easywind's Avatar
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10-23-03, 11:33 AM   #1  
LT1 powered Buick

I'm looking for a tow vehicle and would prefer a car over a truck. I've seen a bunch of Buick Roadmasters and Chevy Caprices with the Corvette LT1 engines. Anyone have any thoughts on these big rear wheel drive cars with the vette engines?

 
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10-23-03, 12:13 PM   #2  
Joe_F
Nice vehicles overall. Only problem with the LT1 is the blasted Optispark when it goes bad. Not bad to do, but expensive part.

Beyond that it's mostly "Chevy V8".

 
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10-23-03, 01:01 PM   #3  
Joe I've got another question that you probally know the answer to. I've called Buick and I think they think I'm from mars. How does one determine if the vehicle is equipted with a tow package. The book says one can tow 2000 pounds with the LT1 and 5,000 pounds with the tow package. Anything in the serial numbers, Thanks

 
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10-23-03, 01:33 PM   #4  
darrell McCoy
I would speculate, it should be on the option code sticker. not sure on the location, but it may be on the inside of the trunk lid.
You may need a factory manual or go to a dealer to cross-ref the codes.

 
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10-23-03, 02:41 PM   #5  
I finally got some info from Buick that the code is v92 and it's on the spid, which they said is the build sheet and it could be in the glove box on the underside of the trunk or the underside of the spare tire holddown cover.
What is optispark?
Chevy's are usually cheap to repair.

 
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10-23-03, 04:40 PM   #6  
Optispark is a optical distributor assembly located behind the water pump.

 
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10-23-03, 04:43 PM   #7  
Joe_F
Yes, V92 is the trailer provisions option. If the vehicle has that code on the SPID, it's got it.

If it's a sedan, the SPID label is stuck to the trunk. If it's a wagon, the SPID label is on the LH quarter panel in that year.

Optispark: Just what it sounds like. In theory, an optical type distributor. Has a cap and rotor. What usually happens on these is the water pump leaks and wipes out the OS. Also, early versions were not vented so moisture was a problem. 1994 should be vented. This system debuted in 1992 on the Corvette, which also had the LT1.

On the whole, you won't go wrong with this car. NYC used these as cop cars for many years. They are fast, fairly nimble (given the size), get reasonable fuel economy and drive nice.

My friend had a '95 LT1 Caprice ex NJ cop car and it was a demon. It could lay rubber for blocks and it would snap your neck shifting. It was mean and commanded attention. We went through the Battery Tunnel and the cops used to salute us. LOL. He STILL regrets selling it over 3 years later.

Look for "V08" on the option label too, that's heavy duty cooling which might standard with V92. Also, there was an oil cooler option on many of these if they were HD cooling.

You may want to opt for the Caprice. In this fashion, you will get HD everything if you get an old cop car from out of state.

Since you're in NYC like me, you can always go to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and pick up a gem at the police auctions. LOL!

 
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10-24-03, 08:39 AM   #8  
Joe, thanks again for the codes and advice. Do you know the codes on the Caprice? As far as the auctions go, is the Navy yard a public auction or dealers only. Is there a way to entice you to come with me.

 
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10-24-03, 08:42 AM   #9  
Joe_F
EW:

I was joking dude. Some of those cars are pretty rough! You can find these cars pretty reasonably on the Internet and around town. Get one out of state, it will be cleaner, in better shape and less abused.

The police auctions should be public, at least the city seems to advertise them as such.

9C1 is the police package option for the Caprice. V92, V08 are all GM codes so those are universal to any GM that has those options.

9C1 is only for the Caprice as the RM was not available as a police car.

 
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10-24-03, 06:53 PM   #10  
easywind,

You may want to reconsider - the big engines won't mean squat if you go off road(campsite) and it rains or gets muddy. I've towed boats since the early 70's: 396 Chevelle, 400 cid Grand Prixs, and a couple big old Buick LeSabres. The last one I would have left at the wet boat ramp, if possible. I've had 4WD ever since - Big Blazers and Z71's.

Consider an SUV, or if you want both worlds, get a New SS Silverado, AWD and a big gas guzzler.

fred

 
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10-25-03, 03:05 PM   #11  
fewalt, thanks for the advice, I hear you, however I won't be doing any off roading and doubt I'll move the trailer much> It will get set up once for the season and if I need help there are plenty of 4x4 owners where I'm at who will be happy to move me a few feet.
As far as new I don't like new aside from that I park 6 months a year on the streets of Manhattan and like to have rough, good running vehicles.
Joe I was actually thinking of going out of state, maybe Manheim, to look for one of these although I would like to buy from a private person and get some type of history. I also could think of a car just to get me to Mexico and sell when I get back. I think the trick is is to get a captains car that was nothing more than a grocery getter. I know these auctions are shark infested.

 
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10-25-03, 04:01 PM   #12  
Joe_F
Pay someone to have the car looked over carefully and take your time finding one---they are out there.

Ebay, autotrader, just about everywhere. Make sure you personally look at and it's what you want. Don't buy anything sight unseen. No good.

Like any used car, make sure it's what you want and put aside some money for repairs.

 
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10-26-03, 01:44 AM   #13  
always put money into anything I buy, tires, change all fluids, belts and hoses. Would never buy anything sight unseen and the shopowners I know are usually to busy to come with me, that's why I way trying to bribe you (Joe)

 
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10-26-03, 02:54 PM   #14  
Joe_F
Sorry EW, got a ton of house projects and car projects that need my attention. I'm taking a break right now while the paint dries on the ceiling downstairs and then it's back to work. LOL.

There are inspection services you can pay to verify a car is sound. I'm sure there are ones on the 'net and in the yellow pages.

 
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10-27-03, 11:03 AM   #15  
Joe, thanks really not looking for an inspection service. I'm sure I'm more competent then 99% of them would be. Just looking for an edge with an honest to goodness car guy who knows the codes and in and outs of a particular vehicle. Good luck with the house. I'll go shopping out in Arizona in a few weeks, at least it will be rust free and I'll rebuild the mechanicals if need be. In the next few weeks, at your lesiure if you could post some option codes on the Buick I'd appreciate it. I've had a number of Buicks and I'm impressed with the reliability and ease of maintainance with them so I think I'll stay with them.

 
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10-27-03, 11:06 AM   #16  
Joe_F
If you get me some VIN #s of the vehicles you want and provide a fax #, I can print out the option codes and descriptions from the GM Parts Imager I have at work....fair?

Can't guarantee how fast I can get them to you, but I will try. Post the Vin #s you are considering here.

 
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10-27-03, 05:26 PM   #17  
Be aware if you are looking for an LT-1 that there was a 5.7L LT-1 and a 4.3L LT-1

 
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10-28-03, 07:17 AM   #18  
Joe_F
Umm, 1994 to 1996 B cars (Chevy) had a LT1 (350 8th vin digit is a P) and an L99 (265, 8th digit is W).

Both are V8.

 
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10-28-03, 02:24 PM   #19  
Originally posted by Joe_F
Umm, 1994 to 1996 B cars (Chevy) had a LT1 (350 8th vin digit is a P) and an L99 (265, 8th digit is W).

Both are V8.
Like I said. One is a 5.7L and one is a 4.3L

 
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10-28-03, 04:38 PM   #20  
Joe_F
You said:

Be aware if you are looking for an LT-1 that there was a 5.7L LT-1 and a 4.3L LT-1

---The 94-96 V8 4.3 vin W doesn't have an RPO code of LT1. Never did. Only L99 as I stated.

 
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10-28-03, 06:34 PM   #21  
My point wasn't for him to be aware of RPO codes but to understand the LT-1 design came as a 5.7L and a smaller version of the 4.3L or RPO L99 as you put it. Regardless of it's RPO Don't mistake the 4.3L which looks nearly identical to the LT-1

 
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10-28-03, 07:12 PM   #22  
Joe_F
They are all "Chevy" small block. Hence they have come from each other.

However, the terms LT1, L99 refer to what specific optioned engine is in there.

You wouldn't confuse the two. Vins are different, as well as other attributes.

 
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10-29-03, 02:06 AM   #23  
I have seen many people think they had an LT-1 When they really had the L-99. Unless they actually look at the vin, spid or emissions label they could easily assume it is an LT-1. Joe you'd be surprised how many people didn't even know they made the 4.3 V8

 
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10-29-03, 03:56 AM   #24  
Joe_F
It wasn't used all that often---it replaced the 4.3Z V6 that was used through 1993.

Most police cars (what EW is looking for really) are LT1 equipped.

 
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10-30-03, 07:39 AM   #25  
Went to Pa for the day to look over a few cars, really amazing how people will beat your time. Looked over pretty cars that were junk.
Yamaho, theres no way one can confuse the 2 engines, the lt1 will plaster you back into the seat.
Ran a carfax on one which the guy said he owned for 4 year and found out it was sold at auction 3 weeks ago and engine was filled with 90 weight oil.
Joe thanks for the offer of the VIN's. I'm usually more of in the moment and it won't work for me, but thanks.

 
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10-30-03, 07:41 AM   #26  
Joe_F
Sure. Main thing:

NEVER buy in haste. Do your homework and research. You will waste time as you have seen otherwise .

 
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10-31-03, 10:13 AM   #27  
Found a Buick with the original sticker and it says it has the trailer towing package, which consists of 235/70/15 tires a 293 rear axel ratio, heavy duty engine cooling, engine oil cooler,heavy duty suspension and auto level.
I called up Buick to find out what the towing capacity would be, since its a 94 Roadmaster its no longer in their database. I'm concerned with the rear and the brakes.
Anyone have any input on this?
The serial number is 1G4BN52P3RR422379

 
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10-31-03, 12:56 PM   #28  
Joe_F
It may state it in the owner's manual or the glovebox literature.

 
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10-31-03, 02:50 PM   #29  
If you think you can haul your trailer with a 1/2 ton pickup you can do it with a Roadmaster.They use basically the same rear axle and brakes as a pickup on them.I would add an aftermarket trans cooler as my personal preferance.Good luck in your search.

 
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