NHTSA — Engine And Engine Cooling Problems

1998 Buick LeSabre (Page 2 of 2)


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,592 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1998 Buick LeSabre engine problems

engine problem

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1998 Buick LeSabre Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Apr 142004

LeSabre 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 51,594 miles


The intake manifold and the exhaust system were a manufacturer's design flaw. When the consumer contacted the manufacturer, the consumer was told that the tubing was too small, causing the tubing to rupture. The intake manifold was worn through.

- Kapaa, HI, USA

problem #11

Jan 292004


  • 95,000 miles
When attempting to start the vehicle engine produced a loud bang, then caught on fire. No injuries were reported.

- Fargo, ND, USA

problem #10

Aug 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,258 miles
Gentlemen: I have a 1998 Buick Lesabre with 31,258 miles on it. Last weekend, I turned the key and heard a loud bang. The starter motor case had cracked. My independent garage put in a new starter to the tune of $526. When they tried to start the car, the same thing happen to the new starter. The garage then discovered that the 3.8L V6 engine was frozen due to a leak in the intake manifold which allowed coolant to enter the cylinders. They said the leak was caused by the GM "5 year" coolant rotting the manifold away. They estimated the repair at $2,000, including the starter. I called Buick customer service; they are vague about any problem or liability. They did ask that I take the car to a Buick dealer for diagnosis. I took it to fields Buick. The dealer confirmed the problem and the cause. They want $2,300 to fix it, excluding the starter. GM refuses to do anything. I have discovered a GM technical service bulletin (01-06-01-007A) indicating that GM has known about this problem since at least July, 2001. The problem affects several makes and models. A catastrophic engine failure at 31,000 miles is absurd.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #9

Jul 292003

LeSabre 6-cyl

  • 17,000 miles


Vehicles stalled at highway speed.

- Iowa City, IA, USA

problem #8

Feb 122004

LeSabre 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,500 miles
Purchased new, this well maintained, garage kept vehicle failed with 44,500 miles. I changed the oil & filter after the first 500 mile break-in period & every 1K miles. On 2/12/04, there was a rough unexpected engine knock upon startup. Placed in reverse, there was a shaking sensation & the check engine lamp eventually lit. I drove to the dealer. I was told that the radiator coollant leaked into the oil portion of the engine. It was an unpleasant situation, however, a decision had to be made & I opted to replace the vehicle with a 2004 Lesabre. I drove it off the lot the same day and tried to put my 1998 problem behind me. I have owned Lesabre in the past, a Park Avenue & other GM products where I clocked over 250,000 miles each on most of them. Two days after the purchase of my 2004, the burning question was why my 1998 bit the dust" I felt drawn to my computer & searched: "Buick Lesabre plenum failures" to see what I might find. I viewed several hundred complaints at this site and many others describing the very same problem. All I could help but wonder, was if this same defect prone part was in the car I just purchased? I called GM and spoke to a rep. I told herabout my 1998 model and then asked if she could let me know if it had been changed on my new 2004 model? yes, my 2004 has the same defective intake manifold, so without any warning, the same situation will arise in the future. What will they do for me about my new car" nothing. Beware the ticking time bomb if your GM vehicle has the 3800 series II. A loud pop, followed by hesitation & by the time the ser engine light glows -- it is already too late. Many fires have been reported along with this problem. Sources indicate that it is on approximately 35 mill assorted GM cars manufactured from circa 1994 to present.

- West Trenton, NJ, USA

problem #7

Dec 102003

LeSabre 6-cyl

  • miles
Steering related problems involving major part replacement. I already contacted an NHTSA rep about a different issue, the ubiquitous upper intake manifold problem which we have spent thousands on. And I discussed problems with stalling too. After that, I searched the internet; I see that the manifold problem is more prevalent than I suspected. I also stumbled onto discussions of stalling, steering, and engine fire problems. When I called GM 2 years ago about the upper intake manifold, they denied the problem existed even though my dealer and other shops told me everybody knew about it. I called GM again a few weeks ago after having more gasket problems and although they finally admitted to the manifold and gasket problems, they could not help me with my expenses, they were unable to locate my previous complaint, and the rep was obsessed with having me say that I was satisfied with my call to him. I tried telling him that I was unsatisfied with GM but satisfied with him as a person, but he kept talking to me until I agreed that I was mostly satisfied with my call. I wonder if manufacturers have different obligations in recording and reporting their complaints to authorities depending on whether customers are satisfied or not.

- Bloomington, IL, USA

problem #6

Dec 152003

(reported on)


  • miles


Ltr fm andrew hunt (NJ) concerned classification of engine coolant leakage as safety problem & defective intake manifold problems suggest NHTSA recall all GM model yrs 1995-1998. There was no advance warning when the engine would stop if the coolant leaks. The consumer was reimbursed the cost of the repair kit, but not the balance of the repairs. The starter failed when aaa attempted to start the vehicle, but the vehicle was full of coolant in the engine.

- Jackson , NJ, USA

problem #5

Dec 122003

LeSabre 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,122 miles
Coolant leak into engine thru plastic intake manifold gasket.

- Anderson, IN, USA

problem #4

Nov 202003

LeSabre 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
The vehicle stalled while driving at 30-mph without warning. The vehicle was taken to a local garage and they found that the intake manifold was cracked and caused coolant to leak inside the engine. When the vehicle stopped, the consumer was unable to restart it, the engine was hydrostatic locked due to the coolant leaks.

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #3

Jun 042003

(reported on)

LeSabre 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The key was inserted into the ignition when a loud explosion occurred along with smoke pouring out of the side of the engine area. The consumer was unable to put the fire out.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #2

Apr 282003

(reported on)

LeSabre 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 27,000 miles
The type of metal used in the engine was flimsy, and anti freeze ate through it, which resulted in a leak.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #1

Nov 031999


  • miles
Consumer states there is a no start condition, and the vehicle stalls on several occasions and the check engine light would illuminate, the serpentine belt, coolant reservoir, and crank sensor all had to be replaced.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

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