Newbie with 1980 Buick Century Limited turbo sedan

sean1997

New Member
Hi, my name is Sean Smith and I just purchased my first turbo Buick, a 1980 Buick Century Limited turbo sedan. I also have a 1957 Special 4-door hardtop. One of my hobbies is Buick decoding (if you've ever posted on the BCA forum you may have seen some of my posts), so I'll start with the decode since people will probably be interested in that.

VIN = 4L693AH158xxx
4 = Buick
L = Century Limited
69 = 4-door notchback sedan
3 = 231 V6 4-bbl turbo (LC8)
A = 1980 model year
H = built at Flint, MI
158xxx = sequential number, range for Flint built A-body Buicks was 100,001 to 263,471

Transmission:
KJ 104 D 80
4AH158xxx (numbers matching transmission)

KJ = TH350
104 = production day built
(assuming model year production started 8/1/79, this would be about Monday 11/12/1979)
D = day shift
80 = 1980 model year

Rear axle:
6RB O 338

6RB = 2.41 open
O = built by Oldsmobile
338 = day built (Tuesday 12/4/1979)

Engine:
04E4BD = engine family number from emissions label = forty-nine state
Engine number & production code = I haven't been able to locate these, might not be able to see
them with engine in the car or without removing some components first?

Body tag:
BODY BY FISHER
80 12A 4AH69 H 128230
79D 76L 76T L
AM6 CB5

80 = 1980 model year
12A = body built December (12) 1979, first week (A)

4AH69 = Fisher body style number
4 = Buick
A = A-body platform
H = Century
69 = 4-door sedan

It's interesting that the Fisher body style number doesn't match the Buick VIN. Not unheard of, happened in 1967 and 1972 as well. Possibly explains why production is reported as a total of 129,740 for 4AH69 with 4AL69 included in that number. I contacted the Sloan Museum to see if they have any production info for 1980 which breaks down the 4AH69/4AL69 split or how many were built with the LC8 option (they said it would take a couple of weeks to get to my request, so I'll report back later). 4AL69 was 4AH69 with option W07, so maybe that has something to do with it too. (Update: see post #6 below for production data supplied by Sloan museum.)

H = built at Flint, MI

128230 = body number

Trim 79D = Dark Claret Cloth

Paint code 76L = Dark Red (Claret) Metallic lower

76T = Dark Claret vinyl top

L = lacquer paint

Option codes from body tag:
AM6 = SEAT ASM, FRT SPLIT W/CTR ARM REST (55/45)
CB5 = ROOF, VINYL PADDED, FULL TOP

Other options it has:
C60 = manual air conditioner - don't know if it is working because belt is not hooked up
C49 = electric rear window defogger - switch on dash isn't working
UN3 = AM/FM stereo w/cassette tape - not working (probably need to replace front speakers too)
U81 = dual rear speakers - need replaced
AU3 = electric door locks - some work, some don't
A90 = electric trunk release - works, but support rods needs replaced
WG1 = 6-way power driver seat - forward/back movement works only intermittently
N41 = power steering
A31 = power windows (w/ power rear vents) - some work, some don't
K30 = cruise control - not working
U35 = electric clock - working
CD4 = two speed windshield wiper w/delay - works, but runs slow
C90 = door courtesy & warning lamp - working
C95 = dome reading light - not working, entire unit needs replaced
T63 = headlamps on indicator - working
U23 = trim odometer
U46 = front light monitors (fiber optic) - not working, just need cleaned?
DF3 + D33 = remote controlled mirrors R and L - passenger side not working correctly
D64 = lighted passenger sun visor vanity mirror - not working
B96 = wheel opening moldings
WF6 = wide rocker panel & belt reveal molding
AK1 = front and rear seat belts and front shoulder belts - all need replaced
D24 = litter pocket
N33 = tilt steering column
V31 = front bumper guards
 
Last edited:

sean1997

New Member
It needs restoration, but it does run and drive (drove it home 30 miles on the highway). Other things it needs:

Exterior
--Paint
--Vinyl roof
--Rear bumper needs re-chrome or replaced (same as Regal?)
--Front bumper fillers
--Rear bumper fillers (same a Regal?)
--Sport mirrors - right now it has dual remote controlled chrome rear view mirrors but I'd like to replace them with sport mirrors
--Wheels - right now it has some sort of Oldsmobile rally wheels on it, but I'd like to replace those with a set of the 1979-1984 Buick 30 rib turbine wheels.

Interior
--Seats recovered
--Door panels
--Headliner
--Boost gauge not working (haven't had time to check that out yet)
--Most interior parts (steering column controls, window/door controls, etc.) need restored
--Sport steering wheel - the existing steering wheel is in poor condition, so I'd like to replace it with the sport version
--Bucket seat/floor shift conversion? It wasn't available on the Century Limited sedan, but it was available on the Century sedan. Might be fun, what parts would I need for that?


Engine
--Check engine light is on, but I haven't been able to locate a connector to read the codes.
Since it is a 49-state car it doesn't have an ECM or ALDL connector. I found an El Camino site that shows the connector it might have, but I haven't been able to locate it:
http://www.elcaminocentral.com/showthread.php?t=27196
--Needs a tune-up - anything special I should do for this?
--I'd like to keep it looking stock, but there might be some performance upgrades I could do?
--Hood support rod - needs replaced, no longer holding hood up
--Hood liner missing
--Driver exhaust manifold sounds like it is cracked. When looking for a replacement is there one year that has better exhaust manifolds than the others?
--Exhaust - it has single exhaust right now, would a switch to the Turbo Coupe style exhaust improve performance?

Trunk
--Trunk boards need replaced

Rear axle
--Would a gear ratio change improve performance any?

Tools
--Do I need any special tools to work on this car?
 

MeanBuicks

Scaring the neighbors!
That's a unique and rare Turbo Buick! Can't say I've ever come across more than a couple ever. The folks in the Before Black Hot Air section of the forum will be able to answer many of your questions. Welcome to TurboBuick.com and let's see some pics! :cool:
 

GN N AZ

New Member
sounds cool, I like obscure odd ball forgotten cars like that..
its a shame, they never seem to be worth what they should be just because they
are rare, but its nice to know when you go to a local cruise nite or car event, among
all the camaros, mustangs and various mopars, you wont see another car like yours
at the same show :)
 

sean1997

New Member
Yes, it was the one on Craigslist, although I didn’t pay close to what he was asking. The body is in good shape, but the interior has suffered from lack of use. So I asked the Sloan Museum (http://www.sloanlongway.org/buick-gallery/research/automotive-research) for some 1979-1980 production information on turbo cars, and I got this response today:

For 1980 model year
Century coupe model H87 (4AH87) total = 832
Century coupe model H87 (4AH87) with option code LC8 total = 10
Century Sport Coupe model G87 (4AG87) total = 242
Century Turbo Coupe model G87 (4AG87) with option code W13 total = 147
Century sedan model H69 (4AH69) total = 73,920
Century sedan model H69 (4AH69) with option code LC8 total = 155
Century Limited sedan model L69 (4AL69) total = 55,820
Century Limited sedan model L69 (4AL69) with option code LC8 total = 622
Regal Limited model M47 (4AM47) total = 90,450
LeSabre Sport Coupe model F37 (4BF37) total = 1,277
Riviera S-Type model Y57 (4EY57) total = 3,831
Riviera S-Type model Y57 (4EY57) with option code LC8 total = 2,531
Riviera model Z57 (4EZ57) total = no data available, but by subtraction should be 44,790
Riviera model Z57 (4EZ57) with option code LC8 total = no data available

For 1979 model year
Century Special sedan model E09 (4AE09) with option code LC8 total = no data available
Century Special coupe model E87 (4AE87) with option code LC8 total = no data available
Century Turbo Coupe model G87 (4AG87) with option code W13 total = no data available
Century Custom sedan model H09 (4AH09) with option code LC8 total = no data available
Century Custom coupe model H87 (4AH87) with option code LC8 total = no data available
Century Limited sedan model L09 (4AL09) with option code LC8 total = no data available
Riviera S-Type model Y57 (4EY57) total = 7,150
Riviera S-Type model Y57 (4EY57) with option code LC8 total = 4,200
Riviera model Z57 (4EZ57) total = no data available, but by subtraction should be 45,031
Riviera model Z57 (4EZ57) with option code LC8 total = no data available

LC8 = V6 turbo engine option
W13 = Century Turbo Coupe option
 

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fast86gn

Texas Moderator
Staff member
Awesome car Sean, I like the oddballs as well. Could be a great sleeper? Thanks for sharing.
 

Mark T-TB

car crazy from birth
That is a rare car! Good luck with getting it together the way that you want.
I would imagine you will get some "double takes" at the cruise nites with the hood open :cool:
 
Very cool car.

Your car should have the draw-through turbo system on it. I am not sure what the Check Engine light would be used for, since normally this is for the ECM to display faults and alert the driver to electronic problems.... and you don't have an ECM per-se.

One of the pieces of technology which allowed Buick to market the turbo engine was the invention of detonation-sensitive ignition timing. Even yours should have a detonation sensor, a special ignition module, and an interface box of some sort. If I were a betting man - I would say that the Check Engine light is controlled by the detonation sensitive ignition timing control module. Will see if I have any documents on this.

Here is a page highlighting this system:
http://www.beforeblack.net/knock.htm

The main page about the early engines:
http://www.beforeblack.net/tnotes.htm

What is confusing me is; they never mention a Check Engine light with the non-ECM cars. This makes me wonder if yours has been converted to a newer electrical scheme.

I replaced that with a modern (1990's) ECM when I got the draw-through turbo system up and going. Not suggesting you do this on your numbers-matching car - but just explaining why I didn't learn more about it than I did.
 

SPOOLFOOL2

Fiberglass bumper filler dude. (949) 433-1257
Staff member
Refreshing to see something out of the norm.

Thanks for posting. Hope to hear more on the progress of this rare bird.

Happy spooling.
Mike Barnard
 

DoctorV8

New Member
Hi Sean.... do you still have your LC8? I picked one up myself, in pretty decent shape aside from the paint.


Hi, my name is Sean Smith and I just purchased my first turbo Buick, a 1980 Buick Century Limited turbo sedan. I also have a 1957 Special 4-door hardtop. One of my hobbies is Buick decoding (if you've ever posted on the BCA forum you may have seen some of my posts), so I'll start with the decode since people will probably be interested in that.

VIN = 4L693AH158xxx
4 = Buick
L = Century Limited
69 = 4-door notchback sedan
3 = 231 V6 4-bbl turbo (LC8)
A = 1980 model year
H = built at Flint, MI
158xxx = sequential number, range for Flint built A-body Buicks was 100,001 to 263,471

Transmission:
KJ 104 D 80
4AH158xxx (numbers matching transmission)

KJ = TH350
104 = production day built
(assuming model year production started 8/1/79, this would be about Monday 11/12/1979)
D = day shift
80 = 1980 model year

Rear axle:
6RB O 338

6RB = 2.41 open
O = built by Oldsmobile
338 = day built (Tuesday 12/4/1979)

Engine:
04E4BD = engine family number from emissions label = forty-nine state
Engine number & production code = I haven't been able to locate these, might not be able to see
them with engine in the car or without removing some components first?

Body tag:
BODY BY FISHER
80 12A 4AH69 H 128230
79D 76L 76T L
AM6 CB5

80 = 1980 model year
12A = body built December (12) 1979, first week (A)

4AH69
VIN = 4L693AH158xxx
4 = Buick
L = Century Limited
69 = 4-door notchback sedan
3 = 231 V6 4-bbl turbo (LC8)
A = 1980 model year
H = built at Flint, MI
158xxx = sequential number, range for Flint built A-body Buicks was 100,001 to 263,471

Transmission:
KJ 104 D 80
4AH158xxx (numbers matching transmission)

KJ = TH350
104 = production day built
(assuming model year production started 8/1/79, this would be about Monday 11/12/1979)
D = day shift
80 = 1980 model year

Rear axle:
6RB O 338

6RB = 2.41 open
O = built by Oldsmobile
338 = day built (Tuesday 12/4/1979)

Engine:
04E4BD = engine family number from emissions label = forty-nine state
Engine number & production code = I haven't been able to locate these, might not be able to see
them with engine in the car or without removing some components first?

Body tag:
BODY BY FISHER
80 12A 4AH69 H 128230
79D 76L 76T L
AM6 CB5

80 = 1980 model year
12A = body built December (12) 1979, first week (A)

4AH69 = Fisher body style number
4 = Buick
A = A-body platform
H = Century
69 = 4-door sedan

It's interesting that the Fisher body style number doesn't match the Buick VIN. Not unheard of, happened in 1967 and 1972 as well. Possibly explains why production is reported as a total of 129,740 for 4AH69 with 4AL69 included in that number. I contacted the Sloan Museum to see if they have any production info for 1980 which breaks down the 4AH69/4AL69 split or how many were built with the LC8 option (they said it would take a couple of weeks to get to my request, so I'll report back later). 4AL69 was 4AH69 with option W07, so maybe that has something to do with it too. (Update: see post #6 below for production data supplied by Sloan museum.)

H = built at Flint, MI

128230 = body number

Trim 79D = Dark Claret Cloth

Paint code 76L = Dark Red (Claret) Metallic lower

76T = Dark Claret vinyl top

L = lacquer paint

Option codes from body tag:
AM6 = SEAT ASM, FRT SPLIT W/CTR ARM REST (55/45)
CB5 = ROOF, VINYL PADDED, FULL TOP

Other options it has:
C60 = manual air conditioner - don't know if it is working because belt is not hooked up
C49 = electric rear window defogger - switch on dash isn't working
UN3 = AM/FM stereo w/cassette tape - not working (probably need to replace front speakers too)
U81 = dual rear speakers - need replaced
AU3 = electric door locks - some work, some don't
A90 = electric trunk release - works, but support rods needs replaced
WG1 = 6-way power driver seat - forward/back movement works only intermittently
N41 = power steering
A31 = power windows (w/ power rear vents) - some work, some don't
K30 = cruise control - not working
U35 = electric clock - working
CD4 = two speed windshield wiper w/delay - works, but runs slow
C90 = door courtesy & warning lamp - working
C95 = dome reading light - not working, entire unit needs replaced
T63 = headlamps on indicator - working
U23 = trim odometer
U46 = front light monitors (fiber optic) - not working, just need cleaned?
DF3 + D33 = remote controlled mirrors R and L - passenger side not working correctly
D64 = lighted passenger sun visor vanity mirror - not working
B96 = wheel opening moldings
WF6 = wide rocker panel & belt reveal molding
AK1 = front and rear seat belts and front shoulder belts - all need replaced
D24 = litter pocket
N33 = tilt steering column
V31 = front bumper guards
 
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