Reputable Buick Shop

qwic87gn

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2002
Hello All,

This is a long read, so if you want to skip to the ask, please see the bottom couple of lines. If you're interested in the back story, please read on.

My father ordered his 1987 GN back in '86 and put a total of 16k miles on it during the time he owned it. The car sat untouched, in the garage for around 12 years during the last part of his ownership. Around 1999, he had decided that it was in his best interest to sell the Buick on his terms and not risk being forced to sale or worse, lose it in the divorce that he and my mother were going through at that time. I was 16 years old at the time and was looking at purchasing a 1990ish Pontiac T/A. I was getting close to pulling the trigger on the T/A for $5,000 when my dad sat me down to discuss another "option". He offered to sell me the GN for the book value at the time- $14,500. He made it very clear that I was under no obligation wha-so-ever to buy it and that it was a hefty expense for a 16 year old kid.
I didn't care- this was the car that I remember sneaking into while he was at work and just sitting in it, day dreaming about driving it. That was back when I was still in elementary school. I loved that car. I can only remember being in it a total of 3, maybe 4 times growing up. One of those times was in the late 80's/early 90's when my dad, my uncle and a few of their friends would go "testing" on a long, wide and straight country road that is now lined with homes. The group consisted of my dad's GN, two more '87 GN's, two black Mustang 5.0's and the occasional victim found on Washington Boulevard in Ogden, Utah. I loved that car and the few memories I still have of it when I was young.
Of course I said yes to buying it! How could I turn down my dream car?

Aside from a old Kenne-bell chip, K&N cone filter and a test pipe, the GN was completely stock and perfect cosmetically. I had some of the best years of my life surprising the hell out of people almost every single weekend. I want to say that I regret putting the miles on it that I did, but I can't- I had a great time in that car! Over the years, I started modifying it. Everyone else was getting faster and I couldn't be left behind. :) Somewhere around 76k miles and 8 years of racing it, it developed a rod knock. At that time, the car had ran a best of 12.2@112 without opening the engine and basic bolt-ons. I decided that I was going to do more than just a simple rebuild. I wanted to go "all out" so to speak. I pulled the engine and took the shortblock to a reputable local machine shop with my brand new stroker kit (crank, pistons, rods, rings etc.) from DLS and worked over iron heads. Long story short, after months of the run around and nothing being done other than being disassembled and cleaned, I took it to another local machine shop. My shortblock was back in my possession within a couple of months and I was back in business in a week or so. I did several other changes at the same time, roller rockers, injectors, 70 P-trim and a Maftpro system. Within a few hundred miles while working up my understanding of the the Maftpro system, I made a mistake and went well above the boost level I should have with the fuel I was running and lost a head gasket. I pulled the engine again and took it back to the machine shop to check it over and make sure the head gasket was the only damage done. Everything looked good according to the builder. I ended up having them put the heads and intake on while they had it.

After taking it easy for another couple of hundred miles I got back to tuning and ended up running a 10.9@122 on 20psi. I was very happy knowing it had much more in it! I never made it back to the track as I started a family that same year. The car sat for a couple years while I was occupied with my daughter and two young step children. I would start it every once and a while and let it idle.
When I finally decided I wanted to drive it every once and a while, I started getting it ready for registration. At that time I noticed it was leaking oil which I determined was coming from the valve covers and it was smoking a little at idle. I lost interest in getting it up and going as I had other things that needed my attention more at the time.

Every couple of years I would take a long hard look at the car in the back of the garage and again I would start diagnosing the issues. Each time, I've walked away frustrated. I don't have the patience for working on this car like I used to. I've contemplated many times on parting with it. However, this was my dads car and has been mine for over 20 years now and I KNOW that I would regret doing so. There's simply too many memories and know that I would LOVE the car again if it was running the way I know it should. It now has 78,283 miles on the odometer and it's a very nice example.

I know that this was a long read, but I thought it was important to paint a picture of my dilemma. I'm sure that I'm not the only one on this board that has a similar story in terms of a love/hate relationship with a "blackhole". ;) I know, I know, TR's came in other colors!

This post really comes down to this... is there a reputable shop on the west coast that could take this car in and make it right? I know that so many of the OG's are slowing down or retired fully and there hasn't been any new blood (that I'm aware of) that has the patience, knowledge and passion for these cars.

I'd be looking at engine removal and inspection, new oil and coolant lines, fuel system upgrades, FAST XFI install and tune and anything else that's found during the build process that needs attention.

I would love to able to take my dad for a ride in this car again.

I've done some reading on the forum recently but I haven't found much for recommendations out west. Thanks for any help in pointing me in the right direction.
 

TexasT

Texas, Where are you from
Joined
Sep 10, 2002
My first thought is why does it need an aftermarket computer? Second is why does the engine need to come out? A compression check and leakdown to confirm good compression, drop the tank for a new fuel pump and fresh fuel, a new belt and hoses, vc gaskets,fuel filter and maybe a water pump after it has sat, and I'd send it. Maybe a new set of injectors and an updated tt chip to help it run nice.
Doesn't sound like you are wanting to go make passes at the track. Just a cruiser, so added non essentials just add to the cost.

These cars are a LOT more fun when they are running and driving so you can go out in them and make memories.
 

qwic87gn

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2002
Hi Texas T,
There are few details that I left out in the original post.

I would take this car to the track occasionally, but not as often as I would have years ago, due to the local track closing down several years ago. The closest 1/4 mile track to me now is 7 hours away. With that said, I would like to see it run deep into the 9’s when it’s worked out.

I want to have the engine get a clean bill f of health for a couple of reasons.-
1. The last time I drained the oil, the magnet in the pan had a sizable amount of metal flake covering it. No copper coloring, just shiny metallic.
I did a compression check and it showed that everything was good and almost identical numbers across the board.

2. There is a hint of smoke at start up which goes away within a couple of seconds. That isn’t worrisome to me. However, once the engine is warm, if you bring up the RPM to around 2k and drop it it suddenly to idle, the smoke comes rolling out. I have not done a leak down because as I understand it, that won’t tell me the condition of the oil rings.
The reason I’m suspicious of the oil rings is this- when the builder put this engine together he have me a box with some of the parts that were replaced with new parts, oil pump assembly, timing set, cam, spring etc and the RINGS that I supplied as part of the kit from DLS. When I asked why he didn’t use them he told me that he hasn’t had good results with them and used a set that he felt would be a better choice. I obviously wasn’t happy about this but I didn’t push the issue. Of course looking back, I know I should have responded much differently. What’s done is done and I want to move past it and not dwell.

I’d like to replace the stock computer and Maftpro with a stand alone because the support and fine tuning is readily available.
 

TurboTGuy

Gray Beard Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
Ir you aren't going to seriously race the car, an XFI is just throwing money away. The stock computer and one of Eric's chips will take you as fast as you want go reliably and inexpensively.

If you're in Southern California or anywhere in the West, go see Lou Czartnota. He knows these cars inside and out.

949.378.1590
 

TexasT

Texas, Where are you from
Joined
Sep 10, 2002
Deep into the nines, will only happen once if the track has any kind of safety crew. It can also wad a car up if something goes wrong so even if the track doesn't require it, for your family you need the safety stuff for such a pass.
I'm not here to tell anyone how to spend their hard earned money. If you perceive the need then by all means have fun spending the coin on it. The faster you go, the more money it takes and those incremental gains force that money slide up exponentially.

For a track that is seven hrs away, I cant see making that trip very often. I'd want a decent street car with ac to cruise around in. Obviously not your goal, but you did say you wanted to be able to take your father out in it, and climbing through a jungle gym of bars wouldn't be the way I'd go about that. Plus the down time of getting this nine sec car together becomes a real downer that can cause a real loss of interest in the whole project.
 

TurboTGuy

Gray Beard Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
9's are possible, but as Texas T say's, I need the right equipment for that. I get tossed off tracks all the time as it is...... ;)
 

grass doctor

Dream Catcher
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
9's are possible, but as Texas T say's, I need the right equipment for that. I get tossed off tracks all the time as it is...... ;)
yep anything under 11's will require a cage ...not to mention the battery in the back with external lugs ...and couple other safety things ...booted from the track LOL
 

TurboTGuy

Gray Beard Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
...booted from the track LOL

Happens way more than I would like, but then again......... :giggle:

So many of those street Moostangs and Camaros out there, never really know what just happened.........

The Hellcats, different story. Won a couple, lost a couple. Those things make me think about it every time......... :cool:

Lou has a Demon that he's messed with. I just said "No". :rolleyes:

He was surprised I didn't want any of it, but he's a better driver and I respect that.
 
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TurboTGuy

Gray Beard Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
I hear they changed the tail lights on the new Corvettes recently. I wouldn't know, I've never seen them............. :ROFLMAO:
 

grass doctor

Dream Catcher
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Hello All,

This is a long read, so if you want to skip to the ask, please see the bottom couple of lines. If you're interested in the back story, please read on.

My father ordered his 1987 GN back in '86 and put a total of 16k miles on it during the time he owned it. The car sat untouched, in the garage for around 12 years during the last part of his ownership. Around 1999, he had decided that it was in his best interest to sell the Buick on his terms and not risk being forced to sale or worse, lose it in the divorce that he and my mother were going through at that time. I was 16 years old at the time and was looking at purchasing a 1990ish Pontiac T/A. I was getting close to pulling the trigger on the T/A for $5,000 when my dad sat me down to discuss another "option". He offered to sell me the GN for the book value at the time- $14,500. He made it very clear that I was under no obligation wha-so-ever to buy it and that it was a hefty expense for a 16 year old kid.
I didn't care- this was the car that I remember sneaking into while he was at work and just sitting in it, day dreaming about driving it. That was back when I was still in elementary school. I loved that car. I can only remember being in it a total of 3, maybe 4 times growing up. One of those times was in the late 80's/early 90's when my dad, my uncle and a few of their friends would go "testing" on a long, wide and straight country road that is now lined with homes. The group consisted of my dad's GN, two more '87 GN's, two black Mustang 5.0's and the occasional victim found on Washington Boulevard in Ogden, Utah. I loved that car and the few memories I still have of it when I was young.
Of course I said yes to buying it! How could I turn down my dream car?

Aside from a old Kenne-bell chip, K&N cone filter and a test pipe, the GN was completely stock and perfect cosmetically. I had some of the best years of my life surprising the hell out of people almost every single weekend. I want to say that I regret putting the miles on it that I did, but I can't- I had a great time in that car! Over the years, I started modifying it. Everyone else was getting faster and I couldn't be left behind. :) Somewhere around 76k miles and 8 years of racing it, it developed a rod knock. At that time, the car had ran a best of 12.2@112 without opening the engine and basic bolt-ons. I decided that I was going to do more than just a simple rebuild. I wanted to go "all out" so to speak. I pulled the engine and took the shortblock to a reputable local machine shop with my brand new stroker kit (crank, pistons, rods, rings etc.) from DLS and worked over iron heads. Long story short, after months of the run around and nothing being done other than being disassembled and cleaned, I took it to another local machine shop. My shortblock was back in my possession within a couple of months and I was back in business in a week or so. I did several other changes at the same time, roller rockers, injectors, 70 P-trim and a Maftpro system. Within a few hundred miles while working up my understanding of the the Maftpro system, I made a mistake and went well above the boost level I should have with the fuel I was running and lost a head gasket. I pulled the engine again and took it back to the machine shop to check it over and make sure the head gasket was the only damage done. Everything looked good according to the builder. I ended up having them put the heads and intake on while they had it.

After taking it easy for another couple of hundred miles I got back to tuning and ended up running a 10.9@122 on 20psi. I was very happy knowing it had much more in it! I never made it back to the track as I started a family that same year. The car sat for a couple years while I was occupied with my daughter and two young step children. I would start it every once and a while and let it idle.
When I finally decided I wanted to drive it every once and a while, I started getting it ready for registration. At that time I noticed it was leaking oil which I determined was coming from the valve covers and it was smoking a little at idle. I lost interest in getting it up and going as I had other things that needed my attention more at the time.

Every couple of years I would take a long hard look at the car in the back of the garage and again I would start diagnosing the issues. Each time, I've walked away frustrated. I don't have the patience for working on this car like I used to. I've contemplated many times on parting with it. However, this was my dads car and has been mine for over 20 years now and I KNOW that I would regret doing so. There's simply too many memories and know that I would LOVE the car again if it was running the way I know it should. It now has 78,283 miles on the odometer and it's a very nice example.

I know that this was a long read, but I thought it was important to paint a picture of my dilemma. I'm sure that I'm not the only one on this board that has a similar story in terms of a love/hate relationship with a "blackhole". ;) I know, I know, TR's came in other colors!

This post really comes down to this... is there a reputable shop on the west coast that could take this car in and make it right? I know that so many of the OG's are slowing down or retired fully and there hasn't been any new blood (that I'm aware of) that has the patience, knowledge and passion for these cars.

I'd be looking at engine removal and inspection, new oil and coolant lines, fuel system upgrades, FAST XFI install and tune and anything else that's found during the build process that needs attention.

I would love to able to take my dad for a ride in this car again.

I've done some reading on the forum recently but I haven't found much for recommendations out west. Thanks for any help in pointing me in the right direction.
I would tell you everything will be determined by your ultimate horsepower desire and then budget....if I lived on the west coast I would go buy t-guy dinner and take him with you to meet LOU....:cool:
 

TurboTGuy

Gray Beard Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2010
No need for me to be there, I spoke with him earlier today.

Now, I WILL take that dinner if you ever come to Phoenix, hell, I'll even pay. I'd love to sit down and share a meal, as long as it's not tongue...........

I'll eat liguesta tacos occasionally, they ARE good. Sometimes better not to know is better that knowing. Know what I mean?

That's a lot of knowing, not knowing struggle........ Fuck it, just put it on the tortilla...... ;)
 

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grass doctor

Dream Catcher
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
depends ...I tried the tongue tacos without knowing and was good LOL...im sure its all in the LOW and SLOW cooking method ... LOL.. jalapeños take care of a lot :p..but we'd have to go and get the best cheeseburger and milkshake you can find ... and oooh boy I got some stories ...as I'm sure you do too:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

qwic87gn

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2002
I’ve read very good things about Lou over the years. I wasn’t sure if he was still in the game or not. Good to hear that he is!
Thank you for the direction and the humor! Glad to see that some people on the forums are still helpful! :cool:
 

qwic87gn

Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2002
No need for me to be there, I spoke with him earlier today.

Now, I WILL take that dinner if you ever come to Phoenix, hell, I'll even pay. I'd love to sit down and share a meal, as long as it's not tongue...........

I'll eat liguesta tacos occasionally, they ARE good. Sometimes better not to know is better that knowing. Know what I mean?

That's a lot of knowing, not knowing struggle........ Fuck it, just put it on the tortilla...... ;)

I would love to meet up for a meal and shoot the shit, but Phoenix is bit of a detour to the tune of about 1000 miles. (n)
 

TType85

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 25, 2001
Lou is great, he built my motor and his guy built my transmission. He will set expectations and pull you in to reality on the build though. His work is not cheap but it is good and he stands behind it. He ended up having my car a few extra days because he cleaned up a few things and made sure it was done right.
 
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