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Sigurd Jarlson

New to W-Bodies any advice?

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On any of the particular issues I should be on the look for with a 1989 Regal coupe?
I owned two GM V-6s with the nylon toothed cam gear that failed on me. Do I need to worry with this engine?
Are there any failing particular to this year?
There's a little bit of clatter from the front passenger side, but everything up there looks good. Any advice on what to look for?

Thanks

Dan

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Almost certain a 1989 3800 will have a steel cam gear. I think the nylon gears were phased out by the time the 3800 received a balance shaft(1988).  As for the clatter: Does it sound like it's from the top of the engine or bottom on that side? If you're in the US(not sure from your username) and have a Harbor Freight nearby, pick up a cheap mechanic's stethoscope. That will help you pinpoint the noise to a specific area.

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Thanks. I am in the US. Connecticut to be precise. It's definitely suspension related. The guy I bought it from said he thinks it needs new struts, but at a glance everything looks sound under the top plate, but this would be my first car with replaceable cartridge style struts, so I'm not familiar with their idiosyncrasies.  

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5 hours ago, Sigurd Jarlson said:

Thanks. I am in the US. Connecticut to be precise. It's definitely suspension related. The guy I bought it from said he thinks it needs new struts, but at a glance everything looks sound under the top plate, but this would be my first car with replaceable cartridge style struts, so I'm not familiar with their idiosyncrasies.  

Definitely make sure you check those spring seats.  GM's awful water-retaining design + GM powdercoat + road salt = almost certain failure after a while.  And the cartridge design unfortunately allows one to get away with, at least for a while, not even taking the strut towers apart to inspect the seats properly.  

They're cheap parts to source (like $4 each side from Rockauto w/bearing), but when one of mine went it cost me $700 because it was in the middle of nowhere in northern Montana :(.  

BTW, welcome to the club!  Lots of great people here, and most things on the W-bodies are idiot-proof fortunately.  Stock brakes rather suck on the pre-1994 models.  And the rear disc brakes are prone to seizing and aren't the best design either.  Replacing ball joints can be a nasty affair as they're riveted on -- if you have the strut towers off the car for any reason (perhaps to inspect/change-out the spring seats), do give consideration to replacing the ball joints or at least grinding the rivets and replacing with good quality high-grade bolts.   3800's run forever -- that's the least of your worries with the car!  Check to make sure the pads on the rear fiberglass leaf spring are intact, and if they're missing, repair/replace accordingly.  

Edited by pitzel

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