Cody's 98 Buick(maybe)

Now that I know my Buick’s transmission is fine every other bit of maintenance will be easy. Luckily the air cleaner uses convenient hose clamps to hold on the MAF sensor and whatnot, not integral to the filter box. The filter box appears to go into the fender well and looks like it has a single circular inlet. I need to make sure the box still seals up good or I’ll have to replace it for a pod filter kit. One of my main concerns is the ECU is inside the filter box, I guess to keep cool air flowing over it, but if I choke air from that entry point I worry if it will overheat the ECU from lack of air flow.

I already know the injectors and fuel pump run into the fuse box in the engine compartment, I can tap switches into the system from there easy peasy.

It does not use a distributor, I’ll have to live with that.

If I do make a reactor for this it will be a downdraft charcoal, I’ve been practicing making pipe rings. I just need to get a Reece Hitch adapter on the back end. Trunk is very deep and long but the trunk lid only opens up a small amount and the backglass covers the rest of the trunk compartment. Plus it is connected to the back seat.

Depending on how high the luggage rack would sit, I’d like to make the reactor in two halves, the air inlet and where the magic happens being below the rack and the hopper being above the rack. I can reuse my ammo can sack filter and I can make up a small cooling rail to go around the unit.

I have in mind a rectangular hopper with some ramping to allow charcoal feeding. I’d like to still have visibility through my back glass.

I’ll try to draw something up.


Looking at how this luggage rack sits compared to where the hitch would be, maybe having it over and under won’t work so well.

The 500lb capacity racks at harbor freight don’t dogleg making them sit lower. This would give me more height for the reactor. This dog legged one is only 300lb rated.

I would need to get air ride shocks so the weight of the whole unit won’t make the back end sag leaving risk of scraping. Or at the very least some very stiff struts and new springs.

I’m also not above finding or making a little trailer for this build. Would probably be the most mechanically sound of all the options.


What would you call the kind of trailer they are using with this station wagon? Looks like it just has a big caster wheel in the back.


I think for my own sanity and safety I’ll try to keep my eyes peeled for a 4’x4’ trailer. That way I can make it modular depending on my needs for travel, and I can back up a trailer. Would help keep major weight off of the back of this front wheel drive car.

I would make my own but NC is cracking down on trailers for some reason, and God Forbid you use a caution triangle instead of lights now.


Now that the transmission shifts well and i fixed the mysterious EVAP code it’s back to 30mpg highway fuel economy! Wow!


I’m wondering if a grateless Mako would be worth the effort or if I should go for a rotating grate like the original? It seems like it would act like a fixed grate until you rattle the shaker manually.

Think bottom drum with fire tube going in, and charcoal just spills into the bottom of the drum with gas exit being below like most others.

Buick keeps overheating and leaking coolant. Not sure where from. It won’t even be 5 minutes and the thermostat runs over to the other side. Changed the water pump thinking it was just a bad seal. Still overheating.

Starting to get to my wits end. I’m down to the Sierra for reliable transportation.

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Hey Cody you are now into straight forward diagnosing.

Now a fellow would figure to pull the coolant control thermostat, next.
Before you do that you should check for actual coolant flow.
In the old system with just a pressure cap on the radiator it was usually easy to just look and see. Yours with the pressure bottle; you have to actually feel main hoses in and out of the engine. Feel the heater hoses too if you can reach them. Do this with the bottle pressure cap off. Feel for the heating coolant; and even a hose squeezed flows.
Pressure cap off look for bubbles. Smell the vapors. You are trying to see if you have a blown head gasket.
Those low horizonal GM systems are hard to get all of the air out of a coolant drained system. The work arounds are to hook up to a coolant flusher machine and force the air out. There is a pressurized air vacuum system tool set that then valves over; to sucking in a coolant mix.
And the need-must, can-work; is to jack up the coolant bottle corner of the whole vehicle 1-2 feet higher than the rest of the system. A two post lift does this handily.

Still stumped: then pull and run without the thermostat. 'Aught to be really slow to warn up then. Not? A number of possibilities then. Total clog in the system flow. A really, really bad blown headgasket. Misrouted drive belt running the water pump back wards. Ect.


While feeling the hoses for traveling heat, also give each hose a squeeze. Cracking popping feeling? Scaled up coolant system, blocked passages seized thermostat clogged heater core and rad all will follow. Then massive overheating


Steve, you should write a book. I am impressed with the amount of diagnostic detail you provide.


After today’s test drive I noticed the drivers side coolant hose was ridiculously too hot and the one closest to the water pump was barely hot.

Would that be a sign of a huge air bubble? I think the system has a few bleeder screws, would I crack those open with a cold start engine running?

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When i took off the water pump I didn’t notice any scaling.

It’s also not crackling in the hoses.

After a few minutes from shutdown I heard what sounded like air escaping or liquid boiling. It was driving me crazy trying to find the source but I saw no steam or coolant leaking today.

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Yep. Maybe. Could be.
Once past 3-5 years we’all learned not to force open coolant bleeders. They too often coolant corrosion seize. Then forced; upper stem break off.
Be careful. If you can get them to turn open; then remove them completely and wire poke clear the passages in the bleeder body and down into the casting.

Why the forced air out alternatives I offered up. Never touched, then never break. Then never have to freebie repair.
I will not open up radiator drain valves for the same reason. Coolant plastic shit breaks. Harden O-rings tear and crumble. I’ll pull a lower hose instead.


I think I actually nabbed an out-dated radiator kit from work. I’ll see if any of the heads fit my radiator cap tomorrow. If none of that works then I’ll test without a thermostat.
I really hope I solved the coolant leak itself and maybe just have air pockets in the block. I made sure to not let the overheated light turn on. In town traffic it was God awful but once i hit the country roads it cooled down more, especially at 55mph.

I assumed it was the water pump because the temps went down as I applied more throttle and also the old pump had a bit of a wobble.


Ok so I did gingerly test the bleeder. It opened without any fuss. Lots of air in the block.

I’ve got it to where there’s tons of coolant makings it’s way to the heater core and the vents are giving out good heat but I’m still getting little gurgles intermittently from the bleeder. This time it didn’t go past the halfway point on the temp gauge.

The first couple of minutes of bleeding it would actually lower the temp but that eventually went away. I had to fill the radiator with almost a gallon of clean water.

There’s no rhyme or reason to the now gurgling from the bleeder so I don’t think it’s air escaping head gasket.


Going to let the car cool down and I’ll check radiator level later.


After chasing leaks I finally solved the coolant loss. Now I’ve ordered a full replacement set of motor mounts and the transmission mount.

After that I’ll do a full set of coilover shocks with new springs.

Then probably the CV axles and new front tires.

I’m going to get this car in as good a shape as I can before bothering to run it on anything.

It still hesitates going into 2nd gear but will still shift. If I really give it the beans it’ll shift fine so maybe the clutch packs are nearing their end of life. Not too sure.


Yeah those S2 motors had a recall on the intake gaskets. If it has not been updated Id get a new intake gasket set and install it. The L36 / 67 is probably the best engine ever made. At least one them. Id love to stuff one in my S-10 Id prefer one of them over a 350 V8 swap any day.


No joke I have a coworker that installed a 3100 on his 4x4 S10 and I’m amazed at how zippy it is.

This car can fly when it wants to and I’ll feel more confident about that when I replace the motor mounts.

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Just to describe how badly it’s needed new mounts, the engine wants to cut a flip when I play with the throttle in park.

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