I need help bringing my 1994 Buick Roadmaster out of the dark ages.
This sedan was the last car my parents bought and I’ve had it for several years now (143,000 miles). I love the huge interior and I’ve always been a fan of Buicks for general motoring. (See what I did there?)
Seriously, I like the car a lot, but it’s so … wallowy, if that’s a word, that I don’t drive it much. I’d love to have a more European tautness to the suspension and steering. The trouble is that I know nothing about cars. You guys talk about the W126 Mercedes and Fox body Fords and I get lost real quick. I’ve inherited a garage full of tools, and since I don’t use the car as everyday transport, I’d like to try and do a few things myself. Bigger things will be done by my trusted mechanic.
And please, I’d rather not get as involved as your Valentino swap, which is awesome!
How can I upgrade the suspension and steering, yet still keep that awesome Buickness?
Once that’s straightened out, I’d like to know more about why the heater core needs to be “blown out” twice a year.
Son, I like the cut of your jib. And everything I’ve resto-modded on my Valentino directly correlates to the B-Body underneath your LT-1 powered Roadmaster. You have the 9C1 (Cop car) Caprice and the Impala SS at your part-bin disposal to keep the classic American Sedan swagger while removing the slop of the last 23 years and 143,000 miles.
You will keep that “awesome Buickness” because you won’t do stereotypical restomod:
With all due respect to The Smoking Tire, saying the “ride quality is really good, it rides just beautifully” on a vehicle with Delrin bushings (suspension details here) is over the top … unless the roads reviewed come with the car! That’s not hate; just putting things in context.
Speaking from experience with polyurethane-intensive Fox Body Griggs parts, muscle cars with a Mustang-II style front clips, and as someone who handled Delrin bushings during my Mark VIII’s headlight rejuvenation, non-bushy bushings stress out driver and passengers with mad NVH ignorance, thus ruining the American Car raison d’être.
Why go down this tangent? Because this “restomod mistake” is readily available with aftermarket alternatives for the Impala SS. If you need NVH control on the streets, a factory suspension with big, juicy rubber bushings is ideal. So resto-mod like your boy Sanjeev.
- New coil springs, but use factory ’94-96 Impala SS specifications for a lower stance and better roll control.
- Koni or Bilstein shocks for the ’77-’96 General Motors B-Body.
- Impala SS spec front and rear anti-roll bars.
- Install the SS/9C1-spec steering box.
- Replace any worn item seen while installing the above (that’s the resto part of a restomod).
- Upgrade the brakes to 9C1/Impala spec, or consider this wicked upgrade.
- Build a 2.25- or 2.5-inch exhaust with high-flow cats behind these headers and use take off mufflers from a late model, LS-powered GM product for stealth.
- Delete the insane intake silencers, but do it on the cheap via capping off the stock elbow, drilling out the airbox at its leading edge, etc. No aftermarket Hot Air Induction systems, please!
- Get someone to do a computer re-tune.
- Consider a bespoke torque convertor with a slightly looser stall; so much fun to out-launch everything but Teslas!
- Do the Z28 full gauge cluster swap. Oh, hell yes!
- Don’t like that column shifter post Z28 gauge swap? Bravada the interior!
- Install a Retrosound Newport head unit (or go custom 2-DIN stereo conversion so you can have Apple Carplay/Android Auto). Upgrade speakers/amp to your taste.
- Install the slick Corvette LT-1 fuel rail and matching composite valve covers just to screw with people (says the guy with a GT-40 intake on his Valentino).
- The GM 5 on 5 bolt pattern has some decent upgrades thanks to Chevy Trucks. Or maybe some stylish VIP chrome wheels or Swangas with adapters? Whatever you choose, stick with 17-inch wheels for ride/handling balance.
- I assume your heater core’s issues stem from Dex-Cool contamination? Not the end of the world, but you might have a rather cruddy radiator, too. Check the forums and replace everything with 9C1 upgrades, if applicable.
Good luck with your project. I’d be jealous if it weren’t for my own project keeping me so busy.
[Image: General Motors, Flickr]
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