Critical Safety Issue 92-99 Buick LeSabres-Please read


Asked by Jun 17, 2010 at 09:08 AM about the Buick LeSabre

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Please if you are driving a Buick LeSabre 92-99 have your subframe checked. Mine just dropped. The back 4 bolts released. The subframe collars that house the bushing were rusted and gave way. This can cause complete loss of car control.Because the bushings cover the subframe collar it is not a visual inspection. The bushings must be removed to inspect the frame collars.

By the way my LeSabre was in perfect condition with complete scheduled maintenance history. The car was just safety inspected. Beware and ge the word out. I think Park Avenues have the same subframe problems as well!

20 Answers


We just had our exhaust replaced and the mechanic said he would have to replace the subrame also. Like you he said loss of steering could happen. Is this a recall issue? Mannie de a

12 of 12 people found this helpful.

I just ran into this issue with my 1992 lesabre. The frame hasn't dropped yet though but its rusting. Its quite expensive to fix I think. I'm getting it estimated tommorow. Im not sure what im doing yet she has 240.000 miles she runs great just one issue though the subframe needs fixed soon before it does break. I love my lesabre she's been very good to me and my family it never breaks down but years of Illinois salt has gotten to her bottom other then that everything works perfectly and looks great. You would think by the rustfree body that the subframe wouldn't be rusting but its a common issue.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

This is an issue with ALL the Front Wheel Drive full sized G.M. cars from 85 through well into the 90s. The rust out happens where the sub frame meets the unibody floor pan. There is a cross brace that the frame mounts to. The frame can rust, but so can that cross brace. Neither is an inexpensive fix. It is the way the two pieces connect. There is a pocket in there that collects dirt and salt, and it doesn't get washed out. Often, the first sign of trouble is the car sitting not quite right or the ride, over bumps, feeling a bit squirrelly. Most people think of springs and shocks first, but it is often the first sign of the sub frame mount getting weak. This applies to the Pontiac Bonneville, Chevrolet Impala (early front wheel drive), Buick LeSabre and Electra, Oldsmobile Delta 88 and Ninety Eight, and the Cadillac Sedan de Ville and front wheel drive Fleetwoods.

18 of 18 people found this helpful.

Mike thanks for broadening the issue. GM really has had nothing to say on the topic of catastrophic frame failure. I was lucky. I wonder how many serious accidents have occurred do to this issue?

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

I have no idea how many accidents have occurred. I know about this because 4 friends, with different models, had the same thing happen. The first was a 91 Delta 88. I noticed the driver's side front fender was sitting low at the front corner, so investigated. After I found out what was happening I checked the others, and sure enough, all were having the same problem.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.

my whole frame dropped as well..something just popped while driving and I had my kid in the car man.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

Yes I had the same problem with my 99 I just lost full control of the car wat am I to do with can help me out

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Sorry David join the club but I am glad you were not hurt. Sub frames can be replaced but it is $$$. Not sure the year of your car but I sold mine for $500 to a guy who knew how to fix them and gave it to his daughter. This remains a huge issue that GM does not acknowledge.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.

Wow so do you know who I can call

4 of 4 people found this helpful.

There are 2 separate rust issues at work here. If it is the subframe itself that rotted, yes, that can be replaced, but it is far from inexpensive. You can get a good, and nice, full framed Grand Marquis for less money. If it is the cross brace that the subframe attaches to, it is basically doing a full restoration on the car, and changing the front floor pan, and possibly part of the fire wall. It is simply cost-prohibitive to do that repair, as normally there is other serious structural rust at work by the time that happens. Either way, unless you are REALLY attached to the car for some specific reason, it is time to say goodbye when this problem crops up. I have also seen the strut towers ready to let go about that same time, and when you add it all up, bringing one back can run to several thousands with no problem at all

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

I own a 1994 LeSabre. I purchased this car brand new. I even spent additional money to have the car "Ziebarted." Recently, I planned to give this car to my son to take to college so, I spent a little cash ($200) putting new tie-rods, ball-joints, and brakes on all four wheels. However, when I was under my car, after I finished installing everything, I noticed that one of subframe bushings was missing the large washer that holds the bushing in place, as it looked like it rusted off I promptly replaced the washer ($25) and bolt ($10) with new items from the dealer. After I finished replacing this, I then went around the car, verifying that the other 5 subframe bolts, washers, and bushings were in good shape which included each of them being and tightened to the correct torque (66 foot lbs) - - - when surprise, one of the other bolts, snapped right off while I was checking the torque. This turned out to be a P.I.T.A. as I spent the next 5 hours wrestling with this broken bolt trying to get it out. G.M. should be held accountable for this design flaw!

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

would that pass inspection? we bought a car that looked great in the interior and the exterior. it had been inspected so we thought all was well. first time inspected and they were found. only one bolt left. how did it pass last years inspection? we only put 3k miles on the car this year


I had the same thing on my 96 Le Sabre. My friend who is my mechanic made steel templates to replace and welded the rusted parts and worked like a champ, subsequently he had fixed the same problem with another buick about 2 months Prior. Now I find that the inside RR wheelhouse is rusted out, this leads into the trunk so it is trouble. My friend just checked his LeSabre and guess what? Same thing and the part is obselete. Anbody know of a fix other than going the same way as before. Thank god the price otf the first fix wasn't so bad , He already had fixed one!!!!!!!!

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Oh and one more thing, When The frame rotted and fell down about 4 inches I could Push the engine up and down with ease. Shame on GM and Buick! They knew it was a safety problem but chose to ignore it because it would have dug into their greedy DEEP pockets. Oh and I need to ask a question, did anyone out there have the paint on their car just start peeling? I peeled a 2ft.x 2ft. layer of paint off the roof of my vehicle with real ease? This started happening before the extended warranty expired and I babied my Baby. Well, enough said.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

This is a bad safety issue I had 2 put large thick washers on the back 4 sub frame mounts & the steering rod that came out was a TOTAL night mare to get hooked back up took me 2 days the car has been on the ramps for 2 months I ordered all new body mounts 4 of them threw Amazon they were the most reasonable $47.00 a piece they are good 2 Dorman you will have to check your vehicle there is different ones you can check on my site.... Hot Rod Auto Parts if you didnt already fix it Amazon Auto is on the site also I never had any paint issues probably since mine is white I know the red ones they had paint problems GM should of recalled these cars....Well wish you luck take care ....Denny

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Has General Motors commented yet. I have the same problem on my 96 caddy deville


How many mile can you drive a1998 buick leasbian befor you have to replace the engine

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Sprint_9699 Well if its the 3.8 they are suppose to be quite good I guess that depends on the care...changing oil as recommended , flushing coolant & keeping all fluids up Never drive if over heating , belt care,air filter basic recommended things to do thats in your owners manual give your car alittle loving it could last a long time.

I just had all four of my sub frame bushings fail as I was coming off a red light at an off ramp of the interstate. The failure took out BOTH steering and power. Mind you, this failure occurred after a spirited but uneventful 70 mile drive. Frankly, I am lucky to be alive! No steering + No power = DEATHTRAP! If you have over 100K of miles, replace those bushings IMMEDIATELY. GM should be ashamed if that is a design flaw they have not fixed.

Does anyone has any images of the subframe mounts & bushings . just looking out for a friend . That have a 1997 Buick LeSabre , who asked me to do a price check on the front & rear struts .

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