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opinions on a 96 LT1 Buick Roadmaster

This is a discussion on opinions on a 96 LT1 Buick Roadmaster within the LT1 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Looking at a 96 Buick Roadmaster wagon with a LT1. have not seen it in person yet, but the guy ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    face down ass up

    opinions on a 96 LT1 Buick Roadmaster

    Looking at a 96 Buick Roadmaster wagon with a LT1. have not seen it in person yet, but the guy says its got some bolt ons and a mild tune, and a recent transmission and tires. Only problems are some rust & dents (which I dont really care about). But it needs a new water pump and you need to add coolant every few days.

    Its priced pretty good considering its shape. I'm just looking to use it as a dd, something more exciting than my little econobox. Anyways, I don't have much experience with LT1's, is there anything I should look out for?


  2. #2
    Senior Member 5.0THIS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001

    95 Z28

    Adding coolant every few days? If it isn't leaking onto the ground, then it is either going into the motor (you'd see it in the oil), or it is leaking into the cylinders and getting burned off, which you can often smell in the exhaust if it's bad enough. Either way that's not good.

    If it's just because it is leaking out of the water pump, then it is leaking right onto the optispark distributor, which (even in vented form) is still vulnerable to moisture damage. It needs a water pump for sure, and quite possibly an optispark now, or in the future if the water has in fact damaged it.

  3. #3
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Always been a fan of these cars. Buddy has the Caprice LT1 version (non SS), always a blast to drive and sneak up on people with.

    First thing I'd do is make sure the car has a "P" in the 8th digit of the vin to signify it's actually the LT1. These cars were also built with the L99 which is the baby 265ci version of the LT1, and externally they appear exactly the same.

    Like mentioned, the opti can be an issue from waterpump leakage if that's the case. Back then, like now, people didn't like the prices of these LT1 water pumps and would forgo changing them. Anytime you have the water pump off an LT1 I'd recommend tuning up the Opti as well because now is the time to access it rather than remove the pump again at a later date. I'm willing to bet the Opti likely hasn't been touched as that's another item people would forgo messing with because it took alot of effort to access it.
    Also, if the LT1 has more than 100k miles on it, I'd suggest swapping the entire complete distributor unit that comes with a new opti/cap/rotor. My experience with these has always been the sealed bearing shaft in the distributor that doesn't have any outside (or engine) oil source. Eventually the bearings wear and cause wobble in the shaft, which gives you those high rpm misfires so common in the LT1's. People would change opti's thinking that was the cause when in fact 90% of the time it was shaft wobble from a worn bearing.
    Your saving grace might be since it's the buick roadmaster that it's possible it saw an elderly owner that treated it to alot of low rpm cruising throughout it's life. Most of your Z28's owned by yougin's had the piss ran out of them accelerating the shaft bearing wear issue. In any event, I'd suggest replacing the entire unit along with the waterpump to save yourself headaches later down the road. It's easy to get to now while the pump is off.
    Last edited by Firebirdjones; 11-14-2013 at 04:10 AM.

  4. #4
    Member kensz28's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    1979 MALIBU, SBC T56.

    My friend built and sold (idiot) a 96 roady wagon with a 383 lt4, 30# injectors, t56, 4:11's, headers, 2" drop etc. Fastest most ridiculous thing I've ever ridden in considering it weighed 5,000lbs! Lol. Just awesome.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator
    pajeff02's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Mansfield, PA

    Black & Blue
    '02 WS.6 / '07 Suburban

    I think it was GMHTP (R.I.P.) that had a feature on a wagon a while back. The think was beyond nuts with the power it was making.

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