1991-1996 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Regency


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Apr 6, 2004
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Oldsmobile redesigned the Ninety Eight for 1991. This edition, redesigned for 1991 rode on the same front-drive chassis as the 1985-90 models, but had a look that was like the many historical Ninety Eights before it. It was made contemporary. One thing Oldsmobile was known for was timeless styling. It reminds me a lot of the 1963-1968 and 1980-1984 Oldsmobile Ninety Eights. It grew 9.5 inches of overall length. The trunk grew in size. It is larger than most cars on the market today. Ninety Eights came as a 6-passenger 4-door sedan in either luxurious Regency Elite trim or sportier Touring Sedan version. The powertrain consisted of GM's 3.8-liter V6 engine. There were upgrades over the design time frame that are visible and some that are not.


Year-to-Year Changes

1992 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight: For 1992, the Ninety Eight gains a new base-model Regency, followed by the Regency Elite and deluxe Touring Sedan. Optional for the Touring Sedan now is a new 205-horsepower supercharged version of GM's 3.8-liter engine. Traction control is an available option on all three models.

1993 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight: Torque on the standard 3.8-liter V6 engine rises slightly to 225 pound-feet at 3200 rpm. Also, the grille and headlamp bezels on the Touring Sedan are now body-colored, with exterior moldings changing from gray to black. The Regency Elite gains an overhead storage console.

1994 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight: The Ninety Eight returns for 1994 with a redesigned instrument panel that includes a new passenger-side airbag. The supercharged 3.8-liter V6 gains 20 horsepower and 15 pound-feet of torque as a result of improvements to the supercharger and the induction system and becomes available on all models. Other changes include a new grille and headlamps, an additional inch of front seat travel, and standard automatic power door locks.

1995 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight: Last year the Touring Sedan bit the dust; this year the base Regency model goes away. The remaining Regency Elite is provided with very few stand-alone options. On the plus side, Oldsmobile makes major improvements under the hood. The new Series II 3800 V6, with its 205 horsepower and 230 pound-feet of torque now becomes the new base engine.

1996 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight: Preceding the Ninety Eight into retirement was the supercharged 3800 V6, which is no longer an option for the Ninety Eight. Olds incorporated nearly all of the car's features and options into its 1997 Eighty Eight "Regency" model.

PROS: The interior room, the trunk space, the gas mileage, the features, the quality, and the classy look it carries. The technology which is still ahead of many cars on the market. The digital gauges (optional 1991-1994), standard on Regency Elite Series II 1995-1996, the trunk pull down feature, the informative instrumentation panel, the ride, the look and feel of the seats. Oldsmobile offered some nice color combinations.The Ninety Eight offered what Cadillac and Lincoln offered for a a lot less. It is a strong value. The only thing that seperates them is a V8 engine. The 3800 V6 is a strong reliable engine. I like Oldsmobiles approach to luxury as it was more understated and not in your face. I found some of the routine maintenance pretty easy. It is easy to find parts and get the car repaired at reasonable or low prices.

CONS: No V8 option(Oldsmobile had considered it in 1994-1995 time frame using the 4.9 liter V8 Cadillac had stopped using) , Oldsmobile and GM did not promote the last generation like it should have. No rear sear headrests, GM killling Oldsmobile and dropping the Ninety Eight. The dropping of the Touring Sedan model after 1993. This car is very reliable and so often overlooked. The paint quality of early 1990's GM cars. The paint peeled and faded bad on the 1994.

Oldsmobile Ninety Eight 4-door sedan
Wheelbase, in. 110.8
Overall Length, in. 205.7
Overall Width, in. 74.6
Overall Height, in. 54.8
Curb Weight, lbs. 3412
Cargo Volume, cu. ft. 20.2
Standard Payload, lbs. --
Fuel Capacity, gals. 18.0
Seating Capacity 6
Front Head Room, in. 38.7
Max. Front Leg Room, in. 42.5
Rear Head Room, in. 37.7
Min. Rear Leg Room, in. 40.7

NHTSA Crash Test Results
1993 Ninety Eight 4-door sedan
Crash Test Driver 5
Crash Test Passenger --
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests a vehicle's crashworthiness in front- and side-impact collisions and rates its resistance to rollovers. Their test results suggest the chance of serious injury, while rollover resistance ratings are based on how top heavy the vehicle is and indicate the chance for rollover when the vehicle leaves the roadway. Front crash test numbers indicate: 5 = 10% or less; 4 = 10-20%; 3 = 20-35%; 2 = 35-45%; 1 = More than 45%. Side impact numbers indicate: 5 = 5% or less; 4 = 6-10%; 3 = 11-20%; 2 = 21-25%; 1 = More than 26%. Rollover resistance numbers indicate: 5 = Less than 10%; 4 = 10-20%; 3 = 20-30%; 2 = 30-40%; 1 = More than 40%.

Powertrain Options and Availability
The powertrain for the Oldsmobile Ninety Eight consists of GM's 3.8-liter V6 engine. Revised for the 1991 model year, it provided 170 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 220 pounds-feet of torque at 3200 rpm. Power was increased further in 1995 with the addition of the 205 horsepower Series II 3800 version of GM's corporate V6 engine. The torque rating is 230 pound-feet at 3200 rpm. An optional supercharged engine was provided between 1992 and 1995, with horsepower outputs ranging from 205 to 225 horsepower and torque ranging from 260 pound-feet to 275 pound-feet of torque. However, with the new Aurora as Oldsmobile's flagship model the supercharged engine was dropped for 1996. All engines are paired with an electronically controlled, 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission.

Trouble Spots lists the many commonly occurring problems for a particular vehicle. In some cases we also give possible manufacturer-suggested solutions. In many instances these trouble spots are Technical Service Bulletins posted by the manufacturer, however we have our own expert looking at additional vehicle problems.


Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission: 4T60E transmissions may drop out of drive while cruising, shift erratically, have no third or fourth gear, or no second and third gear because of a bad ground connection for the shift solenoids. (1991-94)

*** My 1994 had a replacement GM transmission.

Cruise control: If the cruise control doesn't stay engaged, or drops out of cruise, the brake switch can usually be adjusted to fix the problem. (1991-95)

Engine knock and oil leak: 3.8-liter engines are prone to excessive oil consumption often accompanied by spark knock due to failure of the valve-stem seals. (1993-95)

Engine noise: Bearing knock was common on many 3.8-liter engines due to too much clearance on the number-one main bearing. (1992-94)

Engine noise: A rattling noise from the engine that lasts less than a minute when the car is started after sitting is often caused by automatic-transmission pump starvation or a sticking pressure-regulator valve. According to GM, no damage occurs and it does not have a fix for the problem. (1991-95)

Steering noise: The upper-bearing mount in the steering column can get loose and cause a clicking, requiring a new bearing spring and turn-signal cancel cam. (1994-96)

Transaxle leak: The right front-axle seal at the automatic transaxle is prone to leak and GM issued a revised seal to correct the problem. (1992-94)

**** I have owned two Ninety Eights. I had a 1994 and drive a 1995.

The 1995 has been an excellent car. It is built a whole lot better and drives and feels better than the 1994. You can feel and see the difference.

The 1994 was not that reliable as it was flood damaged. Be on the look out for what you buy. Do your home work and check the vehicle history. I fixed a lot of that car, so I know pretty much these price quotes for parts is true.

This table lists costs of likely repairs for comparison with other vehicles. The dollar amount includes the cost of the part(s) and labor (based on $50 per hour) for the typical repair without extras or add-ons. Like the pricing information, replacement costs can vary widely depending on region. Expect charges at a new-car dealership to be slightly higher.
Average Replacement Cost
A/C Compressor $500
Alternator $280
Automatic Transmission or Transaxle $970
Brakes $230
Constant Velocity Joints $725
Exhaust System $530
Radiator $360
Shocks and/or Struts $1,355 (TRUE)
Timing Chain or Belt $260

NHTSA Recall History

1991: Console-mounted shift lever may disengage, causing loss of gearshift operation. 1991: Parking-brake lever assembly may release when applied; parking brake may then not hold the vehicle. 1992-93: Transmission-cooler line in cars with certain powertrains, sold in specified states, can separate at low temperature. 1994-95: Headlight-switch spring can fail and prevent latching of headlamp in "On" position. 1995: Current leakage can cause loss of headlights and parking lights; or lights may turn on while car is parked. 1996: Backfire during engine starting can cause breakage of upper intake manifold, and result in nonstart condition and possible fire. 1996: Damaged capacitor may cause failure of "Key in the Ignition" warning chime and driver seatbelt-unbuckled warning chime and indicator lamp; other functions also may be impaired.

Kid Ninety Eight

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Mar 31, 2009
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I have owned a 1984 Delta 88, a '66 Chevelle, and a '92 Explorer in the past. I got my 1996 Ninety Eight in January of '07, and it by far is the best dang car I have ever driven! I love the power and reliablility of the famous 3.8, even though it had to have the entire intake assembly replaced the day after I bought it. However, I think GM hit a home run when designing and producing the 1991-1996 Ninety Eights.