Welcome to our database regarding GM A/G body 1987 to 1983 mid-size station wagons.

This is our attempt to consolidate a collection of thoroughly correct and probably useless information about these vehicles since the internet contains a lot of incorrect, misleading, or needlessly repetetive information.
 GM G body wagons Overview
 GM G body wagons Brand names and trim levels
 GM G body wagons General specifications
 GM G body wagons Powertrains
 GM G body wagons Wagon-specific RPO codes
 GM G body wagons Paint and body
 GM G body wagons Police and taxi
 GM G body wagons Diesel engines
 GM G body wagons Production numbers
 5th Generation El Camino References



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Overview


Along with General Motor's new mid-size car introduced in 1978 was a station wagon version. Each GM car division got its own version. For Chevrolet it was the Malibu Wagon. Oldsmobile named its version the Cutlass Cruiser Wagon. Pontiac had the LeMans Safari Wagon, while Buick called it the Century Wagon.

Initially the platform used for these vehicles was still called GM's 'A' body, but later for internal reasons this changed to the 'G' body by which these cars are commonly known today.

Like the sedan versions, the station wagons had fixed rear windows but opening rear vent windows. Underneath, the wagons from the different marques were mostly identical. Cosmetic facelifts were given to each to differentiate the brands, both inside and outside. Some brands used their own engines, especially in early years.

All versions had two rows of seats, with the rear foldable for increased cargo room. The spare tire was stored in a lidded compartment under the rear passenger-side cargo floor, along with the jack and tire iron. All rear-facing lights were grafted into holes in the bumper like the El Camino of the same years.

All had the same tailgate that folded down by an interior handle, and an upper hatch glass assembly that lifted up on gas struts by an outside handle and lock.

While these wagons sat on a perimeter frame with body mounts, the frame is fairly lightweight and some of the structural rigidity relies on the body. Bumpers front and rear are mounted with hydraulic shock absorbers between frame horns and bumpers to help absorb collision impact.

Inital car magazine reviews were quite ecstatic, although these were later downgraded because it turned out that testers had been given pre-production hand-built units that did not reflect the lower quality and lesser options of later production units. However given the time period and manufacturing quality of the time, the actual production units were quite good even if the standards were lower than today.

The fixed rear windows came about because GM designers wanted the space of the interior armrest indent in the door, but this did not allow room for a window mechanism. Instead engineers and designers settled on opening rear vent windows. While this system reportedly was not especially favored by customers out of principle, the actual airflow through the vehicle with front windows and rear vents open was quite good. Generally, opting for air conditioning made this unecessary of course.

These wagons are generally well-regarded for good design characteristics such as relatively low weight for a rear-drive wagon, comfortable and roomy interiors based on their size, and good driveability with the right options specified like the upgraded suspension.

Much more standard two and four-door sedans were made than wagons, but time has shown their durability and suitableness for everyday operation. Because of their desireable rear-drive design and ease of V8 engine adaptability, these wagons are becoming quite popular for applications such as racing and hotrodding.

By 1983 all of the 'G' body wagons were discontinued in favor of new front wheel drive designs for 1984.

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Brand names and trim levels


Each GM car division had its own model names and trim levels, which changed somewhat over the years:

Chevrolet 1978-1981:
-Malibu Wagon [1AT35]] (base) / Malibu Classic Wagon [1AW35] (up-level)
-1978 standard up-level trim gives: 1/2 in. thick headliner padding vs. 1/4 in., extra courtesy light package, upgraded steering wheel.
Chevrolet 1982-1983:
-Malibu Wagon [1GT35]] (base) / Malibu Classic Wagon [1GW35] (up-level)

Oldsmobile 1978-1983:
-Cutlass Cruiser Wagon (base) / Cutlass Cruiser Brougham Wagon (up-level)

Buick 1978-1981:
-Century Special Wagon [E35] (base) / Century Custom Wagon [H35] (up-level)
-Century Sport Wagon [W01]: different exterior trim; different grille with body color inserts, special paint treatment, sport wheels and sport suspension.
Buick 1980-1981:
-Century Special Wagon [E35] (base) / Century Estate Wagon [H35] (up-level)
-Century Sport Wagon [W01]: different exterior trim; different grille with body color inserts, special paint treatment, sport wheels and sport suspension.
Buick 1982-1983:
-Regal Estate Wagon

Pontiac 1978-1981:
-Lemans Safari Wagon (base) / Grand Lemans Safari Wagon (up-level)
Pontiac 1982-1983:
-Bonneville Model G Wagon

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General specifications



-Angle of approach: 20 degrees, 13 min.
-Angle of departure: 15 degrees, 40 min.
-Axle shaft: integral shaft and drive flange
-Body mounting: 7 each side of frame, 10 double cushion and 4 single cushion
-Brakes: Hydraulic, self-adjusting, power assisted, 10.5in. X 1.03in. front cast-iron vented disc, 9.5 in. x 2 in. rear cast-iron finned drum
-Brake master cylinder: dual resevoir (front/rear split)
-Brake booster: Delco two-diaphragm, 7.9in. X 7.9in. nominal diameter, vacuum/hydraulic
-Control arms: reinforced stamped steel with pre-loaded steel-encased rubber bushings at pivot
-Driveline type: tubular exposed, single, 2 Cardan universal joints with pre-packed anti-friction bearings
-Door beams: saftey guard
-Electrical: 12v negative ground
-Exhuast: single aluminized
-Exterior paint type: acrylic lacquer
-Frame: Carbon steel, perimeter type, sigma-section rails, welded front and rear crossmembers with bolt-in tubular transmission support
-Front overhang: 36.0 in.
-Front shock absorbers: direct, double-acting hydraulic
-Front spindle: 3/4-20 UNEF 3-A modified
-Front suspension: independant; coil springs and 1" shock absorbers
-Front wheel bearings: taper roller, two per spindle, inner 1.25in, outer .8437-.8445in
-Fuel fill: left-hand fill, rectangular
-Fuel tank: 18.2 gallon
-General suspension provisions, leveling: front stabilizer bar
-General suspension provisions, anti-dive control: front suspension geometry
-General suspension provisions, anti-squat control: rear suspension geometry
-Generator: 37 amp
-Height: 54.5 in.
-Height rocker panel rear to ground: 9.9 in.
-Height rocker panel rear to ground: 9.7 in.
-Inner fenders: plastic
-Length: 193.4 in.
-Lowest ground clearance: rear shock absorber bracket
-Lugs: 7/16-20 UNF 2B on 4.75in. bolt circle diameter
-Minimum base weight: 3274 lb.
-Minimum running ground clearance: 5.7 in.
-Parking brake: pedal-operated, cable to rear wheels, 63.73 sq. in. facing contact per axle
-Ramp breakover angle: 14 degrees, 30 min.
-Rear axle: Salisbury-type, hypoid gearing
-Rear axle differential to ground: 7.3 in.
-Rear axle gearing: positraction available on all ratios (2.29, 2.41, 2.56, 2.73, 3.08), 7.5" ring gear pitch diameter
-Rear axle housing: 2.53 in. X 0.18 in. section diameter and thickness at spring seat
-Rear bumper to ground: 13.6 in.
-Rear overhang: 49.2 in.
-Rear suspension: direct double-acting hydraulic shock absorbers 1 in.
-Rocker panels: open channel
-Seat cushions and backrests: formed polyfoam
-Shoulder room: 57.3 in
-Spare tire: compact 15 X 4, 1 in. offset wheel, T125/70-15 tire (positraction rear uses space saver)
-Steering: manual recirculating ball, parallelogram linkage
-Steering knuckles: nodular iron with integral steering knuckle arm
-Tread width front: 58.5 in.
-Tread width rear: 57.8 in.
-Turning diameter outside front, curb to curb: 40.05 ft.
-Turning diameter outside front, wall to wall: 37.19 ft.
-Wheelbase: 108.1 in.
-Wheels: 5 lug, 14"x6"
-Width with doors closed: 71.2 in.
-Width with doors open: 132.9 in.
-Windshield pillars: energy absorbing air-gap construction

Buick Century Sport Wagon:
Buick Sport Wagon

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Powertrains


The powertrain options we list here are only for the station wagons. Coupes and sedans had slightly different availability.

The 231 cubic inch Buick V6 was consistently used across all brands. Most likely because it was rated for California emissions and GM did not want to spring for certifying multiple engines. The 350 cubic inch gas V8 was available for all brands for 1978 and 1979 for these wagons. Later years across brands consistently used the Chevrolet 305 cubic inch V8, with a smattering of brand-specific engines for each marque. The 5.7L Oldsmobile Diesel engine was also offered across the board in later years.

Manual transmissions seem to have only been available on the Chevrolet versions, and only up to 1981.

Chevrolet powertrains by year:
1978
-V6 200 CI (3.3L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO L26
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, CA emissions, RPO LD5
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevy, all states, RPO LG3
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO LM1
-3-speed manual (200 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-4-speed manual (305 V8), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-4-speed manual (350 V8), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-3-speed automatic TH200 (200 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic TH200 (231 V6 California), 3.23 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic TH350 (305 V8), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic TH350 (350 V8), 2.73 rear axle ratio only

1979
-V6 200 CI (3.3L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO L26
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, CA emissions, RPO LD5
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, ??? emissions ???, RPO LC6
-V8 267 CI (4.4L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO L39
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevy, all states, RPO LG4
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO LM1
-3-speed manual (200 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-4-speed manual (267 V8), 3.08 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-4-speed manual (305 V8), 3.08 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-3-speed automatic TH200 (200 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic TH350 (231 V6 high altitude), 3.23 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic TH200 (231 V6 California), 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic TH250 (267 V8), 2.56 rear axle ratio only [M38 on build sheet]
-3-speed automatic TH200 (305 V8), 2.41 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic TH350 (350 V8), 2.73 rear axle ratio only

1980
-V6 229 CI (3.8L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO LC3
-V8 267 CI (4.4L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO L39
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevy, all states, RPO LG4
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, CA emissions, RPO LD5
-3-speed manual (229 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-3-speed automatic TH200C (229 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic TH350 (267 V8), 2.56 rear axle ratio only [M38 on build sheet]
-3-speed automatic TH250c OR TH350C (305 V8), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional [trans type dependent on production line choice]
-3-speed automatic TH350 (305 V8), 2.73 optional axle
-3-speed automatic TH350 (305 V8 California), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic TH350 (231 V6 California), 2.73 rear axle ratio only

1981
-V6 229 CI (3.8L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO LC3
-V8 267 CI (4.4L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO L39
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevy, all states, RPO LG4
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, CA emissions, RPO LD5
-3-speed manual (229 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only, floor shift
-3-speed automatic TH250C OR TH350C (229 V6), 2.73 rear axle ratio only [trans type dependent on production line choice]
-3-speed automatic TH200C OR TH350C (267 V8), 2.56 rear axle ratio only [trans type dependent on production line choice]
-3-speed automatic TH200C OR TH250C (305 V8, 305 V8 California), 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional [trans type dependent on production line choice]
-3-speed automatic TH350C (305 V8, 305 V8 California) 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic TH200C OR TH250C (231 V6 California), 2.73 rear axle ratio only [trans type dependent on production line choice]

1982
-V6 229 CI (3.8L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO LC3
-V8 267 CI (4.4L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO L39
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevy, all states, RPO LG4
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, CA emissions, RPO LD5
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, all states, RPO LF9
-3-speed automatic TH250C (229 V6) 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic TH250C OR TH350C (267 V8) 2.73 rear axle ratio only [trans type dependent on production line choice]
-3-speed automatic TH250C OR TH350C (305 V8) 2.41 rear axle ratio only [trans type dependent on production line choice]
-3-speed automatic TH350C (231 V6 California) 2.73 rear axle ratio only
-3-speed automatic TH350C (350 V8 Diesel) 2.29 rear axle ratio only

1983
-V6 229 CI (3.8L) Chevy, Federal emissions, RPO LC3
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevy, all states, RPO LG4
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, CA emissions, RPO LD5
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, all states, RPO LF9
-3-speed automatic TH250C (229 V6) 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic TH250C OR TH350C (305 V8) 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic TH350C (350 V8 Diesel) 2.29 axle std., 2.73 optional
-3-speed automatic TH250C (231 V6 California) 2.73 rear axle ratio only

____________________________
Oldsmobile powertrains by year:
1978
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 260 CI Oldsmobile, 2 bbl, RPO LV8
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, 2 bbl, RPO LG3
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, CA emissions, 4 bbl, RPO LG4
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Chevrolet, 4 bbl, RPO LM1
-3-speed automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1979
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 260 CI Oldsmobile, 2 bbl, RPO LV8
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Chevrolet, 4 bbl, RPO LM1
-3-speed automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1980
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 260 CI Oldsmobile, 2 bbl, RPO LV8
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, RPO LF9
-3-speed automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1981
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 260 CI Oldsmobile, 2 bbl, RPO LV8
-V8 307 CI (5.0L) Oldsmobile, 4 bbl, RPO LV2
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, RPO LF9
-3-speed automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1982
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 260 CI Oldsmobile, 2 bbl, RPO LV8
-V8 307 CI Oldsmobile, 4 bbl, RPO LV2
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, RPO LF9
-3-speed automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1983
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 307 CI Oldsmobile, 4 bbl, RPO LV2
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, RPO LF9
-3-speed automatic TH??? type/style - all engines, with torque converter clutch

____________________________
Buick powertrains by year:
1978
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, 2 bbl, RPO LG3
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, CA emissions, 4 bbl, RPO LG4
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Chevrolet, 4 bbl, RPO LM1
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1979
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 301 CI (4.9L) Pontiac, 4 bbl, RPO L37
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, CA emissions, 4 bbl, RPO LG4
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Chevrolet, 4 bbl, RPO LM1
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1980
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 265 CI (4.3L) Pontiac, 2 bbl, RPO LS5
-V8 301 CI (4.9L) Pontiac, 4 bbl, RPO L37
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, CA emissions, 4 bbl, RPO LG4
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1981
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 265 CI (4.3L) Pontiac, 2 bbl, RPO LS5
-V8 301 CI (4.9L) Pontiac, 4 bbl, RPO L37
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, RPO LF9
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1982
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V6 252 CI (4.1L) Buick, 4 bbl, RPO LC4
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, RPO LF9
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1983
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V6 252 CI (4.1L) Buick, 4 bbl, RPO LC4
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, RPO LF9
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

____________________________
Pontiac powertrains by year:
1978
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 301 CI (4.9L) Pontiac, 2 bbl, RPO L27
-V8 301 CI (4.9L) Pontiac, 4 bbl, RPO L37
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, CA emissions, 4 bbl, RPO LG4
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Chevrolet, 4 bbl, RPO LM1
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1979
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5, 2.73 axle std., 3.23 optional
-V8 301 CI (4.9L) Pontiac, 2 bbl, RPO L27, 2.29 axle
-V8 301 CI (4.9L) Pontiac, 4 bbl, RPO L37, 2.29 axle std., 2.56 optional
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, CA emissions, 4 bbl, RPO LG4, 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Chevrolet, 4 bbl, RPO LM1, 2.73 axle
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1980
-V6 229 CI (3.8L) Chevrolet, 2 bbl, RPO LC3, 2.73 axle
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5, 2.73 axle
-V8 265 CI (4.3L) Pontiac, 2 bbl, RPO LS5, 2.41 axle
-V8 301 CI (4.9L) Pontiac, 4 bbl, RPO L37, 2.29 axle std., 2.56 optional
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, CA emissions, 4 bbl, RPO LG4, 2.41 axle std., 2.73 optional
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1981
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 265 CI (4.3L) Pontiac, 2 bbl, RPO LS5
-V8 301 CI (4.9L) Pontiac, 4 bbl, RPO L37

1982
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V6 252 CI (4.1L) Buick, 4 bbl, RPO LC4
-V8 267 CI (4.4L) Pontiac, 2 bbl, RPO L39
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, CA emissions, 4 bbl, RPO LG4
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, RPO LF9
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

1983
-V6 231 CI (3.8L) Buick, 2 bbl, RPO LD5
-V8 305 CI (5.0L) Chevrolet, CA emissions, 4 bbl, RPO LG4
-V8 350 CI (5.7L) Diesel Oldsmobile, RPO LF9
automatic TH??? type/style - all engines

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Wagon-specific RPO codes


Chevrolet:
-AU6 -- Electric liftgate lock release (all years)
-V55 -- Roof luggage carrier with adjustable end rails (all years)
-C51 -- Rear window air deflector (all years)
-C88 -- Cargo area courtesy dome light (1978, 1979)
-BX3 -- Malibu Classic Estate Wagon Package -- woodgrain applique center section of body sides and lower portion of tailgate, vinyl-clad aluminum mouldings on upper and lower sides of woodgrain, "Malibu Classic Estate" on body quarter panel (all years)
-B3L -- Lockable security package; rear interior side compartments with locking covers (1978)
-AW9 -- Lockable security package; rear side and floor locking compartments (all years)
-B39 -- Load floor carpeting (all years)

Standard size tires (P205 were optional in some cases):
Station wagons got base 195 tires whereas the coupes and sedans got base 185 tires.
-QFZ -- P195/75R steel-belted, radial-ply, wide white stripe (1978, 1979, 1980)
-QKR -- P195/75R glass-belted, radial-ply, blackwall (1978, 1979, 1980)
-QKS -- P195/75R glass-belted, radial-ply, white stripe (1978, 1979, 1980)
-QVJ -- P195/75R steel-belted, radial-ply, white stripe (1982, 1983)
-QXW -- P195/75R steel-belted, radial-ply, whitewall (1981, 1982)
-QYF -- P195/75R glass-belted, radial-ply, blackwall (1981, 1982, 1983)
-QYG -- P195/75R glass-belted, radial-ply, whitewall (1981, 1982, 1983)

Notes:
1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 BX3 package includes RPO's: B93, U58, AW9, ZJ7, A31, CD4; deletes BW2
Seats: bucket seat option not available.
Suspension: F40 (HD) and F41 (sport) not available.
The small aluminum hubcaps not offered on wagons except in 1983; full wheelcovers only.

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Paint and body


Paint and body process (from GM documentation):
1. RUSTPROOFING. Assembled car bodies are chemically sprayed to clean and etch the metal surfaces for corrossion resistance and paint adhesion. Unassembled sheet metal parts follow the same process.
2. BODY PRIMERS. Four corrosion resistant primers, specially formulated, are hand sprayed on the body in areas where rust might develop. Lower areas considered especially vulnerable are coated with another rust inhibiting compound.
3. SHEET METAL PRIMER is applied to all outside and inside surfaces of front fenders and hoods. The parts are mechanically dipped or flow-coated to insure coating in all seams and secluded areas, and baked at 390 degrees F. for 30 minutes. A coat of sealer is then applied by hand spray to all surfaces requiring lacquer.
4. FLASH PRIMER AND PRIMER SURFACER COATS. An air-dry flash primer caot is hand sprayed on surfaces below the body belt line. Then a gray primer-surfacer coat is hand sprayed on all outside surfaces of the body and ove baked for 45 minutes at 285 degrees F.
5. INITIAL SANDING. Power wet sanding, followed by hand sanding is done on all body surfaces requiring lacquering. This insures a smooth surface for the lacquer finish. To remove the water, the body is wiped and run through an infrared oven.
6. LACQUERING. Three coats of acrylic lacquer are applied on the exterior surfaces of the body and sheet metal parts to build up a finish of the required thickness and color.
7. INITIAL BAKING. To harden the paint for two tones, the body and sheet metal parts are baked for approximately 10 minutes at 200 degrees F.
8. FINAL BAKING. To assure a durable, hard, high luster finish the lacquer is baked for 30 minutes at 325 degrees F. Reheating the lacquer permits paint film to soften, allowing surface blemishes to disappear during the thermo-flow process.
9. UNDERCOATING. To block out road noise, an asbestos fiber sound deadener with asphalt base is sprayed inside the wheel housings and on the bottom of the underbody at designated areas.
10. PAINT REPAIR AND PROTECTION. Mars, nicks, or scratches that occur during final assembly are corrected at the factory before shipment. When required, light "slush" polishing brings painted surfaces to a high luster finish. Wax is applied to all horizontal surfaces of each vehicle and polished out for protection during shipment. The wax contains no silicones, thus eliminating any paint contamination problem.

Body glass:
-Windshield visibility area: 1142.4 sq. in.
-Front door window visibility area: 842.3 sq. in.
-Rear door window visibility area: 678.0 sq. in.
-Rear quarter window visibility area: 1039.1 sq. in.
-Back window visibility area: 956.1 sq. in.
-Total sq area: 4668.0 sq. in.
-Backlight slope angle: degrees
-Windshield slope angle: 58.5 degrees
-Tumble-home: degrees
-Windshield type: curved laminated plate
-Side glass type: curved tempered plate
-Rear glass type: curved tempered plate

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Police and taxi


For 1983, the 9C1 police package and 9C6 taxi package was offered on the Chevrolet Malibu station wagons. Although how many, if any, were ordered is unknown.

Special options offered as part of these packages (listed by RPO):
-6A4 -- All units key-coded individually
-6B2 -- Handle, inoperative rear door
-6B7 -- Hole, roof panel
-6C1 -- Heavy duty front bench seat
-6C5 -- Dome and reading light in place of standard dome light
-6C7 -- Extra dome light 10" rearward of windshield, wired independantly
-6E2 -- All units key-coded alike
-6E5 -- Roof wiring equipment (wires up to roof)
-6F3 -- Heavy duty front 50/50 bemch seat
-6G2 -- Roof reinforcement, up to 35 pounds of equipment
-6L6 -- Mirrors, twin sport remote
-6Z1 -- Speedometer cable 2-piece (second on passenger firewall)
-7K3 -- Alternator: 70 Amp Delcotron
-7K4 -- Alternator: 80 Amp Delcotron
-7L1 -- Radio suppression
-7L9 -- Steering oil cooler
-7P4 -- Block Heater, 4000w, 120v
-7P8 -- Engine oil cooler
-7W7 -- Spotlight, pillar-mounted, LH 5"
-7W8 -- Spotlight, pillar-mounted, LH 6"
-7W9 -- Spotlight, pillar-mounted, LH and RH 6"
-7X1 -- Radio speakers (one on each end of dash with 42 in. leads for wiring)
-7Y1 -- underhood light
-7Y6 -- Inoperative door jamb light switches (headlight switch only)
-7Z2 -- Speedometer 120 mph with oil pressure, temperature, voltage and clock, police only
-7Z9 -- Speedometer 120 mph, police only
-8B7 -- Silicone rubber radiator and heater hoses
-8E5 -- Transmission oil cooler
-9A3 -- Speedometer gear
-9L3 -- Interior, anti-corrosion protection
-A02 -- Windshield glass, soft-ray

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Diesel engines


Oldsmobile was given the passenger car Diesel development project, possibly because GM often let Olds introduce new technologies such as the Hydramatic transmission and front-wheel drive.
El Camino Diesel engine

The Diesel had to be ordered with some very specific mechanical options, such as dual batteries and particular suspension.

El Camino Diesel engine

Much has been written about the history of these engines, but by the time the engine was in its last years it was more reliable and had changes to make it more dependable. These later engines have a much better reputation than their earlier brethren with many, if not all, of the issues being resolved by that time.
El Camino Diesel engine

The LF9 Diesel engine was the only passenger-car V-8 diesel in the world at that time; engineered by Oldsmobile. Today it is remembered as a converted gas engine, but that is not the case. While manufacturing efficiencies dicated it share some things like head-bolt locations and other machining points with gas engines, the block was a unique high-nickel-content iron casting. It had larger bulkhead and main-bearing sections also.

The compression ratio was 22.5:1. The crankshaft was nodular iron, and although the connecting rods started as 403 gas-engine pieces, they had beefier ends and rods, and were a different length. Pistons were made from special high-strength cast aluminum by Bohn. The engine used glow plugs on a timer system, and a 10hp starter motor. 1981 added a roller cam and lifters.

The engine used mechanical fuel injection by the Roosamaster division of Stanadyne Corporation. The engines redline was 4,000 RPM. These engines were not NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) suitable for passenger vehicles even though GM added an extra layer of sound deadening on the firewall in many of these vehicles. They are not quiet like modern passenger car Diesels, and sound like a large truck engine.

Although very low horsepower, they had respectable torque numbers. Acceleration was not great, and the engine is always panned for this. They did get great fuel mileage though, reported to be on average in mid to high 20 MPG in some cases. The Diesel was pretty much dropped into the GM model line-up with very few transmission or gearing adjustments. Without these changes, the resulting performance could never match a gas engine.

One problem that developed were broken or stretched head bolts resulting in blown head gaskets. They had 10 TTY (torque-to-yield) head bolts on each side, shared with the gas engines. Being TTY, they could not be reused and it is reported that some mechanics did not know this, causing issues later. It is also generally accepted that these 10 bolts were not enough for the high compression ratio, resulting in a lack of longevity and premature failure.

Another issue was the chain on the mechanical fuel-injector pump stretching with normal use causing late fuel delivery. Since Diesel engines rely considerably on fuel delivery timing, this was a big issue and not necessarily easily diagnosed.

Additionally there was the problem of car owners not being familiar with Diesel engine requirements, and using the wrong engine oil. This resulted in bearing failures and other lubrication-related problems.

A larger issue was that a water separator was not included on the early fuel systems, causing corrosion issues inside the fuel system. To counteract this some owners added drygas (anhydrous alcohol) to the fuel, but the alcohol reacted with the governor rings inside the injection pump causing the rings to flake off in chunks and block the fuel lines.

Reportedly dealership mechanics were inadequately educated on these engines, compounding and amplifying all these issues.

The 1981-up engines with DX blocks were improved in many areas, including water filtration and a roller cam as well as other small details.

The Oldsmobile Diesel was discontinued in 1985 with more than a million units sold overall.

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Production numbers


Buick:
 Century Special Wagon:
  1978: 9,586
  1979: 10,413
  1980: 6,493
  1981: 5,489
 Century Custom Wagon:
  1978: 24,014
  1979: 21,100
 Century Estate Wagon:
  1980: 11,122
  1981: 11,659
 Regal Estate Wagon:
  1982: 14,732
  1983: 15,287
 Century Sport Wagon:
  1978: *
  1979: *
  1980: *
  1981: *

Chevrolet:
 Malibu Wagon:
  1978: 30,850
  1979: 50,344
  1980: 30,794
  1981: 29,387
  1982: *
  1983: *
 Malibu Classic Wagon:
  1978: 63,152
  1979: 70,095
  1980: 35,730
  1981: 36,798
  1982: 45,332
  1983: 55,892

Oldsmobile:
 Cutlass Cruiser Wagon:
  1978: 44,617
  1979: 10,755
  1980: 7,815
  1981: 31,926
  1982: 20,363
  1983: 22,037
 Cutlass Cruiser Brougham Wagon:
  1978: *
  1979: 42,953
  1980: 22,791
  1981: *
  1982: *
  1983: *

Pontiac:
 Lemans Safari Wagon:
  1978: 15,714
  1979: 27,517
  1980: 12,912
  1981: 13,358
 Grand Lemans Safari Wagon:
  1978: *
  1979: 20,783
  1980: *
  1981: *
 Bonneville Model G Wagon:
  1982: *
  1983: *

*Production numbers missing or unknown

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References


General information:
     Vehicle production numbers

These sales dealer specifications are useful for determining model year details:
     1978 Chevrolet Malibu dealer specs
     1979 Chevrolet Malibu dealer specs
     1980 Chevrolet Malibu dealer specs
     1981 Chevrolet Malibu dealer specs
     1982 Chevrolet Malibu dealer specs
     1983 Chevrolet Malibu dealer specs

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