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    Hey everybody. My name is Dustin and I just picked up this '91 cutlass ciera 3.3 a few days ago. This is a first car for my girlfriend but I must admit I love driving it around. It idled a bit rough at first but I cleaned the MAF sensor and throttle body and it made a huge difference. This car will remain mostly stock but we will probably get some more attractive wheels when these tires are worn down and I might build a custom cold air intake for it. The car came with a strange ash tray modified with wood and floor boards. I tore off the floor boards, sanded it down, painted it black and bolted on some cup holders.

    I also put in a new headunit already (I know I don't like to wait). This car is a '91 but it had the headunit wiring of an '87 and older cutlass which threw me off. I also noticed that the seat belts are built into the doors which I believe were for different year models as well. Then the serpentine belt that came up was the wrong part number. Very strange. I hope I don't run into more frustrating problems like this.

    I also have some pictures and a few questions for you guys.

    Here is that custom ash tray thing made by the previous owner:

    my modified ash tray made into cup holders:

    How do I use this rack? Is there a special one that attaches to these?

    A previous owner painted the grill black but now it is chipping. I like how it looks black so I am going to redo it nicely.

    Finally, there are a couple of small rust spots on the body and one big one that was poorly painted over without fixing. Do you have any experience with these larger rust spots? I am going to strip the paint and sand down until there is no rust. Then I will probably spray on some primer, paint then clear. I have never done that before but if it at least comes out looking decent I will be happy. If you have any advice let me know!

    Here's what I drive besides the cutty

    Thanks for looking.

    Hi, you've got a pretty clean cutlass there outside of the small rust spots, and I like the cupholder idea in place of the ash tray.
    I'm not too sure about the rear rack on these cars, but as for the rust I do have some advice for you. If you have access to an air compressor there's a tool store called Harbor Freight ( if you don't have one near you I believe you can order online. They sell a sand blasting gun (allbeit it's cheap, but we were just using it on my ciera and it does work nicely) and blasting media for relatively cheap (I want to say 16 for the blasting material and about 20 for the gun). It'll go Alot faster and it'll be able to get into all of the little pits you'd run into issues with if you use sand paper.

    Also, you might want to look under those trim rings around your fenders since rust likes to creep in behind those as well.


      you asking how you use it? See how its got loops on each bar? You just run rope through them to tie down furniture or suitcases or what ever, its came in handey a few times.
      "Pontiac, Of Course"
      1990 Pontiac Turbo Grand Prix 3.1T
      1998 Audi A4 Quattro 1.8T
      1999 Audi A6 Quattro Wagon
      1991 Audi 200 Auto
      1980 VW Dasher Diesel


        sd focus,

        We have something in common. My wife and I are in your reverse role. I own a 1993 Buick Celebrity, and my wife owns a Ford Focus SE wagon. My Celebrity exists mostly to be there when my wife's Focus breaks down.

        Just kidding. Nice Focus there. My wife's engine mount and transmission went recently. I seem to spend more time working on it, rather than being with her. Maybe I should have married the car! LOL

        Anyhow, that custom tray/cupholder thing is a good idea. I don't smoke myself, so the ashtray is a waste for me.

        Welcome to this forum.



          Welcome! The Cutlass looks really nice That other car looks OK too, for a Focus

          '86 Eurosport VR coupe
          '86 Eurosport sedan
          '88 Eurosport VR coupe
          '89 Eurosport wagon


            welcome. though i must say i rather liked that wood thing. silentwing talked about sand plasting..but other types of abrasive blasting can be had as well that are not so ruff on things like rubber......soda blasting should be looked into.

            Originally posted by LordDurock
            most great ideas will lose the original luster and wonder of their profound expression, when subject to the masses, for all ideas are building blocks on the greater truth, not the whole truth
            82 Buick Century 4.3lt diesel
            00 VW jetta 2.0
            00 vw beetle 1.9 TDI


              That ashtray is giving me some ideas. I'm sure we could find one of those slide out cup holders and attach it to the ashtray drawer, and make it flip out when you pull it out. Now, wouldn't that be neat?

              I'm wondering if this would work- pull out the original ashtray and slide or screw this in? Wonder if it's the same size?

              This comes off a 1988-1994 GMC/Chevy Truck/Suburban.

              This is what it looks like when it's closed. It's upside down.


                You have an attractive Ciera, and welcome to the site! You have a nice Ford, and I hope you hang on to the Olds!
                What is this & what does pulling it out do?


                  Thanks for the advice guys. I ground out most of the rust already and now I have to even out the pits them prime/paint/clear. I'll post the results when I'm done.

                  Geoaidan, that cup holder would be pretty handy if it fits. Mine don't really get in the way unless I am scooting between driver seat and passenger seat quickly. I usually bump my knee.

                  It is unfortunate that I have to go on vacation right now because I am so close to getting the body work done then in a month I can do a full detail and wax. This thing is going to shine.

                  All I can say is that I am AMAZED at how well this car runs and drives considering I paid so little for it. I will definitely hang on to it for a while.



                    I'm with ya on that cupholder thing. Going to e-mail that cupholder seller and ask for measurements and mount locations. Hopefully, I'll get an answer. If I do, I'll post the results of the measurements here.... I looked at my ashtray, and I think that we probably could get away with removing the stock ashtray completely out-- rails & all, and install that cupholder unit in place. The cupholder unit seems to be slightly smaller than the ashtray unit, if not, the exact same size...

                    I am AMAZED at how well this car runs and drives considering I paid so little for it. I will definitely hang on to it for a while.
                    I can relate to that. My wife wanted a "newer, better" car since she's the one that hauls our kids around most of the time. We had a $7,200 cash budget total to get 2 cars. (We didn't want to have any monthly payments) She arbitrarily decided that her car will cost $5,000 dollars. Leaving me with just $2,200 including registration and plates. So what to do? I searched high and low for a decent car that cost $2,000 or less. (Since I had to allow $200 for tags and registration in the budget of $2,200) All the cars around here less for $2,000 were high mileage or problem cars.

                    Then, I saw this Century for $2,500 on Craigslist. I asked the guy if he'd take $2,200 for the car plus registration plus plates. I thought it was a long shot, but the guy said "yes" quickly & happily without hesitation. It turned out that it was an estate car owned by a man in his 70's, and the executioner of his will (the seller) had been wanting to unload it for a while. Apparently, nobody wanted to buy a "cheap grandpa's car" as the guy put it.

                    I originally wasn't happy that my budget was just $2,200... But it was the best thing that ever happened. The Century runs so nice, has ice-cold a/c... Nothing at all wrong with the car, except it needs a new sway bar (cheap) and a new headliner (cheap) That's it. Everything else I do to the car will be optional!

                    When I got the car, it had an ENTIRE brand new brake system, down to the hoses, pads/calipers/drum/rotors all around! The only thing original in the brake system to the car is the master cylinder and the emergency brake cable. That's it. It also has a brand new exhaust system, brand new alternator, water pump, serpentine belt, idle pulley, a/c compressor pump, a/c accumulator, and a brand new battery! (The previous owner obviously planned on living much longer than he did. He really poured a lot money in the car before I got it.) All the parts I mentioned are around 6 months old!

                    Let's compare my car versus my wife's car (both bought in April 2009):

                    Wife's 2001 Ford Focus, 80k miles, soccer mom owned (Wife is 3rd owner), problems galore, has several scratches & paint patches, cost $5k + our old good running Volvo 850 Turbo trade in valued at $2,000... Plus $2,500 repairs for the Focus. Total $9,500 (so far!) A/C just crapped out a few days ago. Needs new condenser pump. ($275 just for the part) What's next???


                    My 1993 Buick Century, 79k miles, extremely reliable, senior citizen owned, (I am the 2nd owner), nice body- no rust, cost $2,200- haven't put a dime in it yet. (Soon will install a new sway bar & new headliner)

                    Crazy, huh? This tells you the truth about these quality a-body cars.



                      Good deal. My focus has been a great car and I suspect this cutlass will do me well. The only thing I don't like about buying a new car is that I will never know how the previous owners treated it and what they did to it. So far I have noticed that the hood release lever was removed from inside the car. Then they removed a few bars from the grill so you can reach in and unlatch it from the front of the car only. They also replaced a vacuum line with a rubber hose and left the old one still sitting there in its place and in good condition. Very strange. I am going to go over the braking and suspension components because I am afraid they may have done some of their shoddy work there. Otherwise great car!



                        That's true about "how owners treated the car". Agree with that.

                        Hey, I got a response from that ebay guy selling that cupholder I posted above- here are the measurements for it:

                        Thickness: 3"
                        Side to Side: 10 7/8"
                        Front to Back: 7"

                        I went ahead and measured the ashtray "receptacle" in my dash. Bad news.

                        Thickness: 3 1/2" (including rails and plastic)
                        Side to side: 8 3/4"
                        Front to Back: 7"

                        Thickness and length will work, but not the width. Cupholder unit is too wide.

                        So much for that.


                          Hi and welcome to the forum.
                          Bungee cords work well on the trunk rack as well. These racks were quite popular on old British sports cars and early Mustangs. Someone at GM must have remembered this and applied to misc cars in the 80's and '90's.

                          If you look in your armrest you'll see where the original cup holder used to be. It was quite a cleaver setup that unfolded and flipped forward but it was built really flimsy. I had to hit a few junk yards to find one that functioned properly. I don't use it much for that reason. To keep things simple, I'm going to get a floor caddy from Pep Boys with cup holders and a catch bin. Been using these for years and when it gets too sticky and gross from coffee and soda spills, I can just toss it in the dishwasher or just buy a new one.

                          Your Cutty is very nice BTW.


                            Did cieras and centurys have armrest cupholders. I have century seats in my 6000 so it may be an easy swap.
                            "Pontiac, Of Course"
                            1990 Pontiac Turbo Grand Prix 3.1T
                            1998 Audi A4 Quattro 1.8T
                            1999 Audi A6 Quattro Wagon
                            1991 Audi 200 Auto
                            1980 VW Dasher Diesel


                              My 94 Had the cupholders, until my fiance leaned on it and broke it.... he still owes me a new one :\

                              I also thought they were flimsy, but they held up suprisingly well... I miss having them esp since I used to bring home fountain drinks from work.

                              sd focus - When I got my car the previous owner had the battery leak acid onto the cable which caused it to split and be extremely hard to (and later on impossible to) open, we got a new cable from ebay for it, that might be the reason the previous owners of yours took it out entirely. Also if the vacumm line split that may have been the reason for replacing it, I've had to replace various ones which were damaged from age, luckily outside of the one that goes into the intake which takes that specially molded piece on the 3100 vacumm hoses are dirt cheap.