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Buick Regal

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  • Hi I have a 94 regal 3.8 with 102,000 kms on it, lately it shutters at times at low speed, almost like it isnt shifting out of everdrive... then when you ease off the pedal it seems to help. then it kicks back in gear or seems that way. the other day i was at at a red light, in drive with my foot on the brake, at it felt like someone nudged by back bumper, however no on was there... any help would be greatly appriecated.
  • bsamstagbsamstag Posts: 10
    I and 2 mechanics might disagree with you about the 2000 Regal being the best... My Piece of Junk (that has worked so nicely until 2 months ago) suddenly and without warning stalls. Usually, it restarts immediately, but there were times when it had to sit before it would restart. When the Tach goes to Zero, I can go into neutral, turn the key and restart immediately. So, it usually is a quick intermittent thing.
    Based on all the forums, I have replaced the Crank Sensor, the Low Speed Idle Sensor and the battery. The battery and alternator conncections are clean and tight, and wiring connections to the ignition switch are okay (according to my brother who runs an Automotive Electric shop in Oxnard, CA. The MAF passes the "tap test", and is apparently okay.
    The Regal has sat in both shops for over a week each with engine running, stopping only occasionally. There are no error codes in the computer after the stoppage, so we have no idea why it stopped. It restarts immediately under the in-shop condition.
    The Regal runs nicely at freeway speeds. The stalling occurs upon deceleration at a traffic light or stop sign.
    I'm looking at the Regal sitting in my driveway wondering what to do with it. I'm into it for almost $500, and no closer to a solution than when I first started.
    Oh, one more thing: there is a torsion rod in the rear which somehow got bent, and the car was almost totally uncontrollable. It happened on a dark and stormy night when the only road home was wet and winding. It took 75 minutes to go 20 miles.
    No, I'm not convinced the 2000 Regal is the best of that breed, but I'm glad you've had good luck.
  • bsamstagbsamstag Posts: 10
    I had the Crank Shaft Sensor replaced. It did not solved the problem. I had the Low Speed Idle sensor replaced. It did not solve the problem. I replaced the battery and serviced all connecting cables. That, too, did nothing to solve the problem.
    I have totally lost confidence in my 2000 Regal as an Around Town car (it runs fine on the open road at freeway speeds).
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,682
    Check connections at ISC and check the fuel pump pressure. Drive with a gauge on the windshield until it stalls. But fuel problems tend to happen after the car and fuel heat up from pumping through the system. That's not what you're describing.

    MAF sensors can also cause trouble. Some people suggest tapping on the body of it with a screwdriver handle and if the car changes speed or misses, you may have found the problem. A good test is substituting a known good one from another vehicle since many are the same part number.

    ALSO check the EGR. In fact, disconnect the EGR, will set a code, and drive it a while when it's in the shutting off mood. I've seen reports of sticking EGRs. Must have been a bad supplier. If the EGR sticks open the car gets too must exhaust gas back through and runs rough. At high speed a sticking EGR may not make a difference.

    I'm not sure what you mean by low speed idle sensor. I suspect it's the IAC, idle air control, that lets air past the butterfly to control the idle speed. Did they clean the throttle body? It gets covered with a black goop and may lead to the butterfly sticking when you first start the car; you have to press hard on the accelerator to get it to open. Many cars have this problem. It's cleaned with with solvents. Often the IAC gets gooped up too. Cars with lots of short trips and starts may do this more.

    I'm betting on the EGR, if I were a betting man. But I do wish you luck in diagnosing. It really takes a TEch II or scan tool that reads out in real time connected while driving to see what parameter went wrong when the car stalls. Your local mechanic may not have that tool. The dealer does.

    This message has been approved.

  • k8ysek8yse Posts: 4
    I had a similar problem with my 2001 Regal LS stalling without warning while idling or even when slowing down for a stop. Went through everything including replacing the crank sensor. No error codes. Took it to the dealer and they replaced the fuel pressure regulator which they said was leaking. Now it wasn't leaking gas, but maybe an internal leak was the problem. Fuel pressure was always good even when it stalled. Once the fuel pressure regulator was replaced the problem went away. It was also hard stating and you had to crank a bit to get it going, especially if it was warm. On very cool mornings it would start right up. Hope this will solve your problem.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,682
    Another good point. The FPRs seem to have been a problem. Must be a bad supplier or design.

    There are several things to try to check to find a problem like he's having. The FPR leaks fuel through itself into the vacuum line that controls it.

    When the car has been running and shut down, pull off the vacuum line and see if there's raw fuel in the line. There shouldn't be.

    Note that occasionally the FPR failure can cause fuel ignition inside the upper intake manifold which splits it with the pressure (explosion like a backfire). There were recalls on some years for the FPR.

    This message has been approved.

  • bsamstagbsamstag Posts: 10
    Thank you for that information, which has not been mentioned in any of the many forums where I've posted my Buick Regal Stalling problem. My mechanic was diagnosing an identical problem with a Buick Park Avenue, and it was resolved by replacing the FPR. Unfortunately , mine passed the "Smell Test", indicating no leakage, so the errant Regal with the penchant for stalling in an unpredictable manner still haunts my driving habits.
  • bsamstagbsamstag Posts: 10
    I'm curious how the dealer determined the FPR was leaking. The Family Financial Committee (aka: my wife) thinks I've sunk enough money trying to solve the Regal problem, but I think I'm ready to try "one more thing" if there's a chance the darn Buick would become reliable. I cannot afford to buy something to replace it. My mechanic quotes it at $115.00 with about $75.00 labor. I'm into repair approaching $500, and wonder if another $200 might work.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,682
    I think your problem is your mechanic more than your car.

    For a car to run there has to be air, fuel and spark. When a car won't run, we check for spark using at worst a screwdriver stuck in a plug wire and held close to a ground on the motor while the car is cranked. If no spark then troubleshoot ignition.

    If a car won't start we check for fuel. The fuel pressure can be checked at the fuel rail (on the FPR? by screwing on a gauge). The injector can be checked by unsnapping the electrical connection and putting in the leads from a 194 or 197 lightbulb used in running lights on cars. If it clinks, the injectors are being opened by the electronics on the car.

    If the car is running poorly a Tech II computer is connected to see which parameter is askew and then find what causes that which can be something far removed from that symptom.

    This message has been approved.

  • bsamstagbsamstag Posts: 10
    The Regal starts and runs nicely, so it has air, fuel and spark. The problem occurs when the Regal is decelerating, sometimes when I am applying the brakes, but the motor has stopped when coasting to a stop. The stoppage could occur within a few blocks, or after the car has been driven for an hour or more around town. It runs great at freeway speeds.

    My mechanic says he cannot fix the problem unless he can make it happen in his shop with diagnostic tools connected. Unfortunately, it rarely fails off the road, sitting stationary with the motor running. Once, it ran long enough in his shop without failing until it ran out of fuel.

    Although the Fuel Pressure Regulator passed the "smell test," indicating that there was no fuel leakage, another Buick owner said that replacement of the FPR solved his problem. The question is: Do I spend another $200 for another Shot in the Dark, and hope it solves the problem?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,682
    The FPR is about $70 and $80 for Delco units without shipping on rockauto.com. I don't know which is correct for your application.

    But, the mechanic needs to drive the car with a Tech II attached so that when it is coming to a stop the Tech II records what changed at the time of the stalling. The computer used by the dealer is portable.

    You could be chasing a poor connection in fuel pump wires going under through the car to the pump. It loses contact under certain deceleration forces.

    You could be chasing a vacuum leak caused by poor tubing around the upper intake on the car or the upper intake itself leaking around the seal or a crack but only under certain conditions (but you've never mentioned erratic idle speed or high idle speed--I'm using this as an elusive, hard-to-find problem that others have ended up finding).

    You could have an EGR sticking open as the engine slows down causing a stall. Have you disconnected the EGr and driven the car for a while?

    Has the MAF been cleaned with solvent? Has another one been put in temporarily to see if that cures the problem.

    Driving with a Tech II attached will catch either the direct cause (power to fuel pump failed briefly, e.g.) or a symptom of what is causing the stall.

    Does the car have double positive battery cables? Has the plastic between them been opened and the connection inside checked as well as down into the cable? Does anything else electrical happen when the motor dies?

    That's why I'm critiquing your guy and his trouble shooting.

    This message has been approved.

  • bsamstagbsamstag Posts: 10
    Wow! That's about the most comprehensive treatment of the Regal problem I've received thus far. Many thanks; I will use the message as a checklist.

    Regarding the battery cables, etc. I noted this problem happening a while back when I turned the radio on. But, the car has run very well with the radio on and off since then. I have switched everything electrical on and off while driving, and none had any bad effect. When the car stalls, the radio continues to play.

    My son called on his way home this evening and said the Buick was acting up again, stalling when coming to a stop. He used the technique of shifting into neutral, restarting and feeding the gas to keep the revs up while still rolling. Since this happened at night, the normal dashboard panel lights are lighted, but no warning lights are showing, a condition some have noted in other forums. I think that rules out an ignition problem?

    The odometer has been dark for several months, and the gas gauge is unreliable, but he did refuel earlier this evening, so it was not an out-of-fuel condition.

    Thanks again! I'll try what is within my expertise, and check back with you.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,682
    Check both ends of cables to battery for corrosion. If you have the double positive cable with a large plastic cover over the ends, cut into it. A few people found a lead spacer (on H_bodies) and corrosion. One or more found the copper cable corroded and gone due to acid or something else.

    On H-bodies (leSabre Bonneville Park Ave) there are ground busses in cable bundles that are under the carpet at the front of the door sill, on both sides. Those have corroded due to moisture and salts for some people. I don't know if your car has those.

    Have you tried disconnecting EGR yourself and driving? The MAF sensor also can cause stalls but usually people have other running strangeness happen with MAF.

    I still recommend taping a fuel pressure gauge to the windshield to see if your fuel is dropping pressure. Some cars are sensitive to a tired fuel pump not quite making exactly the pressure range required by the injectors to give a proper spray pattern.

    A professional mechanic, trained at Cincinnati area vocational school and owning a body shop auto mechanical repair garage in upscale Cincy, talked on his radio program about taping gauges on and driving customer cars to try to catch a pump problem.

    You need to eliminate things one-by-one.

    This message has been approved.

  • bsamstagbsamstag Posts: 10
    ARGGGGGGGGGGGGG! I hate that %$#@ Buick Regal!!! I prepared a checklist of things from your last two submissions, but my son reasoned that, since the problem only happens at slow-speed (city) driving, he could reasonably expect that the car would negotiate the Freeways for a weekend at a campground 90 miles away. So, he packed supplies for the other 9 folks, and took off. The Buick started up and drove nicely.

    For SIX blocks!!! He limped back home, and I found a whole new set of problems. The engine did not want to keep running, so pumping the accelerator was the only way to keep from stalling. Foot off the accelerator = Engine Stalls.

    Aha! My mechanic would only take back the Regal if he could create the problem in his shop with his diagnostic tools connected. Based on my experience, I felt it was now time to tow the car to his shop. But, in an attempt to verify the problem today in my driveway, I turned the key, and . . . the engine fired right away, and I could not make it stall.

    So, my prize Crown Victoria is now "vacationing" with the kids at the Lake, and I'm stuck with a piece of unreliable General Motors Junk!

    I HATE that car!!!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,682
    >Foot off the accelerator = Engine Stalls.

    My thinking:
    EGR valve sticking open causing too much burned gas to recirculate into the incoming air.

    Fuel pressure dropped after pump warmed up and low pressure means poor vaporization of the injector spray at low rpm and speeding up the air flow helps varporize what fuel is being squirted.

    MAF sensor causes funky problems. Best diagnosis is to have one from a working vehicle and switch the two. Lots of 3800s use the same MAF.

    I understand your frustration and I understand the mechanic wanting the problem to walk in. But I think your problem is a mechanic who doesn't want to recreate the problem by driving the vehicle with proper diagnostic equipment connected.

    Behind this all is the occasional PCM that people will end up replacing as the solution.

    I don't know if you are at all comfortable diagnosing but you can removed a spark plug wire in advance and reconnect it. Then when car doesn't run right, remove the wire and restart the motor and see if you're getting a great spark jumping from a screwdriver left inserted in it and placed near a metal part of motor as a ground. Don't hold the screwdriver while motor is running unless you're familiar with how to do it without getting shocked.

    Fuel pressure needs a gauge. Ask your mechanic for a gauge to duct tape to the windshield and drive until it does it. See what the gas line pressure is when the symptoms start.

    Disconnect the EGR yourself. Follow the wires to the connector. Drive around and see if it acts up. Or tap on it with a large screwdriver handle to vibrate it and make it snap shut through the crud blocking it from moving shut.

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  • bsamstagbsamstag Posts: 10
    Many THANKS. My list of things to check is becoming structured, thanks to your patience. When the juices settled down, I will crack the hood on that piece of GM Junk and begin. My area of expertise runs to computers and internet web pages. I stopped being automotively knowledgeable when they took carburators and spark plugs out of the engine compartment.

    What's so ironic is that, of all the cars I've owned in the past 29 years, the Regal is the only one I bought through a dealer. All 3 Crown Vics, as well as the Chevy Malibu and Honda Accord, were purchased from private parties, and were trouble free. Thus, my reluctance to return to a GM dealer for service.

    What a way to spend my retirement!!!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,682
    A lot depends on the troubleshooting diagnostic flowchart. That should be right down the alley for someone used to computers (remember the TRSIII) and web pages. I did both of those.

    I would have an opinion if I were feeling the motor die to think if it's completely off or not. But one other thing a few people found is the ignition switch. After many years of wear on the contacts, it might be losing contact for the portion that runs the ignition power to the ISC, e.g. Then you turn it off and recycle to make contact again and it's good to go. Not the key cylinder--the ignition switch, which is down near the base of the steering column operated by a link from the lock cylinder at the top.

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  • bsamstagbsamstag Posts: 10
    One of my favorite sayings is: I'd rather be lucky than good any day!

    My son dropped off the sick Regal half a block from my mechanic, and picked up the Malibu which was in for service. The following day the mechanic experienced all the problems we have, and had to restart many times before he made it to his shop. Hooking up the diagnostics showed many, manyerror codes being thrown like crazy, pointing to the MAF!!! He claims that the error codes continued to show even with the ignition off.

    Short story ending: After spending almost $900, replacing a few things that didn't need replacing, the Regal runs fine with the MAF replacement ($360.45 total). I tested it on the 405 Freeway and on Sepulveda Blvd returning (in traffic).

    So, I don't need to spend $4,300 on the used SAAB that my son wanted, and I got my prize Ford Crown Victoria back. Many thanks to all those good folks who shared their stories with me. I'm adding mine as another successful conclusion to a harrowing GM problem.

    Regards,
    Bernard Samstag (aka: Sam)
    Culver City, CA
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,682
    Thanks for reporting back that it was the MAF. That will help others who search the discussion for help.

    This message has been approved.

  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    The stalling occurs upon deceleration at a traffic light or stop sign

    Wish I had seen your post earlier. Same thing happened with my 99 Regal LS. It was the mass airflow sensor.
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