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Buick LeSabre General Care & Maintenance

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  • Greetings - Last week I bought a very well preserved 1992 LeSabre with 116K. It looks great and drives beautifully. One thing I noticed is that at very low speed when making an "all the way" hard right (parking, etc.) I briefly (1/2 second or less) get a power steering hum and what feels like in the steering wheel, a slight jiggle. Happens pretty consistently especially on a bumpy surface but only at very very low speed and never during road driving. Anything to be concerned about??

    I love this car!
  • This is getting a little weird... Today it did the little hum and jiggle thing and this time it made the steering wheel a little "off" i.e. I had to keep the wheel more than slightly to the left to go straight - even in a flat parking lot. When I did a hard right again and it did the hum & jiggle thing again, the steering wheel went back to normal. Now it rolls straight again when the steering wheel is centered. Any idea what this could be?? Tie rods? Something loose in the power steering mechanism? Will my wheels fall off? Doesn't seem to be any play in the steering... Help!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,469
    I am not an expert, but for my own diagnosis I'd get it up on a rack or jack up both wheels with jackstands. Move the car wheels to see if they are free to turn back and forth.-- no binding ball joints or tie rod ends. Take a close look at everything.

    I'd suspect a steering rack problem. But it also could be a rubber bearing mount for the struts at the top that's not right. I had a fairly new leSabre that had one replaced under warranty> It would give a thump when it let go when it had bound up some> you could turn the steeering wheels with the motor running with the car on the ground on gravel or grass where the tires turn easier and feel the binding let go by holding your fingers on the coil spring>

    You also could have a slipping belt on the power steering if it"s really worn> or you could have a power steering pump problem> have you checked the fluid level?
  • Thanks for the insight. I've had the car 1 week now. PS fluid level is fine with no evidence of leaking. I now notice a faint rocky-rumbling sound that is more pronounced when idling - similar to the sound I heard in the weeks before the water pump blew on my old Pontiac 6000. Water pump and alternator were recently replaced on this car so it might be the power steering pump starting to go?

    Never drove a Buick before. Now I know what the "Buick Ride" is all about. Would like to think I'm too young for this car but I love it anyway.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,469
    You can use a long socket wrench and move the idler pulley enough to remove the serpentine belt. Then spin, push, pull, twist, the pulleys for all of the accessories just to see.

    At 16 years without knowing what climate the car is in (extra hot?), my wild guess from reading forums and people's problems and what they turned out to be would be the harmonic balancer on the end of the crankshaft at the bottom of the motor. The thing is two parts with rubber between them. The rubber deteriorates and the two parts eventually can knock against each other, metal to metal, giving a knock most prominent at idle when the motor is going slow when the speed up and down with piston pulses are most obvious.

    While you have the belt off, you might check to see if there's play between the inner and outer parts of the harmonic balancer
  • dewc3dewc3 Posts: 30
    I have to install a brake proportioning valve on my 1997 buick lasabre limited. Since I have never installed one, I was told when I put the new part on that the brake system has to be flushed, how do I do this flushing of the brake lines? The new part costs about 65.00 at the dealer(dealer part only) go figure
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,469
    Whoa.

    Why do you believe you need to replace that part? Did a mechanic tell you it was bad? Are you having a problem with the brakes?
  • dewc3dewc3 Posts: 30
    well I had the car in the shop for a different reason and the mechanic said the part was leaking. This valve is under the left rear and is apparently leaking, I have looked up pics for this part they called the brake proportioning valve and yet to find one that looks like this part. I just found out that they said this is leaking and when i wipe it and run the car and recheck, it looks to be leaking somewhat, I haven't tightened it yet to see if this shifty mechanic maybe loosened it cause this is the same jerk that said my valve covers were leaking which are not!! and also they said my intake gasket was leaking and it is not!!! so im going to see today when my wife gets home with the car if I can tighten this part up and if I can see if it leaks again once I do that. Do you have a pic of this part for a 1997 buick lasabre limited?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,469
    pressure metering valve, all models, 1992-1999, $27 GMpartsdirect.com is what it sounds like.

    Sounds like the parts I got on mine when I had to replace the fuel pump and associated lines due to a leak. When I got under the car after having the work done, there were two clean pieces, about 4 inches long, cylindrical, tapered at one end if I recall, and about 2.5 inches diameter. There is one in each brake line.
    I suspect the place replaced them because they disconnected the brakes lines and new ones padded the repair bill. It may be the old ones rusted and were not reusable.

    I won't be going back to the place doing the work. I'll junk the car if I don't have another shop to work on it instead of returning to that shop.

    I suspect you would be better off seeing if another good shop can tighten it for you unless you have the right wrenches. I first would diagnose that pushing on the brake causes brake fluid to come out at the connection rather than nearby on the rusted line or through the wall of the valve. I would be afraid of distorting the rusted line or a bad connection unless you have the wrenches for tubing that spread the pressure.

    Some H-body cars of that age have developed leaks in brake lines due to rust from salt in Ohio and north. Depends on the car.
  • dewc3dewc3 Posts: 30
    Thankyou for your information. I wont be taking my car back to these jerks and this is a well known business so I might make a complaint with the company for trying to fix things that werent even broke or needed to be fixed...Thankyou for the info
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,469
    Valve covers tend to develop seeps on these as they age. Some more than others.

    The intakes will leak internally or seep around the edges leaving a trail the color of your antifreeze at the end of the plastic top next to the throttle body. That's where the coolant goes up and through to warm the air intake part--the throttle body. If you are losing coolant in the radiator and reservoir when you check every week or so, then you need to be concerned. There are other places llike water pump and connectors that can develop seeps of coolant also.

    The brake things need to be checked. You will be losing brake fluid out of the reservoir on the firewall. That is not good. Also if a line is leaking or a connection is leaking it can get worse if you hit the brakes hard and then you're in trouble. It's a safety issue. So have someone else check it.

    The company probably won't care if you make a complain so I'd skip it and just tell others about them--if another shop or you decide they really were trying to get you to replace things that weren't needed. Some shops encourage that especially the chain stores.
  • dewc3dewc3 Posts: 30
    I have this stupid twilight sentenel on my 1997 buick lasabre and wondering where is the right spot to set it. It just has Min or Max and anywhere in between, but when we are like in the store parked under a light, the lights wont even come on when we drive into darkness unless we manually turn them on so I was wondering whats the best setting for the twilight sentenel or is the sensor for this going out and how do u know for sure if it is? Also what exactly do I take off to get to the sensor? Any help would be appreciated........ty :sick:
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,469
    The twilight sentinel doesn't have anything to do with the headlights turning on automatically. It controls the length of time the lights stay on AFTER you turn off the key.

    The turning the headlights on when the sensor doesn't get enough light to tell it it's daytime is a different operation. The sensor is buried down in the dash in the grooves for the defroster; if you look down from outside the windshield close to the left radio speaker grill, you'll see the dime-sized sensor for the headlights.

    The one interaction the twilight slide switch has with the headlights is that it turns them off if you're in PARK and you slide the switch to the left. As soon as you shift out of PARK the headlights should come back on.

    If the headlights aren't turning on automatically, I'd suggest using the regular buttons on the door instead. There is a connector for that sensor under the top of the dash, but I am not sure it's worth trying to get to it.
  • dewc3dewc3 Posts: 30
    How would I correct the headlights not coming on when put in drive at night. They work intermittingly. The headlights will turn off when i go under anything with bright light but wont come back on when the car enters a dark area, so I have to stop and messwith the lights to get them to come back on, rather not use the buttons on side of door so if you can suggest what to try or replace I would appreciate it
  • Had it checked by "auto zone" /" advanced auto"- one of these and he said map sensor.. should i replace it ? what if it the mass air flow? I would be willing to look it upand do it myself..cant afford it bring it to the shop. I have a 2001 buick lesabre.
  • I have the EXACT issue with my Wife's 94 LeSabre. Exactly. Any one come up with a solution? What fixed it?
    Thanks, Roger
  • dewc3dewc3 Posts: 30
    I have a 1997 buick lasabre limited and i was wondering where is the location of the headlight sensor is. I see one above the left radio speaker on the dash but there is another one on the right side, what is that one? Also when I am out at night and I go under a bright street light, the lights go out and I have to push the light button on the door panel to make them come on so what could be causing that problem for the lights to go out?
  • I was extremely lucky today, the heater core of my 1995 Lesabre started leaking , as it sat in the driveway, I tried to just bypass the heater and the 2 steel lines connecting to the heater core hoses just crumbled, they could have burst on the hyway and I would have been stuck. Anyways I need some instruction and drawings on how to replace these items. Where can I go on the internet to get some free instruction. Thankyou. - Jim
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,469
    Not clear on what you mean. Do you mean the two metal lines sticking out through the firewall that the two rubber hoses connect to? Or do you mean the places the hoses connect to near the motor?

    If that's a Series I, I believe the plastic connector that's in the middle of the lower intake manifold is prone to deterioration with age and heat. The other connection may also be a plastic item: I can't recall the other Series I hose, but there are some plastic angle tubes that are used on some models. Those may both have been plastic, hence they crumbled. Try the HELP! rack at your auto parts store or ask at the counter. The HELP! is a Dorman product I've been told. The replacement parts should be there.

    If you mean the heater core connections..., are you asking how to get the heater core out? That's easy, relatively. It's done from inside the car. Take off a few screws, break loose the sealing putty around the cover on the housing and voila you see the heater core.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,469
    The sensor is recessed below the plastic grill that has the little speakers at each end and has the defrost vents. If you have a Limited, you have two bubbles sticking up that are the size of a fingertip. Next to the one in front of the driver is the recess. The sensor is in there; it's the size of a matchhead.

    Are you stopping under the bright streetlight? The system should have a delay. When you drive into a tunnel, there's a delay of 5-6 seconds before the headlights come on, and I thought there was the same delay when coming into brightness. When I back out of the garage with the newer leSabre, it turns lights off in about 5-6 seconds and I believe that's what my 98 does.
  • i recntly had my steering column taken apart to fix my turn signal switch but now my infl rest light is on but everything is connected fine is their away to reset it or to fix it?
  • ux88ux88 Posts: 1
    I have a '98 LeSabre Ltd, that is starting to show its age @ 243000km etc, however its still a quite youthful car to drive. Recently the dashboard heater vents have stopped working totally with the only airflow traveling through the top defrost, floor and rear seat vents. This unit is controlled with the electronic push-button panel and all the buttons seem to be working as the vacuum on the ventilation flapper is working, to shut off the defrost and put it only to the floor vents etc. It just will not direct air through the front face vents or to turn on the recirculation feature.

    I am wondering if there is anything more readily available to check such as a relay or something before is start into the "fun" of taking everything apart to get into the chaos of the venting system. This is a sentimental car so I find it worth the while to get into this sort of job to maintain its personal value.

    Any help is very greatly appreciated!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,469
    This is essentially what your problem will be.
    http://www.imcool.com/articles/aircondition/fix_vacuum_line.php

    You can verify by switching lines going to the vacuum motors on the left side of the center box. Take off both under dash plastic covers--a few screws and taps.

    The programmer box is on the corner of the HVAC box held on by two screws. There are a couple of connectors-big one and small one on top to unsnap for electrical wires.

    The plastic thing sucks closed. The blue line for dash vents gives earliest problem. There are 4 vacuum controlled motors that move vanes to direct air. The blue line goes to the dash vents--it turns off the flow out the defrost and forces air out the dash instead. Find some vacuum line at a parts store that fits oveer the 1/8 inch plastic vacuum lines they use. Note that the colors inside the programmer on the lines doesn't always match the color for the outside line coming out of the plastic connector.

    http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/imidazol97/0900823d8017f925-1-1.gif

    http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/imidazol97/DSC03124.jpg
  • dewc3dewc3 Posts: 30
    I have a 97 buck lasabre and for awhile the horn would just go off by itself whether or not the alarm was set or just riding down the road. I would have to tap on the horn to make it stop but now the horn wont even blow, but when i had someone push on the horn, all I hear is a clicking sound coming from a row of fuses that are located below a black cover against the firewall under hood, now does anyone know which of those fuses are the horn? or does this sound like a problem with the contacts that are behind the air bag assembly for the horn. Im ready to pull my hair out so any suggestions would be appreciative...I need this horn as I have no patience with these crazy drivers out there....lmao
  • dewc3dewc3 Posts: 30
    I have a 97 buck lasabre and for awhile the horn would just go off by itself whether or not the alarm was set or just riding down the road. I would have to tap on the horn to make it stop but now the horn wont even blow, but when i had someone push on the horn, all I hear is a clicking sound coming from a row of fuses that are located below a black cover against the firewall under hood, now does anyone know which of those fuses are the horn? or does this sound like a problem with the contacts that are behind the air bag assembly for the horn. Im ready to pull my hair out so any suggestions would be appreciative...I need this horn as I have no patience with these crazy drivers out there....lmao
  • tkcoloradotkcolorado Posts: 39
    Every time I take my car in for estimates, I get different results. So.. I am very confused and hopefully you guys can help me out here. I am totally clueless about brakes, and what is necessary vs what is fluff. I also feel like every place I go is trying to upsell me on everything under the sun (you should see the estimates I got, One place wanted to replace my shocks, struts, trans fluid flush, air fliters, belts, tie rods, etc. The other place said that my shocks, struts, trans flud, belts, tie rods were fine, but did recommend air fliter replacements).

    Two Estimates:

    Shop Number 1

    They indicated that I needed new pads (ceramic), resurface of rotors, new calipers + hardware on front and rear and flush. They provided me with nothing indicating what levels my rotors were at. Total cost $400.00

    Shop 2:
    They first came back with estimate of $1200. This included on both front and rear: Calipers, Rotors, Semi Metallic Pads, Flush. The manager then said, that the Calipers were not really necessary but because the pads on either side of the car were wearing at different rates it probably meant that the calipers were sticking on one side more than the other. he said really if they replace the calipers I might get a longer wear time out of my pads.

    Next, he said that the rotors on the back were at discard levels so they could not be machined (wait, the last place said they could.. huh?). Measurements: .384 (LB) and .392 (RB). Their measurements on front were 1.248 (LF) and 1.253 (RF). Min. Machining level was 1.244. Said it was too close to machine properly. So replacement was necessary.

    When asked at both shops what came on my car (type of pad) I got two different answers. The one shop said it came with front ceramic and rear semi metallic. The other shop said it came with semi-metallic.

    The first shop said ceramics were best, so that is what they recommended. The second shop said they stick with OEM specs on brakes and did NOT recommend the ceramics.

    Both shops recommended fluid flush (I had this done 2 years ago), is this necessary?

    I had my front rotors replaced 2 years ago at my last service. I thought that rotors are typically good for at least ONE machining, is this not true?

    Thoughts??
  • gmcustsvcsarahgmcustsvcsarah Posts: 1,964
    tkcolorado,
    Were either of these shops one of our dealerships? If so, we're happy to follow up on this with you! Please let us know.
    Best,
    Sarah
    GM Customer Service
  • aiutoaiuto Posts: 46
    edited May 2012
    My temperature gauge stopped working, but the other gauges are fine. Any suggestions? 2005 Buick LeSabre 40k and going strong
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