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Buick LeSabre Starting/Stalling Problems

buickgrlbuickgrl Posts: 5
I have a 1992 buick lesabre limited and it has lately been acting up. when you press on the accelerator it surges and makes it hard to get up a hill. It also stalls when you are idling and not moving for example waiting at a traffic light. The service engine soon light is almost always on and I haven't been driving it because it isn't safe or dependable on the road. If you have any info on how I can fix it please tell me.
Thanks :confuse:


  • I had a 92 Olds which is the same basic car as yours. Mine did the same thing and it was the coil packs. However, I urge you to take it to a garage so they can check it out. It can be about anything.
  • phull67phull67 Posts: 2
    I purchased a 94 with 140k on it a few months back. It's a FL car and in super shape. But it has a funny misfire, sometimes very subtle and sometimes very hard, almost a "bucking", for lack of a better term, and the engine light comes on but will go back off if I shut the car off and start it again. It's even begun stalling every now and then at a traffic light but always starts right back up like nothing happened. It happens at different times; when the engine is cold, when it's hot, when I'm cruising down the highway, when I'm driving in the city, when I accelerate, when I'm stopped at a light. I can't connect the misfire with any given driving condition.

    I've replaced the plugs and wires, air and fuel filters, changed the oil, repaired a leaking vacuum line to the fuel pressure regulator and replaced the crank sensor. I've run a bottle of dry gas through the tank, thinking that maybe some condensation built up from sitting while it was for sale. And a bottle of fuel injector cleaner as well. Nothing has seemed to make the slightest bit of difference.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  • dshepherd3dshepherd3 Posts: 194
    Get a full scan done to see if the code is in memory, many issues can cause this, bad wire, plug, coil, too lean a mixture, a bad injector and others also. An intermittent or dirty maf can also cause this, again a full scan by a knowledgeable tech should show something.
  • phull67phull67 Posts: 2
    Thanks d,

    I have to apologize, I left out the part about the scan.

    A very close friend of mine owns and runs a shop where I have my work done, or do myself if the job is not too hard. The day I brought it in to replace the crank sensor, about 2 months ago, he tried to read the code and could not. I guess in 94 GM installed a newer type of connection in the car where you plug in the reader (under the dash) however the newer reader won't connect to the car. I mean it plugs in of course but the reader doesn't acknowledge the vehicle. We searched for the older style reader connection under the dash and under the hood and could not find one.
  • dshepherd3dshepherd3 Posts: 194
    A professional scanner will read this transitional year obd system, Snapon 2500 for one or Actron 9145, you really need the codes here.
  • sizzmansizzman Posts: 2
    I am working on 1995 Buick LeSabre. It will run ok for awhile, but then it stalls and is hard to start. Recent work on it was a normal tune up, Spark plugs, wires, gas filter, and air filter. I even dropped the gas tank and cleaned it out. Also, when I rev the engine, I can not get it to go over 4000 rpms. It seems like it gets too much gass or air and starts to choke out until it gets back down to 3500 rpms. I have also cleaned out the port injectors. The check engine light comes on, but Autozone states that there computer reader only does 1996 and newer vehicles. Any ideas on the problem?? Any help is appreciated!!
  • I'm wondering if the problem isn't fuel related. I had a GM that was hard to start when hot (you had to floor the gas pedal) and it turned out to be the fuel pressure regulstor, which, I'm told, is a common GM problem. A weak fuel pump could "starve"the engine above a certain RPM. There's tests for both of them. How about posting what the answer is when you find out?
  • i just bought a 95 lesabre and it runs great, but has one maddening problem. it won't start sometimes unl;ess it's been inused for about at least 4 hours. i mean if it's left overnight, it fires right up, after work, it fires right up, but if i go anywhere, and i'm only there for an hour or two. it may not start at all when i come back. it turns over line normal, it just won't fire up. any suggestions?
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    I'm not a mechanic, so take my advice with a grain of salt. When the car won't start, I would pum the gas pedal while it's cranking, to see if the problem is fuel relatd, or ignition(see above). I've heard of problems when the ignition module is hot, also. Good luck!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,046
    You have to determine if it's fuel or spark.

    You can try listening for the fuel pump to prime for two seconds when you turn the key to on without turning it to start. You can do that three times as a way to check if the backflow valve isn't holding pressure after the engine is turned off; three times rebuilds pressure completely in the fuel line.

    You can check for spark by using a spare plug and putting the spark plug wire from the car on it and laying the plug on something solidly attached, grounded, to the motor. Have someone turn key and see if you get spark.

    Pumping the accelerator pedal doesn't do anything in this day of fuel injection. If you think the car is flooded, hold pedal to the floor while cranking, otherwise keep foot off of gas pedal. The days of carburators have different algorithms for troubleshooting.

    You would be able to smell gas at the exhaust pipe if you were flooded.

    You may have an electronic spark control part failing when warm. You may have a crankshaft position sensor or cam position sensor failing. How many miles are on the car?

    The last two guesses are from what I've reach in a Bonneville discussion of higher mileage failures that are odd in behavior, making them difficult to troubleshoot with codes.
  • Hi!

    I have been looking for a place to get some help for a 'do it yourselfer' who doesnt want to pour a lot of cash into a 13 year old car. We had a really rainy day last week and one road that I go through to get home from work had a substantial amount of water over it, after going through it (i was probably going 20 or so) I went about 200 feet and the sucker stalled out. After that it would not start, i sat there for 10 minutes or so and then it would start and run fora bout 3 seconds and then stall out. It did that several times. Since the last time it did that it has not started since and will only crank.

    A buddy of mine and I looked at it today, we found that the plugs are not sparking. Took one out and cranked it and nothing. The wires and all are fine. Suspected the coil packs, took them off and took them to auto zone and they tested out fine. The guy at autozone said we might want to check the camshaft sensor which is one the side of the engine down by one of the pulley wheels, said if that gets water in it it will not work and will not spark.

    To "test" that would be 36 bucks for a new one and have never replaced that before so am not even sure I can do it myself so I would like to have some semblance of it being a good idea before I do that. Obviously it wont start so if i need to take it someplace I will have to have it towed. (I was 3 miles away from home so a friend pulled it back to my house with his truck)

    Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks! :sick:
  • I have a 99 lesabre with less than 80,000 miles that just stop running. It was fine when I cranked it in the morning and 2 hours later would not turn over. Could it be a starter problem or water in the crankcase? It does not sound like a starter problem to me. It seems to be based more in the engine. It also misfired before it quit cranking altogether. Help!
  • When starting my buick after 5 minutes I touched the hose to the radiator from the thermostat and it don't have any pressure. Then I pushed the gas pedal and it stalled.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,046
    How's the battery state of charge? Has battery been replaced since the car was new? You're way past due if not.

    Do the lights dim when you turn the key? Does the battery voltage drop below the orange line on the voltmeter while cranking or belw 10 volts on a digital readout?

    Have you removed and cleaned both battery cables to get off corrosion? Have you cleaned both of the positive cables that piggyback onthe post. Check between them for corrosion and get bare clean metal contact. Check the short lead that grounds on the fender next to the battery. Check the lead at starter for corrosion.

    I'd go with the easiest first. The cables and corrosion have given lots of people trouble. Your mileage is too low for crank position sensor problems and cam sensor.

    Oh wait. When you put the key in, does the security light come on for 10 seconds and then go off or does it flash? Does it go off after 3 minutes. Could be the VATS system not reading the key chip...
  • What is the VATS system? The battery and cables are all good. I drove it last night a short distance and as long as you only push the gas slightly the car will keep going, but if you put any kind of pressure on the gas pedal it will stall.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,046
    Antitheft system in the key using a resistor chip. The lock cylinder has two contacts that rub the key on the chip contacts and measure the resistance using a small circuit board in the glovebox area. If the resistance is within parameters from the original setting when the circuit was installed at the factory, the circuit sends Okay signals to the drivetrain computer telling it is okay to operate the starter and the fuel injectors.
    Otherwise the car waits three minutes for a new key to be tried and hopefully get a good reading indicating a real key for the car is inserted.

    If your car is running badly, it needs to be checked. I'm surprised the SES light isn't on. You could have low fuel pressure (fuel filter clogged?), fuel pump going out, you could be in limp mode--but it will not stall above a certain pedal amount, it just doesn't run great so you can get the car home for repair.

    Yours sounds like you need someone with a TechII that can read the codes and who knows how to diagnose the problem--not just the circuit and sensor involved and replace parts without understanding what's happening.
  • Engine does turn over. It will even drive, if you push the gas ever so lightly because as soon as you push it with any pressure it stalls. And when the car is running there is no flow in the hose from the thermostat to the radiator. Is there supposed to be something moving through that hose?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,046
    That only opens to flow when the thermostat opens and lets hot water out of the motor to go back to the radiator. That happens when the thermostat water around it gets to 190 deg. F. approx. The motor recirculates water through the heater and probably an internal bypass when the water's not going through the radiator.

    If the motor idles for 10 minutes it may start getting hot enough to send water back to the radiator--depends on outside temp.

    The touchy throttle could be a throttle position sensor on the air intake. It changes resistance as you push down on the throttle and tells the computer how much air you're giving the engine so it can adjust the gas flow. But the piece needs to be tested to see if it's not making contact at certain points along its movement before replacing. It works like a rheostat for you dimmer on a light in the house.
  • :blush: Thank you very much. The throttle position sensor was the problem. Now the car runs great.
  • My 1989 Buick with the 3800 is hunting for idle, and idling low it sometimes stalls when accelerating during the hunting. This only seems to happen after the car is warmed up.Error code is 34 (Check vacuum and electrics for MAF sensor). The MAF is pretty new. New plugs and wires. I have noticed when the AC is on, the engine doesn't increase the RPM slightly like it used to do before this problem. It runs nicely as long as my foot is on the gas, but won't idle properly. Is there a way to test the throttle position sensor and the idle control motor? What else could this problem be. I don't suspect fuel pressure problems because the car runs well, except at idle. I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas.
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