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Buick LeSabre Starting/Stalling Problems



  • Where is the crankshaft sensor located on a 1992 Buick LeSabre?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,766
    right between the crankshaft pulley and the AC compressor.

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,781
    edited June 2012
    It is just like Mr Shiftright said. The crankshaft sensor has two wires going to it and the sensor itself is inside the rim of the crankshaft balancer.

    I believe that the 1992 has a thickness gauge that is used with it for installation to give the right gap between the sensor and the balancer. Later years setups had pins or something that determines the position for the sensor with no adjustment possible. It is possible to have it rub the balancer if not adjusted correctly. I am basing this on people's comments in forums through the years hoping it may help you avoid mistakes.

    The balancer does have to be removed.
  • I'm new here.had a question. Been stumped for three days now.

    I have a 1990 Buick le sabre custom andis an awesome car just started to go down. The problem I have is the car turns on runs strong cold & wArm as long as I keep the heater on. But as soon as I turn it off, nothing. Cranks but dosnt turn over. I've changed the coolant temp sensor and thermostat but nothing the problem still persist. Next I think I'm going to change cps but I would like some insight from some people with experience. Thanks alot guys and girls
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,781
    You're going to have to be more specific about what happens.

    Do you mean that as soon as you turn off the heater blower or turn off the dash control with the OFF switch the whole engine shuts down?
  • When I shut my car off. Example. I can start it inthe morning no problems and drive it fine up until I have to turn the car off. Ince I shut it off I have to wait until the engine cools down to let me start it. It just started happening and also just a day ago I was driving maybe 40mph and it cut off and I had to wait until I was cool to restart and be on my way home
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,766
    Okay, so it's a "hot start problem".

    Hot start issues are often related to fuel pressure or fuel delivery problems. If possible, doing a fuel pressure test while the engine is hot (pressure while cranking) might reveal something.

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,781
    edited September 2012
    Crankshaft position sensor. Requires removing the crankshaft balancer. Just bolts in beside the balancer. This needs to be replaced and then diagnose further if problems continue.
  • I was thinking about doing the crankshaft position sensor before I go into fuel because I'm afraid it might be the pump. Do you guys suggest any way to go about changing the crankshaft position sensor ? Thanks guys any advice is appreciated! I'll get back to you guys when I change it later today 100 degree won't allow it lol
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,781
    Removing balancer, done through the wheel opening by removing plastic splash guard, requires a specific size bolt to screw into the three threaded holes. People comment that certain pullers have threads that seem to fit but only go in a couple of turns because they are not correct. Make sure you have the right puller.
  • Really? That's all just the plastic and the belt? That seems simple. I don't have to do anything special to the sensor?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,781
    edited September 2012
    > I don't have to do anything special to the sensor?

    Make sure it doesn't rub on the balancer when you reinstall. After 93, from what I've read, the CPS is not adjustable in any way. I haven't done one, but I've kept reading about them because my 98 has 193,000 miles and I've expected it to give problems, but it hasn't. Runs so well I can't get rid of it.

    The other thing it could be is your ISC under the coil packs. Check the wire connector on it for a good connection.

    An anecdotal test for CPS is to pour cold water on it when it won't start after a hot soak sit. See if that speeds up the cool down and resulting improvment in the magnetic field so it can trigger the ISC.

    Also, take off a plug wire and put in a spare spark plug from anything, lay the plug on engine metal, and have someone crank while you watch for spark. That will tell you if you spark and it might be fuel. If you get no spark, then you know you're in the right area in the ignition system.

    But if it were mine, I'd start with the CPS with your repetitive symptoms. Lots of people have fought various other parts and replaced by guessing only to end up with the CPS.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,766
    makes sense to test something before you replace it.

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  • tonerbonertonerboner Posts: 7
    edited September 2012
    I have a 1990 le sabre, will It just be a plug an play? Sorryfor all the newb questions just trying to get it all sortedbefore I go do it. Were would the ICS be located on v6 3800? How would I go about testing the cps. Just dump cold water on it just like that? Lol sorry just always thought water messes with electonic components.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,766
    It's not so easy to replace. You have to pull off the harmonic balancer (engine pulley).

    I like the idea of testing a few things while the no-start condition is happening---testing both for spark and for fuel pressure.

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  • How would you test for fuel? I know how to test for spark. Another thing I've noticed is that when I'm trying to restart it will smell like gas. That's the main reason I've been focusing on the sensors. I think there's something telling the brain to not turn on(for unknown reason) when hot. That's why my initial thought was cts.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,781
    edited September 2012
    This link shows your coil pack and your control module for the spark.

    link title

    This shows the coil and module on the engine (#89)

    link title

    This link shows the crankshaft balancer (#53) and the crankshaft position sensor (#58).

    link title

    Puller for the harmonic balancer on crankshaft from Autozone. I do NOT believe this is in their loaner tools--you'd have to ask the local store. ller-set/_/N-26b8?itemIdentifier=532440&_requestid=3077447
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 49,766
    thanks for posting all that useful info imidazol! Very kind of you to help out.

    As for "testing for fuel", you (the owner) might pull a spark plug to see if there's fuel on it---if so, that pretty much tells you that the issue is ignition related.

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  • Thank you both for the help guys. I tested and ended up with no spark. Changed the cps and problem solved. I really wasnt that hard to remove, but nonetheless it's done thank you guys. God bless
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,781
    Thanks for posting what you found, good or bad.

    For others reading this, your description seemed very consistent that it would shut down after hot. Then had to cool for restart. As Mr. Shiftright suggested, there may be other causes. But because this one gave one type of symptom, I felt the CPS was a good start.

    The fuel pumps that I've read about aren't as consistent in their symptoms posted by folks on H-body forums I frequent. The ISC, spark control unit under the coils, also is not consistent in most symptoms.

    This particular car did have the Magnavox coils which are a unit rather than 3 coils like later 3800's. These can give problems, but not consistent as a cutoff.

    Diagnosis is key.
  • sagemoonsagemoon Posts: 2
    edited December 2012
    Hello, I have a 1993 Buick Lesabre 90th anniversary edition. I got it 4 years ago and had about 55,000miles on it. It now has about 115,000. It started several months ago where in the morning it will start fine and then shortly thereafter driving between 25-30 mph in would just die. Hwys it does not do this. Sometimes it would restart right away but most of the time I would have to pull over and let it sit for 10-15 minutes and them it would start. I would also turn the ignition forward and hold for about 5 seconds and then off and I would do this on and off during the 10-15 minute wait. It would then start and drive fine. It did this maybe once or twice a month. Just recently, the check engine light came on and it wants to die when ever the gas is off, slowing down to stop. Put it in neutral and will restart right away but keeps wanting to die. It also cuts out a lot when going up hills and when wanting to accelerate fast. Also, the gas petal was sticking just a little bit and when put in park the engine would rev up. Turned car off and back on and it stopped. any suggestions? thxs
  • Mine was having similar problems.... Die while driving. Sometime I could restart it right away (while coasting in neutral) and sometimes I had to pull over and let it sit for 15 minutes. It turned out to be the crank sensor, or at least the wiring going to it. I found that if I jiggled the wires leading to it, it would restart immediately. I think it cost me $150 for a mechanic to change the sensor. No problem since. Good luck!!
  • thanks, I put in a new mass air flow sensor today and drove the buick around the block, I could tell it was acting happier, accelerated good and did not cut out going up a 45 degree slope. Went up a little more steeper slope and very lightly tried to cut out plus was not trying to die every time I slowed down. However, my check engine light is still on! Maybe the next thing is the crank sensor, looks really involved to try and change myself though.
  • Well, I had a new starter put on my vehicle thinking that was the problem as to why it would not start. So, it started about 3 or 4 times since the new starter has been put, but currently is not starting. Also, when I started it for the 1st time since putting the new starter on, the engine was a little shaky. After, I drove it a few miles and turned it off and on, the shaking gradually stopped. So, then I ran a few errands and the car was fine, but after running my last errand the car would not start. That has been 2 days ago and the car still will not start. Could somebody please tell me what the hell is going on?
  • I'd like to know if the original wiper arms on the 1993 LeSabre were the hook or peg style. I purchased a pair of Bosch Evolution #4822 wipers which are "supposed" to fit the 1993; but they don't. The hole isn't big enough to fit over the peg. When I phoned Bosch they asked if they were the original arms. I can't answer that because I bought the car used about 3 years ago. The Bosch tech was surprised I didn't have the hook style. When I last had wipers put on, the mechanic had problems getting a size with a hole that would fit the peg. So I'm wondering if these are the original arms. Thanks for any help you can give me!

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,781
    There are many things that could be the problem. Diagnosis may help find it. Are you able to do things to diagnose?

    You are saying it will not start. Is that it will not crank or that it will crank but won't fire up and run normally?

    If it won't crank, do you have more than one key? Try the other key to see if the security system likes that key.

    If it cranks and won't start, does the exhaust smell like gasoline? Hold the accelerator to the floor while cranking to clear flooding. Then pull of the vacuum tube on the FPR (fuel pressure regulator) and see if you smell raw gasoline in the tube. If the car does start, pull off the tube and see if gasoline comes out the opening of the FPR after 2 minutes of idling or more? There should be none.

    If it cranks and it won't start, take off one of the front spark plug wires and lay it against metal. Have someone crank the car. The spark should jump the 1/4 inch gap with a blue spark. If there's no spark, then you have narrowed down your problem to a bad spark control module (ignition control module under the three coils) or the crankshaft position sensor (CPS) which is one thing that triggers the spark.

    Is there full fuel pressure? Weak fuel pump? Or a badly plugged fuel filter? One test would be to spray ether or carburetor cleaner into the throttle body as someone cranks. You must take off the rubber tube leading up to it from the air filter assembly.

    Another thing is the MAF. The test is to take off the leads to the MAF and see if the car starts.

    If it runs really badly, it could be spark plug wires (test by spraying water with a bit of salt in it over the wires while car's running to see if you get sparking). Or it could be the EGR, and that can be tested by tapping on it with something heavy like the end of a screwdriver to make sure the opening is closed off by the plunger.
  • bildabonebildabone Posts: 4
    while driving my car stalls.IT will not stsrt.I changed the fuel filter ,put a new mass air flow sensor,and a fuel pressure regulater.It started right up and ran fine.I turned it off and it till not start. I checked the fuel pump with a fuel pressure gage and it read 43 psi.Like its supposed to . I dont know what else to do.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,781
    Does it start after it has sat for a time, say 30 minutes? If it cuts off like a switchw as cut off but then restarts after a time, the crankshaft position sensor is a likely culprit. You can try moving the wires to it and squeezing the connector for those wires to see if it's a connection or a break in a wire to the crankshaft position sensor--with the car off, of course.

    If it stalls, you can try throwing cold water on the crankshaft position sensor to cool it. That sometimes speeds the restart.

    The other possiblility with an electrical shut off like that is the spark control module connections or the module itself under the coils.

    To test for the crank or spark control, remove one of the spark plug wires on the front and lay it on engine metal. With someone cranking the car, there should be spark to ground. No spark means you're not getting that.
  • bildabonebildabone Posts: 4
    i forgot to mention that when I put some starting fluid in the intake it fires up for a second
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: US 25 & US 40Posts: 19,781
    edited May 2013
    That's a good test and helps.

    What year is your car?

    So, you need to test the injectors to see if they are firing. People say you can use the two leads of a 194 bulb and put those into the connector for an injector while cranking and you should be able to see the very short flash as the 12 volt pulse hits. Or use a voltmeter.

    From what I read, if you have no pulse to the injectors that can be related to the crankshaft position sensor as well. Or there is a fuse, according to this article, on the passenger side A pillar below the dash where there are relays and a few fuses. There is a 10 amp fuse on that inside board on my 98 for the injectors power. The injectors are fired by grounding through the PCM. I've been assuming your car is a 92-99 model. If you have a 94-95, the PCMs occasionally have more problems than other years, but those often involve rough running or barely running.

    Here's a long 5 page discussion of a problem that might include diagnotic steps that will help you. Good luck with this one.
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