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Buick Park Avenue Maintenance & Repair

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  • i have a 91 buick park ave, the rear brakes recently started sounding like the wheel of fortune when i hit the brakes, it sounds just like the wheel as it spins. it has a drum system but someone said i probably just need shoes for it. i have no idea but i hope you do. i was driving the other day and it started smoking out of the dash. kinda more on the pass side, but it smelt like anti freeze and even before that i would always get a wif of anti freeze. i was told my heater core was going out but i was then also told to check the thermostat. i know nothing about cars except that when i had the issue with my crankshaft you guys helped me and my car was fixed with your advice. so here i am again. looking for some help. along with those issues i cant get my vents on the dash to work, i never have been able to figure it out. i used the owners man to help but nothing worked. please write back and let me know what you think.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,085
    You are going to have to have the rear drums taken off and the brakes checked to determine what is making the noise and why it is making the noise.

    heater cores do start to seep. Then the leak gets bigger. If you're smelling antifreeze, it's time to get it replaced after checking to verify the smell is from the heater core and NOT from a leak in water pump or hoses and so on under the hood. Those can give antifreeze smells that get sucked into the air intake just behind the hood and the smell comes into the passenger compartment also.

    The vents on the dash operate by vacuum. Check under the hood for a small vacuum reservoir with a tube going to it from the upper intake manifold area. The small rubber tube carries vacuum to the reservoir.

    Do any of the controls change the setting, say heater blows out the bottom? If not, then most likely you've lost all vacuum. Rubber tubes rot with age and heat and crack. Also it may just have been pulled off the reservoir connection when someone did sparkplugs or other work under the hood.
  • it still blows on the floor and the window defrost but not out of vents. i have tried every setting but it wont blow from vents still. when the car started smoking out of dash i popped hood and looked for smoke under hood. there was none, just from the dash. it all just happed out of nowhere. i was driving, stopped and when got back in the car and started it, it started smoking out of dash. heater still blows but barely gets warm now. no leakage inside of car nor any spots of anti freeze on ground outside of car. would you happen to know of any way i can install my cd player without tearin out the whole entire dash?? please say you do!! lol
  • Hi again. when thaving my climate control unit changed at the Buick dealer on '02 PA with 76k i asked the ser,mgr. about the coolant change as i could find nothing in the previous owners records that it was ever changed He said GM is now recommending change @ 90k. this doesn't sound right. what is your experience. i live in Northern Maine (cold) if that makes a difference. thanks. all you guys are a lifesaver. :)
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,085
    If the color is still an orange that means you have DexCool in it. It may have a slight cloudiness with a brown substance which was put in as an antileak in the form of pellets or a ground organic material that will clog seep locations and seal them up.

    I would have the coolant drained and refilled yesterday, even if you can't do it yourself like I do. I would get the old DexCool out, even though it most likely isn't causing you any problems. I would refill with fresh DexCool OR the equivalent by Prestone called Mixes with All Colors, which is a slight green color. Both bottles show the same active ingredients. I don't think it makes an difference to the seals in the motor's upper intake manifold and throttle body area that did develop some leaks due to coolant contact with the original DexCool formula back in 1997 or slightly later before the formula was changed.

    I would replace whichever you put in every two years or 35,000 miles, just like in the good old days. Maybe 3 years if you put lots of longer highway miles on it where the entire cooling system runs hot and circulates everything.

    Expressly, I changed out the DexCool in my 03 leSabre at 60K at the 2nd drain and refill. I rinsed 3 times with water and got most of the DexCool out so the coolant was clear after running up to temperature and draining. I put in the Mixes with All Colors. Note I did a previous change an put in new DexCool back in 05 (car was 2.5 years old). My 1998 is still running on DexCool after I changed the UIM at 150K and put on an aftermarket type. I did not have to change lower intake coolant seals against the heads--yet. And I don't expect to do so, even though the car had DexCool its whole life.

    What you don't want is a low coolant level in the radiator which allows air to mix with the circulating antifreeze. The air and earlier DexCool caused some deterioration and sludging especially on cars where someone added old style green antifreeze--the original non long life type. Checking water level in the radiator also catches any early leaks that may develop in the pre2000 motors at the EGR passage in the Upper Intake Manifold or at the throttle body passage seals with the UIM. Sometimes the loss of coolant doesn't suck back in coolant from the reservoir so the radiator starts getting low without the coolant reserve tank dropping. So occasionally check the radiator--when cool--to be sure it's full.
  • I initially had this same problem. It ended up being simply plugs and wires. I replaced them and it ran great. Now, several months later, it is dying and sputters every now and then. My thinking is it's the fuel pump filter clogged. I had changed the fuel filter under the car prior to replacing the plugs and wires. It doesn't seem to be electrical, so I'm going to drop the tank on 11-7-09. I'll post an update afterwards.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,085
    I would check the EGR valve. Remove and clean it. it may be sticking open slightly as you slow down and causing a stall. You might remove the electrical connector and drive the car on a day it's exhibiting that symptom and see if not having the EGR work my fix the problem. It may set an engine code, but that will erase eventually or you can have one of the box stores erase it with the reader. I believe the local Oreilly Auto Parts loans readers (I think that company uses other names in other parts of the country).

    You also should remove the MAF sensor and clean with an air intake safe cleaner or better a MAF sensor cleaner spray. I also used a soft camel hair artists type brush to lightly help remove "lint" from the wire. If you look closely it may look like an electrical charge has attracted fuzz to the wires in the MAF. Dry it and put it back on. The home test is to remove the connector for the MAf and start the car. But since yours only occasionally gives symptoms and isn't running poorly at start, that's not an option. The guy next door had a 3800 Gran Prix that would die or run poorly at times. Replaced MAF and it was fine.

    Unless your fuel tank has an opening in the trunk to change out fuel pump AND your fuel pump has shown low pressure, i sure wouldn't do a fuel pump. See if an Autozone or Oreilly will loan you fuel pressure gauges with a long hose and connect it and tape to windshield on outside with duct tape and drive the car until it sputters and see if the fuel pressure dropped at that time.

    If it's the fuel sock on the fuel pump, that would show in your gauge work also. That is rare but usually sucks [non-permissible content removed] onto the sock more as it runs a longer time and then when car stalls and suction stops, the [non-permissible content removed] falls away allow better pressure again. Just doesn't fit here. If I thought I had goop in tank, I'd do a couple of strong Techron Fuel System Cleaner dosings when tank is almost empty. The high concentration of cleaner added before adding fuel should dissolve a lot of nonparticulate forms of accumlated stuff in the tank.
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    There have been a number of posts about the fuel / gas gauge needle flipping around clockwise when the battery is disconnected or too low. The needle ends up stuck underneath the empty tank side pin.

    Some of the repair options have been to drill a small hole in the instrument cluster cover by the fuel gauge and use a paper clip to flip it back up, or use a magnet to draw the needle back around to the top side, or disassembling the instrument cluster and flipping it back up with your finger.

    I don't know what the actual issue is, whether a capacitor is failing or some other electrical component, so I can't offer any advice on repair of the actual cause. But I have another workaround.

    I personally didn't want to drill a hole in the gauge cover, and the magnet trick wouldn't work for me. I ended up pulling the cover off, and flipping it back, but after doing it more than once, I wanted a permanent solution. I noticed in some of the newer models (especially the Ultras, 2002 on up) they have now put a pin on the right ( full tank ) side of the fuel gauge, I assume to prevent it from flipping all the way over. Hmmm... redesign?

    I decided to imitate the 2002 model and make a pin to the right to prevent it from flipping over again. repair pics here along with pic of the factory 2002 Ultra pin.

    Any of the methods may work for you, this is just another option to choose from. :)
  • I just purchased a 2004 Park Avenue. When I got it home I noticed about 3 inches of water in the spare tire well in the trunk.

    I called the dealer and they said it was probably the trunk gasket.

    Is this a known issue with these cars?

    Thanks for any help!!!
  • I had the same issue, but with not as much water depth as you had. The solution was to replace with adhesive the entire gasket, problem solved. I'm in S Florida where it doesn't rain, but torrents in the wet season.

    Let me know how you make out. Check Ebay first for replacement gaskets, the dealer will kill you on pricing.

    Good luck.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,085
    >Check Ebay first for replacement gaskets

    Also gmpartdirect.com
    rockauto.com
  • The clock display in my 04 PA throws out a different time each time ignition switch is turned on. SM at local dealer didn't know. Anyone experienced this?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,085
    Is your clock in your radio? Do your radio preset stations change also instead of keeping their setting?

    There's a separate circuit and fuse for the radio memory.
  • Does anyone know where the relay is for the rear defogger is on a 2000 PA?
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Hello DTracy

    Your owner's manual would probably be your best source of info, but it should be in a fuse block box underneath your rear seat.

    To remove the rear seat: Lift from under the front bottom edge of your rear seat and it will pop up, then pull it forward to remove the bottom section of the seat and reveal the fuse box.

    When you unscrew the cover off the box , there should be a legend inside the cover identifying the various fuses and relays.

    The one labled 'Htd bk lite' should be for the defogger. Large grey relay.

    Pictures of 2003 rear fuse box and location
  • Thanks for the info bowfan it is always helpful was looking for it in the owners manual but didnt know it was listed under heated back lite saw it but didnt realize.

    thanks a bunch!
    Dtracy
  • jpf3jpf3 Posts: 2
    Hello everybody !
    First please thank you to be indulgent with my poor english .I am french and I live in France.
    In 1996 I got a new Park ave .. A few weeks later I learned that GM ceased the importation of Buick in Europe .So it is sometimes difficult to find good mechanics for maintenance .
    The car has now about 100 000 milles and runs quite correctly

    However I have a problem with the steering wheel .When I go for a long period on a straight road the bar of the wheel is pretty horizontal in a normal position .If I have to turn sharp right this bar does not come back at its initial position when the turning is finished but it remains at about 10 degrees to the right, depending how sharp was the right turn and it remains like this even when the road is straight again . The same phenomenom occurs when I must to turn left .

    Actually there is no great problem to drive this car save on highspeed - say up to 80 miles per hour, our speed limit here in France on highways - At these speeds it seems that the car becomes heavy to turn and that I have to force it to take the bends because it tends to turn less fhan necessary
    There is no looseness at all in the front wheels .The wheel alignment has been set at regular intervals and everything is normal .A mechanic once said me after having checked everything that the problem could come from the hinge bearings which are up the front shock absorbers.

    Any opinion on that ?

    Many thanks in advance

    PAPY JP
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,576
    Well if the steering wheel is 10 degrees off, but the car is, in fact, going straight, then I would think the steering rack is worn. If you wiggle the wheel just a little, does the car respond or no?

    MODERATOR

  • Same thing happened to my 1992 LeSabre (120,000 miles) a few months ago. Steering wheel would not come back to center sometimes, even when going straight. I also began to get a "ping" sound while turning the wheel when parking or going very slow (like a knuckle cracking). Steering wheel got worse over a 3 month period - I had no money at the time for repairs. And then I noticed front tires were worn VERY unevenly.

    The problem was the right front strut mount. Too much labor to replace just the mount, so it was best to have strut, spring, and mount replaced as 1 unit on each front side ($300 X 2). Also bought a new set of 4 Uniroyal T-rated Tiger Paw tires and had complete alignment ($350 + 50). This $1000 is all I've put into the car since I bought it 1 year ago for $1200 - and now I know what the "Buick Ride" is all about! It rides like new - straight as an arrow (look ma - no hands!). I've trusted the mechanic for years and I know I got a good deal - though I might have saved the tires had I acted sooner. Live and learn.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,576
    Yes I would think with a bad strut mount/bearing you'd get a lot of noise to tip you off.

    MODERATOR

  • saw_6saw_6 Posts: 1
    have a 95 the horn stays on had to unpluge them none of the power locks work and i thought the egr valve was bad got a new one still hestitates when i give it gas the moter is a 3.8 supercharged helpme plz i dont know what to do or whats wrong thank you :confuse:
  • jpf3jpf3 Posts: 2
    To Mr Shiftright and Dave1081
    Many thanks for your answers that are highly appreciated !
    I apologise to have delayed this message but, as I am not familiar with this american forum I could not find my post again and,of course , your answers .

    To Mr Shiftrigh : I do not remember having tried to wiggle the wheel when driving but I have never noticed that the car did not respond correctly, whatever the steering wheel position, except at high speed on the highway as I explained on my original message.

    To Dave : Your message confirms the french mechanics diagnostic but I did not understand how the entire suspension device can be cheaper than thr only strut
    Both of the struts of my car have now less than 10 000 miles but they did not change the bearings that are above .

    Thank you again to both of you

    Papy jp
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    This may be too hockey but you could go to JC Whitney get a truck turn signal
    set up and be street legal for less than 600.00.
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    HOLD IT! It is not the motor it is the rubber channel. This happened to my 99
    park ultra. A buddy had a similar problem with his Chrysler 300. I went to a Dealer
    in Las Vegas a Chevy dealer and got the channel it was so easy to replace. You
    have to remove the trim panel. Then it is easy fix. Mine works great now
    no kidding
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    The very first time this happenned I had my entire family of now six adults in the car
    in was thanksgiving on the way to baba house in anaheim. The car just turned over
    to 100,000 miles it was on empty the gas gauge spun like the twilight zone. I said
    out loud, "you see' when you hit 100,000 miles Buick gives you a free tank of gas.
    My wife at first thought I was serious until she thought about it then everybody had
    a good family laugh.

    I see your fix and I am impressed as I went the paper clip and drill the hole route.
    So please show us how to remove it from the car. Maybe I can fix the oil pressure
    light as well while I am at it. More than likely I will remove bulb so that I do not have to look at it again.the oil pressure light. Note if I had no Oil pressure the car would stop anyway.
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    I had a similar problem it turned out the TyRES needed to be matched correctly.
    This stopped that problem. If your brake rotors are bad you can also get shimmy
    and high speeds
  • I have a 1997 BPA with 3800 engine. I have a problem with my tranny making a metalic growling clanging noise when the car is at a stop and the front wheels are slipping in snow. If I turn the traction control off the noise stops immediately. I also get this noise if trying to accelerate too heavy from a stop in rainy conditions. What the heck is happening down there? Anyone got any ideas?

    Thanks, Mike
  • dizogedizoge Posts: 1
    use a strong magnet wrapped in a paper towel set on instrument cluster and rotate the needle back around. 5 minute fix.
  • Awhile ago i hooked up a cd player in my buick park ave, its a 91! The cd player is pioneer, i dont know if that makes a difference, but about 2 weeks after installing cd player my battery drains after about 4-5 hours. its a brand new battery only about 2 months old. i asked the guy who hooked it up how he did it and he said it is NOT connected to the battery. i even tested by seeing if cd player worked without car being on. Which it does not. I can jump start my car and disconnect battery and then when i need to go, i can hook it back up and it starts fine. i have replaced coil pack with ig mod. also redone crank sensor. i cannot figure out why the battery is draining. can you please??
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Hi karma,

    OK, did you hook it up, or the other guy? :)

    You'll probably want to do a ( google / bing / yahoo ) search for "find parasitic battery drain". There are a lot of how to articles that will explain it better than I can. It's possible wires weren't hooked up correctly, or maybe when rolling around inside your car, another wire was cut or crushed - for instance wiring to the power seat. Or maybe when the battery was disconnected / hooked up during the install something went wrong. Are the battery clamps tight? Broken?

    If it drains in 4 - 5 hours, that is a huge short. Even though it's a new battery, you may want to charge it and have it tested. Batteries do go bad prematurely sometimes.

    It could also be a problem with your alternator. Have you checked the voltage at the battery when the car is running? Should be about 13.5 - 14.5 VDC.

    If all is good so far:

    To find out where the power is being drained, you'll need a good DC ammeter that will tell you how much current you are drawing. If you see it is drawing a good amount of power with the key off, you'll need to start pulling out every fuse until you see the current draw go away. Reinstall each fuse after checking the ammeter, or having your helpful assistant check it. When you pull a fuse and the current draw goes away, you'll be on the right track to know which circuit is draining your power. If it is the radio circuit, you'll probably want to double check the install work.

    One last thought, did you mean you disconnect the battery with the engine running after jump starting it?

    You used to be able to do that with older cars, but if you disconnect the battery on a car such as yours, you'll probably burn up some components in your alternator, like diodes. That would be bad.

    Hope this helps and you find the drain! Sorry it's not more detailed, but if you search you'll get it. Let us know what you find. ;)
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