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Buick Park Avenue Maintenance & Repair

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,732
    I'm not familiar with the differences of which year the Park Avenue became more different from LeSabre. I think this is one that's like the leSabre.

    Is the click when you turn the key a light snap or is it a heavy click like the starter engaging but not turning?

    My guess would be you might have burned something out in the alternator. But I think that shouldn't affect the starting, just the charging.

    See if the click you're hearing is actually the starter. I might be another relay.

    You sound proficient at working around the car. I'd try on my own car a direct connection to the starter terminal on the starter. I don't recommend that for others because you can contact the wrong thing--as you found out.

    I'd do it with someone else touching the battery at the top so that the other end of my jumper at the starter wasn't hot until I was ready. I can't really tell what fusable link might have burned up or whatever in the alternator. If you set up your carspace email on your automatic carspace account (it's linked in the green bar at the top of page, right under the word home) send an email to my username with the at sign and carspace.com from your carspace account. I can suggest a couple of places to look for help.

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  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 4,006
    I am getting a 1998 Park Avenue Ultra ready to sell, and as I was leaving Autozone after purchasing some touch-up paint, the CEL came on. I returned to Autozone and had the codes read. There were two instances of a P0102 code, which indicates that the mass air flow input is lower than expected. Is this a common problem on these cars? I will check the vacuum hoses, but I'm guessing the car needs a new MAF. It has 74,000 miles.

    I haven't noticed any drivability problems with the car, but it isn't my daily driver.
  • Well vacuum leaks at the intake manifold or EGR valve will throw this code.

    Also a bad connection at the MAF (wiring or connector) will throw the code

    A bad MAF will also cause this as well as a bad PCM module.

    The only way to know for sure is with a scan tool, a volt/ohm meter and use of a diagnostic tree of step by step measurements.
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    A. As for removing the door panel, they hide those screws very nicely don't they? There have been some problems with the lock actuators. They have these little rubber things that act as a connection between the actuator motor and the door latch. They tend to split and keep it from opening the lock.

    If you can hear the actuator in that door working and not opening the lock, this is the problem. GM sells these little things in sets of two. As for the door panel, take it to a dealer and have it done, you'll not like taking out the actuator either. The door latch and door lock actuator need to be replaced as an assembly.
    Buick Park Avenue Door Lock Actuators

    1. Remove the door handle trim plate (6).
    2. Carefully remove the armrest cover plate (2) by prying upward from the access hole using a thin-bladed tool.
    3. Remove the 2 fasteners (3) from the armrest.
    4. Remove the courtesy lamp assembly (5).
    5. Remove the fastener from behind the lamp assembly (4).
    6. Remove the push in retainer from the defroster duct.
    7. Lift straight up on the trim panel in order to disengage the hooks on the backside of the panel (4).

    Buick Park Avenue Door Lock Actuators

    8. Disconnect the electrical connectors.
    9. Remove the door trim panel.

    I found this out the hard way ,this was such a good explanation I wanted to share
    it if you search images on google you sometimes get lucky.
  • corvettecorvette United StatesPosts: 4,006
    Thanks. I checked all the relevant fuses, and they appeared to be good. Doing this apparently reset the PCM, and the light no longer comes on. I drove the car through an OBD "drive cycle" and the light didn't come back on. The MAF sensor itself is not an OEM part, so I'm guessing it's been replaced at least once.
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    This is not the professional way but....My gas gauge needle got stuck under the post
    when I removed the bat cable recently. I simply drilled a tiny hole in that plastic and
    used a paperclip wire to grab and pull it gently it works fine now.
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    My drivers side front door handle (pot metal} recently snapped the finger off the back
    of it that controls the brass lever that pushes the rod that allows the latch to disingage
    so that front door can be opened from outside the car. This is a Diamond White color
    car ,hard to find a replacement in junk yard. I simplly drilled a small hole in the face
    of the broken finger lever and screwed a brass screw i had in my junk can,wrapped
    elec tape around until the with of the finger was the same as the manufactures' was.
    The Actuator is more complicated Autozone 75617 Door Lock Actuator is only 1/2
    the fix ,their is another part that this attaches to that is a dealer item that 245.00
    that is necessary to fix it completely. I understand that you can re attach the 75617
    by drilling the rivets and the re riviting it back before install has anyone tried this?
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    The coolant also cools the transmission, you have air in the line that is why the
    funky trans on start up there is a inline pump that could be sticky as well.
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    Sometimes the Windows in the 99 PA would move slowly in the track. The problem
    is not the motor. The problem is the track. The rubber weather strip gets old and brittle
    and the window binds. The fix get a new one $110.00 replace it very easy took me
    2 hours per window. Tools a credit card to help it into the plastic edge.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,732
    The vertical guides for the windows get gunked up with dirt accumulation. Try cleaning that with normal paint thinner by wiping the felt surface to clean it. Or you could try rinsing it with a strong Dawn solution which also removes oily materials. Dry it. See if the window works more easily.

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  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    The easy part: check to see if the belt cut or pulled loose any wires when it shredded. Sounds like something got grounded out (cut wire) or pulled loose.

    The hard part: does the car have spark when you turn it over? What is the fuel pressure on the fuel rail? Check if you have spark and fuel pressure. If you have those two items, and the cam sensor is new, then it sounds as if the timing chain may have broken. This would keep the cam from turning, allowing the ignition system to fire the spark plugs.

    There is nothing on the 3800 that should keep it from starting simply because it lost a belt. In fact, it can run for a while with the belt off. If it stalled, it either overheated or something else coincidentally went wrong about the same time the belt shredded.

    Good luck!
  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    I HAVE A 1998 BUICK PARK AVE AND MY REAR WINDOW TAKES A LONG TIME TO DEFROST WHAT COULD BE THE PROBLEM

    You live too far north? Seriously, define 'long time." You can have a cool but humid day, with the back window foggy or frosted and it will clear up very quickly.

    But, the colder the air, combined with greater humidity, the longer it will take to clear the window. And, keep in mind, when you first start the car, it is just as cold and humid INSIDE the car as it is outside.

    If you see someone with the same make and model, ask them how long it takes their car to clear the back window in your weather. Also, if you have another car in your driveway, turn them both on at the same time, and turn on the rear defroster at the same time. If they both take about the same amount of time to clear the windows, yours is fine. If Car A clears in 4 minutes, and Car B takes 15, you may have a problem with Car B.

    If it is taking too long to clear, check the connectors on the glass for corrosion or loose wires, and check the grounding wire for the glass, probably mounted somewhere in the trunk near the glass.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,732
    Agree with above post.

    You can check the timing chain's being intact by looking in through the oil opening while someone cranks you motor. You should see action in the rocker arms if the camshaft is turning.

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  • PAmanPAman Posts: 207
    -- I A few weeks ago, the alternator gage starting wavering wildly with the light sometimes going on and the battery kicking in. when I would arrange to take it to the mechanic, it ran normally.
    -- I had the alternator, battery and ignition tested again by AutoZone - all tested good but the guy said the diode in the alternator could be going out.

    -- last night the gage went to the 8, the light came on, my headlamps dimmed and it finally stopped running.

    -- My husband came and jumped it and took it to the Good year garage across from where it died, they tested the alternator, said it was gone and replaced it for 2.5 times the price of buying one at Autozone.

    -- The mechanic I mentioned earlier also told me it needed new struts front and back and new shocks - but said I could put those off since they'd cost around $1,500).

    WOW, so many things to deal with. OK, lets start at the bottom and work up.

    GOODYEAR: Understand that ANY car you take to Goodyear will need SOMETHING other than what you took it there for. A 2008 car with 40,000 miles will need new struts, according to them. Forget that advice. Your car MAY need them, but I seriously doubt it. 54,000 miles is WAAAAY too soon for struts at all four corners. Notice the price of the alternator at Goodyear? Now you know why the struts cost $1,500 there. THEY are the ones having a "good year" with prices like that.

    -- "last night it went to 8...and finally stopped running." No electrical system will go to 8 volts; most cars need at least 11.2 to 11.8 volts for the computer to work. For the voltage to go that low, you need a MAJOR short circuit somewhere in the car's wiring harness or one or more dead cells in the battery. I suspect the battery because if it were in the wiring harness, you would a) be smelling a burning odor or b) calling the fire department. There is also a chance the problem could be in the large cable going to the starter motor, or the starter motor being bad (the short circuit is inside the starter motor).

    -- "I had the alternator, battery and ignition tested again by AutoZone" FUGETABOUTIT. The guy checking your alternator at AZ was flipping burgers or delivering pizzas two weeks ago. He got maybe 15 minutes of training on how to hook up the machine; he is NOT, repeat, NOT a real mechanic in any way, shape, form or fashion.

    BOTTOM LINE: You need a REAL mechanic. Find a good ASAE shop that puts a real warranty behind their work, usually at least 12 months or 12,000 miles. I have had good luck with NAPA shops here in the San Antonio area, but that may not be true for your area.

    The bottom line is, your electrical problem, like most, can be difficult to pin down, but not impossible. For 2-4 hours of labor and a reasonable price for parts, your low-mileage Buick can run like new again, in the hands of a real mechanic. And, not to criticize you or your husband, so far, I don't think a real mechanic has touched your car by taking it to Goodyear or Autozone.

    For example, a real mechanic would be checking the wiring harness the moment you said it used to belong to an elderly person who didn't drive it often. Why? Because cars like that can sometimes become homes for rats, squirrels, and other varmits who can often chew through the insulation on the wiring harness. No, I don't think there is a rat in the car NOW, but there may have been one while it was parked for months at a time.

    Your repair bill may be $800-1,000 but it will be FIXED, not patched. And, that is a small price to pay for a car that only has 54,000 miles on it, when new cars cost $20K and up, right?

    Good luck.
  • 97 PA Ultra. Fuel gauge fluctuates when level falls below 3/4 full, (empty to full). I'm assuming that the fuel sending unit is the culprit, do I have to remove the fuel tank to get at it or is there an access in the trunk. BTW I keep getting a somewhat generic code service engine code.P0441 (Potential - Evap Canister, Vac leak, Fuel cap, I'm thinking it is related. Thoughts?
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    The bouncing fuel gauge is probably your sending unit. It is replaced by first pulling out all the carpet out of your trunk. The only problem is, you have to be limber to get in there. Unfortunately it is located up under the rear deck. I think the standard recommendation is to replace the entire fuel pump assembly, but if you aren't having fuel pressure problems, you may want to just replace the sender assembly to save a pretty good chunk of money. I know I've seen a standard GM sender unit available that will pop right in. You can do it yourself in an afternoon, if you're slow like me.

    And I'd just reseat the fuel cap and clear the trouble code and see if it comes back. It is a pretty common failure, I've seen the fuel cap lanyard sometimes gets in the way and it pops the P-code. Or sometimes it just didn't get tightened enough. As yours may be 11 years old, and cold temps are the rule this time of year, the seal may be stiffening up.

    I don't think they are related, but again I'd check the easy stuff first like reseating. ;)
  • Thank you very much for the info. I do have a follow-up; so is the sending unit part of the fuel pump assembly...actually in the tank? :confuse:
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,732
    The sending unit is the name for the fuel gauge (sender) and associated pipes, wiring, filter, and holder for the fuel pump. The fuel pump can be replaced separately. The senders are available with and without a fuel pump and are available in a wide, wide variety of price ranges. Many people have reported failures of cheap products used for replacements in their cars of the same group as the leSabre, Park Avenue, Bonneville.

    I have seen posts and videos about replacing parts of the sending unit, the slider, which wore. If you are very handy, don't need the car for a while, and want to research in advance that might be of interest to you. I can look up some of those links if you are interested.

    Myself, I'd put in a full strength treatment of Techron Fuel System Cleaner by Chevron (available at Walmart, Advance, PepBoys) and see if the anti-sulfur part of the treatment's effects made any difference. Some senders reacted to the sulfur in gasolines and it's stated on the bottle that it may help that. Without research I assume the sulfur affects the contacts which slide to change resistance that affects the gauge.

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  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Sorry for the too brief repair description. Yes the sending unit is attached to the FP assembly, and it is contained inside the tank. If you remove the carpeting from your trunk, you will see an oval shaped fuel pump access cover towards the front of your trunk area. I believe the cover is held in place by (7) 10mm nuts. It is advised to clean the dirt/dust around the access cover before removing it.

    The trickiest portion of the repair to me was removing the lock ring that holds the pump down into the tank. I'm sure there is a proper specialty tool to remove this, but I used a common brass drift punch and short throw hammer. You can see some pics to give you a rough idea how to remove it here Again, that is just to give you an idea. You don't actually remove the tank in the BPAs, just the access cover, lock-ring, and then the pump assembly.

    The pump assembly is under pressure from an internal spring and when removing the lock-ring or replacing the lock-ring, you will wish you had a 3rd hand.

    Please use caution as you will be venting gas fumes when you start to remove the pump itself and it is cramped quarters, but not impossible if you are a do-it-yourselfer. I did it... :D

    There is a good write up that someone else did, as well as some helpful pics here: automotiveforums fuel pump replacement

    I forgot to take pics when I did it.

    It looks like the sensor assembly costs a little over $100 from gmpartsdirect.com, but I thought I'd seen the actual sensor part for a lot cheaper when taken from a GM truck tank. But unfortunately, memory is not what I need it to be, and I can't find a link to that thought.

    As the writeup says, use plenty of ventilation, a nice breezy day would be good.

    More tips: replace when the tank is near empty, and when you lift the pump assembly from the tank, do so slowly as the plastic unit holds a good bit of gas. You may also want to replace the sock filter while you have the pump out.

    Hope this helps, write back if anymore questions. Sorry about the delay in responding.

    Dont forget to write back with a success story!
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Googled up someone else's pics of the sender and FPA.

    I would not recommend using a screwdriver as his photos show. The brass drift will not spark as "steel on steel" may.
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