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Buick Park Avenue Maintenance & Repair



  • I have a '97 Buick Park Ave and I need to replace the turn signal switch. I read that you suggested replacing the whole column in a previest post. When you say the "whole column" does that include all of the steering wheel assembly? I'm a DIY'er and want to take the path of least resistance.

    Further, I have not purchased a replacement of any kind, yet. So, I'm looking to do this I hope, without having to buy any specialty tools. If I go with the whole column does the airbag present any special experience/knowledge requirements in order to get the job done?

    I would appreciate your opinion. Thanks, Tom
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,046
    edited June 2010
    I have not replaced or worked on a steering column.

    Does your key have the resistor chip on the throat of the key or is the coding in the plastic part of the key for the 97 Park Avenue?

    If it's the resistor chip in the key throat, then changing the steering column would mean you'd have to bypass the VATS system reading that chip or replace the lock cylinder in the new column with the lock cylinder from the old one so that the resistor chip will work. There are 15 resistances used. It's unlikely the new column would have the same resistance as your old key did,but it's possible.

    The airbag system must be disabled in advance before working anywhere.

    My personal opinion, is I'd take it to a local, but reputable mechanic whom others hve recommended and see how much to replace the turn signal switch.

    If you are a do it yourself, you might want to invest in a factory service manual by Helm. This is NOT a Motors or Helm manual. It is not the DVDs that are mass sold on Ebay.

    Doing a search for service manual 1997 park avenue: - -SET-_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem5ad9bd8ef5QQitemZ390200135413QQptZMotorsQ5fManu- - alsQ5fLiterature - 0QQcmdZViewItemQQhashZitem5d2983388cQQitemZ400128424076QQptZMotorsQ5fManualsQ5fL- - iterature

    Item number: 400128424076
    item number: 310177918225

    Above are two links to a real factory service book set and the Ebay item numbers.. Notice it's two volumes. Some are selling one volume at a time. One includes shipping, other doesn't

    If you price the volume at, it will probably be $130 plus handling plus shipping.

    Also you can use Alldata at many libraries now on their computers free. You can save copies of the pages to a USB memory stick saving as internet explorer files with all files or you can save individual pictures. You can also print out pages on their printers. Check with your local library and if it's not larger and not affiliated with a neighboring system where you can go use your card to access their online data bases, ask them where the closest system is that has online access you can get to.

    I prefer a hard copy of the book in my hot little hands to lay on the fender or trunk lid while I work. Some people have bought DVDs with info from GM databases on them. I bought one and never could get it to work.

    You can vary the search words on Ebay such as buick instead of Park Avenue and you might hit one that's not in the category I found.
  • 265,000 mile Park Ave outstanding condition (except for the following problem)
    Prior to this, no issues no codes no nothing but a good car.
    -Drove 20 miles, ABS light came on, went out about a minute later.
    -Few minutes later the Volt light came on, went out about a minute later 3-5 miles.
    -A minute later all Dash Lights and Gauges went out.
    -A few minutes later it acted like it was missing or it was sputtering poor acceleration, a minute later that went away and it ran good and able to accelerate good, still no dash lights or gauges.
    -Turned blinker on and all lights and gauges came on.
    -A minute later they went off
    -Blinker thing happened three times.
    -During de-acceleration turned blinker on and the car killed.
    -no crank no lights no nothing.
    -Got it home, put charge on the dead battery and the car started.
    -Changed Alternator.
    -Same thing happened but in 10 miles.
    -Brought to a shop, no code, low battery, load tested battery it's good, charged battery car started, no codes, 13.1 at the battery 12.5 inside the car with all the stuff running.
    -Put another Alternator in, gave 14 at the battery.
    -SAME THING happened this morning,
    I GOT NOTHING no codes my mechanic is working on it and I thought I would do some digging, the only spot he did not check yet is under the back seat, not sure if this is a heat issue or what is going on. Any help would be appreciated.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,046
    Check connections to that battery. Check grounds at the floor pan under the seat. Make a fresh connection to bare metal. Check connections if the positive lead goes to a fuse/relay box under the hood.

    Time for a new battery in my opinion.

    Does this car have a heavy current using amplifier in it by any chance?
  • Thanks for all your info -- especially the tip about AllData at the library. I'll have to ck that out. I've talk to a few people who have said replacing the turn signal switch is a DIY repair BUT that it can present some challenges like disconnecting and connecting the wire harness plug under the dash at the base of the column. I've looked at the setup under there and it will require some tight finger work.

    I was able to locate a few salvage yards that have a switch that will fit. prices range from $75 and up.

    I think it best I go to the library first before putting $$'s into this project.

    Thanks again for your help!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Never underestimate the value of very long nose pliers.


  • patnjoepatnjoe Posts: 4
    I need to install new front struts in my 95 Park Avenue. I have about 100K miles. I have read the Haynes book and the job does not look that difficult. I am very capable. Info on any tips or land mines would be greatly appreciated. Should I replace the corrugated boots, strut mounting plate / bearing, and donuts while I have everything apart? I plan to keep the car about another 100K miles. Thanks for your help.
    Regards, Joe
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    Definitely replace the strut mounts.


  • I have a problem with my cruise control on a 1997 Buick Park Avenue. It only works once in a while only. It sets (very rarely) but if I hit the brake it won't resume. Also once it is set, if I hit the resume control once to bump up my speed my accelerator wants to keep going to the mat. Any ideas out there? Thanks, Mike.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,046
    >Hit the brake and it won't resume.

    That could be the brake switch at the top of the travel of the brake pedal. It pushes the switch in to tell the computer that the brake is not being depressed.

    Try lifting the pedal with your toe to make the connection. Without checking the schematic I believe there used to be a second path from brake disconnect and that was the third brake light in the rear window. Are those bulbs all lighted and working?

    >Hit resume

    That sounds like a problem inside the stalk for the turn signals, wiper, and the cruise controls. The stalk just pulls out or twists and comes out. The wire for it either has a connector at the top or is through the column to the bottom and has a connector. If it disconnects at the bottom pull a string up through the column with the old switch wire and use that to pull the new wire down through.
  • jt3219jt3219 Posts: 1
    My sisters 98 Park Ave gas and temp gauge not working on her insturment panel. Readout for odometer, trip meter, gallons left are fine. Anyone have any ideas?
  • aaj73aaj73 Posts: 2
    Hi everyone, I would like to ask about my hvac programmer issue. When I first got this car about three years ago, the owner had wired the blower motor into the parklamps, which in turn shorted out the power module. I replaced the module as well as the programmer, which I took from a 92 pa.This caused my climate controls to work right I.E. turning the blower motor on and off. I replaced the a/c compressor also cause the old one was cracked and leaking. When I went to recharge the system in accordance to the label affixed to the drier, the clutch on the compressor would only engage for about one to three seconds. The only code that I was able to retrieve from the ALDL link by jumping the A, B terminals indicated a low circuit at pressure switch, or low charge. While I was adding the freon the popoff valve at the compressor vented. I,m not sure if I need a new cycling switch, but at another site someone suggested replacing the expansion valve, any input would be greatly appreciated. This is by far the best forum site I've yet seen in relation to the info and attitudes of its participants, thank you. AAJ73
  • aaj73aaj73 Posts: 2
    Hi, I also wanted to ask anyone if they know how to get the trouble codes from a early model programmer on a 91 pa.Thanks.
  • What are the plastic tracks under the powers seat ? How can I get them to retract with the seat.
  • I have had this problem on my 98 park Ave when I bought it 1.5 years ago with the fuel gauge. I have also looked at other late 90's Parks with similar gauge issues. It is not uncommon.

    For me the needle on the gauge was below the "0" (or far left position of the gauge). I tried a few ways on the Web to fix it with little luck including a strong magnet. The way I fixed it was to partially disassemble the dash to get to the instrument cluster. I am NOT a mechanic but will try things with a $3.6K purchase price.

    I started dis assembly by pulling (by hand) on the wood trim on the dash to remove it (it popped off easily and exposed bolts to get to cluster) and went from there removing bolts/ screws as needed. When I got to the instrument cluster, I removed the clear plastic covering (Can't remember a few screws or bolts did it). Now I had access of the instrument cluster (which was still mounted in the dash).

    I moved with one of my fingers the gauge needle that was stuck counter clockwise to be to the zero "0" and it was and has remained fixed for 9 months.

    If you are not comfortable with this a mechanic should be able to do it easily since I am not a mechanic but like cars since a kid.

    Took me about 25 min start-to-finish and took a variety of small-sized (metric I believe) sockets.

    I assume all analog (circular) gauges can be fixed by this method.

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,046
    I believe some people have moved the needle back to position by using a magnet. I recall they said it had to be the right strength to be able to do that.

    I also recall people drilling a small hole in the plastic and using a paperclip bent properly pushed through the hole to mechanically move the needle back to position.
  • Recently my buick park ave had broke down... i had altenator tested...came back good...had battary tested...came back good...had starter had it rebuilt...put starter back on car...jump started it due to dead started fine after allowing to charge..... it has now been bout 3 hours... i went back out to my car tried to start it and it makes the same noise as before... the batt was dead n makes a clickin its tryin but just dont have the power to get goin... my battary is only 1 yr n bout 3 months old... i dont know what to do next... these problems came out of nowhere.. no signs or symptoms...jus stopped starting one day....if u can help me please respond...
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,046
    Batteries go bad. Cells can be bad. Posts can be cracked. New doesn't mean okay.

    Connections at batteries can corrode--check between the red positive cables if there is more than one.

    Did you run engine long enough to charge battery? Did you drive it an hour at least? Are you sure the alternator is charging? Running on a low battery you should be getting 15.5+ volts charging with a good voltmeter check at the battery terminals.

    I'd suggest having the battery charged--I believe Advance Auto Parts used to charge batteries for free as part of testing them. If the battery is bad, of course they'd like for you to buy one of theirs. They have good batteries and so do other stores.

    You may have a drain on the battery. A light staying on. The automatic blower fan module turning on even when the key is off keeping the heater fan running. And I believe on your car the compressor for the load-leveling rear struts can turn on when the key is off. The starter may have a drain in the solenoid since it was rebuilt you may have the same starter.

    The alternator can cause a drain.
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Lot of good suggestions. One more, are the battery cables good and secure - both where grounded to engine and hot cable to starter? If you were jump starting in a typical style - hot cable to hot pole on your battery, and neg cable to block on your car, you could be bypassing your ground cable, and this wouldn't tell you if the cable is working properly.

    And you'd want to know that the person who tested your battery tested it with a load tester, not just a volt meter. It could show 12.5VDC with a meter, but when under load (such as turning a starter) it could drop to 10 volts or less.

    Definitely start your diagnosing by making sure the battery is well charged. Did you mean you left it running or charging for 3 hours? Or after it started, you turned it off and retried 3 hours later?

    I also agree with the age of battery isn't always a reliable indicator that it is good. I wish that were the case. But I've had some last 7 years, and others barely 1 year.

    Hope you already have it figured out by the time you read this, and can tell us what you found.

    If you know the battery is fully charged, (either by a battery charger or a long drive while you know the alternator is charging by showing 13.5-14.5V measured at the battery), and it's tested good by a load tester, and it still goes dead, then you will need to consider there may be a drain and we can go from there with more suggestions.
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