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Buick Park Avenue Maintenance & Repair

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  • saw5saw5 Posts: 8
    A few weeks ago, I reported the my son's park avenue would cut off after reaching running temp. By using the spare key it ran fine until now, I has died twice, which is still alot better than dying every 30 min. Can the coolant sensor cause the car to shut off? It will shut down just as if your turned the car off. Sometime start right away, other time must let it set for 10 min. I know we need to look into the crank sensor and the computer next, but here are some other issues, the radio has never worked and the trunk release latch will not close the trunk lid properly. I adjusted the latch by hand and the switch does have power (trunk release works fine). Also, the power seat and side mirrors work and then sometime decided not to work (they stop working when we had to repair the rear view mirror and disconnected the wires running to the rear view mirror). The car seems to run fine with the A/C on full blast which I believe turns on the electric fans, but again it's starting to die. When we were using the old key, the fans never came on, which I think caused the heat problem. I am shooting from the hip, but I just trying to list all problems, there may be a relationhship. Any comments will be great. Next stop may be the Buick dealership at $90.00 an hour.
  • bev7bev7 Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Park Ave Ultra and the only power window that doesn't work is the drivers side front window. I have replaced the motor, the switches and now tried the driver door module which is a major expense and still not fixed. All the other windows work and the mirrors,door locks all work. Anyone have any idea what to try next?? I'm getting desperate as it is very inconvenient not to be able to put down the drivers window.
    I appreciate any suggestions.
    Thanks Bev
  • 1991 buick park avenue 3.8 v6 engine will not start why?
  • My best bet for you would be a bad oxygen sensor.
  • Hey I have the same problem..... Can someone please advise on what to do. We have checked everything!!!!!
  • pau03pau03 Posts: 14
    Bev,

    First of all who is doing your work? It sounds like someone is just being a parts changer. You are going to need someone with electrical knowledge. I happen to be an electrical engineer that worked for GM when I came out of college. Imagine the luck! Anyway, I have a service DVD that contains some 97 PA info but no schematics or windows info. The DVD does have the full 98 PA info. Based on Edmunds info it appears that these cars are basically the same. I'd be willing to try to help but you'll need someone to be my eyes for me. The first place I'll suggest to look is in the wiring harnesses and connectors. Hopefully you'll read this. It sounds like a fun one. If you want to you can publish your email address and I can send some schematics. Set up a temporary hotmail address if you don't want to publish your real email.

    PAU3
  • Hello, I recently came into owning a 1991 PA Ultra, the problem is I do not know the repair history.
    My mechanic said it needs a new rear engine mount, and today when I shifted into reverse it rolled forward, not engaging until I went back to park, then to reverse, are these/could these things be related?
    Also the check engine light is on solid, I have read in earlier posts that this is a non-critical light since it is not flashing. My mechanic told me when I come back to have it smogged he will "talk" to the computer.
    One last thing is I need a new driver seat-belt buckle (I currently have to pull it over to the passenger buckle). I intend to go to my local pick-your-part for a replacement, and I know that GM cars share common parts, does anyone know if there is a compatible buckle from say an Olds 98 or Pontiac something?
    I thank you in advance for any help or guidance,
    RFB
  • mmadsenmmadsen Posts: 2
    My 99 Park Ave with 103k miles has a problem with the dashboard lights. The digital displays for the odometer, fuel use, etc and the gear indicator sometimes work fine, sometimes Nothing at all is lit, sometimes lit but the odometer, etc, doesn't change while driving, sometimes the gear indicator lights blink like a pinball machine! Occasionally it will return to normal after restarting the car, or in the middle of a trip.
    Is it a loose connection or part that's faulty??
    Many thanks for suggestions.
  • pau03pau03 Posts: 14
    Intermittent electrical problems are probably the hardest thing to diagnose. I'm an electrical engineer and these things will drive you crazy. I have the service manual DVD for your car and I did some looking at the schematics. That gauge cluster is pretty complicated. But it appears that it only has 4 hot wires and one ground wire supplying it. It has connections to other modules, some of which communicate through the serial data link. I didn't see any terminal that mentioned shift lever so I would have to assume that the shifter info enters the cluster via the serial data information.

    In any case, there is only one gigantic connector that plugs into the gauge cluster. I have a '03 Ultra and I had my cluster out the other day getting at my heads up display. It's not hard to get the cluster out, it took me about 10 minutes. It just involves removing 4 trim pieces that either screw or snap into place. No big deal if you've worked on interior trim before. If you're motivated to go further you might try disconnecting the connector and look for loose or dislodged terminals. Sometimes just exercising the connectors will clean them up and allow them to make a good connection. The plug on my car was really attached well so you have to pull quite hard.

    If that doesn't work then your next best bet is to get someone that knows electronics to try and get into the gauge cluster itself. There is a risk of messing something else up, because as I stated before, it looks to be complicated inside. But there is always the chance that there is just an open solder connection or something easy to fix. I had that happen on my heating/cooling temperature display. The brainiacs at GM undersized a one cent resistor and it got too hot and opened its solder connection. I put in a bigger resistor and it's worked fine ever since. I saved a hundred bucks by doing this.

    If you have someone electrically inclined that wants to take this on I can email you some of the schematics.

    There are other possible causes of your problem but I'm not going to go into them now. I'll wait for your reply on this info.

    Good luck. PAU03
  • rbuzardrbuzard Posts: 1
    I have a 1996 Park Avenue. The inside interior lights are suppose to fade out when the car is started but on mine they stay lit and will not go out. Even when I shut the car off they will stay lit for about 10 minutes or so then shut off. But as soon as start it again the same thing happens. Does anyone have a clue as to why this is happening.
  • Hello. I have a 1995 park avenue, and I'm having problems with the automatic features. The driver side power window switch for the passenger window doesn't work, nor does the passenger side power window switch-window don't go down. E-brake light stays on and theirs a warning signal that stays on in the car while in drive (very annoying). Climate control; air blow cold on the driver side but warm on the passenger side. The car will briefly cut off on me while driving but come right back on. Any answers/suggestions? Please respond, thanks!
  • 57will57will Posts: 5
    Just today, the trunk latch stopped working on my '91 Park Avenue Ultra. I'm wondering if the latch needs to be replaced entirely, but I'm definitely NOT trying to shell out $90 an hour, so I could definitely use some assistance on how to get the trunk to close securely.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,263
    I'm guessing as to things to check for you.

    For the Emergency Brake light..., is it an indicator also for the master brake reservoir and indicates it's low on fluid. Check. If your brakes have been on the car for lots of miles, the wear may have allowed more fluid from the reservoir to go to the calipers (and rear cylinders) lowering the fluid in the master brake reservoir. Do a safety check-you could have a seep also in brake line letting fluid out. Sometimes brake lines rubber type deteriorate and sometimes the steel lines corrode in high sale areas of the country where they use more corrosive salts on the roads.

    The e-brake could be the switch on the e-brake pedal.

    My first check on the power windows would be that the contacts at the master unit sometimes get flakey. Try a little alcohol or other cleaner into the switch for the failed window. The liquid may break through some corrosion. You can try just moving the switch back and forth several times. Then use a putty knife to lift the block of switches from the door arm rest, insert at front end or back end and lift gently; the thing is held in by a clip that sticks out slightly and catches to hold the block into the door. The wires slide onto connectors in the switch unit and may not make good contact there. Just wiggle them and pull one off if it seems loose and squeeze it with pliers to tighten the contact.

    Next is the switch at the passenger door. Then the wires in the bundle from the A-post to the door sometimes break from being flexed hundreds of thousands of times. Remove the rubber tube and look to see if one seems especially kinked or weak in one area meaning the wires inside are broken. Use a resistant meter and needles into the wire to check for breaks.

    Is the air cold difference when the heat is up at 82? Can the level or heat be controlled from the passenger door electrical control? When the temp is set at 62, can the temp be varied some from the passenger door? It may be the actuator motor and gears that move the separate door for adjusting air flow to the passenger side. Some have a gear that cracks. You'll have to dissassemble the sound shield under the dash (4 screws?) and sometimes take off the glove box door (7 screws?) to watch the motor and its metal rod move the door while you adjust the temps for whole car and then for passenger side.

    If you don't have dual controls, the above doesn't apply.

    Is the air conditioning fully charged? The problem you note is discussed in a Bonneville discussion, same car, and I don't recall all the possibilities.
  • saw5saw5 Posts: 8
    57will,

    Since my son's car still only works when it wants to, we took the cheap way out. I removed the switch and motor from the bottom latch. There are about 4 screws. With those items remove you will see the hole where the worm gear goes from the removed motor. Using a flathead screwdrive i gently working the square latch up and down unitl I could get the upper latch to seat the trunk lid properly. To my suprise the upper latch solenoid must create a field to raise the lower square latch upperward, So I did the movement of the worm gear again until I had the fit of the trunk lid again and then I ty-wrapped the square latch in place using the motor/switch support as the anchor. It has held fine and it can be repair correctly in the future. Once I understood the concept it only took about 15min. to complete this task. However, this car still cuts out while driving.
  • saw5saw5 Posts: 8
    My son's 95 is still shuting down while driving. We thought we had it fixed by replacing the coolant sensor. The fans began to work the new stat open the upper hose and life was good until it happen agained. Driving down the road and it dies. Should we replace the crank case sensor next or is this in the ignition swith?
  • 57will57will Posts: 5
    Saw5, I'm just reading your reply right now, and thanks a bunch for it. This morning, I drove my '91 Park Avenue Ultra to my local Kmart, purchased a $2.99 can of WD-40 (someone at my church had recommended it), took it back home, gave a couple of heavy sprays on the trunk latch, then lowered the trunk lid. It closed.
    I've read about the highway vibrations a few other Park Avenue oweners have posted previously, and I experienced some of those myself before getting some newer, properly balanced tires, which pretty much eliminated 'em. I've had no problem with my car stalling out (save for a couple of occasions when I had almost no gas in it, and was parked on a hill), but I do have a drooping headliner that I want to take care of. Any advice?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,263
    You don't mention miles on the car.
  • saw5saw5 Posts: 8
    1. PURCHASED 95PA WITH 154,000 MILES FROM LOCAL DEALERSHIP TEST DROVE WITH NO PROBLEMS, RUNS STRONG WHEN IT RUNS. 2. NEXT DAY DIED ON MY SON GOING TO WORK, JUST CUT RIGHT OFF. CHECK FUEL PUMP AND SCH.VALUE, IGN MODULE, COILS ALL SEEMS O.K. COOLANT TANK SHOWED SIGN OF NO USE. 3. FOLLOWED THE INTERNET MYTH AND TRIED SPARE KEY.. RAN FOR 3 WEEK WITHOUT ONE PROBLEM. 4. DIED AGAIN, NOTICE FANS WOULD NOT WORK UNLESS A/C ON. 5.REPLACED THERMOSTAT AND RESERVE TANK, COOLANT NOW PULLING FROM RESERVE TANK. 6. REPLACE COOLANT SENSOR, FANS NOW COME ON WHEN NEEDED. CAR STILL DIES, IT WILL RESTART SOMETIMES AFTER 1-2 MIN SOMETIMES IN TAKES 20MIN. SOMETIMES WILL RUN FOR MILES OTHER TIMES A HALF MILE. WHEN IT DIED A FEW DAYS AGO MY SON WAS ALMOST HIT WITH HIS 3YR DAUGHTER IN THE CAR. THE CAR IS NOW PARKED, HOWEVER IT WILL RUN IN THE DRIVEWAY FOR 40MIN WITHOUT ON PROBLEM? ONE MORE NOTE, THIS CAR HAS HAD MANY ITEMS REPLACED INSIDE THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT, TO MANY TO LIST HERE, SO SOMEONE HAS BEEN CHASING THIS ISSUE FOR A LONG TIME. IGN. SWITCH? CRANKCASE SENSOR, CAM SENSOR? HOW DO WE CHECK THESE ITEMS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO NEXT? AND IT HAS NOT THROW ONE CODE YET.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,263
    Please turn off the caps key. It makes your post hard to read.

    My checking would be the battery cables at both ends and both cables. If the positive cable has a double layer where two cables are tightened together with one bolt take that apart and look for corrosion.

    A check for crankshaft sensor is to locate it so you know where it is behind the balance wheel and when the car stops have water to splash or spray into that are to cool off the crankshaft position sensor. That may make the car start immediately when the sensor is cooled--according to what I've read in another forum. Crankshaft sensor problems are elusive.
  • saw5saw5 Posts: 8
    While reading the shop manual I came across where it stated the alternator should be putting out 14v, one section said between 14-15v. My sons is putting out 13.48 - 13.68v. Then I read that is some case voltage drop could shut the car down. How true is this? I have posted a few message's on this site trying to track down this problem of door just shutting down while driving. Yesterday I was in the car which started just fine and then the voltage gage began to drop after I rev her up to 2500 rpms and then died. It started fine again and after I rev her up again after a few more time, it died again.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,263
    What year and how many miles are on your Buick?

    My first thought from reading what others in Pontiac/Buick discussions have had, is to check your cables at the battery for corrosion. Take them off and inspect down into the cable. If you have the double cable at the positive take themapart and check for corrosion. Check the other ends of the cables and tighten those connects. Tighten the connections at the alternator. I'd recommend leaving off the negative cable until you've completed all this tightening.

    Alternators do fail. Take it off and go to Autozone. They'll test free. I believe PepBoys do also. My choice would be Autozone because they have remanufactured AC alternators, reman by AC qualified folks not just Joe's Reman Shop--which can be fine also.

    Also look at the battery. Wiggle the wires at the connections. Some have had a broken post inside. You may just have a bad battery also. The shops will test those. Autozone, Advanced, here will come to the car and check them and take them inside to test for you.
  • lane2lane2 Posts: 28
    Would appreciate detailed information on how to change the cabin air filter in a 2001 Buick Park Ave.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,263
    I'm guessing they are the same as this 1999. You may have to remove a thin plastic horizontal panel above the driver's legs called a hush panel. It will have 3-5 screws holding it. These instructions are not mine. I found them elsewhere--I knew I'd read them.

    Just to make you feel bad, the 03 LeSabre I have has a snap in cover under the windshield wiper area and you remove the filter standing upright!

    "I have a 99 Park Avenue and bought a cabin air filter the other day. Replacing the filter turned out to be very difficult but I was ultimately successful. I found a Web site that gave a better description of the filter access cover location (See Hastings filters, Cabin Air Filter Identification/Location, Filter AF1066). As tman said the filter is behind a white access cover near the accelerator pedal at the fire wall. Pry this cover off or pull it with the tab using vise grips. It will come off and expose the first of the 3 filters. There will be two tabs, one horizontal sticking straight out and the other vertical against the end of the filter. Rotate the vertical one up until it is horizontal. This one is attached to the second filter and has to be moved out of the way for the first filter to come out. With great difficulty slide the first filter out while bending it in front of the accelerator pedal to get it out. Then take the tab for the second filter and move the second filter down to the removal position. Again rotate the vertical tab for the third filter upward to the horizontal position and remove the second filter. Then move the third filter down and remove it. The above is made all the more difficult by having to lay upside down under the dash while holding a flashlight and trying to work in a 3 inch opening.

    "Reinstallation is the reverse, although even more difficult than removal. I almost gave up before finally getting the second and third filters to slide properly into the slots on the bottom of the tab and filter above each one. Finally reinstall the access cover by hooking it at the bottom and then pushing it at the top until it snaps in place."
  • pau03pau03 Posts: 14
    Hi,

    I don't see where you mentioned the year of your PA. I helped design the charging system for the late 80's and early 90's GM cars. The alternator output voltage should be between 13.4 and 16.0 volts depending on the temperature of the voltage regulator, which is inside the alternator. The hotter it is the lower the voltage. From memory I want to say that the voltage was supposed to be 14.7 volts at 77 deg F. Generally the underhood temperatures are way above that so the voltage should be about 14 volts or so. An important thing to know is that the voltage regulator generally senses the voltage at the output stud of the alternator. Some models (Corvette and Allente?) sensed the voltage at the battery because the battery was located quite a distance from the alternator. Anyway, you need to be sure to measure the voltage from the alternator output terminal to the chassis of the alternator. If you are using a voltmeter on the instrument gauge it will probably read lower than it actually is.

    When the car is turned off the battery voltage will usually be about 12.6 volts or a little higher, if the engine was just turned off. Since you are measuring it at 13.48 - 13.68 volts it means that the alternator is creating an output voltage. It may have a diode open in the bridge of the alternator and this would allow some output current but not full output current. The higher the RPM the more current that will be available. In other words, as the rpm goes up the voltage should go up, not down.

    You mention that the gauge began to drop. What were the voltage readings when this happened?

    I have a hard time believing that the car would shut itself down if the voltage got too low. I know for a fact that the ignition system needs to work at a very low voltage because on a cold day the voltage can drop below 8 volts while the starter is being engaged. You have something else going on.

    I know that under wide open throttle conditions the air conditioner is shut off and I kind of remember some cars turning off the alternator in an effort to remove as much load from the engine as possible. When this happens the voltage would drop to something less than 12.6 volts, depending on what other loads are still on. It could be that your car thinks it is under wide open throttle conditions. Maybe your throttle sensor is defective? I'm just guessing on this. If the throttle position sensor was wrong it might also apply the incorrect fuel injector pulses which could stall the engine.

    I'm fairly confident in my analysis of the charging system. I'm just guessing on the rest. The voltage regulator that I worked on was pretty reliable and I only know of one person that actually had a regulator problem. Much more often the bearings would go out and the alternator would need to be replaced.

    Another thing to look for are bad ground connections. This could be at the battery, block or anywhere else. A bad ground connection can make some really goofy things happen and most people don't think to look for these things.

    I hope that I've given you some things to look for and think about.

    PAU3
  • lane2lane2 Posts: 28
    Thanks for the info. I looked and I could see the white plastic cover. I unsnapped it and it looks like I see the white tabs. I will wait until tomorrow to try to remove the filters. Hope I can stay positioned under the dash long enough to get them out. Think I will get them out, rest a while, and then install the new ones. Will let you know the outcome.
  • saw5saw5 Posts: 8
    Hi PAU3,

    All the previous messages from saw5 are mine. There are many. We have been chasing this problem since we purchased the car in July. It's the 94 with 156000 miles on it. I just thought it was funny that when I had it running on Sunday and the fans were working, upper hose opened and temperature was normal, that it began to die again. While I was in the car. The inside voltage gauge began dropping righ after I gave it gas and car died. I was measuring at the battery terminal. 13.40 - 13.68, However as my son gave it gas after re-start the voltage never went higher than 13.68 That's why I send the last posting. All cables are new and battery was check at Auto Zone. I keep thinking this is an electrical problem or a sensor (which one?)

    Thanks to all for the help,

    and please keep suggesting,

    Saw5
  • Today, the original factory radio suddenly stopped working on my '91 Park Avenue while on my way home. Initially, I thought a fuse might have blown, so when I got home, I checked the fuse. The #11 fuse had indeed blown. However, when I changed the fuse, there was a sudden tiny spark, followed by a small pop in the fuse receptacle. The replacement fuse had blown. Tried another, and the same thing happened. Was going to restart the car to try to take it to a shop, but it would not start. All the interior and dash lights worked, (along with the horn), and the battery connections were as tight as they could be, but there was no engine turn over at all.
    I'm no electrician, but just what the heck could have caused this? :sick:
  • lane2lane2 Posts: 28
    Well, I got my grandson to point a flashlight at the opening so that I could see how to get the filters out. The only difference was that mine had a strip of tape holding all three filters together. Once I got the tape to release on the first one, it came out fine, leaving the tape connected to the other two. Just kept on peeling tape and pulling them out until done. They were dirty, but not as bad as I expected. Got replacement filters ordered at Advanced Auto Parts and will put them in next week. Thanks again. :)
  • I am getting ready to buy a 1995 Ultra with about 80,000 miles on it. I am just wondering, what should the oil pressure gauge be reading on this car? It's at about 40 at cruising speeds of 35 to 50 MPH, but I'm a bit concerned as it drops down to the line just above the red zone at idle. Anyone have a manual they could take a quick peek at? Thanks!!
  • Great results! Turns out one of the battery cables was just a little bit loose. Tightened it up and no more problems!! The fuel gauge somehow flipped all the way around and got stuck under the peg down below empty...Had to drill a tiny hole in the dashboard plastic and fish in there with a paperclip to swing the little indicator up over to the right direction. Thanks for the helpful ideas from forum users!! :shades:
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