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Buick Park Avenue Maintenance & Repair

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    When it flashes for 90 seconds after starting, that means in its self check upon startup it has found a fault. Early units were able to give some code information. I'll see if I can find out how for yours. It may be after the change or before the change. The difference in temperature sounds like it may be a bad or stuck actuator. There are two on my LeSAbre's unit and one moves a vane that changes the temp for the driver; the other moves a vane that changes the temp for the passenger.

    I do not know the physical layout of yours, but I would guess it's similar to the leSabres earlier because the 93s shared the same Factory Service Manual.

    Getting under the passenger side dash may allow you to turn on the AC controls and watch the links move under the dash.

    Here's a link to the picture of a later but similarly laid out unit. No guarantees.

    http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/imidazol97/0900823d8017f925-1.gif

    Here's a photo of car without the dash. Notice the link on top saying blend door lever and actuator-the two are connected by a link to move the total temp lever for driver.

    At bottom the arrow that says programmer goes here, look at the left end of the arrow, you'll see a foam piece and a plastic rod sticks out of the heater there and connects to a second metal rod from the actuator when it's in place. That's the motor link to drive the passenger temp vane inside the heater box.

    The actuators have little plastic gears inside that can crack and slip. By changing temp on your controls with the key ON you should be able to see movement in both links to control the vanes.

    http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k110/imidazol97/heatercorehousing9cn.jpg
  • dabodabo Posts: 3
    Thanks ever so much. I'll check for proper operation. Do you know if the servos are motors or vacuum? I guess the old gal is trying to tell me she needs help. I suspect that you are correct in that the paddle actuators may not be working correctly. I suspect they are having an issue homing themselves on startup since the issue is at startup and the temperatures for each side are wacky when the system kicks in.

    I'll leave a post to let you know. Thanks for the help.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    The two little electric motors that move the blend doors to mix the hot air and normal air at the right side and are not vacuum.

    The other doors, that close off the defroster to make air come out the vents, that close off the floor to force air up to defroster or open halfway for bilevel and windshield with floor, and that open to recirculate air from inside the car partly are all vacuum. They do not control the temperature at all. They have little plastic vacuum tubes that run from the programmer (heater computer) that's bolted on the corner of the heater box with one of the electric actuators inside.

    If you take off the two plastic sound shields right and left, and spend some upside down time lying across the seat and get your head underneath the dash, you can check operation of lots of these parts by changing the heater controls with the key ON and the motor running to provide vacuum for those motors.
  • glibritzglibritz Posts: 4
    I own a 1998 Buick Park Ave Ultra with 106,000 miles (car runs very good). The left turn signal for the most part has stopped working. From time to time when I try using it, it blinks about four times and stops. My mechanic says that it might be the turn signal switch (which costs about $540.). He also says that he will not know for sure if it is the switch until he removes the steering wheel and airbag assembly (costly labor if it is not the switch). Two questions, if it is the switch, can one be purchased for less money? Next, instead of the switch, could the problem be caused by something else (the right signal does work).
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    I would be pulling the bulbs for the signal lights on the front and back and replacing both. Keep the old ones for spares. Then replace the side market lights.

    Check the right side and you'll see the side marker light go on and off when the headlights are on along with the turn signal bulb flashing. How they are done on different years I don't recall. But I'd try replacing all the bulbs and making sure they make good contact in the seats. Hope it's working when you're done replacing 4 bulbs or so.
  • laraannlaraann Posts: 2
    yes i would check bulbs first it could be that u are getting a loose connection. the socket could be getting worn. try using bulb grease this can help keep the connection .
  • glibritzglibritz Posts: 4
    Thank you for your reply; I did forget to mention that the bulbs have been checked already by my mechanic (and I really trust him - if he could have fixed the problem that way, he would have). It looks as though I will have to buy a new turn signal switch through the manufacturer or dealer (its not an aftermarket part) and have it installed; as it is now, without a working left turn signal, the car will not pass inspection in 2010. Its a shame to have to pay about $800 ($546. for the part, plus at least $200-300 for labor) just to fix a left-turn signal; but what other options do I have; I do not see anymore.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    If you are positive it's in the turn signal portion of the column, I believe it would be cheaper and easier to purchase a used column and replace the whole thing. Column replacement is fairly easy.

    Try looking on car-parts.com which searches recycling yards everywhere--the whole country or more.
    I see quotes from $250 down to $50 and less for a column WITH key, so you don't have to redo the lock cylinder in the column.
    I got 12 pages of listed columns for your 1998 Park Avenue.
    They can be sorted by distance from your zip code or sorted by price.
    You can call many of the yards or just go stop in. Maybe they have a lower price if one is close and you're there rather than an internet customer.

    Ask your mechanic how much labor to replace the column.

    www.car-parts.com
  • glibritzglibritz Posts: 4
    Hey, thank you for the idea. That sounds like a good place for me to start. I would never had thought of that; then again, that's why their are people like yourself who have the knowledge to think more creatively than us folks; I will post a follow-up in the near future on my progress; again, thank you imidazoI97.
  • jakej_mnjakej_mn Posts: 5
    Since my last post # 193 last Oct. - my Park Avenue has traveled more than 15,000 miles without a hitch. Thanks to those who suggested the crank sensor which cured the intermittent quiting problems.
    Just thought some might be interested.
    Jake
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    Thanks for reporting back to us about what you found fixed your problem. That should help others know what to check.
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Time for an update...

    My car: 1998 BPA, 270,000 miles, gran touring susp.

    My window returned to it's former behavior of rolling down extremely slow during wet weather, and after a while it quit working completely - although you could hear the motor turning and making a grinding noise. Obviously some sort of nylon gear probably wore out.

    I looked up the details on the window motor and turns out the left side power window motors (front & rear) are identical and the right side motors match too. (*footnote Rockauto lists the front/left and rear/right as the same units, and vice versa but I have not found that to be the case)

    With this info I went to a local "pull it yourself" junk yard and found a similar car (these motors are used in more than one model - Caddy, Chevy..etc ) and picked up one out of a rear left door which I felt would normally be unused in a southern luxury car... compared it to mine to match it. *The r/r did not match my f/l.

    The replacement procedure is as simple as any window motor I've replaced.

    You don't have to tape or prop up the window, you pretty much remove the interior door panel, unplug the electrical connectors, remove the weather seal, remove the (3) 10mm bolts, pull the motor - the window stays in place. While you have it open spray lube on the hinge or pivot point of the power window regulator as well as the nylon wheel tracks. I feel the hinge is actually the point that is causing the slow rolldown, as after it was sprayed with lube I could move the window up and down while the motor was out. Before spraying it, it was very difficult to move the window up or down by hand at all.

    Next replace with the new motor, reassemble the seal, electrical connectors, and door panel, and you should be good to go.

    As my father's 2001 was behaving the same (slow on rainy days), we simply swapped his rear motor with the front motor and lubed the hinge and it is moving strong again.

    Again, in hindsight, I really feel the dry hinge is the problem part. It seems to build up corrosion or crud. After lubing, the window regulator swivels easier.

    I suspect this procedure would be the same for '97 thru '05 models.
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Just to bridge the start to end of this problem for future readers:

    update 1

    update 2

    end of story
  • ginny55ginny55 Posts: 3
    I change the oil every 3-4000 miles and rotate the tires every 6-8000 miles. Firestone is recommending that I replace upper & lower radiator hoses ($257), Transmission Fluid Flush ($170), Tuneup 6 Cyl ($124), Replace Fuel filter ($92) and do fuel system tun up - Ever-Wear Fuel system cleaner ($90).

    The manual that I have doesn't give much detail about normal maintenance other than oil change and tire rotation.

    Does anyone have more detail? I love this car and want to keep it as long as I can.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    Find yourself a good independent mechanic for your work. Firestone is trying to rip you off. That's my personal opinion.

    I just changed the top radiator hose on my 1998 (built in Dec 97). It has started to slightly swell near the thermostat. That's the hottest end and it deteriorates the most. It cost under $20 for a Dayco brand at PepBoys. I installed it myself. The lower hose is colder and I'm watching it because it's hardened some. This car is 11 years old. Yours is 4. Think you need hoses? I doubt it.

    Transmission fluid should have been drained and refilled every 36000 miles in my opinion. Manual says 100,000 or never. I do not recommend flushing. Have an independent shop drain, replace filter with Purolator $20, and refill with Dexron VI fluid. It also can use Dexron III which it came with. The Dexron VI is more like synthetic. Supertech brand at Walmart is what I used in my 03 and it was $2.79 quart. It takes 7 quarts.

    Tuneup may be anything. There is no tuneup any more. Replace plugs and wires at 100,000 or earlier. I'd do them about 80K.

    Fuel filter is most likely under the passenger side rear area inside the frame rail. It screws on at one end and has a snap on plastic fitting at the other. Cost $15? labor time about 15 minutes for a skilled mechanic.

    Wearever Fuel cleaner? Go buy a bottle of Techron by Chevron at Walmart, $5.95 12 oz., or Advance Auto parts, Autozone, or PepBoys. One may have a buy 1 get one free. There's a 12 ox for up to 12 gallons and a 20 oz for up to 20 gallons. Add to an almost empty tank and fill with premium. Then 2 or 3 tanks later repeat. your tank holds 18 gallons when filled.

    Find a new service place.

    Also drain your antifreeze, which is DexCool, and replace with fresh. That's the most critical on the list and they didn't even mention it. Maybe because it's work. Replace DexCool every 2 - 2.5 years just like the old style antifreezes.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    Two more things to check are the engine air filter. I change about every 40,000 with a Purolator replacement.

    Also check the cabin air filter which is likely on top of the cowl when the hood is open, in front of the windshield wipes. I'm not sure of the physical layout of your specific car but it usually is an 8 by 12 rectangle with two little snaps that hold it down. Under it is a slide in and out air filter for the air entering the heater blower. Pull the old one out and look at it. If it's dust covered and smells moldy... I replaced with Purolator for about $16. I have tried washing and bleaching and replacing, but it just doesn't freshen up.

    The Purolator filter for the cabin says "Made in USA" in case you wonder why I usually buy that brand--PepBoys has them in my area.
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Cabin air filter on this series BPA is under the dash, near the gas pedal and you need to be limber to swap it out. It is made up of 3 separate rectangle shaped filters that are taped together and locked with a tongue/groove type edge connectors. Have to be pulled out one at a time after removing tape. Installation is the reverse. Last time I priced they were around $27, your price may vary.

    As to replacing the radiator hoses, do what you feel comfortable with. If you travel cross-country a lot (crossing Death Valley gets hot), you may have it done for peace of mind, but as Imizadol97 said, the hoses really do last a long time. I finally replaced mine when my radiator gave out around 230,000 miles. They weren't leaking, I just did it to match the new radiator. Mine were probably around 10 years old.

    There are two trains of thought on the trans flush. I belong to the group that feels it doesn't hurt to flush, even high mileage cars. I did mine once when it had around 165,000 and again around 265,000. Original trans still... That price for the flush sounds high to me. I'd expect it to be around $79-89. Fuel filter is a quick swap of a $10 part, so personally $92 sounds high, but if you aren't a DIY'r, sometimes you just have to accept the parts and labor markup. Depending on your mileage, it may be a good thing to have done. You want the injectors to have a good flow of clean fuel that won't clog them up.

    75,000 miles on your BPA? I can't recall what the recommended fuel filter replacement interval is. Have you checked the back of your owner's manual? I thought there were some tables in the front or back of the manual that stated intervals. Perhaps a separate maint guide in the case?

    How long since the last tune-up? I'm personally happy with 100,000 tuneups. These engines are very reliable.

    On the fuel system tune-up, if they actually connect the 1 pint cylinder device and run a high quality cleaner (like BG) directly thru your injectors using regulated compressed air then $90 sounds about right, but if they are just adding cleaner to the fuel tank, I agree you could do it yourself much cheaper and use the leftover $$ to fill your tank a time or two .. :)

    I think you'll enjoy that car for a long time!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    >75,000 miles on your BPA? I can't recall what the recommended fuel filter replacement interval is.

    If it's like the leSabres, there is no replacement interval. It's just if there might be a problem with the filter's ability to flow fuel. Personally I use good grades gas, seldom buy at a questionable station. I replaced filter on 98 at 100,000 or higher. When dried the filter didn't allow air through easily. The new one, of course, did. A filter that has caught stuff and is partically restricted puts more work on the fuel pump is some posters' thinking. Cheap part; easy replacement by self if medium ability and have tools to hold metal line and the filter both.

    >Cabin air filter on this series BPA is under the dash

    I'd forgotten that. But I had read someone posting about that earlier. I like mine where it's a stand up job! Easier.

    For the transmission, do one or the other, but do something. 75,000 is far past a good service interval. I'd be most concerned about the quality of the fluid that goes back in to replace the current fluid. The shops doing the flush may not want to use the Dexron VI. I consider that like the oil used by quickie lubes where you don't really _know_ what the oil is quality wise. You are trusting them.

    Plugs and wires when they deteriorate may load the electronic spark control module more. But the iridium plugs used and the GM wires are good.
  • ginny55ginny55 Posts: 3
    Thank you for your response. It was very helpful. I am not a DIYer so must rely on others. As times are hard, I want to make good decisions with my money. thanks again.
  • ginny55ginny55 Posts: 3
    Thank you. I bought the car at 25000 miles and I don't think the cabin air filter has ever been changed. I will definitely get that done.

    Thanks again for your reply.
  • Hi,

    I have the same problem and was wondering if you found out why it was coming on.

    Thanks
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    The post to which you replied was from July 2007; the poster hasn't been on since December 2007. But I'll comment.

    There have been a lot of cases of the service stability system message. In some it's the sensor on the steering column not reading well because of gap between it and the column or other things. The four sensors at the wheels can cause problems with gaps, dirt, or corrosion on the contacts.

    you might watch to see if it turns on when you turn the steering wheel or when you hit a bump at one of the car wheels while they are turned. I've had my message come on but then it doesn't come on for a long time. I have suspected one of the wheels sensor connections and will reseat each one as I do the brakes over a period of time.

    The steering sensor was reset or replaced under warranty when my 03 was within the new car warranty.

    If you turn off the car and restart, usually mine will operate just fine. When the message has been on, the stability system is turned off. That's not much of a problem for me.
  • i have a 91 buick park ave. i changed the coil pack and ignition mod. but after driving for about 20 minutes the car seems to just shut down. it wont start right back up, i have to wait like 20-30 minutes. the last time it did it, it did start back up but i work across the city and need to make sure i can get there and back. someone mentioned cam shaft sensors but it seems everyone on here already tried that!! what should i do? i am getting plenty of gas and power, its just like its getting to hot and shutting down!!
  • I bought a 91 park ave about 2 weeks ago. i had to replace the coil pack and ignition mod. because the car would shut down after driving for 30 minutes or so. since then, hte car will still shut down on me. there are no warning signs, it just dies out. i dont know what else to do, when i bought the car they said it had no problems what so ever. where do i go now? it dont overheat all the gages are fine and it runs great before it shuts down. what should i do?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    Does it restart immediately? Does it take a while. If it won't start pull off a spark plug wire, put a screwdriver blade in and hold it close to the grounded motor while someone cranks to check for spark. No spark. Then look to crankshaft position sensor.

    If spark present then check for proper fuel pressure. Could be fuel pump. You may need to connect a fuel pressure gauge and duct tape it to windshield and drive around watching it.

    Could be main computer cutting out.
  • I have a 97 Buick park avenue. My driver side window does not work. I replaced the window control. I replace the driver door motor. What is causing my problem.
  • I am replacing the rear shocks and I also will be replacing the sway bar bushings and links. Are there any other items that i need to be concerned with on the rear suspension, also are there any instructions or diagrams available for this procedure. Thanks, Brian
  • recently purchased the above i can seem to get any heat out the rear vents above the console. any ideas? thanks.
  • jobug6jobug6 Posts: 6
    Hi, my 94 Buick Park Avenue just had its fuel regulator replaced because it was sort of jerking occassionally while driving at highway speeds. After that was fixed, it seemed to drive OK, except at around 1500 rpm, it would sort of shudder and jerk lightly. The mechanic said he would check it, but before I could get it in there, it started dying while braking, but only once in a while. (It is hard for me to get time off work to leave my car, so I put off going back to the mechanic.) I watch the alternator indicator and it doesn't go one way or the other. The car just dies with no notice or noise or anything. Suddenly no power steering. Fortunately, the times it has done this is either right before stopping or as I slow way down to make a turn. Today however, it was totally dead when I tried to start it. Click, click, click. The second time, I tried, it made a metal clanking noise. I got a jump and it started right up, drove quite well for a trip, but as I approached home, slowed down to stop at a traffic light, it died. The battery and alternator were replaced last winter. Also, the computer module was replaced last winter. Any help appreciated.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,534
    The lack of ability to start after stalling might be a defective battery, corrosion on the cables at the battery especially the positive cables where two are on top of each other and corrosion can be in between them.

    The problem could be an alternator. The voltage indicator should go higher like 15-16 volts when you start the car after sitting and then drop gradually to about 13.5 - 14 volts after a period of time running.

    The stalling could be the EGR valve sticking or dirty. They stay open due to crud or sticking keeping them from closing which causes a poor idle and stalling. Then they will often restart just fine.

    The stalling could be a crankshaft position sensor. Lots of those are failing.

    A MAF sensor that is dirty measures the incoming air wrong and causes stalling and various problems.

    Because the car started right up with a jump, I'd suspect an alternator not charging the battery or a defective battery. But you said the needle doesn't change and it should be at 14 or so instead of at 12.6 when the car is not running.

    Somewhere like Walmart can check a battery and alternator and their hours may be long enough you can get in.
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