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Buick LeSabre Heating / Cooling



  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,054
    the programmer has a big connector that comes off kind of hard. I don't remember if there's a blue key pin that has to come out first or not. There's a little connector on the top that goes tot he passenger actuator that moves the rod on top of the HVAC box.

    Because of those connectors, if you can remove the cover and clip out the plastic connector for one or all of the little tubes, it would be easier.

    I may be repeating, but I used 1/8 inch internal gas line. Others have found aquarium line fits over the little small hard plastic vacuum lines. A little moisture on the end of the line may help it slide in easier.
  • clearlakeclearlake Posts: 11
    I'm back. I'm going to try to attach a photo with this reply.

    Regarding the hush panel, what is the IIRC you mention. I can see the front connectors and spin nuts.

    Is the second programmer connector screw on the firewall side of the programmer, the bottom or somewhere else?

    I still am worried about the wiring connected to the passenger side of the programmer, if I actually get to the removal point. Should I disconnect the battery first?

    How do you attach a jpeg photo?
  • clearlakeclearlake Posts: 11
    I' back again.

    I've removed the hush panel and the small connector arm at the bottom of the programmer.

    I see what I think is the 2nd screw for the programmer at the bottom.

    I think I would be better off if I could get to the vacuum lines internal to the programmer without removing the programmer itself.

    I've already removed the female part of the vacuum line connection, the clear plastic piece with the external vacuum lines going to the motors, once. If there was a way to get the male part of the connection out without tearing up the programmer I might could extend the interior vacuum lines out of the programmer and make the splices.

    There might be a holding clip (black) running around the top and side of the black plate with the male nipples on it. I'm not sure. Breaking this in a removal attempt might not be too critical. This could be sealed pretty well after splicing.

    As a last resort I could make a manifold for the lines to the motors, figure out the functions of the internal programmer lines and set up a plug and play to manually replace the programmer vacuum functions.

    I may have to see if a sympathetic parts man would let me look at a replacement programmer to understand it better.

    You can see I'm getting loopy. Help.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,054
    The programmer side that snaps on is against the HVAC. Have to remove.

    The little actuator motor on top of the HVAC is a clip on snap; pull prong out to pull upward. It's on the picture of the programmer.

    The plastic connector for the tubes is a slide in. There are grooves around it.

    link title
  • clearlakeclearlake Posts: 11
    I can't believe it but I've removed the programmer and the plate/whatever you call it that has the vacuum lines from the internal manifold connected to male/nipple connectors.

    I'm now going to get tubing to go around the male component.

    The hardest part was the removal of the electrical connector on the front of the programmer. I studied the little grey clips/locks/whatevers for a long time until I figured I needed to pry the smaller lock/connector arms out a little with a small screwdriver. There's one of these on both sides of the connector. You know this of course. After much wiggling the connector came loose. The electrical connection on the top of the programmer wasn't hard at all. After the two screws were removed I was able to drop it down and jiggle it out.

    Now the tubular fix, I hope.

    I'll send you the results as soon as I recover from the heat.

  • clearlakeclearlake Posts: 11
    I've made the tubular bypass, hooked up the electrical connectors and re-connected the lever at the bottom of the programmer.

    I started the car and turned on the air. Voila, there's cold air coming out of the dash vents. Selecting windshield/floor works too. No more tests. I'll drive it awhile before re-installing the hush panel and glove box. I'll test heat and vent etc.

    thanks again,

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,054
    Great! Glad it worked.

    Did you use rubber gas line to connect the vacuum hoses or aquarium line?

    Thanks for coming back to tell us it worked or didn't work!
  • clearlakeclearlake Posts: 11
    I could not find aquarium line small enough to make a tight connection. I tried some shrink tubing and it was not tight enough to stay on during the re-installation of the programmer.

    I noticed that either GM or the mechanic who did the repair before had used a 1/8in or smaller inner diameter vacuum line to splice the lines coming from the actuator motors (I assume) and going into the clear connector plate (female part). This splice was about 3 to 5 inches before the lines entered the female plate. So I went to my local AutoZone and they finally found some of the same size vacuum line. The outer diameter looks a bit larger than the other, but it makes a very tight fitting. I used 4-5in sections for the connections to give me some room and I tie-wrapped the bundle near the programmer.

    I'm now wondering whether or not to worry about sealing the opening left by the old joined female/male connector plate at the lower left corner of the programmer.

    I gave the cooling settings a good test today and no problems. I need to do the same for the heating adjustments.

    I did notice that the programmer motor driven lever at the bottom of the programmer moves with the temperature settings. I still don't know what vacuum lines are opened or closed for the various other dash control buttons. I'm just interested, after seeing how the solenoid manifold works.

    Thanks again for staying with me through this. By the way I just turned off the a/c at the dash before disconnecting the front and top electrical connections, being careful to pull straight out on the connectors. The top was easy, the front took me some figuring out, but I made it with the help of a small flat blade screwdriver to carefully pry the locking arms outward.
  • clearlakeclearlake Posts: 11
    Well, another day with solid a/c performance. I tested all dash controls, except vent and I don't know why I skipped that one.
    Everything seems to work fine. Heat out of any vent selected and air out of any vent selected.

    I'll wait for a rain shower to cool things off and then button things up.

    I wonder how many people have suffered the pain of paying extravagant prices for this repair, or even worse getting rid of an otherwise good car because of the quoted prices.
  • My son has a 1998 LeSabre with the 3.8L engine and relatively low miles (70K).

    He has has a problem with water disappearing from the radiator. He states that he keeps filling the overflow tank but eventually (he wasn't specific ) he gets a hot engine light and finds the tank empty.

    I did a quick check and I don't see any leaks from the usual sources (hoses, water pump, radiator) so I starting to think it's the dreaded Intake manifold gasket problem.

    I looked at the exhaust and there is some slight white exhaust but this may be due to the system still being cold. I revved it up and didn't see any increase in the white smoke.

    So what do the experts think? I'd like to have a better handle on this before he takes it to a shop and gets nailed for $800 to replace that gasket.

    Is there any way to diagnose this without any special tools?

    2009 PT Cruiser, 2008 Eclipse, 1995 Mark VIII, 1988 GMC Van

  • I had the same problem with my 98 buick. They have a weakness in the air intake plenum. It is what sits on top of your eng, that the intake air come into and distributes it to intake ports, It is made of a composite- fiber -sort of like fiber- glass. Near the entrance, driver's side of the eng , there is an egr. valve which is ported into this. that port(which is cast into the plenum) is surrounded with a flow of coolant, The wall between the egr port and the coolant deteriorates with heat and time . Mine failed around the same mileage as your son's. The result is that at first there is seepage into the intake, then as it get worse it will leak enough so that it will drain down into whichever cylinder that the intake valve is open on, when you last shut off the engine, and as a result bind as you try to crank it because it will try to compress the coolant that had built up in the cylinder. In mine I caught it in time so that it didn't end up with a blown head gasket. Everything below the plenum was fine. I just had to replace it . It came with all the necessary gaskets. It is a good idea to drain you Coolant before changing it so that it will not leak into the oil pan as you are working, however it is important to give it fresh oil and filter at the same time. Hope this helps. PS you can examine the old plenum after you remove it. It will probable look charred around that port. It is a hole vertical up into the air intake plenum at the front (driver's side) about 3/4 inch diameter. If you have the means you can cap the other openings for coolant in the removed plenum and pressurize it. check around that port for leakage.
  • I have a 97 Buick Lesabre with Dual Climate control. When I first start the car and turn the heat on it waits to get to a certain temperature and then starts the blower. That is working normal. I only get heat out of the drivers side. The passengers side blows cold. If I turn the temperature down to 60 and back up the 70 then it will start blowing warm air and seems to function normally. I pulled the glove box out to see if there was a loose linkage but everything looks good. What do I look at next?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,054
    The electric actuator on top may have a cracked gear inside. This allows slippage and the programmer (box on the corner of the heater, the computer) loses it's reference. Moving to cold and then back up lets the actuator reset a reference and move again.

    You can watch the link for movement while you move the heater control temp on passenger side up and down (with key ON). Actuator has wire connecting to programmer. It has two little screws on top that are barely accessible.

    link title

    link title
  • dm26dm26 Posts: 1
    I have an 00 Lesabre with no heat. It has the manual slide system, not dual control. The thermostat is ok, blower works fine and directs to the correct vents when setting is changed. The A\C works. I tried another dash control unit, same issue. Is there a valve or vent door that is not opening? If so is it electrical or vacuum? Is there a way to test?
  • dewc3dewc3 Posts: 29
    I have a 97 lasabre that when you have the heat on the floor setting, it will blow out hot air on drivers side floor vents, but will blow out cool to cold air for the passenger side floor vents, what could be the problem making it do this? Any help would be appreciated :cry: The same goes when you have the mid level vents on as well
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,054
    You have two electrical actuators--if you have digital readout with a passenger control AC system.

    One controls the driver's side temp
    One controls the passenger side temp

    Take off the hush panel above the passenger's legs. On the bottom of the heater box is a white lever that comes out of programmer box. It snaps onto a small rod that has ridges on it like screw threads. it may be unsnapped. Or the motor for the plastic link is not working.

    The actuator on top of the heater box close to the top of the programmer also actuates a vane inside the heater through a small rod. Check to see if one of these work when you operate the temp control for driver (main) and then check to see if the other work move when the passenger control is varied. Be sure to have the key ON when trying this.

    The actuators may have cracked a gear inside the box. The actuator for the lower one is inside the programmer box which has all the vacuum tubes coming out of it. I assume it requires replacing the programmer.

    I forget which one, top or bottom, controls which temp.

    You may want to take off the glovebox lid by removing 6 screws along the bottom. I think that makes it a lot easier to see. And I think the lower lever is kind of protected by a snap on shield.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,054
    There are electric motors that move the vanes inside the heater box.

    For most if I understand poster's comments, the axles are white and you can see them move in response to different commands from the controls with the key ON. Take off the hush panels under the dash to see the controls. You may need to look on driver and passenger side both.
  • My 2002 Buick Lesabre heater is blowing cold air only. Would this just be the thermostat?
  • My 2002 Buick Lesabre makes a sloshing sound usually when the car first gets going. Some fluid is "sloshing around but I'm not sure what is causing this. At first I thought it might be the gas tank but it doesn't matter if tank is full or not. It sounds like it is coming from the engine or dashboard area.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,054
    Your engine is old enough it might be a thermostat opening too soon and the engine running cool. If you are engine aware, open the hood after the car's been running on a normal short drive of at least 10 minutes, an feel the upper radiator hose. It should be very warm to touch if the thermostat is staying closed and letting engine water come out when the water is 195 deg.

    If it's really warm, and you can tell which hoses go to the heater back on the firewall, touch each of them after the engine has been running and the blower fan is ON high. TURN the motor off before reaching around because of the fan belts. Both heater hoses should be about the same temperature if water is flowing through the heater core like it should.

    Look at your reservoir tank for coolant. Is it a nice orange? Or orange with a hint of brown tone because of the sealer put in the car in 03 for a recall that GM did to use a sealer again that wasn't put in at the factory. If the coolant is sludgy looking and dark, perhaps oily looking on top, you might have a problem with DexCool that was contaminated with regular coolant and is clogging up. Sometimes the heater cores can clog easily with goop.

    But most likely you have an actuator motor that is dead or stuck. They move the vanes inside the HVAC box inside the car. I can't isolate which one is likely for the temp unless you tell me you have an automatic system with digital readout or a manual system without the digital readout.

    Here's a link to a pict showing two or the actuator motors. Notice they have a small circle at one end in white that's the end of the rotor. So with the key ON, motor off, you can change settings on the temperature, air direction, etc., and the actuators will move. If they don't, people say they come off easily with a couple of screws and you can buy news ones at a dealer or by internet.

    This is a picture I found on the net. It is not my picture. Thanks to whoever took it. It is a heater box without the dash around it. You can access this by taking off the thin plastic covers under the dash, left and right sides. A few screws. Carefully remove them. Notice in the picture you can see the white plastic arms that move th vanes inside the box. I don't know if you can see them in the car or not. I do not know if the temperature blend door (changes from warm to cold) is on the left or the right for your car. I suspect left because on a dual system one on the right would control the passenger side of the HVAC box.
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