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Buick LeSabre Maintenance and Repair

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  • I have a 96 LeSabre with 117k miles. It has been a great car but last night I started it as usual and it started right up. Approximately 1 second after starting, everything shut down. The engine stopped, dash lights went out, everything... dead. I checked the voltage on the battery terminals and the hot terminal and ground and everything looks good. It is almost as if a "main fuse" blew somewhere but I don't know if LeSabres have such a thing. Any ideas?

    Thanks!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,460
    Check the battery cables for corrosion between the cables and the battery posts.

    Check the positive cable between the two layered cables. You might ahve to cut the plastic covering to inspect in between.

    Check the other ends of the cables where they ground for good, fresh contact.

    Your battery might have a broken post.

    YOu might turn the HVAC to off with the key ON if you're getting any power, especially if you have the automatic dual AC.\, before disconnecting the battery to do all this checking.
  • Thanks for the reply. I thought that might be the problem so I checked the voltage between the battery posts and that looked ok. Thinking it may be a bad ground, I checked the voltage between the positive side of the battery and the frame... that looked ok also. Am I missing something?
  • Wonder of wonders! I took imidazol97's advice and cleaned my terminals and battery cables. They looked clean as a whistle on the outside but I discovered that they were badly corroded once I took the cables off the battery. A little sandpaper and elbow grease and now everything is as good as new! Thanks!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,460
    Thank you for reporting back what you found. That will encourage others to check those side cables first.
  • My horn intermittently sticks on and I've read the repair answer in this forum, i.e., replace the airbag unit that has a new switch. I've been quoted around $800 for this job, which coincides with the $600 estimate for the new air bag alone. I also see mention of used bag at $200 - is this a safe option? Also, is this repair best performed at a regular mechanical shop, or a body shop? Thanks. Senior Ciitzen
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Can't speak to whether or not this is needed in order to fix the horn, but I'd be very concerned about the idea of a used airbag.

    Here's why:.

    1. Airbags aren't something to take a chance on--they're actually very sophisticated devices containing high explosives.
    2. They're not easy to remove without damage. So you might be buying an airbag that won't work properly.
    3. There is a huge market for stolen airbags. You may be buying stolen property without realizing it.
    4. A new part will usually carry some sort of warranty. A used one won't.
  • Thanks very much for your advice!
  • I took my car to a body shop and they asked them to try the procedure about disconnecting one of the horn switches I found here. Now it has the following sympthoms.
    1 - The horn switch on the side that is disconnected doesn't work at all.
    2 - The other horn switch will intermittenly function normally; and/or
    will not work at all.
    3 - The horn will start blowing on its own while the steering wheel is being rotated.
    4 - The horn will start blowing on its own after the car has been parked for 30 minutes to one hour.
    Assuming there is one hot lead going from the horn relay to the dual horn switches, it appears there is an intermittent short (or open when the horn won't work at all) in this lead some place between the relay and the switch that hasn't been disconnected?? How easy would it be to replace that length of lead between the relay and the horn switches??
  • My motor mount in the front had to much play. Open hood and have someone watch motor mount while you turn wheel. You should be able to see it jump. I had the mount replaced and noise gone.
  • you are diagnosing it yourself.turn left,turn right,replace outer tie rods,they are only good for 60-70,000 miles.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,460
    It could be inner parts toward the steering rack having some looseness.
    Could be mounting bolts on the steering rack loosened.
    Could be intermediate shaft on the steering column worn.
    Could be wheel bearing.
    Could be transmission /motor mounts.
    Could be tie rod outer ends.

    It needs to be lifted and someone underneath to check for play and listen/feel for movement while someone turns the steering. It may need to be supposed under the A-arms to keep steering parts in their usual geometric relationship to the car and each other to find the play.

    I'd start with the intermediate steering shaft. I would try to feel the shaft area inside engine compartment while someone turned the steering. Might have to try this with the motor running.

    Let me know what you do find, please.
    Good luck.
  • I have a 93 buick lasabre. It makes like a popping sound ( similar to the sound a motorcycle makes) only when giving the car gas. Other than that the car drives fine. Why is it that it makes this sound only when I step on the gas pedal? What could be causing this?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,460
    Is the sound coming through the exhaust pipe, meaning you hear it out the back of the car? Do you feel loss of power when it does that?

    My first check would be the spark plugs and wires. I needs to have had the plugs replaced inthe last 40K miles with the recommended AC Delco plugs--the book at the auto parts store will tell them what you need. Also the spark plug wires need to be changed with original equipment quality wires. AC Delcos would be expensive, but Belden from NAPA or a similar quality brand would be good. Don't go for the bright blue or hot orange wires with a solid core or other similar claims of ability to make your car go faster. etc.

    If the plugs and wires have been done then it might be a connection at the coils. There might be corrosion. There may be a problem with an individual spark plug wire or plug. A wire may be shorting across the porcelain of the plug because it's coated with salt spray, e.g.

    It will require some thinking and checking.
    Good luck.
  • The sound is coming from the front of the car. I only hear it when I am giving the car more gas and then it stops when I get to the desired speed. The car drives fine. I just hear this noise only when I step on the gas pedal to give the car more speed.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,460
    What does the noise sound like?

    Does it change with engine speed? -- you can try putting the motor in 2 and driving and seeing if the noise occurs under acceleration there?

    Does it change with road speed?
  • I will try that. The noise is kind of like the sound a motorcycle makes or like a popping like sound which the sound is only made when going up in speed on the odometer. I will try your suggestions. I am not really sure if it makes the noise past a certain speed. I only know it makes the noise when i step on the gas pedal to get more speed and when i get to that certain speed or take my foot off the gas it then dies out. No more noise.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,460
    One thing possible is an exhaust leak at the coupling between the exhaust manifold and the exhaust pipe at the back of the motor. There's a donut between the two that serves to seal them. The two move a little with respect to each other as the motor twists. The donut allows some movement while keeping a seal. I believe that went out on my 93 and had to be replaced. It can be heard under the engine compartment if you have the hood up and someone accelerates the motor slightly while holding the BRAKES on securely along with the emergency brake being set so the car doesn't move. You'll hear a snapping sound when the motor is putting out more exhaust gas under the load. It is a barking like sound like a motorcycle.
  • Thank you so much for your help. So this would cause this sound when giving the car gas. Could it cause more damage if it not corrected soon.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    I'd also have someone check the motor mounts.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,460
    The hot gases escaping around the seal may, may heat up the wall between the passenger compartment and the engine if the leakage is toward that and is great enough. You can feel the leakage with you hand when you move it closer to the connection while motor is running--but it is hot back in there. It's a fairly easy repair for a good mechanic--two bolts that hold the two parts together. Put in the donut which is probably $15-25 at most and maybe less, and bolt it back together.

    The donut is $7.95 at autozone. It's the exhaust flange seal, if I have my parts straight. You could also have leakage at a crack in the manifold that's bolted onto the motor if it's been damaged. Listening while the motor is running under load will let you locate the source of the sound while the hood's up and someone gently brakes and gives the motor some gas.
  • '93' Buick LeSabre) New rotors, pads,on all 4, calipers on rear, still doesnt stop. Mechanic says master cylinder is dripping fluid into pwer assist. replaced both to no avail. still almost went through light. any advise ??
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    Proportioning valve?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,460
    First, the rear has drum brakes; there is no caliper. What did they replace on the rear? They may have needed to replace the front rotors if you were getting pedal vibration because they were warped or deteriorated.

    I'm not sure why the vacuum brake booster that helps the pedal push the master cylinder needed to be replaced. I can accept that the master cylinder needed replacement.

    The proportioning valve might keep the rear from getting enough brake fluid pressure
    to operate the drums, but those help only very little in most stopping conditions. The fronts do most of the work because of the weight on the front wheels.

    The ABS unit might be doing something wrong or not allowing pressure to flow. But I'd give that a very low possibility.

    My thinking is about the recent stoplight incident. Did the pedal become hard and high like when you get in the car in the morning before you start it. Or in an open area with no other cars turn off the key to the OFF but no lock position while driving slowly and then press the brake pedal, then let up and press again. As you repeat this you'll use up the vacuum in the reservoir that was supposed to have been replaced. The brakes still work, but require lots more force to stop (like in the 40s and 50s without brake assist). See if the pedal begins to feel like during the stop attempt at the light. There might be a vacuum problem with your motor operating at lower vacuum because it's mechanically worn or with a leak in a hose to the booster from the manifold.

    And a personal opinion of mine, I'd find another mechanic from a recommendation of a friend to check the car for you. I recall recently I took my newer car to have the tires rebalanced and rotated all paid for when I purchased my replacement Michelin tires. The mechanic instead took it on a test drive without permission. thendoing the the checks for other work they might do presented me an estimate for $700 to replace front rotors and pads and do rear pads all of which he showed me were supposed to be "thin as cardboard."

    I replaced the front pads with quality GM ceramic and bought new rotors for the rear. His estimate for replacing parts not needed was about 3 times what it should cost. I go to another store in the chain of tire/repair stores and drive by 2 stores on the way where I'd had poor service. Some guys don't get about honesty and knowing what to do or suggesting going to the dealer and paying for analysis even if you don't get the work done.

    Stopping the car is critical.
  • bob252bob252 Posts: 45
    OK I'll try again, Check the front Brake HOSES.they get blocked up, have someone watch the calipers for movement while someone depresses the pedal, if there is no movement, then there is the problem, only the rear brakes are working, that is why it is hard to stop, the only problem here is the bleeders, if they are not frozen, then this is an inexpesive fix. If the master cyl has a bad bypass holding the pedal with pressure and it will drop to the floor, then you will need to replace it, (master cyl.) as for the leaking, well remove the bolts on the master and carefully pull it out to see if there is wetness, you do not have to completely remove it, but usually there is a loss of fluid with no other observed leaks..so go from there, Hope this helps.
  • oldsdadoldsdad Posts: 4
    Sorry about the confusion. this is my fault! Although I consider myself an honest man, I thougt it would be less confusing to present my 93 Olds as a Buick as I cant seem to find any Olds Mechanics anymore. Big mistake huh? I apologize again. Yes there are discs on ther rear.The reason that the power assist had to be replaced was because the cylander was leaking into it. (as it was explained to me). The pedal can be layed into hard but bottoms out. like the peddal hits a wall and goes no more then slowly stops. I can see where this could be a problem if I ever have to lockem up or,, just stop for a reason fast. Thanks so much,,, John
  • oldsdadoldsdad Posts: 4
    Replaced the Mater and pwer assist as well as the pads and calipewrs. haed two power flushes. mechanics dont know where to go. Thought about vaccum leaks but the car dosnt stop well even if you lay into it hard. the pedal hits a brick wall and can go no farther.seems to be a hydraulic problem to me but im no mechanic. If you lay into the peddal that hard then the power assist is no longer in play ... right? Thanks so mmuch,,, John
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