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Buick LeSabre Maintenance and Repair

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,073
    edited August 2010
    One thing to check is the ground strap on the battery where it connects to the floor pan of the car. Loosen and twist it to get a good bright metal connection. Check for other places and contacts the battery cables go to under the rear seat and be sure they are tight. Be careful on the positives not to short to ground.

    Check same in the fuse box under the hood.

    Your lights may be due to a connection on the wheel speed sensors. You might remove each and snap back on to get a good connection. All three of those require input from the 4 wheel sensors.

    Myself on my own car, I would remove the ground cable for a few minutes. Then reconnect. That should clear the memories. Then you can start the normal idle for a while and then drive procedure. The pollution controls check for system integrity (no leaks) when the tank registers between 1/4 and 3/4 and the engine is started in a luke warm temp with the coolant between certain temps--not full cold and not full warmed up. That may be the reset you're looking for. That info is from the 1998 leSabre manual. I suspect the parameters for the 2003 are similar.
  • don357don357 Posts: 4
    Thanks! Will check that out before head to dealer. Where would I look for the wheel sensors, that seems easy enough but not sure where to look?
    In the fuse block under the hood, we took each fuse out manually and reset it in place with the engine off, key off. I am pretty confidant that those fuses are good and have a good connection. We did not do that to the fuses under the back seat.

    Still not sure the "Drive Cycle" is related to the new problem with the 3 idiot lights coming on?!?!?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,073
    The wheel speed sensors are on the inside of the wheels on the car, difficult to reach without jacking up each wheel and using safety support to crawl under. Or take the tire off and then it's much more easily visible. A garage can lift the car and check all four at once.

    There's a possibility that a ground causes strange lights to come on and off.

    ALSO a bad battery giving lower voltage than it should can do thing funny with the lights. Such as a cell shorted out dropping voltage by 2.1 volts.

    I read elsewhere leaving battery disconnected for 30 minutes and more can do a "Hard" reset in electronics. I don't know if there's any benefit for you or not.

    I'd check the battery itself for proper voltage under cranking load--you DIC readout for voltage may show this while you're cranking. It shouldn't drop below 9.5 or 9 or something in that range.

    http://www.google.com/images?q=wheel%20sensor%20connection&rls=com.microsoft:en-- us&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi
  • don357don357 Posts: 4
    Thanks, will hit the garage and take the tires off and see if any sensor looks bad or has obvious problem. Hopefully they can check for the codes. The battery went kaput last week and I replaced it with a nice big fresh new one. will check the volts under cranking just in case. Nervous to disconnect battery since this started the chain reaction... needed emissions, battery dies, put in new battery, go to emissions, OBD II isn't ready, drive it, find out I need to drive it with less than a full tank of gas and not empty either, now I have these idiout lights come on... what next???!!!!
  • My 97 Lesabre has some problems with the brakes being very slow. I have to push all the way down just to slow. When taking off from stop, it acts like it might die and lunges. Also when parked the rpm revs from normal to a little over 1K. Thinking maybe vacuum problems, but not sure. does anyone know what i should be looking for and where? Thanks!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,073
    Sounds like a vacuum problem.

    Could be a cracked, dried out vacuum hose. Could be the upper intake manifold housing cracked. Could be the seal around the bottom of the upper intake or the throttle body area leaking. Could be an engine mechanical problem with the intake valves.

    How many miles on the car? That would be a fact to include when asking for someone to hypothesize what may be wrong.

    Could be the EGR is not closing and is letting exhaust gases into the intake when the car can't handle it. Try tapping on the EGR with the wooden end of a hammer hoping to let the pintle close better if that's the problem.

    Could be spark plugs or wires. Could be the spark module. Could be an ignition coil
  • I'm going to guess its a broken front sway bar. I broke mine last saturday on my 1997 Buick LaSabre. I heard a pop as my daughter took a left turn quite fast. After that, every time I turned left or right it had that "clunking" noise. It also produced that noise on rough parking lots and on dirt roads. At first I did not know what it was. Since I just replaced the transmission I thought something was wrong with it, but not so. The Sway bar keep your car straight by absorbing the torque energy generated by the turning action. The sway bar absorbs a lot of force and they can break due to metal fatique over time. The pipe is thick walled but not solid. A dealer one is $170 plus $32 for the two link kits that hook it to the wheel mechanisms on both side. The bar runs behind the transmission, so you'll need a good jack and solid jackstands. Not difficult to do. Maybe you have just a broken link on the left or right side and you get away even cheaper. It's not unheard off, in fact a lot of clunking car probably have this issue. A friend of mine provided the needed hint to find it. It was broken right behind the link. It wasn't easy to spot untill you know what your looking for.

    You can drive the car without it but it was designed to be driven with it. The handling in corners will be seriously degraded and it might be dangerous if you drop a wheel off the road and jerk back the other way. The (anti) sway bar will try to stop your car from flipping over, so without it your taking a serious risk, not to mention the potential liability. After I replaced mine the car handles very nice and is a pleasure to drive again.

    Good luck and let me know what you find.
  • bob252bob252 Posts: 45
    Hi, I hope Imadozol is reading, you have always been very acurate with these cars.althogh my car is an Olds LSS they are obviously the same. I posted saturday and can't find my post, so I will try again, as there is no info im my owners manual. Is this relay in the maxifuse center, or on the right side kick panel? and if you can tell this old man from right to left if in the maxi ctr. which of the four is it? or, inside the car from the top to the bottom. I got a code stating the relay is bad, and the fans don't turn on even when my "Inovia" reader is connected.Another thing the mice really love this car, as one commited suicide in it recently by getting itself decapitated by the control arm for the blend door, I found him by way of the beautiful fragrance, again thanks Bob. Or anyone else that can help so I can fix it before it creates another problem.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,073
    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f0f9de9/202#MSG202

    Here is the link to your post.

    I did respond with a picture.
  • bob252bob252 Posts: 45
    Hi Imadoz stated the vacuum problem did you look at the hose from the booster unit where the master cyl. is? since it is a 97, then it could be the place to start as that hose is realy cheap, other than that what he advised you to do is where you have to start, also you did not mention whether or not that the brake pedal pressure is very hard??? if so there is no vacuum or the diaphram has some liquid or contamination in it from the things he was referring to. Hope this helps. Bob.
  • i drive a limited 95 lesabre and it only gets about 13mpg, does anyone have a clue 2 y it gets such bad mpg? It also leaks out about a quart of oil every 3 days, i have replaced both front and back valve covergaskets and i have changed the oil pan gasket, could someone please send some insite on to y it would be leaking so much oil?
  • bob252bob252 Posts: 45
    2 questios from you #1 gas mileage: are you getting any ck eng lights? is the car shifting all four gears,city driving etc. too many areas here for a proper response for this one, my 95 would give me no less than 17 in the bitter cold winter here in New England and 22-25 in normal weather (mixed suburban driving) and it had 250,000 miles on it when I sent it to a new home. as for #2 the oil problem, well I discovered on that car, that the oil pressure sending unit had a slow leak, it is real easy to fix and very cheap as well $9 at AutoZone. Look for the oil filter at the right side (passenger) of the car, it is right above the filter, look for oil around there that will tell you it is the problem. If you can safetly run the car with the wheel turned to the extreme left you'll se the very slow drip. Also another telltale is that when it rains out you can look for that little drip on the ground, it will have that Rainbow type of sheen, a dead givaway. Hope this helps Bob. good luck.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,073
    How does it run?

    If the plugs or wires were missing badly, you would comment about how the car is rough at times due to the miss.

    My one suggestion would be check the fuel pressure regulator vacuum hose as soon as you shut the car off. Pull the hose off and see if there's any liquid gasoline in the hose? The fuel pressure regulators develope a leak around the diaphragm and suck raw gasoline into the intake manifold. There was a recall on these long ago for certain years.
  • on my 95 lesabre i recently took thhe the lowerintake off and need to replace the gaskets, i was wondering wuts the best way to clean the the inside of he enine if the there is a grim build up and the best way to clean the area to put the gaskets on
  • I have an older '93 Buick LeSabre, which is generally in pretty good shape mechanically. Last week I drove it to work and when I went to drive home that night, the car started normally, but when I turned on the headlights, the dashboard light lit up briefly and then went out. I managed to get home okay, although I later discovered that my tail lights/brake lights were no lit (although I think the actually brake lights were illuminating when braking).

    Of some diagnostic significance, was that when I shut off the vehicle and got out of the car, the warning chime was sounding, as it would if you had left your keys in the ignition or left the headlights on (and yes, I had my keys and the lights were off).

    I pulled the fuse for the tail lights from the under dash fuse block, but the fuse was still intact. I pulled a number of other fuses (but not all . . .), and didn't see any of those fuses blown. I'll admit that I'm confused about what's going here. I would have guessed the problem was fuse-related, but now I'm not sure. Now I'm wondering if this is some control relay that has failed - which I'm probably capable of testing, although I can't say that I know where the relays are housed. Any next steps or further diagnostics others would suggest?
  • Find the tailamp fuse and see if power is on it with headlamps on. If not you possibily have a bad headlite switch
  • Your reply is coincidental since last night I did get a window of good weather which allowed me to confirm that only the tail lights and the dashboard lighting group cluster seem to be affected by this electrical problem. Headlights, parking lights, brake lights and turn signal indicators all appear to working normally. So, the only downside is the inability to drive the car at night so that nobody runs into the back of me, although conceivably you could drive with your foot lightly on the brake to keep the brake lights illuminated - although that's clearly not a realistic long-term solution (I suppose . . .).

    Since I already confirmed that the fuse for the tail lights is not blown and since the dashboard (and tail lights) illuminate when you toggle the headlights on, and since I seem to recall that the dashboard lights did come on briefly when I activated the headlights, the night the lights (dashboard/tail lights) failed. I too wonder if some component behind the headlight On/Off switch has failed and could be replaced (or maybe just hot-wired into the headlight circuit), since the wiring circuit to the tail lights and dashboard must have there terminus right there also (since they all turn on together). Good logic in isolating what is shaping up to be the likely cause. Will give this another look over the weekend and try to report back. Thanks!
  • rallyveerallyvee Posts: 10
    I'm following up my initial post, in case somebody else would be searching for help on this issue.

    Turns out that it was the fuel pump, after all. The mechanic installed a Carter pump, and I've since learned a lot of people have problems with them. I got another fuel pump put in, and haven't had any whining sounds since.

    Thanks for the input, everyone.
  • rallyveerallyvee Posts: 10
    Yesterday, I drove 30 miles on highways, then parked the car for about 10 minutes when I got into the city. When I started it again, it sounded as if there was another motor running alongside the engine. At first, I thought someone had started their car near mine, but when I opened the door, the noise was coming from my car. It sounded like the engine was idling way too fast.

    Then I started smelling something burning.

    I turned the engine off, and I heard the normal sound of it going off as it should. However, this other sound--what I'd thought was someone else's motor--kept running. I opened the hood to see what was happening, and some smoke was coming out of the engine. The smoke was coming out the right side of the large plastic cover on the main part of the motor. I really thought the car was going to catch on fire.

    After a few minutes, it finally did stop, though it smelled like burning rubber, and it was still smoking for a little while.

    I called AAA, and they towed my car to a mechanic. He thought it was something electrical, so he ran some tests, all of which came out OK. He started the car, took it for a drive, and it's behaving perfectly...so far. He's going to run more tests, but right now, he's baffled, because he can't recreate what happened to me.

    Someone else I talked to mentioned that this might have something to do with the throttle, and I mentioned that to him.

    The only things I've been doing differently of late are that I have been using the cruise control, and I have forgotten to put any sort of engine cleaner into the gas tank for several months now.

    Anybody have any idea what this might be? If you have any follow-up questions, please ask, and I'll answer them to the best of my ability.

    Thanks!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,837
    Since this model is no longer in production and we have a fairly limited number of LeSabre owners in this forum, you might have better luck posting in our answers section here:
    http://answers.edmunds.com

    We often find members with mechanical expertise who pop in and answer questions there.

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,073
    I could picture a starter remaining engaged even though it's supposed to release the gear on the flywheel when the engine speeds up. But driving 30 miles with the starter spinning at a very high speed would have added lots of noise and would have ruined the starter, in my opinion.

    I don't believe an alternator can turn into a motor so that it was driving the engine. I had the older style generators used in the 60s-70s turn into one, but that was inherent in the design.

    If the starter were turning the motor continually in START mode, the speed would have been perhaps 300 rpm, about half of the normal idle. The starter is under the front of the motor, below the hot exhaust manifolds. Smoke from it might have been coming up from below and appear to be coming out under the "beauty cover" on top of the engine.

    If the alternator were providing power to keep the engine turning over, the belt probably would be hot. It's on the passenger side. Was the smoke from the belt area?

    The problem is not the throttle. Your car is fuel injected. When the key goes OFF, the injectors quit and the spark plugs quit. NO gasoline is squirted into the intake. Something else is causing the motor to keep turning.
  • rallyveerallyvee Posts: 10
    @kirstie_h -- Thanks, I'll keep that in mind! :)

    @imidazol97
    One thing I apparently didn't make clear (sorry) is that I didn't drive 30 miles with that noise in my motor. There were no unusual noises at all, while I was driving the 30 miles, so I had no idea anything was wrong. It was after I reached the city, and parked for 10 min., that the noise began when I started the engine. The best way I can describe it is that it sounded like there were 2 engines in my car at once. I didn't attempt to drive at all.

    The engine itself went off immediately when I turned off the key. This...whatever it was...kept running, then finally stopped after the smoking.

    I wish I knew if the smoke were from the belt area--part of the problem is that the cover hides much of the engine, so I couldn't see where it was coming from. The other problem is that it was a windy day, so the smoke was being pushed downwind. It very well could have been from the passenger side of the engine, as that's the direction the wind was blowing from.

    I took it to a mechanic, spent 2 days running various tests, test-driving the car, etc., but the car has worked perfectly ever since. He's at a loss to explain this--the only thing he found unusual is that I was 2 quarts low on oil--unusual, because neither he nor I have seen the car leaking.

    It's really bizarre, isn't it?

    Thanks so much for your help--if any of this info gives you some idea of what happened, I'm still pretty nervous that this might happen again at some point.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,073
    >that the noise began when I started the engine. The best way I can describe it is that it sounded like there were 2 engines in my car at once. I didn't attempt to drive at all.

    I now understand the engine quit turning when you turned the key OFF. But the extra noise continued. Assuming the key was completely OFF, that eliminates the blower motor and fan blades with it; that would be a noise you could isolate source as coming from the air intakes under the windshield or the firewall.

    So my thinking is the started motor remained engaged. What would have happened is the engine started which speeds the starter's own gear faster than the starter motor is turning; that disengages the small gear from the flywheel.

    However, the starter motor may have continued to turn instead of being turned off. The electrical connection stayed connected. EITHER the ignition switch (not the key assembly, the switch which down on top of the steering column under the dash) didn't disconnect when the key was rotated back from START OR the relay which is engaged by the ignition switch stuck ON and kept the starter turning. There is a relay under the dash that's hard to get to that's part of the antitheft system. AND the starter itself has a relay as part of the solenoid. I do not know if that relay should have disconnected if the Bendix system disengages from the flywheel or not. It's possible the problem is within the starter's solenoid parts.

    A starter being fed the current would continue to spin with a high speed sound of a strong motor. Depending on the style and wear it might make more noise. It would overheat even though it's not working to turn the engine. It's not engineered to self cool while turning with no resistance. So it would overheat.

    If it happens again, try turning the key to START and see if that makes a difference.

    I suspect
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