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Buick LeSabre Starting/Stalling Problems

buickgrlbuickgrl Posts: 5
edited June 2017 in Buick
I have a 1992 buick lesabre limited and it has lately been acting up. when you press on the accelerator it surges and makes it hard to get up a hill. It also stalls when you are idling and not moving for example waiting at a traffic light. The service engine soon light is almost always on and I haven't been driving it because it isn't safe or dependable on the road. If you have any info on how I can fix it please tell me.
Thanks :confuse:

See Also
Edmunds Answers: Le Sabre Engine Issues



  • I had a 92 Olds which is the same basic car as yours. Mine did the same thing and it was the coil packs. However, I urge you to take it to a garage so they can check it out. It can be about anything.
  • phull67phull67 Posts: 2
    I purchased a 94 with 140k on it a few months back. It's a FL car and in super shape. But it has a funny misfire, sometimes very subtle and sometimes very hard, almost a "bucking", for lack of a better term, and the engine light comes on but will go back off if I shut the car off and start it again. It's even begun stalling every now and then at a traffic light but always starts right back up like nothing happened. It happens at different times; when the engine is cold, when it's hot, when I'm cruising down the highway, when I'm driving in the city, when I accelerate, when I'm stopped at a light. I can't connect the misfire with any given driving condition.

    I've replaced the plugs and wires, air and fuel filters, changed the oil, repaired a leaking vacuum line to the fuel pressure regulator and replaced the crank sensor. I've run a bottle of dry gas through the tank, thinking that maybe some condensation built up from sitting while it was for sale. And a bottle of fuel injector cleaner as well. Nothing has seemed to make the slightest bit of difference.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  • dshepherd3dshepherd3 Posts: 194
    Get a full scan done to see if the code is in memory, many issues can cause this, bad wire, plug, coil, too lean a mixture, a bad injector and others also. An intermittent or dirty maf can also cause this, again a full scan by a knowledgeable tech should show something.
  • phull67phull67 Posts: 2
    Thanks d,

    I have to apologize, I left out the part about the scan.

    A very close friend of mine owns and runs a shop where I have my work done, or do myself if the job is not too hard. The day I brought it in to replace the crank sensor, about 2 months ago, he tried to read the code and could not. I guess in 94 GM installed a newer type of connection in the car where you plug in the reader (under the dash) however the newer reader won't connect to the car. I mean it plugs in of course but the reader doesn't acknowledge the vehicle. We searched for the older style reader connection under the dash and under the hood and could not find one.
  • dshepherd3dshepherd3 Posts: 194
    A professional scanner will read this transitional year obd system, Snapon 2500 for one or Actron 9145, you really need the codes here.
  • sizzmansizzman Posts: 2
    I am working on 1995 Buick LeSabre. It will run ok for awhile, but then it stalls and is hard to start. Recent work on it was a normal tune up, Spark plugs, wires, gas filter, and air filter. I even dropped the gas tank and cleaned it out. Also, when I rev the engine, I can not get it to go over 4000 rpms. It seems like it gets too much gass or air and starts to choke out until it gets back down to 3500 rpms. I have also cleaned out the port injectors. The check engine light comes on, but Autozone states that there computer reader only does 1996 and newer vehicles. Any ideas on the problem?? Any help is appreciated!!
  • I'm wondering if the problem isn't fuel related. I had a GM that was hard to start when hot (you had to floor the gas pedal) and it turned out to be the fuel pressure regulstor, which, I'm told, is a common GM problem. A weak fuel pump could "starve"the engine above a certain RPM. There's tests for both of them. How about posting what the answer is when you find out?
  • i just bought a 95 lesabre and it runs great, but has one maddening problem. it won't start sometimes unl;ess it's been inused for about at least 4 hours. i mean if it's left overnight, it fires right up, after work, it fires right up, but if i go anywhere, and i'm only there for an hour or two. it may not start at all when i come back. it turns over line normal, it just won't fire up. any suggestions?
  • guestguest Posts: 770
    I'm not a mechanic, so take my advice with a grain of salt. When the car won't start, I would pum the gas pedal while it's cranking, to see if the problem is fuel relatd, or ignition(see above). I've heard of problems when the ignition module is hot, also. Good luck!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,199
    You have to determine if it's fuel or spark.

    You can try listening for the fuel pump to prime for two seconds when you turn the key to on without turning it to start. You can do that three times as a way to check if the backflow valve isn't holding pressure after the engine is turned off; three times rebuilds pressure completely in the fuel line.

    You can check for spark by using a spare plug and putting the spark plug wire from the car on it and laying the plug on something solidly attached, grounded, to the motor. Have someone turn key and see if you get spark.

    Pumping the accelerator pedal doesn't do anything in this day of fuel injection. If you think the car is flooded, hold pedal to the floor while cranking, otherwise keep foot off of gas pedal. The days of carburators have different algorithms for troubleshooting.

    You would be able to smell gas at the exhaust pipe if you were flooded.

    You may have an electronic spark control part failing when warm. You may have a crankshaft position sensor or cam position sensor failing. How many miles are on the car?

    The last two guesses are from what I've reach in a Bonneville discussion of higher mileage failures that are odd in behavior, making them difficult to troubleshoot with codes.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • Hi!

    I have been looking for a place to get some help for a 'do it yourselfer' who doesnt want to pour a lot of cash into a 13 year old car. We had a really rainy day last week and one road that I go through to get home from work had a substantial amount of water over it, after going through it (i was probably going 20 or so) I went about 200 feet and the sucker stalled out. After that it would not start, i sat there for 10 minutes or so and then it would start and run fora bout 3 seconds and then stall out. It did that several times. Since the last time it did that it has not started since and will only crank.

    A buddy of mine and I looked at it today, we found that the plugs are not sparking. Took one out and cranked it and nothing. The wires and all are fine. Suspected the coil packs, took them off and took them to auto zone and they tested out fine. The guy at autozone said we might want to check the camshaft sensor which is one the side of the engine down by one of the pulley wheels, said if that gets water in it it will not work and will not spark.

    To "test" that would be 36 bucks for a new one and have never replaced that before so am not even sure I can do it myself so I would like to have some semblance of it being a good idea before I do that. Obviously it wont start so if i need to take it someplace I will have to have it towed. (I was 3 miles away from home so a friend pulled it back to my house with his truck)

    Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks! :sick:
  • I have a 99 lesabre with less than 80,000 miles that just stop running. It was fine when I cranked it in the morning and 2 hours later would not turn over. Could it be a starter problem or water in the crankcase? It does not sound like a starter problem to me. It seems to be based more in the engine. It also misfired before it quit cranking altogether. Help!
  • When starting my buick after 5 minutes I touched the hose to the radiator from the thermostat and it don't have any pressure. Then I pushed the gas pedal and it stalled.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,199
    How's the battery state of charge? Has battery been replaced since the car was new? You're way past due if not.

    Do the lights dim when you turn the key? Does the battery voltage drop below the orange line on the voltmeter while cranking or belw 10 volts on a digital readout?

    Have you removed and cleaned both battery cables to get off corrosion? Have you cleaned both of the positive cables that piggyback onthe post. Check between them for corrosion and get bare clean metal contact. Check the short lead that grounds on the fender next to the battery. Check the lead at starter for corrosion.

    I'd go with the easiest first. The cables and corrosion have given lots of people trouble. Your mileage is too low for crank position sensor problems and cam sensor.

    Oh wait. When you put the key in, does the security light come on for 10 seconds and then go off or does it flash? Does it go off after 3 minutes. Could be the VATS system not reading the key chip...

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • What is the VATS system? The battery and cables are all good. I drove it last night a short distance and as long as you only push the gas slightly the car will keep going, but if you put any kind of pressure on the gas pedal it will stall.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,199
    Antitheft system in the key using a resistor chip. The lock cylinder has two contacts that rub the key on the chip contacts and measure the resistance using a small circuit board in the glovebox area. If the resistance is within parameters from the original setting when the circuit was installed at the factory, the circuit sends Okay signals to the drivetrain computer telling it is okay to operate the starter and the fuel injectors.
    Otherwise the car waits three minutes for a new key to be tried and hopefully get a good reading indicating a real key for the car is inserted.

    If your car is running badly, it needs to be checked. I'm surprised the SES light isn't on. You could have low fuel pressure (fuel filter clogged?), fuel pump going out, you could be in limp mode--but it will not stall above a certain pedal amount, it just doesn't run great so you can get the car home for repair.

    Yours sounds like you need someone with a TechII that can read the codes and who knows how to diagnose the problem--not just the circuit and sensor involved and replace parts without understanding what's happening.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • Engine does turn over. It will even drive, if you push the gas ever so lightly because as soon as you push it with any pressure it stalls. And when the car is running there is no flow in the hose from the thermostat to the radiator. Is there supposed to be something moving through that hose?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,199
    That only opens to flow when the thermostat opens and lets hot water out of the motor to go back to the radiator. That happens when the thermostat water around it gets to 190 deg. F. approx. The motor recirculates water through the heater and probably an internal bypass when the water's not going through the radiator.

    If the motor idles for 10 minutes it may start getting hot enough to send water back to the radiator--depends on outside temp.

    The touchy throttle could be a throttle position sensor on the air intake. It changes resistance as you push down on the throttle and tells the computer how much air you're giving the engine so it can adjust the gas flow. But the piece needs to be tested to see if it's not making contact at certain points along its movement before replacing. It works like a rheostat for you dimmer on a light in the house.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • :blush: Thank you very much. The throttle position sensor was the problem. Now the car runs great.
  • My 1989 Buick with the 3800 is hunting for idle, and idling low it sometimes stalls when accelerating during the hunting. This only seems to happen after the car is warmed up.Error code is 34 (Check vacuum and electrics for MAF sensor). The MAF is pretty new. New plugs and wires. I have noticed when the AC is on, the engine doesn't increase the RPM slightly like it used to do before this problem. It runs nicely as long as my foot is on the gas, but won't idle properly. Is there a way to test the throttle position sensor and the idle control motor? What else could this problem be. I don't suspect fuel pressure problems because the car runs well, except at idle. I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas.
  • I own a 1995 Buick Lesabre which has been pretty dependable. It has been in the garage for about a week and today I was going to drive it to work but, it wouldn't start. All the panel lights came on and when I tried to start it I heard a clicking noise but the engine didn't turn over at all.

    This buick has about 160,000 miles on it. I replaced the starter about three years ago, changed the valve cover gaskets last year and had the oil pan gasket replaced about 1 month ago. Regular maintenace items also.

    What do you think I should try first, jumpstarting?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    Yep dead battery or bad battery cables.

    Clean up the cables on the battery post if you see corrosion, then jump start it but DON'T let the alternator do the work of re-charging the battery. Either take it to a station for a slow charge or better yet go buy yourself an inexpensive charger and let it trickle charge the dead battery overnight.

    Please observe safety precautions when jump starting the car.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

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  • I have a 94 Buick Park Ave. Tests show that I need to replace the fuel pump. In looking up replacements, there are two different types, CAC and CRC according to what is stamped on the connector. So, I'll bring in the old pump to compare. Any tips on doing this job with minimum of work. All pressure is off and both fuel lines are disconnected. Is it worth snipping a hole in the trunk floor above the pump for removal and then fabbing a simple patch panel? It just seems it might be little easier than dropping the tank. Thanks in advance.
  • I have a 99 buick lesabre with 50,000 miles on it and I have noticed when Im at a red light I can feel the car starting to stall but it never does.This is bad especially at night and I can see the headlights dimming from it.It used to do it while only in drive but I have noticed it starting to happen in park too.Also the other day my car would not start at all....wouldnt even turn over.So I wiggled the red cable a little bit even though it was tight and it started right up.What could be causing this.I have some washers inbetween the post and cables to keep the cables tight.Could they be causing this.I dont see any corrosion.THe inside of the cables look kinda greyish white on the ends.I had to take the rubber connector cover off to hook up my ampwire.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,199
    YOu should take off both the positive and negative cables. Clean them completely. The positive has a washer between the two cables that bolt to that post. Clean completely.

    You mentioned an amp. It's possible your amperage load from an amplified is loading the motor too much.

    Another possibility is coking up around the throttle butterfly valve. You can take off the rubber connector that leads the air into the throttle body. Then take of the snapring that holds the honeycomb filter in place. Carefully remove honeycomb, I used two paper clips bent as hooks, and then with a piece of wood and cloth use intake cleaner from a spray can onto the cloth to clean the black soot from around the throttle body interior and the butterfly valve itself. Mine had gotten so I could feel it let go when it would sit overnight and I'd press on the pedal slowly. It disrupts the ability of the air bleed that opens and closes to adjust the idle speed because it' calibrated for a certain air flow rate around the throttle platewhen fully closed. Gum that up and th idle control solenoid can't open up enough at times to bleed enough air

    Some people remove the whole throttle body to do the cleaning. don't use a brush, the fibers can come out because of the solvent. Be sure to get air intake that says it's safe for catalytic converters. Some carburetor type cleaners aren't.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • For others contemplating this.... It is possible to cut a hole and expose the top of the tank. However, to remove the pump, it would have to be a very long hole or the three solid lines to the pump would have to be cut and flared and joined by short pieces of high pressure line and clamps. Probably not worth the trouble. And the floor would have to be patched back up. However, the 99 Park Aves were made with an access panel and designed to be removed from the top of the trunk floor.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,199
    A neighbor replaced his 95 MonteCarlo pump. He placed jackstands under the rear of the car. Removed the bolts on two straps holding the tank. Supported the tank with a small hydraulic jack to lower it and the 5 gallons of fuel in it. A neighbor who had done these before helped and guided. I helped with the lowering and getting the tank back up.

    The caveat is many people say to buy GM pumps only. There has been trouble with some aftermarket pumps. It's a job I'd only want to do once. The Monte had 85K mi. It had been run low on fuel all the time after the guy inherited it from his father.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • joho4241joho4241 Posts: 4
    I have a 2001 Buick Lasabre that will not start.. it just makes a clicking sound when I try to start it and the panel light all come on when I turn the igition on.. I have bought a new a new battery and it still does the same.. put the old battery back in an put a charger on it.. after awhile I tried to start it with the charger in the boost position.. it started,but when I turned it off it would not start again.. It has started several times now in the boost position.. but will no start on its on..any ideas
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,199
    Could be a bad starter.

    But you need to go through the battery cables completely to be sure connections are not corroded and are tight. that includes the grounds and at the starter.

    It could be low voltage from the battery not applying the solenoid enough that engages the gear and starts the cranking.

    Park with headlights on where you can see them as in a garage. Turn key. If the click occurs and the lights don't dim as if under load, you may have bad solenoid or bad cable. If the lights are dimmed because the starter is drawing lots of amps while the key is urned to start but nothings happening may be the starter is defective, old, bad, gone.

    The fact that it starts with the charger on boost makes me suspicious of the battery having a bad cell shorting out giving low voltage without the extra power from the boost.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • beaumontbeaumont Posts: 1
    This is a beautiful car and I love it. When there is mist on the windshield the silly thing won't start. It sounds like it wants to but it won't. A few hours later, when the mist is gone, the thing starts right up and runs like a champ! It seems to happen more when it is misty out than when it is straight out raining. We've even sprayed the engine with a hose (in the middle of the day) and it starts right up. I'm pulling my hair out and my wife isn't too happy about this turn of events (with the Buick). The hair loss I can handle! Any help? [please email me directly at [email protected] if you're able to. thanks!]
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