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Buick LeSabre Starting/Stalling Problems



  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,309
    There are several things to try to check on here. The Upper Intake Manifold is NOT one of them.

    You may have a bad TPS (throttle position sensor) that rotates with the throttle plate to tell the computer what the driver is requesting in power. The electrical contact rheostat may not be changing smoothly. So the computer gets odd signals.

    The MAF (manifold air flow) sensor may be bad. Some people remove the connector and if the motor runs fine without it that's a good sign. If you have another vehicle with one, some people transfer a good one in place. Sometimes replacements don't work right, so get a good one if it is bad.

    The fuel pump may not be pumping with enough pressure. A slight decrease below the correct pressure and volume from the pump affects the spray pattern on the injectors. At 15 years and 100K miles, if the car was often run with low fuel so the pump sometimes isn't cooled enough, the pump may have worn out. And it may just have worn out. If you end up replacing the pump, a lot of cheap, off brands have given trouble with pressure and running right. A Delco is a best replacement; costly, but best. I can cite a recent forum post where someone had lots of trouble with running; they ended up replacing the year-old replacement pump from a cheaper parts store.

    Also the FPR (fuel pressure regulator) thats a small cylinder device on the fuel line with a vacuum line attached --usually on front of the motor next to valve cover--may be bad. It adjusts the fuel pressure when the vacuum drops to give a higher pressure for better spray pattern. Pull off the vacuum line to it and if there's gasoline in the line that's a sure sign it has failed. It also may fail other ways.

    And the FIRST thing to check is the electrical system. Have the plugs been replaced within the last 40-50 K? Plug wires? They may be giving poor connection causing poor ignition. And also the coils can fail giving a symptom like you're getting.

    The plugs and wires are relatively cheap and easy to do. When you pull the plugs, look at the tips to see if they are oil fouled or show white deposits for the very rare coolant leak for those years. Look at the ends of the spark plugs wires. Sometimes corrosion is inside the end connectors.

    Assume the easiest problem and it often saves money over the more esoteric problems. These motors and transmissions are dependable and durable.

    If I were a betting person, I'd wager on plugs, wires, or ignition coil. You might pick up coils from a recycling yard. The coils are easy to switch on most of these...

    Again, the years of your 3800 (it's not a 3.8) don't have manifold leaks.

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

  • lwc2lwc2 Posts: 4
    I had a 98 Buick with the same problems. In the beginning it seemed like it needed plugs and or plug wires. To make a long story short, the intake manifolds were replaced with what GM called REVISED manifolds.
    At the time, they reimbursed me for about half of the expense to repair.
    Good luck!
  • parkuparku Posts: 3

    I have a buick le sabre 1995 and I am the second owner. When I first purchased the car everything looked okay, but about two months ago this problem started. When I start the car the check engine light comes on and I turn off the car and start it again and the light goes off. One day I only turned the car on once and the light was on. I was driving and I stopped at a stop light my car turned off by itself. The steering wheel wouldn’t move and the car would not start. I kept on trying to turn it on for about 5 minutes and it started back up. I don’t know why the check engine light turns on the first time I turn on the car and it is off the second time. If anyone has had the same problem, or knows anything about this I would really apprechiate the answer.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,309
    You need to diagnose the code. Take it to an Autozone or Advance Auto or other place where they will read the stored codes free and the current codes and tell you what they are. Do not buy anything or replace anything until you post someone and someone knowledgeable tells you what may be the true cause.

    A light can be the gas cap not sealing, but it usually doesn't do the check so that it would turn the light off on a restart. Leaks in the pressure sealing for the gas vapor system are common problems. The code check at a store will help.

    I Have read in other forums that some 1994 and 1995 Bonnevilles have problems with the computer more often than is common ont he H-bodies (Olds, Bonneville, LeSabre, Park Ave, Olds 98). Replacing the computer helps.

    The stalling and restart can be the crankshaft position sensor, which may not give a code.

    You didn't mention how many miles on the car. You can also have trouble with MAF sensor and throttle position sensor wearing after lots of miles and years.

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

  • I was wondering if your stalling issues have been corrected, and what exactly fixed it? I have a '91 LeSabre (Clifford, the big red car) and in April, it suddenly started stalling, and my mechanic and several colleagues have not had success in honing in on the cause. It is due for inspection, and I will need to donate it, even though it only has 59,000 easy miles on it.

    I know that the computer and many other parts were replaced (then he put the original parts back when the problem wasn't resolved).

    I would love to know if anyone has discovered the solution

    Thanks much
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,309
    For both of you another suggestion is to have a fuel pressure gauge put on the car and taped to the windshield where you can watch while driving and see what it does just before the stall. Some have said fuel pumps are a problem in stalling. But there are others.

    Several people suggest that anything other than Delco replacements have given trouble in several months.

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

  • Cannot say if problem is fixed or what happened. My son had driven it and it stopped stalling. Has not been any problems since first reported. Sorry I cannot be of any help. Go figure.
  • Thanks for the fuel suggestion - I'll talk to him about it.

    Tally, did you replace anything in your quest for fixing the problem?

    This is an extremely frustrating problem - the car has basically been at the shop since April! Fortunately, we have other vehicles, but I hate just junking the car over this - I would at least like to sell it for something.

    Any other suggestions are supremely appreciated :)
  • Son finally got buick fixed, He took it to the dealer, and the problem was the coil. Only running on 2 cylinders. Cost $171.
  • Well, the good news is that the problem was fixed. The better news is that we found a 2004 Civic for our daughter and sold the Buick, in running condition and ok.

    Turns out the problem was two fold, with the coil (I think) being the first - the NAPA part works for all cars except the '91, where there are issues. While that 'bad' part was in the car, our guy changed the computer, and that didn't correct the problem, so he put the old computer back in. With changing other parts, he and a buddy finally determined that the NAPA part was no good, and got me a used one. Then another buddy suggested trying to replace the computer again, and that turned out to be the second part of the problem - both parts simultaneously were bad.

    Thanks for all the assistance!! Happy New Year!
  • recently i just bought a 93 buick lesabre and it has94,000 miles. I am having problems with it starting. and the check engine light comes on, and sometimes by putting it in nuetral will get it to start, but that doesnt always work. also by pushing it, then turning the ignition on it will start but not always. Also it will stop while i am driving it usually it will start right back up but not always. weve already had the fuel tank censor changed, and the fuel lines changed and theres still a problem.
    ive read online about alot of cars with the same problem but i cant find a solution.
    My husbands mom used to own another 93 lesabre also and has the same problems. any help would be appreciated
  • Have your mechanic test the computer. That's what was our ultimate problem, and because it was so intermittent, it mimicked other stuff. But make sure that they can return it if that isn't the problem. It's around 300 to replace. There was another part (see my post for what they looked at) that was bad, so it was the combination of the two.

    Best of luck, Clifford has gone to live with a new family, so I don't have him anymore.
  • My Buick 1994, 179,000I was having the same problems it would start and you might get out some where the wont start I have tried the ignition switch 50 time then would start. Ma by start good for a few day then same problem. I was told to have new key made so at $21.45 it took care of the starting problem.

    I have heater problems. always have it will blow cold air then after while warm hot air then go right back to cold. I in stiled new thermostat cleaned out heater core and same problems. The fan works fine. I am about fed up with it see or trade.
  • I have a 97 Buick LeSabre Custom that I bought a couple of months ago. It needed a new engine, and I had one installed shortly afterwards, new oil put in, the whole nine yards. It's been running fine up until a couple of days ago. Suddenly it started knocking and cutting off, the engine light won't go out, I bought new plugs and had them installed but the engine light still won't go out! What else could be wrong with my car? I checked the oil, and it has oil, it has water, so those are not the problem. Please help!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,309
    Do you have the automatic digital readout temperature control? It might be an actuator that's got a cracked gear on the heater box; the actuators are electric motors with gears that move the vanes inside the heater. They crack. Often it occurs when someone replaces a battery and disconnects the power for a while without turn the heater OFF while the key is ON so it "parks."

    How is your coolant level inside the radiator? My first guess would be an air bubble in the heater core. If the radiator is staying completely full... when the car is completely hot after driving a long time, run the motor up to 2500 for 10 seconds in neutral, repeat 4 more times. That is supposed to push air out of the heater.

    Also, sometimes people get an air bubble into the radiator so to fill completely, have someone run the motor at above idle while the cap is off and you'll see the level drop. When that happens fill the radiator full and put the cap back on. Then they can slow the motor back down.

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

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,309
    >It needed a new engine,

    Go back to where you bought it. It must have had a warranty since it was new.

    My thought would be a sensor or something major has happened because of the knocking. If it's a spark knock that might be sensor; otherwise, it's a problem. It needs to be diagnosed and just putting parts on hoping is going to be expensive.

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

  • rginscrginsc Posts: 1
    Help….I have a 2002 Buick LeSabre Custom with a 3.8 engine. After you have driven the car for a while and you stop and then try and start the car again it will not start. The lights come on but it will not turn over. If you let the car sit for about two hours the car will start. Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    My first guess is a faulty starter relay or starter solenoid.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,309
    Check connections from battery to starter. I always tighten them to move them to make sure the corrosion is broken between contacts. Tighten the little contacts on the solenoid on the starter. Check the ground on the floor pan under the rear seat and tighten it.

    Another check is to use something like a light hammer or heavy screwdriver to tap the starter housing when it doesn't start. Sometimes this causes the solenoid contact to make connection through the damage or sticking. It verifies the starter is the problem. I got a rebuilt from a local AC/Delco rebuilder. I felt much better with that than getting a rebuilt from the competitive box stores where cheapest cost is best for them.

    The neighbor helping me with my older Buick even used a battery charger/jumper unit and directly connected to the post on the starter to verify that it wouldn't turn.

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

  • cfd110cfd110 Posts: 3
    I have a 1991 lesabre 6cyl. Car will start but when you drop it into gear it dies and won't start for awhile. Any idea what it could be? It will turn over but not catch.
  • cfd110cfd110 Posts: 3
    My 1991 will start, warm it up try to put it in gear and car dies. Then it will turn over but won't start. Any ideas as to what the problem is?3800 v6 engine
  • stephen987stephen987 Posts: 1,994
    One possibility is that the solenoid that handles the transmission lockup is jammed.
  • Hi,
    I have an 02 Buick LeSabre Custom, 3.8l. with 65,000mi.,and not showing a code. The problem I'm having is once it gets up to operating temperature it has a tendency to stall. It will start again but cranks a few seconds and sometimes you have to feather the pedal to get it started. It starts right up when cold. Once in a while if turn the wheel all the way when backing out of the driveway it stalls, but that's when cold.
    If someone out there can help I'd appreciate it cause it's only getting worse.
  • 17thabn17thabn Posts: 10
    Check or replace fuel pressure regulator,then go to crankshaft positioning sensor,then the cam shaft sensor.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,309
    I would start with the fuel pump. It would be nice to drive it with a fuel pressure gauge connected and lying against the windshield so you can see the pressure. If it drops when the car gets ready to stall, it's your fuel pump. It's kind of young for a fuel pump; has it been driven lots with low fuel which is rumored to let the pumps run hotter?

    When it dies, turn the key off and on for a couple of seconds and listen to the sound of the pump. Repeat a couple of times to build up pressure. See if it start faster. The feathering could be fuel pressure. Also could be MAF sensor -- I believe I recall one person having that symptom. You can disconnect the MAF sensor. It also can be removed for cleaning--don't touch the wires buried inside the plastic. Just spray with MAF cleaner or use an artist's brush to dust them. Lots of MAFs have same part number; so if you have another GM with same part, you can switch the two for a while and see if the symptom moves.

    The fellow who lives next to me inherited his father's Monte Carlo. It has 65K on a 95 and fuel pump went out. It was his second car and he always kept a minimum of fuel in it.

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

  • My car cranks and then stops. It even cuts off while I'm driving whereas I throw it in neutral and crank it back up and will run, but here's the glitch:
    1. We took it to AutoZone and was told it could either be the vacuum line or the oxygen sensor. We fixed that problem.

    2. We tuned it up, new oil, new filter and everything, but it's still doing the same thing.

    3. We then told one technician at O'Reilly's what was going on and he said it might be the ignition coil. What is that, and what does it cost to fix?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,309
    Don't throw parts at the problem based on a counter person's ideas at a parts store. While they have lots of parts experience, they sell them; they don't diagnose. How many miles? What's been done to it?

    It can be crankshaft position sensor.

    It can be fuel pump. Try checking fuel pressure with a gauge while driving it. Some lose pressure as they heat up when running and cut out due to pressure dropping.

    It can be the ignition module that's under the coils. It's doubtful it's just one of the 3 coils; you'd have rough running when one isn't working up to par. You can try disconnecting the power cables to it and reconnecting them. If it stays off long enough, you can pull a spark plug wire and have a spare plug ready to put in it and lay on metal part of motor while someone cranks to see if you get a nice blue spark. Or just lay the plug wire there--it should give a good loud spark.

    It can be a vacuum line that has rotted or cracked. Check them all very carefully around the upper intake manifold. You can spray carburetor cleaner around the manifold and the vacuum lines while the motor is running. If there's a leak, when it sucks in the carb cleaner, the idle will change. Voila, you found a leak.

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

  • Thanks for the idea's. Took the vacuum hose off the FPR, there was fuel all over. Put the one my brother bought for his Monte Carlo and the Buick run fine.
    You think for as many years GM's been building these 3.8's they'de have them refined by now. As much as I hate to say it, at least the Japanese usually fix a problem when they find one.
    TY's Again
  • It had almost 147K miles on it, before a new engine was installed 2 months ago, so the mileage is not on the motor. The car was running beautifully up until about 2 weeks ago, when it started doing these weird things.
  • 17thabn17thabn Posts: 10
    Glad I could help,the fpr's are the cheap ones GM put on them to get em out the
    door,they don't last long at all.The fuel pumps usually go out around 80,000 miles.
    Then the crankcase sensor!
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