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Buick LeSabre Starting/Stalling Problems



  • I just perchess a 1995 Buick Lesabre 3.8 liter V6 with 56000 miles on it. the car sat for two years. I drained all the old gas and filled with fresh gas and changed the fuel filter and changed the spark plugs as well but hesitation still happens! what should I check to fixed this problem? otherwise car idles nice after the hesitation point runs ok.
  • I have a Buick lesabre 3.8 v6 that I recently had to replace the battery and alternator. Afterward I began to have loss of speedo and weird shifts so I replaced the VSS on the tranny housing and that worked. Now though the car dies on the road while driving and its warmed up and sometimes will come back right away sometimes I have to pull over and I fiddle with the terminals on the battery and it seems to start right up and no probs. The connectors are not really lose and when I got the new battery and alt I switched to top posts so they are are making good connections I just mess with the battery cause that was all I could think to do on the side of the highway. Now I have begun to notice when the blinker is on the volt gauge jumps with the blinker and the oil gauge bounces as well. The stalling has persisted and now it dies when slowing down, while maintaining speed, while turning, and seems to be random. Never really noticed any starting problems. I live in Houston so the car is pretty much always hot. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    gboyle84, you didn't give a year and miles on the car.

    How does it act when it is dying?

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

  • Sorry about that 95' with 111760 miles and it sputters and acts kind of like its misfiring. This morning when attempting to get to work it died every time I used my blinker and initiated the turn, the sputtering and then fully stalling. I could immediately re-start the car and it would make it until the next turn and once again with the blinker engaged the car would die. Then I turned on all the lights and ac and radio and brights to watch to see if they killed the car. The car ran fine with everything on and only slight dip occurred on the volt gauge. When I would turn without blinker and the car was still cold it would not die, but then I turned around and decided that it was unsafe to drive the car was then hot and would die without blinker and turning and even sometimes when I would slow down to a stop sign that I would go straight through it would sputter and die. Also I wanted to see what the hazards would do and when I turned those on the volt gauge would dip but only about half of the amount it would dip when turn signal was engaged. Let me know if there's anything I might try, thanks for responding.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    Not an expert on turn signal wiring vs 4-way flashers and other lights.

    But The first thing I'd do is get the battery checked. Places like Advance Auto will check it for you along with the charging system.

    My concern would be the two positive battery cables that are one on top of the other. TAke them off and take them apart and check for corrosion between them. There should be a lead spacer in between. Those are replaceable; someone said theirs was crushed and didn't make good contact with the cable vs the length of the bolt going into the battery contact.

    Check the copper wire going down into the plastic covering to be sure it's intact and not corroding away with acid from the battery.

    You might have a connection problem. You might have a defective battery problem. You might clean the battery positive cable end at the alternator and at the relay center on the dash.

    Remove the negative cable first before doing any of this.

    You may have a MAF sensor that's not letting it idle and is giving bad data on the air flow rate so when the extra load of a turn signal hits, it affects the engine speed too much. These can be cleaned with a spray MAF sensor cleaner from the auto stores. Do not touch the wires in the sensor with anything. They are sensitive.

    Do you have any vacuum leaks in rubber tubing around the motor. It's 13 years old and heat and gasoline vapors deteriorate those rubber tubes. You didn't mention getting a high idle, but you may have deteriorating rubber at the ends, especially check the bottom sides of tubes. They may be upsetting the idle mixture making the car sensitive to changes in load that occur quickly.

    BUT the crankshaft position sensor is a likely suspect because of your problem increasing with heat. The CPS is under the harmonic balancer. Also the connector on the spark control under the coils may have bad contact or maybe the spark control is going bad.

    Have spark plug wires and plugs been replaced in 30-40k miles? Are plugs AC/Delco? Sometimes people put in other plugs and have trouble.

    How is the fuel pump pressure. Low pressure could cause strange symptoms and as they heat up sometimes the pumps lose pressure and cause problems. But restarting immediately wouldn't occur with an overheated pump. It would cool a while. Same for crankshaft position sensor.

    But you do need to verify your aren't driving with a battery with low voltage so that the turn signal connection is affective the driveability.

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

  • So my battery is good and my alternator is working I went ahead and replaced the side posts positive because it was stripped out and I put all three wires together to one single top post connector. The volt reading on the battery was 12.69 and checking the alternator I got 14 plus or minus .02, My little brother took a look to see ohms and said that something was drawing power, he did this by testing something on the alternator to the battery, not sure exactly.

    I checked my lines and they appear good slightly cracked housing but no bubbles or sound when the car is running so I don't think that's causing an issue yet but I am replacing them to make sure.

    The Idle is kinda off. Its not so much high as it is shaky. I had a J30 with a ton of misfiring problems and the Buick's shake at idle kinda of reminds me of a slight misfire. But again the rpm are not that much off from what they have been just a little bit rougher idle.

    My brother checked the ERG or EGR or something to do with the vacuum lines at the top of the engine and said it was okay.

    My wires say they are AC Delco premium and I got the car at 90K and they had claim it had just had a full tune up. So I think I am going to try to change out plugs wires and coils to just make sure.

    Also the trip does not work since I changed out the VSS about 3 months ago, but the odometer is working. I don't know if that has anything to do with it.

    I didn't check the fuel pump but my car was low on gas so I just went and filled up with the new top post and while the car was not dying at every turn there was still a slight sputter and at one turn I put a little bit extra gas and it kind of hiccuped, didn't die but dropped rpm like it was dying then picked it back up, that turn was before the gas but after the connector was replaced.

    I didn't replace my neg because it was not stripped and the wire seems slightly too short.

    How could I check my CPS to make sure it still is functioning?

    Thank you again for responding, again if any ideas keep them coming because I afraid to turn it over to a mech and not have any idea what the issue would be.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    Sounds like your brother is checking things. GEt a fuel pressure gauge, Autozone or others might loan them out, and check fuel pressure with the car idling and then with the vacuum hose pulled off the Fuel Pressure Regulator right next to the Schraeder valve when you tap in. I am not sure of pressure for your year, but they should be above 40.

    Did you clean the MAF sensor? TAke it off and look at the two thin wires with tiny heat sinks in the middle for fuzz. Clean with spray mentioned above. Do not touch the wires.

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

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    Checks for crankshaft position sensor problems are not good. With some cars, they don't restart right away after dying hot. Throw cold water on the CPS cools it and the car starts right back up.

    Another thing to mention is that more people than average have had trouble with the computer on 94 and 95 H-bodies, leSabres and Bonnevilles. You may be looking at a new computer (rebuilt) where you change the prom you have into the new remanufactured computer.

    I think the original wires said Packard Electric. So ifyours say Delco or AC on them, they have probably been replaced. If they haven't hardened from heat, they are probably fairly fresh.

    This case really begs for someone with another running equivalent car where you can switch the MAF sensors and switch the computer to see if that fixes your problem. j

    Otherwise you need a Tech II or a computer analysis device to see what data the computer is seeing and sending.

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

  • So I took off the air filter and the elbow tube has a crack at the throttle body and that screen on the throttle body/MAF is dirty, so can I clean that screen with the MAF cleaner and can I clean that while its all still attached? Also, I took out the MAF to clean that and I am going to pick up the cleaner and new tube/pipe tomorrow to clean those off and a new air filter. when I took out the sensor just to get a better idea what it is, there was some sticky black "liquid" on the outer black housing like road gunk or really old oil that's all sticky. Anyway, wanted to see what ya thought about that. What OBD is the 95' buick cause I found a one and two plug so that confused me.

    Do you think it could be the fuel filter? I have not changed that out, I'm guessing that the fuel gauge will tell me if that's bad.

    Also, my horn doesn't work. I don't know it that has anything to do with this problem. My brother thinks that the car has a wiring malfunction in that some where there's a bad wire that's grounding out, do you think that may be the case?

    Thanks again for all your help, if you are ever in Houston I'll buy ya a beer or something I really appreciate all the help.
  • Also, I found this thread where the guy was getting weird O2 sensor readings leading to looking at fuel pressure and that was weird too and would drop normally once it was hot. Just wanted to added this.
    Thanks again
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    Not sure what the elbow tube is. Is that the air intake flex portion that's like an accordion? The screen on the air intake comes off with a snap ring. The screen is hard to pull out, just gently use paper clips or something to hook different parts around the perimeter and wiggle it out.

    The MAF sensor needs to have the two wires inside clean. They catch fuzz and form bits that change their sensitivity. MAF spray helps. I also used a camel hair artist type brush to gently help the MAF cleaner.

    IF the air intake was leaking dirty air after the air filter through the accordian, that would explain the dirt on the honeycomb and probably helps dirty up the MAF.

    The black goo is oil fumes from when the car is shut off that come up into the upper intake manifold. The goop also can coat the inside of the metal throttle body where the butterfly valve needs to almost seal. Many people remove the throttle body (3 difficult screws and lots of attachments) as a regular cleaning. It's difficult to clean with the throttle body on the car with just the honeycomb screen removed.

    The black goo blocks the air that is supposed to leak around the edge of the butterfly throttle plate and upsets the ability of the idle air control to bleed enough air to keep proper idle.

    The horn has a relay in the relay center. On one diagram that may be a different year, it's the 2nd from the passenger side. First is AC compressor, then horn relay. They may be the same part number and you can interchange them to test to see if the horn works with a different relay. That's the first thing to check.

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

  • I have a 2004 Lesabre. After we fill up the gas tank, the car stalls or spuders and then dies. It will start up again, but then repeats then stalls again. After 5 mins or so it will quit. I does not do this if we do not fill up the tank. Any help would be great!
  • I have a 2000 Buick Lesabre with 65,000 miles on it. I have went through 4 Brand new starters and a brand new fly wheel. I had the starter shimmed but that worked for a shot time and now again when I start the car it makes a grinding noise like metal on metal and then starts mechanic says it has to be the starter or the fly wheel but i have replaced both and nothing is working. Anyone have any ideas of what might be the problem????

    Thanks =]
  • stvokcstvokc Posts: 32
    92 Buick 3.8 motor with only 70,000 miles

    Motor will start maybe 10-15 times just fine. No drivable issues or starting issues when running.

    Some times will crank but will not start. May be days or week starts fine then get in and it will not start but cranks fine. I try starting it 3 times with key this way then pump the gas pedal while cranking and sometimes it will start.

    Yesterday did not start all day no matter pumping the gas pedal or just turning the key. Let it sit over night tried to start it this morning and started up just fine and ran fine. Car is in garage the whole time so no weather issues
  • I have the same thing going on with my 2001. What was the problem?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    You are going to have to do some checking if doing this yourself. Do you change your own spark plugs? If so take one of the old plugs and keep it read. When the car won't start, take off a spark plug wire from the front plug and connect it to your old plug and lay it on metal so the plug grounds to the motor. Have someone crank the car while you look to see if a nice blue spark jumps the gap in the plug. If so, you have spark.

    I fyou determine you have spark, then you check for fuel. When you turn the key to ON the fuel pump should run for 3 seconds. If the blower and radio are off, you should be able to hear it run. That primes the fuel system with full pressure, if everything is working right. If the engine is cold and you don't hear the fuel pump, that may be your problem.

    If you do hear the fuel pump and you have spark and the engine doesn't start, the question is do you have high enough pressure on the fuel and do you have injectors that are opening to squirt the fuel.

    To check fuel pressure requires a fuel pressure gauge. I heard that some of the box stores (autozone, maybe) loan a fuel pressure gauge. You connect it to the Shraeder valve on the motor fuel lines and read the pressure. I believe it should be over 40. They may tell you at the store what is required.

    If you have proper pressure, try feeling the injectors while someone cranks. I believe you can feel the injectors click.

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

  • jayrb_1jayrb_1 Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Lesabre with a 3.8l. approx 88,000 miles. It's had an intermittent starting problem since it was new. It will start without a problem for months, and every so often, it will crank but not start. If I wait sometimes 10 minutes, other times maybe 30 minutes, it fires right up. The problem happens more often when the car has sat overnight. This morning it would not start, turns over fine, but will not start. I noticed a clicking noise coming from the passenger kick panel, when the key was on. I went out a couple of hours later, turned the key, no clicking noise and fires right up. I made several trips to the dealer while under warranty, but they could never find the cause.
    I fear it is in the ECM, just hoping someone has ran into this before. Thanks! Jay
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    edited March 2010
    To start it needs air, fuel, and spark.

    Listen when you turn on the key without turning to start.
    Does the fuel pump in the rear run for about 2 seconds and then shut off? That is priming the pressure in the system. If you hear no fuel pump on the occasions it doesn't start, you may not be getting that prime. I believe the fuel pump relay is on the A-pillar area next to the passenger's knees. Take off the plastic hush panel above the passenger's feet with about 5 screws and taps. There's a list of which fuse and which relay for the fuse box listed on top of the panel when you take it off.

    If I'm right and the fuel pump relay is there, you have to determine if it's the one clicking and WHY it's clicking. The problem could be further along the circuit toward the fuel pump.

    At 88,000 miles and 13 years, the fuel pump could be failing inside the tank. You need a pressure check on the fuel WHEN it's not starting. You can borrow or rent gauges from some auto stores: I'd try Autozone first.

    Next you might have fuel injectors not cycling, so no fuel gets delivered. You might be able to have someone crank the car and touch the injectors to see if they are clicking as they shoot the squirt of fuel in.

    Then there's spark. You take take an old spark plug and pull off one of the front wires to a plug and connect your spare plug. Lay it on the metal part of the motor for ground. Have someone crank and see if you're getting a good blue hot spark.

    Good luck diagnosing.

    Edit. Your ECM is under the air breather box near the left front headlight area. You're not hearing your ECM clicking.

    Also the clicking might be from the electric motors that control the heater vanes that are above the passenger's feet.

    Check your battery connections. Turn off the heater unit with the key ON and leave it a while so they cycle off. Then take off the battery terminals, negative first, and check for corrosion especially between the two cables on the positive. Clean, treat with dielectric grease to prevent corrosion, and reassemble.

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

  • dboyl13dboyl13 Posts: 1
    :confuse: I have a 95 Buick Lesabre. and i love the car. but sometimes it will not start at all. i would turn the key and nothing happens. security light comes on and all the power stuff does but will not turn over. i had it checked out they said it was the dimmer switch. that helped with a few other things wrong with the car but not this.i could get up go to a few stores. it would be about 2 hours or so. and at the last store i get in and it will not do anything. but if i get a jump it starts right up. but if that happens i go home. help plz!!!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    edited May 2010
    I would suggest checking the battery terminals for corrosion between the two positive terminal connectors. The negative needs to be taken off and checked carefully, then remove both positives and actually pull them apart and check the spacer between them.

    Also check the terminal on the battery for looseness, leaking, etc.

    If you battery is fairly new, it should test out okay. I would suggest having it tested at a local free check store, like Advance Auto where they put it on a tester for a while that does checks.

    Then you're down to the VATS system. If the security light has been coming on an off while driving or the light comes on when you put the key in and turn to ON and the security light starts flashing, the problem may be reading the resistor chip in the key.

    The wires from the lock cylinder at the top in the keyed portion go through the tilt part of the column and go to a connector down on the steering column. They break after being tilted many times. Or the two contacts inside the lock cylinder wear that touch the resistor on the key.

    The resistance of the key can be replaced by putting a resistor series with the same resistance down on the bottom of the column and eliminating the wires to the top of the column at the wheel from the circuit.

    Alarm shops replace these all the time to allow their alarm system to control starting the car.

    VATS means vehicle anti theft system.

    Other possibilites are corroded or loose connections at the starter motor.

    Bad starter motor solenoid not making contact.

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

  • num_1grlnum_1grl Posts: 1
    I have a Buick Le Sabre 1995 It is not starting with out pumping the gas pedal numerous of times, and even then it stalls like it has no gas until it kicks in I know its a fuel problem but I don't know exactly where to look. I just replaced the fuel pump and the fuel filter it is still doing the same thing can u please help.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    Pumping the pedal does not do anything on fuel injected, computer controlled cars. The only thing the pedal does is when it's depressed to the floor, the injectors are turned off--that's the way to clear a flooded engine that somehow got too much fuel, a rare event.

    You are supposed to let the accelerator stay completely up. Don't put your foot on it.

    I probably can't pick out a problem for you. But I can suggest things.

    Try turning the key on for 2 seconds (until you hear the fuel pump kick off), then off and back on for 2 seconds, and a third time. Then turn the key to crank and see if that seems to consistently make a difference. This pumps up the pressure in the fuel line. A good pump has a valve that holds pressure in the fuel line for quite a while, but it might be not working. Or worse, you might have a seep of fuel in the fuel lines somewhere. Do you smell fuel around the car after it's parked a few minutes like there's a drip? With a new fuel pump all the lines should have been checked, but sometimes mechanics don't do the right thing.

    A few people have had crankshaft position sensors go out on higher mileage cars, 125000 and up. One symptom for some is that the car will just stall and restart right away.

    Have your spark plugs and wires been replaced within the last 50-60 K miles? If you're in a humid climate, damp wires shorting the spark might be giving a miss until they've run a part of minute.

    I'm not sure this would give a problem like you're describing, but the fuel pressure regulator, FPR, is supposed to give different pressures from the fuel pump when there's no vacuum such as during cranking and full throttle, then it lowers the pressure when there's a high vacuum for normal driving.

    the FPR sits hooked into the fuel line (under the gray cover that may be over your motor--that comes off when you take the oil cap off). It is round about two inches tall and has one vacuum line going into it.

    Pull off the vacuum line and see if drops of liquid gasoline come out before you start the car and after it has run badly, with the motor off. Also see if the vacuum line rubber is rotted or cracked from dryness.

    Does it give any symptoms any other time?
    Does it do this every time on a cold start or warm start?

    Another item that wouldn't give a consistent miss like a particular plug or wire does where they cause a loping miss is the spark control module. This might give a miss on all plugs randomly. It's the plate underneath the coils with the connector on the front end angled downward. You might clean and reinsert the connector. It has a small bolt holding it in if I recall.

    And the last thing that would give symptoms a little more dramatic would be the computer. In 1994 and 1995 Bonnevilles and leSabres there was a higher failure rate of the actual computers.

    I hope someone did some troubleshooting to determine you needed that expensive fuel pump. You might take it back to the garage that did the pump and ask them to check the fuel pressure on the system. Although a fuel pump after 125,000 might be a good replacement anyhow.

    Good luck finding the cause and may it be easy and inexpensive.

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

  • the problem could be in column wiring!
  • I just replaced the coil today and car runs like new!
  • I replaced my coil's today 3 ea. car runs like new!
  • ezgeneezgene Posts: 1
    edited June 2010
    Occasionally will not start. Turning key to start appears Battery is dead, after a few attempts to start it will start.
    Dealership said the code was for the Security Module they replaced it and worked ok for about 3 starts then no start again. No codes in computer. Car runs good with no stalling etc that I have read about in other discussions. Security module nicked me for $450. Need solution please.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    Check for clean connection at battery ground on the floor pan under rear seat.

    Check for solid tight connections at the various fuse boxes, including the holddown screws.

    Check for tight connections on the various fuses involved: study your owner manual for locations under rear seat and under hood.

    Check connections for power cable at the front of the car at fuse box. You may want to disconnect ground cable to do it to avoid shorts.

    I've read of people finding various solutions to this problem.

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

  • glandisglandis Posts: 1
    93 LeSabre purchased for daughter who is away at school with it. Less than 50,000 miles(really, belonged to grandfather). She tried to start yesterday and it would not turn over. Lights in instrument panel go on. Battery checked and is okay. Towed to repair shop and they said starter was okay but not getting signal, but they don't know why.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,241
    What did the security light do when the key was turned and the chip in the key was read for resistance?

    It should flash on for a few seconds and then go off. If the resistance in the key reads wrong, the light will stay on. After the third time the key is turned to crank, the security light will start flashing for 3 minutes before it resets. During all this time the starter will not crank and the injectors won't inject.

    If the security light is not indicating a bad resistance reading...

    So the test is whether the starter wire at the starter gets current when in crank to pull the solenoid and connect the heavy duty contacts to turn the starter.

    If there's current there, then you need to back track to see what is happening.

    If the security light indicates a bad resistance, then the best method is to cut the wires at the base of the steering column and insert resistors to mimic the resistance of the key. Search for VATS on the net and you'll find a list of the 15 resistances. Theft alarm shops bypass this all the time to let their systems do the security instead of the car's theft system. They can probably do it quickly.

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

  • tkcoloradotkcolorado Posts: 39
    2000 Buick LeSabre with 80k miles on it. At about 60k, the ignition coils went bad. Had the plugs, wires and coils replaced. Now at 80k, the ignition module has gone bad. Is this normal? Are these things related? Is there anything else I should be looking for?
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