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Buick Park Avenue Maintenance & Repair

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Comments

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    Are yo sure it's the motor? Were the plugs GM plugs and the wires original equipment equivalent wires?

    Have the coils been thoroughly checked out. Has the ISC ignition spark control been checked out. I've read of failures in each.

    Is there a competent GM specializing shop in your area that is not a dealer that you mght trust?

    This is a case where it may be you can't afford NOT to have a qualified garage check out the problem. When you throw parts at the car, it ends of costing more than the diagnostic and high price of dealer shop labor--as long as they don't try to replace everything and anything.

    If it were ignition it should be setting misfire codes.

    There have been posts about the PCM failing. A neighbor had a car that was his dad's that ran like a Ford on a zero-degree winter start back in the 70s would run. Like the plugs were fouled out with fuel that didn't fire and the car was flooded. He finally put a junkyard computer into it and that fixed it. He went through all sorts of things working on that in his driveway (he's a shadetree mechanic from way back). His dad has run a lowend used car lot, but now I think he just buys and drives and then sells used cars after he gets them running right.

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

  • 99paguy99paguy Posts: 2
    I have a 99 PA. I have a water leak problem on the right side. The rear floor gets most of the water. It is not coming from the rear, as I have removed the rear seat.
    I would like to take out the front seats, and remove the floor mat. I cannot make out how to remove the front seats. Could anyone help me with this issue, or even refer me to a manual that would help me do this?
    Any help would be appreciated.
  • tankbeanstankbeans Posts: 585
    Hello-

    This is the first time I've been on this forum, so if this question has been answered already I apologize. This is not the same car, but this is the closest I've been able to find. Anyway here goes. My mom's car, the 98 Regency, shifts a little bit harshly once in a while. I know that having bad fluid or burnt fluid can cause problems. On a whim I checked the fluid and it is still dark pink to red, the thing is that on the dipstick the fluid is reading about an inch and a half to two inches above the max fill line. Could this be causing problems.

    Also, periodically the car won't start. It has a new battery, replaced in February of this year and it recently had an oil change. The only times it refuses to start is after the check engine light comes on. My brother says that it could be a bad alternator, but the thing is it will go for 2-3 weeks between the days that it won't start.

    Signed, Confused

    Thanks in advance to anybody with any suggestions.

    Again sorry I'm out here, but I could not find any discussions about this car.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    The fluid should be a rosy pink when new. If it still shows pink color that's good. Has it ever been drained and changed? It should have been done at 100,000 mi and more like by 70K to be safe. Do a drain and replace filter if it hasn't been done for 50 K or more. Do not allow someone to do the flush on it. Draining replaces slightly more than half the fluid and that's good. If you want you can go another 20K and drain and replace again without replacing filter. The rubber gasket on the pan is a lifetime gasket. Do not replace it with one that's not GM original unless this one is torn.

    The trans should be at the full mark when the transmission has been driven at least 15 minutes and is nice and warm. The fluid expands. If it's above the mark after being run but is still cold it's overfilled. If it's above the mark when it's hot, it's overfilled and might siphon a little out with a pump.

    But I'm suspecting it's being checked before the motor is running. When the transmission sits, the fluid from the upper level drains into the lower pan and raises the level above the normal run level. So checking it cold on my 98 leSabre I find the fluid up around the double S curve region on the dipstick. But the hot measurement is the one to make. IF it's halfway between F and add one quart (or is it pint) mark you're good to go.

    The harsh shift might be helped by a trans fluid drain and fill and might not be.

    Are the plugs and wires recent within 30-50K? An engine performance problem might lead to a shift problem. Use AC Delco plug recommended only. Use original equipment quality spark plug wires.

    The starting needs to have a code read to see if anything is showing up. There is a cam sensor that's magnetic that sometimes comes unglued and occasionally someone has a crankshaft position sensor problem with strange stalling problem and trouble restarting and then restart and run fine till it stalls again. You're in the mileage where those might happen. The crankshaft pulley has to come off to get to the sensor but it's a bolt in sensor.

    Take the car to Advance Auto or Autozone and have them read the codes and give you a printout. Do not make a decision that a code means a part has to be bad. It's all about diagnosis and understanding what might be needing attention.

    Just to check when you say it won't start, I am understanding that it cranks but won't fire and run. Am I right?

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

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    I forgot one other common item. The battery cable connections may be corroded.

    Turn off the AC using the off button while the key is "ON" so that it shuts down properly.

    Remove the negative battery cable and check for corrosion. Then remove the red positive cables. Check carefully for shiny metal between the two connectors and reconnect the positive cable. Then the negative black cable.

    Sometimes corrosion between the two cables can cause strange symptoms.

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

  • tankbeanstankbeans Posts: 585
    I had checked it right after I got finished driving my mom to an appointment she had. The temp gauge was reading at about 200 degrees, well within normal operating temps.

    And yes, when I say it won't start, I mean that when I turn the key it will crank like it wants to start, but it just won't start. I haven't checked for shiny metal yet, but I will do that. It doesn't feel sound like a bad problem, it's just annoying.

    Also, one thing I forgot to mention is that right after I try to start it there is this funny sound, kind of a low buzzing, coming from the back of the car, it makes me wonder if it might be a fuel line problem. But if it starts more often than not, and runs like a champ when it does decide to start, I doubt that.

    This is all coming from a self-professed automotive moron, which is sort of why I am checking here first. I don't want to go in to a place and ask them what is wrong without having a vague idea. That would just be setting myself up to be ripped off.

    Thanks for any help.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    Aaaaah. Symptoms.

    Your battery and some relays and fuses are under the rear seat. I believe I've heard ONE mention of someone hearing things happening from there. It's possible your battery has worn out. Even though it's cranking it might not be generating a high enough voltage under load. Your cranking speed would sound slower though. Not likely in your case--but check your battery connections there and see if the eye on the battery is green indicating it's fluid is properly charge (even though the battery may be bad with 10 years of age).

    Check the connections for the ground strap for the battery to the floor so that it makes good contact. Be careful not to touch any two things to cause a short but tighten all the bolts you see that seem to hold positive or ground connections. \

    Be sure to turn off the AC before turning the key off. Several in a Bonneville discussion have had problems after changing batteries possible because of not shutting down the AC to a rest state before removing the battery.

    Turn the key to "ON" and listen for the fuel pump to run for about 3 seconds. You should hear that every time with all the other accessories OFF. When the car doesn't start, turn the key to ON and then off 3 times holding it ON until the fuel pump stops the priming. Then see if it starts.

    Your fuel pump may be worn and that may be the buzzing noise. IF the car was run low on fuel often they age a lot faster. It's best to keep 1/2 tank or more. The fuel pump can be accessed through the trunk floor on those cars I believe. That's a lot easier than dropping the tank if you do end up with a fuel pump problem.

    I don't know why the check engine light would be on and seem to be tied to not starting. IF it's on solid that usually means an emissions problem. Usually the gas cap is leaking air; it wasn't tightened enough after filling the tank. Check the rubber o-ring around the cap and clean the area of the filler tube where it mates up. They collect a rusty feeling crud-but it's not rust. It may take several warm starts for the light to go off if that's the problem. That's not what you've described.

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

  • Actually I have a two part question. The first is I bought my '96 park ave ultra used with about 125,000 miles. I have had to add coolant to the overflow container about four or five times since I bought the car five months ago: approximately two gallons so far. I have never seen this in any other vehicle I have owned. I know that the coolant is not leaking into the block or onto the ground because I took the car to a Buick Dealer for an oil change and also to have the transmission drained and flushed and was told that I had a vehicle that was in good condition. Which brings me to my second question. On cold mornings when I start the car and try to drive off It will hardly move unless I put it in low gear. This happens whether I let the engine warm up or not. I have discovered that if I shut the car off and wait a couple of minutes then restart it will shift normally. Does anyone have any information that will help me figure out what the problems may be before I take it to the dealer again.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    First the coolant should be checked by opening the radiator cap when the car is cooled down; it's under pressure when the car is hot and is tricky to open without getting burned.

    Be sure the radiator is full. Then fill the reservoir to the full hot mark.

    Then watch. You might have a seep in the radiator fins. You might have a water pump leaking while the car is running and under pressure. The coolant comes out a weep hole on the underside of the hub behind the pulley. You could have coolant leaking into the intake area from the upper intake manifold area or the lower intake manifold which is the metal part. Look around those for coolant sitting in low spots outide for external leaks.

    You also can have a crack in the plastic reservoir.

    Coolant getting into the intake manifold can mean coolant in the oil and that means destroyed bearings quickly. Look for creamy colored crud on the underside of the oil filler cap. And look for a milky look to the oil.

    As for the transmission, I've read a few where something odd happens and turning it off and restarting allows it to fix itself. In the dumb question category on my part, is the transmission filled wth oil? It should be up to the full mark after the trans oil is hot--such as driving for 15 minutes. Don't check when cold.

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

  • tankbeanstankbeans Posts: 585
    Hey all-

    I'm back and I know that my car isn't a Buick, but has the same engine, I think. Anywho, about 2 weeks ago I wrote about my car deciding periodically not to start. I received a couple of suggestions and I finally got around to checking the connections on the battery. Here's what I found, on the negative side, this is a side mount battery, the screw that actually goes into the battery was clean, however, there was a perimeter made of copper or something of that sort surrounding the screw. About a quarter of said copper perimeter was missing. On the positive side the screw again was clean, but the same perimeter was corroded and full of the white gunk. I brushed as much as I could, being I don't have baking soda right now. Could this be the problem?

    Also, I realized that the anchor for the battery was loose. Would that have had an effect? Would it be fairly easy to replace the connectors or would it be necessary.

    Thanks for all the help.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    You are saying that the copper washer around the bolt that screws into the battery is broken. I'd look into some replacement cables OR an adapter that will keep the broken and corroded parts away from the acid atmosphere of the battery itself. You might even get cables at a recycling yard.

    Your battery may be seeping out acid around the posts that's causing more corrosion than normal. There have been reports of acid eating away at the actual cables themselves into the plastic covering down past the contact/washer you're saying it corroded.

    I'd do some talking to someone at a parts store about options--or the recycling yard. But know the cost of replacements before you hit the junkyard so you don't get taken.

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

  • tankbeanstankbeans Posts: 585
    Yes that is exactly what I'm saying. I'm never sure how important one part is over another, that's why I ask. With regards to the battery seeping it's possible that the old one was seeping because when I replaced that one it looked pretty bad. It had to be over three years old and not well taken care of, as much as a battery can be taken care of, at all. I wonder if from what you are saying it would be a good idea to replace them. I suppose I can go in to NAPA and have them check it out. I've heard that Checker is more or less for people who know what they're after and will just go get it, because the monkeys behind the counter are idiots. Don't know.

    I just didn't know if the washer connected to the cable was necessary, but I guess if it's there, there must be some reason for it.

    Thanks for your help. I'll keep you updated.
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    two issues,

    1) If by 'crank like it wants to start' you mean you can hear or see the engine rapidly turning over, then the battery and cables are getting the job done and your problem is not the battery or the battery connections. It is more likely that the computer, which tells your engine how to run, is NOT telling it how to run. This could be caused by any of the sensors ( that provide information to the computer ) failing. Your car's computer gets info from sensors such as crank position sensor, cam position sensor, coolant temp sensor, knock sensor, Oxygen sensor, etc. They provide the computer information such as how fast is the engine spinning, where is the engine crankshaft currently positioned, etc. If any of these sensors fail to provide the needed info to the computer, the computer may determine the engine is not ready to run and won't provide the control that tells your fuel injectors to spray fuel at the right time, or spark plugs to fire at the right time for instance.

    If it only happens when the engine is warm, perhaps the heat is causing one of the sensors to intermittantly fail. I believe many people have had issues with the crank position sensor, but I can't tell you how to test that specifically at the moment. Google.

    The CheckEngineLight may be telling you that one of the sensors is bad. Next time it is running, take it to an Autozone or one of the parts stores that will scan it for free. If the CEL is on, super - they should be able to scan and tell you why the light is on. Even if CEL is off, the scanner should be able to pull any historical codes. It could be something as simple as a gas cap not sealing properly, but that wouldn't cause your car to not start.

    Report back with any trouble codes found.

    2) if your car chassis is similar to the '98 BPA then I suggest the sound you are hearing is possibly the car's air pump in the rear quarter of the vehicle which pumps up the air in the self-leveling ride system. (air shocks) I hear it in mine when ever I start it up to drive. It would be very observable if the engine isn't running, but I can hear it even when my engine is running. If I have more weight in the back, it will make the sound for a longer period of time. The air pump sound is heard even after the engine starts, but stops after a short period of time (15-30 seconds?) when enough air pressure is pumped. Fuel pumps are much quieter in comparison to the air pump.

    If it has an air pump and that is making the noise, that is normal and nothing to worry about.

    If you listen under the rear right side of the car while someone turns the key to the run position for about 60 seconds or so, you may be able to identify if that is it.

    Be safe! Don't lean over your engine compartment with any loose clothing or jewelry hanging down, and be very careful if you put your head underneath the car while anyone else starts it. Get recommendations from friends and co-workers about mechanics they have experience with and trust. Hope this helps.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    The air pressure pump for the rear load-leveling struts has a delay of about 25-30 seconds before it runs to cycle the pressure in the struts. If the noise happens before then it may not be the air pump. If it lasts longer than 5 seconds or so, you may have air pressure loss from the rear struts. You can run this without starting the motor and just turn the key to "ON" and stand by the rear of the car. You might leave the key ON for a while to see if the pump runs again indicating pressure loss.

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

  • tankbeanstankbeans Posts: 585
    Thank you all for being patient and helping me with a car that isn't exactly the same as a BPA, but which is close. The weird noise does generally happen after starting and it doesn't last long. I just thought it was an old car and old cars make noise.

    Anyway, I will have somebody at AutoZone run the computer to see if a code appears. I will keep you informed so that you may better be able to direct me.

    I'm an idiot when it comes to these things, so I need all the help I can get.

    Unfortunately, it's another of the 'late-model' cars that are in 'great shape' from CarSlop. Anybody out there don't go there, they're sheissters. Anyway sorry for the segue.
  • leonardgleonardg Posts: 2
    Did you ever find out what the water problem was? I have 2002 PA and just started getting water on floor in front on driver's side? Been all over the WEB and found zero about water leaks in PA's,.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    You should have found things on the internet.

    But if you have a sunroof, the drains on the H bodies are a first suspect. The tubes go down the A-pillar and then through the floor to drain outside. They crack and break.

    Run water into the sunroof by pouring water slowly around so that it goes down the drains and doesn't go out over the doors.

    The plastic liner inside the door cover is caulked to the metal and that caulk ages and lets the water leak on down instead of directing it back inside the metal where there are drain holes on the bottom of the door that lets the water drain outside of the rubber seal.

    If the door has been worked on for a power window motor or something and that cover has been removed it's even more likely to not be glued well. It's a butyl like caulk and can be resealed with fresh caulk.

    Test by running water down over the glass on the outside for a while. Then open door alook at bottom of door below the inside cover looking for water drops or tracks.

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

  • 99paguy99paguy Posts: 2
    I found the major leak at the upper corner of the windshield. I don't know if water was getting onto the front floor, because I could not get the carpet up. Somehow it was getting into the lower frame that runs to the back and was wicking down onto the floor from there. Once I sealed the corner of the windshield it dried out.
  • buckosmombuckosmom Posts: 1
    1999 w/ 150.000 miles 6 cyl fwd

    Our A/C is delivering cold air on the driver's side and hot, hot air on the passenger side. The floor fan is very hot air, too. Even with all climate control off, the passenger side is desperately uncomfortable if the outside temp is over 50 degrees.

    Any ideas? Also, is this best left to a dealership for repair or can any reputable general repair shop do it? It seems like anytime we bring the car into the dealership for anything other than an oil change, the bill is $700.
  • wickedmanwickedman Posts: 1
    hi all im new to the forum. it looks really active with a lot of knowledgeable people. so i come to ask help with my problem.

    my mother owns a 1982 buick park ave, v8 auto. the a/c is shot, many leaks were discovered after the dye test and the guy says not worth fixing. but this is the only car that my mother will drive [hey shes 70 now, she never wants another car].

    so im in london ontario canada [519]. does anybody know who has the parts and would be willing to fix it? i am willing to take it to michigan, or do it here in ontario.

    i probably like most of you here, i dont believe in scrapping the whole car because something takes work.

    so i throw it out to you. even if someone can fix it in their back yard and can get the parts.

    thanks and looks like a great forum.
  • dave1081dave1081 Posts: 9
    I've got my eye on a 97 PA Sedan with 130k from the 2nd owner. Seems well maintained and in beautiful shape. Hope to get 2-3 years out of it. Never had a bells-&-whistles car before and I'm in love with this one!

    Is there a telltale way to see if the intake manifold issue has already been corrected (or not) on this car? Is it advisable to be pro-active and have the work done before a problem develops? - if hasn't been done already? Cost?

    Car is perfect except for non-working driver power headrest and sticky moon roof (which aren't deal-breakers), but the manifold issue concerns me...
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    The intake manifold will have two circles on top that have arrows pointing to the year, month, shift. You're interested in the year. If it says 96 or 97 then it hasn't been replaced. If it doesn't have the clear circles, then it has been replaced with an aftermarket.

    It may have been replaced with another GM early in the cycle of the 1/5 or so that failed and were replaced by dealer under warranty or after warranty. Someone who does replacements might be able to look at the gaskets between the upper and lower UIM LIM and tell if it's been replaced. Also the lower gaskets might have been replaced. If they were, that's a good sign. Early on GM changed the lower metal intake manifol and replaced the metal LIM as well as the upper. The new lower has a smaller EGR tube that sticks into the UIM plastic area with more room around it for air to cool it.

    A few failures were caused by gaskets deteriorating with early DexCool if it was wasn't changed every two years like regular antifreeze.

    Does the reservoir tank have the orange/red DexCool in it? Is it really cruddy, goopy, oily looking when you look at the liquid? The sealant particles put in the motor are brown and they sometimes coat the reservoir tank surface and look bad, but they're not. Sometimes the coating on the inside of the tank is from aged Dexcool.

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

  • dave1081dave1081 Posts: 9
    Great! I'm meeting with the owner tomorrow to inspect the car closely and bringing along a friend who's a former Chrysler dealer mechanic. Compared to what I see on Auto Trader, it seems like a good deal at $3200. Thanks for the advice!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    A replacement UIM from Dorman might be $189? at Advance Auto.
    Tht includes gaskets for the throttle body and under the UIM.

    Gaskets for lower might be $50--there's a special aluminum frame gasket now. Sometimes the plastic seals in the lowers deteriorated with cruddy, aged DexCool. It doesn't sound like that car would have been undermaintained like that.

    The symptom of any leaking of antifreeze is dropping level in reservoir. You might smell coolant out the exhaust after sitting hot under pressure and then restarted... missing on spark plugs is a further, drastic symptom. Running like a diesel is indication of lots of antifreeze getting into cylinders while running and that won't be for long before it drowns out while running or hydrolocks. Coolant in oil shows as milky color. Normal condensate on the inside of the oil cap shows a milk residue also

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

  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    If this was a recall item, any dealers would be able to tell if this was serviced. But unfortunately I don't think this has ever been recalled.

    One thing you can do is remove the gray cover on the top of the engine and look at the date code that is stamped into the highest portion of the plastic intake. There will be 3 markings that resemble clock dials on top of it. One each for year, month, date. If yours is the original, it would probably have a 97 year marked. If it has been replaced it would have a 2001 or newer.

    But what that wont tell you is if the lower (aluminum) manifold has been upgraded. The upgrade essentially used a smaller stove pipe for the exhaust gas which didn't come in as close contact with the upper plenum. This was an improvement, but not necessarily done.

    They (Upper Intake) are quite capable of lasting 100K+ miles. My first one gave up the ghost at 147K, my GM replacement (#2) gave up at 255K. Didn't do any damage either time. just pulled the plugs and pumped out the water, changed the oil and back on the road. Still going.

    I figure swapping them out every 100K miles is not much different than a Honda swapping a timing belt every 60-100K miles.

    Good car.
  • dave1081dave1081 Posts: 9
    Thanks guys for the advice! You were both right about the dials on top of the manifold. I this case, the marking indicated "03", which was nice to see. I had a former Chrysler mechanic and another friend with me (a layed-off GM dealer service writer) who noticed the tiniest bit of leakage around the back (rear head gasket?), but said simply re-torquing the bolts could solve the problem. If not, he knows GM mechanics that would replace it as a side-job for less than $500. Nothing catastrophic. I owe these guys lunch...

    They both advised me to buy the car (97 PA sedan, 130K), so I will this week. Asking $3200, I'll offer $2800 and hope we can agree on $3000. The car is black and sharp!! Touring suspension rides like a dream! Time to pass along my 91 Pontiac 6000 that just turned 200K!!!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,308
    The bolts tend to seep some oil and coolant up onto the top of the motor around the threads. So that seepage most like is better than on 95% of the 3800 Series II's around. Some people get all upset when they see little pools of coolant/oil in the low spots.

    Those motors and cars are considered 300K mile cars by people in the reselling business. They may take some maintenance, but not as much as some cars with a higher public-perception reputation. The friend I have buys older cars and cleans and repairs and resells. I would guess the real world price for that car clean and mechanically great with tires would be more than he's asking.

    The key is change transmission fluids by draining, not flushing, keep the oil in the motor good and fresh, and change plugs and wires with original equipment plugs at 80K rather than waiting till 100K and more--it hurts the coils and spark control. If you start losing coolant find out what's happening immediately and that's the only caveat.

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

  • Yesterday the horn on my 96 PA just started blowing for no reason in the driveway and I had to disconnect the battery. Tried to pull fuse for horn to drive to mechanic but owners manual says fuse box is in front passenger leg compartment, however I can't find it. Any ideas on it's location and why a horn would blow. Car has 125k miles. thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think there's another fuse box attached to the parking brake assembly, by your left foot.

    The horn is probably shorting out in the steering wheel.
  • kbr_924kbr_924 Posts: 2
    Well, I'm not sure why but mine did the same thing last week. I never knew there was any kind of alarm system on my 94 PA. My doors were closed and I took the key and stuck it in the lock, locked and unlocked and held it in that position. The horn stopped immediately. It's an antitheft system but tricky. I've had the car for over a year and this was the first for me.
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