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Buick Park Avenue Electrical / Lighting Problems



  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,508
    I don't recall what year your PA is... but some had trouble with wear on the slider contacts. You might check these three videos
    Repair fuel gauge senderon how to repair the sliders by replacing only the contacts using Aurora parts which were available separately.

    Also in watching the video you see how easy it is to do some repairs--if your PA has the trunk access hole rather than needing to drop the tank to access the fuel gauge sender.

    Some gauge have had a corrosion problem due to sulfur in fuels. A few additives claim to help that problem; Techron by Chevron is one. It's on the shelf at Meijers, Advance Auto, Pepboys, different prices and two different sizes, 12 oz for 12 gallons and 20 ox for 20 gallons. You want the fuel system cleaner rather than the injector cleaner. I would try that.

    Essentially the contacts slide and change the resistance. That resistance is read by the gauge. If there's corrosion on the slide (or wear so contact isn't made) the resistance changes drastically. In your case I would guess that high resistance is read at high float and therefore with poor contact your gauge is getting a reading for full tank. Then when contact is made again, the gauge slowly goes back to the correct reading.

    Having someone else do the repair is probably expensive. I myself would put up with a lot silly gauge reading movement as long as it was reading at times so I was sure I had a certain level of fuel.

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

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,508
    The is most likely an actuator. I don't know the year of your car and which style is HVAC box it uses. The newer ones are all electric actuators with NO vacuum involved and older ones have electric actuators for the blend door for driver and both on base systems and a separate actuator for blend door for passenger on dual control systems.

    On newer ones the actuators are easily accessed (relatively) and replaced. So take off the cover panel, and spend some time upside down moving controls with the key ON and seeing which control moves which actuator. On older ones the links may have come unsnapped or the actuator gears may be broken inside or slipping.

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

  • kabbewkabbew Posts: 2
    Hello, everybody. I have a 1994 Park Avenue, 3800.

    Yesterday, I pulled the battery to use in testing another vehicle. I then reinstalled it back in the 94 Park Avenue. The battery cables are clean and are attached to the battery on the correct terminals. But, ever since that battery reinstallation, for some reason my gauges and the security system seem to be behaving like they are being "fed" reversed-polarity juice. Here's what's happening:

    I can only start the car now by (1) opening the driver's side door (2) using the power lock switch to lock all doors (3) get in the car and close the door (4) wait for the security system to set (5) turn the key. Works every time, but also sets the alarm system off. I then use my door key to turn off the security system off, while the car is running. If I try to start the car in the normal way, the security system is keeping the starter and fuel pump disengaged.

    Also, when I start the car and then shut it off, my temp and oil gauges swing to the right i.e. clockwise and to the high-reading side. And when the car is running, my voltage gauge reads only about 11 volts continuously. It never shows any signs of reacting to the gas pedal or alternator's charging.

    This all seems to point to a simple polarity problem, but I can't figure out what is causing that or how things got this way, since all I did was remove and reinstall the battery correctly. ??? I know this is probably something bone-headedly simple, but any help anyone would be willing to offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  • Thanks for the info on fuel gauge.i think i'll see if i can "live" with it. I hope my PA isn't a "problem' car. i have only had it 2 mos. this is 2nd big repair. it only has 76k on it and body and interior are in excellent shape. what else can i expect on a car with 76k on it/ any way you guys have helped a lot i know now what i' am dealing with. o also the climate control seems fine now will know soon hasn;t been real cold here yet. chris.
  • Great job with the pictures and instructions for removing and fixing the digital climate control on my Park Avenue. I'm glad I ran across your response. I'm sure you saved me a lot of time and money. Thanks again for a great job. grampsebj
  • Got the controller out and took it apart; noticed several loose connections. My question....What type of solder to use and what do you use to clean the terminals so solder will adhere. Thanks
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    local hardware store should have little toothbrush sized wirebrushes, plain old 60/40 tin lead solder should do. The kind you might find at a RadioShack if you have one nearby. The very thin wire solder is easiest to work with.

    Like I said tho, I'm not very experienced at soldering. I'll be honest, that I haven't focused a lot on cleaning out the old solder as there wasn't a lot in place. I mainly just heated it well, and added new solder.

    If you do a search for soldering techniques, there are lots of howtos and videos that can teach way better than I could.

    Sorry, I couldn't respond before now - it was an on-call weekend. You probably got it working by now, eh?

  • my just keep burning fuse and the fuse is for anti theft #2 its a #30 fuse every time i put it in it burns out wat is the problem ? ho can i solve it tere are ni good mechanics where i am . how can i delete the system would the car start if i delete it . where is it located ? help me please.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,508
    You seem certain the cables are attached correctly. Black to negative and red to positive.

    Is there any chance the battery has switched which terminal is positive and negative from its treatment in the other car environment?

    What was done with it at the other vehicle?

    But it's my thinking that a reversed connection on the battery destoys the fusible links to protect the electrical system...

    I suspect you might have removed it with the key ON or reinstalled and reconnected with the ignition key ON? That's the best I can do.

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

  • Some of the LED lights on my heater controls are not working (2003 Park Avenue) - this includes "TEMP" on the dash and the steering wheel and the "AIR FLOW" control on the dash. All the controls are working fine - but the lights are out. Just curious to know if there might be an easy fix - if it's something complicated I'm not going to worry about it. Any comments would be appreciated. Thx.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,508
    The heater controls can be taken apart and carefully have replacement bulbs soldered in.

    The steering wheel buttons require pulling the buttons out with paperclips prying on both sides to wiggle them up. The leads are short and the bulbs can be unsoldered and replaced. They probably have a blue filter over the bulb that you can recycle to the new bulb.

    Radio Shack will have bulbs for both applications. You may not find an exact match but they will be serviceable.

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

  • 1) Do you know how the dash control buttons are removed? and 2) Would there be two bulbs for each control button - upper and lower? - if so I think they both went out at once which would be more than a coincidence.
    3) Would GM carry the bulbs?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,508
    >Would GM carry the bulbs.

    Yes, but not the way we want. They'll sell the bulbs in a new heater control unit!!!

    >how removed...

    Remove the whole control box then, carefully, disassemble to determine what bulbs are where. Those bulbs, in my guess, are behind the switches; the switches probably don't come out by prying on the front like the steering wheel switches.

    Give me some time and I'll see if I have a guide for the HVAC repair...

    I'm sure there are places on the net, and EBAY if you can stand it, that repair yours on quick turn around or send a rebuilt unit for a price. Depends on how much you like fine, detail work inside stuff.

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

  • I have a 1996 Buick Park Avenue. The transmission will slip until the car comes to a halt. Only when I shut the engine off and restart, the transmission would re-engage, run for a few miles, and slip again. Then I have to repeat the whole process. What do you think my problem might be?
  • Hi, my mom is having similar problems and no one in her small town can fix it! Her 2000 Park Avenue starts most of the time but all too often won't and when mechanics look at it, even holding it for two days at a time...can't find the problem. Now she is afraid to drive it. We need to give OUR mechanic something to look for....any ideas?
  • Hello. this is my first forum....not even sure I'm doing it right. My mother is having a problem with her 2000 Park Avenue. When it starts and runs, it runs like a top but sometimes and you never know when or where, it will not start...sometimes after sitting over night, other times after she runs into the grocery store. The Buick dealer in town who sold it to her went out of business. The last mechanic had it for two days and could find no reason for it not to start but this is happening 2-3 times a week now and Mom is afraid to drive it. Can you enlighten our mechanic?
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Hello Jchird,

    question for you, when you say it won't start, do you mean the key is turned, but the engine won't spin or turn over at all? or do you mean the engine is turning over but won't run? Does it ever quit running while driving?

    If it is turning over but not firing, I'd say there is a 99% chance that you've got a failing crankshaft position sensor (abbreviated CKP). Unfortunately as your mom and mechanic have seen, when it (the CKP) fails, it fails in an intermittent fashion. There was apparently a bad batch of these around the year 2000 models.

    Part costs about $26 at Autozone, lots more at the dealer.

    I'd recommend she have the mechanic replace that part and she'll probably be set, if that is the symptom you are describing. :)

    regarding posting a message in this forum, you would probably be better off selecting the 'start a new thread' link or the 'Post New Message' link and put a brief title that describes your problem or question, with the detail in the "Message:" box.

    I don't think the other poster's condition about the Regal, is like yours as it would not restart at all at that time.
  • problem: manual headlight switch will not turn on light unless shifter is out of park. also, when ignition switch is on and engine is running, the lights do not come on at night unless the shifter is out of park. when driving at night, when car is stopped, the lights go off as soon as the shifter is moved to park. solution???
  • "service stablizer system" warning appears randomly, have replaced with 2 new sensors, been at dealer 4 times in last 3 months always with keep the car overnight.
    After each sensor replacement no problem for 10 to 15 days, then back again. The occurences are random, but now showup when starting a cold engine. also occur either driving straight or when making a turn in either direction. Goes away immediately upon hitting "Reset" button or turning engine off. There is no known affect on operating the vehicle when this occurs. Definitely a nuisance.
    Would appreciate hearing about a definte "FIX" have read alot so far about similar problem symptons.
    Thanking you in advance
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    Dear Sir:

    I have a 99 Park it had a 11 year birthday today. Two issues the back up lights
    are not working I have checked the fuse box under the glove compartment the fuse
    looks good replaced the back up light switch a the transmission wit a new one and
    replaced the bulbs still no good any ideas? 2 nd issue is the oil pressure read out
    I replaced the switch above the oil filter checked the connection but the read out
    is wacky rise and falls and rings the alarm. Any ideas?

    Art Levine
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    Ya know I love my PA too. Will Buick ever offer a seat as comfortable and a roomy
    as the PA ultra? I mention to a Buick GM that bench seats in the front are great
    for big guys. He said the bench seat went out with the 8 track. If they do not build
    a model like my 99 park I will drive it forever until the wheels fall off. I bought mine
    new 40 K pearl diamond white it still runs great with some minor electrical issues.
    I just press that window with my thumb when it goes dim with the temp.
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    This is a ongoing thread I am trying to unravel.

    1999 Buick Park Ultra Back up lights failed both of them. Check the fuse replaced it even though it looked ok. Replaced the bulbs even though they looked ok. Noticed
    a broken Green Wire in the bundle that goes up the trunk C HINGE . sPLICED AND REPAIRED still no lights I will report after inspect the entire harness to the lights.
    Any ideas?
  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    My back up lights failed because of a green wire that goes up the trunk J hinge. I used
    Tap splicer so that it will not come apart again so easily. I replaced the fuse,backup
    switch and bulbs good that they are new but that was all unnecessary. So word to
    the wise find the fat green wire in the bundle that is the ground make sure yours is
    not cut or broke!
  • rickoricko Posts: 22
    Driver information center on 97 park avenue is not working, could this be a fuse issue or is it dead and need of replacing.
  • My 2000 Park Avenue is having what sounds like the same problem. It does not even turn over when turning the key. When it resets itself, it starts fine and will do so for days or weeks at a time. The machanic could not find a problem because it would not replicate the issue when at the shop. He thought it may be a nuetral switch in the tranny. Took it to the transmission shop where, of course, it would not fail. I am continuing to drive it until the failure is more consistant. Any ideas?
  • jchirdjchird Posts: 3
    Okay, here's what happened with my mother's 2000 Park Avenue. She was having problems with it intermittently "not starting". Her dealer could not fix it after several tries. After the dealer closed, another mechanic tried fixing it and failed, Then AAA towing recommended Al (at Al's Family Repair in Ocala Florida) took a stab at it. He first diagnosed a weak fuel pump. The fuel pump was replaced and it was okay for a week or so until it happened again. This time he came over to the house, BLESS HIS HEART, and diagnosed it while it was not starting...FINALLY. He "renewed the crank" sensor whatever that means and it has been starting for a couple of months without fail. I hope this helps your mechanic! Let me know!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,508
    In jchird's case the car was cranking, but wouldn't fire.

    In sharmon708's case the car is NOT turning the motor over due to the security system protecting from nonauthorized keys.

    One question, was more than one key in the car near the steering column at the time it wouldn't start? I.E., one key in pocket or hand and the other in the ignition? I've experienced this with our Cobalt. Two key transponders reacting when the key is inserted confuses the computer.

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

  • No other transponder was in the car at the time. I assume you are talking about the keyless remote. The key itself does not have the security component built into the key as many other GM products do. My other car is a Buick Regal and it does have such a key. I do not carry the Regal key on my set. The mechanic was thinking that is was related to the security system and kept asking me if the security light was flashing at the time it would not start. The light comes on just as the other dash lights do but it not flashing. What else should I be considering if it is a security issue? How does it get reset?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,508
    >The key itself does not have the security component built into the key as many other GM products do.

    The key does not have the transponder in the head of the key. You're telling me then it has the black chip in the neck of the key that gets touched by two contacts at the entrance to the lock cylinder when the key is put in all the way. I was wrong in thinking it had the transponders...

    If it had the black chip with metal contacts on both sides that's the VATS system. The tiny wires in the steering column connect to the connector at the base of the steering column. Tilting the wheel breaks the tiny threads of wires in the wires and changes their resistance as more of the threads in each wire break. Also the contacts in the lock cylinder may be dirty or worn back and making bad or poor contact.

    When you turn the key ON the security light should come on for about 5 seconds as the theft deterrent module reads the resistance in the circuit to the key. If that resistance is right, the security light goes off. If not, it should start flashing and flash for three minutes as the injectors and starter are locked out.

    Then after 3 minutes the module is ready to read another key chip.

    There are other problems some people have had with various parts of the car security such as trunk lock sensors on H-bodies.

    If your problem is VATS, the easiest fix is to find the two tiny wires at the bottom of the steering column (they're usually inside a larger plastic housing that looks like a single wire itself) and jump them with a resistor pack the same resistance as the key chip (within 10%). Theft alarm installers have resistors that they get already made to the 15 resistances used by GM. They might be an easy way to have the resistor jumper installed for a moderate price even ifyou don't buy an alarm system from them!!!

    Clean the key contacts with a pencil eraser. Use another key if it works better. Dip the key into alcohol and insert quickly into the lock cylinder to try to clean the contacts that rub the black chip.

    If it is the VATS system like on the leSabre and Bonnevilles, the module can fail in 4 ways. One is if it decides it's getting wrong readings for some reason and it goes into bypass mode where it just lets the car start every time. Mine on my 98 leSabre did that. Occasionally the security light would come on while driving and then go off. Occasionally the key chips didn't read right on the first turn of the key. But instead of locking out 3 minutes every time, it would read the key again on removal and reinsertion and usually start. Eventually the system quit turning on the security light or the bulb burned out. I don't know which. That's 2 years ago.

    Good luck.
    Search for VATS on google. (vehicle anti theft system)

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

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