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Buick Park Avenue Electrical / Lighting Problems



  • bill235bill235 Posts: 2
    the coach lights on my 1988 buick park ave. are not working. can't figure out how to get to the bulbs? The lights are located between the front and back doors on the post. anyone?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,611
    The car needs to diagnosed by a knowledgeable mechanic. The number for the error code is important but what causes it still requires diagnosis. The part mentioned as the sensor involved in the error code may not be at fault; it may be reporting a symptom caused by something else.

    You might have a crankshaft position sensor going out. These cause random quick stalls usually with quick restarts.

    You might have a fuel pump that is wearing out. That causes low pressure at times. Often symptoms are worse when temps are hot or when pump has been running for a long time perhaps with low fuel level in the tank so there's less splash cooling. Your pump _might_ be replaceable through an access hole in the trunk. I do not know how that year Park Avenue is built.

    Diagnosis based on code readers is dangerous because it may become expensive--like guessing at parts to fix.

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

  • myparkavemyparkave Posts: 7
    On my 93 pa my amp gauge reads out around 13 - 15 hanging right around the red line of the gauge. I have checked the output and am getting 12.4 volts from the charging system and also have a new battery. I'm assuming that the gauge is a lil bit off ( faulty ). Any ideas on this as well. Thanks for you help in advance.
  • I recently had a problem with my driver's side power seat. The console separated from the seat and fell underneath the chair. When this happened, something must have gotten shorted or something. My sunroof, radio, power locks and trunk release do not work. I checked the fuse box under the hood and under the driver's side dash-they all LOOKED okay. My questions are these: has anyone ever heard of this problem? Is there another fuse panel? If so, is it under the rear seat? If so, how do I remove the rear seat? Can somebody please help me?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,611
    Check your owners manual for locations of the fuse boxes. You don't say what year car you have. If your battery is under the back seat, you have fuse boxes back there and probably under the hood in the left front. Since you have fuses under the driver's side dash I suspect your car is the earlier type and you have fuses in the firewall "Relay Center" under a cover held on with a few plastic taps. They are large fuses. I'm guessing that the earlier Parks had a fuse and relay board on the right side under the dash on the A-pillar area. Take off a plastic cover under the dash above the passenger's legs. On top of the cover is a schematic of which fuses and relays do what. Many may be empty, depending on the options.

    If you read the owner manual, it may give short codes for which fuse does what. You might pick up on a fuse that includes items that aren't working. More than one fuse can be involved with operating a specific part of the car.

    Be aware some cars use networks which talk to other controls. So a controller in a driver's door tells other doors what to do. I don't know your year and I don't know Park Avenues as well as LeSabres. You might have a damaged cable under the driver's seat that's involved in the networking from door to door.

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

  • ggeeooggeeoo Posts: 94
    Look under the rear seat there is a fuse box there. Also did you glue the component BACK IN.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,611
    >look under the rear seat...

    I already said that.
    If your battery is under the back seat, you have fuse boxes back there

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

  • i have an '02 PA with 75K (basic) . the outside and temp. setting in the small (window" keeps going dark then coming back then fading out completly, what kind of repair does this involve???
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Do you know how to drive a soldering iron? :)

    It's a pretty common problem unfortunately with the BPAs. You need to fix the climate control display.

    You can either replace the climate controller with one from the dealer (I think they charge between $100-175 for the part - but that's just a wild guess), replace it yourself with one from eBay that someone has rebuilt ($50-100), send your's to someone to have it fixed ($50-60, there is a guy on ebay that does this, goes by the name: digital_dash_solutions and probably more like him. his is the first name I saw when I did a search),


    if you're a DIY'r, just pull out that controller display, disassemble it, and solder the loose resister's on the board inside it. It takes maybe 10-15 minutes to remove it from your car, 5 mins to disassemble it, 10-15 minutes to resolder the joints, then put it back together. Takes maybe an hour, and .25 worth of solder to fix it yourself. Let me know if you want more detail provided. I've got to do that on my wife's car today, and I could take some pics.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,611
    I'd be interested in seeing the pictures. It seems I have seen a how to do it on the net somewhere, and it's something someone can do at home fairly safely and easily.

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

  • thanks for your help. i have no talents in that area, i am going to have the dealer price it out for me.
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Here ya go:

    Hope this works. Let me know if it doesn't and I'll try again.

  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Even if you don't have a soldering iron, you may feel like you can remove the digital climate control so that you can swap it out yourself. I'd help if you were on the south side of Atlanta.

    I posted some pics, and hopefully you can view some pics of the experience here:

    It took me about 12 minutes to remove it, and the only tools needed were a screwdriver for prying and 7mm socket for removing 3 screws.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,611
    That's an excellent write up.

    I'm hoping that my 98 LeSabre is very much the same.

    I remember the other write up was for a Regal several years back and that forum went dead. The resistors in that case were rectangular solids instead of typical cylindrical resistors. And there were many more than 4 to touch up the solder joints.

    Again thanks for the write up.

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

  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    You're welcome! It was the same in my '98 BPA and I think some models of the LeSabre share the same digital display control. Dont some LeSabre custom models have the slide bar controls? I think the Ltd's and some customs are digital.

    We've also done my dad's '00 and '01 BPAs. Probably did mine first and that must have been 4-5 years ago.
  • thank you so much for the photos and reply.I want to tell you what happened when i took my PA to my local Buick today.Idealt with the Ser. Mgr. of the dealership.-- (a large GM-Buick dealer in Northern coastal Maine). he said i have bad news for you--the parts and labor for the climate control display will run $1,169.00! HELP. the comment was :"inspected and found internal display fault present--not blub or led display...display is internal component heater control headassembly..not serviceable separate..again must purchase entire unit parts and labor. + i would have to prepay for the part.!...i am going get a second opinion from the GM dealer across the border in Canada. I asked the service mgr. if he could find a used part. he said he would try. your thoughts. thanks chrisptown.
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    my thoughts are ... the title "service mgr" is a glorified title for salesman. period. They have competitions to see who can sell the most service. My suspicion is most SMs do not have your best interest at heart.

    Exactly how did that break down parts vs labor?

    He must be quoting you MSRP for the part. Here's the price from for an original GM part:

    Dash control unit, park avenue, main control 97-04 MSRP $1,077.32, Your price $560.21

    Shipping would probably be between $10 and $20.

    That's the way of the world nowadays. They don't fix TVs and computers, they replace components. Same with this unit. It's too bad, because it is easily repaired.

    Can you ask the dealer if you can get the $560 price?

    Is there a local ham radio club or operator who might take on the task?

    Know any family, friends, or mechanics who do freelance work?

    I am not skilled with a soldering iron, but I've done a couple repairs. You could probably pick up a very nice soldering iron for $100-$150 or even get by with a $15 model from HomeDepot or RadioShack. Then search for someone showing how to solder and give it a shot yourself.

    Many years ago I got a nail in the edge of my tire. Not in the main tread, but kind of in the corner along the sidewall. The local tire repair place said it couldn't be fixed because of the location. Tire was trash. groan... I always buy Michelins. A friend showed me the little tar-like covered rope flat repair kits and said to try to repair it myself, "because what have you got to lose?" So I tried it and that tire never lost air for the next couple years.

    Here's another example, this tire caught a huge bolt on the way home. Surely this couldn't be patched... Well, what did I have to lose? I plugged it with the rubberized rope and it's been fine since.

    The point of the story is... what have you got to lose trying to repair it yourself? If you fix it yourself, you reward yourself with $1150 for something you WANT to spend it on. If you don't fix it... you have to pay someone. You're no worse off.

    Or you adjust the temp by feel. Hotter or Colder... Defrost or Heat or AC or Vent. :) You cant see the display, but it still works. Live with it as is.

    Or next time you drive to FL, stop in ATL for a visit. ;)

    Soldering really is simple. 1) heat soldering iron by plugging it in. 2) touch solder to tip of iron and watch a bit of solder melt onto the tip. 3) touch one of the bad solder joints with soldering iron and hold it until wire gets hot 4) hold a piece of solder wire to the joint until it melts onto it. 5) remove soldering iron tip from wire and let it cool down. * do not touch soldering iron tip or hot solder or you will get burned * You don't want to melt solder all over the board, just enough to look like the other joints. You want to solder on the green side of the board.

    Sorry about being so long winded. I'd hate to see someone pay $1169 to fix something that IMO GM should take responsibility for. EVERY control I've seen has needed to be repaired. I think there is a QA issue, either with the design or with GM's manufacturer. :lemon:

    I like GM. I love PAs. But I think $1077 for that part is a bit excessive. :mad:
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,611
    Your best choice if you don't want to solder it yourself, which is understandable, is to have a local but good garage or body shop take it out for you, send it to a repair place, and then have them put it back in.

    Repair places on Ebay and other places specialize in repairing these and giving fast turnaround.

    Or you can buy a replacement used from a recycling yard.
    Choose year, car model, then look for heater control. They separate it as with levers or without levers. You can sort by distance from where you are or by price by clicking on the top of column.

    I see prices of $200 typical. Used part may have same problem as yours since it's a heater deterioration in the solder joints.

    Have a used one put in. Send your original off to be repaired, or do it yourself, and then put the original one back in.

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

  • thank you for detailed options.i am going to call the Buick "place" today to see where he is getting his fig. of$1169. Imay learn to live with with it for a while. i love the PA ('02 basic model 76k. very comfortable excelent paint and interior. i paid $8k from dealer for veh, I think he knew about the cost of the CC issue.. any way i just hate things that don't work. i'll keep you udate on the issue thanks again.
  • I got a call from the Buick dealer today on my PA climate control--he can get me a used one for $300. +plus labor ($80. hr.) no guarantee only that it works when installed. OR a new one fromGM parts directfor $ gurantee for 12 mos. Which one would you advise. I plan to keep my '02 PA forever. thanks. for your help on this.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,611
    >Which one would you advise.

    If you're not a do-it-yourselfer as I was tending to hope, I'd buy the new one from GM partsdirect or for $560 and pay them to put it in. Hope that the new engineering has resistors and solder joints improved. The worry I have is that the older Regals had trouble and your car is still having trouble.

    Putting in a used one is probably going to go dim or already be dim.

    Take the old unit you pull out and send it off to be repaired on Ebay if you aren't into soldering yourself. Put it back for a spare if you plan to keep the car.

    I still think your cheapest would be to take the unit out (or pay a garage to do so) and send it off for repair, and then pay the garage to reinstall. I understand you can drive the car without the control unit. Are you in a moderate climate?

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

  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    My advice may not match your options, but since you're asking... I would hate to pay $300 for a part with no warranty and an unknown history. Or pay $560 for that new part + labor. But that's me ;) I'm cheap. ( or I seek cost efficient solutions )

    If I'm understanding your post correctly, you are stating that one option is for you to purchase a unit from gmpartsdirect and take it to the dealer to install.

    Heck if they are willing to install a part you bring to them, I'd pick up one from eBay such as this one:
    which probably has been rebuilt better than factory, and have them install it. The 1 hour labor sounds like like it's unavoidable, no matter where you have it done - at a dealer or locally owned garage. You do have to ship your old unit to the seller with this method, but there is no down-time - just a quick swap. I suspect cold weather will be setting in soon in your neck of the woods.

    I personally would feel this unit would work as well as any unit that your dealer is offering, yet at a reduced cost.

    I can't tell from your posts much about you, young, old, male, female. I think I read somewhere that you live in Maine. I don't know if you feel comfortable enough to buy something from an eBay seller, and if that is an option you would consider. I buy on eBay all the time and would do it in a heartbeat. Just to make it clear, I am not that eBay seller, not related to him or her, do not know him or her :) , and have never bought from him. But he or she has an extremely a high feedback rating and seems to have worked on a lot of these units.

    But if I have to stick to your original question: Which of the two options in your post, I'd probably try to see if that new unit has an improved design and if yes, go that route.

    Otherwise, as Imidazol97 said, you may just be paying to swap a bad used part for a bad used part.

    Hope you find the right solution!
  • well its Thhursday still waiting frombuick dealer to see if he will get the part fromgmpartsdirect.the ser. dept. laid off 1 of their 2 gm ser. write up guys, i like the dealership overall but want resolve this issue so i can go on to the next one.....i not getting any heat out of the rear vents below the arm rest. any thoughts on this one.?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 23,611
    I like the idea of buying a rebuilt part on Ebay. To me that sounds like the best solution if you're not do it yourself like Bowfan or myself. I didn't know they sold rebuilts rather than rebuilding yours. Of course, it's probably that you pay a core charge and then send your old one after the dealer or shop replaces it.

    That means only one visit to the shop.

    It'd be worth paying the dealer extra to install a known good one to compensate for the lost profit he would have made on the new part at 800 or whatever it was.

    Last I had known, a dealer wouldn't put in anything other than a new GM part of rebuilt or remanufactured by GM. Things may have changed as the profits went away.

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

  • well guys-here is the latest--i can get control unit from GMparts direct--$560.+$118. shipping. Buick would install for me @$80. an hour, s/b only 1/2 hr at most--if tech. is any good.OR myBuick dealer has located a new one that another dealer has had in stock for acouple of years. i can buy for $700.+insulation. i am leaning to this solution--my dealer says GM would gurantee this part for 12 mos./12,000. miles. The outside temp. is good to know up here in maine, often a close call between--snow/ice/or rain. As i said i like my PA as i can tell you guys also like yours. hope this is my biggest expense on this vehicle.-
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    While I agree $118 sounds insanely high for shipping, it also sounds like your site (gmpartsclub) is making up the difference in item price??? Am I missing something? :confuse:

    Dash control unit, park avenue, main control
    97-04 MSRP $1,077.32 Your Price $646.39

  • I am having Climate Control issues on my newly purchased 96 BPA and it sounds like you guys may know how to fix it. My control unit appears to function, but we are getting straight hot on one side and straight cold on the other side. Before purchasing, we told the dealer we wanted it fixed. Their mechanic checked the actuator flap/doors (3) and said they are working properly. The passenger side control arm was broken and they said it would cost too much to replace (since the dash had to be pulled off). They said if we just fix that control arm in position to be permanently open, then it would just eliminate separate control of temp for passenger side. We agreed that was acceptable. But it appears it didn't work. We still have hot on one side and cold on the other.
    Any ideas?
    I have seen this question posted a number of times in the BPA Maint. and Repair forum, but no one seemed to have the answer. I hope you can help.
  • just got home from Buick dealer. had unit repl. for $700. new part warr. 12/12,+sales tax and $80. labor.when, when i closely examined invoice at home i see thety o/charged for the unit by $50. they quoted last wk,, $700. and no shipping charges. will be calling them tomorrow.... trip home (95) miles i notice warm to hot air on passenger side cool ondrivers' side i not sure i understand the system (dual climate control) will have toread manual.....but my next issue will be the PA. fuel gauge --when level gets to QT. tank if your accelate fast the needle will pop up to FULL, and slowly go back down has anyone had tjhis issue? I hope i can work out these bugs love the vehicle is still new at 76k!
  • Hi Chrisptown,
    As you will see, my previous post described the exact same problem you are having. The hot on one side and cold on the other doesn't seem to have any explanation related to the controls settings. My guess is that there is some flap that is not working properly, however it seems a number of people have the same issue. I saw this same question posted a number of times on the repair and maintenance forum (with no answers posted), and the eBay link to the place that rebuilds climate controls stated on his eBay listing that he was aware of the same problem (hot on one side/cold on other) and that replacing the climate controls would not fix it. Apparently, lots of us have the trouble and I have yet to find the answer. I think I will rip into the dash myself the first long weekend I have and see if I can find something.

    If you were not having this problem before the CC unit was replaced, I would promptly return to the dealer and explain that they need to fix it. Maybe it is a weak part that gets easily broken or misplaced from removing the entire dash?? I would make it their problem if it is a new problem to your car.

    I hope someone has our answer. I will post again if I find something. Good luck!
  • bowfanbowfan Posts: 55
    Congrats on getting it repaired Chris.

    My best guess on the bouncing fuel gauge needle is the sender unit is going bad. There were a few years that the senders seem to have been built to insufficent standards. But the problem is not limited to PAs. Our '98 Jeep fuel sender was built substandard too and would make you think you had 1/4 tank when it was bone dry. ( Surprise! :lemon: ) Other models too, not limited to our models. Some vehicles model years have a safety recall on these items. You shouldn't run out of gas in traffic when the gauge says you've got plenty of gas, hence safety recall...

    First, I'd recommend you contact your dealer and ask if there are any recalls that need action on your car. And ask if any have already been performed. I'd guess they should have told you of any needs while you were in the shop, but just to make sure I'd ask.

    If you were a DIY'r, I tell you how you could fix the bad sender for about $30, but its a more difficult repair than the climate control. I'd guess a dealer repair will probably set you back another $500-700. That's just a guess. gmpartsdirect says it's a $225/$117 part, but that's just for the sender (and doesn't include any crazy shipping costs). Sometimes the dealer will want to replace the entire pump & sender assembly as a whole. At MSRP, that would be almost $600 - $800 for parts alone!

    About your passenger side temp control slide: Did you use it before replacing your climate control, and was it working then? Please do check your owner's manual on the use of it :)

    If you don't see any temp difference when you use it, it is possible the dealer didn't reconnect if properly, or a wire broke or came loose. Like Ramzoni said, if it was working before and not working after, I'd say the dealer needs to repair it at no cost.

    Sometimes the mechanics at a dealership are experienced, sometimes they are working as part a school program.

    Let us know what you decide and how it goes! :D
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