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Buick LeSabre Maintenance and Repair



  • rallyveerallyvee Posts: 10
    I'm going to print out what you wrote, to give to the new mechanic, when I get the tires rotated on the car. What you say makes sense, and jibes with the experience I had.

    What's odd is that, even though AAA told me not to start the car again just in case, I did have an instinct to try starting it once more, to see if it would start normally (which it has, ever since). I agree with you that there might be a problem with the starter, but I don't think this mechanic put a great deal of effort into looking into the problem. He just kept test-driving the car, which was stupid, because nothing unusual happened while I was driving--just when I started the car. That's why I want someone else to look at the car, and with luck, your post might help them pinpoint the problem.

    Thanks very much for your input, and if/when a local mechanic does find out exactly what happened, I'll post an update to help anybody else who might someday search this forum about a similar issue.
  • So when I first start my car, the AC blows only on window and floor, but not Mid level. No-matter what I do, I cannot get it to change. However, after the car has been running for about 15 minutes, it will gradually change on it's own to blow through the mid level vents. The air is also cold (so that doesn't seem to be an issue).

    Any ideas? I have read that it could be the vent or air door actuator....but could also be a vacuum leak somewhere (although that may make less sense)

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    edited July 2011

    Try reading in that thread. I'll see if I can find a Bonneville topic where this has been discussed.

    You've either lost vacuum to the programmer box from the motor side or the little distributor plastic connector on the corner of the programmer box is collapsing. Usually they collapse as the car runs longer instead of what you are getting.

    When you turn off the motor and leave key ON, can you hear the vacuum motors move under the dash with the left over vacuum when you press different air flow buttons on the dash control?

    Here is a link to Bonneville topic with same problem:

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

  • Thanks for the info. I will read through and check out the other discussions. I will also see if I can hear vacuum motors moving after I cut the engine.

    Very strange indeed because there is no discernible loss of power (engine not running you sometimes see in a vacuum leak), and the problem seems to get better (i.e., air comes out of the mid level) if I run the engine long enough.

    Back with you shortly.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    edited July 2011
    If you have enough vacuum to move the motors for 20-30 seconds after engine shutoff, then your underhood llines are okay. It's the connector for the programmer for the 4-5 lines.

    If you don't have much vacuum, check at engine end next to large brake booster hose for rotted rubber end for the plastic vacuum line. Check under Relay Center cover down in bundle of wires for the T connection and ahead where there's a vacuum one-way valve. Check the storage tank under the right front fender behind headlight.

    This is the piece on the corner of programmer box that needs to be bypassed--at least the blue line to the diaphragm for the door for the defroster to make the air come out the dash vents.

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

  • Thanks! I will let you know how it turns out.
  • I am working on a 95 LaSabre that seems to be leaking condensate from under the dash. What causes this and how do I fix it? Thanks!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    Almost always that's due to the drain tube being stopped up. Get under the car on the right side behind the wheel and then look at the lower part of the firewall just slightly to the right of center. You should find a 4-5 inch long tube that is stopped up with muck or pollen or dirt.

    Stick something up into the tube and be sure you're not under the tube while you do that. Usually a lot of water will come out.

    When the AC has been running on humid days and the car is parked, is there a drip of condensation that comes out the bottom of the firewall? If not, then the AC drain is stopped up.

    Rarely someone found a leak around another part letting water into the passenger compartment onto the floor. Has there been lots of rain? Does the car have a sunroof?

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


    1997 Buick LeSabre, 168,000 miles......

    ...I had spark plugs replaced one month before having trouble (did not replace wires)...

    The LeSabre has been having a very small water loss some where but I always kept the water reservoir filled.

    The day of having car trouble,here's what happened...

    I checked the water before starting on small trip...drove about 15 miles and the LeSabre was running real good....

    "NOT ONE TIME did the heat gauge go over to red"...then we came up to an intersection and it stared missing a little...we pulled into Mac D's to eat....

    About 30 min. later, we went out to start it...and all the engine would do is turn over real good.

    Had it towed to my Nephew about 15 miles away...he was able to start it and move it...but it was missing while moving it ...he said it was a head gasket...because it had water coming out the tail pipe...he also said it "DIDN'T HAVE OIL IN THE WATER" which was good.

    I went up yesterday after it has been sitting for over a week and checked it started and ran rough for about 5 min. and moisture or vapors was coming out the back exhaust pipe.

    after the moisture or vapors started running "REAL GOOD SMOOTH" missing...after about 5 min it then started running rough again...I cut it off and checked the exhaust pipe...

    ..."it was DRY AND HAD NO SIGN OF WATER" at all.

    Please help me...please email me at

    Thank you!
    GOD Bless!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    Most likely it's a leak through the EGR tube inside the upper intake manifold. The hot gases deteriorate the plastic and right next to that is the water going through the upper intake to the throttle body to warm it in winter. The coolant leaks into the incoming air. If you take off the throttle body and or the honey comb on the end, open the throttle plate wide and look inside you'll see coolant on the bottom of the upper intake area. This gets sucked into the cylinders causing a miss.

    The lower intake gaskets, under the metal lower, also can leak. This water goes into the cylinder intake more directly. Often when the car isparked under pressure, the water leaks into one cylinder causing hydrolock and the engine won't turn over.

    Head gasket problems are very rare short of overheating the engine to a degree you couldn't miss it happening.

    The coolant from either leak is getting into the oil. This will acidify and detriorate the bearings on the crankshaft causing failure.

    If your upper intake has been replaced, it will either have no circles on top or the circles will be marked for date later than 1996/1997. One of the circles is the year. Aftermarket brands don't have the circles like GM.

    The current oil needs to be drained quickly and replaced, even with cheapest generic oil while the engine is getting in to be worked on. Then drain and replace again after 50-100 miles even the fresh oil put in when the intake parts are replaced.

    Be sure to use metal framed gaskets for the lower intake. is a source for a good upper intake. If you are doing it yourself.

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

  • Okay,

    Here is the end of the story. I traced the lines back to the connector for the programmer. When I too the connector out, the nipples were not cracked, etc. However, when I plugged it back in, the air conditioner started to function properly. Go figure. So, I took it out again and looked more closely. The nipples were soft, and I have come to the conclusion that one or more of them were collapsing. So, I cut all of the lines, spliced them, and bypassed the connector altogether. The a/c vents work beautifully problems.

    Thanks again for your help. The photo was very helpful as well.

    Best, E
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    Glad that it worked for you. Thanks for posting your results.

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

  • i have a 93 lesabre 3.8 with very low miles that i got on the cheap about a year ago so i really do love her but now i've got a problem. what could cause it to die completely with no warning while driving . it won't jump and doesn't seem to take any electrical at all as in when i hook it up to jump lights/radio/windows still won't work and there is still no clicking sound when the key is turned, just nothing . i'm thinking possible a bad alt or a short in the wiring somewhere but how do i test these ? fyi the battery is only a year old so that should be fine . this is getting so hard to pin point that i may have to take it in for this one ( i hope not!)someone is stopping by soon to give me a hand and bringing his voltmeter so we can test some things but any advice from the forum is still more than welcome !!!!!!!!(also fyi it had been sitting outside in the rain for a while before the last time i drove it, then i got in it to go to the store and then about 2 blocks from my house it went completely dead and has been since )
  • so the battery tested fine(12.3) . the fuses are fine . just no electrical power as in no horn no lights and when the key is turned no clicking sound . does this mean the ignition switch ?
  • oh hey never mind . got it working by simply wiggling the positive cable to the battery . i read in another forum that side post batteries are the biggest flaws in gm cars and that 99% the time are the cause of electrical problems . So if you have one always try this first and once you get it started and around some tools tighten and clean her up .
  • i ended up changing the front oil seal, oil filter adapter and timimg chain cover, and the timing chain cover ended up being the problem, it dont leak no, still doesnt get good gas milelage and iv changed the wires, sparkplugs, and ignition coils,
  • I have been reading on this board trying to track down a problem. I have water in the oil of a 97 buick LeSabre.

    In this post

    imidazol97 says that it is most likely the EGR tube inside the upper intake leaking. Can anyone point me to a thread on repairing or replacing the EGR tube or does the whole upper have to be replaced?

    Getting parts down here is a PIA so I need any info you can give me as each time I guess it costs me 2 weeks waiting.

    Also is there anyway to bypass this as it is never under 80 deg F down here!

    Thanks for the help.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    edited September 2011
    Head gaskets very rarely fail unless the car has been overheated.

    The upper intake does fail with leaks where the EGR gas goes through the plastic upper to be mixed with the incoming air. The plastic deteriorates into granules and seeping begins losing coolant from the passages that go through the upper intake manifold (UIM) to the throttle body.

    The lower gaskets between the metal lower and the cylinder heads also need to be replaced to be sure they don't start leaking directly into the cylinders while coolant is under pressure. Sometimes this fills a cylinder and hydrolock occurs. - - - set-3800-v-6-permadryplus.html

    Is a source for the GM metal framed lower intake gaskets.

    Here is APN's version of the upper fixed to prevent a repeat failure in the EGR area. Notice they use a metal sleeve to help spread the heat from the gases. - - - 06.html

    All versions of the upper from Dorman and APN have a reduced size stovepipe on the metal lower that carries the EGR gases through the upper. That's even if the part does NOT have a metal sleeve.

    Note at the bottom of that page they offer a combined price for the metal framed lower and the upper.

    I don't know how shipping is handled outside US. They give a price for US 48 states shipping. That implies they do ship outside the 48.

    Is the oil a milky color instead of a clear oil. If so, that oil needs to be drained and replaced, even using cheap oil until the source of coolant can be fixed. The coolant turns acidic and affects the bearings and surfaces.

    I think I can link you to some how-to-do-it repair sites about repairiing the upper and lowers. Send email to address that shows when you double click on my name at top of this post.

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

  • I'm rallyvee, but I seem to have forgotten my password, so I'm using another family member's account to make this post.

    To follow up on this for anyone else who might be having this problem, the starter needed to be replaced. I was lucky to get stranded in my own garage, but that was sheer luck...I drive to other towns a lot, and I could have been stranded far from home.

    So if your car has these problems, look into replacing the starter, even if it seems to be working.

    Thanks to everyone who offered advice.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited June 2012
    Hey Imidazol97, long time no see. :-)

    My mother-in-law's 02 LeSabre has these three lights on. The local shop told her that it's the "Electronic Brake Control Module" and that they can replace it with a used one but she'd have to go to the dealer to have it programmed.

    I haven't had a chance to clean the battery terminals.

    Looks like you can get these EBCMs repaired and not lose the programming; not sure how easy getting the module off her car would be (remember, we get a lot of rust from the salty roads up here...well, you do too). The screws may be toast. Looks like a pain just to get to it.

    Since I'm not paying for it, I'm tempted just to let her go used for $210 installed, and pay the dealer programming fee. One reputable sounding online repair place will fix it for $150 plus shipping, but I'd have to crawl around under the car.

    Since it's only (barely) driven in town and not in lousy weather, maybe I should just figure out how to turn the idiot lights off. :-) Especially if the module isn't the real problem.

    TIA to you and anyone else for any other suggestions.

    Steve, visiting Host
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,507
    If it's definitely the brake module, I would go with the used and switch it myself. The brake connections should clean up with some JB Blaster.

    Do the replacement brake modules need to be cycled to bleed them? That requires a Tech II or equivalent tool to make them pulse to clear the air out.

    Then there's the dealer programming--can't the local mechanic do that also with the TEch II?

    The one thing good about sending off my unit and having it rebuilt is then it's a good unit and doesn't require programming. A used module might, might be a problem.

    I've read only a few people who have had problems with these in the H-body cars. But there are a few.

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

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Thanks. Not sure if it's really the module, but not a lot of mechanics around to take it to. Guy has already said he can't do the programming.
  • I recently had the power steering gear replaced on a 2001 Lesabre. Now the ABS and traction off lights are coming on. Is there something that was not connected or calibrated that causes the lights to come on? Could something had been damaged when the power steering gear was replaced?
  • dewc3dewc3 Posts: 35
    I have looked, but can someone please send me detailed instructions on the right way to take off a gas tank on a 1997 Buick Lasabre Limited :D plz. I have to install a fuel sending unit and that costs 128.00 but Im finding out that the fuel pump for it is purchased separate which cost another 75. This will be a first for me on this car but I have done it on a Beretta.
  • mmm3rdmmm3rd Posts: 1
    A friend gave me a 1988 LeSabre that had been sitting for a while, the fuel pump was bad so I replaced it (it was in the tank) and the filter. It ran fine for a couple of months 'till one day I shut it off for about 15 minutes to run in to a store and when I came back out it wouldn't start. The fuel pump was out again. I changed it ( and put a new filter on) in the parking lot and got back on the road. I drove about 3 more hours to get home it did fine the whole way. When I went out the next morning it wouldn't start. I couldn't here the pump pressurize when I turned on the key (usually I can) I put a tester on it and verified that I am getting power to the pump.

    I took the two replacement pumps in to return them and when the guy in the store tested them they both worked!

    Has anybody ever had something like this have happen before?

    What do I check?

    The replacement pumps were Airtex if that makes a difference.

    Thanks in advance.
  • bob252bob252 Posts: 48
    Although this may be a month late, Have you checked the fuel pump relay? I would also check the grounds for the pump and sending unit. Hope this helps anyone else with a similar problem.
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