Buick Le Sabre: Electronic/Battery Issues

kcwolfpackkcwolfpack Member Posts: 1
I love this car. Engineering,ride and drive are superb. I would recommend this car to anyone in the market for a premium sedan. However,there are some annoying glitches which mine has. The worst one is a dead battery which happened twice in three months. the dealer says it was a bad cell. HAS ANYONE HAD THIS EXPERIENCE? It also had the dreaded kazoo windshield noise which was fixed. Now it is also making a popping noise from underneath the car, which I suspect is the exhaust heat shield. The car died and was restarted immediately once on a hot day. The people at my southwest Missouri dealership are first rate and are cooperative. I now carry walking shoes and a cell phone. When the battery goes, so does the standard OnStar. I also fixed a rattle in the dash by installing an old cut up windshield wiper blade between the windshield and the trim covering the A pillar. Thinking about an extended warranty? You bet.
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Comments

  • nwalkernwalker Member Posts: 17
    I was interested in hearing that you have experienced the popping sound from under your 2000 Le Sabre. That is about the only problem I have had with mine. It has popped since the day I got it. I usually only notice it when I am first getting under way. It is more likely to happen when I change from one grade to another like entering the street from my driveway. You are the only other owner who has mentioned it as far as I know. I have been monitoring this thread for a year and a half. My dealer also thought it might be the exhaust shield but could not find anything unusual. I suspect it may be the self-leveling system but I am not a mechanic. It has not gotten worse over time. I am going in for my 15000 mile service next Monday so I would like to hear back from you if you have any more information.
  • nwalkernwalker Member Posts: 17
    Thanks for your quick response. I printed out the TSB data and will show it to my dealer on Monday. I will let you know how it turns out. I hope you get your electrical problem fixed quickly. I don't know how long you have been monitoring this thread but the dead battery problem has been discussed here from time to time.
  • macarthur2macarthur2 Member Posts: 135
    When two batteries go in a row it is definately time that a good mechanic was taking a good hard look at the alternator/charging system. Has anyone thought of that? You'll replace a lot of batteries until you check out the rest of the system. Two dead cells in a row? I don't think so. The odds are as good as Buchanan winning the election.
  • jimsxnjimsxn Member Posts: 108
    Car didn't start at all this morning..I had put a new battery just a month back. Upon investigation at Goodwrench, the alternator is down and would cost C$ 450 (USD300)to replace.
  • tboner1965tboner1965 Member Posts: 647
    If it is anything like the alternator on my '87, it better not take more than about 10 minutes to change it. Mine sits right on top of the engine. Disconnect the battery cables and put it on a battery charger. (A really good way to ruin a new alternator is to immediately ask it to charge a dead battery.) Then, use a ratchet to take the tension off the drive belt at the tensioner pully, slip off the belt, unbolt the two bolts that hold the alternator in place. There should be a plastic connector that is easy to remove, and a wire on the back, held in place by a nut.

    Take tha alternator down to the parts store and have it tested. If bad, get a new one. Have that one tested before you leave. Install in reverse order.

    It will take longer to drive back and forth to the parts store than to actually do the work.

    You can probably do this for $100US. Ask the counter guy for the best lifetime warrantied alternator and you should be all set.

    Again, test the new one before you leave so you don't repeat the R&R.

    TB
  • kcwolfpack59kcwolfpack59 Member Posts: 122
    mine tracks straight and true. I don't have to make as many micro-adjustments to the steering wheel as compared to other newer cars. however this car is more susceptible to crosswinds than my 97 Monte and the Olds 98 which was traded for the buick. I attribute this to the optional touring suspension in the Olds. I still am crazy about the lesabre and have not experienced the dreaded battery run down which I griped about in earlier posts. any new readers have this battery run down?
  • jimsxnjimsxn Member Posts: 108
    My battery change and alternator change were primarily initiated by a battery rundown...first time by a cellphone charger left in the socket and second time by a glove compt light. They were due for a change anyway so I don't mind as much..on the other hand they may have given more service.
    Beware of the lights left on....
  • mbyrnmbyrn Member Posts: 2
    Our family has always bought Buicks and been Buick lovers until the purchase of our brand new 2000 Buick LeSabre Limited. We HATE this car due to mainly the constant dead battery problems. It is on its third battery and the car only has 18,000 miles on it. It also left me stranded in the middle of the street, downtown, on one occasion.(This problem did actually get fixed). The car has been to the dealer repeatedly to no avail. We only get the run around because they can't find what the real problem is. No more Buicks for us. Anyone considering purchasing one should have second and third thoughts about it.
  • kcwolfpack59kcwolfpack59 Member Posts: 122
    Make sure the your ignition switch is off. It is much easier than other cars to turn the switch back another notch to accessory. My mom has a problem with that and when it happens, it takes a day for the battery to run down. Since your problem is happening downtown, I assume you have not left it for more than a day and you would take your keys with you, eliminating the cause of the problem I am having.
    Please post your fix here. I am still a little worried about this. Otherwise I still love this car.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,991
    Sounds like you're still under warranty. If the dealer hasn't diagnosed the problem, why haven't you been to another Buick dealer. In three years I would have been sleeping on the service manager's desk to get it fixed. You didn't say what was the problem that was fixed...

    Have you contacted the Buick 800 number????

    Your dealer should have kept the car for several days while giving you a loaner to drive. During that time they could have looked for a drain on the battery or alternator problem. You have a dealer problem, not a Buick problem. You could insert any favorite name here, Lexus, Honda, Toyota, Infinity, Volvo, etc., and they could all have the problem with batteries.

    Come on here. Let's not be so brutal on the brand, when it could be any car having that kind of trouble.

    Good luck. And try another dealer while you're under warranty especially.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • mrpoetrymanmrpoetryman Member Posts: 38
    I agree with imidazol97. I also have a 2000 Buick LeSabre limited with 42,000 trouble free miles on it. I have had no problems with my battery. I would definitely go to another Buick dealer and let them keep the car as long as it takes to find out the cause of the problem. It could be as simple as a loose wire somewhere that is draining the battery. Your car is still under warranty, so you have nothing to lose. Good luck and let us know what the problem and solution are.
  • macarthur2macarthur2 Member Posts: 135
    Doesn't your LeSabre have a power saver that shuts off power to accessories that are left on and will drain the battery (like interior lights) about 10 minutes after the ignition is shut off? I believe this is standard equipment. If so the problem is not a trunk light or glove box light that is sticking on. I agree, go to a dealer who is intersted in servicing Buicks instead of the one you are going to who only wants to sell them.
  • mbyrnmbyrn Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for all of your advice. We have had our Buick to two different Buick dealers to try and have our battery problem diagnosed. One dealer kept the car over the weekend looking for what was draining the battery but could not find the problem. The battery only goes dead once every three or four months so we think it has a short in something but all the dealers tell us is "we need to drive the car every day at least ten miles" or that we don't drive the car enough. We find this ridiculous. We have contacted the Buick home office but they say at this time they can't do anything.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,991
    Neighbor had trouble with Gran Prix Supercharged 3800 with battery draining. The car had an incident early with smoking wiring which dealer fixed, so neighbor thought drain was related to wiring problem.

    But two batteries and lots of jump starts later, another neighbor who's a used car lot type repair what comes in mechnic's knowledge, replaced the starter. Replacement battery from Walmart and no more problem.

    Somehow something on the starter was causing a drain that zapped the battery. Relay or ???? caused the drain. But it wasn't always happening.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • spindelspindel Member Posts: 8
    A year ago I had a problem with a dead battery on my 2000 Buick Lesabre Limited. If the car sat for two or three days the battery would be dead. I took it to the Buick dealer. The problem was with the underhood light. They had to order one. Since then I have not had a problem.
  • kcwolfpack59kcwolfpack59 Member Posts: 122
    I will try that. I disconnected the trunk light thinking that was the problem and put a mercury switch from the junkyard in. I since found out it was not it and it is on the battery saver program. We had another "incident" last week ago and mom had it towed to the dealer without me knowing. She insisted they put another battery in. I hope these ideas fix it.
  • jimsxnjimsxn Member Posts: 108
    I had a chronic dead battery problem when I bought my 1994 LeSabre in 2000. All of a sudden, no more starting....I took it to two different places; one changed the battery and the other changed the starter. Problem persisted. Then I did a little diagnostic on my own and found that at one time the glove compartment wasn't shut properly because of too much stuff and at the other time, I had left some interior lights on. I started taking care of these little things and hasn't had a single starting problem in last nearly two years....and I live in cold Canada.

    Buick has so many lights and so much of electronics, something gets left on and it is easy for battery to get drained.
  • romanelloromanello Member Posts: 1
    We have a new 2004 LeSabre with 1200 miles. It would not crank and the dealer replaced the dead battery. That was two weeks ago. Two days ago it would not crank in the morning but it did in the evening. The dealer could not find any codes listed and would not replace the switch. My 2000 Impala had the same problem when new. Replacing the switch corrected the problem. Any other ideas on this one?
  • kcwolfpack59kcwolfpack59 Member Posts: 122
    Went thru this with my 2000. I think it was my mom turning the key to accessory instead of off, thus draining the battery. With this model it is easy to do. It has not happened again since I showed her.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,991
    I have had 3 LeSabres and two Centurys. I replaced one alternator.

    93 LeSabre 70K replaced. Still running at 150K.
    98 LeSabre 120K -running fine.
    03 LeSabre 20K - running fine.
    89Century traded at 120K okay.
    87 Century traded at 98K okay.

    I thinks there's something wrong with certain Bonnevilles that causes alternator failure. Neighbor had 3800SC Gran Prix that had battery drains for 3 years. It had an alarm that seemed to drain the battery and something had burned up a wiring harness early in the cars life. REplaced under warranty.

    But the neighbor, a shadetree mechanic who had worked with used cars all his life, changed the starter and the drain was gone... after 80K.

    The neighbor's dad has a used car lot. He says 3800 in large cars is good for 300K. He sells a lot of used ones with high mileage.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • hagrawalhagrawal Member Posts: 20
    We have a 2003 LeSabre Limited which has 47,000 miles. Yesterday, the GM battery failed and had to be replaced because it will not hold charge. I repaced the GM ACDelco with Interstate.

    It seems to me the battery should have lasted at least 4 or 5 years and is another indication of poor quality of GM parts. Has anyone had similar experience?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,991
    Battery life is not forever. It depends on the car and how the car is used as well as temperatures and so on. When a battery hits 3 years I consider it toast. Any more is borrowed time.

    Did you check the battery hydrometer indicator every few months to see if it was showing green? That usually will give an early warning of some failures. Otherwise the battery can just simply have a cell short out as a conductive path between anode and cathode is built when the battery is recharging and then you've lost a cell.

    I would have replaced with a Walmart Maxx battery with 960 cranking amps and long total replacement free guarantee and a 7 year or 8 year prorated replacement. Interstate seems to have an aura about it from advertising that didn't mean quality in the battery based on some coworkers who bought them in the past.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • crankincrankin Member Posts: 4
    The battery light comes on and motor runs on battery. Changed Alt twice and it has plently of charge. Checked all battery connections. Battery not getting charge.
  • spindelspindel Member Posts: 8
    sounds to me that the battery is bad. Have you had the battery checked?
  • crankincrankin Member Posts: 4
    Maybe I didn't make myself clear enough. I thought a car could run off the alternator. When the battery dies the car dies.
  • kcwolfpack59kcwolfpack59 Member Posts: 122
    This may have been discussed before, so forgive me, but has anyone put a replacement battery in their 2000+ car? If so, what kind? I will probably keep the car one to two more years and since mom drives it, I don't want to take a chance on the battery going bad. It has a vent system attached to it. Should I get an optima, OEM, or just go to Wal Mart and get one of their best batteries?
    I think the location under the back seat is great, but I don't want to put the wrong type of battery in it. I was thinking about putting in an Optima battery, storing the one in it now, and switching them at trade in time and using the Optima in another vehicle.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,991
    I had looked at Wallymart and they didn't have one for the number listed in their lookup book.

    If you come up with a good replacement let me know. I've seen people on other groups mention making the vent tubes fit the vents on batteries so they'd vent the hydrogen under the car.

    Since it's on its sixth year, you're wise to start looking. If you don't get any symptoms of weak battery you're probably sitting with some time. Usually batteries fail in the heat and in the cold of winter. We've already had the heat here. The original Delco batteries on GMs are good batteries in my experience. They last long times.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • kcwolfpack59kcwolfpack59 Member Posts: 122
    Thanks for the Walmart tip. I will check around and post my findings. Mom replaced the original in 2001 or 2002 at the dealer when I was out of town. She had a bad habit of turning the car off and leaving the key in the accessory position. It would drain the battery and we would not know why. This happened several times. The car would be towed to the dealer and they would find nothing wrong. How I figured it out was when I noticed the radio was on when I was outside of the car and she had driven it last. Until we discovered it was her and not the battery, she felt better having a new one installed by the dealer. End of problem. To this day, she will not admit what they charged her for the battery. I do like the idea of the battery under the seat. I think it is better for a crash when you need onstar activation. Also a much less hostile environment than under the hood. Maybe even slightly better weight distribution. I like to keep less than 4 year old batteries in her car just for peace of mind, even if she does drive it one more year until she gets a Lucerne.
    Looks like the host was kind enough to make a separate Lesabre electrical issues topic for us.
  • kcwolfpack59kcwolfpack59 Member Posts: 122
    Found one at O'Reilly's, a chain store throughout most of the midwest based here in Springfield, MO. $69 for 880CCA, 72 month warranty, 2 year free replacement. I'm happy.
  • enforcer971enforcer971 Member Posts: 2
    i have a 1992 lasabre and smoke started coming out of the steering colum. removed the steering wheel and found the wire that seems to be causing the problem however i cant seem to find a wiring diagram online for the steering colum for under $19.95. is there a web site where i can download a wiring diagram of the steering colum?
  • cookie98cookie98 Member Posts: 7
    I have a 2001 Lesabre and it will cut off while I am driving. This may happen 2 or 3 times a week not everyday.
    The volt light will come on and I have to pull to the side and the car will cut complete off sometimes it will start right back up other times I have to wait maybe 30 minutes before it starts.
    Do anybody have an idea to what maybe causing this problem.
    When I take it to the dealer it will not do it and they did to duplicate the problem in order to find out what codes may show up.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,991
    Start with the battery cables complete checks for deteriorated cable inside the plastic at the ends.

    Check the battery for a broken post inside the battery that makes contact and then doesn't make contact.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • cookie98cookie98 Member Posts: 7
    I check the battery cables and everything is fine.
    So any more suggestions.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,991
    Put a post in Ask a Technical Question. Alcan may know something to check or someone else there may know what's likely problem.

    highroller, "Got a Quick, Technical Question?" #2854, 13 Sep 2006 12:34 pm

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,991
    Does the tachometer go to zero the instant it cuts out?

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • cookie98cookie98 Member Posts: 7
    Yes.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,991
    If the tach hits zero as soon as the problem starts even before the final stall you might have a crankshaft position sensor problem.

    Or check the fuse #19 in the underhood fuse panel--it has the black cover that snaps over it on the passengerside of the underhood--with the large red battery cables going into it on one end.

    I picked these up from another discussion where someone had similar problems. One person said they cleaner the crankshaft position sensor with WD40 spray through the access hole without replacing it.

    You may email the address in my profile if you need more info to check for yourself. You may be able to email from the MySpace here on Edmunds to my name in MySpace??? I haven't figured out most of that stuff.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    That would be [email protected] :)
  • cookie98cookie98 Member Posts: 7
    Try to e-mail you from my space but the message came back.
    My question is do you know where the crankshaft position sensor is locate on at 2001 Lesabre Buick?
    Thank you for your help
  • zip4202zip4202 Member Posts: 1
    Hello my dad has a 89 lesabre and it has no spark. We have replaced the coil pack, computer, plugs and the crackshaft sensor is only about a year old. Im in the process of finding the relay and testing the power. Would the camshaft sensor or any sensor cause no spark? Any help would be useful. Thanks
  • bobbyg3bobbyg3 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 Lesabre that is hard starting when the engine is good and hot and has been sitting for awhile hot. It will also stall when driving down the road under 40 miles per hour, but has never stalled driving on the interstate at higher speeds. A mechanic could not detect any codes, changed plugs & wires, but still have problem. Any suggestions? Thanks!
  • lperry112005lperry112005 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 Buick Le Sabre. I cant find the reservoir to put the power steering fluid in. I have had 5 people look at it and cant find it either. Can someone please tell me where to put the power steering fluid?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Member Posts: 25,991
    See if this helps. Lean over the side of the car right next to the strut tower on the right side. Look straight down. This picture will show you the landmarks. Directly below the alternator is a cap with orange lettering... It seldom needs checking, so it's not too bad that it's hard to reach.

    image

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • daimondaimon Member Posts: 4
    Hi to All...new to forum. I purchased a Battery Saver Plus for my 1989 Buick Le Sabre, but unfortunately the plug wouldn't fit into the lighter socket and I had to recharge it at my local gas station. Thus my alternative, according to www.4lots.com, is to "...attach the [solar] panel directly to the battery. This may be done by: A) Cutting off the cigarette lighter attachment and attaching the stripped wires directly to the battery, Negative to Negative (Black to Black) and Positive to Positive."

    First question: is this risky? And if not, do I simply loop each wire around the terminal, starting with the negative one? Thanks in advance.

    Kevin
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    No great risk but I'm not fond of having any loose wire that can create a spark near a battery. I'd much rather see you put alligator clips or large spring clamps on each wire, then tape the clips with electrical tape so that they are somewhat insulated. This way, you can just clamp the solar charger on there safely.

    Of course, a solar panel is to maintain the charge on a charged battery, not to charge up a dead one. Seems like you know that already.
  • daimondaimon Member Posts: 4
    Thanks Mr. Shiftright. Excellent advice. I received similar advice on another forum.

    Kevin
  • jswampyjswampy Member Posts: 3
  • jswampyjswampy Member Posts: 3
    i'm having a weird problem... My car is a 1987 buick lesaber 2 door with a 3.8 My car ran perfect.past tence that is... i got home ,shut it off and in the morning it would not start. it spins fast and everything,its getting fuel. after trying for half an hour i was cranking it over and "boom" it fired enough to blow my muffler to shreads and thats it,it will not fire..any suggestions?
  • jlazzarojlazzaro Member Posts: 1
    I HAVE WENT THROUGH 3 BATTERIES IN THE LAST 4 MONTHS. I TOOK THEM BACK TO WALMART AND THEY EXCHANGED IT ALL THREE TIMES.

    I'M WONDERING IF THE CAR IS KILLING THE BATTERIES AND IF SO WHAT COULD BE CAUSING IT.
  • tmlfan6000tmlfan6000 Member Posts: 2
    i back out of the drive way and started driving it it then died.i tryed to start it again but nothing happened it wont even turn over. i tryed a jumper cables and a different battery. it has a new starter and the battery was a new one. when i turn the key the lights turn on on the dash but thats it nothing else happens it dosent even crank. is this a security system problem with the key or is there a fuse problem. but what would cause it to die when driving and then not being able to start again
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