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Buick LeSabre Starting/Stalling Problems



  • I own a 1995 Buick Lesabre which has been pretty dependable. It has been in the garage for about a week and today I was going to drive it to work but, it wouldn't start. All the panel lights came on and when I tried to start it I heard a clicking noise but the engine didn't turn over at all.

    This buick has about 160,000 miles on it. I replaced the starter about three years ago, changed the valve cover gaskets last year and had the oil pan gasket replaced about 1 month ago. Regular maintenace items also.

    What do you think I should try first, jumpstarting?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,865
    Yep dead battery or bad battery cables.

    Clean up the cables on the battery post if you see corrosion, then jump start it but DON'T let the alternator do the work of re-charging the battery. Either take it to a station for a slow charge or better yet go buy yourself an inexpensive charger and let it trickle charge the dead battery overnight.

    Please observe safety precautions when jump starting the car.

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  • I have a 94 Buick Park Ave. Tests show that I need to replace the fuel pump. In looking up replacements, there are two different types, CAC and CRC according to what is stamped on the connector. So, I'll bring in the old pump to compare. Any tips on doing this job with minimum of work. All pressure is off and both fuel lines are disconnected. Is it worth snipping a hole in the trunk floor above the pump for removal and then fabbing a simple patch panel? It just seems it might be little easier than dropping the tank. Thanks in advance.
  • I have a 99 buick lesabre with 50,000 miles on it and I have noticed when Im at a red light I can feel the car starting to stall but it never does.This is bad especially at night and I can see the headlights dimming from it.It used to do it while only in drive but I have noticed it starting to happen in park too.Also the other day my car would not start at all....wouldnt even turn over.So I wiggled the red cable a little bit even though it was tight and it started right up.What could be causing this.I have some washers inbetween the post and cables to keep the cables tight.Could they be causing this.I dont see any corrosion.THe inside of the cables look kinda greyish white on the ends.I had to take the rubber connector cover off to hook up my ampwire.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,602
    YOu should take off both the positive and negative cables. Clean them completely. The positive has a washer between the two cables that bolt to that post. Clean completely.

    You mentioned an amp. It's possible your amperage load from an amplified is loading the motor too much.

    Another possibility is coking up around the throttle butterfly valve. You can take off the rubber connector that leads the air into the throttle body. Then take of the snapring that holds the honeycomb filter in place. Carefully remove honeycomb, I used two paper clips bent as hooks, and then with a piece of wood and cloth use intake cleaner from a spray can onto the cloth to clean the black soot from around the throttle body interior and the butterfly valve itself. Mine had gotten so I could feel it let go when it would sit overnight and I'd press on the pedal slowly. It disrupts the ability of the air bleed that opens and closes to adjust the idle speed because it' calibrated for a certain air flow rate around the throttle platewhen fully closed. Gum that up and th idle control solenoid can't open up enough at times to bleed enough air

    Some people remove the whole throttle body to do the cleaning. don't use a brush, the fibers can come out because of the solvent. Be sure to get air intake that says it's safe for catalytic converters. Some carburetor type cleaners aren't.

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

  • For others contemplating this.... It is possible to cut a hole and expose the top of the tank. However, to remove the pump, it would have to be a very long hole or the three solid lines to the pump would have to be cut and flared and joined by short pieces of high pressure line and clamps. Probably not worth the trouble. And the floor would have to be patched back up. However, the 99 Park Aves were made with an access panel and designed to be removed from the top of the trunk floor.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,602
    A neighbor replaced his 95 MonteCarlo pump. He placed jackstands under the rear of the car. Removed the bolts on two straps holding the tank. Supported the tank with a small hydraulic jack to lower it and the 5 gallons of fuel in it. A neighbor who had done these before helped and guided. I helped with the lowering and getting the tank back up.

    The caveat is many people say to buy GM pumps only. There has been trouble with some aftermarket pumps. It's a job I'd only want to do once. The Monte had 85K mi. It had been run low on fuel all the time after the guy inherited it from his father.

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

  • joho4241joho4241 Posts: 4
    I have a 2001 Buick Lasabre that will not start.. it just makes a clicking sound when I try to start it and the panel light all come on when I turn the igition on.. I have bought a new a new battery and it still does the same.. put the old battery back in an put a charger on it.. after awhile I tried to start it with the charger in the boost position.. it started,but when I turned it off it would not start again.. It has started several times now in the boost position.. but will no start on its on..any ideas
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,602
    Could be a bad starter.

    But you need to go through the battery cables completely to be sure connections are not corroded and are tight. that includes the grounds and at the starter.

    It could be low voltage from the battery not applying the solenoid enough that engages the gear and starts the cranking.

    Park with headlights on where you can see them as in a garage. Turn key. If the click occurs and the lights don't dim as if under load, you may have bad solenoid or bad cable. If the lights are dimmed because the starter is drawing lots of amps while the key is urned to start but nothings happening may be the starter is defective, old, bad, gone.

    The fact that it starts with the charger on boost makes me suspicious of the battery having a bad cell shorting out giving low voltage without the extra power from the boost.

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

  • beaumontbeaumont Posts: 1
    This is a beautiful car and I love it. When there is mist on the windshield the silly thing won't start. It sounds like it wants to but it won't. A few hours later, when the mist is gone, the thing starts right up and runs like a champ! It seems to happen more when it is misty out than when it is straight out raining. We've even sprayed the engine with a hose (in the middle of the day) and it starts right up. I'm pulling my hair out and my wife isn't too happy about this turn of events (with the Buick). The hair loss I can handle! Any help? [please email me directly at if you're able to. thanks!]
  • markfainmarkfain Posts: 1
    This has occurred twice. Both times were after a longer drive 80+ miles on the freeway. I stopped for gas and when I tried to start again, it started and ran rough, like it was not hitting on a cyclinder or two or flooded. I held the gas petal down, but that did not help. I had it towed to the Buick dealer and they let it sit overnight. When they went to work on it, it started and ran perfectly. They tried the codes and could find nothing. The service manager told me he suspected it "Vapor Locked", but I have not heard of that in years. Last week it did the same thing, after a longer freeway run, I parked in my driveway and later it would not start, acting just like before. I let it sit overnight and the next morning, it started right up and ran perfectly and has since. I take it on shorter trips around town and nothing happens.

    Do you have any idea as to the cause??

  • Hi I have a 1994 LaSabre with 148,000 miles on it. Runs like a champ, has a 3800. This has happened to me 3 times and I can't figure out what is going on.
    All three times at night and I have stopped for a light or sign and the car just quits, headlights go off, radio goes out, 12 volt power supply (radar detector) is also off, no dash lights, windows won't work. I open the door and the lights go back on as well as all the other things and I am able restart the car.

    I was thinking the issue is in the wiring harness that goes from the car into the door and it is shorting. Funny thing is all the power goes out and no fuses have blown. Any one heard of this. Don't want to start taking stuff apart unless I am on the right track.
  • background: I drove 30 miles round trip today -- no trouble starting the car at either end. I parked the car and five minutes later my wife tried to start it but it would not turn over. :sick:

    The battery is fine -- 12 v and checked out fine under load at AutoZone. Connections were clean and were cleaned anyhow. 12 v is seen at the fuse box under the rear seat and under the hood. There have been no issues with the car's electrical system or performance.

    With the ignition switch off, the keyless entry works fine. There does not appear to be any change from normal operations when the key is turned to on, i.e., the radio works, wipers wipe, and driving lights turn on automatically (made in Canada). The tranny is in Park.

    What seems very strange is that when the key is turned to start the instrument panel dies and the wipers stop (if I have them turned on), BUT THE HEADLIGHTS KEEP SHINING UNDIMINISHED. When the switch is released back to the on position, the instrument panel come back to life after a second and the wipers start again. The voltage at the battery when the ignition switch is turned to start drops only to 11 v. Now why is that? And where is the problem? :confuse:

    Thanks in advance,

    P.S. -- I went outside to double check the voltages and had my son man the ignition switch. The first three or four times we still had no crank with a very slight voltage drop from OFF to ON and to START. However, much to my surprise, the next time the car promptly started as did the time after that!! I can upgrade my car from DEAD to TOTALLY UNRELIABLE but I'll admit I am clueless as to what is going on. My mechanic usually wants to see cars when they are symptomatic from an intermittent problem and not when they're working as they should, but that leaves me wondering when and where it will do this again -- hence the hope that someone knows whats wrong so I (or my mechanic) can fix it.
  • CarGuyRon, has a 1993 that did the same thing two different fixes. 1st was the Mass air flow sensor. 2nd time it was the Prom Chip. However, you can buy a can of Mass Air Flow Sensor spray 1st for about $4.00 dollars and spray it into the throttle body. Your Mass Air Meter is connected to the Air Cleaner by a big hose. Remove the Hose and spray it into the screen grid portion of the Mass air meter. If its bad, it may not respond. It usually is good if the check engine light is not coming on. 2nd if the Prom chip. It's located behind the golve box, next to the Car's computer. A parts store can help ya there. Not too expensive...say $40 ish. But make sure you get the right one as they vary from year to year and even month to month within a build year.

    Finally, if all that fails, it could be a fuel pressure regulator near the fuel injectors. Hope that helps..Ron
  • I have a 1993 and have been through 2 engines. Believe it or not, the 1st engine dropped an entire cylinder. It just would not fire right. It was getting fuel but without a rebuild it was toast.

    2nd engine is now doing the same thing, however, if your check engine light is coming on, it is most likely the Mass Air flow sensor. Clean it only with Mass air flow sensor spray or you will ruin it. Next, I had the prom chip go on mine and it did the same thing. That is by the computer behind the glove box. Yep, you have to pull it out. Not a big job, just a few screws but it beats the neck twisting option of trying to dig it out under the dash.
  • Sounds like a bad starter wire connection to me. Sometimes if you clean all the connections and add a little grease they start better. Clean both the battery
    posts as well and add some grease there too.

    Finally, if that is not it, you could have a blown head gasket. As it heats up it expands and may be allowing coolant into a cylinder which will make it run rough or not start at all. A compression test will reveal the answer there.
  • Hello. I'm Jerry and I'm a newbie here.

    I am working on a 1987, 4-door, US-made, Front-Wheel Drive, Buick LeSabre Sedan, with a 3.8 Liter, Transversely Mounted, V-6 engine.
    It has Sequential Fuel Injection and an Automatic Transaxle. The Odometer reading is 112617 miles.

    I got the car from my cousin who has records of service on it from the time he bought it new. It has been well maintained.

    While driving, it stalled at a red light. It was hard to restart, but started within thirty seconds. After driving about two miles, it stalled while I was braking for the next red light.
    The second restart was much slower and it backfired a few times before restarting. I was able to drive it for about another mile when it stalled. I coasted to a stop. It would not restart, and hasn't since. It is in my driveway, now. There was a lot of backfiring, but the starter did turn the engine over. It did seem as though there wasn't any compression, after a few tries, because it seemed to crank over too fast, and the backfiring soon stopped. Now, it justs cranks over and over, but still will not start. After changing the fuel filter, I tried again. No luck.

    Before disconnecting any battery cables or going any further, I plugged-in my SunPro code checker into the ALDL jack. It threw only a code 12 over and over and over.

    So, I checked the spark by removing the wire from the spark plugs, one at a time, on the left bank---the side of the engine closest to the firewall---and grounding-out a 12-volt, simple, probe-type test light to the engine block. Using wooden clothespins to avoid shock, I placed the needle into the end of the spark plug boot and touched the metal contact while my neice cranked on the ignition switch. No fire.

    I only checked only that one side of each coil. There are three coils plugged into the top of the ignition module. I figure that all three of the coils wouldn't go south at the same time, and that if one side was good, the other should be, as well. So I disconnected the negative battery cable and removed the coils and the ignition module. I took it to the auto parts store and had them check it. They checked it three times. They tapped it on the counter to simulate vibrations while they checked it. It checked-out fine. They can't check coils. I would like to know the resistance values for these coils, however, in case I ever need to check one. I understand that the crank position sensor could be faulty, as could the cam position sensor, and the ECM. I need instruction on how to test these, and the proper resistance values that I should obtain with a multimeter.

    I understand that the rubber part of the harmonic balancer could have deteriorated and caused damage to the crankshaft sensor, by wobbling and beating it up. I think that the harmonic balancer can be pulled through the fender well, but I'm not sure. I need as much info as possible before a further undertaking of this repair. I would like to know how to test the crank sensor.

    Haynes and Chiltons manuals do not even approach usefulness for my purposes.

    If anyone can help, or have any ideas or comments, please post them. I have no reliable transportation.

    Thank you for reading this.

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,602
    Not an expert on dead motors. But I've had some experiences. Have you looked inside the valve cover through the oil filler to see if the valves are operating, i.e., is the camshaft turning. If not then the timing chain may have gone on you. The easy cranking without compression might be the clue there.

    I don't recall if the cam sensor or the crankshaft sensor is needed for the basic spark signal. But I'm guess the camshaft is not turning or is way off calibration. Mileage is low for a failure though. Maybe near 200K it might happen.

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

  • I really appreciate that, Keith.
    I'll be sure to do that.
  • I have a 1997 buick lasabre and it too will not start. On my way home from work, it was sputtering like a car that has water in the gas or kind of like the fuel injectors are blocked in some way. Either case, when i got home, I took off a fuel line and turned the key on and its getting gas, the fuel pump is working, the spark plugs are getting a spark at the coil. I am at a lost to why it will crank but not start. Any ideas?? An auto shop told me it could be the EGR valve but thats for emissions and I cant see that as a culprit to it not starting. Does anyone have any ideas that I can check. Sounds a little to me like it jumped time or the timing chain broke..Any suggestions would be helpful :confuse:
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