95 Lesabre doesn't always start

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Hi, I think I introduced myself correctly, but not sure. I'm new to the car forum. I have a 95 Buick Lesabre Custom, 3800 engine, automatic with 138k+. Sometimes it doesn't start. Just turns over and over. If I keep turning it over, like about 10-15 tiimes, it will start. It does this on short trips only. If I drive to the store and run in for 10 minutes or so, it won't start. I have had the the basic tune-up and fuel filter changed but it did the same thing just a few hours later. I have not had it hooked up to a computer yet. I have been putting fuel injector cleaner in it pretty religiously for a few months. I have to take it in this week because now it will stall out on me sometimes at lights and then I go through the 10-15 turnovers before it starts again. Engine light comes on, but if I turn it off and back on again right away, engine light goes off. I need some suggestions as to what I should tell the mechanic when I take it in. I don't have a regular mechanic. I was going to take it into Kwik Kar tune up place. Thanks for any help in advance.

posted by  iwantmydaddy

Hi, although this thread should be in the Repairs section, I'll help you anyway, as you were polite enough to introduce yourself first lol. Ok, Initially it sounded like a fuel starvation problem, but seeing as how you've had the fuel filter replaced it sounds less likely now. Tell me, does it do it permantly, or is the fuel at a certain level?

posted by  Cliffy

Thanks. I will try to post in the right area. Yes, it does it wheather full, 1/2 or low. Weather doesn't seem to make any difference. Just the short trips and now sometimes at lights.

posted by  iwantmydaddy

Does it idle ok when it's running properly? (about 800rpm is standard). If it fluctuates it could be an engine managment fault, especially as you say the engine light comes on. Bassically, there's alot it could be, from a fueling problem to a dodgy ECU (Electronic Control Unit). As you can appreciate it's extreamly hard to find the cause of a problem without being able to look at the car and drive it. :thumbs:

posted by  Cliffy

Thanks. The ECU is something I can suggest they check. I'm sure it's almost impossible to know for sure what it is without looking at it. But I appreciate your reply. It runs fine once it gets started. I do a lot of in town driving. I will find out if the place i'm taking it has a computer hook up. Do you think this type of problem will show up on the print out? If it's a fuel issue, does that show up on a diagnostic read out? Thanks :mrgreen: I need to figure out how to use this site. Is there a "how to" option? :ohcrap:

posted by  iwantmydaddy

No probs...Judging by the name 'Kwik car' I'm not sure that they will have the knowledge to chesk the ECU...I could be wrong though (just sounds too much like the UK's own 'Kwik Fit' to me lol...and they are idiots :clap: ). A fuel problem wont show up on a read out from a diagnostic machine either, but, any Mechanic who's working on the car should be able to tell if it's a fuel starvation problem by driving it. Another thing, when it dies so to speak, does it cough and splutter? if you've ever run out of petrol you'll know what this feels like lol, if it does, this indicates a fuel problem too.

posted by  Cliffy

Go ahead and take your car to a " Quicky Fixit " place, you'll more than likely end up paying double in the long run. You need to have it diagnosed by an ASE certified mechanic. 3 :2cents:

posted by  lectroid

There are several issues which could cause the problems iwantmydaddy is describing. Unfortunately, they lie in the engine management system or one of its several sensors or associated wiring.

If iwantmydaddy is not comfortable with Do It Yourself (DIY) troubleshooting, precision tune, quick lube etc is not the place I would take the car. I would find a good auto repair shop of good repute or take the car to a General Motors dealership service department

posted by  tbaxleyjr

I think if you take the time to read what Lectroid said you'll find that is exactly what he's trying to get across.

posted by  vwhobo

I had that happen a while back and it turned out to be the fuel pump. :2cents:

posted by  DodgeRida67

Fuel pump is always a distinct possibility and is common. If the car dies, a quick check would be to turn key on, engine off and listen for a whirlling sound from the fuel tank.

First, we need to see the diagnostic codes.(I think a 1995 Buick is OBDII compliant and AutoZone can pull the codes)

If we see a trouble code which leads to the fuel system (fuel rail pressure or fuel system voltage high or low (codes such as P0190 - P0199 or P0230-P0233, the next move would be to install a pressure gage at the test port on the fuel rail. key on engine off reading should be somewhere around 35 to 45 psig (even immediately after stall)

If you get no pressure, check the fuel pump electrical circuit, including relays for loose connnections, bad relays, and ECM providing signal to fuel pump relay, etc before condemming the fuel pump, if these other items are good, well you know the rest of what I will say...) If you get low pressure and your filter is new and installed with the flow arrow toward the engine and no kinks in the fuel system plumbing, the pump is bad.

If the engine runs, Key on engine running, vacume hose connected to regulator shold be 30-40 psig. Engine running, vacume hose disconnected and plugged @ regulator should be 35-45 psig. If pressure does not change make sure vacume hoses are in good shape and replace the regulator if required.

I hope for iwantmydaddy's benefit is isn't the fuel pump - I think the fuel tank has to be dropped from most General Motors cars to replace the fuel pump

posted by  tbaxleyjr

I got a similar problem with our Buick, same model and year. We you go down the road the car will jerk and the spedometer will jump 20-30 mph faster then the actual speed, at the same time the check engine light and voltage light will come on for a second, one of the times it done this there was no response from the engine. The car has recently tried to quit running. Off hand if you start it up it will run fine, it only does this while you're reving it up or going down the road. We took it to a goodyear, place because it stopped running while we're getting tires for another vehicle. They ran a computer diagnostics test and had it for a week, never called us, we called them. I drove it home, no problems yet. Then we took it for a test drive and it happened 4 times within about 10 miles. One other thing that may have something to do with it, when you disconnect the battery, the positive terminal sparks, which should not happen while the ignition is off. To me it sounds like a ECM (electronic control module) or a EGR valve, or the computer itself.

I was also trying to find out if the Buick is ODBII compliant, which brought me here. The connector is right above the brake pedal, it's a 16 pin one, looks exactly like the one decribed on digimoto.com but because it's a model before 1996, it might not be ODBII.

As for iwantmydaddy's problem, it could be the ECM (aka ECU), a coil, or indeed a fuel pump. Take it to a GM dealership, or buy the software yourself and test it.

posted by  Layzie Bone

I'm Kelly. My 94 LeSabre has OBD II connector but does not talk OBD II. Took it to 2 Autozones for a free check this morning but only got 'link error'. Then went to Advance Auto Parts. They had a scanner that did both I & II. It connected with II cable but the reader found the codes. The salesman looked at the list of failures and said they might not be bad. Said they are all vacuum related codes and I should check the hoses. The car slows down a little and then picks back up when driving. It keeps doing this. The codes are P0 -- 112,
705, 112, 406, 558, 705. They gave me a printed list for free.

Last year I had to replace the throttle position sensor. It would idle at 30 mph. The sensor rusted.

There must be some way to check the vacuum. The check engine light only comes on when I slow down and then stays on for the rest of the drive.

posted by  wklange

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