1994 Buick Regal starting problem

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1994 Buick Regal Grand Sport
We really need some advice. They mechanic we use is about given up and
husband is as confused. Here is problem as best as I can explain,
Car starts sporadically, sometimes immediately, sometimes after 3 or 4 tries, or after an hour or two, never know.
When it doesn't start, it is dead, no noise at all.
The starter, battery and alternater have all been changed.
When the car is running, (it seems to run fine) the "battery charge is all over the place". (Daughter's words)
Daughter's friend cleaned the cables and it worked fine for a short time.
Her friends keep mentioning ground wires and battery cables. They are just backyard mechanics but seem to have common sense. Would changing anything like this be sensible. We have quit asking husband and mechanic questions, we're trying to do this on our own:) thanks so much if anyone can offer any suggestions to us.


posted by  Rainey

Do you ever get a check engine light while the car is running? If so you may be able to get the car scanned at a mechanic or Autozone offers free scans for OBD II systems. It may not tell you the exact problem but it may be able to tell you what system it is related to. I was also thinking that If the wires check out ok it may be a voltage regulator but I dont know too much about those.

posted by  wizzyb82

Hi I looked up your car and the voltage regulator is internal to the alternator so if the it was replaced recently that shouldn't be the problem. It Sounds like it may be a loose or corroded ground wire. It may also be a faulty relay. I would try to look around very carfully at all the wiring conections around the engine and see if there is anything unusual. It may also be the starter but that would be the case if there was power to all other parts of the car while the car is not running except that it won't start. Does the car run sporadcaly when it is started or does it run smooth?

posted by  wizzyb82

Thanks for the replies. The car runs smooth, just the starting is the problem.
Nothing else seems to be wrong.


posted by  Rainey

Try starting the car in nuetral or wiggle the shifter around while trying to start it. If it cranks over off and on while this is happening, you might have a bad neutral safety switch. Its located on top of the transmission where the linkage goes. Some shops call it a range sensor or manual lever position sensor. Also check the ground from the battery to the body and the body to the frame. Take them off and clean them. Make sure the contact is metal to metal, no paint in between.

posted by  HD_Softy

I would take a serious look at all the connections to the starter and at the wires in the steering colomn at the ignition key and follow them down. Look for anything that is loose burnt frayed or in any way out of the ordinary it really seems to me that it is a loose wire and if the next time you have trouble starting it bang the side of the sterring colomn and see if it helps if it does the loose wire is probably in the ignition key module. I'm really begining to think the it is a problem under the dash or in the steering col. I would look for two or three wires in the steering colomn coming from the ingnition key module that are thicker than the rest. and see if they are loose. Those are the ones that usually go to the starter. Be carefull of any wires that are bright red or Yellow if you have air bags disconecting those could set of the airbags.

posted by  wizzyb82

The keys on these cars have a chip (a resistor) built into them. If that gets dirty or corroded it may hinder with the recognition of the key and disable starting. Try cleaning the small metal "chip" about half way down the key. It is surrounded by black. here is more info on it.....

posted by  chgrec

Theres alot of Buick starting problems lately hmm..maybe it is the next car company going under :laughing:

posted by  Eclipse_2004

I have the same problem with my Buick. Have tried everything mentioned with no help. ANy other suggestions? The weird thing is it only happens every once in a while. It may go months between non-starts. I try several times then wait about 10 minutes and try again and then it starts.

posted by  DanBuckeye

1989 Buick Century. 155000 miles on it and the damn thing wouldn't start. Not to mention the wiondows wouldn't roll down and the power door locks would open and close intermittently. So much so that it would wear out the battery. What's funny about this is that I got the car for $100 b/c of these problems. Nice huh? I'll stick to the starting problem. It was the neutral safety switch or whatever other name you give it. It had gone bad. Which component exactly I don't know. I could have been the relay or anything thing else. I didn't get into depth on it. All I did was completly cut the power to it and crossed the leads past the starter so it would get power to and from the starter and onboard computer. That and replacing the lead wires on the starter which had aged. Problem solved. No other parts required. $5 maybe. The other problem was the wire harness in the driver's side door. The insulation on the wires had dried and cracked and the wires split causing the windows to stop working and door locks to work intermittently. $250 for a car that now has 219000 miles. Still runs really good too. I love the 3.3l V6. Very sturdy, quite unlike the problematic 3.1. Sorry for the lengthy post. I hope this helps you somehow. Even if it comes a little late.

posted by  Dethgear

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