Mechanics

ENGINE CRANKS, FIRES, DIES

1993 Buick Lesabre • 6 cylinder FWD Automatic • 333,000 miles

Current History: I returned from helping my sister-in-law who lives about 10 miles away from me. The car sat about an hour and when I went to drive it again the engine would crank, start, and then die. I opened the hood and inspected connectors, unplugging the idle valve and TPS. The car started and ran I drove it 7 miles and stopped for a few minutes to make a pruchase. When I went to start the car it would do the same, crank, start, and then die. I again fiddled with the connectors and the car crank, started, and ran. I then attempted to drive the car and it stalled before I could get half way across the lot. This time fiddling with the connectors was no good, the car would not run. I had the car towed home. I noticed that the cooling fans do not appear to come on (they may but I have never seen or heard them running since I have own the car). I thought perhaps the coolant sensor was bad and was signaling the car was getting too hot and keeping it from running. I replace the coolant sensor and ran the car until it got hot and then stumbled and died (never saw the cooling fans come on). I checked by shorting the OBD connector and the check engine light only flashed 12 and no codes were stored. I was told that the ICM was bad, cutting out when it got hot. I replaced the ICM and then the car would crank, appear to fire, and then stall. I installed the old ICM back in and it would do the same thing; I was told the crank position sensor CkPS was bad. I replaced the CkPS and reinstalled the new ICM and the car still refused to run, it would crank, appear to fire, and then die. I was told to unplug the Cam Sensor and if it started it indicated the cam sensor was shorted. When I unplugged the cam sensor, the engine cranked, fired, and ran. I replaced the cam sesnor and thought the repairs were completed. I drove the car about 6 miles and the engine died on me. I pulled over to the roadside and the car was back to the same problem, it would crank, appear to fire, and then die. At one time the engine appeared to run for about a second or two before dieing. I had the car towed home and it sat over night. That morning the engine started and ran. That evening I went to move the car to a better location than where the tow truck left it and the engine would crank, fire, and then die. The car sat for a day and this morning I was able to start the car and it ran until the engine was hot and then the engine started to stumble and died; again, during the time the engine was idling (and I could feel the heat from the engine) the cooling fans never kicked in. I turned on the AC control, but the fans did not come on but the freon is gone and the clutch does not activate. After the engine died, it would crank, fire, and die. Oh, I have checked the fuel pressure and it was 42 psi and would increase when the engine attempted to fire. I can hear the fuel pump come on, run, and then go off when you turn the ignition key on. I was told to spray starting fluid into the intake when after the car died and see if it would attempt to run but I am just one person and can not be outside the car and inside at the same time to do this test.
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KimberlyW
August 17, 2011.



So when it ouits there is no spark at the plugs? If yes coil maybe faulty. 3.1 or 3.4?

Docfixit
Aug 17, 2011.
I am by myself, so very difficult to do two person tests. It is a 1993 LeSabre 3.8L Custom. There are three coils. The coils are cool to the touch.

Tiny
KimberlyW
Aug 17, 2011.
Just take the air duct loose from the throttle-body, open the throttle valve, spray just a little, then try to start. You don't need a helper for that. I'd use a scanner that will show live engine data and see if I can spot anything? What your doing doesn't seem to be working? Take it to a shop. If it isn't far, have friend use their vehicle with a tow chain and drag it to the shop. The info you have given me, doesn't help much. Throwing parts at it isn't the answer.

In case you did need a second person, you don't have a friend--relative or neighbor? Hard to believe? No friends, but even I have relatives and neighbor. Some of the others may have a better answer, don't give-up?

JDL
Aug 17, 2011.
The modual replaced was what coils attach to?

Docfixit
Aug 17, 2011.
Yes, the ICM sits under the coils. I used the heat transfer stuff under the ICM. I guess it is possible the new ICM is defective and braking down when it gets hot.

No one seems to answer the cooling fan question and I did not just throw parts at the problem but signed up on a car troubleshooting site and those are the parts the expert told me to replace. The engine stumbles a bit just before it dies.

It is hard to get someone to help me. Family lives about 18 miles away. Only neighbour that I know well is a retired older man. I might could trouble him to help me by cranking the engine over. People don't like to be bothered. I have no friends nearby at all.

Tiny
KimberlyW
Aug 17, 2011.
One thing left is PCM

Docfixit
Aug 17, 2011.
Was site Ask a Mechanic?

Docfixit
Aug 17, 2011.
The site was Just Answers. I checked for a PCM and found a reman one for $87 with free shipping. However, I was unsure as I read that with some you have to use a module from the old PCM. What if that module is bad; putting it in a reman PCM would not solve the problem; what would you do then?

Tiny
KimberlyW
Aug 17, 2011.
That is a mico chip processor never seen one go bad

Docfixit
Aug 17, 2011.
With work, and not having a running car, I just now got back to this problem. I decided I would attach the fuel pressure gage and monitor the fuel pressure with the car running as I waited for the car to stop again to try your suggestion of the starting fluid. I started the engine and it ran well and the fuel pressure was around 40 psi as the engine was running. I wanted to see if the fuel pressure would skip around, especially as the engine started to die.

As I was standing by the engine waiting for it to heat up, the engine started running rough and I noticed blue smoke coming out of the ERG valve. I quickly turn the engine off and removed the cover from the ERG valve solenoids and checked the wiring. I did not see any obvious burnt wires. I attempted to start the engine again and it would not start. I then used a block of wood and lightly tapped each of the solenoids. I then attempted to start the engine and it started and ran fairly well.

Could this problem of the engine running for a while (the last time I got six miles down the road), running rough and cutting off be caused by the ERG valve? Would the engine start back up and run after sitting for a while (overnight)? I did notice once that the engine fail to start in the evening after starting once in the morning. Seems kind of strange behavior for the ERG valve but I have no real experience here. The blue smoke that appeared to be electrical scared me; perhaps it came from one of the solenoids.

Tiny
KimberlyW
Aug 23, 2011.
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