1987 Buick Riviera with strange stalling problem

Tiny
GLHOBBY
  • MEMBER
  • 1987 BUICK RIVIERA
  • 21,000 MILES
I have a 1987 Buick Riviera T-Type with 21,000 miles on it and lately it has started a habit of having the engine die while I'm driving. It doesn't stumble or sputter it simply shuts off as if you turned it off. It doesn't matter whether it is at idle, accelerating, or cruising at 60 mph. The problem is very predictable, if the cars sits for 8 hours or more it will usually run fine without cutting out. The problem seems to occur when the car sits for 1 to 5 hours between driving and it almost always happens after driving approximately 2 miles. It is so predictable that I can usually guess where it will die within a couple of hundred yards. Once the car restarts, it usually runs fine and won’t cut out again until the next time it sits for a few hours and after 2 miles. Also, it will not restart unless you turn the key to the off position and then the start position (almost as if it needs to reset something) after which it usually starts right up and acts as if nothing ever happened. This car has had a history of minor electrical problems since I bought it new in 1987, mostly loose or faulty connectors and relays and both window motors have gone out (bad gears). I had to replace the Central Power Supply because of cold solder joints from the factory and the oxygen sensor and MAF sensors have also been replaced. I have checked the onboard diagnostic codes and there are no error codes for either the ECM or the BCM. I believe it is an electrical problem but I'm not sure where to look. A Buick dealer looked at it but could not find the problem even after it stalled on him.
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Friday, February 10th, 2012 AT 7:12 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER
How bout a bad ignition switch? That fits all the symptoms?
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Friday, February 10th, 2012 AT 8:00 AM
Tiny
GLHOBBY
  • MEMBER
It isn't the ignition switch. The dealer ruled that out because the computers, digital displays, GCC, and all the accessories remain energized and functional when the engine quits. The "check engine" light comes on when it quits but this seems to be normal since this also happens when you turn the key to the "on" position but don't start the engine. As soon as the engine starts the light goes out.
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Saturday, February 11th, 2012 AT 4:36 AM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
I HAVE MORE FORD AND JEEP IGNITION MODULE EXPERIENCE

I FEEL SURE THE FUNCTION IN A BUICK HAS GOTTA BE VERY SIMILAR--I DON'T HAVE A CLUE ABOUT THE RELIABILITY OF THE THING. I'VE EXPERIENCED THE FORD SYSTEM ACTING UP OVER AND OVER, AS WELL AS DYING, NEVER TO IGNITE AGAIN

WHETHER YOURS IS TESTABLE OR NOT---CALL THE PARTS STORE!

THIS IS MY APPROACH WITH THE JEEP/ FORD MODULES

http://www.2carpros.com/questions/1981-lincoln-mark-vi-would-car-run-fine-idol-park-stop-key-turned-off

THE ONLY OTHER THING I MIGHT OFFER IS TO CRANK UP AND JUST START METHODICALLY MOVING WIRES AROUND (SHAKING!), UNTIL IT DIES ON YOU. I'VE FOUND ON CJs, MANY TIMES, THE WIRING TO THE DISTRIBUTOR AND OTHER COMPONENTS IS NOT TIED DOWN WELL, AND SHAKES AROUND UNTIL WIRES BREAK. SOMETIMES INTERMITTENTLY BREAKING CONTACT, SOMETIMES NO CONTACT AT ALL.

THIS IS WHAT THEY SAY YOURS LOOKS LIKE

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/parts/Duralast-Ignition-Control-Module/1987-Buick-Riviera/_/N-iidtdZ9n80t?itemIdentifier=18733_300759_0_98203

KEEP US POSTED

THE MEDIC
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Saturday, February 11th, 2012 AT 5:33 AM
Tiny
FIXITMR
  • MEMBER
If it wont restart without turning key off, crank and check for fuel pressure and spark and injector pulse so you can narrow down circuit giving trouble.
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Sunday, February 12th, 2012 AT 8:14 AM

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