Engine cranks, fires, dies

Tiny
KIMBERLYW
  • 1993 BUICK LESABRE
  • 6 CYL
  • 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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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 AT 7:40 PM

22 Replies

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

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 AT 7:51 PM
Tiny
KIMBERLYW
  • MEMBER

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.

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 AT 7:56 PM
Tiny
JDL
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  • 16,298 POSTS

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?

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 AT 7:59 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
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The modual replaced was what coils attach to?

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 AT 8:02 PM
Tiny
KIMBERLYW
  • MEMBER

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.

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 AT 8:30 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
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One thing left is PCM

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 AT 8:37 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
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Was site Ask a Mechanic?

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 AT 8:42 PM
Tiny
KIMBERLYW
  • MEMBER

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?

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 AT 8:50 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
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That is a mico chip processor never seen one go bad

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 AT 8:58 PM
Tiny
KIMBERLYW
  • MEMBER

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.

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Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 AT 5:29 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
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Blue smoke maybe exhaust gas ans EGR leaking causing vacuum leak killing engine. Solenoids could be hanging up. Try removing and cleanig EGR and solenoids with carb cleaner

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Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 AT 3:28 PM
Tiny
KIMBERLYW
  • MEMBER

I removed the EGR valve and disassembled it. The solenoids did not appear to be sticking and there was not a lot of build up of gunk; just normal exhaust residue. I cleaned everything and reassembled the EGR valve and installed it back on the engine. I had removed the battery cable to clear out the code where I unplugged the camshaft sensor. I started the car and it ran rough for a bit but then smoothed out. As I was standing by the car it would stumble a bit at times and I noticed the serpentine belt tensioner was******** and I could hear a bearing squeal at times. I turned the engine off to check the tensioner pulley and I could feel when turning it that the bearing is starting to go.

I then started the engine, or attempted to start the engine and it would not start, it would turn over and appear to fire but not run. The engine had warmed up a bit but not hot; I could place my hand on the radiator without it burning me. I tried spraying some starting fluid into the intake connector tube (through a split; will need to replace it later) and attempted to start the engine without any luck. It would be nice if I had a helper but I don't.

So I decided to let it sit a bit to see if it would run after cooling a bit. I hooked the fuel pressure gauge to the fuel rail and later started the car and it ran fairly smooth, the RPMs did change a bit, slowing a bit and the fuel pressure as the engine was running was approximately 39 psi. The car only ran for a short time before it started stumbling again and I noticed the fuel pressure gauge swing up to around 50 psi and when the engine died the fuel pressure stopped at 46 psi.

To recap, the coolant sensor, the ICM, the camshaft sensor, and crankshaft sensor have been replaced. The Mass Air Flow sensor was cleaned and the TPS was checked with an ohmmeter and appeared to not have any opens, the ohmmeter needle swung continuously as the TPS was moved through its range.

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Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 AT 10:54 PM
Tiny
KIMBERLYW
  • MEMBER

The tensioner was j e r k I n g. Why would they flag that word? LOL.

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Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 AT 10:56 PM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
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The split is that in snorkle from air cleaner to throttle body? If yes Duct tape that up will mess with MAF and cause problems. Do that see if it runs better also recheck for codes

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Thursday, August 25th, 2011 AT 5:30 PM
Tiny
KIMBERLYW
  • MEMBER

I know that you are probably getting tired of my questions but I really need to get my car running as it is the only one I have and I can not afford to replace it at this time. I am beginning to wonder if this car does not have a vacuum leak. I know that on some LeSabre they had a problem with the intake manifold. Today I started the engine and it ran fine for a bit, saw the rpm change a bit, then it started running very rough and the air intake sounded loud like it might really be sucking air. I turned the engine off and had to take a phone call. When I started the engine again it ran smooth like it should. I turned the engine off and later when I started the engine it ran rough and the loud air intake sound was back.

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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 AT 3:44 AM
Tiny
KIMBERLYW
  • MEMBER

I know that you are probably getting tired of my questions but I really need to get my car running as it is the only one I have and I can not afford to replace it at this time. I am beginning to wonder if this car does not have a vacuum leak. I know that on some LeSabre they had a problem with the intake manifold. Today I started the engine and it ran fine for a bit, saw the rpm change a bit, then it started running very rough and the air intake sounded loud like it might really be sucking air. I turned the engine off and had to take a phone call. When I started the engine again it ran smooth like it should. I turned the engine off and later when I started the engine it ran rough and the loud air intake sound was back. I made a short video of it if you are able to watch it (it is in quicktime format but I can convert it. The video is here: netweb360. Net/buick_sound. Mov

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Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 AT 5:32 AM
Tiny
DOCFIXIT
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Did you repair split in snorkle? Must air tight from air filter to throttle body. Also was MAF and throttle body cleaned?

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Thursday, September 1st, 2011 AT 1:48 PM
Tiny
DIY-DAN
  • MEMBER

I had a similar problem with my 2003 Lesabre. When the coolant temp was cold it ran fine. When the coolant was warm it stumbled badly and stalled. I found that the MAF sensor was bad - providing incorrect airflow data.

When the coolant was cold the engine computer was running in open-loop mode ignoring the sensor. When the coolant reached a certain temperature, the computer switched to closed-loop mode and accepted bad data from the MAF sensor causing the fuel mixture to be too lean.

To test this, when the problem is occurring, unplug the MAF sensor and start the engine. If the engine runs normally with warm/hot coolant, the sensor is bad. Without a signal from the MAF sensor, the computer will calculate the fuel mixture in a different way allowing the engine to run.

To verify this, with the engine running, reconnect the sensor - the engine should stumble and stall.

You can drive without the MAF sensor, but it will probably cost gas mileage.

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Friday, September 2nd, 2011 AT 11:39 PM
Tiny
DIY-DAN
  • MEMBER

Unfortunately, the last two lines of my reply on 9/2/11 are somewhat incomplete and worded rather badly, so let me try again.

To verify this, with the engine running, reconnect the MAF sensor - if the engine stumbles and/or stalls, the sensor is confirmed bad.

You can drive the car with the MAF sensor unplugged until you can get it replaced, but it will probably cost some gas mileage and engine efficiency.

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Sunday, September 4th, 2011 AT 5:52 PM
Tiny
KIMBERLYW
  • MEMBER

Apologies for absence; I was able to borrow a scan tool. The scan tool reported "system pass, no codes found" or something similar. I tried starting the car and it started, but quickly died. Try starting again and it was running very rough and smoking out the tailpipe. I unplugged the EGR, and it would not run. Plug the EGR back end and unplugged the MAF. Car started and ran smooth. Turn ignition off, plugged MAF sensor back in and the car would crank, start and die. So does that mean the MAF is bad and should be replaced?

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Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 AT 5:49 PM

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