P0171 code (off/on), internal oil leak

Tiny
1998LESABRE
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 BUICK LESABRE
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 44,000 MILES
Here are the pertinent facts about this car Limited model, which I got in August with 38,000 miles and now has about 45,000.

I am new to DIY on vehicles and bought this in part because I want to learn and willing to try with so little invested (paid $2,400 for it). I am a writer/editor so also planning to launch a personal blog writing about this experience, and will also be sharing on Facebook and Twitter with my thousands of followers.

1) For about the last 2,000 miles, ever since the only extended trip I have taken (250 miles each way over Christmas), the p0171 code showing lean bank two comes on and off 65% of the time on, 35% off. It always comes on within five to ten miles of filling up the tank. It almost always disappears at about a 60%empty/40%full.

2) Last oil change, it was clear that oil is being lost somewhere but not from the gasket or drain pan. Seems to be in internal leak. Absolutely no oil drips onto driveway, parking lot, etc. So it must be leaking very lightly internally while engine is running and in motion.

3) Recently, the "change oil soon" light has come on and stayed on. According to the manual, the computer does detect when oil has degraded. Although it was not the "check oil level" light, I did see was almost a quart low and so I have topped it off.

4) While I believe this could be the intake manifold gasket issue, I have sprayed and sprayed with carburetor cleaner and noticed no difference in rpm's. In general, the car does not idle roughly, seems very normal to me. No real issues at all, in terms of noticeable symptoms.

Appreciate any further thoughts on this. My other issue is that relationship with very trustworthy regular mechanic for years has been very much "you just do whatever it takes". So while certainly it is possible for me to adjust the relationship to "diagnose for me and I will fix it myself, " his is not the type of shop where that is customary.

Thanks.
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Saturday, February 18th, 2017 AT 7:34 AM

2 Replies

Tiny
WRENCHTECH
  • EXPERT
You should probably start out with a smoke test to look for vacuum leaks.

https://www.2carpros.com/images/external/TSBon38intakes.jpg
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Saturday, February 18th, 2017 AT 8:28 AM
Tiny
KEN
  • ADMIN
Hello,

I first want to welcome you to the site and to the world of automotive repair. There is nothing like having a problem and then your own hands fix it and happily drive down the road knowing that the job is done well. With the lean mixture code it sounds like there is a cylinder misfire or something causing one or more cylinders to not burn the fuel completely. Here is a guide for that problem.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/repair-lean-mixture-codes-p0171-or-p0174-on-some-manufacturers

Next, the oil consumption problem could be the intake manifold leaks as Wrenchtech pointed out the service bulletin on. I would start by pulling the spark plugs and while taking them out put them on a bench in the order of cylinder they cam out of to see each plugs condition. You are looking for the plug that looks different from the rest. this will be the cylinder giving you a problem. From there do a compression test

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-test-engine-compression

to see if it is low. If so you can suspect a broken piston ring or a leaky intake or exhaust valve. As far as the engine running better when the tank is full a weak fuel pump could be the issue in which case you should follow this guide and run a test.

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/how-to-check-fuel-system-pressure-and-regulator

Please run some tests and get back to us so we can continue helping you.

Best, Ken

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Sunday, February 19th, 2017 AT 11:45 AM

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