Last post on Sep 24, 2013 at 11:21 AM
You are in the Buick LeSabre
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Buick LeSabre, Engine, Sedan
#51 of 305 Starting problems
Jan 30, 2008 (3:53 pm)
I have a 2000 Buick Lesabre. The check engine light has been on for a while and I was going to take it into the shop this week. Last week, the car wouldn't start. I jiggled the ignition switch and it started. It worked fine for 4 days. Then one day it wouldn't start again. It will not take a jump. I jiggled the ignition switch and nothing. I took it to the shop and they said the neutral safety switch needed replacing, but they didn't work on transmissions, so I needed to take it to a transmission shop. They have run all kinds of tests on it, and don't know why it won't start. It is acting like it did one time when I accidentally put the spare key in it that doesn't have the computer chip in it. You just turn the key and it does nothing except make a faint clicking noise. The transmission shop is taking it to the dealership tomorrow. Does anybody have any idea of what might be wrong?
#52 of 305 Re: Starting problems [folderqueen]
Jan 30, 2008 (6:00 pm)
I know when funny things start happening it can be a weak battery or poor connections at the ground under the rear seat next to the battery. The cables at the battery should be checked. The battery itself should be checked. If it's the original you have an 8-year old battery. It may be newer if it's been replaced.
From what I've read from other H-body cars including Bonnevilles and LeSabres, strange things happening means look first to the battery and connections to be sure a low or erratic voltage there isn't hurting the systems. The starter not working one day and then working again could be that.
#53 of 305 Re: Starting problems [imidazol97]
Jan 31, 2008 (5:06 pm)
Well, after having my car in the 3rd shop to try and figure out why it won't start, I was told today that it was the security module that is bad. I guess it was disabling the car and not allowing it to start. I am glad that they finally found out what was wrong with it, and hopefully they will be able to get it fixed tomorrow!!
#54 of 305 Re: Starting problems [folderqueen]
Jan 31, 2008 (6:00 pm)
>after having my car in the 3rd shop to try and figure out
Was there a difference in skill level or effort or anything about the third shop that made them capable of finding the problem that wasn't there in the first shops? Was the third shop a dealership which usually has more knowledge about quirks that develop in cars via their companywide information sharing?
#55 of 305 Re: Starting problems [imidazol97]
Jan 31, 2008 (6:19 pm)
The first place I took it to is the shop where I usually take my car for maintenance and repairs if needed. They told me that it was the neutral safety switch that needed replacing, but to do that the whole transmission had to be taken out and they didn't do anything with transmissions. They suggested that I take it to a transmission shop or a dealership. I went to the transmission shop that they suggested and they spent all day yesterday running all kinds of tests and couldn't find out why it wouldn't start. He said he was beginning to think that maybe it had something to do with the computer in the car or the antitheft/security system, and wanted my permission to take it to the dealership today because they would be able to run more sophisticated tests and should be able to find out what the problem was. I had called the transmission shop back this afternoon as I was out of pocket most of the day, and asked them if they got it to the dealership and they said they did. I was going to wait a little bit before I called the dealership to see if they knew anything, but in a few minutes the guy from the transmission shop that had been working on my car called me and said he had called the dealership and they said it was the security module that was bad. I have been very impressed with the people at the transmission shop. Anyway, hopefully I will have my car back tomorrow.
#56 of 305 97 LeSabre wouldn't turn over
Feb 22, 2008 (5:32 pm)
Hello all, I recently tried to start our 97 Limited and the starter wouldn't turn the engine over. After several attempts it cranked but belched white smoke everywhere. It has a little over 200,000 miles so I'm not surprised that it's asking for help. I need some too, I pulled the plenum (upper intake) off and found the lower half full of coolant (no doubt it had run down into one of the cylinders). When I pulled the lower manifold off (on the way to the heads) I didn't find coolant anywhere else.
My question is: Can you "blow" just an intake gasket and cause all this without having a "blown" head gasket?
#57 of 305 Re: 97 LeSabre wouldn't turn over [therobinsnest]
Feb 23, 2008 (5:32 am)
You have an intake manifold (upper part) that has coolant leaking around the seals which let the coolant go from the lower intake manifold metal to the upper manifold (ABS) to warm the throttle body region against icing. Sometimes leaks around the seals let coolant go to the exterior; sometimes it goes interior.
Drain your oil immediately if you do your own oil changes. There is likely coolant in the oil. If your oil looks chocolatey or milky that's a sure sign. The symptom that the car didn't want to turn over meant that enough has leaked past the seals (probably when the motor was shut off hot and temperature and pressure went up even more) that it hydrolocked. Usually they won't turn at all and damage is done to starter or motor parts.
The coolant in the oil attacks the bearings and ruins them. People have fixed the problems only to run their motor a few weeks or months and have them self destruct due to the damage done by the acidic etching on the moving parts.
If you change your own oil, put in any, cheap oil and run the motor just a minute or so to get fresh, clean oil to the bearings. Then don't run it at all.
Have the car repaired by towing it somewhere. However at 200,000 you may not choose to repair the motor and instead replace it with one from a recycling yard or rebuilt. Your choice based on what you have. If the motor were running well and the trans is fine and the body is fairly good, you may want to repair and take your chances.
To assess how likey oil has coolant contamination, use the appearance of the oil on the dipstick and if you can drain it look at what comes out for milkiness. It is possible the coolant leak has been slow enough that the coolant has been burning off in the cylinders with little getting past the rings. It's possible it just increased in volume the last time you shut it off. So you have a decision to make.
If you have the UIM replaced, have the lower gaskets replaced under the metal Lower Intake Manifold with the aluminum framed- GM gasket. Don't use the original design. Have the UIM replaced with a Dorman units or one that has a modification for the EGR tube that sticks up out of the metal LIM and carries the hot exhaust gases that get recycled. That hot area deteriorates and is often the source of the leak as well as the O-rings in the gaskets on the UIM.
Replacement might run $300 for parts ($175 Dorman upper, $30 LIM gasket, NEW spark plugs (Delco/GM--originals has white stuff on them from coolant burning). Labor is variable. The oxygen sensor sometimes is hurt by coolant, but likely not. Use only GM oxygen sensor replacements.
#58 of 305 97 LeSabre wouldn't turn over
Feb 23, 2008 (7:05 am)
THANKS FOR THE REPLY! A good keyword search worked wonders too. I have never used a forum for troubleshooting before, I really appreciate knowing this problem is not a new one (who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks! ). The oil looked fine, a little dark but last change was October- found no coolant at all, I think the gasket most likely was weeping into the intake for a while but really let go only this week. I have a new gasket set (2nd generation) with the EGR pickup tube, just considering what a light dose of permatex might be worth along with it. Thanks for sharing your experiences (cdpotters, vlanman25, donnamike, gtmush, twalden1 and mostly imidazol97), I have more confidence in putting in just a gasket set for now, I drive it close to home and another motor is way out of my price range.
#59 of 305 Re: 97 LeSabre wouldn't turn over [therobinsnest]
Feb 23, 2008 (8:17 am)
Skip the Permatex. Just clean the aluminum LIM. Do I understand you are reusing the UIM? Be sure to check the area around the EGR tube for crystallization by picking at it with a tool to see if it's weakened. That area can also leak from the coolant passages into the UIM interior.The Dorman has a good set of O-rings for the coolant holes; much better than the original GMs. The coolant also goes into the throttle body through the separate gasket on the end of the UIM.
I still would recommend replacing the LIM gasket at your high mileage. That car's done great!
You might have noticed an occasional miss if it were leaking for a while earlier. You may have caught it at the earliest major problem.
Good luck with her.
#60 of 305 Re: 97 LeSabre wouldn't turn over [imidazol97]
Feb 24, 2008 (7:31 am)
Well, I had wanted to re-use the old plenum.......one of the transfer tube ends was missing a corner and the other fell apart on touch. Dorman to the rescue, $150 more than I wanted to spend but still less than a motor swap and inexpensive for peace of mind. Thanks for pointing it out, I can't tell for sure if the leak originated there (the TB seal was intact & looked better than the UIM seal) but if either leaked at all you wouldn't know till the LIM was full. This engine would have been so much better off if the plenum design had been cast in aluminum, at least the area where all the fluids pass.