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Buick LeSabre Intermittent No Start

Q. Starting problem: I am trying to help my neighbor troubleshoot an intermittent starting problem. He has a Haynes manual for the vehicle, but the wiring diagrams seem to leave a lot out and/or are not that detailed.

  • 1995 Buick LeSabre Limited
  • 3.8 liter V-6
  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles
  • Fuel Injected
  • P/S, P/B, A/C

Buick LeSabre Intermittent No Start

History: about 6 weeks ago the Buick would not start, starter was not getting electrical power. We troubleshoot problem down to wiring at the ignition switch. Buick taken to a mechanic, we did not want to get involved with air bag system, who found a thin white wire on ignition switch was broken. At my neighbor's request, rather than just repairing the broken wire, the ignition switch was replaced.

Car started normally for about a week and then would not start, again. This time the starter was rotating and engaging the engine. It appears the engine wants to run as long as the ignition switch is in the "START" position, but engine will quit when ignition key returned to normal "RUN" position. We have checked fuel pressure, 40 psi; compression 150 psi; spark is good.

Using the Haynes manual wiring diagram it appears that a "pink" wire on the ignition module connector should have power in the start and run positions of the ignition switch. Is this the primary ignition circuit input? We checked and yes there is power on that wire in both the start and run ignition switch positions. Put the connector back on the ignition module and tried, again, to start the car. No start.

Nothing we did seemed to help, but the last thing we did was remove a spark plug and check compression thinking timing belt may have slipped. After finding that compression was good we reinstalled the plug I believe it was #1(?), front bank right, passenger side, plug and ignition wire.

NOW IT STARTED! I don't believe we really accomplished a "good fix" on the problem and I'm afraid the car may quit on my neighbor, again, and this time it won't be in his driveway!

After the car was running we tried wiggling wires at the base of the steering column and at the ignition module connector, but, we could not make the engine shut off.

Do you have any suggestions as to what to look for in this system? Is the pink wire at the ignition module connector for the primary ignition circuit input voltage?

What do the small white wires in the ignition switch connect to? I could not find them on the Haynes manual wiring diagram. My neighbor says that these small white wires are prone to breaking, as it happened on another 1995 Buick that he owns, a Custom rather than a Limited model, with the same 3.8 liter engine).

Is there an on-line site to get good wiring diagrams for vehicles?wiring diagrams for vehicles?

Thank you in advance for any Thank you in advance for any information you might be able to give me and hopefully, this long e-mail hasn't put you to sleep!

Thank you,
Mike

A. Sounds like a Crank Angle Sensor (CAS) may be cutting out intermittently. You could try wiggling the wires near the sensor mounted behind the lower crank pulley to see if it shuts off on you. The pink wire at the module should be ignition feed. If this is hot when the car won't start it's probably not your problem.

Not sure about the "little white wires" as I can't seem to find a diagram either. Could they be talking about the ignition lock cylinder with the "VATS" system? They used to break a lot and would be locked out for security problem. The little pellet on the ignition key is read through the ignition lock cylinder.

NOTE: This is NOT the ignition switch!! These little wires run from the lock cylinder down the column to the main harness to the VATS system module. When a wire breaks, the car will not start/crank. This may have been the original problem and now you have another problem. Let us know!

Diagnostic Trouble Codes - 1992

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