'91 Buick - Starter Cranks - No Start

Old 01-30-05, 01:02 PM
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Unhappy '91 Buick - Starter Cranks - No Start

Jan 30, 2005
Fairfax, Virginia

Car Description:
1991 Buick Park Ave Ultra, Automatic, 6 cylinder, 4 Dr sedan.
Purchased: Sep ’02 135K
Currently: Jan ’05 170K

Background: In Nov ’03 the engine would “all of a sudden” cut off…. Never lost the lights though. If I waited about 10 minutes then it would crank OK.
I had it in a shop in Penna. being tested for a week I thought at that time the problem was electrical, but the mechanic, tired to reproduce the event and never could run down the problem. He thought it maybe one of the sensors or maybe the main computer. I drove the car home to Fairfax, Va with no problem.
A few weeks later it went out again…. And I couldn’t get it started… It would crank but not start.
My son took some cleaner and cleaned all the connections in the engine compartment that he could find. It worked great….(for 2 years).. until 3 weeks ago when it would crank but not start. I sprayed some ether into the air intake…. But that did not work.
I have runout of gas once or twice and I have let the gas tank get low (below E) several times.

Condition Now: When I turn the ignition the starter will crank, but the engine will not start. After I stop cranking the starter and shut off the ignition switch with the key, the “thing” (I think it’s the fuel pump) just next to the window wiper fluid container (on the driver’s side of the engine compartment) comes on after about 2 minutes. It “runs and vibrates” for about 5 minutes and then it shuts off. It runs the battery (a new Sears Die-Hard) down.

Yesterday I cleaned the electrical connections to this “thing” and the three connections to the air intake. It didn’t help. The starter would still crank but the engine would not start.

I don’t know what is wrong. If I had to guess I would say I needed to replace the fuel pump, gas filter, and sparkplug wires. BUT…. I don’t want to start to repair items in a car this old, without actually knowing what is wrong. Since it could get expensive.

Since I have run out of gas and let the fuel get down to empty a few times, the fuel line, between the pump and the gas tank may be clogged. But I don’t know how to clear the line. I can only think that disconnecting the tank side of the fuel line, at the fuel pump and blowing the line back into the fuel tank with my mouth might work. Maybe the pump (which I think is working….it’s vibrating and running after I shut off the engine) …. thinks it wants to pump…. But it’s all clogged up…

I just ordered the service manual (shudda done that long ago) so it will be here in a week and I can start using the diagnostic tools in there.

In the meantime would anyone have any ideas about what I should do?

The engine runs great.... I am on the road from Fl to NY.... and she runs great so I don't want to sell the ole girl just yet.

Old 01-30-05, 01:24 PM
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The first thing you need to do is check for fuel and spark. If you are getting those then you obviously have another problem. That thing that humms and vibrates is not your fuel pump. The fuel pump is in the tank. The thing you are calling the fuel pump is the air pump for the suspension control system. It controls the air leveling system in the suspension on your vehicle.
While is is definately not a good thing to let the fuel get so low and to run out of gas on a fuel injected vehicle I cant say i truly feel like this is your problem. Check for fuel and spark and get back to us. We will get you going, its just gonna take some time here.
Hope this helps ya,
Old 01-30-05, 09:14 PM
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just a helpful place to start

easiest way i can think of is see if u hav fuel pressure some fuel injected vehicles hav pressure valve sort of like a valv stem u cld try pressing down on the valve core to see if any pressure comes out this valve shld be in the fuel line near ur intake but since u said u tried spraying ether in the air intake its possible ur looking for spark in which case i wld check ur plugs by pulling 1 out and turning it over while u watch for spark just remove plug and hook bk upto the wire and lay the metal part of the spark plug smwhere where it can get a ground alsohave u checked ur timing belt if it has a bad spot and stops around the pulley it wont start either.....just a few idea to look at good luck

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