Buick 3.1 V6 just dies while driving

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  #1  
Old 02-03-10, 02:01 PM
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Buick 3.1 V6 just dies while driving

My '95 Buick Century 3.1 has just died six times while driving at 5 to 60mph. It sometimes will go thirty or forty miles and run just fine. When it dies I pull over and it starts right up and runs well. I just replaced the head gaskets and I didn't have this problem before that. I've replaced the crankshaft sensor and it's wires and plugs. Any ideas?
 
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  #2  
Old 02-03-10, 02:55 PM
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I had a similar problem with a '98 Bonneville 3.8. We got an occasional check engine light, crank signal out of range. I replaced the crank sensor, plugs, fuel filter, and wires, but still had intermittant problems. The car was hard to start at times and eventually the fuel pump and regulator failed. After the new fuel pump we got a check engine light a few times saying that the fuel recovery had a small leak. I reset the light 1/2 dozen times and it eventually stayed off, 2 months later it's back on again but the car has been reliable. 140K+ and still counting, it has been designated as the "hooptie" now. Starting to get pretty rusty and primer is showing in a few spots but you know, it's kind a nice having a backup as long as it runs.
 
  #3  
Old 02-03-10, 06:03 PM
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This sounds like an electrical problem to me.

There could be an electrical connector which is loose and hitting a bump in the road might make it lose its connection momentarily.

Or it could be an "important" wire shorting to ground momentarily. Like a wire to the engine computer.

The problem is there are LOTS of important wires!

I would start by looking for do-it-yourself wiring. This wiring would not be installed and well protected like factory wiring. And someone may have tied a stereo or add-in device to a vital circuit.

This wiring is typically loose and can flop around and short to ground. If it does this and it is also tied into a vital circuit like an engine computer wire, it will take that circuit "down" with it when it momentarily shorts to ground.

Also be sure all the fuses are the correct value. People improperly wire things, then have fuse blowing problems, then install larger fuses. A blowing fuse of the correct value is a "clue" that there is a wiring problem on a circuit. And might help to find this problem.

Then also check all factory electrical connectors to be sure they are clean and tight connections. If a fluid has spilled on an electrical connector, might want to clean the terminals with electrical contact cleaner, then reconnect.

And especially electrical connectors having to do with engine computer sensors, ignition, etc.

Also check all main wires including main ground wires like to engine. Be sure they are clean and snug. Be sure battery and alternator connections are clean and snug.

If the above does not solve the problem, then you would need to catch the problem in the act. This can be done with a recording multimeter. This can record - like a tape recorder - the voltage at a certain point.

So the question is what *must* have electrical power for the engine to operate? Then connect the recording multimeter to those general areas and see if power is being lost or the voltage is dropping down.

Is the engine computer losing power?
Is the fuel pump losing power?
Is the ignition system losing power?
Etc.

Another problem you should be aware of is people will sometimes "shove" a too large of multimeter test lead into a female electrical connector terminal for testing. This will "enlarge" the terminal hole, then the connection is no longer tight for that terminal.

Needless to say, that problem can be a royal pain to track down as there are so many connectors. And this would be very hard to see.
 
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Old 02-04-10, 09:46 AM
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Thanks, guys. Is there any cheap way to access the error codes from the computer?
 
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Old 02-04-10, 10:14 AM
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A '95 may qualify for a free Autozone scan. I would call one of their stores with your make, model, etc.. There' a break on the OBD series about that year. Before they can't do and after they can.
 
  #6  
Old 02-04-10, 10:42 AM
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Sounds electrical to me also. Another possibility is a relay dropping out when it gets hot. When it cools it works properly for awhile. Intermittent electrical problems can be frustrating.

I mention a relay problem because one of my vehicles did this to me a few months back. It's an older car with continuous fuel injection. The relay that supplies power to the frequency valve would drop out occasionally.

Good luck in your search for the culprit.
 
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Old 02-04-10, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Buick Bob View Post
Thanks, guys. Is there any cheap way to access the error codes from the computer?
On some vehicles you can jumper a couple of connections on an electrical connection, then the check engine light will flash out codes. (Or other indicators/methods.)

This procedure might be on the internet?

Just make darn sure it is for your specific vehicle.

And make sure any codes you find on the internet are for your specific vehicle.

To be sure, you can order a factory service manual set from the dealer or helminc.com, but these cost around $150 for the whole set.
 
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Old 02-10-10, 01:38 AM
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any updates on this? check your timing, could be an ignition timing issue.
 
  #9  
Old 02-10-10, 03:42 PM
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On some vehicles you can jumper a couple of connections on an electrical connection, then the check engine light will flash out codes. (Or other indicators/methods.)

That is on OBD I, I'm not sure if that is OBD I or OBD II. If OBD II you need a reader to pull the codes.
 
  #10  
Old 02-11-10, 04:54 AM
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I think a '95 could go either way; at any rate, here's the OBD-I procedure:

Troublcodes.net Trouble Codes OBD & OBD2 Trouble Codes and Technical info & Tool Store. By BAT Auto Technical
 
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