1996 Buick 3.8 surges and sometimes engine kills when engine is hot


Old 12-19-11, 02:23 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Pillager Minnesota
Posts: 67
1996 Buick 3.8 surges and sometimes engine kills when engine is hot

I have a 1996 Buick Lesabre with 49,000 miles (Grandmother car) that recently started to surge and engine kill after coming to a stop light after driving a couple hours on the highway. The car restarts ok but will surg, the RPMs seem to go down to about 200 and surges to about 1200 and sometimes will kill on the low RPMS. If I leave the car for a couple hours and start it up it seems to run fine, its seems it only does it when the engine is hot. Can anybody help me...................Thanks Rick
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Old 12-19-11, 04:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Texas
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You didn't mention if you are seeing the check engine light come on, or if you have checked for any diagnostic fault codes showing up by having a scan done. Let us know if there is or if there are any fault codes. The problem could be from a few causes but the Idle Air control (sensor) is certainly a strong possibility. Considering also the history of the car with your grandmother driving it, it may also require a good fuel injector cleaning. Vaccum leaks would cause issues long before a 2 hour drive also, as would an EGR problem but with a car that old, rubber hoses would have deteriorated by now also and these too are just other potential areas to check.
Old 12-19-11, 05:20 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA/ Pacific NW
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1. read codes
2. read codes
3. read codes.
it's a starting - free - point. one of your sensors is prolly malfunctioning, causing ECM to drop RPMs then to catch with them, and so it goes.
Old 12-20-11, 04:10 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 18,497
I had a similar-sounding situation in a 99 Regal 3.8 and it was the transmission - torque converter clutch was sticking.

That said, mine never stalled so the problems may not be the same.
Old 12-20-11, 06:55 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Jersey
Posts: 526
Generally speaking from what you are describing sounds like a traditional vacuum leak somewhere on your engine.

Do visual checks around your engine's vacuum lines and connectors and listen for a hissing sound.

This isn't a sure fix but an easy place to start and you DON'T need to take it to a mechanic to do this.

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