1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out... - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

My friend recently acquired a 1999 Buick LeSabre that belonged to his grandmother. It only had 27,000 miles on it (it now has about 37,000). The issue is that it is cutting out when he is driving home from work in the early morning hours. It only seems to do it when he is on the freeway and starts up an incline. He can pull over, rev the engine a few times, and then it will be fine.

There are several things that can cause the code that popped up (P0171) - intake air leaks, faulty front O2 sensor, ignition misfiring, faulty fuel injectors, exhaust gas leaks, incorrect fuel pressure, lack of fuel, faulty mass air flow sensor, and incorrect PCV connection. According to some repair database, the most common cause is the mass air flow sensor. With the low mileage on the vehicle, I am not sure where to begin. Ideally I would have him take it to the dealer and have them diagnose it, but he just wants me to see what others think the problem might be and get some parts for it. I can get the mass air flow sensor and the front O2 sensor from Rockauto for around $113 shipped (that is quite a bit less than the mass air flow sensor by itself locally).

So, if anyone has any ideas, your input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 1:03 PM
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

Hook up a fuel pressure gauge, see what it has at hot idle.
Something like this is great to have, connects to the fuel rail on most modern cars.



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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 10:18 PM
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

Does the service engine soon light flash?? With that low mileage, the injectors probably need to be cleaned. A complete fuel system servicing is in order!!

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 10:21 PM
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

The dealer is going to probably be useless on a car that old. I would find a decent local independent shop. You need to put a scanner on it that can actually monitor readings, not just pull codes.

If I was betting, I would also look at fuel pressure. GM pumps from those days are known for issues. I have put two in my 99 Tahoe in 250k miles.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoP View Post
Does the service engine soon light flash?? With that low mileage, the injectors probably need to be cleaned. A complete fuel system servicing is in order!!
It throws a P0171 code, which has all of the possible causes that I listed above. The national repair database shows the mass airflow sensor as the most common cause and the upstream O2 sensor as the second more common cause.

Quote:
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The dealer is going to probably be useless on a car that old. I would find a decent local independent shop. You need to put a scanner on it that can actually monitor readings, not just pull codes.

If I was betting, I would also look at fuel pressure. GM pumps from those days are known for issues. I have put two in my 99 Tahoe in 250k miles.
With the low mileage on this vehicle, I just don't see how a fuel pump would be bad. The car is OBDII, so the dealer should have no issues with diagnosing it (one would hope, anyway). But, my friend just told me to order the mass air flow sensor and the upstream O2 sensor. I will get them installed and he will see how it does. If it doesn't make a difference, then he said he will go get a diagnostic run.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 19th, 19, 11:08 PM
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

on a vehicle that old, I'd replace all the O2 sensors and maybe just clean the Mass Air Flow sensor with the proper chemical, plain old carb cleaner may just dissolve the clear coat on it, good luck. Injector cleaning still needs to be done! Around town driving really takes a toll!!

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 19, 10:18 AM
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

Quote:
Originally Posted by WakkoWarner View Post


With the low mileage on this vehicle, I just don't see how a fuel pump would be bad.

The age with no miles is probably worse than a lot of miles.



Quote:
Originally Posted by WakkoWarner View Post
. The car is OBDII, so the dealer should have no issues with diagnosing it (one would hope, anyway).


Don't kid yourself

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 19, 10:40 AM
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

Brian, have you changed the fuel filter?

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 19, 11:26 AM
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

One simple thing to consider is a loose airflow hose between the MAF and the engines throttle body that will cause similar complaints and the fuel filter is definitely needed on a car that has sat for so long as the tank sits half empty it rusts then when the car is driven again the new gas washes the inside of the tank and the fine rust particles clog everything the new fuel gets into.Also before throwing parts at it check it out with a scan tool that gives current values as its working.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 19, 11:45 AM
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

I worked at the dealerships when these cars were new and used and saw many issues with mass airflow sensors. Cleaning them was almost useless. If a fuel filter was the issue, the power would be consistently down at higher speeds. The intermittent symptoms you describe points to a faulty mass airflow sensor that fails to report the correct airflow ,when hot,at higher RPMs. I would replace the sensor without replacing the O2 sensor to see if the problem is corrected. You can always replace the O2 sensor at a later date as you will always be wondering which sensor was truly at fault. One step at a time is the best approach when diagnosing computer based problems.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 19, 11:46 AM
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

I believe the tank in this car is plastic but still, junk does build up.

As dirt accumulates in a fuel injection filter, it often sits in the bottom of the can. As flow increases when you step on it more, it gets churned up and drawn into the filter media. Shut the engine off, pressure & flow falls and the junk drops to the bottom of the can again.

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old Jul 25th, 19, 9:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1999 Buick LeSabre Cutting Out...

He has been driving it for a month since I replaced the throttle position sensor and cleaned the mass airflow sensor. The problem has not come up again.

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