Issue with 1999 LeSabre randomly not starting/dying during drive

1999LeSabreMO

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We just acquired a 1999 LeSabre from a friend. Had no issues at first, but after a month or so, sometimes when we’d start the car, the engine wouldn’t turn - instead, the lights on the dash would flash, and the “check engine” sound would ding. When the car did start, there was a 50/50 chance that, while driving, at some point the car would experience the same issue - all dash lights flashing, check engine ding, engine dies - and you’d have to re-start it in the middle of the road.

We took it for testing to AutoZone, figuring that it was either the battery or the alternator. I was leaning towards the latter, since the car is over 20 years old. They tested both and said they were fine. The battery got changed a year ago.

The former owner said there were security issues when he acquired it, so I’m wondering if I need to pull out the radio and install an aftermarket. Or, more concerningly, is it a wiring issue?
 

MelsRegal

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Did you have Autozone check for codes in history rather than guess at why Check Engine light came on?
 

MelsRegal

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If the Check Engine light comes on it is stored in history.
Did you ask them to check for codes in history or just ask them to check the battery and alternator?
______________________________
 

1999LeSabreMO

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If the Check Engine light comes on it is stored in history.
Did you ask them to check for codes in history or just ask them to check the battery and alternator?
Sorry, I misread. They refused to check the check engine light as it wasn’t on at the time. It’s really strange, as occasionally it will be on, and/or the security light will be on (security light more often), then the car will have one of its freak-outs (as we call them) and then when we turn it on again, the lights in question may or may not be on. This time it was not, so he refused to check. He was not particularly enthusiastic about his work.
 

MelsRegal

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You need to have it checked at a shop that can check codes stored in history.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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2007 Lucerne CXL. and 1995 Lesabre currently, past 1973 Riviera, 1968 Riviera
You may want to ask your friend about what if anything has been done to the vehicle or additional maintenance history. Sometimes other people's repairs, if not done correctly, may lead to issues and makes troubleshooting efforts more difficult.
 

1999LeSabreMO

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You may want to ask your friend about what if anything has been done to the vehicle or additional maintenance history. Sometimes other people's repairs, if not done correctly, may lead to issues and makes troubleshooting efforts more difficult.
He says there was an oxygen sensor code previously, but he fixed it. He’s an amateur mechanic and auto assembler himself and can’t figure it out.
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imidazol97

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The postive battery cables on those have two cables. There is a lead spacer between them. That can
corrode. Take the red cables apart by pulling them, if I recall right. The lead spacers could be bought
and replaced or cleaned up. Also check the ends of the red cables for corrosion down into the cable
by slicing into the plastic for a distance.

Check the ground wires from the battery. I believe a small one goes to the inside of the right front fender.
Locate another ground between the engine and the "frame" if I recall correctly. Be sure all those have
clean, bright connections and retighten.

I'm not sure if another electrical connection problem might give the symptoms you're seeing, but I'd check
the buss connections on both sides that are under the carpet below the door sill about where a driver's hands
would be hanging down. Those buss connections corroded from moisture. They are wrapped inside tape and a
bundle of wires, of course, goes to them running along the carpet area below the door sill.

Buick LeSabre Starting/Stalling Problems - Page 3

This one has more links and pictures: 1997 buick lesabre stalling

no power to fuel pump, power windows & power seat - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat

One way to check those is to hit that area with something solid, fist, shoe, rubber mallet, because the vibration
would cause the corrosion to break and let the metal touch again.
 
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