Just knocked out a 2500+ mile round trip

DirtyDizzle

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57
15
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Buick Ownership
Lesabre
So I just knocked out a 2500 mile plus trip in my 04 lesabre with 250k miles. The car did great(especially for having a quarter million miles) but did have a few minor problems which maybe you guys and gals can help me figure out.

First off I have a check engine light on. I got the codes read and it came back evap leak. I'm not sure exactly what the code was I lost the print out and got the codes read at the parts store. Parts store guy seems to think it's the gas cap which I'm thinking does need to be replaced(it is hard to remove sometimes) but the code didnt pop up until I fueled up the day after replacing upper and lower intake gaskets. The car was hard to start on this day before and after fueling but the hard start problem has since cleared up. Code still there even after disconnecting battery to reset.

Second problem I had which seems to come and go randomly is a rough idle/vibration sometimes at a redlight some times at highway speeds. Sometimes it will be hardly noticeable and sometimes it will rattle ashtray and contents.

I have a feeling maybe problem one and two are connected.

Third the car will randomly give 3 chime sounds while driving. I have no idea why but my wife said she briefly saw some words flash where the trip display is at. I believe I also saw them flash but it is so brief there is no way to read the warning/message. It is always 3 chimes but once during the trip it chimed about 6 times and hasn't done so before or after. Also no message displayed during these chimes.

My last concern is the transmission started slipping occasionally after putting in the transgo shift kit. The kit fixed the hard shift problem but now I've got a slipping problem when accelerating from low speeds or accelerating after a rolling stop. I did drain some transmission fluid and add a quart of Lucas to transmission before I finally dropped the pan and put in the shift kit. Fluid used to refill was Castrol transmax Dexron VI Mercon LV.
Really I'm just wondering if there is anything I can do to try and fix the trans hard shift short of a rebuild or of im just stuck with it until it either goes or I get rid of the car.

Thanks in advance for any and all help, comments, corrective criticism or just great conversation.
 

Alan 55

Member
Sustaining Member
538
237
43
Florida
Buick Ownership
2001 Buick Park Avenue, previously owned 1997 Park Avenue
So I just knocked out a 2500 mile plus trip in my 04 lesabre with 250k miles. The car did great(especially for having a quarter million miles) but did have a few minor problems which maybe you guys and gals can help me figure out.

First off I have a check engine light on. I got the codes read and it came back evap leak. I'm not sure exactly what the code was I lost the print out and got the codes read at the parts store. Parts store guy seems to think it's the gas cap which I'm thinking does need to be replaced(it is hard to remove sometimes) but the code didnt pop up until I fueled up the day after replacing upper and lower intake gaskets. The car was hard to start on this day before and after fueling but the hard start problem has since cleared up. Code still there even after disconnecting battery to reset.

Second problem I had which seems to come and go randomly is a rough idle/vibration sometimes at a redlight some times at highway speeds. Sometimes it will be hardly noticeable and sometimes it will rattle ashtray and contents.

I have a feeling maybe problem one and two are connected.

Third the car will randomly give 3 chime sounds while driving. I have no idea why but my wife said she briefly saw some words flash where the trip display is at. I believe I also saw them flash but it is so brief there is no way to read the warning/message. It is always 3 chimes but once during the trip it chimed about 6 times and hasn't done so before or after. Also no message displayed during these chimes.

My last concern is the transmission started slipping occasionally after putting in the transgo shift kit. The kit fixed the hard shift problem but now I've got a slipping problem when accelerating from low speeds or accelerating after a rolling stop. I did drain some transmission fluid and add a quart of Lucas to transmission before I finally dropped the pan and put in the shift kit. Fluid used to refill was Castrol transmax Dexron VI Mercon LV.
Really I'm just wondering if there is anything I can do to try and fix the trans hard shift short of a rebuild or of im just stuck with it until it either goes or I get rid of the car.

Thanks in advance for any and all help, comments, corrective criticism or just great conversation.

Concerning the issue of rough idle, there are a number of possible area’s of concern. Spark plugs, spark plug wire, IAC valve needs cleaning or replacement, throttle body needs cleaning, check fuel pressure. These are just a few things that come to mind. In my opinion, you would be helped by having your own scan tool. The cost of this has never been lower as you can get a basic entry level scan tool for less than $100. I would shop around, read reviews and check out some YouTube videos on scan tools. The scan tools would be able to use on all OBD 2 vehicles, 1996 and newer so it would be useful on many types of vehicles.
 

DirtyDizzle

Member
57
15
8
Buick Ownership
Lesabre
I was considering a bluedriver but never could make up my mind. Ive owned and worked on alot of older cars so I've always had the obd1 reader but never got around to getting a obd2 code reader.
Ive got the bluedriver in my cart now just waiting to see if they give another flash sale on it like they did last time I was going to purchase.
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TwiztidRat

Junior Member
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13
8
Buick Ownership
Buick
Rough idle I would definitely check the IAC, if it's not misfiring than check the plugs and wires, a bad distributor rotor can cause problems too. Also could be the fuel pressure dropping, but I would think it would cut off at that point could be the fuel filter as well. As for the transmission issue if it's the original one than it's simply on it's way out just don't be rough on shifting and it will probably last a while, but nothing you can really do at this point to save it, lucas treatment is only a temporary bandaid.

Oh and the chiming you are hearing I bet it's your brake light coming on and off. I had a lesabre that did that, never figured it out brakes were always fine.
 

DirtyDizzle

Member
57
15
8
Buick Ownership
Lesabre
Rough idle I would definitely check the IAC, if it's not misfiring than check the plugs and wires, a bad distributor rotor can cause problems too. Also could be the fuel pressure dropping, but I would think it would cut off at that point could be the fuel filter as well. As for the transmission issue if it's the original one than it's simply on it's way out just don't be rough on shifting and it will probably last a while, but nothing you can really do at this point to save it, lucas treatment is only a temporary bandaid.

Oh and the chiming you are hearing I bet it's your brake light coming on and off. I had a lesabre that did that, never figured it out brakes were always fine.
Hey thanks for the reply.
I definitely need to check plugs and wires I havent yet. I did put a new fuel pump and filter on the car recently but that doesnt mean anything it could still be in need of a another filter. I know whoever owned it before me either lived down a dirt road or did alot of dirt road driving I find dust and sand and all kind of dirt behind random panels. So it may need a couple more filter changes.
I will check into what you suggested.
As far as the random chimes being the brakes who knows. It happened again today and no message on screen. At first it was concerning now I don't even pay it attention I did do all new brakes and rotors all around as well as replacing caliper brackets slide pin boots and hardware. I did the conversion from 11" to 12" rotors. Also swapped out fluid in the resevoir but never did flush out the old fluid in the lines. Brakes are nice and stiff so figured with no air it wasnt necessary.
I really hope the tranny isn't going. At this point I've got too much money into the car not to fix it but at the same time a tranny rebuild will be more than the car is worth and seems to be my luck lately. The lucas was to try and fix the hard shift before I put in shift kit. Shift kit fixed hard shift but introduced slipping which it wasnt doing before. Do you think another quart of lucas may help buy me some time the first quart was before doing a pan drop and filter swap. Also its a long story but when doing the shift kit I damaged the filter seal and ended up in ER getting stitches. I wonder if the boogered seal on the transmission filter could be sucking air causing the slipping. It wasn't slipping before and fluid wasnt in bad condition so I dont see how a partial change could have caused slipping
 

TwiztidRat

Junior Member
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Buick Ownership
Buick
General rule is if one quart of lucas didn't improve it then the transmission is too far gone. At least that's my opinion, as I said those additive remedies are only gonna possibly delay the inevitable of the transmission, but if you did damage the seal on the filter that could definitely be an issue since it's gotta be a sealed system, just like your cooling system, or brakes. Also if you changed the fluid in your transmission how old was the other fluid, because with GM cars and even ford if the fluid is too far old in the pan usually it's best at that point to leave it alone cause depending how old the fluid is it could've been keeping the transmission alive cause of all the crud that gives it enough friction to function properly, putting new fresh fluid in the pan can cause it to slip and obviously speed up it's demise, but again it depends if the old fluid was still shiny red or old and almost brown. I owned a few old beaters that never had the fluid changed and when I found that out I left it alone cause the transmission shifted normally and at that point any damage could've been worse if I messed with it.

If it chimed again but the brakes are fine, is your gas cap message popping up maybe? Has to be something that is triggering the chime, maybe the brake light bulb in your cluster is burned out, but has to be something that causes it to chime. If you put in a new fuel pump and filter than check your plugs, wires, and the distributor cap. If the fuel filter is fairly new it wouldn't clog up that fast no matter how often it's on dirt roads, but I know the feeling not wanting to get upside down in a vehicle. If yours is in good shape; I don't know where you are located as in if it's not a rust bucket. I'd just keep driving her, don't mess with your transmission anymore it'll only hurt it worse but replace the trans filter with a new seal and see what that does. It won't hurt to do that at this point, but any older car is gonna cost more than it's worth. These cars are solid and the motor could withstand a direct hit from a tank. It all comes down to if you like the vehicle not about the money cause if you sell it and get something else as old you can just run into the endless cycle.
 

DirtyDizzle

Member
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Buick Ownership
Lesabre
See that's the thing I have no idea what the first quart of Lucas did because I put it in before I had a slipping problem then did a partial fluid swap so even though there is still some in there it is now diluted by new fluid. Well to start I only put 3/4 of a quart in and then drained and put in about 2 gallons of new fluid so that 3/4 of a quart of Lucas is pretty diluted at this point I'm guessing.
I have no idea how old the fluid was when I dropped the pan I've had the car for less than a year but I can tell you the fluid was still in good condition it was still red red so I don't think the fluid change shocked the tranny causing the slippage.
Could have though that's why I try to avoid messing with transmissions too much they can be finicky.

I have never seen the gas cap message but I am getting a code for a EVAP leak so very well could be the problem. I'm waiting for the code reader I ordered to come in before I start in on the EVAP problem but think I have it narrowed down already.

I Know I need to check the plugs and wires I'm just dreading the rear plugs and the wires look brand new so I assumed someone has done it already. I wish I would have checked the rear plugs when I had the intake and valve covers off.
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DirtyDizzle

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Lesabre
Also it's not a rust bucket by any means damn near a new car at this point I've been into the motor the interior the suspension the electronics the cooling system, brakes, and new wheels and tires but the car books at like 1700 and tranny rebuild costs like 2k plus. It's my wife's car she loves Buicks and I started fixing it up for her but she's tired of me putting money into it.
I've actually got a paint kit on its way going to do a color change and planning to put air ride suspension on the car. Makes me wonder wtf is going on in my mind to pour this much time and effort into a old granny car but my wife loves the car and I guess I've always been a little crazy. 😁
 

TwiztidRat

Junior Member
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13
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Buick Ownership
Buick
The lucas additive wouldn't have caused the new problems with the transmission unless it's still low on the fluid capacity, I would venture to guess though changing the fluid caused it or your filter. It could also just be bizarre timing, but if the car is solid there's not a lot that go wrong with these vehicles a sound transmission and solid motor and the car will out last all of us, the only thing that has killed these cars in my area is rust, bodies would fall apart but everything else worked on them still. In the end though at this point you are gonna lose a lot of money if you sell it and get another used car, any vehicle is the worst investment but 250k is getting up there I guess if you can find a good deal. Than maybe think of selling it. For right now though I'd just keep driving it till the transmission quits you could still save up cash for a few years depending on how long the car lasts. The thing is though you already invested so much time and work into the car that even if some other part broke (water pump or alternator) you'd still be saving a lot more money with the reliability odds now. Oh and the evap leak wouldn't cause the chiming in the dash, cause it would just trigger the engine light which doesn't chime.
 

G-641885

The lucas additive wouldn't have caused the new problems with the transmission unless it's still low on the fluid capacity, I would venture to guess though changing the fluid caused it or your filter. It could also just be bizarre timing, but if the car is solid there's not a lot that go wrong with these vehicles a sound transmission and solid motor and the car will out last all of us, the only thing that has killed these cars in my area is rust, bodies would fall apart but everything else worked on them still. In the end though at this point you are gonna lose a lot of money if you sell it and get another used car, any vehicle is the worst investment but 250k is getting up there I guess if you can find a good deal. Than maybe think of selling it. For right now though I'd just keep driving it till the transmission quits you could still save up cash for a few years depending on how long the car lasts. The thing is though you already invested so much time and work into the car that even if some other part broke (water pump or alternator) you'd still be saving a lot more money with the reliability odds now. Oh and the evap leak wouldn't cause the chiming in the dash, cause it would just trigger the engine light which doesn't chime.
From what I understand the EVAP leak can trigger the gas cap warning which I was assuming could cause a chime. Don't really know. I've never seen the gas cap warning. As far as this car if the tranny goes I will more than likely buy another Lesabre and just swap the aftermarket parts and accessories over to the new one.
In the meantime I'm looking for a good used car or truck for myself just sold my expedition so we are relying on only this car right now to get us both back and forth to work, grocery stores, etc.
 

TwiztidRat

Junior Member
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Buick
Yeah that's your best bet, the EVAP leak will cause the cas cap warning but the gas cap warning will chime once only and usually it stays on when you restart the car. It shows up under your odometer display, mine does it sometimes but I think it is just the cap but it shouldn't go off and on repeatedly cause you have to reset it by clearing it off the odometer screen before it would pop up again anyways.
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DirtyDizzle

Member
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Buick Ownership
Lesabre
I'm thinking the chimes are due to loss of communication now. One of these codes maybe. I cleared all codes and I'm going to drive it around for awhile to see what codes come back I get the feeling some of these are from when I was working on the overheating problem because its all stuff I had removed or disconnected at one point trying to diagnose.
Screenshot_20210520-165134~2.png Screenshot_20210520-165145~2.png Screenshot_20210520-165154~2.png
 

TwiztidRat

Junior Member
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Buick Ownership
Buick
So maybe your airbag light pops on and that's causing the chime. Loss of communications though at this point I would have it scanned at a reputable shop that has an advanced scanner, sounds like one of the BCMs is acting up, or something is wrong with the main computer, could be a simple ground short in the wiring but they could find that out.
 

DirtyDizzle

Member
57
15
8
Buick Ownership
Lesabre
So maybe your airbag light pops on and that's causing the chime. Loss of communications though at this point I would have it scanned at a reputable shop that has an advanced scanner, sounds like one of the BCMs is acting up, or something is wrong with the main computer, could be a simple ground short in the wiring but they could find that out.
So I don't do shops never have never will. Figure if I cant fix or replace it then it doesn't need fixing or replacing. I have a shop I go to for my alignments. That's about it. Even then they always try to rack up the charges telling me I need this and that and if I dont fix it right away I will leave in a flaming death trap or whatever scare tactics they use. I especially will never go to a shop for electrical issues. Those can get real expensive real fast but can be relatively cheap or even free to self diagnose and fix. Can take hrs and lots of throwing wrenches and cussing but hey thats life for ya.
As far as the codes I'll check for sure tomorrow when I have the car back but all seems good besides the evap leak. Ive put about 300 miles on it since clearing the codes. Roughly 140 of those on the highway and the rest in town. Only one that came back so far was gor a large evap leak.
I'm thinking loss of communication on the abs was due to me doing the brakes. I dont remember unplugging the abs harness but may have. The thermostat code was due to me running a cooler thermostat. The coolant temp sensor one was due to me unplugging sensor and or using a jumper on it trying to diagnose my fan problems. Most all of those codes seem to be from stuff I tinkered with but have since fixed.
The other two loss of communication codes I dont exactly know what would have caused them but sure if I thought hard enough I could probably figure out what I messed with to cause them. At this point it doesn't seem to be a problem if the codes come back I'll start trying to figure it out.
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TwiztidRat

Junior Member
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Buick Ownership
Buick
Yeah just ride it out at this point, it's hard to find a good respectable shop that doesn't try to see you as $ signs in their eyes.
 
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