Rescuing a 2007 Lucerne CXS with a Northstar

TT99C5

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Good job, but....the brake calibers aren't RED and your mother in law won't be cool like all the other kids LOL.
Hahaha......I actually thought about skimming off the surface rust and shooting them black, but then sanity got the better of me.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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You must like your mother in law, I would have painted each one a different color pink, purple, green and white for my mother in law knowing full well she would never ask me to work on her car ever again LOL.
 

TT99C5

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My MIL isn't bad. Closer with her than I am my own mom at this point.

Got my new NiCopp line yesterday so got up early today and finished fabbing the lines as seen below:

20210103_100207[1].jpg

Got the retainers snapped up into the car and was pretty happy overall. Need to do some minor tweaking at some bends to keep them tucked up a little better. But, I was REALLY happy with the fact that the passenger side was practically sitting in the hose when I went to see how close it was. The only thing I did was went a little long up front so I'm going to cut those back and flare them on car.

I got stonewalled today though. I was putting the rear brakes on the car and I have rotor wobble BAD......I honestly think the rotors aren't true because I took all the flaky rust off the hubs and one rotor wobbles so bad it contacts the caliper bracket and the other isn't as bad but still isn't worth putting on a car. Took them to the other side of the car and same issue. And I really screwed up because I've already ripped up and tossed the boxes they came in. Gotta call Rock Auto tomorrow and see what can be done.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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Seeing how you did the transplant I'll assume the old rotors, besides being rusted, have been pitched so just confirming that it's the new rotors and not something else. As I'll assume that they were torqued down and the lugs didn't bottom out, the calipers and parking brake were fully seated. If you can get the new rotors on a known flat surface to check on some surface measurements for flatness and being square.

I know as this may seem obvious for someone who just did a engine swap and brakes but it may help others who don't have the experience yet, good luck on getting it resolved.
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TT99C5

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Seeing how you did the transplant I'll assume the old rotors, besides being rusted, have been pitched so just confirming that it's the new rotors and not something else. As I'll assume that they were torqued down and the lugs didn't bottom out, the calipers and parking brake were fully seated. If you can get the new rotors on a known flat surface to check on some surface measurements for flatness and being square.

I know as this may seem obvious for someone who just did a engine swap and brakes but it may help others who don't have the experience yet, good luck on getting it resolved.
So I realized what I did as I read your post. I didn't have the wheels on, but I DID put the retaining screw in.......tight. Tight enough to cause it to wobble. All is good.

Got back on the car today as planned after a Monday through Thursday stretch of 12 hour shifts at work. Wanted to finish up the brake lines, get the rear brakes on the car, get the catalytic on it, put oil and coolant in and hopefully fire it up.

Brake lines finished up fine. One of them I had to cut back about 2 inches, the other was spot on. I DID need to secure the under body retainers for the lines though, the ones that were on there (the little metal discs that go around the post the plastic holder sits on) were worthless due to rust. For anyone's future reference, I found the proper metal retainers at Napa and they work like a champ.

20210108_162323[1].jpg

So with the lines out of the way I turned my attention to the rear brakes. Everything assembled fine. That is until I opened the bleeders. Drivers side freed up with some alternating heating and cooling. Passenger side.......broke off. Bummer. Started researching rear calipers, and sticker shock! Around $90 locally PLUS core charge, IF they have them in stock.

I had to run home anyway because I brought my sawzall but forgot the battery. Figured what the heck, I'll go by the local pick and pull because I know they have 4-5 Lucerne's and a few DTS's there too. Walked up on the first Lucerne I saw and hit absolute paydirt. Went back with these for a whopping $52.

20210108_162317[1].jpg

They're dirty but actually both are VERY fresh reman units. They cleaned up great. One of them had a completely stuck slide pin though, so I simply didn't use the one bracket. Happy to say that they are on and good to go.

Having a fit getting all the air through the ABS system so far. Gravity filling didn't do anything, so I pulled a vacuum at each corner until I pulled fluid through. Have fluid at all four corners now but it's still a stupid soft pedal. I'm going to pick up more fluid tomorrow and my buddy is going to help me finish it up on Sunday. It was essentially empty when I started and it drank 2/3 a quart of brake fluid from the initial pour (which was startling to me).

Next up was the Catalytic. This turned out to be rather involved because, being a glutton for punishment, I bought the cheapest one I could find. Flange was right, but the expanded section at the back wasn't big enough to fit over the OEM pipe. Fortunately my buddy loves to weld, so we just welded it up. Took some time though because we had to drop the exhaust and one of the hanger bolts broke off, which necessitated another repair. But after all that...........


Purring like a kitten.

Have a few bugs to work out. Throwing a heater circuit code for the rear O2, a MAF low voltage code, and an ABS code which I'm hoping is related to the Stabilitrack issues given the front shocks are standard and not the magnetic ones. But it starts and runs happily, sounds fine, everything seems to work that I've checked so far. This was after it had built some heat. The initial start was GNARLY. Really gnarly. Clunking and thunking and not wanting to run.........it was just ugly. Then came the smoke (the motor I bought had been laying on it's side with oil in it unfortunately). But it eventually settled down into what you see above, nice and smooth.

So.......gotta get the brakes sorted, then get the CEL's sorted. Couple of resistors for the front shocks to make the computer happy, and see what happens. Once the bugs are worked out I'm going to start quoting for paint which my mother in law is going to pay for up front on her own.

Oh.......and I was SHOCKED to find that it has remote start. And it freaking WORKS!!!! My VW Passat has it but VW nerfed it bad.....the car dies when you open the door. THANK YOU GM for doing it right and leaving the car run when you open it up to get in.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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Happy about the brake rotors, I get credit for being smart at times and just admit I've I've also made a lot of mistakes to be smart. Engine running already and sounds good!
 

TT99C5

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2007 Lucerne
Happy about the brake rotors, I get credit for being smart at times and just admit I've I've also made a lot of mistakes to be smart. Engine running already and sounds good!
Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned putting the wheels on. That made it click with me. Been a few years since I've done this on this type of scale and just looked right over it.
 

TT99C5

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So no updates really. I've been out messing with it a couple of times.

First bugs......codes. LOTS of them. P0036, P0102, P0412, P0418, P0480, P0481. Doing some research, I found several instances of these EXACT codes showing up at the same time. Wiring issues (chaffed, broken, grounded), F21 fuse in the underhood fuse box, bad connection at the main connector for engine removal/drop. I had already gone over the harness while the engine was out. F21 fuse showed continuity across the back. I reset the main connector and put a new fuse into F21......problem went away. BUT......P0352 showed up and kept coming back. Took one of the 8 extra coils I had and that went away and didn't recur. Ok, feeling better about the state of things.

Brakes. Will. Not. Bleed. I vacuum bled at each corner until I pulled fluid, and that got the brakes functional but with a horribly soft pedal. Manual bleeding doesn't yeild any air but you can feel trapped air via the pedal. Continued vacuum and manual bleeding shows the rears are trying, front left will spit a little, front right does almost nothing. I have a feeling it needs an ABS bleed, so I've just today ordered a VXDiag VCX Nano and will use the Tech2Win software to complete this. If that doesn't do it......I'll be confused because the car has an obviously new master cylinder on it. I'm pretty sure it's just a massive amount of air trapped in the ABS block.

As expected, it has the Service Stabilitrak messages along with some others. I just put together some 10w 2ohm resistors and plugged those in today but I don't think I connected everything I needed (Has an ABS light but no ABS code showing on the scanner, think I left a sensor unplugged) so the Stabilitrak light is still showing. I NEED to get that cleared up because it won't pass inspection otherwise.

My biggest thing is the brakes. If I can get those solid, then I can drive the car home, and have a LOT easier access to work on it and mess with it in my spare time. I'm sick and tired of driving 30 minutes each way to spend and hour or two accomplishing nothing because I need this, forgot that, need to research this, etc.
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2007LucerneCXL

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As you took the brakes all the way down the ABS needs to be cycled unfortunately and you are correct that a ABS scanner is required.

There's some methods, online information, to do it without a scanner but it requires basically driving around and slamming the brakes on a few times preferably on loose gravel, not the best method to find out if everything is working properly lol.
 

TT99C5

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I've done the drive and activate method on my Corvette. This pedal is so soft on the Buick that I don't even dare drive the car. I needed an excuse to order something to act as a Tech II anyway, and just today discovered it because of this.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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Well that's good enough reason to get one. Besides using a parked John Deere tractor with a long chain as a Ebrake requires way to much work vs plugging something into the OBD port.
 

JoeBlog

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My 06 Pontiac did that when I replaced the calipers and rotors. After vacuuming about a gallon of fluid thru the system with no noticeable change, I ordered a Motive Products pressure brake bleeding kit. For some reason, the air in the ABS system couldn’t be sucked out, but it could be forced out by that device. Might be another excuse to add to your big boy toy shelf in the garage.

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TT99C5

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Problem.......about to be solved. VXDiag VCX Nano Wifi. I have working Tech2Win (virtual Tech2 via laptop) and GDS2 up and running now. I'm a tech geek, this was right up my alley (I also have RossTech VAGCOM for all my VW Auto Group stuff).

Contrary to what VXDiag says......this is natively running in Win10 x64. There is a certain order you have to install things to make it work in 64bit Windows 10.

20210117_211013_HDR[1].jpg
 

TT99C5

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Well.......that was a semi-resounding success. Did it work? ABSOLUTELY. The car battery about halfway through however, said nope, and I started getting a low voltage exit from the Tech2 ABS Bleed. I have some semblance of a pedal now and am getting fluid flow through the fronts so we're moving to positive territory for certain.

And, I have a C0035 showing up through the Tech2 software for a front left wheel speed sensor circuit fault. It's plugged in and a fairly new hub (it's shiny still) so I'm leaning towards a wiring issue somewhere.....more to come on that.

I have to get and keep this thing with zero faults indicated as my MIL will be registering in PA and their state inspection will fail it for any error lights (I used to do those safety inspections in PA).
 

Tony S45

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I'm learning a trunkful of information based on your hard work & taking the time to document things on this Forum. Many thanks.

You're making excellent progress.
 

TT99C5

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2007 Lucerne
I'm learning a trunkful of information based on your hard work & taking the time to document things on this Forum. Many thanks.

You're making excellent progress.
Thanks! That's the goal is to just give some insight to some of this stuff and hopefully help someone out in the future who needs it.

Got the brakes finished up today. Battery was happy on a full charge, got all the way through the ABS Bleed, then finished with a manual bleed. Still had a spongy top end travel on the pedal, so I cracked the lines at the master and bled those too, and that firmed everything up for the most part. It's completely acceptable at this point.

ALSO figured out my ABS light issue. Was throwing that C0035 and when I checked for the 5V reference, I only had about 3.8 volts. Checked the other side, was at 4.88. Came back to the driver side and it was at 0 for some reason. Moved the wire around some squeezing and folding, and suddenly it was at 4.88. There's a break in it somewhere.

Plan for tomorrow is to go hopefully fix that wire and bring the car back to my own place for finishing up and getting ready for paint.
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TT99C5

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Well folks.....this one is getting close to wrapping up, at least on the mechanical side. Why is that you ask? Well.......

This is why:

That said, today was a success.

The C0035 I took care of but it was fun to track down. I was checking resistance across the body harness terminals and finally found that when I wiggled it, my resistance changed drastically. So I started at the connector..........

This is FINELY stranded wire. Super thin, delicate stuff. Thought I had a break here, but I didn't.
20210123_134322[1].jpg

Fortunately, I keep a large stock of weatherpack connectors, terminals, and seals on hand along with proper crimpers. So I cut the harness back and repinned the connector.
20210123_134356[1].jpg

Checked back into it and still had a C0035. Checked resistance and AC voltage from the hub end of the connector, and it was working fine (hub is fairly new.......almost no corrosion on it). So pulled the loom back and found two splices, one on each wire, about where it turns under the body. No pics unfortunately.

So I cut off the entire harness behind those splices. They were heavy heat shrink with glue. I took the ground signal one and opened it up (since I was getting good voltage on the other, 4.88v KOEO) and found a clean break right in the center. Found another break in the same wire, internal, no external indication of damage, just behind where the thick outer cover starts.

Took some new 18 gauge stranded wire, created a new harness, pinned the connector and soldered it for good measure, and hooked it back into the body harness via some of those new heat shrink connectors that have the solder in them (those are AWESOME and super handy). Got Tech2Win back out and.......still had the code. CRAP. Cleared it for good measure and......it didn't come back! Fired the car up and ZERO fault indicators! The resistors I put on to the end of the harness for the shocks (10w 2 Ohm -- Amazon.com: LM YN 10 Watt 2 Ohm 5% Wirewound Resistor Electronic Aluminium Shell Resistor Gold for Inverter LED Lights Frequency Divider Servo Industry Industrial Control 2-Pcs: Home Audio & Theater) worked like a champ. Stabilitrak is happy, ABS is happy, no CEL.

That VXDiag VCX Nano with the Tech2Win software is worth it's weight in gold. Made diagnosing this stuff so much easier.

So now........had to stop short today because the kids were getting hungry. Car is back on the ground, all plastics back on it, ready for a drive tomorrow. After that........bring it home (it's sitting outside unfortunately, but I only have a 3 car garage and it's full), get it registered, put a few miles on it to ensure it's copacetic, then start looking into paint.

20210123_175428[1].jpg

A side project is going to be stripping the wheels down and refinishing those. It won't be a high end job, but it'll be miles better than the finish they currently have.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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Congratulations, thanks for the resistor information it comes up on the forum so helpful to have known parts. Also good to know about the VXDiag VCX Nano, have Tech2 but always looking for options.

The troubleshooting on problems is a great guideline for others to read through as to many want the quick plug and play option which just doesn't happen in real life all the time. Your mother in-law is getting a safe and sound vehicle!
 

TT99C5

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Hmmm.....so........drove it on Sunday. First trip out, no problems noted. Pulled back into the barn, checked it over, no leaks, all seems good. Took it out again, and leaving my buddies road, it hung in 1st until 3500 then slammed into 2nd and popped a CEL.

P0700 and a host of pending codes, the same ones as before. P0036 (Rear O2 heater circuit), P0102 (MAF Freq), P0412 and P0418 (AIR Pump), P0480 and P0481 (Fan Relays). Somewhere there's a temperamental piece of wiring kicking things off. Haven't tried diagnosing it yet. Going to see if my buddy is cool with me swapping my Vette into his barn and taking the car home so I can work on it in my free time at home.
 

2007LucerneCXL

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Looking at the underside of the engine bay fuse box where the harnesses connect might be something to put on the list, doubtful it's the problem but it gets overlooked and can cause gremlins. Good luck on getting it found.
 
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