1996 Roadmaster wagon shuts down


Asked by Dec 26, 2018 at 12:31 AM about the 1996 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon RWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Bought a 96 roadmaster wagon advertised as runs great. Ive had wagons for over 20 years.   Test drive of him first then me felt a few things.  Did some work got plates and out of three times driving it it has shut down four times.   First time was pulling onto a busy highway in rush hour.  Serious stuff as i was coming on from a sideroad when it shut down with oncoming traffic.     Didnt realize it at first but the three days it shut down on me I had driven the car an hour or two before.  

Now have done videos of it over 11 days and three times each of those days.   I run it for half an hour or an hour shut it off.  Hour half later come back start and run it again and for sure it will fail. Shut off, or idle will surge and rev on its own and stall or just stall then be hard to impossible to restart or restart go for a bit and stall again then maybe impossible to restart. Its all on tape and many failures.   Then I would start it another hour and half later a second time and same thing repeated failures.  I likely have at last 50 failures and it is 100 percent repeatable that it will on this second time it is run.   Had the car been run on test drive, then sat for an hour and half and I drove it again it would have failed but who knows that other than the guy who has owned it for two years.   

Car is dangerous.  

Previous owner had it in to the shop and had some wiring drain short  fixed and then didnt drive it again and put it for sale right after that shop did the repair. In the notes with the car he replaced three starter motors in a short period of time say two months,  clearly he had been repeatedly starting this car or trying to over and over and toasted the starter motors.  One was replaced for free so really that shop got hoodwinked just like me.

Any thoughts appreciated


3 Answers


Sounds like the ignition control module or the ignition coil is getting hot and breaking down. When it refuses to start see if you have spark. If not, there's my first two suspects. But if you have spark it's going to be a fuel problem. Possibly a dying fuel pump or bad fuel pump relay. Hope that helps! Jim


thanks editing the videos and posting them would have value. When I leave the hour and half space the heat gauge is back at the bottom again. Its stalled out when the heat gauge is starting to rise again and been impossible to start for hours as well. Im not set up with test gear to check it out but will save your answer. I was told to tap the fuel pump with a rubber mallet and that made zero difference either when it would not start or when it was running and I tried it to see if any effect. To check for spark is it you take a plug out and put the wire back on and hold it near the block or do you use a meter of some sort. If you saw the videos alot more would make sense, the idle taking off like someone is pressing the pedal, stumble then stall or stumble then run a bit more then stall. Odd time it starts again to run a bit long or stall in 20 seconds. Unusable anyway. Last owner refuses to talk, owner before him super nice guy.

1 people found this helpful.

To check for spark remove a spark plug wire from any one of the spark plugs. Insert a large metal screwdriver, with a wooden or plastic handle, into the end of the spark plug wire. Hold the screwdriver by the handle only and put the metal part of the screwdriver close to something metal that's not painted. Have a helper crank the engine. You should see a strong rhythmic spark as the the engine is cranking. You should also be able to hear it. SNAP, SNAP SNAP! If not you don't have spark. You can also spray a LITTLE starting fluid down the throttle body. If it runs a few seconds on the starting fluid you have spark. Hope that helps! Jim

Your Answer:


Looking for a Used Roadmaster in your area?

CarGurus has 53 nationwide Roadmaster listings and the tools to find you a great deal.


Buick Roadmaster Experts

  • #1
  • #2
  • #3
View All

Find great deals from top-rated dealersTM


Related Models For Sale

Used Chevrolet Caprice
147 listings starting at $5,500
Used Chevrolet Corvette
397 Great Deals out of 14,446 listings starting at $2,900
Used Chevrolet Impala
505 Great Deals out of 23,853 listings starting at $700
Used Mercury Grand Marquis
16 Great Deals out of 925 listings starting at $1,499
Used Audi A4
297 Great Deals out of 12,209 listings starting at $600
Used Lincoln Town Car
14 Great Deals out of 1,103 listings starting at $1,500
Used Cadillac DeVille
853 listings starting at $2,995
Used Chevrolet Suburban
532 Great Deals out of 20,556 listings starting at $1,900
Used Pontiac Bonneville
224 listings starting at $850
Used Mercedes-Benz E-Class
580 Great Deals out of 19,178 listings starting at $2,377

Content submitted by Users is not endorsed by CarGurus, does not express the opinions of CarGurus, and should not be considered reviewed, screened, or approved by CarGurus. Please refer to CarGurus Terms of Use. Content will be removed if CarGurus becomes aware that it violates our policies.