Why does the car decide not to start?

Dan Henderson

Asked by Sep 08, 2014 at 03:21 PM about the 2005 Buick LeSabre Limited

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Have an 05 Buick lesabre with a 3800 v6.
It's had the radiator replaced just a few
months ago as well as the upper hose. The
car will occassionally start fine and drive
fine but other times it wont. It always wants
to turn over but won't. Sometimes starting it
with the radiator cap off will help but once
the cap goes back on it dies. Sometimes it
won't start at all with it off. Any

6 Answers

Norm Davis

I cannot imagine any connection between the radiator cap and the engine starting or not. Carry a small can of starting fluid with you. The next time the engine won't start, spray a little starting fluid into the air intake. If the engine starts, you have some kind of fuel problem (filter, injector, ECU, throttle body). If the engine still refuses to start, you most likely have an electrical issue - coil(s), crank sensor, wires, spark plugs. You need to do the process of elimination to get to the cause.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

There is one remote possibility Norm, however unlikely. Say the head gasket is blown out between the cylinder and a water jacket. With cap off, crank it and the compression goes out the blown part in to water jacket and pressure released through cooling system. OK..cap on, the pressure is just enough the compression is just barely unable to push out and hydro-locks. Make any sense?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I was thinking the exact same thing, fordnut. But not the head gasket. Since it's a 3.8, I was thinking intake manifold gaskets. HTH. -Jim

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Mine seems to be doing kinda the same thing; if it's cold it will start just fine; but if i got back out within less than an hour or so, it will start, but it will run crappy; sometimes u can let it go and it will straighten itself out sometimes it will die and crank but not restart; will have to 'bleed' the air out of the fuel rail or use starting fluid; but the other thing is when it is running crappy, the gauge for the alternator runs way too low; then as it straightens out the gauge will go back to normal; will run just fine once u can get it restarted; i have just taken to if i do get it started and have other places to go, i will leave it running while i run in and out real quick; any ideas?


Sounds like your fuel system is losing pressure. Try this when you know that it's going to give you trouble. Turn the ignition on but don't try to start it. Count to 5. Turn the ignition off and repeat a second time. Now try to start it. If it fires right up your fuel system is losing pressure most likely because the fuel pump is dying. HTH. -Jim


How do I unfreeze a frozen gas line Car been cranking lately but I let it sit for like a week and Car is just turning over not cranking

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