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1996 Riviera - check engine light, won't start, will crank


Guest wfhinde
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Guest wfhinde

OK, it's nice to find a group wherein I can bounce issues off. I am a recent acquirer of 1996 Riveira, super-charged 3.8L.

It's been good, and is in outstanding condition.

The check engine light (CEL) came on a few days ago. I drove it home from that incident; just a few miles.

Drove it again the following day for a few miles; no issues. CEL was on.

The next day, I tried to start it up, but no cookies. It cranks great, but no firing at all.

Considering, it may be a fuel deliver issue, I listened for the fuel pump "whir" when turning the key to "ON". Nothing.

Reading this forum, I looked at the fuel pump fuse under the back seat (GM engineers **** me off) and it was fine.

I disconnected the battery neg cable for a few hours to reset the CEL, and still no fuel pump "whir".

What else can I check and how do I do so? I'm an 8-9 on the mechanic scale, and have a VOM (analog), so what might I check?

Is it just the fuel pump?

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Welcome to the forum. There are not too many contributors here who own the "late model" Rivieras but there are a few. Most of the later model guys have their own forum - http://rivperformance.editboard.com/forum. I owned a '95 for a while and found answers to most of my questions over there. I hope that there might be someone else on this forum who can give you some answers to your questions. I'm only relating how I found answers to most of mine. There's a Reatta Owner's forum on the AACA site (two links above this Riviera Owners link) where there are a large number of very knowledgeable and enthusiastic Buick owners. For question that I have about my 90 and 93 Rivieras, they're the ones who seem to have all the answers.

As I said earlier, welcome to the group, hope someone here can help, but there may be better resources elsewhere. Keep us informed. In my signature block, you'll find the link to the Riviera Owner's Assn. Check us out.

Ed

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OK, it's nice to find a group wherein I can bounce issues off. I am a recent acquirer of 1996 Riveira, super-charged 3.8L.

It's been good, and is in outstanding condition.

The check engine light (CEL) came on a few days ago. I drove it home from that incident; just a few miles.

Drove it again the following day for a few miles; no issues. CEL was on.

The next day, I tried to start it up, but no cookies. It cranks great, but no firing at all.

Considering, it may be a fuel deliver issue, I listened for the fuel pump "whir" when turning the key to "ON". Nothing.

Reading this forum, I looked at the fuel pump fuse under the back seat (GM engineers **** me off) and it was fine.

I disconnected the battery neg cable for a few hours to reset the CEL, and still no fuel pump "whir".

What else can I check and how do I do so? I'm an 8-9 on the mechanic scale, and have a VOM (analog), so what might I check?

Is it just the fuel pump?

Put a scanner on it and pull the troublecodes. This may or may not be associated with the no start condition but may give you an indication as to whether the problem is spark or fuel related....or both.

Generally, troubleshooting starts with a check for spark or fuel. Try some starting fluid and see if it fires up momentarily. If so, you have substituted ether for gasoline and this is an indication you have a fuel problem. If the engine still doesnt fire you may have an ignition problem. Keep in mind these are very generalized troubleshooting techniques and are employed by techs who are concerned with effecting repairs in as little time as possible. These suggestions are not a substitute for a well engineered troubleshooting procedure which addresses this particular vehicle.

Sometimes no start issues can include both spark and fuel issues ie, a crank trigger malfunction which might eliminate spark and fuel simultaneously.

If you were able to hear the fuel pump previously and do not now (not sure if you ever payed attention to it previously?) then, obviously as you have stated, that is a good indication your fuel pump is the issue. There should also be a relay associated with its operation as well as the fuse you checked. If there are similar style relays in close proximity to the fuel pump relay you might try to swap the relays and see if you get fuel pump operation. Of course a new relay is in order if needed but this is just a quick way to make some troubleshooting progress.

There should be a schrader valve somewhere on the fuel rail which can be used to check for fuel pressure. Be sure to check before you condemn the pump. Be careful, obviously gasoline is flammable so dont allow it to spray on ignition components, etc.

A quick trick I use when running road calls on fuel injected vehicles is to thump the fuel tank while cranking. Sometimes this will jar a sleepy fuel pump into operation. Generally it will keep running until turned off but even if it is weak or runs for a short period of time it is enough to confirm the problem and get the vehicle off the road or keep it off the tow truck.

Keep in mind I have never worked on a no start issue on a late model Riviera. There is much finer knowledge out there as to this particular model but the above are some general guidelines which are quick and harmless and that may prove useful. Good luck,

Tom Mooney

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