1991 Buick Regal Engine Died and Won’t Restart

Reader Question I have a 1991 Buick Regal w/3800 engine. Slight intermittent problem w/wanting to quit while driving over past couple of months, but today when I started it, it caught then immediately died. Now won’t start at all – won’t even try to fire. Turns over strong. Doesn’t seem to have jumped time.

Code said cam sensor problem, so I replaced, but no luck.

I can hear the fuel pump like normal when I turn the key on, runs for couple secs, then quiet like normal. But the weird thing is when I’m done trying to start it, the pump will run for maybe 15 more seconds, plus maybe sounds a little more free-wheeling than normal.

I loosened the fuel line fitting at the engine. No fuel came out until I turned the key on, then fairly steady stream running from the fitting.

Could this be a weak fuel pump (replaced w/after market unit about 2 years ago)?

BTW, vehicle has always had an issue of dying at intersections intermittently – typically I just shift into neutral now.

Also, perpetual check engine light. If I remember the code has always been the cam sensor – I have replaced it before w/no change.

Also, oil leak somewhere above the CAM sensor, or front seal leak.

Also, would stall out right after filling up, so I replaced the fuel tank / canister purge valve about 2 weeks ago, which fixed the problem.

Also, had just put gas in it an driven it 100 miles before it died. Had been sitting maybe an hour, but wouldn’t start even after completely cold.

Also, new after market injectors and pressure regulator about 2 years ago, cleaned tank, etc. (old gas issue).

Thanks for your help. Great advice from what I’ve seen.


Hey there Bob.

I would really like to know if you have spark at the spark plugs and if you have injector “pulse” before I really felt comfortable telling you to replace anything, but checking both of those items can be a little tricky without the proper tools.

SOOOOOOO, if you just want my best sitting behind my computer screen GUESS…..I would replace the crankshaft position sensor first and pray.

You will have to remove the crankshaft harmonic balancer pulley to replace the sensor, but the sensor is cheap and available at your local auto parts house….and those sensors are a common failure item.

Sometimes those pulleys come right off and sometimes you need a harmonic balancer pulley to get them off, which you can rent from your local auto parts store too if you need one.

My other guesses after the crank sensor would be ignition module and ignition coil pack….but those items are more expensive to guess at. I would also like to know your fuel pressure at the engine, but that will require a fuel pressure gauge (also available for rent at most auto parts stores).

That would rule out a problem with the fuel pump, but for now I think I would concentrate on checking for spark….or guessing at the crank sensor replacement to solve your problem. I am not real concerned with the pump running after the engine is off…I have seen that a few times with GM trucks.

I got my fingers crossed for you.


Austin Davis

Reader Follow Up

Thanks for the response.

Looks like it turned out to be a corroded terminal on the ignition control module (pink wire that goes to injectors). Quick question, though.

After-market modules have 14 pins, but I have 13. One of my pins does not exist and is a blank on the plug. Ever experienced this? should I just use a 14 pin module and pray that it works? Maybe additional pin is simply powers some feature I don’t have?

UPDATE…..this module worked!

Thanks again.

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1 Comment on "1991 Buick Regal Engine Died and Won’t Restart"

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  1. Ken says:

    Mine did the same thing and a remanufactured mass air flow sensor from Autozone fixd my stalling problem that I lived with for a year. The old mass air flow sensor was cracked in half at the end that inserted into the slot it went into. Look at the new mass air flow sensor so you know what your old one looks like and part of it is not still in the hole.

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