1996 Buick Skylark

Started it up this morning, and the entire electrical board lit up. Stopped at the store, and started it up again, the board was fine. Stopped at the next store, and it started, lasted three seconds, and died.

It’s had electrical problems before. (Alternator got clogged with pine needles, horn decided to go off at two in the morning, so I pulled the fuse, and had to have it rewired to pass inspection.) It’s also been through two winters in Chicago.

The car place says they can’t read the brain. (I TOLD them that it’s been jury-rigged.) They want to replace everything. For tha, I could get a new car. Which I can’t afford, of course.

The last time the alternator died, the radio went down slowly, the lights went down slowly (it was at night), and the turn indicators started slowing down. This time, it was just the lit-up idiot board, then not, then start, then die.

Any ideas?

Here is what you’re going to need to do - you’re going to need to pretend that no one on these boards can actually look at the car themselves, and pretend that we don’t know a single thing about its history, and pretend that we are not inside of your stream of consciousness. You should pretend all of these things because they are true, and it might help you construct a better description of your problem. You are all over the map and providing strange little fragments of what is going on.

You will especially want to elaborate on the your car’s computer having been rigged. Based on that information alone, and assuming that it is indicative of other things in terms of how the car has been handled, I might just say to sell it to anyone who would take it and find a different car. You start messing with the engines computer and most every little thing is likely to become a nightmare.

In any case, if you can actually take a breath, and lay out exactly what your car is doing or not doing someone might be able to provide useful suggestions.

It starts up, then dies immediately. Okay? You now know as much as I do. One shop says they have to replace the brain. Another says the alternator. What I described was that the symptoms are not the same as the last time the alternator went, nor when I pulled the fuse and it was replaced. Okay? If I knew what was going on, I WOULDN’T HAVE ASKED, OKAY?

If you don’t have a clue either, then just say so, and quit making snide remarks.

Your response to Cig’s post provided information not included in your original post that might have been helpful.

You have one shop that’s look at it and said they’ll need to replace the ECU.
You have another that looked at it and said they’d have to replace the alternator.
You alrady know the ECU has been tampered with.

I’d let the shop that said it needed an alternator replace it.

My reasoning is that it’s pretty straightforward to test and alternator, and the results are pretty conclusive, and since the ECU has been tampered with it’s reasonable to assume that it might indicate as having a problem.

It truely would help if you could provide more information on the ECU having been jury-rigged. Understand that we have very little to work with here. When we’re trying to help over the internet we need as much information as possible, and as clear and detailed as possible. Cig is trying to get you to give us that so we can help you.

“It starts up, then dies immediately”

You never said that the first time. In fact, that’s not at all what you said the first time.

I know what to tell you but I am not going to try because I find you to be perhaps the nastiest person I’ve ever come across. If I were moderator of this site I would throw you off of it.