98 Lesabre no turn over, radio/heater no work

It was a few degrees above 0 last night. Today the car turned over to slow to start. I took the battery out and put a 6amp charger for 3 hours. The charger says its about 100% charged, if that is reliable. The battery is only 1 month old. So I put the battery back in and it would not turn over. Not even a click. What is mostly strange is the horn, lights, wipers, work but the radio will not come on and the heater blower will not work, the lights on the heater control will not even light up, come on or the clock and the outside temp does not show anything but is all black. All black but the letter C° for Celsius. Now I had something similar like this the weekend of Xmas when it was super cold. That is when I got the new battery. It would not start or turn over, I put the brand new battery in and it was still the same. I then put the charger with the booster and it started up in a minute. I do not have this charger at the place I am now. And I have not had the problem till now. But for the most part it has been much warmer since then until this week. Would a low battery keep the radio from working and the heater work like that? For now just gonna let it slow 2amp charge over night.

I talked to someone in a Buick dealer service and he said a low battery could cause that in the somewhat older cars. I just find that so weird. Hopefully in the morning it will start.

I think that’s a very good idea. That’s how I charge batteries, usually 24 hours not just overnight, never had a problem that method. Sometimes trying charge battery fast on 6 amp mode doesn’t do the job, and seems to take some of the life out of the battery. Batteries tend to hold about 30-50 amp hours, so 2 amps for 24 hours yield 48 amp hours, about right. Generally on 2 amp mode the battery actually charges less than 2 amps according to meter, around 1.5 amps.

some of the problems you may be encountering may be the result of disconnecting the battery. shop with proper scan tool equipt may need to do some sort of reset to get the cars computers configured properly again.

Could this be something like a relay or fuse by removing a battery? I just tried it again. The lights are very bright. It seems to have good power but the radio and heater still will not go on. And why does the heater show a C when I’ve never seen it do that ever. I do not believe it has anything to do with the battery. If I blew a fuse able link where would that be?

Is there a certain fuse or relay that would cause a no turn over, no radio, no heat? One thing that did happen was after I charged the battery the first time and tried it and did not work, I tried the old battery to see if that would work. The terminals are opposite side and I forgot. So as I started to install the 2nd terminal it sparked. It was only for a second but I am thinking that could have caused a blow out. The car is outside with limited light so will wait till morning and may end up towing it to the family farm where I have more tools and a better work area. And my other car, but with AAA these days could be a week before they tow it. So I would really like to get this running in the morning.

If I tried jumping the starter would that work as a start so I could get it to start just once and get it home?

When you switched the battery cables you could have blown a couple of fuses. I would check all your fuses and relays that relate to the problems.

Fuse box diagram Buick LeSabre (fusesdiagram.com)

How to Test a 3, 4 or 5 Pin Relay - With or Without a Diagram - YouTube

checked every relay switching back and forth check every fuse I could see but the ones on the pass side that cant be got to without taking the plastic off. Tried jumping starter but only clicked once in a while, sometimes if i tapped on the starter it would sound like it was spinning but motor did not turn over. AAA on its way.

None of those fuse box diagrams look like any on my car. The 2 under the hood have 4 relays on the bottom and then a row of a half dozen or so of the larger fuse types on top. The inside one on the pass has 2 relays going up and down in a row and then below them looks like a few of the large fuses. drivers side has the smaller fuses that looks similar to the first diagram on that.

Once reversed battery is connected to a car’s wiring harness, happens, pretty much have to go back to square one. Ask shop to measure the voltages at the various pertinent test points with the key in off, acc, on, start. Until those are all confirmed ok, solution will be a very difficult guessing game. For an experienced auto tech, that job usually doesn’t take more than an hour or two, if that. Suggest to not take-on this job yourself unless you have some electrical system diagnosis experience and access to the car’s wiring diagrams.

No experience with Lesabre. My Corolla’s fusible links are really just big fuses, located in a fuse holder, part of the + battery cable, very close to where it connects to the battery. My truck’s fusible links are a special type of wire which is spliced into wiring harness. Just looking at them, you might not realize they are anything but a normal wire. Fusible link wire is made of a special alloy that heats up if current gets too high, and the resulting heat melts the alloy, disconnecting the circuit.

I did a test of the starter. With the key on 11.75 volts at the positive on solenoid. with the Key on and in the start position 11.3 volts. Does that not sound bad?
I finished testing the 4 unknown relays under hood. All tested upper 70s ohms w not power. All clicked with power and all had .01 ohms with power.

All fuses came to 0 ohms and I did take voltage from every fuse spot which came up drivers side 2nd fuse 12v, 3rd fuse 5-8 v, 3rd fuse 8-9v, last fuse 10v. Pass side 2nd 6.75v, 3rd 11v, 4th 10.75v, 5th 11v, last fuse 12.25v. Don’t know if any of that is important.

I plan to pull the starter tomorrow. Its easy to get at. A friend said it is possible the problem with the starter is causing the problem down the line for the radio and heater. I dont know, but it seems to me that by jumping the starter it should have turned over. And like u say starter v to low. What should it be? 13ish?

From what I can tell there’s two wires that connect to starter motor. Thin one and thick one. The thick one (often labeled B-terminal) is connected directly to battery, so it should measure battery voltage at all times, key doesn’t need to be on. If that’s the one you are referring to, and your battery measures 11.75 volts with everything off, something is amiss, should be close to 12.6 volts, so fix that problem first.

With everything off, if battery measures 12.6 volts at posts, but you measure 11.75 volts at starter motor thick wire terminal, you may have a bad connection or ground problem. If battery (at posts) measures ok with everything off, but 11.75 volts with key on, you either have a faulty battery, or there’s a circuit drawing too much current.

I re did a voltage test. See attachment. I cleaned the ground next to the battery, it was not bad. I pulled that starter off, tested it myself had a hard time kicking out and would not spin. After I pulled starter I cleaned ground from battery to motor. Was extremely oily do not know if that would cause anything. Just to see if radio or heater would work I then hooked battery up. The fan instantly came on, the radio did not work but the outside temperature came on and it was the correct temp. I then took the a auto parts store to have starter tested and they told me it was not good. Said solenoid is good but starter itself will not kick out.

Could there be something going with the electrical system to take out the starter or did the starter being old just go out and cause the radio and heater not to work. Prob be next week before I get a starter.

I wrote this up on excel but there is not way to attach on here so it pasted messed up. I took a voltage reading at each fuse first set with key off then with key on. There were a couple where the voltage was bouncing up and down constantly.


ABS MTR ||0|0|
ABS SOL ||0|0|
CLG FAN ||0|8.2-8.9|
MISC LOT ||9.43|11.72|
|LCM/HDLP ||2.46|6-8.9|
IGN SW ||0|11.68|

SPARE ||0|0|
ING SW ||0|12.1|
PCM/VATS ||0|0|
AC ||10.67|10.01|
ELC/SPARE ||11.18|10.6|
SPARE ||3.78|0|
PWR WDO/SR ||0|10.13|

I had a rebuilt replacement Corolla starter with that symptom, right out of the box. With key in “start” I could clearly hear the starter motor spin, but it didn’t engage w/flywheel & crank the engine. Exchanged it for a Denso rebuilt unit, which worked from the get-go, still installed, still working. Do you hear the starter motor spinning with key in “start”?

Solenoid good but doesn’t kick out, I thought that was a weird symptom when I had it at the time, b/c on Corolla design the same movement that activates the solenoid also pushes the starter gear out towards the flywheel. Apparently there’s a failure mode I’m not aware of.

No I never hard the starter motor spinning unless I jumped it and then it was like it was spinning inside but the starter never kicked out to touch the flywheel to spin motor and then it was very rare only after tapping starter once in a while. I am getting a diff starter Monday or Tuesday. I did have the old starter re tested this time at Oreillys. He tested twice and tested bad.

1 Like

I’m also guessing a replacement starter is what you need. I’ve had 3 part’s store replacement starters fail right out of the box. Suggest to purchase oem-branded starter, or at least purchase from a parts store that will test it for you on their test fixture, so you don’t waste time installing a no-good replacement unit.

Alternatives to parts-store replacement starters

  • Buy new or reconditioned oem unit from dealership
  • Ask an auto-electric business to rebuild your current unit.
  • Keep your current unit nd rebuilt it yourself in your spare time, meanwhile install a replacement from among the above list.

I got a starter today, it is used but has a 90 day warranty and was tested by the seller as good. When I disconnected the old starter, I hooked up the battery just to see what would happen. As soon as I hook it up the fan for the engine comes on and will not go off till you put the key to on. I put on the starter today and it does the same thing. Until I removed the old starter it never did that. When I turned the key it did not turn over. When I jump the starter I can hear it spinning but its not turning the engine over. The flywheel is in perfect shape. I do not think the starter is bad, but I will remove it tomorrow and have it tested at Auto Zone I suppose.

What could cause:

Fan comes on the second battery is hooked up.

Radio will not work.

Heater and blower fan will not work.

Starter spins but does not turn motor over. I do not know if it spins with the key, its to quiet to tell.

I have not tested the relays inside the car pass side, but would any of them cause any of this? I could test them. I will test them tomorrow. The relays are power windows, rear defog, fuel pump, electronic level control relay, trunk release, driver door unlock.

I do not know what a electronic level control. Does it have something to do with the suspension?

The elc is simply a toggle connected to the rear wheel. When the suspension lowers enough it will activate the compressor to pump up the shocks to level the rear height. It has nothing else to do with anything except turning the compressor on or off. As needed to level the rear end. If it becomes disconnected, it can raise the rear end way up, or lower the rear end so that it drags. If it becomes fried, it can also discharge the battery, but you are grasping at straws that have nothing to do with your main problem. You really need to have a shop check wiring and components out. Weird problems can be caused by grounds, wire connections, component failures etc. all I got to say.

???, When knocksensor stated fan, I think he means the radiator fan, not the suspension air pump. Does a 98 Buick even have air suspension?
As far as the starter problem, I do not know.
Some of the other electrical problem may have been cause by the reverse polarity hookup, no matter how brief.