Buick roadmaster quits intermittently

I have a 1995 buick roadmaster with 308,000 miles. The car quits intermittently but starts up immediately thereafter. Seems like an electrical issue but it doesn’t act like the distributor is malfunctioning or fuel stoppage since it doesn’t shudder prior to quitting.
I have had the car since new, we love it and would like to keep it. Please help. Thanks.

This is the hardest kind of problem to troubleshoot. If you have a check engine light, you will need to get the code read, but your car is pre OBDII, so a standard code reader won’t do. You need on that is made for GM cars before 1996, but only if you have a check engine light.

What will happen is that this will get worse and eventually the car will quit all the time or just not start, then it will be easy to find the problem.

If you want a WAG at this, I think yo will need a remanufactured distributor. With this many miles, the shaft bearing could be worn out. But don’t buy a new distributor based on this, you could throw a lot of parts at this problem before you get lucky and hit the right one.

If it DOES NOT shudder or gradually cut out when it dies…then it points to an electrical fault. Possibly a fuel pump not up to the task… with the clues at hand it can be WAY TOO MANY THINGS

Does this malfunction have any association with HEAT? As in after it warms up it cuts out? If so it further points to an electrical fault… i.e. When your ignition coil gets hot enough it will fail… Something like that?

If she starts right back up after doing this…hmmm well… Like Keith said these are VERY hard to troubleshoot via the internet…

If I or we were there with you when this occurred we would probably know a LOT more. ANY sounds or smells associated with the failure?

PLEASE try to give us ANY and ALL clues that you can regarding the issue…as it can be so many things at this point but we have not much to go on here…a little more info please

ALSO…any recent maintenance items just done? I mean that is ONE HELL of A LOT of miles on that Buick…so you must have either spent a fortune on maintenance or a DOUBLE fortune for a garage to maintain it for you… We definitely need MORE INFO…as much as you can muster please…None of us will get anywhere with the info provided…


The first two suspects on a GM vehicle of this vintage that displays a sudden shutdown of the engine are the ignition module, or the crankshaft position sensor.


Thanks for the comments and I especially appreciate the leading questions!

Malfunction doesn’t appear to be associated with heat as the problem sometimes happens shortly after getting underway after a cold start. Like less than 100 ft. Nothing wacky showing on the instruments, no service engine light (no codes?). But it’s worth trying to get an older model reader. I see the value.
I have parked the car for now and using alternatives until I get this problem resolved.

No sounds or smells associated with the failure. I had replaced the distributor last time the water pump went south but I don’t remember the mileage at that time. Maybe at 175k.

The car has been relatively trouble free over the years. Regular oil changes and power train servicing etc. No major engine work has been necessary. Big items replaced over the years have been a couple of fuel pumps, and water pumps, once with distributor. All window regulators and I had to rebuild the rear end recently. The AC still good and cold. Major items are still original. The engine runs quietly and evenly, you can hardly tell it’s running.

There are a few minor leaks around the T connection in the heater hose in the engine compartment (pass side) which drips very slowly, directly to the ground not over any electrical items.

Please keep the questions coming and again, the help is very much appreciated.
I can’t afford a new(er) car right now so that why I want to try and stick with this one. Regards.

Thanks Tester. I will look into the ignition module and the crank position sensor.

You might try starting the car and then wiggling the ignition key in the lock. If the car cuts out, you have a defective ignition switch. It could still be a defective ignition switch even if the car doesn’t cut out.