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LeSabre stalling, oil pressure light coming on

Hi! So I have a 1996 Buick LeSabre. I got it from a friend after it sat for better part of a year in his driveway. There are some electrical issues, but so far nothing that required more drastic action than removing the lights inside the car.

My friend let me pay it off over 10 months and naturally, one week after the final payment, the car started to have stalling issues. I noticed that the oil pressure light would come on if I was idling, either in traffic or at a light. I was stuck in traffic trying to get to work one day when it just up and stalled out of nowhere. It restarted after a few minutes, but stalled again a few miles down the road. I was able to pull it into a parking lot and look at it. The fuel line was corroded and the fuel filter was in bad shape. I had those replaced. I thought my issues were gone! However, today it stalled again.

I was stuck in traffic and it stalled, restarting after about 20 minutes. The temperature gauge is reading that it’s fine. There’s gas in the tank. I checked the oil and it’s good too. However, the biggest indicator of something going on is the oil pressure light coming on.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what could be causing the stalling? I appreciate your answers and help. Thank you.

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On some cars, a low oil pressure signal shuts off the fuel pump. A careful reading of your model’s electrical diagram would disclose this.

A low oil pressure light is not proof of low oil pressure. The oil pressure sender unit is usually inexpensive and easy to replace. If you want to do some DIY, consider changing it. Otherwise, a mechanic can hook up a mechanical pressure gauge to read the oil pressure - although a mechanic might replace the OP sender as a first step, anyhow.

To further investigate, you’d want to find out if a stall and not restart condition involves lack of fuel or lack of spark.


I appreciate the response! Between that, cleaning out the MAF, and swapping out the air filter, I think I’ve got my step 1. I really hope this works because my goodness I do not have the money to send this into the mechanic again. Thank you!

One other cause of a shutdown when the engine is warmed up is inside the distributor - there’s a part that senses the rotor’s rotation, and signals when to fire a spark. It might called the sensor, the electronic control module, or pickup coil. It takes the place of “points” that were a mechanical predecessor in cars before ca. 1980. When this part fails, the spark plugs will not fire. Often if it fails, it is intermittently especially when the engine and distributor are hot, and work OK once it cools down a bit. Eventually they fail altogether.

My guess is you have more than one problem. Suggest to focus on determining why the oil pressure light is coming on, and whether the idle air control system is functioning properly. I wouldn’t mess with the MAF unless the fuel trim data indicated a problem. Beyond that, check the engine’s compression, intake manifold vacuum reading, and cat health. If possible, when it shuts off and won’t start up again, check whether you have spark at a spark plug during cranking.

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I agree with George: determining if there’s spark when cranking is key to diagnosing this. One way is to have a spare spark plug and clamp or jam it somewhere on the engine, so it is grounded. Unplug one spark plug wire and plug it to that grounded spark plug. A sharp intense spark while cranking is a good sign that the ignition system is up to par.

If this car has the 3.8 liter V6, then it probably doesn’t have a distributor

It probably has 3 coil packs


In that case the crankshaft position sensor would be suspect if there’s no spark.

What’s the DIY procedure to check for spark on an engine with coil packs over the spark plugs?

I think your oil light is coming on because the engine idle is dropping too low, causing the stalling. Is your oil level ok? How about your air filter and spark plugs. The front plugs are easy to change, the rear 3 are very difficult to get to.

YOU R Right



On some cars, a low oil pressure signal shuts off the fuel pump. A careful reading of your model’s electrical diagram would disclose this.

A low oil pressure light is not pro

My oil level is good. I changed the air filter last night and drove home. It ran fine, but it was cooler out. Got a good two handfuls of stuff from the air filter. The spark plugs are next. I imagine they’re in bad shape.

You may need to have the throttle body cleaned also.