Engine Won’t Stay Running – Starts and Dies

: My Buick Lesabre with a 3.8 engine, it will start and die start and die. If I hold the ignition key in the run position it seems to continue to run….or so it seems to anyway. I have already replaced the fuel pump, and the computer. Got any suggestions?

Hey Randall,

You should have a MAF Sensor (Mass Air Flow Sensor) on your vehicle. I would unplug the electrical connector to it and try restarting the engine with it unplugged. If it will start and run a while you need replace the MAF sensor. You can buy an inexpensive rebuilt unit from your local auto parts store, rather than a more expensive brand new unit. I have had great success with the rebuilt ones.

Here is a picture of a typical General motors MAF sensor.

Andi birthday 043



Austin C. Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Alexandra Mendez

    I have a 93 Buick Lesabre 3.8, it turns on runs good for the first minute, starts to sputter/ rough idle, and then shuts off. the fuel pressure is 35 psi with key on. at acceleration it jumps to 45 psi and immediately back to about 30-35 psi. I have changed the crank sensor, cam sensor, mass air flow sensor, fuel pressure regulator, control module, throttle position sensor, intake manifold gasket, fuel injector o rings, spark plugs & wires, all 3 coils. & its shooting codes 41 and 42. any idea what may be causing this

  • HiJack Goodrich

    What about a 91 Buick LeSabre engine kicks over wants to stay running but it doesn’t what are my options to resolving this

  • Larry Cherokee Miller

    my 94 buick lesabre tires to start and then stalls and i put a new mass air flow sensor and the other 2 sensor onm nthe trottle body and a crankshaft postion sensor on as wel new plugs and wires and still wont start it want to but wont and it kills the battery please help me thanks

  • Austin Davis

    Awesome, thanks for the update!

  • JB

    Your advice was spot on with our 04 lesabre. It would die at idle but would run under throttle. I disconnected the MAP sensor and problem solved. New one was $42. Thanks bud!

  • Austin Davis

    You probably need a new Harmonic Balancer, there is a rubber separator inside the balancer and that rubber breaks over the years and causes the pulley to wobble….and eventually break. This is usually a dealer part only. You will also need a harmonic balancer pulley to remove the old one.

    Might also be a good time to replace the crankshaft position sensor when doing this job…that sensor is a common failure item and you will basically be right there and would save you money and time later on.

  • Christopher

    The bottom pulley or drum is wobbling while the car is running the car is a 91 buick lesabre