87 Grand National, First car

Wrath

I love boost
Check for any codes. I believe no hot start indicates a bad ignition module. Might as well replace it if it's original or not AC/Delco anyway. And replace the coil pack with an AC one at the same time. As for the fusible links I think they work like fuses. They are either good or bad. No middle ground. Failing only when hot is not a scenario.
Yeah I should have clarified it as a "No hot crank" rather than a "No hot start" to clear any confusion.
Although, when one of the fusible links broke from trying to crank it over and over, I was able to reset it by disconnecting the battery and reconnecting it, regaining power.

You can crank the car with the orange ECM wire disconnected for sure. I agree something is flaky with the starter. Check that the battery cable has continuity from the battery all the way to the starter.
Check the grounds as well. A loose ground wire will cause low volts the same as a loose positive, although it sounds more like shorted out windings in the starter when hot causing high current draw and no crank. When the starter cools down, short goes away and will crank.
The Positive cable and all contacts around the starter are good but I did nearly burn my fingers on the bolt connecting the negative cable to the battery after running the car last time. I ended up cutting away alot of the protective rubber around the cable ring connector and was able to get a much better connection.

I'm in Carrollton if you ever need a hand, probably pretty close to you. I am about 5 minutes out of Plano just off of Park/Hebron.
Hey! I believe we spoke back at the September Cars and coffee and you told me your handle on the forum's and I tried to remember it and noted "TurboMike251" in my phone:oops:. Your awesome example of a good running Grand National and all the questions I asked you left me overwhelmed lol. I would love to meet up soon if you are available. I'll PM you my info.

Congrats on the purchase. Looks like you have your hands full!
However, it looks like you've really dug in. I would second the opinion of cutting out all the old tech and misc junk. Get the car back to as close to stock as you can so that you have a good baseline to work from and then proceed. It's easier to chase down issues if you have addressed all the "suspects" first.
Curious about the 86 grill on the 87 model car.
Thanks! I didn't realize that the 86 and 87 grills were different, not sure as to why I have a "black painted chrome" 86 grill on my 87 GN. Does the 87 grill offer improvements other than being black such as improved airflow without having the top "BUICK" bezel? :LOL: I joke, but now you got it on my mind every time I look at it.
I'm trying to work with what I've got as far as it being "stock", and am hesitant to purchase a Turbo Tweak chip in case I want to replace/upgrade the old, stock, leaky seal turbo and add alky :D.
Annnnd I just dug myself in a little deeper, took the throttle body off to clean it out as it had an unhealthy coat of oil, and to help solve my hanging 2k rpm upon reving the engine. The IAC was Filthy! Also some oil up by the vacuum block. It does have an upgraded PCV valve, with the ball and not the spring. maybe just from leaky turbo seals and boost pushing oil up there. IMG_20170210_161309.jpg IMG_20170210_162225.jpg IMG_20170210_162320.jpg IMG_20170210_163044.jpg Hopefully this will improve idle and throttle responsiveness.
Stick with the basics on your hot no start problem!
1. Charge and load test the battery 9.6 will not let any system work on a TR. If a load check shows 9.6 you have a dead cell, it may start the car cold but not hot.
2. Inspect all battery connections, stripped, corrosion and broken wire.
3. Ground cable connection at block should be bolted at the bottom of the turbo mtg bracket in front of the pass motor mount.
4. Starter connections clean and solid
5. Starter and solenoid check/replaced
I expect you have a combination of the above causing the hot start problem.
Before spending time and money on expensive ignition parts make sure these are correct first!
How old is your battery? You could always take it in and have it load tested.
Also, what about your alternator? are you charging your battery between the test drives? I ask because, if your charging your battery during this down time, it might provide enough power to start and operate the vehicle starting and electrical systems. But if your alternated isn't working...then this will cause your battery to drain past a point that will not activate your starter.
Batteries are usually only good for 3-5 years.
Battery was replaced with a new one in September of 2015 after the car left me stranded, but had Zero use until last month in Jan. I did make sure to check the voltage throw it on the battery tender every few months while it was stored. Alternator and serpentine belt were replaced at the same time shortly before I bought it; battery is receiving charge over 14.3 volts when car is running and on test drives. I am missing the ground cable from the alternator bracket to the body, not sure how important that one is considering the braided ground from the block to firewall and negative battery cable connecting to the water pump. IMG_20170118_210355.jpg
I have yet to go for another test drive to repeat the no hot crank issue and see if anything changed, which i'll do tomorrow.
 
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BuickMike231

60% of the time, it works every time.
Hey man I do remember that meeting at Cars and Coffee!! Glad to see you are digging into it, and on the right track. I'm always around if you need a hand! Thanks for the compliments on the car too! It's good when it behaves haha.
 

Drewster

Wish I Had A Clone. AKA Andrew Youlio
Few things I found over the years
-Failing crank sensors will start and then fail when hot.
-failing coil packs/modules cause intermittent problems. Borrow a known good one to test.
-Loose mounting / grounding screws on bottom of coil pack will cause intermittent problems.
-ECM needs over 10.5v to work. Motor will crank but not fire.
-Grounding is often overlooked. Engine,frame and battery grounds should be equal. Resistance between each should be near zero.
Very helpful site below

http://www.vortexbuicks-etc.com/no_start_tree.htm

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Lil Truck

I spend to much time here....
The negative battery cable should be bolted directly to the cast iron block. It appears to be experiencing high resistance and over heating where it is connected. The stock mounting point is the lower bolt of the turbo mounting bracket with a star washer to insure good connectivity.

The bolt on the water pump will strip if it's over torqued.

A new ground cable is 10-15 $
 

wb_7354

Active Member
The negative battery cable should be bolted directly to the cast iron block. It appears to be experiencing high resistance and over heating where it is connected. The stock mounting point is the lower bolt of the turbo mounting bracket with a star washer to insure good connectivity.

The bolt on the water pump will strip if it's over torqued.

A new ground cable is 10-15 $

Just to be clear. The ground wire goes from the battery to behind/between the lower mounting point of the turbo bracket. The end of the cable needs to be against the engine block. The turbo bracket goes over it and then the bolt goes through both. It's a pita to get it in there right. The water pump is not a suitable place for that ground. Many people have had issues using that location.


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DeltaBravo

Retired U.S. Army/Navy
Just to be clear. The ground wire goes from the battery to behind/between the lower mounting point of the turbo bracket. The end of the cable needs to be against the engine block. The turbo bracket goes over it and then the bolt goes through both. It's a pita to get it in there right. The water pump is not a suitable place for that ground. Many people have had issues using that location.


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i don't think it needs to be between the engine and bracket. My cable is located on the outside of the turbo bracket, seems to work fine.


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wb_7354

Active Member
i don't think it needs to be between the engine and bracket. My cable is located on the outside of the turbo bracket, seems to work fine.


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I am glad that you don't have any issues with the way you have your negative ground connected. I was just trying to inform the OP how it is "supposed " to be attached. From the factory the ground goes against the block. Under the bracket. The block is machined at that location and not painted. Without the ground mounted there there's a gap between the turbo bracket and the block. The turbo bracket is painted. So mounting the ground cable on top of the bracket it is only grounded through the bolt. The correct way "as GM intended" is to mount the ground under the turbo bracket.


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tim_dogg

New Member
Hello everyone!
My name is Ryan and I'm located just North of Dallas, TX.
Buckle up
I bought my 87 grand national sight-unseen on eBay back in august of 2015 and have been lurking these forums since then (my join date). I drove it a couple days for the first week I owned it, added less than 15 miles to the 77k on the odometer, (left me stranded) then it went on jack stands since then.

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From knowing nothing about turbo regals or about how to work on cars then, I spent hundreds of hours researching just about everything on turbo buicks that I could and spent another several hundred hours (and $$$) replacing parts and restoring my GN where I find time between college and working. I finally got it all put back together and started it earlier last month (Jan 17').

From what I can tell, the car sat for nearly 10 years as it was last registered in 2008, but may have been abused before I bought it. The wiring throughout is a huge mess and one of the rear tires was bald from a burnout, aka no posi :(. The car lived its life in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, leaving interior metal components with surface rust, yet the frame and body are pretty clean. Paint is not in good cond. with scratches, large chips, and some rust bubbles.

Modifications it came with:
77k miles - stock block/turbo/converter, Reds 93 chip - Hotwire kit - 42lb injectors - Accufab fuel reg - LT1 MAF and translator - underdrive pulley - front mnt intercooler - Be COOL rad w/ dual Intrepid fans - Atr Headers - 3" down pipe - High flow cat - unknown mufflers - missing thermostat - A/C leak - Cracked hood strut mounts - t-top weather strip cracks - big passenger exhaust manifold leak - rear diff leak - vacuum leaks - crushed body bushings - speedo and rpm in gauge cluster not working - Hood liner sagged and chewed up by alternator fan and turbo - Missing Antenna - Melted plug wires -

Some Additional Pics Here

Just realized my ECU may be a Re-manufactured unit looking through these pics.
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Also, One of these: ATR EMC-10 fuel-air-spark control module.
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From what I could find online, it's pretty old school tech. I'm not sure if the knock detector works, it beeps when I flip the switch. The spark adjustment knob doesn't work with the Reds 93 chip if I'm correct, and the fan button is disconnected. The Air/Fuel gauge works though.

What I did:
  • I've done all of the Spring Cleaning except the diff fluid change. (Didn't Forget ZDDPlus)
  • Bought a Scanmaster
  • I swapped the power master to a Hydro-boost system.
  • Fixed leaks from valve covers, oil pan, transmission pan and cooler, p/s pump, steering gear shaft.
  • Rebuilt rear drum brakes and replaced front calipers with new shoes/pads/hardware.
  • new tie rod ends, sway bar links, some vacuum lines, o2 sensor, plug wires, wheel studs
  • Replaced leaking copper exhaust manifold gaskets with graphite ones found in back seat; remflex for turbo. Heat Wrapped manifolds.
  • Flushed block and rad with external water pump, installed fresh coolant and 160* thermostat with 1/8th hole drilled, RMI-25
  • trans pan drain plug
  • bought some eBay front+rear bumper fillers :whistle: ....(srry spoolfool)
  • Found and bought a concert II sound radio and wiring harness connectors, replacement gauge cluster, steering wheel and GN horn button
  • repaired stripped threads in the transmission for the pan bolt
  • Compression tested, all Cylinders around 150-160psi
  • adjusted TV cable, TPS to .44, IAC to around 30
  • primed oil system before starting
I've documented just about everything I worked on the car, taking tons of pictures.
A few Additional pics Here

Upon first startup, heard an engine knocking sound for like 1 second then went away(maybe piston slap?), oil pressure around 65psi, idles like crap and wants to stall until warmed up and in closed loop (might be old gas, Reds chip too). Scanmaster shows bat at 14.3 volts. When warm, there is loud lifter tick near cyl #2 on pass side and a knocking noise near the bottom end like the pulley or something, I took a video Here .

Also, the car doesn't like to start when warm, which I was unaware of when I went for a drive shortly after I got it, and shut off the car. When I turned the key to the start position, I would head a faint click from a relay under the hood, the water temp light flash on the dash, and the interior lights would dim. This lead me to leaving the under-dash switched radiator fans on to cool the car for slightly too long, draining the already weak battery, and leaving me stranded. :dead:
View attachment 297491
3 hours later, AAA saved me. And no, the car was not overheating.

Still wont start when warmed up to this day. After I searched throughout the forums and put some thought to it, i believe that my Fusible link wires near the starter are no good, heat from nearby exhaust heats up the fusible links and restricts current flow, increasing resistance. I guess I need to replace those now.
Also noted a weird metal creaking noise from under the car when in reverse with the brakes applied, but not when in drive.

As she sits currently:
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Sick ride! Could you send me all or most of the stuff you read to learn about your car? I'm a GN noob who wants to learn more haha. Thanks!
 

DeltaBravo

Retired U.S. Army/Navy
I am glad that you don't have any issues with the way you have your negative ground connected. I was just trying to inform the OP how it is "supposed " to be attached. From the factory the ground goes against the block. Under the bracket. The block is machined at that location and not painted. Without the ground mounted there there's a gap between the turbo bracket and the block. The turbo bracket is painted. So mounting the ground cable on top of the bracket it is only grounded through the bolt. The correct way "as GM intended" is to mount the ground under the turbo bracket.


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it's the little things like this that help keep these cars running correctly. Thanks for correcting me and clarifying the right way...now, off to the garage to fix mine.
 

Wrath

I love boost
A little update; Yesterday I test drove the car around the neighborhood and got it all warmed up so I could re-create my hot-no-crank issue, but it started right up(several times)! After cleaning out the starter, the electrical contacts, and adjusting the negative battery cable connection to the battery, I seemed to have solved the issue. :happy:
Before the test drive I fixed a small transmission leak up near the radiator/cooler where it connects in the front. Found the line to be very mangled and bent, looking very restrictive. Cleaned it up and adjusted the 90* fitting to provide optimal flow with a new hose.
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The negative battery cable should be bolted directly to the cast iron block. It appears to be experiencing high resistance and over heating where it is connected. The stock mounting point is the lower bolt of the turbo mounting bracket with a star washer to insure good connectivity.
I will still be replacing the negative battery cable as mine has some holes worn/melted throughout the cable's shielding leaving exposed wire , on top of it being run to a crimp connection bolted to the water pump. (It does look out of place too) :p
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While driving, I was reminded of the really high shift point between 1-2 gear of around 2800 with light throttle. I Adjusted the TV cable multiple times following the correct steps and trying "GM factory" setting with no change. Governor issue?
Also, while backing into the garage to park the car for the night, the power steering pump started making noise and fluid was gushing all over the floor. I immediately shut off the car and popped the hood to find that the high-pressure line on the hydroboost connecting to the steering gear had spewed power steering fluid all over the underside of the hood and that corner of the engine bay!
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Found that while the line nut was tight, there was some pressure on the line as it was a tight fit and it was not seated all the way down flush with the hydroboost. Weird how the o-ring managed to blow out over the line rim, while in reverse at idle. I took out the line and bent it for a better fit, installed a new o-ring and torqued down the fitting while assuring there was no play or wiggle in the line this time.

Finally today with all of the repairs taken care of, I topped off the fluids, replaced the zip-tied IC hose with real hose clamps, and started up the car for some more test runs around the block. I noticed right off the initial startup that it was running buttery smooth. As the engine slowly came down to its cold-idle around 950rpm, there was no stumble or hesitation, it idled like a brand new car to me. Then I realized the Check-Engine light and Code 34 on the scanmaster, I forgot to plug in the mass air flow sensor! This got me thinking about the condition of my LT1 MAF sensor, as it returned to its crappy idle with occasional stumble and hesitation when poking the throttle after I restarted the car with it plugged in. I decided to have a look at the setting of my MAF Translator. Looks alright to me?
IMG_20170216_121307.jpg


With all this done, I have gained many new battle scars on my hands and arms, but not without reward. On the test drive today, I felt confident to go into a little boost with the year+ old gas in the tank. The smooth surge of power and turbo whistles immediately put a smile on my face! I cruised around the neighborhood for another 5 min, taking note of the high 160 INT and 160 BLM readings. Eventually I got a check engine light and code 44, lean 02. I popped the hood and noticed that the fuel pressure dropped to around 31-33psi, originally around 39psi on all other tests. I adjusted the fuel pressure regulator and set it to 40psi and went for another test drive. This time the INT was jumping around 122-145, but was not pegged out. I'll throw some fresh gas in it tomorrow, reset the ECU and see my results then, but still unsure about my MAF.
Also forgot to mention that BuickMike231 stopped by to check out my car and informed me that my louder-than-usual fuel pump is not stock, but an upgraded one. Won't be sure of which pump it is unless I drop the tank though. Thanks again for stopping by and checking out the car! You'll have to come back and see it now that I have "most everything" fixed and running.:D
Sick ride! Could you send me all or most of the stuff you read to learn about your car? I'm a GN noob who wants to learn more haha. Thanks!
Thanks! The first thing I did after purchasing my car and awaiting during its shipping was to search Youtube. I must have watched each of TomsTurboGarage Grand National videos like 20 times. I also just googled to find sites that provide info on Turbo Buicks and sites that sell parts and info on instructions so I could get an idea of what I would have to do when I got my car. My biggest issue initially was identifying what had been done to my car as the seller did not know much of what was worked on when he had it for sale. Many search results lead me to this very site, as there are thousands of threads on topics of every aspect of my car since the early 2000s. Some Important sources: www.gnttype.org has Great info on turbo regals such as the Turbo Regal Buyer's Guide and the Spring Cleaning Guide, which I followed closely. http://www.vortexbuicks-etc.com/ was a great help with their How To section. I also found this site http://www.geocities.ws/rad87gn/tech/tech.html Although it is a little old, last updated 2001, it still has some good info. Cheers!
 

Scarab

Member
are you sure it is a 87? looks like a 86 by the grill. check you vin#. Doesn't really matter but if you want to know this would be a good place to start.
 

Wrath

I love boost
are you sure it is a 87? looks like a 86 by the grill. check you vin#. Doesn't really matter but if you want to know this would be a good place to start.
The car is identified as an 1987 Buick Regal Grand National via the VIN check and noted by some 87' only changes such as the braided oil cooler lines and not the 86' regular rubber hose. Just looks like the grill was replaced with an 86' grill and I don't know why.
 

John Larkin

Sublime Master of Turbology
The high 1-2 shift is probably the result of the spring falling out of the governor. There is a procedure that is fairly in-depth but worth doing and will fix it forever. The pan has to be dropped to repair the governor and that is a good time to install a drain plug also.Search for a thread by 87geeinn called "How to pin the governor spring". I did mine a little differently 17 years ago but his way is more simple and easier.
 
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Drewster

Wish I Had A Clone. AKA Andrew Youlio
glad to hear its running better.
possible there are trans spring problems however GN 1-2 shifts are typically higher than most cars, should be crisp and quick shift at half throttle or better as to chirp tires. no delay or hang at certain rpm. count teeth on TV cable ratchet for reference. you can hold TV cable still and loosen 1 tooth to see if it improves. Be Aware you can burn your trans if you over loosen. I try to avoid loosening more than 2 teeth from original setting.
I set my TV cable with engine off, have heavy foot assistant hold the accelerator to the floor 100%, while I press TV cable lock button and push slider forward as hard as I can, then release lock button. adjust no more than 1 click forward or back for preference from that point.
I have always though the GM TV automatic adjustment made my cable too tight. I could see the bracket flexing at full throttle and sometimes prevented the accelerator from going 100%. may have just been my old cable .
 

Chaos

New Member
Wrath did you ever determine what the noise was at the crank pulley? I have the same problem on a car I bought.
 

Ttype6

Well-Known Member
Just to be clear. The ground wire goes from the battery to behind/between the lower mounting point of the turbo bracket. The end of the cable needs to be against the engine block. The turbo bracket goes over it and then the bolt goes through both. It's a pita to get it in there right. The water pump is not a suitable place for that ground. Many people have had issues using that location.


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The cable should be installed over the turbo bracket,not under it.
 

Ttype6

Well-Known Member
it's the little things like this that help keep these cars running correctly. Thanks for correcting me and clarifying the right way...now, off to the garage to fix mine.
This is the wrong way to attach the ground cable to the head. The bolt head must be in contact with the cable end.
 

Ttype6

Well-Known Member
a knocking noise near the bottom end like the pulley or something,
Remove your serpentine belt to see if you can rock the balancer back and forth. If you can,it is broken and will need to be replaced.
I see from your picture of the engine compartment that your intake air temperature sensor is just sitting on something out in the open. It needs to be installed in the intake piping between the MAF sensor and the air filter.
 
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