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Mike S.
Mike S., ASE Certified Technician
Category: Buick
Satisfied Customers: 6787
Experience:  A.S.E. certified
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I jump starter my 2000 Buick Century 3.1 L, and in the

Customer Question

I jump starter my 2000 Buick Century 3.1 L , and in the process I connected the positive to the negative, and vice versa. I saw smoke coming from my alternator, and it was at the point I knew I messed up. I ended up changing the battery and alternator. Prior to me jump starting the car, the odometer cluster lights and gauges were all working fine.
When I installed the new alternator and battery and then started the car ,I saw no lights and working gauges on the cluster panel. I figured I may have blown a fuse because of the mistake I made with the connecting the cables to the wrong terminal. I checked the fuses and none were blown, but when I put a DMM on the fuses to check for voltage while the key was in the ON position, some fuses gave me a reading, and some did not read anything.
I have read widely on the internet that the most common problem with the Century, Regal and more models is the PRNDL and mileage going bad, but my problem is unique. I have non working gauges, and no PRNDL and mileage. I have read the common fix for the PRNDL and mileage issue, is to fix a few resistors that are bad, at the back of the cluster panel. My radio also does not work. How do I diagnose, and fix this problem ?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Buick
Expert:  Tracer replied 10 months ago.

hello, does the HVAC work? if nothing else I would like to know what fuses you do not have 12 volt power supply to with key on , well as many as you can send to me

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The HVAC is blowing air but not cold air. When I press the rear defrost button the AC light comes on then.I don't have a reading on the panel dimming, tail lamps, front park, steering wheel control,cluster,
Expert:  Tracer replied 10 months ago.

thanks but I still need this info I asked for, thanks..I would like to know what fuses you do not have 12 volt power supply to with key on , well as many as you can send to me

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi I just check the fuses again and the problems fuses are the radio with a reading .07, heated mirrors 0, crank signal BCM Cluster 0.
Expert:  Tracer replied 10 months ago.

do you know if cig lighter works?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
it is hot.
Expert:  Tracer replied 10 months ago.

I really feel you have a MAX fuse or 2 that blew, MAX fuses are what sends power to smaller sub fuses like inside fuse box and so on, When a cross jump happens, Max fuses are generally first to blow, I cant say which ones , but I would either swap them out or at lest move some around even if a lower amp fuse just for testing, Looking at them is not a reliable way to test, You either change them or probes the metal tangs on top of each fuse BOTH sides of each fuse to be sure power to and through the fuse.I do not feel any wiring etc got damaged, Fuses are there to protect in case of a cross jump so,, open this link, all the fuses shown on left 1-8 are the max fuses, I feel either Batt 1 or Batt2 or IGn 1 or IGn 2 any of these could have blown

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
All the max fuses 1-8 are giving above 13v
Expert:  Tracer replied 10 months ago.

then I am unsure, sorry, I am going to opt out and open the post back up to the other experts, I have to step away for a few hours, If none can help, I will see this and get back to helping later today

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

The crank signal bcm cluster fuse isn't supposed to be hot unless the key is on start, did you check with the key on start?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Do you mean with the engine running ?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

No, with the key on start like when you are cranking the starter trying to start the engine, not running.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Did you check the IGN Main fuse #1, in the underhood fuse block? If not, check it now.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Yeah the key was at the on position without the engine running .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

The crank signal bcm cluster fuse isn't supposed to be hot unless the key is on start, did you check with the key on start? If not, do that now.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

These fuse a are all on the same circuit fed from that main bat 2 fuse, the power mirrors, the stop lamps, the door locks, the hazard and the high blower fuse, all in the same fuse block so do they all have power or not or which do and/or don't with the key off?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Here is that wiring diagram,

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

You know of course when testing fuses, you must test both sides of the fuse.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Do you still need help with this or did you find the blown fuse?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I do need help. I will go back to the car tomorrow afternoon .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

ok, I will be here incase you need me.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Maxifuse 5 which is the ignition is fine. I just pulled it out and it seems fine . I also tested it yesterday with the DMM and it was reading above 13v
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Did you test both sides of the fuse?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I tested both sides .
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
While I was waiting I decided to open the dash so that I could check the back of the cluster panel . As I was doing so, and I disconnected the harness the temp, speed and gas needles shifted out of place . I just stopped there.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

What about that crank signal bcm cluster fuse ?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Also what about the IGN Main fuse #1, in the underhood fuse block?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

You haven't answered these 2 yet.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Here are the other 2 diagrams,

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I did test ignition Main fuse 1 under the hood .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

is that it? Are you not going to tell me the results of that test?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

And what about that crank signal bcm cluster fuse ? Remember I said the key has to be on start.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
At 1:43pm I did say that the rest read above 13v
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

What convinced you they were the same fuses, the maxi fuse 5 and the ign main 1?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

And what about that crank signal bcm cluster fuse ? Remember I said the key has to be on start.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Ok, I see now. That schematic tracer gave you.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
i looked at the sticker diagram on the fuse cover for that information.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

And what about that crank signal bcm cluster fuse ? Remember I said the key has to be on start.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The crank BCM cluster fuse is reading 0
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Did you put the key on start? If so, you have most likely a faulty ignition switch.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
it was at the on position.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

No, didn't we go through this before. On the start position, not run and on is run.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I guess I may be referring to "ON" as something else . The ON position is the second to last position, one more turn and it starts the car .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

On is run. The key has to be on start as in cranking the engine over with the starter, that is of course if the starter is working but I meant with the key all the way forward, one position past run/on.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Let me know the voltage to that fuse with the key on start now.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Do you mean with the engine running ?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

No. With the key on start.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

When you turn the key to start, does the starter crank over and start the engine?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

I think I understand why you ask, don't turn the key to start while the engine is already running. So, if the engine is running turn the key off, then turn the key to start while checking that fuse with the key on start. You may only have a second, because the engine will start so be ready to test the voltage.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
it starts the engine .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Ok, then you know what position the key is for start. Let me know when you get the result of that fuse voltage with the key in the start position.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Do you want to answer that? is this vehicle not with you now or something? let me know something, just don't leave me hanging like this.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Sorry about that. The vehicle is not with me. Right now.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

When will it be there?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Tomorrow
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Is that alright ?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

I am sorry I kept telling you that key must be on start, come to find out I just double-checked the wiring diagram and the key can be on run/on. I believe that means the ignition switch is bad but first check if voltage is going to the ignition switch from that IGN ! main fuse. With the key on run, see if there is voltage to any of the fuses on the top of this page,

The ones from G starting with the ABS fuse in the fuse block. If it's hot, then I believe it is going to be a bad ignition switch.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Yes, tomorrow is fine. I will be on after 10am or so.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I am sorry I could nevery understand that type of diagram
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Also, check the crank signal, bcm, cluster fuse in the fuse block, if it has power with the key on run then the ignition switch is bad. But first before you purchase a new one start removing it and when you gain access to the harness test the wires in and out, there are 2 red going in.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

I'll lead you through it, just let me know after you test those fuses.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Do I have to take ignitio column apart to test the ignition switch ?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
OK thanks, ***** ***** back as soon as I get back to the car. Also if I were to go to the junk yard to get a used cluster and I plug it in , will I get back the same mileage . I have attached a picture of what my cluster looks like now . Earlier today I just pulled the dash apart because wanted to if the resistors were bad at the back of the cluster . As I was about to pull it out the gauges went haywire.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Are you going to give me your thoughts on this ?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Sorry, I was on the phone, give me a second.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
k
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

About the mileage , I don't know. I would have to look that up. I suppose it would depend on if it has a instrument cluster module or not. As far as the ignition switch, you should be able to just access the harness from underneath. Let me see if I can find the instructions.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

here are the instructions but don't jump ahead so quickly and think it's a bad switch just yet,

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Please check into if it has a module because I am really worried about. My car has low miles and I don't want to take it to GM for a new cluster only for thme to charge me in excess of $800
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

I don't see one. It's analog meaning it's not digital. Although I read this below. So, I don't know if it will save the mileage but if not perhaps it can be programmed in. I just am not that familiar though with that process.

I do see "Instrument panel cluster is equipped with a self-diagnostic system, which detects system Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) or abnormalities. When certain malfunctions occur, instrument panel cluster will store a DTC. See INSTRUMENT PANEL CLUSTER DTC DEFINITIONS . Malfunctions are recorded as history/intermittent failures or as current failures."

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Why are you jumping ahead and think you need a new cluster when there is a fuse that don't have voltage?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Morning . I did try to get voltage from the time I turn the key to start position, you said I would only have a second and the crank bcm still read zero volts. So should I proceed to getting to the ignition switch now?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

first check if voltage is going to the ignition switch from that IGN ! main fuse. With the key on run, see if there is voltage to any of the fuses on the top of this page,

The ones from G starting with the ABS fuse in the fuse block. If it's hot, then I believe it is going to be a bad ignition switch.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

And to clarify again, remember I said, "I am sorry I kept telling you that key must be on start, come to find out I just double-checked the wiring diagram and the key can be on run/on."

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I am getting 14.52 volts on each big fuse , I am referring to the maxi fuses in the engine . Number 1 to 8 in the engine block
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Ok now check the abs fuse in the fuse block. with the key on run.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The big ABS fuse (maxifuse 1) in the engine bay is reading 11.42 volt in the on position , with the engine running it reads 14.52
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Wrong abs fuse, I said in the fuse block. That is usually inside the vehicle.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Zero volts on the ABS fuse inside the car
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Did you remember to have the key on run? If so, I am afraid to tell you the ignition switch is most likely bad. You can test again at the wiring harness exiting the bottom of the steering column under the dash.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
the.ignition was to the on position , because all.other fuses were giving me volts . How do I locate the wires ? I can't read those diagrams you sent me . I am not that technically sound
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Ok, I'll tell you. Give me a minute to look at the diagrams again.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

I do remember 2 red wires going into the ignition switch.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Is the ignition switch under recall for this car ? I heard something about this , just now sure if the century is affected.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

It is a white wire coming out that should be hot when the key is on run. the red wire going in should be hot with the key off.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

If there is no white wire, the white wire turns into a dark green wire, so make sure you check the dark green wire incase the white wire is hidden deep inside the steering column.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I see a small green and a brown wire . I just opened the steering column and these wires are right next to the key .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

See any red wires?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I saw one red wire with several other colors going into a harness . I have attached pictures
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Cut that wire tie and open up that bundle of wires more.

Is that electrical tape on that green and white wires?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok. I am going to check it tomorrow
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

ok

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
There is a solid green and white wire .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Is either hot with the key on run?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
How do I test it ? I don't see any where for me to put my DMM needles .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

You are either going to have to begin removing the switch until you can gain access to somewhere you can test, follow the wire and see if there is a spot to test further down the line or just poke a hole in the insulation to test. If you choose the later, make sure after you are done the test wrap some electrical tape around the spot you poked.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
OK I will pole a hole, where would I put my negative DMM needle ?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Attach the negative test lead to a good metal ground and make sure you test that ground first by touching the positive lead to a hot fuse or something to make sure you do have a good ground first then test those green and white wires, with the key on run. Don't forget that the ignition switch is fed from 2 red wires and should be hot also, but test them green and white first, only one should be the correct one, you might have to dig in deeper if both are not hot.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Can I just poke a black wire ?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Who's to say it's a ground wire? You can try, but you really should be poking through as less wires as possible. Sometimes either the door jamb switch with the door open is a good ground, or sometimes grounding it onto the ignition key while in the switch, or finding some metal on the bottom of the steering column or a bolt somewhere under that dash.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Any news?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I broke my DMM needles and I have to get new one, perhaps one with a longer cord so that I can plug the negative to the battery terminal .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 10 months ago.

Just get 25 foot of primary wire and 2 alligator clips and make a long jumper.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
i am going to go to harbor freight and pick one up
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

ok

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
They don't have the long cables. I am stuck . Is there another way to test this ignition switch ?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Also can you send me the removal instructions, this switch has a special 5 star type screw and I am not sure if I need to turn it to get IS loose.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Would a clamp on DMM work ?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

I suggested you just get 25 feet of primary wire and 2 alligator clips. 10 feet might have even worked.

Clamp on are usually ammeters.

I sent the instructions already, back on 5 Feb 2016, 6:48 PM

Here they are again,

Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

The star type screws are most likely torx.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I don't recall seeing that pass key in the front of the switch . I will double check check when I get to the car though .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

ok

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
i didn't see the pass key.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

Ok, what are you saying? You want me to tell you it doesn't have one or you are telling me it don't have one and want to know why? I don't know why. What were you doing anyhow, removing the ignition switch or testing those wires?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I am telling you it doesn't have one as shown in those removal instructions.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

Ok, it doesn't have one.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
well you sent me the wrong instructions , send me the correct removal instructions.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

Do you see at the top of that page where it says "2000 Buick Century 3.1L Eng Custom"?

Is this by chance a limited?

Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

The instructions are the same for the limited as well.

Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

Here try this,

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
those instructions are asking me to mess with the airbag system . it is asking me to disable it and there is another article I have to read .
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

The reason you want to disable the air bag is so it don't explode in your face while you are working around it. Here are the instructions for disabling and enabling the air bag,

Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

sorry, here is the other

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
can I just pull the fuse instead of pulling apart the cable ?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

Yeah, just be careful around that air bag so it don't accidently deploy.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I am putting this project on hold. my battery is not good now.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

yeah

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I don't know what you mean by " yeah" . I am a bit worried that when I do get the ignition switch tested/replaced that I will still have problems, with the odometer gauges. I was looking online, and I saw a few used cluster panel on EBay and the pictures show that the needles are not positioned right. For example if you click on the eBay link below, you will see the RPM is stuck at 4, and the speed is stuck at 20mph, even though the cluster is out of the car. My question to you is this normal and when I get the IS replaced will the gauges reset by themselves ?http://www.ebay.com/itm/1999-Buick-Century-instrument-cluster-/191201267802?hash=item2c847bd05a:g:IXkAAMXQ1ZhTjgvj&vxp=mtr
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

You said you were putting this project on hold because the battery is not good now and I replied yeah as in yes, ok.

Now you are replying back the very next day, so I can assume this project is not on hold?

I have patiently stood by you for some 2 weeks now and waiting for the results of the test of the ignition switch and then you stop and say the battery is no good. I thought you said in your opening post that you replaced the battery? Are you saying it's dead then? How can a brand new battery be no good?

I'll look into that link but I have to ask now that you at least give me the results of some tests first.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
apparently I killed a cell because of leaving the lights on and every time I start the car the headlight turn on. The store is saying one of the cells is not functioning because the battery was used incorrectly.
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

This is the first time you mentioned that the headlights automatically come on.

Anyhow, why do you need a battery in order to replace the ignition switch? That is what you were doing the last time I looked.

Also, why would you need a full 12 volt, too when testing? I thought that is what you were supposed to be testing.

As far as anything you read about the PRNDL or whatever, why would you not think that the crossing of the jumper cables blew up the instrument cluster or fried the instrument cluster control module or a body control module?

Were these sites you read mentioning that the fact that they were like this was because of crossing the jumper cables? If not, ignore them.

Did they actually test the battery and find a dead cell? Are they going to replace the battery for free under warranty?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
no they refunded me because I bought a used certified battery from advanced auto. they couldn't find another used battery to replace it with. I explained to you my circumstances that caused my odometer gauges and needles to point in different direction, but you have not responded. I would like your opinion on if I will most likely have to fix the ignition switch and odometer cluster at the same time. Why would you mention anything about a bad BCM ?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
the project is on hold, are you trying to rush me ?
Expert:  Mike S. replied 9 months ago.

In your opening post you didn't mention that the gauge needles point in opposite directions. You only said that they don't work. Now you are saying they point in opposite directions. No, I am not trying to rush you, it's only that I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out why some fuses have no power and you want to ask questions beyond that point when my first question would be does the fuse have power.

Then after all this time, after giving you numerous instructions, diagrams, etc I have gotten nothing for my time and have been waiting patiently for the results of some few tests about voltage to them fuses and instead you jumped ahead wanting to replace the ignition switch instead of just testing it like I asked and I even gave you the instructions for that and plus, arming and disarming the air bag, which in my mind we shouldn't have even been doing at this point because I just wanted to test the ignition switch to determine why them fuses has no power and now you ask me if changing the ignition switch will fix the power problem to the instrument cluster.

Now, I have to stop. Because I sent you a offer for additional services which I assume you either denied or simply ignored, which means to me I will most likely get no credit at all for any of my time and even if I did, later on you would probably ask for a refund anyhow and/or give me a poor rating, which I assume you will anyhow even after receiving all of this free information. Now, you want to put this project on hold, which I might add, this post has been timed out for over 13 days. That should tell you something. Usually we like to work on things quickly and move onto the next customer. After all, for some of us including myself this is our only job, so therefore I am sorry to inform you that I will not be continuing to help you with this problem or any other problems you may have with this vehicle at this time. If you feel you still need help after I opt out, you could relist this item or open a new post if you want to but I am done, sorry!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
you arrogance started since February 5th and at that time i should have rated you 1 star and dismissed you for replying to me like i am a dummy. Let me remind you that i am no expert, you are and you are being paid to render your opionion, but you must do so in a courteous manner. Go back and read that in the middle of this thread you will see i wrote that the gauges were interfered as i attempted to just inspect the resistors to see if they were blown, obviously you did not read this. My only regret is that i let you continue to help me and you fail to recognize that you are not the most courteous person on Justanswer.