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Chris (aka-Moose)
Chris (aka-Moose), Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 47968
Experience:  16 years of experience
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1997 GM Buick Riviera electrical problems

Resolved Question:

I have a 1997 Buick Riviera which I had been previously trying to troubleshoot as a 1999 and am thinking there may be enough difference to find the problems I am having. First, there is no chime when the key is left in the ignition and the door is opened. I have tested that switch lead (Light green at B1 on the block) and with the key out, there is voltage. With the key in, it goes to ground. Next, no matter how I try to engage the electric door locks, they lock and then immediately unlock. I know there are 2 sets of contacts in each door and the courtesy light set works perfectly. I need to learn where (other than tearing the doors apart) I can find a terminal block to test the state of the other switch contacts. I will also need the matching wiring diagram for the related circuits to understand what could be interupting the function of the power door locks. Also, I will need the wiring diagram for the "key-in" detect and chime circuit. The chime does function when the ignition key is turned on.

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 4 years ago.

Hello, I'm Chris. Thanks for visiting Just Answer.


Sorry for the long delay. Many experts have reviewed your question so far, but no one at this time has felt comfortable trying to help. The question may be just to difficult or not informative enough or priced to low.

I can try to help as long as you understand this is not my exact field of expertise, but I will give you an honest effort to the best of my ability. If you would like me to try and help, is there anything else you can add to your original post giving me more details. I may not be able to answer all of your concern(s) but possibly some of them.

If you do not want me to help you, but would rather go back on the top of the list for all experts to have another look see, just reply and let me know.




Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Good morning Chris, The wiring diagrams that I need (noted when I initialized the questions) are key I believe. If you have access to them, it will help a lot. If your 16 years or experience is in changing brakes and exhaust systems, you might not be able to help beyond the diagrams but.... if you've done much successful electrical troubleshooting, that could be great. I also need the location of the remote door lock module. I have a feeling that the 2 problems could be related since it's possible that GM linked the "key-in-ignition" to the door locks to prevent people from locking keys in the ignition. While that is not the case on my 1997 Yukon or 1999 Suburban, I think that 1997 was the first year of this body style with the Riviera and that may be an added feature. Think about this... it there a common GM wiring scenario that prevents the door locks from staying locked once activated? Also, is there a common scenario with there being no "key-in" chime and.. the locking of the doors? My thought there is if the vehicle thinks the key is not in the ignition, (the state right now even when the key is in) the doors locks should stay locked when activated. Again, that "key-in" contact seems to be functioning. If you feel short on being able to help here, feel free to pass this over to other techs. I am not opposed to paying more but.... I need to get the details I am asking for. Many thanks ! Charlie
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 4 years ago.




Lets start with the diagrams, look them over then lets go from there, once we are both viewing the same thing.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Chris... these seem to be the relative wiring diagrams for this car. On diagram 57, one thing I see that appears real common to both problems is the RFA module. The diagram notes that it is located right front of rear compt. My guess is that they mean under the rear seat? Other locator notes actually specify under rear seat so that is one question. It seems odd that module would only have 3 connections since I would think it would need constant 12 volts for the receiver portion of the remote door lock system but could it be there's another part to that system? These diagrams may get me back into the car to do some more readings if you could follow up on the above questions. Remember, I do read 12 volts on that "key-in" line with the key out and then to ground when the key is in. It looks like if I ground the dark blue wire at E12 on the RFA with the key out, that should rule out the door switches even if the problem still exists. One other question before I regroup and plan to get back to the vehicle in the morning ..... Do you know where the "chime" actually is in this vehicle? I do not see it shown in the diagrams and the sound I hear (chime) when the key is turned on does not seem to come from the radio. Might there be a second sounding device for the "key-in" warning ?


Many thanks ! Charlie

Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 4 years ago.




The RFA is under the rear package shelf accessed from the trunk.


At the RFA the key in output which is powered by the BCM gets grounded when the drivers door is open and the key is in. So the BCM no longer sees a voltage reference signal, it is now gets a ground which tells the BCM to sound the chime.


The chime should be emitting from the BCM/ MALL

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Chris, I pretty much understood what was happening with "key-in" and how that takes the 12 volts from the BCM to ground but.... there are only 3 wires shown at the RFA. the above accounts for 2 of those wires and it appears that the 3rd wire is the one that will also takes 12 volts to ground when a door is opened. In my thinking here (which is kinda limited) it seems like once the key-in switch takes the voltage to ground, the door switch function becomes void and... vice versa.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok Chris... I dug further into the other diagram and see that there's a lot more to the RFA and it's now apparant I need to get in the trunk and do some testing at that module. It's beginning to look like that module itself could be the problem but, it could be the BCM too. I'm beginning to wonder if there could be a single wire or connector that was defeated if the previous owner was constantly locking himself out of the car. That you know of, did GM allow for a simple disabling of that circuit?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Chris.... do you know the function / purpose of the "left front door lock isolation relay"? Also, in the wire cluster area under the instrument panel going above the steering column and mostly leading to the big connector block at the firewall, I found a 2 conductor connector that is just floating. Very small contacts and it has one black wire and what appears to be a green/white or blue/white wire. Could this be the missing link for a data path to my problems?
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 4 years ago.

Charles we have reached the point where you are asking questions about the car, I just do not know the answers to. If you would like me to throw i n the towel and let another help I can.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Chris.... I totally understand and appreciate you being forward. I'm good with the help you've provided, especially the diagrams and even though I am also about to bail on troubleshooting much further because without finding a broken wire in a door jamb or a door switch problem, it's going to be a crap shoot to start buying modules and I am not going to do that. The junk yards might be an option but for certain, the body module would be a problem because of the resistance of the ignition key. I'm going to close this case out for now and thank you for your help. Charlie
Expert:  Chris (aka-Moose) replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Charlie, Glad I could help with what I could.


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