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Pontiac Grand Am

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  • Hi all.
    Im an owner of 99' grand am who is little tired of making trips to the dealer for an oil change. I would assume the dealer would know whats best for my vehicle hence use the oil thats perfect for my baby. But what about the local shop? They are a lot closer to my house and the price is alot cheaper with the coupons they mail out. But, Im not too sure they would use quality oil and filter for the work. If they dont, does it really matter regarding the vehicle's performance and the long term effect on it? One shop that mails me coupon all the time say that they use Quacker State brand. Is it a good brand?

    Thank You in advance.

    If this topic was discussed previously, Id appreciate if anyone can tell me the message # :)
  • lrymallrymal Posts: 105
    > ... is it possible for me to buy new factory seat covers for the front seats? I just bought a 2000 SE1 V6 and the seats have cigarette burn holes in them, I'd like to replace them.

    Actually, I had my seats and the foam underneathe shredded by a dumb cat. No joke! The foam was $58.00. The parts guy freaked when he looked up the seat cloth cover: $218.00. He recommended I go to a automobile upholstery shop. Lots cheaper, $110.00. Same cloth, same fit.

    Regarding the oil changes. I do it myself. Rather easy to do and I use Mobile 1 5W30. I tend to put over 100 k miles on vehicles so use Mobile 1. Been using it since the late 1970s. Who knows? Maybe all the good oils offer the same degree of protection.

    There is a mud plate under the car's front which is held by two finger nuts. Remove that to get to the oil filter. I think it is a PF-47, maybe a PF-44. Can't recall at the moment.

    By doing this yourself, you could save a lot of labor charges and you know what product is being placed in your "baby".
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    How are everyone's Grand Ams holding up? I am considering a GT1 coupe or sedan and want a reliable car. Comments are appreciated.
  • lrymallrymal Posts: 105
    Mine WAS holding up great at a bit over 50,000 miles. Tight, no rain leaks, engine runs like new, interior plastics and cloth are doing well. Carpet is doing fine and accessories, such as the CD/Radio is doing just fine. No rattles, squeaks. No failure of engine stuff.

    But, this afternoon.............. a lady in a '85 Suburban ran a red light and crashed into the passenger side of my car. Front fender and door are toast. Wheel was spared and the car drives fine. Feels the same as before.

    But, I worry about body warpage since the steering wheel is now off-centered and the hit did not occur at the wheel. The car drives straight, but that steering wheel...

    So, Monday, I'll go get the police report, go to my insurance, find out if I have to wait on her insurance to get the body work done, etc., ad nausem.. grrrrrr
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    But at least you are ok. Good luck with the insurance.

    TC
  • lrymallrymal Posts: 105
    Thanks, Tony. Will let everyone know. Will try to take a picture of the damage and share it with folks here.
  • lrymallrymal Posts: 105
    Oh SWELL... Just noticed that my reply regarding the accident to my GrandAm is numbered 666. LOVELY.

    Anyway, damage to my GrandAm SE comes to $3015.00. Includes realignment and cradle realignment.

    The rental car I have been supplied with is a 3.8 L Buick. OH BOY! Been wanting to play with one of those, anyway.

    Disappointment!!!!!

    1) This beast has four disk brakes. Amazingly,
    my GrandAm SE with its disk/drum combo can
    easily outstop it.
    2) Performance. This car has that 3.8 L v-6.
    Makes lots of noise and roars during full-
    throttle. I'll bet my 3.4 L v-6 can
    out do it in a 0-70 run. There are no
    real "sweet spots" in this Regal when
    you accelerate at the various speeds as
    there are in my GrandMa. I mean, I know
    the 3.8L motor is an excellent power plant,
    but it just seems crippled in this Regal
    when compared to my 3.4L in the SE GrandAm.
    3) Interior: cheap, CHEAP. Very dissappointing.
    We GrandAm owners should be very pleased with
    the fact we have NO FAKE WOOD, no plastic
    panels that flex.
    4) Ride: very quiet in the parking lot. Then
    when you get out on the road, the entire car
    shudders when you hit a nasty pot hole---more
    so that what my GrandAm does.

    This might be due to the tires. I recall just
    how much better my GrandAm rode when I replaced
    those tires.

    Honestly, this car feels MUCH CHEAPER to me than my
    GrandAm.

    I just wish they'd give me that 3.8L v-6, let me doctor it up a bit, let me swap motors, and all will be right with the world. grinnnn
  • Hey everyone,
    As I told you in my earlier post, my 2001 SE had vibration problems. As it turns out, I had to have new rotors and pads installed after only 45 miles. They said the rotors were "footprinted". I have no idea what that means, all I know is that now it runs fine (and brakes fine too). The dealer did tell me that they were installing alot of new rotors and pads on the 2001s. In case anyone is interested, the cargo net that comes standard on the GT version is available for only $30.00 from GM. The holes are already there and takes about 5 minutes or less to install.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Concerning performance:


    According to Edmunds, the 2000 Regal LS accelerates 0-60 in 8.2 second:


    http://www.edmunds.com/vehicles/2000/buick/regal/ls4drsedan38l6cyl4a.html#specs


    The 2000 GA SE2 sedan with 3.4l V-6 is capable to do it almost 0.5 second faster, in 7.8 second:


    http://www.edmunds.com/vehicles/2000/Pontiac/grandam/se24drsedan34l6cyl4a.html#specs


    the above specs are practically the same as for the base Firebird, 0-60 in 7.7 second:


    http://www.edmunds.com/vehicles/2000/pontiac/firebird/2drhatchback38l6cyl5m.html#specs


    Though, a notch more upscale Buick GS accelerates in 6.7 second:


    http://www.edmunds.com/vehicles/2000/buick/regal/gs4drsedan38l6cylsupercharged4a.html#specs


    and, of course, no affordable priced sedan can compete with TransAm - 5.3 seconds:


    http://www.edmunds.com/vehicles/2000/pontiac/firebird/transam2drhatchback57l8cyl4a.html#specs

  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Concerning the shudder when hitting pothole:

    It is very possible that the tires of the rental Regal are overinflated. This right numbers are inside the trunk lid. Probably, 30 psi - at least it is so with the 16-inch wheels.
  • lrymallrymal Posts: 105
    Yurakm, thanks for the performance figures. Interesting and confirms my immediate impression with the Regal.

    Regarding the shudder, after driving the car this evening, I felt that the tires were definitely having a problem, though I haven't checked the pressure. Also, the car is "twitchy". Can't keep it going in a straight line. Will do a pressure check later and see if that confirms the problem.

    Another criticism: the cup holders. Worst I have ever seen. Too high, too flimsy. They can't hold large cups. The GrandAm's cups under the radio area are small for canned drinks and the console larger holder is really better.

    Leg room.... well if I get my front leg room just right, there is no back leg room at all. Yet the measurements claim the Regal has more leg room back there. Will admit that the backseat is more comfortable. Just that I have to make the seatback more vertical and pull the front seat up a bit to get decent knee and leg room for the back.

    Some positive points. Hey, I can actually see the odometer in bright daylight! Gosh, what a concept. This has always been a sore point for me with my 1999 GrandAm---too dim during the day to see easily.

    The lights are far superior. I have always had a problem with my GrandAm's high beams. Too many dead zones in our hilly areas. They have been adjusted by the dealer repeatedly and typically, are within specs. The Regal's lights reach out and touch marvelously. When going up and down curvy hills, these lights do a great job in shining up the road. Not so with my GrandAm's lights. Their focus is too tight, too much on an edge. You can go around a curve and the lights go off into a pasture somewhere while the road is bathed in darkness ahead of you.

    The Regal's lights have enough peripheral light aim that the same darkened road is now illuminated.

    In short, I think the Regal is a fine car, but I have even more respect for my $10k less GrandAm now. I *think* I have a problem with comparing the Regal against a similarly equipped and priced "foreign" vehicle. I think it will get blown away in many areas.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    In the Chevy Impala base the 3.4 makes 180hp and I believe an additional 5 lb-ft torque over the GA GT. I believe the Aztek uses the same 3.4 and ups those 5 ea. to 185hp. What's up with that? No advertised Ram Air. The GA GT version should be the most powerful.
    I would consider the GA if they address that in 2002.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    In 1999 our Malibu was rear-ended. My wife and I rented GA SE V-6 for almost a month, while our car was in body shop.

    We like the handling and acceleration of GA. The dash and sound is not better nor worse than with Malibu. Very good air condition vents: simple design and easy to aim.

    On the flip side:

    Had to adjust to very sensitive steering. Did not like that the steering wheel does not return in neutral position, must be turned back manually. Bad rear visibility, hard to back up. And getting to the rear seats (we have a son) was a major enterprise.

    Last fall we bought a Regal GS. The car is in other league than GA. Smooth drive, convenient steering, good sound, auto-dimming mirrors, visibility like driving in aquarium. Very comfortable seats: after 7-hour drive in the Regal we tire less than after 2-hour in Malibu or GA.

    Never drove Regal LS, though, and cannot compare. Know only that GS have better suspension, and a lot of other goodies, either optional or unavailable for LS.

    And, of course, GS have a supercharged engine. It over accelerates easily most of sedans, and some sporty cars, for example, the V-6 Mustang and Camaro.
  • thinking of purchasing new grand am with 2.4 engine for my daughter. she presently drives my old 90 regal with 3.1. test drove the 2.4 with her it seems to have pretty good pep. the ride was so-so. my question is what is the history on the 2.4. i do not particularly care for the ohc engines too many moving parts, belts to replace etc. any words of wisdom would be appreciated.
  • yurakmyurakm Posts: 1,345
    Personally, I would rather buy GA with the V-6 3.4l engine:

    1. It cruises at very low rpm, about 1800. Probably will never wear-out and will be generally more reliable.

    2. Very good acceleration when you need it, both at low speed and on highways. This is a safety issue: fast and easy merging in traffic, getting out of harm way, etc.

    3. And simply more fun to drive for long years.

    The problem is with prices. The V-6 engine itself is not so much more expensive, but it is bundled with higher end trim/options. According to Edmunds, the SE2 trim is not available in 2001 any more. The same with the twin car, Olds Alero.

    The leftover 2000 GA / Alero are still available, though, and probably they are less expensive.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I was looking at a used 1999 model Pontiac Bonneville and a new 2001 Grand Am GT1. I like both, but want all the "toys" in the Bonneville. Gimme a good reason to sway me to the Grand Am. :) What's the fuel ecoomy? My 1993 Bonneville SSE averages like 19 mpg in 80% highway driving. Thanks.
  • Well I've nad my 2000 Grand Am SE1 V6 for about two weeks now and I have to say that's it growing on me. I always can't wait to drive it anywhere, although maybe that will pass as with most new cars.

    The question that I have is has anyone ever installed a keyless entry system? I ordered it from my local Pontiac dealer, it was $145 for the parts, and it should be in sometime this week. The parts guy said it should have instructions with it, and I'm pretty good at installing things and putting things together. However, I was just wondering if anyone could give me any installation tips. Such as...
    "Is it all just 'plug and play'?"
    "How long should it take to install?"
    "Are there any special tools I will need?"

    If anyone could help me, I would appreciate it. Also, I think I am going to order a front end cover, around $85 I think. Does anyone have one of these, are they difficult to take care of, how often do you have to clean them?
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I would not play with installing a keyless entry unless you are really good with electronics. If you mess up something in that car, your warranty will not cover it. Keyless entry means messing with lock actuators and wiring and all. I wouldn't do it if I were you though. If you do decide to do it, be careful! :)
  • I have had my 2000 GA SE V-6 (used) for a week now, and I noticed the smell of oil whenever I come to a stop. At first, I thought that the dealer might have spilled oil on the exhaust when changing the oil, but after 300 miles, it still smells. Does anyone else have this problem? Also, the breaks seem too firm in fast stops. I find myself having to push harder on the pedal that I should have to.

    Other than those two things, I love my GA. Lots of power and is comfortable to drive.

    Vocus, you are comparing a 99 bonne with a 2001 GA. First thing I think when I see that comparison is that the 99 Bonne is sporting the old bodystyle. I wouldn't want to spend that kind of money to be driving something that is already "dated" looking.

    -JD
    P.S. I get about 24 MPG (85% highway) with a whole lota floorin'!
  • I first purchased my 2000 2dr grand am GT in July of 2000. I have had nothing but problems. The first thing to go was one of the headlights,then the plugs and plug wires. The car then started to run hotter than normal so I had to take it in for a new radiator cap(but it still runs hotter than 200). My car still has a noticeable miss and runs terrible. The brakes started doing the vibrating thing so the pads and rotors had to be replaced. Now my transmission won't go down into 1st, 2nd or 3rd and it's quite a challenge to get it into drive. So now the transmission must be replaced. It has an obvious slip when accelerating. The brakes are starting to do the same thing as before and I have put about 5,000 miles on it since then. Whenever I take my car through and automatic car wash or even a hard rain there is always a wet spot on the passenger side floor board. The dealership thinks I am imaging things. Each time I take this waste of time and money in to get yet another problem fixed it is such a hassle. The dealership is being everyingthing but understanding. I am in the process of getting another car. I'm sure I will lose out on this but I don't know what else to do. I purchased this car because I commute to school and I wanted something reliable. It has become nothing but and inconvenience to me. For all of the problems listed above the car had to be taken in twice, once to look at and then the second time to repair it because they never had the part the first time. I pity the person who gets my car without a warranty.
  • You must have gotten a lemon, cause yours is the first complaint of major mechaincal issues I've read. Everyone else who has posted on this board only complains of little defects or issues. Sorry it didn't work out for you.
    -JD
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    I heard alot of lemons in the first and second generation of Grand Ams. But with the third (current) generation, everything seems to be going fine. But beware that all carmakers produce a lemon at one time or another, yes even beloved Honda and Toyota. Only difference there is that you have a lower chance of getting a lemon, but pay a nice premium in price.
  • I BOUGHT A 99 GT1 W/35 MILES IN 6/99. CAR RAN FINE FOR THE 1ST YR. I STARTED TO NOTICE A SLIP IN THE TRANS-DEALERSHIP SAID THEY WERE UNABLE TO DEPLICATE. THAT WAS 6/00. I TOOK IT BACK 11/2/00 W/THE SAME PROBLEM. I WAS ADVISED IT WAS MOST LIKELY MY 2ND CYL THAT HAD GONE BAD. WELL, IT WAS BACK 11/21/00 BECAUSE I HAD IT TOWED FROM MY WORK AFTER BARELY (AND I STRESS BARELY!!) MAKING IT THERE. THEY FINALLY REBUILT THE ENTIRE TRANS @ 13787 MILES. I HAVE ALSO HAD VOLUME CONTROL PROBLEMS AS WELL AS ALL 4 OF MY LEATHER DOOR PANELS REPLACED DUE TO BUBBLING @ THE WINDOW (IT HAS TINT & STAYS IN THE GARAGE). I ALSO HAD THE CONSOLE REPLACED ON THE RECALL & IF THAT'S NOT ENOUGH, I ALSO HAD THE PROBLEM W/THE ROTORS. SERV MANAGER SAID SINCE THERE WAS A BULLETIN OUT ON THE GRAND AM BRAKES, HE WOULD REPLACE ROTORS & BRAKE PADS FREE (BULL# WAS 678863). IMAGINE THAT!! NOW THEY FEEL AS IF THEY'RE NOT GOING TO STOP. I WANT VERY BADLY TO GET RID OF THIS CAR BUT NOW THAT I'VE BEEN CHECKING OUT THE RESALE, IT LOOKS LIKE I'M GOING TO TAKE A HUGE LOSS OR BE STUCK W/IT. SORRY THIS IS SO LONG BUT IF IT STOPS SOMEONE FROM BUYING A GRAND AM, IT'S WORTH THE READING!!
  • my problem is a bit different. I own 99' SE coupe and its averaging 20mpg. This is very low for a 4 cyl car(at least to me it is). I just graduated and got my pharmacist licence. I recently started to pay my loans,bills,etc....I was very happy in the beginning because I thought I was buying a great affordable home-made car. But what good is it when spending much more money on gas than foriegn made 4cyl my friend own. So far, the dealer had replaced defective plastic cover on the front driver-side speaker, clock, squeaking pass-side window, and seat-belt. It also has poor all-around visibility and pick-up for a car that guzzle that much gas. Other than that, I love the car but leaning heavily toward trading it now that my warranty is running out. Im afraid to keep it any longer because I hear horror stories. Im living on a tight budget and I need a car that gives me more mpg, reliable, or longer warranties. I know about the resale value BAR. What a drag. In my humble experience, Grand Am is not a terrible car but I wouldnt recommend it now as I did in the beginning.

    I hope this was helpful to anyone considering it.
  • Don't forget that in 1999, Pontiac came out with a totally restyled and re-engineered car. As with most first year model changes, there are a lot of bugs to be worked out.

    As for the repeat comments on break rotors warping...has anyone looked into aftermarket ventilated rotors?

    Just my two cents.
  • Things were getting good here in the forum and then the last few posts were quite depressing. My 1999 GT has held up pretty well for the 25K I've driven it. I did have two door panel fabrics replaced, rotors/pads replaced, console recall and driver's seat lumbar pad replaced in the 1.5 years I've owned it. But I don't consider that enough to spoil the ownership experience. Everything was covered under warranty and it only took one day to have the service done, so I was not without a car for very long. If I had transmission problems that would certainly reduce my enjoyment of the car.

    jdexter23: Smelling oil 300 miles after an oil change is certainly not out of the question. I smell oil usually for about 2 weeks, or about 500-600 miles. It takes that long to burn off when it drips from the oil filter being removed. Why no auto shop can remove the filter without making a mess is beyond me. And I agree about the brakes. That's one of the pet peeves I have about this car. It seems like I have to stomp on the brakes to get it to stop. Last night I was on the Interstate going 65 mph when the traffic stopped suddenly in front of me. It was like I had to push the brake pedal with both feet. I may have stopped quicker if I dragged my feet on the ground in a Flintstone car to stop it. I know it's not the anti-lock system, because I didn't hit them quite hard enough to activate it. The brake pedal just doesn't seem to have any feel to it. I also get around 24 mpg, although it has been slightly less in the dead cold of winter.
  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,522
    Yes, I have the recurring "oil smell" and it's worse after changing the oil. It's not due to drips, being messy, etc. I change the oil myself and have been very careful to wipe up, even using a cotton swab (or swabs) to wipe out the casting bosses right below the filter. It's obvious that it's coming through the fresh air vents in the cowl anyway, since switching to "max", which is really just a re circulate position, always results in the smell going away. I can't find any unplugged holes in the fireball, and can't see any leaks, save for a very slight drip of oil I get from the bottom of the intake manifold, in about the center of the left hand or front cylinder head. It leaves a very small trace down the front of the cylinder head to the top of the block. When it's running I can actually see very small bubbles of oil being forced out by the positive pressure in the liter galley. If I wipe it away it comes back quickly. It's a very small leak, and really doesn't cause much trouble. In the shop I worked at years ago, before going to the expense of changing intake manifold gaskets, we used to clean the area real good with solvent, and then go over it again with alcohol, then put some silicone sealer on the area, being careful to try to force it into the leak area. This quite often would seal it. I haven't tried it on my car.
    I also thought the smell was coming from the PCV valve seal, since it was always oily around it. Changing that seal had no effect. I have more or less learned to live with it, and if I'm idling or going slow with the AC or heat on I switch to "max". If you want fan forced vent air only, you can't get it in "max", since the AC will run in this position if the fan is on. I was also going to try to block some of the fresh air vents with foam or something and see if I can pinpoint where it's coming from, but haven't got around to it.
    I priced the Power stop rotors and the best deal I could find was about $92 each. I opted for Raybestos rotors at $45 each, made in Canada. The cheap rotors you get for $20-$25 are almost always made in South America and they are inferior in materials, won't last as long, although they work OK. I use Raybestos Brute stop pads. I haven't had brake problems on either my 99 (43,000 miles) or my daughters 95 (63,000 miles) for a long time. My daughter is real hard on the brakes, too.
    By the way, if your replacing the rotors and pads on your 99 or newer GA, be careful that they don't give you the ones for the 98 or earlier car. For some reason manufacturers seem to have the same part numbers listed for 99 and later that they do for the earlier car, and they're different. 99 and later have larger rotors and different pads. Take a sample of the old parts with you and save yourself some hassle. When I bought the Raybestos rotors it finally took a call to Raybestos to get the right parts.
  • Thanks for the input on the oil smell. I thought I might have a problem with my car already. If this is a common problem with the GA, why isn't there a recall?

    -JD
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    As previously stated, ANY manufacturer will have lemons. But for a car that sells in high volumes, the GA is pretty darn reliable. I have a 1999 SE2 with 17k miles, I drive it HARD. There hasn't been a SINGLE problem, other than the driver's seatbelt clip was put on backwards during assembly.

    Is this car perfect? Nope, no car is. And if you are looking for close to perfection, then you have to spend at least twice as much for a Lexus (which is the other car I own).

    All in all, the GA is pretty good transportation for the money. I'm surprised how well the car holds up with me beating on it.
  • whackowhacko Posts: 96
    Grand Am's are ugly.
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