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Pontiac Grand Am

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  • 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: 1,524
    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.
  • vocusvocus Posts: 7,777
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Seeing that the Grand Am is one of the best-selling cars on the market year after year and seeing alot on the streets that are NOT rentals, the public doesn't agree with you whole-heartedly.
  • Has anyone tried putting a K&N Filtercharger on their V6 grand am and if so, do you feel a difference?
  • Let me add my appreciation of a fine 1999 4-Dr GT1. I have had the car for 2 and 1/4 years, have 19,000 miles and drive the car with gusto. The car has been defect free and is as solid and quiet as new. The gas mileage has increased from 18 mpg to a consistent 21 mpg in mixed heavy city driving and some freeway driving. It is uncanny how the transmission always finds the correct gear for any driving request. The steering wheel radio controls are fabulous and the car has an extremely comfortable front seat when properly adjusted with the electric seat controls. My other car is a Lexus and this car is definitely superior in design and build quality.
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    I bet many GA V6 owners didn't know how good the the transmission/engine combo is on car in this price range. What I'm alluding to is this: It dawned on me that everytime I hit the gas for some passing power, this car responds without hesitating. I got curious and broke out the owners manual and there it was, this is an electronically controlled transmission with a special feature. If you depress the gas pedal halfway, the car will simply try to accelarate. BUT, if you stomp the gas pedal all the way, the car will actually downshift AND then accelarate, hence giving you more instantaneous torque and power. It's like having the benefits of a manual stick without having to actually have one.

    I found this fascinating, YMMV.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Very similar to the 3.8 in the Grand Prix.

    Sometime back in the Stratus topic I explained what a piece of junk that car was with its clunky, confused tranny. The other guy got all defensive and called me old and I should retire. What a loser he is. He doesn't know what a good engine/tranny combo is.
  • sunfgtsunfgt Posts: 40
    GM's trannies. They're the best; BMW uses one of their 5-speed autos.
  • GM's 4T45-E transmission is probably one of the slickest automatics you can get.
  • lrymallrymal Posts: 105
    Ages ago in this list, there was a lot of talk about improving the brakes. I have some old clips of the messages, as they are. Weed through them and y'all should find resources that might be of help. If you can figure out a way to search through the older messages here, you'll find these. But, this new list forum is tough, at least for me, to do that. Excuse the grammar in these:


    ----------

    rotors for grand am CrossDrilled Slotted DuraStops, (or your fav brand), instead of plane jane rotors from an intrigue...


    I first saw an ad for it in MT magazine... It showed the DuraStop camfer Cross Drilled and slotted rotor. It said it was available for most GM cars... So I looked at AC-Delco's homepage... And I found it... It didn't show a listing for many cars... I figured if it was available for a Lumina and a Buick Century, why the heck not for a GTP or Grand Am? Well, the answer was simple... The caption, said sample applications... A call to the dealer led to the correct part number for the specific application....


    Also, one the earlier posts discuss the type of rotor to request (yes, you can request which type of rotors that your dealer use to replace the faulty ones) from your dealer! Take our advice, REQUEST THE ---AC/DELCO 'Durastop' - CROSS-DRILLED-SLOTTED RoTORS...they are the performance rotors that should be on the GA


    ==============


    http://www.autospecialty.com/nonflash/powerstop/index.htm


    I ordered them from a local "speed & custom" shop but the part #'s are PowerStop AR-8256L (left rotor) AR-8256R (right rotor) and the pads are Autospecialty "9-1-1 Extreme Performance" 26-727-02. Those #'s are for the front brakes on a 99-00 grand Am GT, not sure if its the same for the SE models or not. Hope that helps,

  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    I'm taking in my GA Tuesday to have the oil changed and the brakes looked at. My wife confirms that the brakes really don't have any "grip." I could have sworn somebody mentioned a TSB on this or whether this might be corrected under the warranty.

    It seems kind of silly that the brakes would wear out within 15k miles, even though I'm a lead foot.

    Any insights on this?

    TC
  • lrymallrymal Posts: 105
    > It seems kind of silly that the brakes would wear out within 15k miles, even though I'm a lead foot.

    I replaced my disk pads at about 45k on my '99 SE2. Rear drums were fine.

    I'm also a lead foot. I'd have the brakes examined for more than mere wear. Even if the pads are thin, a car will still have good braking, albeit with more fade potential. I'd tell the service droid exactly what your wife says.
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