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Pontiac Sunfire Electrical Problems



  • I have a 97 Pontiac Sunfire SE. My left signal light went out, so I had it replaced. Just a day after, it stopped working again. I put a new bulb on Thursday, and now, Saturday, it's busted yet again. It has a burnt smell, and the plastic at the bottom of the bulb seemed to have melted. What could the problem be? Any input would be much appreciated! Thank you! (By the way, I went to Autozone, Advance Auto Parts, and O'Reilly, looking for a socket, just in case that would solve the problem, and none of them carry the left signal socket.) :cry:
  • Ok so here we are I have an 2002 sunfire with 71000 miles on it and i've been having electrical issues. I took the car in because the battery was always drained and i was told it needed an alternator. I had the alternator replaced and still the same issue. I had the alternator changed again and the battery. Still the same. The i had a pcm and some wiring done. I was told there a short some where . Still same issues now the check engine light, trac off light and service lights are on and the car still starts as if the battery is almost dead! Can anyone help me?
  • Sometimes a "short" or "grounded out" wire is not actually the problem, when it could seem like it's obviously it. a poorly grounded negative can be just as bad, if not worse causing harm to alternators, batteries, ignitions, computers, basically everything. Here's what you can do.

    If you have any experience with electrical, and a voltage meter, then this could be easy. If you don't, then I'll try to explain it to you so you can explain it to someone else so they can say "wow that's easy."

    Since you have a new alternator and a new battery, this should help you find out EXACTLY what's wrong with it and you can save a LOT of money with costly "let's see if this works" type repairs.

    First off, take the voltometer, (not a test light, those are pointless at this point) and test the voltage of the battery with the engine off, between the two terminals. If it's above 11, you're fine. Wait an hour, then check the voltage again, if it has gone down say... more than half a volt, you've got a short circuit. if it hasn't changed more than a few hundreths of a volt, then so far so good.

    Start the vehicle, and leave it running for the duration of these tests.

    2. Test the voltage between the two battery terminals. If it's more than 13.8, you're ok, 14 and up is preferred. lower than 12 indicates a dead alternator, dead/dying battery, or a big electrical problem if those have been replaced already. If this is the case, bring your car to a parts store, most of them like Advance Auto and such will test these for free. If the voltage difference is below 13.5 it means you could have a bad ground or charging wire somewhere so we move on to step 3.

    (Keep engine running)
    3. Now comes the fun part, test between the alternator's positive terminal, the one separate red wire coming off of the alternator housing, and the positive terminal on the battery. If there's a difference of more than .1 volts there's a problem with that wire. It's the one that charges the battery, and a common culprit.

    4. Test between the frame (any unpainted bolt on the frame will do for this) and the negative battery terminal. Once again, a .1 volt difference is bad. This means that the negative battery terminal is not properly grounded to the frame.
    After that, test between the negative battery terminal and the engine block to test that wire. Just make sure it's an unpainted surface when testing.
    Lastly for the ground wires, test between the alternator housing and negative battery terminal. You're basically looking for a sharp increase in the voltage difference to indicate that the electricity isn't flowing between any of the grounded parts, the negative terminal, frame, engine, and alternator housing.

    I replaced my battery, and my alternator, and the garages said "everything seems fine" but THIS was how I found out that I had a bad ground wire which gave me an increase in everything electrical after I fixed it, and solved the problems.

    If it's not the wires, and you're getting 14+ volts between battery terminals, with less than the indicated differences in voltage, then the problem is not with your charging system, the electricity isn't getting to the spark plugs correctly. Ignition Coils on these go fairly quickly, but if you haven't replaced the spark plugs and wires yet, I'd go with that first, then get the ignition coil looked at if the problem persists.

    Hope this helped, I had 2 dealerships and a garage tell me "generic electrical problems" and one gave me a huge estimate, but I fixed the problem myself with a 7 dollar cable from a parts store. If you're not having the same problem I did, then at least you know what it's not without having to "replace first, figure out problem later."
  • coming from exp of installing audio systems it could be a short considering stock speakers are usually pieces of junk or just some loose wires i would up grade just go to walmart and get some new ones there probably going to be about 30-45 bucks but the extra money is worth it
    they will last and the sound will be so much better :)
  • brian52brian52 Posts: 5
    where is the thermostat on my 2001 sunfire 2.2 L
  • jsakjsak Posts: 7
    uhm i would start with following the hoses off of my radiator maybe? one of them might just lead you to it wouldnt one think?
  • pamelacopamelaco Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Pontiac Sunfire and there is a loud thumping sound in the dashboard above the glove compartment. this happens the entire time the car is on. Doesnt matter if the heat/air is on or off.
  • car runs fine
    but when u switch from park to drive theres a small power drain i can see with the dash lights
    and then when u first touch the gas pedal its even a more of a power lose but the car still runs fine
    on my dash when this all happens my day lights flash my stereo turns on and off my brake light comes on air bag light and seat belt light. then after a couple of seconds everything is fine.....or if a hit a bump in the road... i know it seems like a short... but were im thinking around the trany or the trany ground... any ideas?
  • brian52brian52 Posts: 5
    how do you change the back abs sensor on a 2001 sunfire 2.2 liter
  • raph94raph94 Posts: 1
    i have a 2002 sunfire 2.2L.when i start the car the headlights flash and then turn off and the service light came on. when i turn the headlight switch to on they don't work. all other lights on the car work including the drl and high beams. please help. what could the problem be.
  • Recently my drivers side blinker and brake light have stopped working in my 2003 Sunfire. This is becoming a problem because I don't want to get pulled over for having a break light out. Does anyone have an ideas on how to fix it? I thought it was the bulb, but if you play with the bulb it will go on as long as your holding it in a certain spot. Is this a common problem? Whats an easy fix?
  • :mad: Everytime it gets hot in the car the gas gauge messes points to the mph instead of the other way to show me how much gas it has in it... It happens almost everyday and i'm gettin tired of it...does anyone know anything about this?? Its a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire....Thanks
  • I am having this same issue, does anyone know where to start on this. Strange thing is that the dash lights haven't work in a while. So i decided to pull out the dimmer switch to check if any wires have come loose. In the mean time the mileage has always shown when the lights are off.

    Nothing looked bad or out of place so I plugged the wire harness back onto the dimmer switch and started the car. Now the mileage wont light up at all.

    Not sure where to begin or what wires to look for. Please help, thanks.
  • I'm having the same problems with my 05 Sunfire. Any problems with the tack? Mine stopped working. I bought this car brand new... 56K on it. Anyone answered back yet?
  • my 05 has the same issue, except the clunking comes from under the glove compartment. i found out its the recirculatory fan and if you keep the a/c-heat thing on the recirculating setting, the noise stops
  • I have no problems with with the tack or fuel gauge.I have 217 thousand klms on my car now.I was told when I bought the car not to use Shell gas it gums up the line.I do not now if that is true or not, but I do not use it.My sunfire is a 2001.
  • My gf's 2004 Sunfire is having the same issue. We just got it from a dealership 2 weeks ago with 36K miles on it and the fuel gauge needle goes into the speedometer and gets stuck. Also the temp gauge needle goes into the speedometer and hits the 0 on the speedometer and causes the RPM needle to get stuck.

    Also the reverse lights don't come on, she has a manual.

    This car has too low miles to be having issues like this, no wonder GM has such a bad rep, this is horrible!

    Any help would be appreciated
  • i have a 2001 pontiac sunfire and when i am driving the interior lights keep going on and off doors are all closed
  • Well i solved the gauge problem pretty well i just went and got another spedometer from a junk yard and put it in now it works just fine....The reverse lights not coming on might mean that the switch or whatever in the tranny is broke or i wish ya'll good luck
  • and the interior lights might be because the clip on the trunk might be broken or loose or somethin...but i'm just guessin good luck
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