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Pontiac Grand Prix Engine fires 3800 series II 1996-2003



  • mack1amack1a Posts: 5
    Desi & Cruster, thanks for the info.
    I'll go out in the driveway and write down my VIN # and proceed from there.

    I wonder if I could get a new engine outta this? Doubt it.
    But it'd be nice to get a brand spankin' new Supercharged engine!
    I can wish, can't I? ;)
  • sly_guysly_guy Posts: 4
    Only one thing to say "BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR".... That Supercharged engine has a lot of kinks to be worked out.. that's why it is still
    under recall by GM.
  • Good news! Today a recall was issued for all 97-03 cars with the 3800 series II engine. Here is what it says:

    (CNN) -- The possibility of engine fires has prompted General Motors to recall nearly 1.5 million passenger sedans manufactured between 1997 and 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday.

    The recall covers certain mid- and full-size passenger sedans under GM's (GM, Fortune 500) Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile and Pontiac brands.

    The recalled vehicles all have naturally aspirated 3.8 liter V6 engines -- that is, engines that uses atmospheric pressure to bring in air for combustion rather than a mechanical blower -- according to documents filed with federal regulators by GM last week.

    On Friday, the federal government acknowledged the filing and agreed to the plan.

    0:00 /1:14Will automakers deliver?
    The problem involves a potential for oil to leak on the exhaust manifold during hard braking. When a car operates under normal conditions, the manifold can get very hot. Oil that runs below the manifold's heat shield could ignite and spread to plastic channels that hold spark plug wires.

    The company recommends as a solution for the problem a change in the bracket that holds spark-plug wires, which will be done free of charge. Owners and dealers affected by the new recall will be notified by letter next month with details.

    The vehicles involved are 1997-2003 Buick Regals; 1998-2003 Chevrolet Luminas, Monte Carlos and Impalas; 1998-1999 Oldsmobile Intrigues; and 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix.

    GM issued a similar recall on a similar engine in 2008, according to the company's filing with the government. That problem was traced to a faulty gasket on the engine rocker cover.

    First Published: April 14, 2009: 5:13 AM ET

    here is the link as well
  • krandallkrandall Posts: 1
    The sad thing is GM will not admit the real reason why these cars are catching on fire. It is because of failure of the o-rings in the gas lines.I have also seen a few that have backfired and shattered the plastic intake,the fuel line connection is right next to the intake manifold. I am in the salvage business and see these cars on a weekly basis. Relocating a spark plug channel is a joke and will not solve anything.It is not a matter of if the engine will catch on fire but when. If you wiggle the gas line and see gas dripping it can happen at any time.Do not expect GM to own up and admit their mistakes. But do keep your full coverage insurance up on it.
  • My 2001 pont. grand prix caught fire in a parking lot, after going into work. The fire dept was outside, someone said there were 5 cars on fire. It was obvious that the fire started under my hood and spread to the others. I had just learned that there was a recall for this problem. If anyone has any information of what to do from here it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  • jessica9jessica9 Posts: 12
    I recieved the recall letter last week and mine started on fire 2 1/2 years ago. I still have the car. Has anyone gotten any info on what they are doing for cars this has already happen to? I haven't even called GM yet any suggestions?
  • zacknhszacknhs Posts: 2
    My car caught on fire last week in front of my house. it was idling for 5-10 min and it went up in flames a police car driving by saw it before i did and called the fire dept. the firemen cut my hood off with a diamond saw right in front of me. Now my insurance company is trying to figure out what caused it and the car is modified. i work at Intense-Racing and have added headers, cat-back, Gen V s/c, Intercooler, roller rockers and electric water pump. and i could care less about the parts but they are trying to not pay for the car at all. i can remove most of the parts and they are still usable. but the car is gone. it's amazing b/c the car has had the valve cover gasket changed 4 times in the last 5 years since i have owned it b/c of oil leaking on the heads and headers.
  • jettechjettech Posts: 8
    If most of the fire was emanating from the left, front wheel well, then I would tell your insurance company that that is exactly how most of these cars have burned, because of the defect. I have researched and read a lot of messages about this problem and that is the one constant fact that was prevalent in most of the cases...the fire, or flames were shooting out from the left, front wheel well.

    Because of the mods that you have done I think you are going to have a tough time with your insurance company. They always look for any loopholes not to pay. But, if you have any witnesses or video of the flames coming from the wheel well then you should be able to argue that that is how they all have burned up, and it shouldn't matter that you had mods done. At least, that's how I see it. But, I'm no expert.

    My car burned and I received full market value for it from my insurance company. I just received a call the other day from an attorney for the insurance company who is suing GM and he said that he thought they had a very good chance to win, and that I would more than likely get my deductible back. That is left to be seen yet.

    Good luck.
  • zacknhszacknhs Posts: 2
    When you say left you mean passenger side? b/c that is where most of the flames were on my car the flames def started on that side.
  • doughboy3doughboy3 Posts: 1
    After reading all of your stories, about your engine fires I thought I would chime in. On december 1st 2008 my wife drove to work ten minutes from our house, parked the car and within five minutes a lady came in and said that a car was on fire sure enough it was ours. The fire dept was called and was on the scene in just minutes but the car was totaled. We had recieved a recall notice four days prior and had set up an appointment to have it fixed. We were sick, we loved our car. All we wanted was to get it fixed. After waiting for three months (Mr Brian Swartz) called us back and offered us 900.00 dollars (salvage price) and said we should be grateful that GM even admitted guilt. Furious we dicided to take them to small claims court. We would have taken the blue book value at the begining. But they said no deal and would not even call us back. At the day of court their lawyer asked us what we would settle for we asked for 3000.00 but settled for 2750.00. So in hind sight it can be done if your are patient( p.s. took six months). Hope this helped, and yes we purchased another GTP, Still Love That Car:)
  • mmcginnismmcginnis Posts: 1
    I was driving down the road today my 97 gran prix sputtered a little bit and died. When I went to restart the car I noticed smoke coming out from under the hood. As I raised the hood to investigate the engine went up in flames. I immediately called the fire department and they had to come out and put the fire out. When I got home I immediately google this and found out the gran prix had been recalled. I did not know this nor did I receive a notice from any place. The insurance company I have does not really seem that concerned about this since they had it towed to a auto body shop. I tried to explain the engine is destroyed and completely melted. Has anyone had similar problems with 97 gran prix. Who else should I contact. Thanks for any help you can provide.
  • Today I got to work and 10 minutes later somebody ran over and told me my car was on fire, needless to say I did not believe them. Well it was true my 2002 GTP went up in flames today in parking garage. Fire Dept. came and put the fire out but the car is totaled.

    Have there been any lawsuits about this or has anything received anything from GM. Has nyone called GM and received any results?
  • grngtpgrngtp Posts: 14
    Sorry about the fire and totaling the car.

    Did you have the recall work done on the valve cover gasket that was part of the safety recall?

  • cmabrycmabry Posts: 2
    I talked with GM for about 2 months and they finally decided NOT to cover the "problem". My insurance company did cover the costs and the sued GM. I do not know how it turned out with the lawsuit. (but do not expect anything from GM)
    Good luck with it.
  • My car was totalled due to engine fire in April 2006. My insurance totalled the vehicle less my $500 deductible. After hearing about the recall I contacted GM. They did refund me my $500 deductible that the insurance company took. I suggest calling GM. They are taking care of the problem. They have issued the recall. I have received dozens of notifications from them regarding the recall. If the vehicle is titled in your name, you should be getting recall notices. Bring your vehicle in and have it repaired. If you already suffered a total loss, contact GM. They will take care of you. I would like to add that I had to sign an agreement that I would not take part in any future law suits regarding the issue though. Good luck everyone!
  • whats still usable and will u sell it? and if so how much? i got a 1998 grand prix gt 2 door
  • I just purchased a 1998 pontiac grand prix GT 3.8L with 130,000 miles on it. I can't find out if the timing belt or chain has ever been replaced. Will it ruin my engine if it breaks? Has anyone experienced this issue? I would appreciate it if I could get some feedback. Is this something I should replace right away?


  • You should hear this from several sources besides me before considering it to be fact, but that timing chain and gear set should last well past 200K miles if the oil has been regularly changed (even longer if synthetic oil has been used). If regular oil has been used, be careful changing over to synthetic as it may cause some seal leakage (or maybe not). I'd be more concerned about the transmission if I was you. Regular trans fluid and filter changes (done right) will also be helpful.
  • Julie - I would appreciate knowing who you talked to who would even grant you your insurance deductible. My car caught fire on 9/1/09 while I was home from work for 5 minutes to let my dogs out and pick up my cell phone. Came back out to the car, (parked directly under my master bedroom windows in front of the garage and found smoke coming from the hood. I suspected a broken radiator hose, opened the hood and instead of steam, I got flames. I shut the hood, got a bucket of water from the garage quickly and opened the hood and put out the flames. A dealer tells me it's repairable. GM says they won't cover this becuase in Kanass where I live, the Breach of Warranty Statute of Limitations is 4 years from the date of original purchase. I argued that this is not a warranty issue, as it's a SAFETY RECALL issue. They say in Kansas that it doesn't matter. Anyone interested might like to look at the NHTSA's Office of Defect Investigations web site, and check out this document entitled "Motor Vehicle Defects and Safety Recalls: What Every Vehicle Owner Should Know" If you have any names of people you talked to at ESIS/GM Central Claims Unit, please share those. I have already contacted the Kansas Attorney General's office, NBC Action News' Call for Action team and will try whatever I can. In the meantime, unless GM covers this, I will do my part to see that no one I know will ever buy another GM car again. I will say that the dealer I went to was very nice and tried to assist, but GM simply doesn't give a damn about the people their product might kill.
  • What was the car model and year? If it was a GTP, was the recall work completed? Do you know where the fire started? Any pictures? Some additional information would be useful.

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