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Pontiac Grand Prix Engine fires 3800 series II 1996-2003



  • Sorry, Yes, 1999 Grand Prix, GTP, 60,000 miles, Serviced by GM every 4000 miles. Insurance Company baulked and then tried to have the county bring arson charges. Even after I provided the insurance company yet another Grand Prix fire and they just said it was poor owner up keep...
  • My car began to over heat yesterday. I made it to work, and had a friend take me to Autozone to get the specific coolant called for by the manual. An orange coolant, called Dex-Cool. As instructed, I mixed it 50/50 w/ distilled water, and filled it up. I then drove home, and it drove smoothly. On my way to work the next morning, a familiar feeling started up. My steering became difficult, especially when turning left. A clunking, stressfull sound started up within the engine, and the temp started creeping up. I got to work again, and waited til lunch time, where I went down again and screwed off the coolant cap. It was low. I checked beneath the car, to see it dripping coolant down into the gutter. I filled it up, as I needed to go to the bank, deciding I would just have to keep filling up the coolant until I had enough money to repair the leak. I didn't even make it 2 minutes away before the steering and noises started up again. I parked at the bank, only to come around the front of the car and see smoke steaming out of the passenger side, near the front of the hood and up by the windshield. I thought maybe I'd overfilled the coolant, and it was burning off, so I opened the hood, to find that the radiator was not smoking, no where near it. The engine was smoking. Up near the belts on the left of the 3800 logo. I'm very low on funds, and new I only needed to get back to work where I could get on here and hopefully get some answers, so I got in the car, and drove as slowly as possible back to work. Now, yesterday, on my way to work, when I sped up, the air would cool the engine. On this trip back to work, the faster I went, the hotter the engine got. It never hit the red, but was touching the edge as I pulled in. There is a strange clanking noise that speeds up as I speed up, and the engine sound jerky and strained. When parked, the smoke started up again. It did not smoke as I drove. The smoke smells like burning coolant, however, not that I'm an expert on car scents. Coming in here and reading this post on spontaneous 3800 engine fires has made me periodically check out the window to see if my GTP is in flames :sick: . I need help :confuse: Does anyone know what I can do about this? I don't know what else to do when my engine is overheating other than add coolant. But it's full and still smoking! I don't have the money for an engine diagnostic right now, don't have a mechanic i trust, and probably couldn't afford the repairs anyway. i will most likely try making the repairs myself, once I figure out what the problem is. :/ Did this happen to anyone else? Is my car going to burst into flames if I try to take the freeway home tonight? Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks, -Heather
  • Heather,
    My 1999 Grand Prix GTP did not make any engine noises or smoke prior to catching fire, it was running perfectly when I parked it on my mother's carport. Within 10 minutes, the car burst into flames, thank God the fire department was close by and her home did not burn. The car was a total loss, this seems to be the pattern with everyone else that has had engine fires. I am no car expert, but if I were you, I wouldn't park the car anywhere it could cause damage to anyone else's property. Have you had the oil checked? It sounds as if the engine is about to blow and you definitely have a leak, probably the water pump is going bad or gone, they make strange noises.
  • chats1chats1 Posts: 158
    Heather, when my nephew's 99 GTP (I owned the car and then gave it to him), caught on fire, there were no warnings whatsoever. He was in his office across from the gas station and they called him, saying that five minutes after he turned it off, it was on fire, coming from the engine compartment. The fire dept. had to come to put it out. The car was totalled and he was very satisfied with his settlement from the insurance company. As far as your coolant goes, do you think the coolant bottle needs to be replaced. It may have a hole in it. My 2002 GTP had to have the coolant bottle replaced because the coolant was leaking out. The only warning I got was the "Coolant Low" light came on and then went out. I took it into the dealer. The first time they said the hose was lose and fixed it. I got home and saw an oily substance on the garage floor coming from that area and took it right back. They had to replace the bottle. It had a hole in it. You may have other problems also. I would not drive that car. I would take it in immediately and see what's wrong. chats1
  • Bad as I hate to say it, add me to this list also. My 2000 GTP burned up today. I went to lunch came back to work and 10 minutes after I parked it the engine compartment went up in flames. No way for the fire department to know where it started from, and the state investigator is for arson type fires only. I called GM and filed a report about it after reading all these threads about the engine fires affecting these vehicles. They sais someone would contact me within 2 days. This kills me, I've only had the car 3 weeks!!!! Something has to be done about this problem before someone dies.
  • bedensbedens Posts: 23
    Please get my email address and email me.
  • I just found this site. Has anyone ever received anything from GM for this problem. I had a 1999 grand prix gtp that started on fire while i was in a department store for 5 minutes. The car was totalled and gm did nothing.
  • My vehicle also started on fire. I parked and went in a department store for 5 minutes and when i came out it was in flames. I think we should try to start a large complaint with GM. Anyone with me?
  • Good Luck...I can't even get Pontiac to tell me the VIN number ranges of the NHTSA's investigation and recall of
    Grand Prix for engine fires...
  • chats1chats1 Posts: 158
    I had a 1999 GTP which when I bought a new 2002 GTP my nephew got. Last year the 99 went on fire 5 minutes after he parked it. It was totalled. The insurance company settled with him; he had no problems at all; they gave him what the dealer in his area would be getting for the car; he was very satisfied. I think it is up to the insurance companies to go after GM. I honestly do not think that you will get anywhere with GM. It is very difficult to sue large companies. If you do try, get the lawyer to take his fee on a contingency basis. I now have a 2006 GXP -- hopefully no fires. This is quite scary and seems to be very common, as I read these posts. chats1
  • jmac74jmac74 Posts: 10
    My Pontiac GTP 2000 caught fire Feb 28,2005 while I was driving it. It was pretty scary since the car just died and I didn't have any control. I was lucky not to get hurt. My insurance company said it was from a faulty fuel line going into the engine. I have some other people and we are trying for a class action lawsuit. Anyone interested please respond to my email at
  • Well, add me to the infamous list. I had a 2001 Grand Prix GTP. It happened yesterday. Came home back from the dentist, parked on the driveway, went into my home office, heard strange noise, came back out, saw the engine compartment on fire. Call fire dept. and fire was put out but not before the car was gone. Car was driving fine just before.
  • tandotando Posts: 1
    My wife was driving our 99 grand prix, with 3.1 l v6 home from work yesterday. She smelled smoke inside th car, and with 30 seconds found the seat getting hot. She got out, and found the seat was on fire under her!! Within minutes, the car was totally engulfed, and was destroyed. There were no heated seats, and she does not smoke, so it was not a cigarette...any ideas??
  • This is a totally new account of any fire in the Pontiac Grand Prix GTP I have heard of. The fire department that investigated my fire said it must have been a electrical shortage in the engine compartment. I am thankful your wife was not injured. These fires are getting way too common. I did fill out the online form with the NHTSA but heard nothing. :(
  • yea i did same thing-i just pressed down on it a little bit and it did it-i think ill wrap in some a foam sleeve or something-later
  • u know there was a service bulletin-NOT A RECALL-as i was told by dealer-catalytic converters are getting too hot-and the insides might be gettingflakey-anyway i didnt wait for anything to happen-changed it myself-maybe its something u guys could look at.-later
  • catalytic converter-service bulletin-go to ntsa web site and i think they have a list of all service bulletins and recalls-hope this helps
  • WOW! I went on line to find out the cost of a new or rebuilt 3800 II engine for my 98 GTP and found this.
    On Valentines Day, I went to go out to get food at a store that was about a half mile away. I got back, shut the car off and went into the house. It seemed about only 20 minutes and I heard a noise, looked out and saw flames shooting out from under the hood. My car also ran like a top and went like a raped ape.
    Unfortunately, I didn't have insurance on my car, I bought it cash and didn't require it because their was no lien holder. It never got to the inside but totally wiped out the front end and did melt part of the windshield and dash.
    Not that I am glad but at least I know I am not alone. I usually do my research pretty good before buying and this was new to me. This has been my dream car since they came out with the GTP. My first car was a 68 Grand Prix. The car I had before this one was a 94 Grand Prix 3.1 and I never had a lick of trouble with it and it had over 300 K when it was traded.
    Now, has anyone had any luck on pursuing this obvious defect? If so, who do I notify. Both my Wife and I are disabled and on disability and that was our only transportation. I bought my baby with part of my disabilty check because I knew it was going to be my last car and I wanted it to be my dream car. :sick:
  • tommy231tommy231 Posts: 27
    The NHTSA is supposedly looking at 1999 through 2002 GTPs. Have there been pre-1999 or post-2002 GTP engine fires?

    This issue is also being discussed at -fires/#comments
  • tommy231tommy231 Posts: 27
    Sorry, that link was broken by the posting... try this one: is easier than trying to paste it back together and it goes to the same location.

    Here is a link to the recent NHTSA posting:
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