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Pontiac Montana Engine Problems



  • beowulf58beowulf58 Posts: 12
    I didn't know about this lawsuit. Unfortunately, I'm not a citizen of Missouri. If I was, I'd sign on to reclaim the $3000 I spent for an upper engine rebuild because of failed intake gaskets.
  • beowulf58beowulf58 Posts: 12
    I haven't changed that in awhile but I guess that's not a bad idea. It's not running sluggish. I just have an "eternal engine light."
  • We have a 2000 Pontiac Montana. There has been a faint ticking sound under the hood for some time now that was hardly noticeable. There is oil in the van and we do keep up on the oil changes, however there is a slow oil leak as indicated by the spot in our driveway. The other night we drove the van and a security light came on which we had never seen before. The next day the van would not start. Out of the blue we had a dead battery but don't know why. We jump started the van and drove it to get the battery replaced. Now it starts but that ticking sound is MUCH louder now and can be heard well even sitting inside the van with the windows and doors closed. The ticking occurs immediately after starting the van. It is always there and increases with acceleration while driving and in idol. We are suppose to be driving our van on vacation in 3 days but now don't know what to do. Any idea what could be wrong, how easy it would be to have it fixed and how costly it would be?

    Thank you for your help!
  • minivanh8r hit the nail on the head.

    We have a 99 and have had the intake manifold gasket (just slipped in under the warrenty THANK GOD $$$$$) a few years after that we had to have the head gasket replace.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong I am hearing it is actaully the coolant that GM is using along with the gasket design. Supposibly the gaskets have been redesigned the gaskets where actually melting.

    It is just so frustrating we have been running cars for how many years (never had gasket issues like this) now and they just want to change things around at our expense. That is not to mention that rust issues are still as big of a problem as they are.

    I agree with a presious post this will be my LAST domestic vehicle!!!!!! They do not want to admit (take care) of a problem unless several hundred people have died over it.
  • Well I was right sort of. It was electrical but it turned out that it was my brand spankin new battery then. Since I have had to replace the battery connection since it was arching under the van frayed connections.
    we are now at 170,000 miles and I still love my montana I'm sure at some point in will start costing me $$$. My only pain has been the passanger rear light. I have had to replace the wiring harness 4 times now.
  • 2003 Pontiac Montana 4.3L series \"E\" engine. Rocker Arm bolts (8mm) stripped out of the 1,3,5 cylinder head at 85,342 miles. Dealer repaired at $1,500.00, Dealer also checked the 2,4,6 cylinder head. Dealer verified 2,4,6 cylinder head and rocker arm bolts ok. 88,702 miles and ... yes, the Rocker Arm bolts (8mm) stripped out of the 2,4,6 cylinder head. Another $1,500.00. After some Internet searching found other Montana owners with the same issue. Makes me wonder if I searched for issues with GM 3.4L engines if I would come up with the same issue.
  • Request for recommendations to "fix", or trade-in???
    I love the van; acquired from dealer in November 07. It did a 12,000+ mile road trip then developed overheating problem intermittantly, which has gotten increasingly worse. The first signs of something was the sytem light would also be on for about 3-4 minutes on start up, then off for remainder of any outting, until the engine was shut off and then on restart, the light again would do the same thing, etc. Had in to very trusted mechanics garage, and it always seemed to never act up at the shop, so problem couldn't be isolated. Mechanic would blow out the line, thinking maybe air had gotten in somehow? Van would be "fine" for 1-2 days, then problem would repeat - while it would idle "fine" for over an hour at a garage when mechanic would test, for me when I'd pick up the van, drive about 5 miles, problem would resurface - idle at a light and it would start to overheat, or on an uphill. Van has been stored three months between Dec -07 - March 08, then July 08 - October 08 (no one driving). When I picked up the van in October, coolant level was "fine" - drove about 45 miles, parked, and two days later, overflow tank empty. But, since it was refilled, it hasn't seemed to leak anywhere. (level not dropping). Van is driveable at this point about one mile, without the temp line rapidly approaching the red zone. Mechanic has replaced thermostat, and problem still exists. Pontiac dealership here put it on a diagnostic scope and said "third cylinder is misfiring", "problem with oil pressure gauge" (didn't know what the problem is) and "can't control the fans with the scope - and we should be able to do this". The Pontiac dealer guy couldn't say 100% for sure it is head gasket. Didn't know. Thought fan motor should be checked out. I've had it two mechanics who say fan motor is "fine" as it isn't acting up for them. Van with engine running, most of the time the heat won't kick in for about 30-45 minutes, then it'll be like the fans "cough" and then all of a sudden there is a nice blast of hot air, and the heat stays on.
    Engine has 77,000 miles on it approximately and intake (valve?) thing was done, according to last mechanic.
    Read your forum pages and it is mentioning a "hydro carbon test" . I'm a not a mechanic - in layperson's terms - 1) what is a hydro carbon test - is it something I can do - or - how is it done? 2) I saw some things in a forum for Acura's. It mentioned doing a "compression test", and checking oil to see if it looks like runny milk, chocolate (= blown headgasket) - is this true for a Montana van, too? 3) I also saw mentioned doing a "leak down test" - How is this done? Is it relevant to a Montana van? 4) Fan relay -- is this the same as the fan motor - and does it sound like this might be causing the problem?

    Rates: I am being quoted $79/ hour shop rate and 18 hours for labour, + parts. Estimate is about $2500 to do the job. How much should I be expecting in labour hours and if it is a blown gasket, what are normal rates for machining / grinding of flat heads, and should the water pump be done, too? Could the water pump, alone be making this problem?

    I've been told the belts are "fine" - and didn't ask if this means the "timing belt", too. Is this an easily accessible belt - that likely was checked as well?

    I have the additional challenge - the van hit the tow-only level in Canada, and is licensed in the US -- so I will need to tow it back to US if I can't get this resolved. I live in Canada, "business" in US (van is used for nonprofit in US).

    Can a van in this condition be "traded in"? Our nonprofit isn't in a strong cash flow position to deal with trading in - so would like to fix, if possible, and it makes sense to do so.

    Thank you to all you trusted mechanics out there, or dealership service departments who can give some coaching on this. We love the van - - and it works well for what we need it for! Just really don't really want to trade in, unless to get the newer model of the Montana.

    :confuse: :sick: :cry:
  • Tiger,
    That sounds much like what mine was doing but it wasn't the head gasket, it was the intake gaskets which are notorious for going bad in these vehicles. With the help of a friend, I replaced them instead of paying the $2,500 to have someone do it. If you and/or someone you know can fix this problem yourself then you will be in it for about $200 worth of seals. It's time consuming but you'll gain alot of knowledge in doing it.
    If you just want to get rid of it, you won't get much for a vehicle with an engine problem, especially with the price of gas and a vehicle that isn't fuel efficient IMO. Either way, you're options aren't too appealing.
  • Hi, Beowulf58,
    Thanks for your input. I am checking on your point -- I believe the last mechanic said the intakes were "done" already. He pointed out to me, to areas on each side of the metal-looking thing in the middle of the space under the hood (gee, I sound like such a girl saying it this way -- but I know it wasn't the rad, but I don't know if that was the engine?) Anyway, he said those two things, one on each side were "done".

    And - - I will call him to check on this.

    Do you know how to run a hydrocarbon test?


  • Hi, Beowulf,

    Just a quick update - I went down and did my own check on the van, which is parked outside the mech's garage....oil is "clean", and rad isn't splashing back coolant when engine is warm. Intakes were "done" (dealership done - before I got van).

    Do you know anything you can "share" about fans and fan relay or the piece that attaches to waterpump -- could this be causing the symptoms for overheating?

    Talked to mechanic today -- same shop / other sr. guy - he doesn't think it is the water pump...(but he's guessing).

    Plans to do htdrocarbon test and pressure test Monday.

    I keep feeling like it is maybe one of the fans not kicking in properly -- but I don't know if this is they relay(?) or the fan...? It seems one fan definitely runs, as it blows cold air. Then suddenly something seems to "kick in" (like an engine "cough") - perhaps the other fan????


  • Don't worry, Tiger, I won't pick on you for not knowing what something is. I do like how you pick on yourself though. Anyway..

    If your mechanic says they were done, I guess it's a matter of how much you trust him. From just pointing it out won't do much since the seals are sandwiched between the valve covers and the head. Hopefully whoever replaced them did NOT use the anti-freeze that GM used. It is believed this contributes to the wear down of the seals.

    No, I don't know how to run a hydrocarbon test. My guess is plugging a code reader in will tell if their are any emissions issues. They are quite easy to use and if you have a book, which I do, it will tell you what the problem is and what is needed.

    Hope this helps.
  • Sure, a bad fan can cause overheating. Electric fans run on a relay that turns them on when the water temp reaches a certain temperature hence the warning near them that says, "fans may turn on at any time." If you have a bad relay to them, it's the same effect. If it fails, it may not turn your fan on at all. You have two fans, one is the cooling fan which is automatic, based on engine temperature, and the other works when you use your air conditioning.

    The water pump is it's own part and is mounted into the engine block. It does just what it says, pumps the fluid around the engine. A fan won't affect it, at least, it shouldn't.
  • hello, my belt has been slipping from the harmonic pulley, Now i have had the car for 4 years and replaced the belts a few times, i changed the belt tensioner and that did not fix the slipping. im wondering if the original owner but the pulley on backward what do you think?

  • i have a 2001 and it runs good but wont idle.I replaced the throtle position sensor and idle air control valve
  • We have changed pulley after pulley the water pump has been changed the power steering pump has also it just got changed the other day and after it got changed it is sluggish to start up and it still squeals really bad i was told that it might be the alternator, i really don't know what it could be could someone please help? thanks for your time.
  • wont idle ive changed the throtle postion sensor and the idle air control valve.please help i dont have any thing to drive. :cry: :confuse: :cry:
  • You need a new harmonic balancer. The pulley is slowly slipping, pulling away from the balancer (rubber). It's not align with the other pulleys, which is causing the belt to slip.
  • havnfun2havnfun2 Posts: 2
    My Moms Montana did the same thing....go and get a Throttle Positioning Sensor for about $35... they tried to tell her it was the intake gaskets leaking and wanted her to pay $1800....she called me and I told her it was the TPS and since we replaced it she has had no more problems with her van speeding up on it's own...hope this helps if you haven't already figured it out.
  • Thank you for your posting. This would have been an interesting thing to look into. After mechanics were split as to what was causing the problem, it was recommended by "all" to trade in my much-beloved van. So, after it overheated on the freeway - during a test drive related to the trade in (!!!) I really had to trade it if possible and did. The GM dealership gave me full value and a good price on a Chevrolet Uplander 2006 w/ low miles. It is NOT the van the Montana was - so miss the Montana! An almost loaded Uplander is a bad joke compared to the Montana - so many things missing, lower power, just everything. But for now, will hang on to the van, for timing of other things in life issues. Bigger picture - if the used car economy was a stronger market, I would get rid of it for a Montana - even an older one. Got the Uplander in December. It is going into the dealership for more repair work - for I think this is the 5th (!!!) time. Problems with gear shift getting stuck, horn still doesn't work, had a nearly broken tie rod that dealership didn't fix before selling the van, and the list goes on. Thankfully, other than wasting time, it has a happy ending since I bought the most extensive full five year extended warranty. For anyone listening to this - get the warranty. At $2000 it is a bargain! Less than six months into this - if I had had to pay for all these repairs out of pocket, I would have been out of pocket at least another $500 by now. The warranty covers first dollar - so I have had no additional money paid out. Meanwhile, Pontiac Montana - the model I had - wonderful van. Should have just put the $3-4000 out and fixed it, hindsight.
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