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Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair

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  • I am currently looking for a new automobile and I think the Bonneville is the one for me, or that was until I read the message board. I'm undecided I was looking at the 2000 no particular model at the present time. Can anyone give me any bad news about the 2000 before I take the plunge?
  • bmauzy,

    Have you looked in the Sedans conference. All you SHOULD read about in this conference is trouble. Check out the Sedans conference for a more balanced view, but remember, 10 satisfied customers may never say a peep about their experience, but the ONE who has a bad experience is NEVER silent....

    Your host, Bruce
  • Can you find out what "reseting the Adaptive memory" is. I asked a friend and he seemed to think that was the same as "relearning the idle".
    If you can provide this info I would appreciate it. (concering trans. shifting problems at mid-range speed)
  • My son has 197K miles on his 88 Bonnie that I passed down to him in 1994. My wife's 2001 SLE will be built next week. All my friends love their Bonnies and none are having the problems that are mentioned. I've only been reading these because I have a new SLE on order and I wanted to see what people are saying. We started out to buy an Aztec but my wife has some physical limitations and she could not easily lift the rear hatch. As soon as she sat in the Bonnie the Aztec was history.
  • Hi Gang!

    Well, I'm happy to post that my 2000 SSEI has reached the 3000 mile mark without any problems; the only complaints I have is some rattling here and there, especially ion the sunroof and the passenger front door (fixed by the dealer), and the lousy designed headrests - other than that, this car is a dream come true.

    Sincerely,

    Dennis D. Mullert
  • Well, I am the proud new owner of a 2000 SSEI. I bought it a few weeks ago with 11K miles on it. I love it!! Ok. I have noticed a few problems though.

    1. After coming to a stop, turning the steering wheel is very difficult when the car is not moving; it's much easier to turn when the car is rolling forward or backward slightly. Somebody said it could be a problem with the "Rack" of the car.. He said it was called a "Lazy Rack". Is this something that is easily corrected? I don't know anything about rack & pinion steering.

    2. After driving home (about a 48 mile trip), when the car is idling, before I turn it off, the motor seems to surge a bit, over and over, fluxuating the RPMs just a small amount. This doesnt happen every time, but happens enough for me to notice it. Should I be concerned?

    I'm now at 12K miles. Thanks all!
  • Someone posted a while back that your dealership can adjust the steering stiffness with the computer to allow you to have a smooth power steering or a more sporty feel; you may very well have it set yo the stiffer setting. You cannot fix this - the dealer has to do it for you.

    Dennis
  • The torque converters in GM cars do have a history of 'hunting' while going up a hill. What I believe Bonneville owners are experiencing is the shift between lock up on the torque converter and unlocking which is essentially a normal occurrence. Heavy load on the drivetrain and the converter unlocks, reduced load and the converter locks. The process is there to keep the engine from stalling or experiencing detonation (spark knock).In GM cars, the process is jsut more noticeable than in other makes.

    If the the torque converter locks in first or second or fails to unlock when coming to a stop, then there's likely a failure with the TCC switch. This failure is not uncommon in GM cars; my 86 Grand Am experienced it. The switch is inexpensive and should only take about an hour to replace. By the way, my 89 Grand Prix has done that since new. The car now has 221,500 miles on it w/o a failure to the tranny. AND that's with the infamous 440T transmission!

    As to the power steering unit, GM's Magna Steer is not without complaints of erratic performance. While I believe there is a software 'fix', the problem is not related only to Bonnevilles. Seems the unit tends to think it's going slow when it's going fast and vice versa. When the car is going fast, steering effort is supposed to increase and when the cars slows, steering effort is supposed to decrease. There are some reports of Magna Steer units doing the opposite and causing vibration. See topics related to Suburbans for discussions on steering problems.
  • On response #31, I meant to say that the tranny in my 89 Grand Prix has 'hunted'when going up a hill since the car was new. I did not mean to indicate that the TCC switch has failed since new. Just wanted to clarify my statement.
  • 2 YEARS AGO WE HAD PROBLEMS WITH TRANNY NOT SHIFTING. THE CAR HAD 50,000 MILES ON IT. THE MECHANIC SAID THE TRANNY WAS SHOT AND PREPARED TO ORDER A NEW TRANNY. AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT , HE DUMPED A COUPLE OF QUARTS OF FLUID IN AND VOILA!
    THE THING WORKED AGAIN. OVER THE NEXT 18 MONTHS WE HAD MINOR SHIFTING PROBLEMS, ALWAYS CURED WITH ADDING FLIUD. ODDLY ENOUGH, WE NEVER SAW ANY FLUID LEAKING ON THE GARAGE FLOOR. LAST SPRING WE FINALLY NOTICED SOME TRANNY FLUID ON THE GARAGE FLOOR AND PROMPTLY BROUGHT THE CAR TO A MECHANIC. THE PAN BOLTS WERE LOOSE. THE MECHANIC EXPLAINED THAT THE PAN BOLTS CAN NOT BE SNUGGED DOWN TIGHT BECAUSE THE PAN IS ALUMINUM AND WILL WARP. ONE DAY MY HUSBAND WAS RELAYING THIS INFORMATION TO AN OLD SEASONED MECHANIC. HIS RECOMMENDATION: PURCHASE SPECIAL PAN BOLTS FROM A GM DEALER At about $20. THESE BOLTS CAN BE SNUGGED DOWN AND NOT WARP THE PAN. HE ALSO RECOMMENDED A CORK GASKET. ALL TOGETHER IT COST US $120 WITH THE LABOR ETC. 2 MONTHS AGO WE PULLED A 1400 LB TENT TRAILER OVER A CASCADE MOUNTAIN PASS AND THE BOONIE NEVER MISSED A BEAT. THIS IS WORDY ,BUT HOPE IT HELPS SOMEONE.IT BETTER THAN $2800 FOR A NEW TRANNY.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Welcome to Town Hall!

    That is very helpful information, thanks for posting it. I'm sure it will help someone out around here.

    I just wanted to mention, though, that posts are easier to read if they are not in all caps.

    Hope you are finding your way successfully around Town Hall and enjoying what you see.

    Thanks again!

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • cr8cr8 Posts: 1
    I have a 96 SE. The engine has been turning off under various speeds and conditions for about 3 months. It starts immediately after shifting to park and re-starting. The car has 54k on it and has been maintained on a 3-month/3k schedule. So far my mechanic replaced the 3 ignition modules, but that didn't fix it. Took it in to the dealer where no codes showed up, but replaced split fuel hose to fuel regulator. No problems for exactly 1 week, but the problem occurred again. Took car back to dealer today, we'll see. This is a very dangerous problem as it has happened on the expressway/70mph or in local traffic.
    We have owned 7 various models of Pontiac and never encountered a serious problem before this one.
  • I originally made post #19 regarding similar transmission problems as many of the previous postings. At this point (1 day back from the dealer) my problem seems to be fixed. I am crossing my fingers! The solution is rather odd though...

    After reading the previous posts, I was pretty convinced that I had the same problems as everyone else. When I cruised at 60mph in overdrive and slowly pressed the accelerator, the car would buck violently as though it had a problem shifting. I could alleviate the problem by shifting to drive myself. A friend of mine also witnessed it and thought the same.

    As it turns out the ignition coil pack was failing when the engine was bogged down or under heavy load. The coil pack has 3 sections, each firing a set of 2 cylinders. Apparently, #4 & #6 were not firing. Oddly enough, as I said before, the car ran FINE when going through all the other gears. The problem was easily reproduced when going up a hill at 50mph in overdrive.

    I can't really see why/how a dealer would miss this but I guess anything's possible. The coil is about $70 a the parts store. I paid $240 for 2 hours labor and a $130 GM part. I went with the dealer install because in comes with a warrantee . Hope this helps somebody....
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    We have a lot of unfinished stories around Town Hall. It's very nice when someone comes back and posts a resolution - or apparent resolution - because you are right, it very well may help someone else.

    Hope this takes care of the problem once and for all.

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • sseissei Posts: 3
    Hi guys. I recently found this site & find it quite helpfull.
    My 96 Bonneville recently started bucking after about 50 MPH or when going uphill under light acceleration. I took it to my trusty tranny guy who suggested I check the coil pack & change the plug wires. The coils checked out OK and I was not too optimistic but I changed the sparkplug wires and guess what? Runs perfectly! Shifts perfectly under any condition. Try it. I still can,t believed it's fixed for $50.00.
    He is one honest transmission guy.
  • Having read some of the posts on transmission issues and surging engines, I am relieved to only be experiencing fit and finish problems. These are mostly in the form of rattles from the dashboard area as well as the cheap plastic trim on the doors. The model has the bench seat, and perhaps the lack of the floor transmission console allows too much play when vibrations/bumps occur. Everytime I hit a bump I am treated to a rattle. Playing the radio at healthy volumes also elicits rattles on the deep bass notes. When the A/C is on it is noticeably worse, and sometimes in reverse I get some rattles coming from the dash. My dealer claims to have tightened things up twice but to no avail. Anyone else experiencing this trivial but nevertheless irritating problem ?
  • I was so busy describing the rattles that I neglected to mention this is a 2000 Bonneville SE with 3200 miles on it.
  • Im curious bibaboo, if you ever noticed your car feeling less powerful and with a vibration that acted as if the tires were out of balance. This seems to occur when the transmission is acting up. Other days the car runs flawlessly with quick crisp responses.
    Also the Adaptive memory does not seem to be the solution. I ran fine for about 1100 miles and then the car sat for the weekend and on monday it was worse than ever. I also suddenly had a great deal of vibration so severe I could not focus on the cars in my rearview.
    On Tuesday the car ran better but still had more vibration than normal. After having the tires balanced and rotated there was no change.
    The coil pack seems to make sense to me because I keep thinking the car doesnt feel like all pistons are firing properly.
    It goes back in on 9/19 for the 6th time with my patience running out for this problem. Ill let you know what they say.
  • I just got my 97 Bonneville back from the dealer because of the torque conv. kicking in and out. The check eng. light also happened to be on. They said the light was on due to "A plug wire breaking down under a load" and that this was probably causing the transmission woes. They installed new plug wires and reset the light and it has stayed off. I have yet to get the car out on the interstate and see how it does. This all makes sense after reading this board. Hopefully this will take care of it. Thanks for all the follow ups.
  • Hi, guys - hope y'all can help me - I'm just a little lady with no idea about cars.

    My 96 Bonneville has 182,000 highway miles on it with no major problems - until today.

    The car won't start, the battery is fully charged, and interior lights work until key is turned, engine tries to turn over, but then everything dies.

    Also, one other little problem I've been living with for a while...car vibrates very badly when going around 70 mph, even on flat roads, no problems around 65 or 75 though. Is this the same type of transmission problem you other guys were experiencing?

    Any help would certainly be appreciated!
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