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Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair



  • This morning on my way to work at -15F, my '93 Bonneville had a complete electrical failure (engine, lights, everything)as I tried to adjust the electric seat. I have 220,000 miles on this car and want to keep it. I'm assuming a fuse or circuit breaker failure, where should I look first? THANKS FROM MINNESOTA!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,712
    If the headlights went out too, I'd look at battery cables. Sometimes they have internally corroded inside the plastic, but usually it would be a failure in the connector at the end.

    Take each one off and clean and tighten it back. That he other ends of those cables, loosen and reconnect at the engine and starter and ground connector to the body (follow the black cables).

     It could be a battery failure also. Might check with that in mind.

    This message has been approved.

  • Reply #1265 - I just got my B-ville back after nearly 2 months of trying to get that hum/drone out: tho it ended up being a warranty repair, it also cost me over $200 in additional rental car fees, plus I had to eat the cost of the radar detector that was stolen when my Bonne was broken into at the dealership during the long period of waiting for diagnosis and parts.

    All of my mounts, trans and engine - were replaced. (Unfortunately, the hum is diminished - but NOT gone.) Your engine mounts should be replaced - the engine should not be "jumping" and I can only say that if my 3 year old Bonne's mounts were shot (according to the dealer) then it stands to reason that yours are shot too.
  • Thank you imidazo197 for your quick message. Your diagnosis sounds right on to me so I'll give that a try. This was the first time I used this service and I really appreciate your response!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,712
    I'm not sure it would affect the starting and running of the engine, but there is a ground terminal box at the left of the driver's seat under the carpet. A lot of things from the dash area go there for their ground connect. My car, a 93, had some door locks not working part of the time, and AC system switching to AC because of loss of power. I had found from reading here that was t he common thing they shared, the ground.

    Because that area can be damp in rain and winter (in North), the contacts inside can corrode. High draw by power seat could have burned through some corrosion and lost the ground connection.

    The box is where your left hand would danger when putting it between the seat and the door.

    This message has been approved.

  • For those of you that have not replaced your intake manifold yet, You should be able to buy the upper plenum at you local parts store. Dorman part # 615-180 should fit 1995 to 2004 3.8 engine.
    A local parts store quoted price of $129.00.
  • I have noticed within the last month in my 02 SLE (20,000miles) that the steering wheel when turning feels a little like it is binding and making a slight clicking sound. Thought I saw something on this at one time in this forum. Wonder if this is a safety issue or what the remedy is.? Anyone else had this problem? Otherwise no shaking..and drives great.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    This might apply:

    Clunk Noise from Front of Vehicle During Turning Maneuver/Steering Wheel Rotation (Lubricate Intermediate Shaft) #01-02-32-001C - (09/12/2003)

    2001-2004 Buick Regal
    2000-2004 Cadillac Seville STS
    1997-2004 Chevrolet Cavalier
    2000-2004 Chevrolet Impala, Monte Carlo
    2001-2003 Oldsmobile Aurora
    1998-2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue
    1997-2004 Pontiac Sunfire
    2000-2004 Pontiac Bonneville
    2003-2004 Pontiac Grand Prix
    This bulletin is being revised to add and remove models. Please discard Corporate Bulletin Number 01-02-32-001B (Section 02 [shy ] Steering).

    Some customers may comment on a clunk type noise coming from the front of the vehicle during a turning maneuver. This condition may also be felt through the steering wheel when the vehicle is stationary and the wheel is rotated from steering stop to steering stop. Typically, the clunk noise will be heard once for every 180° of steering wheel rotation in either direction for J-cars (Cavalier and Sunfire). However, some vehicles may only exhibit the noise once for every 360° of wheel rotation. On all other vehicles, this clunk noise will be noticed during low speed acceleration or deceleration, typically in light turns of the steering wheel.

    Do not replace the following steering gear part numbers:
    GM P/N 26063582, GM P/N 26056808, GM P/N 26031078, GM P/N 26079915, GM P/N 26055468, GM P/N 26079917, GM P/N 26079929, GM P/N 26081813, GM P/N 26080057, GM P/N 26088612, GM P/N 26086001, GM P/N 26088334, GM P/N 26088539, GM P/N 26068964, GM P/N 26058681, GM P/N 26068967, GM P/N 26088606, GM P/N 26067451, GM P/N 26087241, GM P/N 26087416
    Do not replace the following intermediate shafts:
    GM P/N 10327501, GM P/N 10327502, GM P/N 10327553, GM P/N 22680754, GM P/N 22704392, GM P/N 26050292, GM P/N 26055042, GM P/N 26073020
    GM P/N 26078302, GM P/N 26079240, GM P/N 26079787, GM P/N 26100571

    This condition is commonly misdiagnosed as originating in the steering gear and has resulted in the replacement of numerous steering gears without correcting the concern.

    This condition may be caused by inadequate lubrication of the steering intermediate shaft which results in a "slip stick" condition possibly resulting in the clunk noise.

    Remove the intermediate steering shaft from the vehicle and lubricate the shaft with a Steering Column Shaft Lubrication Kit, P/N 26098237. Follow the service procedure listed below.
  • My 2003 SSEI developed the same condition at 17,000 miles. The dealer removed the intermediate steering shaft, lubricated it, and reinstalled it. Problem solved. Steering is smooth as velvet now.
  • Have replaced my 98 Pontiac Bonneville(SE)'s power steering pump due to leaking power steering fluid at 78480, 84456, 84772 and 86419 miles. Now at 927xx miles it is leaking again. Last time(only) a DELCO pump was installed; all others were new but not OEM equipment. NOTE: I encountered the initial leak after I had to have the serpentine belt tensioner and belt replaced when I was about 200 miles from home. "Mr Good Wrench" did that repair on a Saturday and failed to notice that the power steering pump was also leaking. By the time I got back home I had no power steering capability. The same shop here in St Louis has replaced each of the leaking pumps and thankfully has done most of the work under the original warranty. But I need a car that is safe to take on trips out of town and the Bonneville is not it. Anyone else had this problem?
  • An Old Fart’s simple answers to all the really important car questions

    1. How often should I ……? Just follow the maintenance schedule in the owners’ manual. If you don’t have one, buy one-it helps if you can read (not everyone graduated from Southern Cal).
    2. How many miles will my car last? Most any car will last forever (longer than a young mans morning timber) provided you follow number 1.
    3. What kind of oil should I use? See number 1 above (remember, not all engineers graduated from Georgia Tech).
    4. How fast can I make my car? Money=Speed-the more money you spend on real motor parts (the stuff below the intake) the faster you go (do you really think a “tornado” will improve gas mileage and add 10 more hp).
    5. What kind of air filter should I use? Whatever you bought-provided you follow number 1 above (just make sure it stops the dust from the GTO in front of you).
    6. What kind of oil filter should I use? Whatever you bought-provided you follow number 1 above. I use my hands to put it on and take it off, without the fancy tar on the end.
    7. What kind of tires should I use? See number 1 above. GM/Tire engineers collected large amounts of data and research about the kind/size of the tires on your car long before it came to market. Any time you change from the owners manual strange things like noise, rubbing, sliding down the road upside down, etc happen (remember, not all engineers graduated from Va. Tech and work for Firestone).
    8. What kind of plugs should I use? Whatever you bought-provided you follow number 1 above. After all, it’s the size of the gap that matters-like all things in life.
    9. What kind of fuel filter should I use? Whatever you bought-provided you follow number 1 above. Remember to also use Texaco/Shell gas, and put isopropyl alcohol anti-freeze, Marvel Mystery oil, and Techron fuel system cleaner in your tank 4 times a year. They keep the carbon deposits down, get the water out of the fuel, frees stuck things inside your motor, and makes the brown stuff inside your injectors/carburetor disappear (so you don’t have to use the “tornado”)
    10. What kind of wax should I use? Maguire’s-he really is a car guy, has a great show on Speed, and if you buy his stuff he’ll keep his show on Speed.
  • hoibhoib Posts: 2
    What's the group's reaction to this. 93 Bonneville (non-SE), 142,300 very very happy miles. I've only put an alternator in her and two sets of tires on the front and one set on the rear. Took real good care of her. The other day, I started out from the house for work. All systems normal. About 3 miles into the trip, I noticed I was doing 50 in my customary 60 zone, so I have her some more accelerator, but geez, I'm slowing down! I had zero forward power and coasted off to the right shoulder. No weird noises, no odd sounds, no smells, no shuddering, no bump&grind, just coasted quietly to the side. Put it in P and let it sit for a moment. Tried forward and reverse with no accel to see - no love. I called AAA and my wife to come pick me up. When I got out, there it was - a big slick of reddish tranny fluid drifting off the shoulder from underneath the engine compartment. How sad!

    Anyone care to guess - new tranny? Maybe a seal or a plug let loose and it just voided itself. Dealership won't have anyone to look at it until Tues. I'm dying to find out.

    Any guesses out there? If new tranny, new car probably. Shoot!
  • hoibhoib Posts: 2
    Today I got some real good news. The dealership fixed my 93 Bonne - cost me less than $100 as well. Seems that some mechanic had replaced the metal tubing that runs the transmission fluid through the radiator, with a neoprene tube. I don't recall ever having ordered this but... Since this tube is pretty much exposed to the elements, the salt probably got to it and it rotted out. Replaced it with the correct metal tubing. And fortunately, no tranny damage, and it runs just like before.

    Very very happy, again.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,712
    but I figured seeing red tranny fluid was a 'good' sign. Trans failures usually don't leak...
    Sort of like when my Century leaked fuel in front of the gas tank. It was the tube having come loose from the filter snapon. Easy fix at the dealer. I was on the highway and with wife and kid, so I didn't spend time crawling underneath...

    This message has been approved.

  • mickeybmickeyb Posts: 1
    Previous owner of 85 Bonneville - loved that car till teenagers took it out in a Blaze of Glory. Looking at purchasing 89 SSE - fully loaded - sunroof. Has 196K, excellent int/ext condition. All info could find seems to indicate good car even for age. My 85 Bonne did 500k on original engine. Dealer asking $4500 CAN brought it to SK from BC, passed safety inspection. Anyone know if recall on fuel spillage in rollover affected Canadian cars, will check VIN but don't have # yet. Anything else I should be looking for or asking? Glad to have found this forum
  • jono4jono4 Posts: 8
    transmission would periodically shift hard. was on a long trip when it did it again. uncertain of the reliability i traded in my '98 bonneville with 156,000 miles on it for an '03 Toyota Camry LE. I sure miss the big comfortable ride, but with gas at $2 and rising, no longer can afford it.
    i had some issues with it, but they were minor. enjoy it while you have it.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,712
    I can diagnose that from a distance probably.
    If it has the lockup torque converter valve problem that causes uneveness in the lockup percentage, the hard shifting probably came as a result of the transmission setting a code for inability to control the lockup with the fluid valve. The valve wears the bore in the valve body on the trans. The hard shifting is the transmission's way of going into limp-home mode like the engines can do. It probably reset itself and the hard shifting disappeared.

    Or the hard shift may be actually the lockup torque converter not being controlled properly by the valve. This is how I first noticed a problem a year or two ago on mine. During normal shifts from 3 to 4 or 4 to 3 the lockup is smoothly removed and then reapplied; if the valve is not working properly, that application is rough at times especially on long uphill slopes.

    It's a lot cheaperly to check it out than to trade it. Mine has 100k on it. Has done this for maybe 20K. Am checking into the replacement valve kit from aftermarket (Sonnex). Plan to keep car, so may have a pressure valve replaced too.

    If your Toyota is V6, I doubt you're saving that much on gas. Mine gives 30 to 31 on interstate driving, 22-24 suburban and short trips. I can buy a lot of gas for the cost of trading.

    This message has been approved.

  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Can't be the only reason. Can be part of the rationalization to spring for a new car, I suppose. I must admit that I've not yet used that one with my wife...

    On my '00 SLE, I've gotten a combined mileage of 9.4L/100 kms (25 mpg) since new (I haven't reset the fuel economy calculator in 2 1/2 years and am compensating for the 3% difference between the DIC and the pump as far as fuel used). I do roughly 30k kms a year (or about 20k miles). At our prices, that works out to just under $C 2000 a year for fuel (gas is a tad pricier here than in most States). If I find a V6 that'd do the same job as the 3.8 and save me 10%, that would amount to a savings of just $C 200/year - or about $US 150. The mileage on my '95 Camry V6 LE was actually worse than on the Bonnie and Toyota "recommended" premium fuel. My annual fuel expenses is lower for the Bonnie even 9 years later! Now, my '92 Camry LE was a 4-banger and it was quite economical. Anemic, to be sure - but economical.

    But, jono, your Bonnie was 5 (or 6?) years old when you traded - you must just have had the itch for something newer. Nothing wrong with that: enjoy your Camry - they're decent cars.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,712
    Earlier in this list Alcan told us how to clean the throttle plate when carbon gums it up. I had a sticking that felt like the gas pedal was sticking inside the car. I checked at the throttle body and it was sticking there. Moving it several times loosened it up.

    But I found Alcan's description was good on how to repair it. I had trouble getting the air screen that looks like a beehive out. I finally u sed a large paper clip to rotate it and it worked its way out.

    Instructions should have included to use your spouse's toothbrush and not your own. It's hard on the toothbrush. I used one that has flexible parts and noticed the flexing was getting softer. When I checked the connector between the parts was softening. Good thing I didn't break off one of the pieces into the air intake!!!

    Use a solid toothbrush!

    Found air intake cleaner at Pep Boys.

    Runs perfect now. That explains the occasional rough idle as it warmed up and I came to stoplights. I thought it was PCV valve at 100K needing replacement!


    This message has been approved.

  • xavier64xavier64 Posts: 76
    A few weeks ago, I took the Bonnie back to the dealer since the service bulletin fix for the upper intake manifold gasket. Instead of just replacing the gasket as they had done before, they replaced the upper intake manifold itself. This did fix the issue and there are no more leaks. The dealer asked me to come in that morning and took care of the problem. This allowed a nice trip from Philly to State College and back to go smoothly.

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