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Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair



  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Are you sure it's not a misfire due to secondary ignotion breakdown you're feeling? If the plugs and wires haven't been changed for a while, replace them with ACDelco parts. Also look for carbon tracking down the coil towers.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,702
    I asked when the shudder occurred and what it was like because my 93 LeSabre had a prom upgrade to correct the uneveness I'd feel when the torque converter was locked up and I was lightly accelerating or holding my own at 50 and up to maybe 65. I believe the chip delayed the lockup on the torque converter so you didn't feel uneveness from the engine due to EGR or other roughness.

    I had changed wires two times and plugs trying to get rid of the uneveness. Hadn't changed the EGR. Did change the PCV too. Still had it.

    Later cars had slip built into the TCC to soften the connection between the motor roughness and the wheels so you don't feel it if it occurs. My 98 has that "feature" which can have its own problems.

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  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Later cars had slip built into the TCC to soften the connection between the motor roughness and the wheels so you don't feel it if it occurs. My 98 has that "feature" which can have its own problems.

    That would be a function of the torque converter clutch pulse width modulated solenoid, which ramps up the apply pressure and also allows controlled slip of the tcc clutch under limited load conditions to improve driveability and retain fuel economy. Or something like that.
  • ss396ss396 Posts: 2
    I had a coolant leak in my 02 bonneville immediately upon purchasing it (brand new). The leak was never enough that I saw any on groung under the car or that I needed to replace much fluid but I could smell it after I'd driven the car. Took car in the first time and they said it was a bad clamp on a hose and replaced it but the problem didn't go away. Took it back a month or so later and they determined I needed a new upper intake gasket. That fixed the problem and no problems since. (Well, with coolant anyway)
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,702
    I think I have a problem with the programmer that supplies the vacuum to the various vacuum motors on the HVAC unit. The air conditioning vents don't blow. And from my testing, the motor for them isn't getting vacuum from the programmer.

    These are expensive. Are they reman units or a different source? Has anyone taken one apart and been successful in fixing the relay inside so it turns on the vacuum again like it's supposed to?

    This is a 98 LeSabre. So I'm willing to look for alternatives to a replacement. But air conditioning by using the defroster setting is less than great!

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,702
    You should delete your email from the post so it doesn't get caught by the archiving bots and used for spamming.

    have you tried lifting the carpet and checking along edges to see if you can tell where the water is flowing in from?

    Garden hose? for testing. Air conditioner drain clogged causing overflow of condensate inside the car? If you're in a climate where you've been using the air, that's a possibility.

    You have to be under the car looking up to find the drain hose. Try running the air conditioning and seeing if there is a drip at the normal rate if you're in a more humid climate.

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  • chasbvillechasbville Posts: 12
    Hi, I had this problem in my 94. It could be a badly installed replacement windshield, OR trapped water from the small area behind the right front wheel well. You need to clear out the drain hole here if the 2000 is the same as the 1992-99 and I suspect it is.
  • robotbob40robotbob40 Posts: 4
    car wont start has power just wont startif i turn on key and cross starter it runs for 3 seconds and then dies :confuse:
  • rtunertune Posts: 2
    Just in case no one has mentioned it, another engine seize up problem results from a faulty design of the intake manifold upper plenum. In 1995 it was redesigned and made from a composite plastic material. It is still used today -2005, I'm not sure if it has been re-designed to cure the following problem. There is a metal tube that protrudes up from the metal lower section of the intake manifold, thru the plastic upper plenum. This tube is part of the EGR system (exhaust gas recirculation system). It carries extremely HOT exhaust gases. Over time the heat from this metal tube degrades the plastic (burns thru). Since there are coolant passages on both side of the tube, a mere 1½ mm of plastic wall away, the engine can then start to "lose" coolant for no apparent reason and with no telltale signs other than periodic low coolant or periodic overheating. The eventual result can be engine lockup or catastrophic engine failure. Two good "sites" to view on this are: and also look at From what I've experienced & read this problem still exists. It can be fixed for as little as $300 if you're a mechanical person, but remember to also change oil and oil filter too!
  • rtunertune Posts: 2
    I have before & after photos of Ken-Co company's fixit repair of the upper/lower intake. How do I add them to this board?
  • sgmburkesgmburke Posts: 1
    I had the same problem with my 1992 Bonneville. Was come-and-go for over a year then went steady on - ran down the battery. The problem was a 12 Volt Relay next to the fuse box under the passenger side (under the glove box). There are several relays. You can find this one by opening and closing the door, and you can hear/feel it "clicking" (BTW You have to remove a cover on the 1992 model to get to the fusebox with the relays). Anyway I removed the relay and the problem stopped. Now I need to turn on the lights manually. I am searching on line for replacement relay. I found similar models for $10.00, but still looking for exact match. Good luck...

    Manufacture: Hella
    PN 4RD-960388-14
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 17,702
    why not just get one at your local GM dealer... It probably doesn't cost much.

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  • i recently bought a 1993 bonneville ssei. it had sat in a garage for about 2 years because of some electrical problems. The entire dashboard was not recieving any power and the motor was not running right, sputtering as you pressed the gas pedal. i have fixed the dashboard problem and it now has power and works correctly. 2 problems left.(1) It still runs poorly. Which im thinking has something to do with the gas sitting for 2 years, and am planning on replacing the fuel filter. (2) the heater or air conditioner turns on automatically when i turn the car on. pressing buttons on the air conditioning setting panel doesnt do anything. im guessing it is some more electrical problems but just asking.
  • I have a 94 Bonneville with the same problem. I've put two batteries and an alternator in. I had it to the dealer twice, couldn't find a problem. I had it on 4 diagnostic machines, couldn't find a problem. Found a new mechanic, he said it was the rear lighter. It was fine for a couple days, then dead again.
  • mstabbemstabbe Posts: 3
    I own a 1997 buick riv that started to loose coolant and seized up after removing the plugs and moisture it will turn over. I thought maybe i blew a head gasget but after reading your article i think not. i cannot find any info from the web sites you listed and I would sure like some help with what I need to do to make the repairs.
  • just bought a 1993 bonneville ssei from a friend. the car sat in a garage for a little less then a year because of electrical problems that he didnt want to deal with. The problem is a bunch of burnt/singed wires in the front right corner of the passenger side that lead up to the computer. has anyone ever had this problem? and if so do you know what the reason is? i know there is too much power coming through one or more of the wires obviously otherwise they wouldnt have been burnt. I was thinking about replacing the section of wires that are burnt myself but im not sure if that would be a smart idea. whether i should just pay someone to fix them or do them myself i do not know. anyone have any advice?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    If the 8th digit of your VIN is K (non-supercharged), the coolant level has been dropping, and there was coolant in one or more of the cylinders, it's almost guaranteed that the composite upper intake plenum has warped and requires replacement. After the repair, the oil and filter should be changed at least twice in short order as engine bearings do not like antifreeze. This info does not apply to VIN 1 (supercharged) engines.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Wires usually burn because of a short circuit in a component drawing too much current, or because of a wire pinched or insulation rubbed through, and shorted to ground. Unless you're able to determine the cause of the burned wires in the first place, there's a good chance you'll be replacing them all again when you power it up and fry everything again. Probably best to bite the bullet and take it to a good auto electrical shop unless the cause is obvious.
  • freddy111freddy111 Posts: 5
    My 96 SSE runs consistantly hot. The Dealershsip says that is normal. Also the tranny shifts poorly. The lack of performance info is dissapointing. There are performance modules on Ebay for $10 to $40. Are these any good. Any info would be helpful.
  • diegeldiegel Posts: 1
    recently, while driving, i went to use the power window switch and the car just would not start for a few hours...this happened 2 other times in the last week, twice when i used the power window switch, and once when i had to use the will crank, but not start...was told to replace fuel pump, which i did, but it didn't help...switched out the fuel pump relay, still to no avail...can anyone help me? i love my is a '96 SE,! thanks!
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