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Pontiac Grand Prix - 2000-2005



  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    Your explanation clears things up but I still think it was a rather rash and impulsive move to change cars like that. It's an issue that could have been cleared up.

    We have thoroughly enjoyed our Grand Prix and have had virtually no problems with it aside from some loose trim. The a/c was one component of an otherwise good car. GM engineeres have done a fine job with this car and I'm saying this after driving a Honda for many years.

    Like was said above, your money.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,935
    "I'm a busy professional, and didn't have the time to go back/forth, depend on people driving me back to dealerships, etc"

    This is one aspect of 'reliability' that often seems not to be emphasized when considering new vehicles. Even when under warrantee, and the MFR is dealing with the costs, I find it both frustrating and very inconvenient to have to deal with repeated failures and / or problems with diagnosis. And the “they are all like that” response. I do understand that modern automobiles are tremendously complex devices – and prone to various problems.

    While I have owned several vehicles with a lot of soul and spirit, and less than exemplary reliability, I now try to find a combination of attributes that works for me. Meaning, enough soul to be interesting (more than a CamCord) and reasonable reliability. Not an easy thing to find in a contemporary sport sedan.

    I did own a previous generation GTP – and it did not have issues with the A/C – but living in Georgia I appreciate A/C and would prefer never to live here without the seat coolers in my current ride. I have no medical reason to ‘need’ powerful A/C – but I do like the comfort provided.

    - Ray
    Preferring never to deal with any automobile dealership, but . . .
    2016 BMW 340i
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    In another note, how's the Maxima so far? I like its styling, except head on. The engine is said to be pretty good, but I've read mixed comments about handling and braking. What's your take?

    I really feel orphaned by the whole industry. I despise trucks (not their owners), but sedans, especially large ones, have been neglected for years by both domestic and import makers. Nothing in the market around $25000 attracts me. Sure there are interesting wheels above $30000, but I refuse to spend that much on a car, in spite of being a gear head...

  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254
    My apologies for my rather blunt post earlier. We just didn't know the whole story. Having had to transport my 80 year old grandmother to medical appointments an hour from home 3 times a week for a year, I now completely understand your situation. My dad has a '98 GT as I think I mentioned before, and it works like a charm. My mother's car, a '93 SSEi Bonneville, has been threatening to give up the ghost recently and the '04 GP has been eyed as a replacement. She's not too fond of really cold A/C, so she probably wouldn't mind the long cool down, however I'd have to say it would be an annoyance on a particularly hot, muggy day. I myself, now knowing the whole story, have to say that I agree with montanafan, and admire you for putting your money where your mouth is.
    The main reason I came off so bluntly is because our family has had it's fair share of lemons, and a warm A/C would have been the least of our problems. Prior to my '99 XLS Explorer I now have, I had a '98 Suzuki Sidekick that lost the rear end at 34k miles, and sat in my driveway for 3 months before Suzuki ever did anything about it. When I traded it off in June of '03, the clutch was going out of it for the second time, at 55k miles.
    We'd had the SSEi about a month when it's first alternator went out, leaving us stranded in the intersection to Dollywood, right after the park had closed and hundreds of cars were trying to leave...while we blocked the road. The electronic module in the dash went out as soon as we got it, and had to be replaced, at the cost of the dealership where we bought it (it had 40k on it when it was bought in '96), then over time nearly all the electronics on it has went out...power windows, antenna, cd player, door locks...and it leaked really bad around the door moldings and the sunroof...which was remedied with a friend I call Silicone.
    A '92 Dodge Dakota was also a bit problematic, but was gotten rid of before the beloved transmission had it less than 3 years and 17k miles.
    We're on a pretty good stretch right now (knock on wood), and haven't had any major troubles. As you can see, I have reason for referring to an A/C complaint as "pitty," however in your situation it was major.
    I wish you luck with the Maxima. Stop in and let us know how it's going. The Maxima and Altima have also both been eyed as a replacement for mom's SSEi. Have a good 'un.
  • bobinnjbobinnj Posts: 22
    Thanks very much for the wishes with the new Max. I hope it will be as good as the other 'Riceburners' I've had over the past 22 years ( 2 Nissans, 1 Toyota). I've had a few US cars as well - some pretty darn good with decent reliability, others not, like a used '89 Chrysler New Yorker I bought back in 1993 which shortly after acquiring lost the digital dash electronics, then sprung an oil leak, needing a major cylinder head job, then blew the trannie, all within 2 years. Bottom line - no vehicle is perfect, and individual ones probably vary, even within the same model line. Some of it has to do with luck, but my personal impression is that the Japanese cars, by and large, seem to have it over the US made cars in terms of reliabilily and engineering, whereas US carmakers excell in styling, powerful engines and 'glitzy' options, for want of a better term. I do not put a lot of mileage on my vehicles, so they tend to hold up pretty well. For those who do a lot of driving, I think the reliability issue becomes a big factor and the 'down time' of having it in the shop, getting rentals, etc., is a big negative. That said, it comes down to personal choice. I test drove quite a few vehicles before I decided on the Maxima. To me, it had the best combination of styling, features, 'fun-to-drive factor' and reputation for reliability at the price point (I did test a couple Infinitis, Acuras and Volvos, all very good cars, but couldn't see shelling out the extra bucks for what you get, some of which is 'brand status'IMO - not a priority for me). Having been a Nissan/Datsun owner in the past, going back many years, I felt comfortable with my decision. Will it be reliable and meet my expectations? I hope so. I can truthfully say that all the other Nissans and Toyotas I've had have been wonderful cars (never owned Honda but based on all the ones I see in the parking lots at work and in my development, they must be pretty darn good, too). Do I wish US car makers could make similar products? You bet I do - because I could get one hell of a deal on any GM-made car (In case you didn't know, GM employees are allowed to buy up to 8 vehicles/year at the employee discount, which amounts to about 4-5% under dealer invoice + any rebates/incentives). But based on my experience, it will be a long time before I go that route again. If you're happy with your GP and getting good performance and reliability - that is great and I'm happy for you. I was not getting 100% of what I needed or expected and arguing with Detroit QC guys telling me how wonderful their new vehicle was made, was not a good use of my time. And you know what? Thinking back to my 1st import - my sweet, Alpine white '82 Datsun 280ZX, I don't ever remember ever having a single complaint with a Japanese car, like I did with GM. To their credit, they did contact me and did try to resolve the problem, but only after I wrote pretty vehement letters to the Pres./CEO of GM and a few of his VP's - did I get some action. I shouldn't have had to do that - at least 1 of those 2 dealerships should have been more interested in satisfying me. Neither one of them gave 2 damns, dismissing my complaint and saying nothing could be done, so 'stick it.' They lost a customer in me, but I know I am not alone. I know I am only 1 person, but if it's made a difference, even in a small way, in how GM views customer satisfaction and how their dealers are behaving, it was worth my time and effort. If you say, "I'm dreaming - the mega-bigwhigs at GM doesn't give 2 hoots for the individual consumer" - probably so, but at least I have the satisfaction of knowing I tried and I did get thru to some of those at the top. That, for me, was the most rewarding part of the whole deal.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    Nissan customer satisfaction is not as good as GM according to JD Power so don't expect any better if you have issues with the new car.

    It is good that GM now may know there is a problem with some a/c units. Like I said, mine is fine so maybe your dealer had a bad batch?

    I'll tell you a story though, we have a lady in the office who bought a Toyota Corolla this winter. Her a/c works but it smells like rotten eggs. He dealer has looked at it twice and it still smells and nothing more is going to be done. She will live with the smell though it's her "last Toyota". Goes to show you GM / domestics are not the only ones with a/c issues on other wise very good cars!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hi bobinnj - just a note here. We don't like to have "rice" terms applied to vehicles here in the Town Hall. I'm quite sure you mean no harm, but since it arose from an ethnic slur, we prefer to avoid it.


    And enjoy your new Max - maybe I'll see you over in that discussion as well. :)
  • bobinnjbobinnj Posts: 22
    (Pat - sorry. I wasn't aware that the term referring to a Japanese made vehicle might be considered an ethnic slur - not my intention. First time I'm hearing that, but if so, I apologize if anyone was offended.)

    As far as smelly AC's on Corollas, etc. - as I said, some of it comes down to luck. No auto mfgr. gets it right every time and you have to factor in the human element. As long as you have human beings assembling cars, at least those steps not done by robots these days, you're going to have the chance of something getting screwed up. That's why QC is so important at every step of assembly. I can only speak from my personal experience and those of my family (1 family member swears by Toyota and has had 2 or 3 Corollas and now a Camry and only has positive things to say about them. She would never own a US car if you gave it to her, but that's based on her Toyota experience over a period of 25+ years) - that is, the Japanese carmakers seem to be turning out a higher percentage of 'winners' than 'losers' and seem to have acquired the knowledge/skills to turn out relatively high quality, affordable and reliable vehicles over a wide range of model types. I think the US car makers have improved since the terrible days of the early-mid 80's when a lot of products coming out of Detroit were pretty awful. Hopefully they'll continue to make progress - which they'll have to do to survive. As I said, I'd rather buy an American vehicle to support the domestic economy, keep US auto workers in their jobs, etc., but after this experience, I'm probably going to wait several years before going down that route again. I'm signing out here and wish to express my thanks to all who tried to help me with my AC problem. I know some of you guys went out of your way to get me information from parts suppliers, etc., and I really appreciated getting that. It was nice having this forum available hear about other's experiences with their GPs. Good luck with all your vehicles, whatever brand they may be, and hope all your car troubles are minor ones. Happy motoring.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    Actually the air issues is pretty common with Toyota Corolla models. The dealer can't do anything about it. It's not a QC issue, it's a design issues much like it probably was with your GP.
  • bigdaddycoatsbigdaddycoats Posts: 1,058
    Local dealer has some 05 models on the lot. Some quick observations - the new wheels on the GTP look sweet!! I also like the new wheels on the GT. The base model now has a single exhaust outlet - no doubt to save GM money. It actually looks pretty good, I was surprised that I liked it because I always thought the old GP with the single outlet looked bad.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    Base is now an SE?
  • bigdaddycoatsbigdaddycoats Posts: 1,058
    I do not think they are calling it a SE, just the base GP.
  • bigdaddycoatsbigdaddycoats Posts: 1,058
    I can not remember if anyone ever answered my question - are there cup holders in the rear??
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    Yes, a cupholder tray is attached to the back of the front floor console resting on the floor for 2005.
  • bobinnjbobinnj Posts: 22
    Evandro - just to reply to your question, handling and braking on the '04 Max SL is excellent, so far. Actually seems 'tighter' than the '04 GTP, which I noticed would give me some torque steer as I rounded sharp curves. The Max holds it tight as a drum (have the VDC skid control option). If you're looking for a good, reliable sedan in $25K range, I have 2 recos - Camry or Altima V6. Both are around that price point I think and I've ridden (sister has the Camry XLE 4banger - very nice car) or driven in both and I think you would happy with either. If you're looking for ride comfort and great reliability - Camry is the one. For sportiness and handling, I'd go Altima. In fact I was all set to get a new '05 Altima 3.5 V6, when I test drove the Maxima. Having come from a loaded GTP, the Maxima SL felt like a better fit for me. The Maxima had some features the Altima did not, like AC/heat vents for rear passengers, so went the SL route rather than the SE, which gives you the 18" wheels and sport suspension w/rear lip spoiler. Both come equipped with nice Conti-Touring tires. On the SL, the ride is smooth - you feel the bumps, but much less than I had in the GTP, which was stiffer suspension, IMO. Steering, as I said, is tight. As far as styling - matter of personal preference. I like the new design, but then I liked the design of the new GP too. If you have a space issue as I do in my smallish garage, the Max. is a better fit (even has side mirrors that power-fold in - neat!).
  • bobinnjbobinnj Posts: 22
    Evandro - forgot to mention the Honda Accord. I think you can get one of these with the V6 for around your price point. I never owned one, but obviously, they're rated one of the best sedans out there in the mid- $20K range. My nephew drove one for over 10 years and couldn't kill it. Very reliable. You just have to test 'em all out and find the one you're most comfortable with. I notice Honda doesn't give much in the way of incentives, but I guess they don't have to. Probably can pick up an '04 left over for a decent price once the '05's come in. Good luck.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    Thanks for your responses.

    I've heard that the Nissans and Hondas have a pretty bad torque steer when flooring off the line. Did you have a chance to notice that in your test-drives?

  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    I saw a head to head GTP Maxima shoot out in the Toronto Star a number of months ago and the GTP came out the better car over all in terms of performance. Max may be a bit tighter in build but the GTP is faster and handles better.

    Good luck with the car. They do look pretty sharp. At least you didn't get a Camry. Yawn!
  • Which car has more room, tha Maxima, or the GP? Do you feel more comfortable in terms of seats and materials?
    Like, i mean when you sit in the car, how are your impressions relative to the GP? Im not sure, but if you had the steering wheel shifts in your GP, do you miss them?
  • jpstax1jpstax1 Posts: 197
    I posted this same message in the "Buick Regal" and "Grand Prix, any recent troubles?" forums. However, I'm posting it here too, since I'm talking about the same engine that the GTP uses.

    My wife and I own Gran Sports. Her '00 seems much faster off-the-line than my '98. Her's has 35,000 miles and mine has 53,000. The throttle response at idle also appears to be much better with her's than mine. Both cars have never had a tune-up. I wonder if worn spark plugs or a clogged PCV could cause this problem? Both cars have been using Shell's V-Power gas, so I think I can rule out dirty fuel injectors. I recently had my tranny overhauled, but even that didn't seem to help. Both cars are getting maximum S/C boosts of 6-7 PSI. I was thinking of taking it to our Buick dealer for a complete engine diagnosis. I'd appreciate any suggestions. Thanks
  • bobinnjbobinnj Posts: 22
    I'm going to try and answer the questions regarding the Maxima SL vs. GTP in one reply, since I'm sure you'll all pretty tired by now of hearing me praise the Maxima. As far as seating comfort - definitely the Maxima has the edge. It has full (8-way?) power driver seat, including adjustable rear recline, which the GP doesn't (it's a manual lever only). What that meant was I had a space behind my head in the GP that was uncomfortable while driving since I couldn't set the angle exactly. I purchased a neck pillow to put just below the head restraint, for better comfort. The GP head restraint will NOT tilt forward, so you're out of luck. It has a square hole in the center, like a doughnut, which I didn't care for either. Maxima head restraint goes up and down AND tilts - as well as total power adjustment on seat back. Some nice feature on Max, not available on GP - power tilt/telescope wheel and seats with memory. When you take out key from ignition, wheel tilts up and away and seat moves back automatically making for easier exit. Opposite happens on ignition start. Also has 2 memory positions for 2 different drivers - GP has no memory seat feature and wheel tilts manually but not telescoping. As far as seat comfort, it's pretty close, but the GTP has side bolsters which I guess are good for keeping you in the seat when you're taking tight corners, but otherwise, make it uncomfortable just for routine driving (if you're at all overweight and 'chunky' in the rear - you won't like this). One feature I am not crazy about in Maxima is narrow rear window, but GP has same problem, although not as bad, due to sharp coupe-like drop off of rear window. Another nice touch in Maxima - lighted ignition key hole so you can easily find ignition switch at night. In GP - it's not lit. Plus for the GP - audio buttons on steering wheel are back lit at night. Not so in Maxima.

    Regarding handling - I honestly must give it to the Maxima. I had a GTP (w/o Comp G pkg, as I didn't want the sport suspension and the shift paddles are a gimmick, IMO. Had one in another car and never used 'em), and had a problem with rear end slipping out when doing tight corners (have a tight hair pin turn on my daily commute and I really notice the difference). Guess the Michelin tires on the GP don't 'stick' as well as the Conti-Touring on the Maxima? IN any event, no slippage with the Maxima at all - feels more like my 4WD SUV rounding corners. Regarding torque steer - didn't notice a big problem with either, although I'm not doing a lot of twisty driving, where I guess you see more of that. Although since both are rather high HP engines w/front wheel drive, I would expect to have some torque steer. I hear the new Acura TL w/270 hp has a big problem with torque steer, but I wasn't troubled by it in the GP or the Maxima. One more thing - suspension. It's a lot tighter in the GTP. I felt bumps a lot harder than in the Maxima. AGain, I have the SL with 17" wheels. THe Max SE has 18" wheels and I think has a firmer suspension. I prefer not feeling all the nasty potholes bumps on the lousy roads here in NJ, so I never go for the sport suspension models. If you live in FLorida or Arizona where all the roads are nice and smooth - this will be less of an issue. Again, personal preference.

    Overall impression - my GTP drove like a big, heavy car, with decent HP under the hood, but moaning and groaning when you would accelerate hard. The steering feel was numb - something a lot of pro reviewers have commented on. The Maxima is a different animal - feels lighter, with better feel to steering, and acceleration is very smooth and quick. You really don't feel like you're in a vehicle with 260 hp, until you put the pedal down, and then it just takes off, with minimal growl, etc. So for me, it's a lot more fun to drive than the Pontiac. If you like the feel and sound of a 'Vette or souped up Mustang accelerating - the Max is just the opposite. In the GP - you could hear the exhaust rumble fairly loudly on acceleration and it felt like the engine was working hard. Once at speed, however, noise was not objectionable. But again, if you're looking for that sports car feel (I've owned Z cars and Supras and the GTP is no Z car or Supra!).

    So there you have it - for those trying to decide between a GP and a Maxima, I would recommend doing extended test drives, especially on twisty roads, as well as on straightaways to test acceleration. For me, the Maxima is a more enjoyable ride, and better fit. For others, it may be the opposite. The GP does have some bells/whistles, like OnStar and Heads Up Display, that you can't get in the Maxima, if those are important to you (they're options, except OnStar is standard in GTP). I chose the GP without test driving too many other models, which was my mistake, but I hope this comparo will help others in making the right choice. (One more thing that might be a factor - mileage/fuel. the 3.8L Series III S/C engine in GTP is rated at 18 mpg city, capable of using regular fuel, but premium required to get full 260 hp, according to manual. The 3.5 L V6 (NA) Nissan engine is rated at 20 mpg city, with premium fuel recommended for best performance. I do notice the Maxima being a bit better on fuel consumption but engine hasn't gone thru break in yet, so won't make any definite comparison statements).
    Good luck.
  • cigsmhcigsmh Posts: 16
    Hi All,

    I have recently changed my oil on my Grand Prix GT and 3 weeks later the warning light
    “Change Oil Soon” came up. Is this a mechanical feature that should be reset or this is an indication for some problem?
    If it can be reset, please tell me how. On my Montana I just need to pump gas pedal three times with ignition on, and this message disappears. On Grand Prix I have tried it many times, but nothing happens.
    I have bought this car (model 2001) 6 month ago with 40K miles. I like it so far.


  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254
    On my dad's '98 Grand Prix GT, the process is the same as your Montana; turn the key on and pump the gas pedal 3 times, then the light blinks indicating that it's reset. Did your car come with the owners manual? I've noticed that a lot of used cars now don't have the owners manual in them. The previous owners or leasers have taken them out and probably put them on ebay. Check your owners manual if you've got one. I wouldn't expect the '01 to be any different from the '98, but who knows. Good luck.
  • dan165dan165 Posts: 653
    I think you a little biased at this point against the Grand Prix. The numbers I have read point to the GP being a faster and better handling car. Like you say, it's a preference thing also. So long as you are happy.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    Thanks for sharing your impressions. Please, keep us posted about your owning experience.
  • gunitgunit Posts: 469
    The GTP Comp beat the Maxima in 5 categories, Composite Road Course Lap Time, 1/4 mile time, Braking 60-0mph, lateral G's 100' skid pad and Transition 600' Slalom Speed. Independent testing done at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona.

    In fact the GTP Comp beat the Audi A6 3.0 in all 5 categories as well, pretty impressive.

    Remember the tires have a lot to do with it. IMHO Stock tires usually stink. I know from personal experience on my 1997 and 2002 GTP coupes, the stock Goodyear RSA tires were garbage in any kind of semi hard cornering. Squealed like a pig. 1st thing I did was get rid of the stock tires and upgrade. P245 50 16 makes a positive dif. in handling over stock P225 60 16 size.

    Not sure for the redesigned 2004 Max, but the 2002-2003 Max and I35 with the 255hp engine had the WORST torque steer I have ever felt. You didn't want to floor the car because it was so annoying and intrusive. I get I35 & now G35x loaners when my I30t is in the shop.
  • gunitgunit Posts: 469

    After buying my 2001 I30t, I might NEVER buy a japanese car again. They are NOT as good as people claim them to be after my experiences. I bought it because everybody was telling me how superior the japanese cars are etc. My I30t has been so-so or ok, but not what I expected. Same or Worse reliability then my GTP. No better then an American Car

    Not all the products out of detroit in the 80's were that bad. The old school RWD V8 cars were pretty reliable in my experience. Esp. the mid-sized and full sized ones. The FWD ones were sometimes another story, LOL!
  • gunitgunit Posts: 469
    No rear seat cupholders, the '97-'03 had them in the back.

    No back door child saftey door switches, '97-'02 had it. Seems to be a problem with almost ALL new GM cars.

    They made the 2004 1 inch taller, yet there is a LOSS of 1/2" headroom in the backseat! LOL! The Front gains 1/2"

    No digital Climate Control, the '97-'01 had it.

    Driver Info Center is noticeably smaller Harder to use in 2004. I liked '97-'03 center better even though it showed less.

    Why no horspower bump or increase on the base 3800? Still the same 200hp as the 1997-2003 model. GM obviously bumped the GTP up 20hp, 240 to 260hp.

    The 2004 GT1 & GT2 offer NO performance or gas mileage gains over the 1997-2003 GT & SE with 3800 engine.

    The 1997-2003 was slightly faster 0-60mph & 1/4 then new 2004. Because they were 50-100 lbs lighter with same 200hp.

    2004 GTP Comp not really any faster then 1997-2003. 6.5 seconds vs 6.8, about the same. At least it's faster.

    2004 is the same sized car as '97-'03, where as Maxima & Altima made their cars slightly bigger-roomier in 2002 and 2004.

    Gas gauge doesn't say E, 1/2 or F anymore, just annoying pictograms. Same with the driver info center, not labeled, just pictograms. 97-03 better in this respect, at least they are labeled!

    UGLY rear end. 1997-2003 Rear end was better looking IMHO. Front end is nice though.

    Coupe like styling for 2004, Guess what? It is NOT a coupe, still a 4 door last time I checked. No MORE 2 door coupe, 2002 was the last year. Tha prevents me from buying it in 2007.

    Leather seats look improved as well as some of the interior over 97-03 but NOT enough.

    2004 has more blindspots IMHO then 1997-2003 sedan did.
  • gunitgunit Posts: 469
    There are pluses on the 2004.

    140mph speedo instead of what some people called a wimpy 110 mph speedo '97-'03.

    Better-higher quality looking gauges then 1997-2003

    Front end of 2004 is nicer looking then '97'03, IMHO

    Rear end of 2004 is NASTY. Best combo would be 2004 front and 1997 rear.

    Leather seats are of better quality and not the PLEATHER-Vinyl look of 1997-2003

    Full backseat pass through, not just a small center one.

    Interior is slightly improved in some aspects, but still not as good as other cars in class.

    Increased handling-braking over 1997-2003. "97-'03 was pretty good.

    Heated seat for the PASSENGER, about time.

    17 inch wheels, plus or minus, 17" more $$ then 16" for tires
  • gunitgunit Posts: 469
    Why no more 2 door coupe? I know this has been debated before, but they still sell a Sunfire & Grand Am coupe?? I know coupe sales declined from 30% in 1997 down to 20% in 2002. 20% still seems like a pretty good number to me.

    GM refers us to the Monte Carlo SS Supercharged which is the same car but IMHO is UGLY or the GTO which is more $$ and NOT as roomy.

    BTW....2004 GP Sales were NOT as good as 1997 sales. Back in 1997 the Grand Prix sales increased 50% + over 1996. 2004 wasn't even close to the '97 increase.
This discussion has been closed.