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Pontiac Grand Prix - 2000-2005



  • kazzkazz Posts: 23
    Pontiac has already announced that 2003 will be the new model year for the GP.

    Improvements for 2000 include a rearview mirror with compass and exterior temperature gauge, redesigned steering wheel, and dual climate controls for all versions of the GP. It's sort of a "mid-run freshening" for the model. They are also planning another limited-run car, like this years' Daytona Pace car replica.
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    while they are at it, they should add heating elements to the front passenger's seat.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,270
    anyone seen any "spy" photos of what the 200? new model redesign of the GP is supposed to look like?

    Will it just look like a smaller Bonneville?
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • 96gs96gs Posts: 86
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I think this car's acceleration and power is OK. Does anyone have info about handling enhancements for this car? can i get it up to, say, .85 skidpad or higher? Edmunds lists it as .79 stock.

  • kazzkazz Posts: 23
    Okay, I'm a little fuzzy on what a skidpad is. And what does a car need to make it better on a skidpad?

    I did notice a while back that when Edmund's did the "fun cars to drive" chart they boosted the 300M (listed as .79 in their review) tom.8 so it would make it, but didn't do that for the GP. Kinda takes the wind out of that whole "we don't discriminate against GM" line of theirs.
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    Go to a web-site like and in the forum you can hear from tonnes of people that have modded their GP's.
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    you can also check mailing list atchives on

    things that people have done:

    - front and rear strut tower bars (available from RAT (expensive) or Buick dealers ($19, but you have to drill holes in the strut towers))

    - thicker front and rear sway bars

    - polyurethane bushings

    - better tires

    Some this stuff is also available from the online store at the site.

    P.S. I have seen a 300M measured at .83g on a skidpad. Can't remember which magazine.
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    Just remember, if you go the whole route Ruski outlined you are sacrificing a decent ride for handling.
  • jpstaxjpstax Posts: 250
    I just found out, to my astonishment, that the Regal GS's seats do NOT have a lumbar control. I had my heart set on buying one this fall, but since the GTP seats DO have a lumbar control, I may change my mind. However, a guy in the Regal topic said the absence of a lumbar control doesn't really matter to him because his Regal GS seats are already very comfortable. Any comments?
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,270
    Depends on what you want.

    The Buick Regal seats seem to be more of a "cushy" seat that you sink into compared to the GTP.

    I like my GTP's seats. Although firmer than the Regal's, they are very comfortable and seem to "fit" me better (I'm 6'1", 190 lbs). Lumbar is good on long trips, but I tend to set it, forget it when just riding around locally.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • vcjumpervcjumper Posts: 1,110
    I don't think any of the things Ruski mentioned stiffen up the suspension in a straight line (unless you get tires with a lower profile or stiffer sidewalls). They reduce understeer/lean in turns (thicker sway bars, polyurethane bushings) and lessen the effect of body flex in turns/over bumps (strut tower bars).
  • hengheng Posts: 411
    The thicker sway bars will result in more left to right pitching of your head when going over one wheel bumps and dips. The urethane bushings will transmit a lot more of every crack and expansion joint in the road. Same goes for high performance struts.
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    I never drove a Regal GS but my '96 Buick Riviera's seats were very compfortable. Although they had lumbar support. Buick is known for compfortable seats (but then BMW guys will tell you that their cars' seats a much better because they are firmer).

    Grand Prix only has lumbar support for the driver's seat. Also only the driver's seat is heated.

    The power lumbar support is 4-way which is nice.

    I just drove my GTP from NYC area to Fort Lauderdale, FL - the trip was 20 hours and I felt very comfortable with the car's seats as well as with the rest of the car.
  • 96gs96gs Posts: 86
    My Regal GS's seats are very comfortable. In fact, I've had people almost fall asleep just on short trips. You just kind of sink into the seats like a recliner. They don't really look very supportive, side bolster wise, but they hold you surprisingly well while cornering. Mainly because you sort of sink into the seat. I have never sat in a GP so I can't tell you the difference.
  • tdheimtdheim Posts: 3
    I have a 99 GTP with 10k miles. I have noticed a clunk/clank that appears to be coming from the front end on minor bumps and rough roads. Sounds like a bad rubber bushing somewhere,but it seems rather early in the cars life for that. Anyone experience something similar or is there a bulletin out that anyone is aware of for the 99
    Grand Prix with regard to front end noise.
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    I have a theory - does your GTP have an HUD? My HUD has made a clunking sound when going over some speed bumps at certain speeds.
  • mriversmrivers Posts: 9
    I had a clunk due to a "misaligned" motor/tranny mount. It clunked randomly, until I took it to the dealership, who suprisingly enough, knew exactly how to reproduce it. Reverse + Hard on the gas = Clunk, since the fix it's never done it again.
  • eblumeblum Posts: 52
    I had the same noise on my 98 GT from 4,000 miles to 40,000 miles. DO you know how to fix it? Have GM buy the piece of crap back...

    THe front end noise was just one of over 12 problems I had...the dealership, Davis Pontiac in Richboro, heard the noise (around 37,000 miles...they finally took the crap out their ears one day) and wouldn't fix it...

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!!
  • rascalmanrascalman Posts: 2
    Thincking about buying a Grand prix GT. I have been doing alot of looking on the net about this car. I have found numerous transmition problems, stalling problems, and a variaty of engin problems ranging from alternators to radiators problems. So far i have not been able to find anyone willing to give me any info discounting my questions. Even asked dealer and they were evasive and could not get a sraight answer.
    Please help???!!!???

    I realy like the GP but don't want a car thats going to give me problems because this will be the wifes car. I would hate to go with other advice I have gotten and go with a Toyota or Nissan.
  • tsjaytsjay Posts: 4,591

    I only have 7K on my Grand Prix GT, so I can't tell you anything about long-term reliability.

    The initial quality, however, is very good on my particular car. I have absolutely no complaints, and there have been zero trips back to the dealer for adjustments or fixes.

    I love the power and the handling. I have the 1SC package with leather, and I like the automatic temperature control. You just set your temperature like the thermostat in your house and forget about messing with temperature controls and fan speeds- it decides for itself what it needs to do to maintain your comfort.

    I am very happy with the gas mileage. I have gotten 29.9 mpg twice on strictly highway and I get around 22 to 23 on highway/city mixed driving.

    I've never run out an entire tank of gas strictly doing city driving only, so I don't know what it would do in that situation, but the on-board computer shows some awfully low numbers on a fresh tank of gas before I get any highway driving done.

    Hope this helps in your decision.

  • broncodavebroncodave Posts: 26
    Take it from me, a former GP owner, and run like heck away from the Grand Prix. IMO, putting your wife in the car is spousal abuse. Check my other posts on Edmunds to read of my experience with the GP.

    PS. If the dealer won't answer your questions now, how do you think you will be treated if you come in with a problem?
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,270
    I've had two GPs (one saved my life in a bad wreck).

    First, the transmission/engine combo has been used in many GM makes for a lot of years and has proven to be very reliable.

    These are very quick, smooth, good looking, safe cars.

    broncodave has had some sort of transmission glitch, but doesn't know the cause. I've viewed his posts here and other GP boards and something doesn't quite add up with his problems outside of the claim that his tranny wouldn't shift into 4th gear. He's been posting for two years on another GP board. AAMCO told him they wanted to put in a new trans as did his dealer well after his warranty was up. Still don't know the cause (why wouldn't the GM dealer or AAMCO tell him the cause?). There's a piece of this story that he's not telling us.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • broncodavebroncodave Posts: 26
    Alright graphicguy, I am going to tell you one more time.

    First, I am not a transmission engineer. If I was, I would have done the work myself.
    (why wouldn't the GM dealer or AAMCO tell him the cause?).

    Neither GM nor AAMCO was able to tell what caused the problem. The transmission suffered a catastrophic failure that ruined all of the soft parts and the torque converter. A complete overhaul was necessary. Both the dealer and AAMCO confirmed it. The symptom was the car would not shift into 4th gear. What caused it could have been any number of things. The transmission was so screwed that they couldn't be sure.

    I offered on numerous occasions to meet with GM and let them examine the parts. GM has refused. Would you like to examine the parts and make a conclusion? That is the only part of the Grand Prix I have left other than the hole in my wallet. Maybe then you could tell me what part of the story that I have left out because I sure don't know of one.

    My next post will be a copy of my first letter to GM. You read it and then post back on what I may be holding back.
  • broncodavebroncodave Posts: 26
    September 16, 1998

    Mr. John F. Smith, Jr.

    CEO and President

    General Motors Corporation

    3044 W. Grand Blvd.

    Detroit, MI 48202

    Dear Mr. Smith:

    The purpose of this letter is to inform you about the repairs to the transmission of my 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix and seek reimbursement for the repairs. Up until this month I was pleased with my Grand Prix. However, as you can tell from the enclosures I am very disappointed with the durability of the car, specifically the transmission.

    Before I detail the problem with the transmission, I wish to provide you with some personal information so that I am not just "another angry face". I am 24 years old. This is my first car that I have purchased completely on my own. I am a third generation GM car owner. Both sides of my grandparents drove GM cars and my parents have always owned GM cars. I guess you could say I grew up in a GM family. My first car was a Chevy Beretta. I drove this car from high school, through college, and during my first year as a working accountant. I took my future wife out on our first date in that car. I will be married the 25th of this month and she owns a Pontiac Sunfire. Her parents are GM owners too. Like most cars, the Beretta had accumulated high mileage. I had two choices. I could spend the money to have the routine high mileage maintenance performed or I could buy a new car. Since my parents own a 1994 Grand Prix, I looked into the GT coupe. I purchased the car in October of 1996. Since I live a distance from my office one of the major factors in purchasing the car was durability. Shortly after the purchase of the Grand Prix I opened a GM credit card account to accumulate money for my next car. This would probably be a family car. As you can tell, my family and myself have been loyal GM car owners.

    Now my loyalty has been shaken. Consumer Reports stated " The Grand Prix is a good value, considering what’s included in the price, if it proves reliable". It has not proven reliable. I have had the transmission on the Grand Prix overhauled at only 52 thousand miles. The total cost of this was $1,786.10 This is an extraordinary amount of money to pay for a major repair on a car that was not even two years old. I have to question if this is how GM is building their cars? This was a premature failure due to a defect with the GM made transmission. I should not have to pay for a major repair so soon after the warranty has expired. This reflects poorly on Pontiac to have made a vehicle that needs such an expensive and major repair with only 52 thousand miles on it. For this reason, I am seeking Pontiac to reimburse me for the work that had to be done on the car. I have demonstrated product loyalty now I am asking for Pontiac to stand behind its product not because it has to, but because it is the right thing to do.

    As you can see from the receipt of the transmission bill, I had to take the car to an AAMCO dealer since the Pontiac dealer that I purchased the car from could not repair the car. I took the car to the dealership for a diagnosis. The car would not shift into 4th gear at freeway speed. When I received a call from the service representative, I was informed that the entire transmission needed to be replaced for a cost of $2,700.00. Naturally, a car with 52 thousand miles on it should not be having a complete transmission replaced, so I began to press for a more detailed explanation of the problem. It was then suggested that I take the car elsewhere if I did not want the transmission replaced. I picked up the car later that morning. I again pressed as to why the transmission could not be repaired instead of a total replacement. It was finally admitted to me that the dealership does not have a technician that is competent in repairing a transmission. It appears that the dealership would rather replace a transmission at a huge cost than be forthright with a customer that it’s technician cannot repair the car. This is misleading and unethical. This too, casts a poor reflection upon Pontiac and General Motors. To add insult, my oil was mysteriously changed. I was very specific as to why I brought the car in for service. I even left a note. No where was a oil change mentioned. This once again calls questions to competence. I bring in the car to have the transmission looked at and the oil gets changed? Would you want your car fixed by a dealership that demonstrates such incompetence? I have contacted the owner of the dealership and I am awaiting his response. For the above reasons, I did not have the work done at a Pontiac dealership. For the reasons stated above, the fact that the car was not repaired at a dealership should not be a reason for denying me reimbursement for the repairs.

    I am very disappointed with my car. A car that cost $23 thousand dollars should last longer than a Yugo. To have to replace the torque converter and all soft parts and some of the hard parts of the transmission this soon is unacceptable. The transmission was defective from mile 1 and it just became symptomatic at 52 thousand miles. It is still a defective. Mileage should not matter. Your competitor, Toyota has fixed defects with its exhaust manifolds free of charge with as many as 120 thousand miles on a car. This was not a recall but a company standing behind the product it sells. Is it any wonder why the Toyota Camry is such a great selling car?

    It is amazing to me that General Motors has been able to design spark plugs and engine coolant that do not need servicing for 100 thousand miles. It is unacceptable that a transmission should not last as long. When the Grand Prix was modified for 1997, Pontiac "talked up" the fact that the new engine would contain more torque than horsepower. In the ’96 models, a 3.4L V6 with 210 HP was the upgrade engine. I wonder if this was a wise engineering decision. It would appear that the engine has too much torque for the transmission to handle. This is the opinion of the mechanic who has worked on 8 other Grand Prix’s including mine. I have some of the original parts of the transmission. One part in particular shows metal to metal abrasions, warping caused by a forceful impact and scoring that should not occur. I will be more than happy to meet with an engineer to show the parts of the transmission. However, I do not wish to meet with anyone that does not have the empowerment to settle this problem. My time is important and I have already been inconvenienced too much with this problem as it is. With the torque converter also having to be replaced it leads me to believe that Pontiac has a problem.

    I call your attention to the enclosures that came with this letter. The first exhibit (labeled 1) is the transmission bill. As I am sure you are aware, the Internet is a powerful tool that has global appeal. I call your attention to the web site, This site is a Grand Prix owners site. Over 125 thousand people have visited this site. Under the "GP Problems" section I have posted the enclosed. In response to this message I have received messages from other owners. They too have had similar problems. Most of them were fortunate to still be covered under warranty. They are awaiting the outcome of this situation as well. Next, you will find Exhibit 3a-d. These are the Technical Service Bulletins related to the transmissions. Review of these TSB’s leads me to believe that Pontiac is aware of a problem. After that you will find the postings on of other Grand Prix owners that have had transmission problems. Finally, you will find the Consumer Reports summary page for the 1997 Grand Prix.

    As you can tell below I have decided to copy many organizations in on this letter. I have not filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau at this point. I feel it best at this time, however, to copy them in on this situation. I am hoping that I do not have to file a complaint with them. I am also copying Consumer Reports on this problem as well since their article questions the reliability of the car. I am also copying various consumer and government agencies as they should be aware of a vehicle that has a premature failure due to a possible defect.

    Mr. Smith, I want to be perfectly clear, I will not stop until this situation is resolved. As I am sure you are aware, the conventional wisdom in the auto industry is that it takes 10 years to "repair" a dissatisfied customer. The best advertisement for product is a satisfied customer. Right now I cannot offer an advertisement for the Grand Prix. I have read recently that General Motors has lost market share. I wonder if problems like I have had are the reason why. I would like very much to e-mail everyone and post messages on Internet sites that Pontiac did the right thing and stood by their product. If this situation is satisfied, I will do just that. I hope very much that your action will allow me to do so. Please contact me to resolve this situation. I will be on my wedding/honeymoon from September 22nd to October 3rd. As you can see this could not have happened at a worse time. I now head to my wedding and new home $1,786.10 lighter in the wallet due to a car that should not have major problems. I eagerly await your response.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,270
    Broncodave...please take some advice given in a non-confrontational manner from someone who is a bit older and perhaps wiser than you.

    First and foremost, I "skimmed" the above letter, didn't read it through and through. My guess is neither did GM.

    Second, if someone wanted to charge me $1,700 for any product or service, I'd want to know why it failed and exactly why their solution fixes it. To simply say that you are not technical is acting like an ostrich....putting your head in the sand. If, as you say, that the transmission was defective from "mile 1", then you should have had it serviced at "mile 1".

    Third, you are negotiating from a position of weakness. Your warranty was up. Your dealer had no responsibility whatsoever to you. What you wanted was some sort of relief for the repair. What you should have done was appeal to the dealer to keep you as a customer by speaking to GM on your behalf for partial relief for the repair bill in a calm, respectful way. They are the ones with the power (remember, your warranty was up). What you did was try to "bully" your way to get what you wanted. The response of the dealer/GM (or lack of one) is not unexpected in this case.

    I repeat, since your trans was experiencing difficulties from the very beginning as you claim, you should have had it repaired while it was still in warranty.

    A faulty transmission doesn't last 52K miles, unless it was abused over time.

    My guess is that your dealer didn't respond to your satisfaction becuase your demands were unreasonable (give me a new transmission after my warranty has been up for almost 20K miles or I'm going to whine and whine and whine).

    My guess is that the BBB didn't do much with your case since you were out of warranty and you gave no culpable reason to your dealer or GM to make an exception.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • broncodavebroncodave Posts: 26
    I am not being confrontational with you. I don't even know you and you don't know me. But you have made some assumptions that are not correct. You really have to understand the entire situation to understand my position.

    First, I did ask about what caused the failure. AAMCO said that the failure was catastrophic and because there was so much damage it was not possible to tell what lead to the problem.

    Second, what I was saying in the first letter is that the transmission was defective (design flaw)from day one. In other words, GM put a defective car on the market. It was SYMPTOMATIC at 52K. There was never ANY indication of a problem until it happened. Therefore, it could not have been fixed before.

    Here is an excerpt from my final letter to GM and the dealer after I purchased the Honda:

    "Before I left, I asked that a call be put in to General Motors about the transmission. Mr. Pappas stated, "we haven't been able to fix them yet. GM doesn't even know what is wrong with them or how to fix them." No assistance was ever offered in verifying a manufacturing defect or calling General Motors for an appropriate repair procedure. His only comment was "You call GM." This was completely wrong. This statement led me to take the car to AAMCO and had the transmission overhauled. After all, if GM doesn't know what is wrong with them, then shouldn't I go elsewhere?"

    Does this sound like to you that I was unreasonable? Does that sound like I was trying to "bully" the dealer?

    Like I said in all of the other posts, it was the dealer that screwed me first by not following policy and then GM by backing the dealer when he was wrong. Yes, I knew the warranty was up I knew what position I was in. I like Ronald Reagan would rather bargin from a position of strength. I also knew that GM had replaced transmissions under "goodwill adjustments" as well. That is exactly what I was looking for: a reduction in cost.

    The BBB reference was for the dealer as somehow he thought I wanted an oil change to go with the transmission problem. I copied him in on the letter.

    Tomorrow I will post my final letters as I don't have them on disk with me. I will also post GM's form letters. That way you can read them all, know all the facts and then pass judgement if you wish.
  • rascalmanrascalman Posts: 2
    I appreciate your info dave as well as anyone else. This car purchase will our first new car. My biggest concern is with the cooling system. My parents had a Chevy Lumina Euro sport. The cooling system design has me worried. They blew a head gasket and got water on the heads ($$$$$). Also the alternator would go out every 8 mo. after the warrenty was out. There were numerous other problems, but I want go into those. Under the hood these vehicals are the same. But so far I have not been given any info that documents any changes they made to alleviate these problems. If anyone can give me a direction to look I would appreciate it.
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    I don't think that the new Pontiac Grand Prix GT or GTP is the same under the hood as a Chevrolet Lumina Euro Sport. First of all the Grand Prix has the 3.8L engine. What did the Lumina have?
  • mcdillmcdill Posts: 180
    broncodave ,just because you had these problems doesnt mean that everyone else will have the same experience you did, unless we were talking about kia's.
This discussion has been closed.