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Pontiac Bonneville Starting/Stallling/Ignition Problems



  • see # 45 of this forum very very accurate!! And helpful!!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    This is a picture of a ground buss before it was cleaned up.


    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • Hello,

    1996 Bonneville...

    It all started out with an occasional missing. We then progressed, (or digressed) to an all out cylinder 3 misfire code in the car. Replaced the plugs, same issue. Talked to a buddy at Auto Zone and tested the ignition control module. It was bad, replaced it. Still won't start. Checked the spark on the plug wires at the plugs, all 6 are good. Got another buddy to clear the codes, and still don't have any codes, but the car won't start. Sometimes you can hear it try to fire off two or three times, then is just turns over. The wonderful scent of fuel is present but not too strong.

    It has been suggested that I try a crankshaft position sensor, (any insight on this?)
    Can this thing be tested without an O-scope?

    Is there anything else I should take a look at?

    I would REALLY appreciate any help with this thing.

  • I too have this problem. When car shuts down, the windows do not work, nor does the drivers seat controls work. I replaced the fuel pump thinking the lack of fuel was the cause but was wrong. I found out today that 1995 through 2001 gm has problems with the ignition switch. Apparently a slight jar to the car while driving, not always picked up by the driver, causes the old switch to jiggle thereby losing the electrical connection to the fuel pump, windows, and driver seat controls. I am going to replace that this weekend and clean the buss as shown in thread #45. Cut and paste this link in your browser select your year and check your vin # to see which switch you need: &...

    I hope this helps you and will repost to let you know if it did or did not help me.
  • Hello,

    Thanks for your reply. Apparently I am having a slightly different issue than you are. My seat control and windows work fine here. This thing just doesn't want to start. Everything seems fine electrically here, security light goes out like it is supposed to as well. (thought this might be the issue but it doesn't seem to be.)

    I really am running out of options. I would agree, with you except for the fact that everything else seems to be fine.

  • My 95 would start then 1 sec later it would shut off . I found that the security system would not send the signal to the ECM to enable the fuel injection. Check for ECM diagram and . You can replace the BCM/security system or order the part from bakerelectronix.for about $50 with shipping

  • I have a 97 Bonneville SE that is now giving me problems. A couple of weeks ago I started haveing problems with the car dieing at both hwy speeds and idling. It finally dies and I found the crank sensor was bad. After replacing that I now have a new issue, when I try to crank the engine the starter will engage for about a quarter to a half turn of the engine then it will disengage and the starter spins freelly. If I release the key and try it again it will repeat the problem. I replaced the Solonoide yesterday and am still haveing the same problem, although it will sometimes spin the engine enough to get it started. Any ideas what could cuase this? :confuse:
  • vcrespovcrespo Posts: 13
    hey everyone need some help on my bonni, won't start.i have check for fuel pressure have 38 psi steady. check all ground good also check ground bus on both driver side and passenger side all good. :confuse: ">
  • Did your '95 bonnie just die suddenlly? It may be the Crankshaft senser, mine had the same problem a few weeks ago. Now I just have this starter issue to deal with.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    Have you checked for spark? Can you feel the injectors snapping to inject while the car is being cranked?

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • vcrespovcrespo Posts: 13
    thank's for you're reply my car have been down for six mouth and i need it inspected soon. let me start by saying i have cheage the hamanica balance sensor frist. the car did start(run) at frist for a while(two day) my wife went to work one morning and i did change the oil,plug and wire. the car didn't run since.i have fuel pressure about 39psi. also check for plug for fire on #3 it's good.also check for puls on the injector while my wife trun the engine did not feel anything or sound coming from the injector. also check pressure in the plug car was cold. 1-120 3- 110 4-120.2-110 4-120 and last 5-120. so i think i have pressure. i do have a obd2 but i can't use it on a 1995 only on 1996 and above.... can i bye a obd1 cable and use it with my obd2 scanner? any help will be appreciated.
    note, i can put gas in the throttle body and the car runs while i keep spring gas into it. it will stop running only when i stop sprying... :sick:
  • vcrespovcrespo Posts: 13
    thank's for the reply imidazo. yes i have check for spark on # 3 plug it have spark. and yes also check for puls on the injectors while my wife trun the engine over. felt nothing.i know i have pressure on my regulator (38)psi any help thank. :sick:
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    If it will run while you spray fuel into the intake, then you have shown that the problem is the injection system. It is not operation.

    I don't know whether it's a sensor? camshaft sensor? PCM control for the injectors? that's at fault. I don't have a service manual for a 1995. If you send an email to my carspace email here I can tell you where you might get help.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • vcrespovcrespo Posts: 13
    thank's imidazol97.. for you're reply.please tell me what is a p.c.m. i may check for voltage.also i have check the camshaft sensor by useing a voltmeeter it's gaving me a reading. i check by placing the camshft sensor on a metle plate like the engine and check the ends for's that the way to check if the camshaft is bad? thank's for you're e-mail address is i have the haynes repair manual book,will check it when i get out of work today.
  • vcrespovcrespo Posts: 13
    how can i tell it the camshaft senssor went bad and is there anyway of testing it?
  • Thought I'd post this here as I think the Bonneville has this engine, too.

    I have a 2000 Grand Prix GT w/3800 V6. Has about 89,000 miles. It seems to always start when it is cold. After it warms up completely, if you turn it off (to go into a store, etc.), and try to start it again, it sometimes will not start (happened about 3 times in the last month). It turns over, but won't start (sounds like it is flooded). It will sometimes eventually start after numerous tries, but will always start when the engine cools completely.

    We took it into a decent local shop, but they told me it hasn't thrown any codes. They said it could be the crankshaft sensor, ignition module, or fuel pump. They don't want to just start replacing parts as each repair can be costly with the fuel pump being the most expensive. We were hoping that it would start failing more often, especially when they had it (it always started for them) as they can't really do much as long as it always starts for them. We thought the car problems were consistent (always starts when when cold, sometimes won't start when warm, but will eventually start when engine gets cold), but it threw us a curve the other day when the engine stalled while my wife was turning into our development. Luckily, she was able to coast it a half mile to our driveway. Again, after it cooled, it started.

    I have heard that a bad battery or one that will soon fail (or one that is defective) can possibly cause this (the battery in the car is 4 years old), so I might take it to a shop and have them check it and maybe replace it anyway as this would be the cheapest fix that I can do myself.

    Has anyone had this problem w/the 3800 V6? Any advice? I'm hoping that if the battery doesn't do it, the car will start failing so the shop can fix the problem.
  • azuazu Posts: 84
    Sounds like a ground problem. Check all battery connections and grounds under the hood. Also check the ground buss next to the drivers' side door under the carpet. Mine is a 95 and had similar problems. Good luck!
  • By ground buss, are you talking about a fuse?
  • ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    hello have a big problem with my bonni. it will trun over but will not run. i have change the cam senssor, the crackshaft senssor but a new hamanic balancer, new wire and plugs and it will not run. the only way it rum is if i put starter fuild then it die... i have notice that when i discounnet the battery for a long time the redio won't lock up like it should. maybe a short in the car. please help me. this is my wife only car. :sick: :sick:
  • azuazu Posts: 84
    I'm not 100% sure that the post '99 Bonnies have them but it is a ground that are for the fuel pump. door locks, defroster etc. It is next to the drivers door under the trim.
  • Hey, I have a 3800 V6 in my 97 Pontiac GTP and sounds like it has exactly the same problem. I just got the car (used) and it began stalling on me intermittently. :mad:

    Initially it would start after a couple of tries but then once I had to have it towed as it wouldnt start for over an hour. The mechanics are stumped - no codes so far. The fuel pump was extra loud, and after a lot of attempts at diagnosing (1 week), a GM 'specialist' said it was the fuel pump. Got that replaced and guess what - it wasnt.

    I have been reading up on this problem for the last two weeks and it could be so many things - right from Cam, crank sensors, the MAF sensor, clogged fuel filter, etc. Compression tests were done - no problems. The sensors as i said did not throw any codes. I've asked him to put some injector cleaner and see if that helps. I tested my battery - it was fine. I tried to jump start it once but that didn't help. (Also, all the lights and the radio come on, battery seems normal)

    Again, the problem is that the mechanics cant seem to reproduce the problem. They managed to do it once and detected low fuel pressure (and i replaced the pump, but the problem still occurs). Something is not letting fuel reach the engine. It seems like a minor problem, but diagnosing it is killing me. :sick:

    I'll make sure to update this post - hopefully it might be of some help to you.
  • azuazu Posts: 84
    I went through same thing and mechanics were stumped. 95% chance it is a bad ground. Make sure all battery connections are tight and corrosion free. Clean all underhood grounds. On my 95 there were three locations, just look on the fenders and firewall areas. If that doesn't do it there are two grounds in the cabin in the front right where your left foot would go on drivers' side and right foot on passengers side. It is under the carpet. If that doesn't work clean the ground buss, there is one by each front door under the trim next to the seat. Do the drivers' side first as this is usually the culprit. Just carefully take off the tape and you will see the ground buss, a plastic blue part with wires going in. Pull the small long metal piece out and clean well. Then take each wire out and clean connection and if you have some dielectric grease put that on it. If that doesn't do it then do the passenger side front ground buss. If that still doesn't work then probably cam shaft and/or crank shaft sensors are bad. Another possibility that the magnet on the harmonic balancer is bad as well. Good luck.
  • wow, ok. :sick: I'll give that a shot as well. I have a feeling it could be the fuel pressure regulator or just a clogged fuel filter.

    Its so hard diagnosing a car, i don't know how doctors do it with people, hehe :P
  • Hello Everyone just want to take a few minute to say thank's to all who took part in helping me get my car back on the road.. would like to explain all deteal on what took part trying to get this bonni running. first i have spent alot of money changing all the part in the engine like new plug and wires 2- new cam shaft sensor 3- new crankshaft position sensor,4, new vacuum line.5-new oil seal.6 new water pump and seal.7- all new relays on the fire wall.8- a new homanic balance. finialy i went on e-bay and bought a obd1 and 2 scanner from actron for about $146.00 dollars plus 16.00 dollars for shipping, by the way, it got here fast. went to check on the computer for my bonni but couldn't get a reading, but the scanner on my 1988 ford ranger and i could read from the computer. so guess what guys? i went to the junk yard and bought a computer for about $69.00 plus tax. well change the computer and install the battery wait for 15 minute so that the new computer can do it's seft programming. after 15 minute i hook up the obd 1 and 2 scanner and was able to read from the the computer. I then started the engine up and it's running. took it for a drive and it runs like a baby. again thank you all for you're help in getting my bonni running. hope this will help other in the future.... ;) :)

    let's keep this form running. i still have a little problem with a fuse. i have a remote control for the car when i bought it. i have notice that the remote control only operate the truck and not the doors. well i check the fuse box that's next to the passenger side where the computer is. i found a bad fuse and change it but the fuse keep blowing up. i know there is a short somewhere. i think this is the remote control for the doors. can anyone help me on trobleshooting this short? again thank you.
  • Well I changed the starter out and now it cranks fine but still will not start. It tried to start twice over about an hour of triying while jumping it off and checking everything I could think of. It is getting fire at the plugs, and fuel at the fuel rail but I cannot feel the injectors working. I have checked for electrical pulses at the injectors and am getting about 0.18 - 0.24 volts (using and older volt meter) When I pull a plug out right after trying to start it the plug is dry so I feel the injectors are not firing. Can someone tell me what cuold cuase this and what do I check?
    Thanks :confuse:
  • hey kyearber try using a obd 1and2 scanner and check if you can any reading from you're computer. it may be bad.. check that first. that's the only way i could think of before you start spending money on guessing what is wrong....... good luck.
  • Hey vcrespo , after I changed the starter I plugged up my scanner and got the codes 0171 (System too Lean (Bank 1)) and 0420 (Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1) ) and cleared them. Now I tried to scan it after trying to start it for about 30 mins but it will not pull anything else up. Should I get any codes if the engine does not start? Could the two problems the codes indicated be cuasing the engine not to start?
  • hey kyearber,,, answer is no , you clear the code out so there for the computer is clear. . try spraying starter fuild in the intake and see if it run( it should for a while.also checck you battery cable and make sure is nice a tight, check for ground wire also check to see if there tight as well. hope this well help
  • Hmm, I will check those out. Today at lunch, the car died on me at work last week and is still there, I jumped in and hit the key. Well it tried to start for a split second but then would not hit a lick after that. I'll let you know what I find.
  • Check out my posting on #69 it may be the trouble.
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