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Pontiac Bonneville Starting/Stallling/Ignition Problems



  • tjii81tjii81 Posts: 1
    i have an '01 bonnie that ran out of gas, i re fueled to 1/4 tank, and now i have no spark. replaced the pcm and still no spark. I was told that the cam/crankshaft position sensors were good. the ignition control module under the coils passed the test OK. I'm now at a loss as to where to look next. there were no problems prior to running out of gas. power everything still works. Battery is good w/ good connections and ground. any suggestions???
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    > security light staying on.

    How does the car run?

    If the car starts, you do not have a VATS problem. Since you didn't say anything about the car not cranking, I assume it runs okay. The VATS system prevents the car from cranking and the injectors from injecting fuel. It turns the security light on flashing for 3 minutes, then it's ready to read the resistance from the key chip again for the driver to try to start once more. But until then no cranking.

    If your car has a theft & tampering system, that may be your problem. I have not had experience with the _security_ system portion of that light which involves theft prevention of the car by checking doors, trunk, etc. I have seen a few posts where prople suggest disconnecting the wire to the sensor on the trunk latch. They claim it fails and causes a security llight for the car theft/tampering portion.

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

  • i have a 1994 bonneville 3800 engine it will start and then shut down after running about 5 seconds ,ive changed the computer and chip key too match and also the ignition moduale,(and they all came from a running 1994 bonneville with a 3800 engine) checked all the fuses and relays,i and its getting fuel
    im at my whits end!!!
    cant get no help form the dealerships all they want is money and no advice
    i just dont know what too check next!!
  • 1988 Bonneville LE set up for a year or two with occasional start and drive
    brought car ran good for two days
    started sputtering, fluttering and jerking
    Changed plugs (split fires pre gap) and wires air filter OK, replaced brittle vac line
    car ran good next day sputtering
    Changed fuel filter let idle for 20 or so minutes to check for leaks
    cut it off, re started, drove around block, put it in reverse to park, it cut off
    crank but no start
    Let engine cool, re checked my work, plugs/wires tight, filter (correct flow to engine)
    force idle until it held, cat converter got glowing hot
    pulled ECM code 44, O2 sensor/rich detected
    crank no start
    replaced plugs with AC/Delco standard w/spec. gap of 0.60
    crank, start but stall unless I force idle (smell gas but no leaks)
    pull pcv check for rattle, clean and put back
    pull O2 sensor clean off, put back
    pull EGR clean out, wire brush off put back
    disconnected neg terminal reset and repulled codes just a 12, diagnostic mode
    crank start and will hold idle after "babying" gas pedal (tach at 1200)
    cat converter no glow (smell gas but no leaks)
    put in drive, reverse will stall out unless I brake, accelerate, and put in gear
    still stall when I try to drive.
    would like to idle up to get to shop to real mechanic but cant find Idle adj screw.
    Haynes manual shows nothing but says I have 1989 - 1991 3800 eng.
  • I have replaced the spark plugs, wires, new air filter, new fuel filter checked all of the fuses, changed the oil in this car. Sometimes when I start it takes several seconds for the engine to turn over and start the car. When I apply the accelerator it fires right up. I have also been using high octane fuel and a fuel additive. I have also used Lucas Injector Cleaner. The vehicle does get better fuel mileage even gotten 450 for an 18 gallon tank half highway.

    Also the engine will sometimes stop running if left to idle for about 10 minutes. Once while the hood was open I noticed a slight puff of air/steam come near the water pump and intake. Any suggestions?

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    What kind of car do you have? Year? Mileage? Background?

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

  • I have a 2003 Pontiac Boneville SE. It has 128,000 miles on it. I am the third owner. The first was an older military vet who had if for nearly fvie years, then another older gentleman bought it and had it for six months and now I have it. My car is super clean and very well taken care of. I have reciepts for regular routine maintenace. Only leakage I have is a small on the head with minimal oil residue. This vehicle has only highway mileage as well. What else do you need to know?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    Did you start the car without touching the accelerator? That's the way it should start best.

    Try turning the key to ON for 3 seconds, then OFF and back to ON. Repeat for 3 times total. Then turn the key to START. If the car seems to start faster, it may be losing pressure in the fuel line, usually a fuel pump problem.

    If the plugs and wires aren't OEM iridium for plugs and OEM equivalent for the wires, I'd work on those.

    The stalling could be a fuel pump.

    I recommend NOT using premium fuel. The car was designed to run on 87. The higher octane leaves more crud in the combustion chamber because it's burning more slowly.

    Find the fuel pressure regulator (on the metal fuel line on motor with a small vacuum hose to it) and remove the vacuum hose a look for fuel. If you get a strong smell of fuel it may mean the FPR is leaking.

    You may need to have your MAF cleaned. The two fine wires pick up dust from the air. They sell sprays for MAF and air intake cleaning at the auto stores.

    I'd save the money for the high octane and use regular, and the Lucas additive and just use an additive occasionally like every 10,000 miles at most.

    Watch for seeps at the water pump and the connectors from intake manifold to bracket for tensioner. The o-rings can leak after aging.

    Watch the level of coolant inside the radiator; dont' just check the reservoir. Sometimes a leak won't suck the coolant out of reservoir but will take in air causing the radiator to drop.

    Check transmission drain and filter change. Should be 40K miles or so, but the manual says at 100K miles.

    check the coolant quality. It should be changed every two years by draining and refilling with fresh coolant.

    What color coolant do you have?

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

  • Ok, PLEASE helop me out here. My boyfriend is stuck right now with my 96 bonneville and it will not start, the alarm keeps going off and I dont know what to do to override it. He unlocked the door with the right key, but the car will not start. He said something about bypassing the valet switch? Does anyone know how to do this, he said it was something like a series of steps you do and it turns the valet off. please help if you know anything about this. Thank you
  • becar3becar3 Posts: 3
    Have read a number of posts as to why Bonnevilles stall while going down the road.
    Dealer wants to replace the Mass Air Flow Filter for about $400.00. From what I can read this is not the problem. But I also don't read that there is an answer to this problem. Can anyone help be out here, can't see spending the money if it won't solve the problem. Car always restarts after a rest but the problem is still there and very dangerous as it just stops.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    Is the type of stall instant like it's electrical?
    If not, then the fuel pressure must be tested while it's running and hopefully when it stalls. Since it needs a short rest to "cool"? that might indicate a pump. Get a fuel pressure gauge from a store that loans them and tape it to the windshield while you drive (need longer hose?) and watch for the stall and see what the fuel pressure is at that time. Luckily pumps in the 2003 are accessible through the trunk!!!

    Or a crankshaft position sensor. But those are in the mid 90s cars that crankshaft position sensors occasionally give. Splashing cold water on a sensor is supposed to help it restart as a test for the symptom.

    MAFs can be removed and cleaned. Replace only with a GM brand for best success. If someone has an equivalent one to substitute for yours to drive a while and see if the problem goes away, that's ideal. Does someone have a parts car for you?

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

  • becar3becar3 Posts: 3
    Not electrial..lights, radio, heat etc work even when totally stopped.

    Liking your fuel pressure gauge thing when it stalls out no reaction to apply gas petal.

    Just not buying dealers MAF theroy

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    It might be worth looking at the MAF. They are easily removed with a security torx bit, available in sets at Harbor Freight, etc. Use MAF spray cleaner on the fragile, fragile wires inside the plastic housing that have the airstream moving over them.

    It might need cleaning. Some cars get the throttle plate area gunked up with crankcase fumes that condense in the entrance to the upper intake manifold when the car is shut off.

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

  • On mine, it was a combination of events: Cheap Gas with high sulfur and 10% Ethanol mix (Partially clogs fuel filter); Back pressure pushes weak fuel pump to being even weaker; MAF Sensor wires were coated with Fume Effluences, caused by clogged PCV and EGR systems. Tuning up, cleaning and running both fuel and oil cleanings got it back to running fine. Total replacement of a MAF is rarely needed under 150,000 miles per a long time mechanic friend from Church, Just some dealers would rather replace at set cost than trying to clean, diagnose and repair final source of problem. Will get worse as Pontiac branding and dealers go away. First, check the filters and sensors for clogs, dirt, fume coating. Then (or at same time) check the fuel pressure out--- MAKE SURE that all fuel fittings used for adding the gauge are tight/free of leaks to avoid fire/separate loss of pressure. Then, buy only fuel fro trusted sources, such as the major brands. (Fast Tommie's Fuel & Smoke mart probably isn't it). If one or both sensor wires in the MAF are frayed or satretched, you will have to replace the package, ($400 +/-).
    Good Luck!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    Sounds like you had a bad gas fill. In my opinion, ethanol in higher (10%) can help pick up water and other oils settled happily in the bottom of the fuel tank and then try to move them through the fine fuel filter which catches them and clogs from the globules. The MAF sensor gets coated from the back burst of oils fumes in the crankcase when the engine is shut off. While running the PCV pulls air from the crankcase and into the incoming air stream in the upper intake manifold. At shutoff those fumes are left just floating and then condense on the MAF, throttle body, and the inside of the upper.

    I didn't think even the quality MAF sensors cost $400. I'll be more careful with mine the next time I spray it and use a camel artists brush to clean it--that's a lot of money. I'm trying to check on price to see if I can learn more.

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

  • remi2remi2 Posts: 2
    my car is missing when u first start it then after a while it stops missing and every now and again it misses when u drive it . i took it and had it put on a machine it said miss fire on number 3 cilender . i changed plugs and wires,cole pack,and fuel injecter, could the crank sensor cause that
  • becar3becar3 Posts: 3
    Just to let you all know, after the car being in the dealership for 3 days and there inability to have the car stall on them. They kept saying that it was the MAF and I wasn't buying that. For the last week on a fresh tank of gas, no stalls. Hoping that is it for this issue. Thank you all.
  • 3 months ago my girlfriends 99 bonneville stalled on her when she was making a turn into parking lot she started it right back up n it ran with no problems. last month it stalled on me once it didnt wanna start right away but after sitting 5 min it did n ran fine until a few days ago when she shut it off then went to leave 10 min after shut off n would only run for 2-3 seconds then stall again. its now to the point where it will run just fine until the engine gets to operating temp then will stall. then goes back to the 2-3 second run time i mentioned earlier. if i push gas pedal when it starts warm it will miss and sputter then just stall out and can smell unburned fuel. i know everyone is having relatively the same problems but if someone could give me some positive feedback that would b greatly appriciated thank you very much
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    Fuel pressure regulator--check for liquid fuel in the vacuum line to it. Shouldn't be any.

    Fuel pump failure with low pressure at times gives poor mixture affecting running. Some auto parts box stores loan fuel pressure gauges that you connect at the Schraeder valve on the motor on the fuel line.

    Check crankshaft position sensor just under the edge of the harmonic balancer.
    Does not set a code if it's starting to fail. Tap it to see it that effects a start. Splash cold water on it sometimes has been said to fix it when it starts failing.

    Check spark control connections under the coils. Remove each coil and inspect the contacts. Check the connector at the end of the plate for poor contact.

    Try removing the MAF sensor lead and see if it starts and runs better. Might need cleaning on the two little wires. Use a liquid MAF cleaner spray. Do not touch wires.

    Have spark plugs and wires been kept in good condition? They are supposed to go 100K but 80K is a nicer time to get them replaced with factory quality wires and AC plugs.

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

  • I have a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville SE with about 230K miles. The problem started about 1-1/2 yr ago. Initially it would happen on rare occasions, I'd turn the key and nothing just a clicking sound, I'd turn the key again and it would start right up. But for about the past year now it just kept progressively getting worse and worse with each passing day. It takes more than a couple of turns of the key to eventually get it started. Now it takes 20-30 mins of turning the key on and off before it will start, all you hear is the clicking sound of the starter but it wont start. All the lights and guages come on like normal. I took off the starter, alternator and battery (less than 6 months old) and took them to get checked at the auto parts store and they checked out fine. I checked all the connections, cleaned everything and still wont start. The only odd thing, aside from the fact that it wont start, is that on very rare occasions it wont even click and when that happens I notice that the Security light on the guages comes on and stays on even after I take out the key from the ignition. When this has happened I have to wait until the light turns off on it's own and then I'll get the clicking sound of the starter.

    Any ideas what else I could check for?
  • I replaced the plugs and wires about 12k ago...where is the fuel pressure you know a site I could search so I can see it...Ill try the other things as well....I also have no heat...checked all fuses...dials, etc...does anyone know where the heater core is...and how hard is it going to be to replace it...
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231

    Fuel pressure regulator is silver cylinder on top of fuel rail at right side with one vacuum line going to it.

    How do you know your heater core must be replaced? Leaking?

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

  • my 1995 bonneville 3.8 starts and dies. I have replaced the cam and crank position sensors. It has fuel and spark. The injectors dont work. I can put fuel in the throttle body and It will run. 125000 miles.
  • joann8joann8 Posts: 3
    i change sterring colum and now car starts put only for a few seconds then shuts off,,can anyone tell me what to do
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    >i change sterring colum

    What did you do with the keys for the old column? Did you switch the lock cylinder to the replacement column?

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

  • llmmoorellmmoore Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Bonneville that I bought used. I am only getting about 17 or 18 miles per gal. There is a slight shutter in transmission and the engine seems to run good with a very slight miss and idling at about 1000 RPM's. Also today my wife was driving to town and the car died while she was driving down the road. The car had now power no lights no crank. After a little bit car started like nothing happened. Drove a little further and died again same thing no lights no crank. Waited a little bit and it started and has been fine so far. ANY IDEAS would be greatly appreciated
  • krause269krause269 Posts: 1
    Car ran great until one day it started overheating so I brought the vehicle into a local repair shop that does free estimates they said it was lower intake gasket and water pump gasket so I went a purchased a complete intake gasket set as well as water pump gasket. After replacing all the gaskets blowing the coolant out of the cylinders and multiple oil changes the car finally started up with a small plume of white smoke eventually dissipating. On the road the car ran rough misfiring in 2 cylinders so I proceeded to check spark replacing spark plugs with some slightly used ones I had. Then noticed corrosion on the spark plug wires so I decided to replace those as well. Problem continued so I headed to the junk yard and picked up 2 ignition coils to replace the two that had been misfiring. Now when I turn the key over it just cranks, There is fuel in the fuel rails and all plugs get white hot spark. To me it seems very strange that I change old parts to new parts and now it wont even start. I have checked the firing order and made sure all wires are firmly snapped in place on the coils. Please anyone who may know what I did wrong help me out.
  • cbleavinscbleavins Posts: 2
    edited July 2010
    In the heat of the day my car will runs for about 10 miles and than it will start to sputter and act like it is running out of gas than it will eventually die. I can be driving down the street at a steady speed and than all of a sudden my RPM's will drop all the way down and than it will start slowing down and if I push on the gas it will sputter but it doesn't help anything it just dies. If I let it set for about 5-10 minutes it will run fine for about 5 minutes and than it will start acting up again. Again this only happens in the heat of the day!!! I have replaced the MAF senor, O2 sensor, catilac converter, spark plugs and wire, fuel filter and tested the ignition module all is good. I'm at a lose and honestly don't know what to do. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME!!!! :sick:
  • kyearberkyearber Posts: 13
    Hello, I've got a "97 Bonneville SE with a little over 200K miles on it. It ran fine up to this afternoon. I got home shut it off then came out about an hour later and now it will not even crank. I replaced the Bat about 1 and a half months ago (dead cell), and I gave the VATS system a lobotomy last year when I found the ignition was causing an issue with the VATS system. My security light goes out about 10 seconds after turning on the ignition but nothing happens. All the power accessories work and none of the lights get dime when the ignition is engaged. Anyone have a clue what could be happening?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,231
    If you can look down under the front of the motor and hit the solenoid on the starter with something of mass like a plastic hammer it might cause the starter to engage. Have someone hold the key to crank while you do that. A neighbor knows where to hit and uses a metal hammer.

    You might have a battery that has given up the ghost.
    You mmight have a battery cable not making connection, usually at the battery and you'll have to disconnect cables to check for corrosion.

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

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