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Pontiac Grand Prix Engine fires 3800 series II 1996-2003



  • gtp03dawgtp03daw Posts: 16
    what year ? model..the gtp's with the super charged 3800 engines have
    a recall out for the front valve covers. from personal experience my first
    one went up in flames. the recall only covers the front valve cover and the
    alternator is by the rear one, but have both valve covers checked, also there
    were recalls on the intake manifold gaskets leaking water. if water gets
    into the cylinders it will be costly as in new engine! around 800 for the manifold gaskets if it's not under warranty, front valve cover is a free recall, also have the
    oil pan gasket checked for leaks. mine leaked directly onto the exhaust
    down tube, another 800....great engine...lousy gaskets..
  • it is a 94 grand prix se, I think 3.1 engine. its got 40,000 miles on it.
  • so you think i should check both gaskets and the pan?
  • any body else have any input?
  • if it smells like oil it is .. look for the leak and have it fixed.. changing the valve cover gaskets are not that hard..
  • I am writing in response to the messages. Just 2 night ago our car burnt up. Our story sounds like so many others. Came home and about 15 minutes later the neighbor is knocking on the door and our car is in flames. I started looking around today and have been very surprised to hear so many similar stories. Has anyone had any success with GM on the issue? Any available information, updates, or suggestions on the route we can take to handle this would be grealty appreciated. If this is a common problem then GM needs to acknowledge it and do something about it before someone gets seriously hurt! We were devistated!
  • I am checking in to see if you have had any luck. Our car caught fire 2 nights ago and it totaled.
  • Hello,,,
    I am so sorry that your car was destroyed by this terrible problem that is happening to Pontiac's .....I was devastated when my car caught fire.....I first called the car complaint number to let them know about it...then they gave me GM's phone number,,,a case was open and a investigator was sent to my house,,twice......he took pictures,,,and then a while later GM contacted me and said,,"that they would not cover it because I didn't have a extended warranty". I don't know anyone who has a extended warranty or who would give me one when my car was a 1999 Grand Prix,,,,I loved my car and it was paid for...I planned on having my car for long time....and didn't have high miles either....I would try this first what I did.....and you could have success...I think if I pursue somehow maybe I could get is sad and frustrating to read all of the posts...someone told me about these fires happening that is how I found out...I thought initially that my son had done something to the car.....GM needs to step up to the plate and reimburse GM car owners their money for the loss of their vehicle....and they are not being held accountable for something that is clearly their fault...I wish you luck and I will let you know if I find a way to to pursue and get some where with my case..I am sorry again for the loss.....and your right someone is going to get hurt or a fatal tragedy is going to happen..actually,,,a older man did die from his car catching on fire..because the fire burned the wires and the automatic door locks were locked and he couldn't ope the windows or doors and died inside the car....don't give up and pursue this and have a case deserve to be reimbursed for your loss.....erica
  • Did you have the recall executed? GM recalled most of these cars and have a plan to fix what they believe is the main cause... oil leaking out of the front valve cover that catches fire on the exhaust manifold then ignites some plastic parts above the exhaust manifold. If you had the recall done and still had the problem then it seems you might have some additional leverage with GM. I believe the recall was only a partial fix, but probably enough of a fix to put these cars back into a more reasonable statistical category for under hood fires on competitive vehicles.
  • we were the second owners and to my knowledge never received a recall for the vehical , and to this date have just learned about this recall all what the effects of it are
  • I couldn't have the recall done and I was not aware of a car was destroyed when it caught caught fire and everything was melted and the car could never be put to back to what it was.......I was the third owner so I never received a recall...a friend mentioned that this was happening after my car caught fire so I decided to check it...I was devastated when I started reading the posts in here...I could not believe it was happening and GM was not being held accountable for this problem and not having to reimburse owners for their loss....thank god,,,the windows were down,,,when my car caught fire because the auto windows , doors,,,,would not work because the fire melted the wires and computer ....or my son and his friends would have died.......two fire trucks responded to the fire.....immediately but the car was not savable......thank god my daughter was not driving it either because she probably would not reacted as fast as my son did...
    even though I will most likely not be reimbursed for my loss I am not going to let GM off the hook.....I am not going to go away.....I will be a voice for all of us that have experienced this's wrong....and GM needs to not forget it....erica
  • i recieved my "recall" warning in the mail like 3 days ago but place who fixes the problem was booked up for a few weeks well needless to say my car caught fire today trashed the whole engine luckly there was a pressure hose about 50 feet away from where i parked for work.. at a farm and we put it out but it still trashed the whole engine.......GM should be held accoutnable
  • We also have a similar story that happened husband had been to the drug store about 2 miles away from our house, he had been home for about 10 minutes and someone driving by our house saw the flames and frantically rang the doorbell to let us know our car was on fire. Ten foot flames, 2 fire trucks , 5 police cars.,our block being baracked and 1 hour later the flames were finally out. Thank goodness we had some strong winds today that were blowing away from our house and my husband did not park in the garage!!!! We had the recall "fixed "and we have only drove about 150 miles since the recall was "completed." I have already contacted my insurance company and I am planning on giving my good friends @ GM a call. Looking forward to a good run around!!!
  • Hello ,,,,
    I am so sorry that your car is is such a devastating and traumatic thing to go through.....what year is your Grand prix? I am so glad your husband is okay.....and thank god he didn't park your car in the garage....something has to be done about this....almost every other day I am receiving e-mails from edmunds forum.....this is ridiculous and unfair...all of us have trusted in Gm and have invested in a car that is supposed to last and meet our needs....not only are we out of a car when this happens but the money....
    also,,,you took your car in and had it supposely fixed with the least you thought...I don't have the answers but we have to do something....I wish you luck and please keep me informed......take care....god bless,,,erica
  • Mine caught fire on my mom's carport just over four years ago, thank goodness I had full comprehensive coverage or I would have gotten nothing! GM issued recalls long after hundreds of cars burned and will do nothing.
  • tressytressy Posts: 1
    On November 29, 2010 I avoided an accident after a car pulled out in front of me on a two lane highway. So after I continued down the road, I noticed a strange smell and then realized there was smoke coming from the hood. As I stopped the car, I noticed flames coming from the front of the car. I got out to call 911 and as I looked over the car, the flames were already inside the car. By the time the fire truck arrived, the car was fully engulfed. I was in total shock how fast the car burned. It was my only transportation and is not covered by insurance. They only paid towing. Is there a class action lawsuit on these vehicles? I didn't discover the recall until after this happened.
  • nixhrnixhr Posts: 1
    My 02 gtp caught fire in October 2010. I was not aware of the recall therefore had not had it performed. About two months prior to the fire I had reduced my insurance to liability only(stupid mistake). I have made calls to GM and filed a claim. basically they tell me that it falls under a warranty statute and they are not going to do anything to fix my car. luckily I managed to stop the fire before it spread and the car is probably fixable but it won't be cheap. Does anyone know of GM actually making this right and fixing any of the damage or am I wasting my time? Also if anyone has had any success getting their car fixed or replaced would they please tell me what avenues to pursue?? Thank you.
  • emrickemrick Posts: 1
    My 2003 car caught fire two nights ago. The problem was it was in my garage. Heavy damage to the garage part of the structure and it almost got my house. I did have the recall work performed and have a receipt to prove it. Obviously, the recall work did not fix the problem. I had full insurance coverage so I will get something for the car but it was in excellent shape, paid off, and I wasn't looking to replace it. The fire to my garage and house is another story. It shouldn't have happened.
  • rob189rob189 Posts: 3
    Hi Erica,

    Sorry for your loss. My 2002 grand Prix burned up 2 months ago while I was driving home. Have you gotten anywhere? I have been told since I did not still have the car I am out of luck.

  • GM wouldn't help you our anyway. We are all victims of their poor workmanship. My '99 GTP burned up just over 4 years ago, loved that car.Thankfully, I had full coverage but did not get nearly the worth to me out of it. Good luck to you getting anything done by GM.
  • rob189rob189 Posts: 3
    My 2002 Grand Prix burned in December 2010, while I was driving home. There should be a class action suit, GM has told me too bad.
  • rob189rob189 Posts: 3
    My 2002 Gtp caught fire while I was driving home and burned in the street. The police had it towed to a salvage yard. I had no place to store it so I gave it to the salvage yard it was totaled. I wrote to GM but since I do not still have the car and can not produce evidence, they told me I am out of luck. I did not have full coverage insurance so it is a very expensive loss. We should do something.
  • I feel like I would just be posting the same story as everyone else here. Thank God my car was in the driveway and not the garage and the kids were inside with me having dinner. Insurance is offering to pay the replace the car, but because they have found that I wasn't negligent (I had the recall performed and brought the car into the dealer to have it checked out when I smelled a burning smell last year) they will not be paying 3rd party liability to my landlord for the damage to our rental house. We have to move because there is black toxic crap all over the place and the kids get covered in it when they go outside. When I called GM, the Customer service rep said things like "what do you expect, the car is 10 years old" and finished the conversation with "I don't know what else to say but good luck!".

    Does anyone know what the foot long "missile" like projectiles are that come out of the front when the car is on fire? Very dangerous and put big dents in our garage door. I am all for a class action lawsuit. These cars should all be taken off the road and all owners should get a new car from GM.
  • tynebtyneb Posts: 1
    Hey Holly, I fall under the category of not the original owner I am actually still paying on my car. I bought this car in November 2008 it is a 2002 pontiac grand prix gt with a 3800 and I first started having problems with it in May of 2010. I went to start my car after work one night and my keys were locked up in the ignition and I had no power to my car at all. I called a friend to come see if he could help and he tightened the cable on the battery and it started up and ran just fine. I then was scheduled to go to school for the National Guard in mid June 2010 and my school was a month long and I stayed in the barracks there. I drove to and from class every day and about a week or so into the school I went to start my car and it locked up again and wouldn't start. I had a mechanic on post come and look at it and he couldn't pinpoint the problem but thought it had to do with my anti-theft system. While trying to determine the problem at one point the keys were not even in the ignition and the car started by itself! I couldn't move it out of park but it was running and they had to take the fuse out to get it to shut off. They put the fuse back in and it started a second time! They left it out a little longer this time and it didn't start back up. I was able to then take it to a mechanic who had several former pontiac mechanics working for him and when they tested the car they couldn't find anything wrong except that my abs needed replacing. After that, my car ran just fine until around mid september of 2010. I had gone to wal- mart with my mom about 20 minutes from us and gone grocery shopping then another 20 minutes back home and my mom asked me to run to town to pick something up for her throat and so I drove to rite aid about a 5 minute drive away, maybe 10 minutes. I had a friend with me and as I turned on the car to go back home I saw smoke coming from the hood. I turned off the car and popped the hood to see what was wrong and I saw flames coming from under the plastic cover as well as the front of my engine. My friend was able to put out the fire with his hat smacking down the flames and we had the car towed back to the house. My dad was able to fix the car but we had to go to different junk yards and get two of the parts off other cars and we had to replace the front 3 spark plugs and plug wires as well. It was the middle of march of 2011 when my car was back up and running again though I didn't drive it much. I moved to Nashville April 7th 2011 and my car would sometimes lock up again and would only start for me after I wiggled the front battery wire although the wire itself was on tight. Then on May 5th I had to go to wal- mart which was not even a 5 minute drive away and I was at a stop light behind a long line of cars and when we started moving I heard a pop and saw smoke under the hood so I pulled into the gas station right beside of a Firestone shop, grabbed a fire extinguisher from my back seat and popped the hood to put out the fire...I am very lucky the car didn't blow up and that nobody was hurt! The guys from the garage next door came running to help me but the fire was out by the time they got to me. I then called a tow truck to bring me and the car back home and the car now sits useless in my driveway...I dont know if anything can even be done to save my car at all but I honestly would like to take a sledgehammer to every inch of it than to trust my life with this car again...twice is enough for me!! Is there anything that can be done or anything at all?? I don't know if my story has helped any but at least mine is now added to the long list of those this has happened to! My best friend in high school had the same thing happen to hers too!">
  • pnwsonpnwson Posts: 1
    I ignored all the recall notices sent to me by GM, and never had a problem. Sorry for all you guys that did. I can say that I always was VERY careful in adding oil and checking the oil, and any oil that dripped back on the engine I wiped it up with a paper napkin. Then last year I had the entire engine and engine compartment professionally cleaned for only $75. It looked wonderful after that, and still is only just a bit more dusty.
  • mrb1125mrb1125 Posts: 1
    May 26, 2011

    Around 2pm this afternoon I had just returned from a meeting and someone came into my office building and asked if anyone drove a red grand prix...I looked outside and the entire engine compartment was in flames. The car was totally destroyed. I contacted GM and surprise surprise, they have to "get back to me"...has anyone had any luck receiving any type of compensation for an issue like this? My car has been kept up to date with any recalls and fixed immediately.
  • bradleyjr136bradleyjr136 Posts: 1
    edited August 2011
    ok sounds like some of forget to wipe oil up after changing it cars don't just catch fire less there is some bad wires or fuel leak but that should be noticed be for a fire start so when you change the oil make sure to wipe the oil you spill off the hot parts it comman since ain't it also if you don't change your oil your self you should be looking at the shop you have do it for you. I've had two Pontiacs since I been driving and never had it catch fire. My first pontiac was a 1994 grand am never caught fire I changed the oil my self I wipe everthing down before taking off after oil change it ain't hard now I own my second pontiac it is a 2008 grand prix and I change my oil my self it hasn't caught fire. why is because I wipe it down and when I have a shop do it I check there work before leaving make sure they didn't spill any on the exaust pipe if they do I wipe it with a rag it not hard so don't give pontiac a bad name because you are dum not to check things like that. it is common since. I'm always at least once every week looking my car over checking for leaks and spills and **** that needs to be fixed before it comes to total lost. a car is like a baby you got to watch it and take care of it you don't just feed it gas but you got to change its oil check if it sick not acting right I say start checking your cars more and if you don't know what to look for take it to the shop I bought my 2008 january of 2011 no fire yet so what wrong with yours
  • kenm9kenm9 Posts: 2
    The electric window on my 1995 Grand Prix is intermittent. The motor has been replaced twice and the problem still remains unchanged. Generally when the window goes down 100% (especially if it went down in auto down mode). It will remain down. But if I wait 30 seconds or 1 minute it will come back up. If I only wait 15 or 20 seconds it will slowly come up a quarter or the way and then stop. Continue to wait another 30 seconds and it goes all the way up. Once it is working again, it continues to work. The problem seems to occur most commonly on warm/hot days, but sometimes even when it is cold outside the problem still occurs. It occurs most commonly after the car has been sitting for hours, but on rare occasions occurs even after I have been driving for a while. Any ideas?
  • kenm9kenm9 Posts: 2
    Posted this earlier today and still don't see it. Sorry if it ends up being a double post.

    I have a 1995 Grand Prix SE with problems with the driver's electric window. The motor has been replaced twice and the problem still remains. The problem is that occasionally(but not always) the window sticks in the down position. This only happens maybe 1 in 3 times that the window is down. It almost always happens when the window is fully down and almost always when the auto down function has been used. It more often happens in warm or hot weather but also happens rarely in cold weather. When it sticks in the down position, if I wait a minute or so, it will go back up. Always. If I only wait 20 or 30 seconds, it comes up halfway slowly and then stops. If I wait another minute it goes all the way up. It has never been stuck in the down position for more than 5 minutes.

    Anyone seen a problem like this?
  • grandprixzgrandprixz Posts: 12
    I am glad your daughter is okay...and sorry for the loss of the car.....
    gm needs to be accountable.....
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