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Pontiac Grand Prix Engine fires 3800 series II 1996-2003



  • My car caught fire approx. 1 month ago. After our car was towed to be repaired, we were notified that the car was under recall and this was part of the recall. We were officially notified by GM the following day. When we contacted GM, we were told that our "Expired" Car Warranty should cover the repairs. Do they think we are that stupid. I contacted the Attorney General's office and they are looking into the matter. The funny part about this is the recall has been out for a few years and we were never notified.
  • Seems like the engine fires in these late 90s-early 2000s Grand Prix's are only effecting the ones with the optional 3800 Series II engine? Some of these have the 3.1L V6 and I dont think these have the engine fire problem?
  • it could be the regulator...thats whats wrong with mine and it was intermittent until it just quit working for good. hope that helps. :)
  • I just experienced my 2002 grand prix engine go up in flames. I went to my son's townhome to have a birthday dinner prepared for me by him. We just sat down to eat and someone knocked at the door asking if someone here owned a grand prix. When I said I did he said it was in flames and he just called the fire department. We all ran outside to watch my car burn to the ground. Happy Birthday to me!!!! I am just grateful that I was not at home with the car sitting in the garage. The unfortunate part is that I just paid it off and dropped my insurance down to liability...this was a big loss.
  • My husband and I just purchased a 2001 Grand Prix 3 months ago. This morning the engine caught fire and the car is demolished. A firefighter mentioned the recall and so I have researched this and I am just floored with what I am reading. Wow, so many vehicles catching fires, complete toast... and no class action lawsuit !!! NEVER EVER will I buy a GM vehicle again with this kind of history !! Unbelievable !!
  • my email is if you found what legal things can be done i did the recall and it just caught fire yesterday please help
  • hi jewel my just got fire on dec 7 2011, are they willing to pay for anything. i did the recall work and everything i dont know what to do. please help
  • if anybody has what legal information i should do please help me. it just caught fire and destroyed on the 7th. i did the recall and everything. =) i just got the car 2 months ago.
  • I'm pretty sure this is caused by a faulty circuit breaker.

    On the windows, they are not "fused" but instead the motor has a breaker.

    When it gets hot, it trips "open" and will not re-close until it cools down.

    Have a new breaker installed in the door AFTER asking your dealer if this is related.

    TSB Bulletin No: 531018

    Rusty Wrench
    aka DrVette
  • Sorry for your loss.

    AFAIK, posting legal advice is against Forum policy,
    I do reserve the right to be wrong though.

    Try a Google Search

    Rusty Wrench
  • drvettedrvette Posts: 99
    edited December 2011
    I'm not privy to the "statute-of-limitations" regarding "Recalls" concerning safety items like this, however I will post what little info I have found "so-far" regarding the subject.

    GM Recalls Millions of Vehicles 1997-2003

    April 12, 2009

    NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 09V116000

    EA07008 NHTSA Action Number: EA07008

    GM RECALL NO. 90047.

    The recalled vehicles all have naturally aspirated 3.8 liter V6
    "Affected vehicles include:

    1997-2003 Buick Regal;
    2000-’03 Chevrolet Impala;
    1998-’99 Chevrolet Lumina;
    1998-2003 Chevrolet Monte Carlo;
    1998-’99 Oldsmobile Intrigue
    1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix.

    GM said some of these vehicles have a condition in which drops of engine oil may be deposited on the exhaust manifold through hard braking. If the manifold is hot enough and the oil runs below the heat shield, it may ignite into a small flame and may spread to the plastic spark plug wire channel and beyond, increasing the risk of an engine compartment fire.

    GM said dealers will remove the spark plug wire retention channel at the front of engine and install two new spark plug wire retainers free of charge.
    The recall is expected to begin this month and owners and technicians can
    Chevrolet at 1-800-630-2438,
    Oldsmobile at 1-800-630-6537,
    and Pontiac at 1-800-620-7668.

    (TTY 1-800-424-9153),

    Per CNN
    "GM issued a similar recall on a similar engine in 2008, according to the company's filing with the government. That problem was traced to a faulty gasket on the engine rocker cover."
    link title

    You can "search" here for other Auto recalls

    Look here for TSB's [Technical Service Bulletins]

    I'm sorry for all the distress caused by this, I only hope that the auto mfg's association gets their act in line a bit better.
    Many other brands catch fire also, the automobile is a complicated piece, sometimes the engr dept cannot consider all factors in the design of each component.

    Good Luck to Everyone
    Rusty Wrench
    aka DrVette
  • drvettedrvette Posts: 99
    edited December 2011
    Read my post #408
    Sorry, I do not e-mail folks I don't know, I worked for a Computer Tech help site for many years
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,024
    Legal advice is fine (but the reader should remember we don't have any way to verify that it's correct). We just don't permit using the forums to organize legal action (e.g., collecting names for a class action lawsuit).


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  • I had a Monte Carlo Z w/a 3800 series engine that caught on fire while I was in the drive-thru of my bank. It took 2 fire trucks 45 mins to put it out & the car re-started itself w/o the keys in it!!! Amazingly enough, the interior was immaculate & except for the hood being bent cuz they had to use the "Jaws of Life" to open it as the cables burned thru, you couldn't even tell that the car had burned from the passenger side. However, the asinine insurance company that I had decided it was an electrical fire & I got royally screwed on the payout. I've had a Grand Prix w/a 3800 since & the 1st thing we did was change the intake manifold as that was supposedly what was the cause of the fires. So far, so good. :)
  • Ray, it's not just Grand Pric's. My 98 Chevy Monte Carlo Z38 caught on fire while I was in the drive thru @ my bank! It took 2 fire trucks 45 mins to put the damned thing out & needless to say it was totalled. I got massively screwed by my insurance co on the payout. I fought them for almost a yr & got em to come up a bit but not near the value of the car. My son told me @ the time that there were 38 documented cases of fires in the 3800 series engines but GM was denying any responsibility. My fire happened on 11/20/2006. I know the exact date cuz I still have all of the paperwork. If you do manage to get a class action suit going, count me in. Not only could I have been seriously hurt but I could have burned down the bank. Plus, it was a fluke that I even pulled off the hwy & stopped @ the bank that day. They weren't a scheduled stop.
  • I deceided to check back on this post. I drove my 1998 GP-GTP off the show room floor and loved it !! Took great care of it even when my daughter took it over in 2005. In 2007 while at work in her hospital, the car burned to the ground in the concrete parking garage. Thank God no one was hurt. I saw previous posts where GM states this is not thier issue.
  • i had my car catch on fire on Friday, same thing I did the recall over 2 years ago, but as i heard, this is the 3rd car around where I live that catches on fire in the last 6 months
  • I agree, it just happen to me last friday, I am shock to see how many people have had the same issue..
  • I have a 02 buick lasabre, which has the 3800 engine in it, never did get a recall, but it caught fire two weeks ago, and it was exactly where they said it would, melted all the stuff over the sparks plugs, just happened to be in a good spot where they got it out quickly but the car is probably beyond repair and we just had liabilty on it so it is a totat lost for us. I contacted buick but they said it would be breech of waranty since its is over four years old for them to do anything. So we are without a car. Are they any class action lawsuits going on ?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,024
    Also, please remember to report your incident to the NHTSA - they are the government agency responsible for tracking issues and investigating defects.


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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,238
    I wonder how many of the people with problems due to oil seeps collecting and moving onto the hot exhaust have had their cars back to the dealer for servicing or for oil changes. I believe there was a recall for modifying the plastic loom for the spark plug wires.

    If the owners have their oil changes done at QuickyCheap lube and don't follow the internet for recalls and TSBs, they may not have had proper checks and updates done to the vehicles. Also, the seeps would have given an oil smell occasionally from oil getting onto the exhaust area. That should have prompted a visit to a knowledgeable repair facility to check on the source.

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

  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    edited May 2012

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  • Seems like nobody comes here to tell their Grand Prix fire stories any more. Maybe all the ones that were going to burn have burned. My 1999 is still alive. No fires.....yet.......
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,024
    Since this discussion covers 8 model years, the earliest of which is 17 years old, it's safe to assume that some of these vehicles have died peacefully of natural causes. Vehicle fires in this model aren't exactly what you'd call a common or expected occurrence - as mentioned, we're covering 8 model years here and given the number of complaints, your statistical likelihood is low.

    May you have many more happy years!


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  • kirstie, did or do you have one of these cars?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,024
    No, I just host this discussion.


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  • I am shocked to see all of the Grand Prix's that have caught fire.

    My car engine started on fire last week, 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix with the 3800 engine. I decided to google Pontiac fires because I was so confused why it started on fire.

    Parked my car outside to go into a store and within a few minutes I overhear someone mentioning that an older Grand Prix has smoke coming from the engine and I go outside to see it was my car!

    Car is totalled just lucky the car fire didn't injure anyone or anything else. Still a little freaked out that could have started in my garage.

    Didn't realize there were all these issues with the 3800 engine.
  • MY 97 grand prix caught fire back in September. the fire went out before it caused any serious damage. off instinct, I replaced the cat converter, spark plug wires, o2 sensor, and power steering hose, car still gives off burning smell but I won't drive it longer than 5 minutes for fear that it will catch on fire again. I called the dealer and they said that my car had already been serviced for the recall and they sent me a letter saying my car was out of warranty in 2007 so what next? I really would like to drive my car again.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,238
    The dealer told you it had already been serviced for the recall by taking of the plastic part that would catch and hold oil drippings.

    What I would do is replace the silicon valve cover seals with new ones. They tend to settle with age and not seal as tightly, allowing a little leakage. Replacing them stops the leak.

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

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