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Pontiac Grand Prix Engine fires 3800 series II 1996-2003



  • outdoorladyoutdoorlady Posts: 14
    I was lucky enough, if you want to call it that, to have full coverage comprehensive, so there was no deductible. But try getting a decent car for $5200 to replace one that was worth twice that to me. I loved my red 1999 GTP. The insurance would not pay for the damage to my mom's home, but her insurance did a good job of covering her losses and damage to the carport and house. I am really disappointed in GM's lack of responsibility and unwillingness to take care of it's customers. It is not our fault they built a car that has become a serious danger to life and home.
  • jmazz01jmazz01 Posts: 5
    My 2001 GTP caught fire just over 2 weeks ago. Same story as most. Short drive followed by an engine bay fire after sitting for 5-10 minutes. The car is a total loss. GM took our call and said we would be contacted within 2 business days. Of course they did not. We called back and got a run around until we finally were told that the "claim" was not sent.

    The car was towed to the local dealer per GM's request. We were told that they would be out to look at it within 10 business days. Those 10 days are nearly up.

    Here's the fun part. We received the original pre-recall letter. Contacted 2 dealerships who knew nothing about it. Contacted GM to find out when we could get the car fixed. We were told that as soon as the parts were in we would be notified. That was in March. This past Friday we get a postcard in the mail. It basically says we were sent a letter to take our car in to get fixed, per the recall and we didn't. It then say's to take it in for the fix at no cost to us. Funny how we get this post card days after the insurance pays us for the GTP. Needless to say we never received a letter advising us to schedule a repair. We called GM to inquire and were told that they sent us a letter 2 weeks before the car caught fire.

    Sure sound like trying to cover up to me.

    If anyone has any info on a potential lawsuit let us know. The one email address in this thread did not respond to me.
  • grngtpgrngtp Posts: 14
    jmazz01, sorry to hear about your loss. Did you look at the engine compartment after receiving the pre-recall letter. If so, was oil leaking out of the front valve cover? Did you notice any hot oil or gas fumes/odors before the fire?

  • slove1slove1 Posts: 1
    I had a 1997 pontiac grand prix gt wich i took very good care of and October 2007 I was driving home and my car stalled it was on fire and literally burned to the ground and as you can imagine i was devistated because not only my car but all my dog grooming supplies was in the trun. I only had libility insurance so lost everything! Please help me, I don't even know where to start!! Thanks
  • jmazz01jmazz01 Posts: 5
    No fumes or odors or heavy leaking oil. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary for a 7 year old car.
  • jettechjettech Posts: 8
    Just had the recall maintenance completed on my 2K Grand Prix GTP last burned up tonight. Appears the fix doesn't work. People beware...check your engines for any leakage.

    Fortunately I have full coverage on the vehicle, but the blue book value will in no way compensate me for what the car is actually worth. I loved that car. It was fire engine red and the paint was in perfect condition. Looked like it just came off the showroom floor. I am really depressed about this.
  • jmazz01jmazz01 Posts: 5
    Sorry to hear that. Not surpirsed though. Good luck if you decide to get GM to do anything for you. I've been getting the runaround for a month.

    Let's see, I contacted GM immediately and was told to tow the car to the local dealer. I was told that I would be contacted within 48 hrs. That didn't happen. I contated them again and after 1.5 hrs was told that he claim hadn't been sent where it was supposed to be sent. I was then told that a GM inspector would go look at the car and I would be contacted within 10 business days. That didn't happen.

    About 1.5 weeks ago I got a postcard in the mail from GM telling me that I was sent a notice of recall and that I hadn't been in to have the free service done to fix my car. Unfortunately I never received the so called letter. I contacted GM again to ask and was told the letter was sent 2 weeks before my car burned. I got the pre recall letter and the postcard but never got the recall. Mysterious huh?
    The whole time my insurance company is bugging me about allowing them to tow the car to a salvage yard. More about that in a minute. After roughly 14 business days I contacted GM again and was not able to get any info. I was told they would contact me Tue, May 26. They contated me by sending a letter from ESIS, which is a liability unit handling claims for GM. The letter is asking for all types of maintenance records etc... Also telling me that I have failed to provide proof that the fire was a defect of the car. I was never asked for anything but this is obviously more GM BS.

    Also, the dealer and insurance company are telling me I will be responsible for storage and tow of the car since I'm refusing to allow it to be towed away. Remember GM is the one that told me to have it towed there and that they would come out to inspect.

    One more thing the letter I got from ESIS also states that if I tow it away I do so at my own perile. Basically, if I tow it they will never inspect it. If I don't tow it I am responsbile for storage fees.

    Well bottom line is I'm not budging. I'm thinking that the only reason to pay to have the car out of storage is if you want it back. I don't have any use for a totalled GTP.
  • jimr19777jimr19777 Posts: 1
    This just happened to my son last night and we don't have compensation insurance just liability, so it is our loss. GM sent the safety notice but it is NOT a recall. It does not even sound like it is a big deal, it says if you smell anything take it to the dealer.
    I called GM and they told me the same thing that someone from the legal department would contact me in 2 days.
    What can we do? Can we all get one lawyer and sue? You can send e-mail to
  • jmazz01jmazz01 Posts: 5
    Sorry to hear about the car. I don't have any answers for you other than to keep checking online to see if anything happens as far as a class action suit. It sure doesn't seem like GM is going to do anything. I had full coverage on my GTP and my insurance company is going after gm for reimbursement of the money they paid me and my deductable. Of course GM is saying that there is no proof that the fire was cause by a manufacturing defect. It's kind of hard to figure out what happened to a car that burned to the ground.
  • So this past tuesday (6-3-08) My 2001 Grand Prix Gt - literally just started on fire maybe 12 minutes after parking it at my work. There were absolutely NO signs to indicate what would happen - there was really nothing wrong with the car- it ran great!! Anywho - I went into work and like I said not even 15 minutes later we were informed that there was a car on fire in the parking lot - after a minute or two i found out it was mine, I ran like a bat outta hell to the outside parking lot and I could see this huge cloud of smoke pouring from the engine. As I got closer you could see the orange flames under the hood, pieces of material were burning/melting off onto the pavement. A co-worker actually came with a fire extinguisher and started spraying it into the cracks of the hood (I think this helped out a little bit - or at least slowed it down for a minute), within minutes of all of this the fire department arrived (they are right down the road from where I work) and started putting the fire out with the hose - after they got it out and had to axe open the hood (the cable by the hood latch was all melted together so you couldn't get it open) - it is just one big mess, everything is all completely melted - A TOTAL LOSS, I have never seen a battery almost completely melted like that before - so ummm, I only have PLPD so I am screwed on the insurance end, so I was gonna call to see if I could at least get money for scrap - I came home & went on the internet & found all of you guys - so I now see a trend and am getting quite upset about this. i don't have the 3.8 supercharger they are recalling (which they admit CAN catch fire) - but obviously it can happen in just the regular 3.8 engines as well - so ihad my car towed back to my house where it is gonna sit while I do a few things - i sent an email to NHTS in detail as to what happened, then I called GM and they set up a 'FILE' with me & said that within 2 days someone from Allegations would get a hold of me. this is my plan, wait till 3pm monday and if I don't receive a phone call I will call them (I have a reference number! lol!) and see where that leads me - but if by wednesday I am still getting the run-around shpeel, I am going to be sending out mass emails to all the news stations (fox investigates) in Detroit & Lansing and try to get something stirring. The way the economy is right now & how GM is having other issues, you'd think they wouldn't want BAD press - it was just an idea I have! My point is they should recall all of the 3.8 engines regardless if they are supercharged or not - because THEY BOTH CAN CATCH ON FIRE- you think that would save them a ton of money in the end. Something should be done, just because I only had PLPD doesn't matter, if it has anything to do with the way the engine was built - thats GM's fault, not mine!!! *I also have pics of when the car was smoking, after they put the fire out & what the inside looks like if anyone may be interested*">
  • grngtpgrngtp Posts: 14
    Sorry to hear about your fire. I'm interested in any pictures you have, either by posting here or sending them to me via email. I can get you my email addy if necessary.

  • puttputt Posts: 1
    1999 GT engine fire today. Waiter brought menus & water and said if I parked in the middle of the lot I might want to move my car because there was a fire out there. Turned out to be my 3800. Never heard of any problems until my google search put me here. Thank you all for the info and warnings.
  • jettechjettech Posts: 8
    Man, I feel your pain, sstarr2484. It is surprising to hear that you do not have the supercharger model. I have found quite a few of these Grand Prix fires posted on the internet and all of them were the supercharged model. So, maybe there is something else going on here. As I said in my post we had just had the recall fix done at our dealer, but my insurance company investigator called me after he had examined it and said that he didn't think the fire was the result of the valve cover gaskets, which was the suspect part of the recall. He told me that the fire appeared to have started on the left side of the engine compartment, away from the valve cover.

    Being that the car was driven primarily by my 17 year old son I decided to carry full coverage on the car, so my insurance company is reimbursing me for the retail value of the car. Which is actually about $1500.00 more than what I paid for it a year ago. But I'll never find one that was in as good shape as this one was. It's still a loss and now my son is looking at different models to replace it with...major hassle. I'd rather have the car back.

    Here's a link to a video my son took of it burning with his cell phone if anyone is interested. The loud bang right before the end is the tire blowing, which scared the crap out of everyone standing around watching it burn.
  • Pontiac and Buick are facing a huge recall, 207,542 are to be recalled over fears of a engine. The exact models affected are the 1997-2003 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP and the 1997-2003 Buick Regal GS which has the V6 3.8-liter supercharged engine.

    Both the Pontiac and the Buick may suffer an oil leak which can drop onto the exhaust manifold while breaking hard. The problem could get worse if the oil reaches the manifold’s heat shield, this in turn could cause a small flame this could then spread to the spark plug covers, and once that happens it could then turn into an engine fire.
  • basschicabasschica Posts: 3
    Has anyone had issues after the recall repair? In my case I am not sure the dealership did the repairs right. I think everything should be done as per the pictures and instructions at -s-c-vin-1-a-61961/ I am not sure that this was the case. First of all when I received my car back, there was still the oil/dexcool mix of gunk from build up of the leak that the recall is repairing. In the "notice" section above the step 8 instructions, the first thing they do before removing the valve cover is to degrease/clean this area. That was not done. Additionally, I kind of wonder weather the full cover was removed or if they kind of propped it up (to avoid all steps before 8 essentially) and slid a new gasket in. I say this because I am finding chunks of old gasket throughout and I am concerned they got possibly inside as a result. My worry is that it is causing me some problems now. After a few weeks since my repair I was starting my car last night and it was somewhat hesitent and then was running weird and a slight rattle/noise (it isn't loud at all but I always notice the slightest change) and then my SES light started flashing. As a general rule I will toss in some fuel injector cleaner and fill the tank if I notice anything slightly funky with idles on a I picked some up and did so. It didn't seem to help, ran to an Autozone near where I was driving (other side of town from my house) and there were 3 errors, 2 to do with cylinder #3 misfires and 1 for the 2nd o2 sensor. I figured I'd ignore that 3rd one since it was obviously doing some funky running gas mix etc and it would deliver a bad mix to the engine and set off the 2nd o2 sensor.

    As for the cylinder 3 misfires.... thus far I swapped 2 of the coils (top and middle) so I could see if the problem stayed on cylinder 3 or migrated down when the swapped coil. Everything stayed bad on 3 and didn't change. I guess I should mention I have an serial tester. So with that, I used a timing light on all wires (which were replaced a year ago along w/ spark plugs). Seemed ok w/ that. Removed the #3 wire at the coil side, sparks like crazy there, seems ok. On the spark plug side on the front of the engine I pulled it and the cover w/ the spring (I am not sure the technical term) off and there was very little if any corrosion, but wire brushed it off and cleaned off the grease on / around it too.

    So I guess that leads me to where I am now. Engine is still misfiring and with all the above checked would anyone think there could be something w/ the recall repair that affected it? Do you think it's the actual fuel injector itself for the 3rd cylinder? And if so, I am trying right now to look up and figure out which fuel injector is the one for the 3rd cyl. Does anyone have a picture or can you explain where to find the 3rd one? I'm by no means a pro on cars, but my grandpa is a retired mechanic so I've always worked on mine with him, so that's how I was able to do what I've done so far. I really like getting under the hood and dirty plus I am cheap and hate to pay for repairs at all. I appreciate any info some of you pros might be able to help me with!

  • jettechjettech Posts: 8
    Yes, I had the recall done on my 2K GP and it burned up less than a week later. You can read all about it in my messages above this one. Since I had full coverage on it my insurance company has paid me for the car and they have hired an independent investigator to determine the cause. He's called me a couple times and it appears that he is headed in the direction that the dealer that did the recall did not clean the residual oil that had accumulated. It will be interesting to see what his final analysis is. If he can prove that they didn't clean the area then that dealership may be liable to the ins. co. for the damages.

    I recommend to everyone that has had it done to verify that the area is clean prior to driving. Otherwise you may end up with a pile of ashes where your car once sat.
  • basschicabasschica Posts: 3
    I really wish I would have taken a picture before I cleaned mine up... ack!
  • basschicabasschica Posts: 3
    Well I worked on the car over the weekend with my grandpa since I was at a point where I needed a few more tools to do the job. I bought a fuel injector where I live since "back home" noone would have one in stock if I needed it. It turned out I did and now my car is running really great. I had over time lost a ton of the horse power and not realized it because the first time I jumped on the highway after I put the new FI in and hit the accelerator at a conservative rate like I normally would, it took off with a ton of boost. Nice! I did clean up the valve cover area a bit more and took a few pics, but I wish I had done so before I initially cleaned it up. Doh... We didn't take the valve cover off to look inside since it would've meant removing a lot more stuff to do so.
  • carnettzcarnettz Posts: 1
    Hi sorry to hear about your vehicle I also had a pontiac 3.8 liter GT not GTP that burned I to only had only liability insurance I did contact GM and after about 3 weeks they did send someone to look @ my vehicle and I recieved word this week they were going to include my car in the recall I do not know yet what I will recieve for the vehicle but it was consistant with the recall so try to be patient and keep in touch with them maybe youll come out ok.
  • Thank You... and also sorry for your troubles as well. So I have been getting a little bit of the run around all ready, but I've been on top of all the phone calls. So after my first initial phone call the lady said that someone from allegations would call me back within 48 hrs. Well 48 hrs later - NO phone call, so I called her back. Mind you this is the same lady that I talked to in the first place (I have a notebook where I am taking down names and dates and times... keeping my butt covered -lol) and she starts asking me, "So there was a fire"? I said, "Yes, I told you before when we talked that there were flames visible and that the FIRE dept. was called and had to come and put the FIRE out, there is a FIRE report". Then she began to tell me how for some reason that the allegations department basically returned/denied it (the claim) because there was apparantley nothing written about a fire. Go figure... she apologized for the inconvienience and said that she would resend the claim with the updated info and that in another 48 hrs (blah blah blah...) the allegations department would get ahold of me. So 2 days later I went up to the fire station and got a copy of the fire report just in case they wanted to see it. lol! Then I called back and talked to a man and explained everything and how I had the fire report, and he then transferred me to the original lady I talked to, and I got her voicemail and left a message. Litterally within 10 minutes I recieved a phone call from a man at the ALLEGATIONS dept.Hmmmm... what a coincedence! Anywho I told him everything again for the umpteenth time and he said that within 7-10 business days that someone from the actual claims (or whatever) department would get ahold of me. I'm going to call them monday morning, because today would be day 10. I would like to say that your story gives me hope that this could go in my favor!!!! Thank you SOooo much and Good Luck to you!!!
  • I hope someone gets something from GM, being included in the recall only means, you will get a notice to have the problem fixed, don't hold your breath expecing one cent from GM. Thankfully I had insurance that would cover "book value" of the car, at least I got something, not nearly enough to replace the car I dearly loved, but I was able to get something to drive. Good luck to all. Is there any way we can post pictures on this site of our cars? :mad:
  • grandprixzgrandprixz Posts: 12
    hi sstarr,

    I am sorry to hear about your fire..... I have a 1999 gt, july 23, 2008 it caught fire
    my son was driving it . he merged on to the freeway and said, it was making weird
    sound and then smelt smoke . He pulled over realized there was a flame started
    got out of the car.... it was on fire.....called the fire department they put the fire out.... I am upset of course...I too, only had liability insurance. a friend of mine
    mentioned the recall for fires . so I thought I would check into it..... I thought my son
    did something to the car.... but I don't believe so...... how do I contact pontiac to let
    them know this happen to my car ..... so they can include it in the recall if they want too.....I feel like its a bad dream.... but its reality it really happen..... thank you ...any info. would be helpful....erica
  • grandprixzgrandprixz Posts: 12
    I still cant believe my car caught on fire..... I love my car... but now I think there is nothing I can do to repair it..... the alternator is burned up, box that has fuses and all important stuff in it. I dont know what the box is called.... manifold cover of course is all melted....I dont know if its worth trying to repair... or if I should just take out my alpine stereo and take of the stock wheels and say farewell....
    I am so upset... this happen july 23, 2008..... I always changed the oil every 3000 miles ... my car had no problems thats why I couldnt believe this happened...
    can anyone give me advice? I have the gt model 3800 v 6.......looks like the fire started near the area where the alternator sits,,,, not for sure.......
  • grandprixzgrandprixz Posts: 12
    could you post the info. how to contact 1999 gt 3800 v6 caught fire under the hood......I am not sure if its fixable..... we are researching that now.... I am so upset this happened... I am new to this site...I am amazed at all these people that had the same fires and gm is in daughter used my car for work and would have used it to get to college this we have to get another car was paid for.....I didnt want payments.....I only had liability insurance.....I am sure that I am out of luck....take my stock wheels and alpine stereo out and say farewell to my car....this is not right that we bought their product and they don't care...thanx for info you can give... erica
  • ysgtpysgtp Posts: 1
    Hi everyone,
    I'm really sorry to hear about everyone's loss and the headache that came with it. I also am going through the same thing, Just 3 weeks ago my life changed and became more of a challenge. I had just come home from picking up my daughter's from the sitter who lives maybe 6 miles away and i parked my 2003 pontiac grand prix gtp and got my girls out and went into the house, i had my ac on in the house and about 15 minutes after being home i smelled this burning smell and looked out the window to see my car on fire. I immedetly called 911 and my kids dad and grabbed my girls, dog and got out of the house. My car was parked right next to my daughters room and the addition to the living room. I was in shock of what was happening and my neighbor had come over and helped me get my kids away from the house and car. There dad showed up 3 minutes later and did everything he could to control the fire until the fire department showed up. The siding on my house was melted and my car is totaled. Both my kids had to watch mommy's car go up in flames and as you can imagine they were terrified. I called the insurance company immedetly and told them what had happened. Then the fire investigater came and found there was oil that had leaked on the manifold. I showed him the "saftey recall notice that i recieved in march but never had a problem with it and then the recall notice i had recieved maybe a week prior. I am a single mother with two disabled children and my car was a huge importance to me and my kids. I am a home health aid and my job requires me to do a good amount of traveling. Plus my kids go to a lot of dr. appointments out of town ( about 3 hours away one way). I took very good care of that car and always paid attention to anything that seemed different or unusual for the car. I never once noticed anything that the saftey notice had said. When i called a local dealer to make the appointment to get it fixed they said they knew nothing about it and that there computers where down so the gentleman took my phone number and said he will look into it and get back to me. Well shortly later my car was gone. Still haven't heard from the dealer. I did call GM and have been through the ring around too. I'm now on my 5th time being transferred to another department and i should hear something this week from them. I have been trying to find a lawyer to take this case because this is a huge problem with these cars and something has got to be done and GM needs to take responsiblity for what they made and sold to consumers! I have owned a GM ever since i started driving and i loved them. Now that i see how GM doesn't care what happens to there costumers i will never buy another product from them again and many others i know. I really think if we all get together on this issue and start making some seriouse noise then we might start to get somewhere. It should be on the news, in papers, internet anything to get GM to take care of us!
  • grandprixzgrandprixz Posts: 12
    I am sorry for you loss of your car.... I am glad that you and your daughters were frightening to watch your car and part of you house be on fire.....
    I am still upset about has'nt quite been a week.... my daughter used this
    car for work and errands. etc. I only had this car for seven months...... liability insurance only because it was paid for .... ironically two days before this happened
    I was going to put full coverage on it ... because I thought if something did happen I could at least get it fixed if wrecked...but when I was told how much it didnt make sense to spend that amount for insurance when the car was not worth that much...even though it was a nice car and I really enjoyed it.... my daughter was safe in it ... so I thought.... my car is out front sitting.....I don't know how to get a hold of there a 1-800#? I agree with you if we all complained at once and it was on television, news , newspapers,,,,,it is wrong that gm will not stand behind there own product..... we definitely need to stand up for ourselves all together to get some kind of action......take care... erica
  • Well make it 248 fires! My 2000 Grand Prix GT just went on fire 10 minutes after I returned from a local shopping trip. Same scenario as many other bloggers. No problems with the car, loved it, and now it's gone. I can't believe that I did not get a letter from GM on a recall. So glad that the kids and I were not in the car. I always thought that I would get another one in a few years, but not now. If anyone knows of a class action suit, count me in!
  • I am so sorry for your loss! It is devastating! I am so glad that you and your children are safe and okay.... I just took pictures of my car..... where the engine is and outside of car..... I am calling gm today.... it was my daughter and my sole transportation... mainly for her . she drove the car to work, friends and planned on driving it to college this fall.... so we were left without a car.... she would have lost her job. eventually.... so she had to go out and buy a new car.... now she has payments which i didnt want her to car was paid for... but she has as a 2008 kia spectra.... I dont have to worry anymore.... but still...I lost a car.. I just loved it sits out front looking sad.... my pontiac wheels are in perfect shape... all I can think is to take those off and take out my alpine stereo.... then farewell..... it breaks my heart.... and makes me sick at the same time... my friend that sold my daughter her car said, that I should contact: Erin Brockavich.... the woman that went after pge..... now is a lawyer . she is back working again... so I am going to her site and seeing if I can send her a email.... I ask all of you to do the same..... If I find a email or link to send I will. but just google her name and I am sure her site will come up... something has to be done about this ..... It's not right..... take care..... erica
  • I was where all of you are now last March. GM will pass you on to the company they use for their claims called ESIS. They will request pages of information and a complete documented history of the vehicle and the maintenance. I had the car towed to a GM dealership at their request but my expense. The inspector that they sent out determined that the fire was caused by the recall issue. ESIS offered me a whole $4000 after about 4 months. I fought another 2 months and they wouldn't even return a phone call or respond to letters that were sent. I finally gave in and went through my insurance even though that is the last thing I wanted to do. GM should stand behind their vehicles. My insurance gave me double what GM offered and I have reluctantly replaced the car. It makes me sick that GM with all it's money cannot do the right thing and at least offer an amount that would replace the car. Replacements in my area are going for anywhere from $8000-$10000. I delt with them for 6 months and all that happened was they ran me in circles with things they required me to do. I contacted the NHSTA and filed a complaint and sent them the fire report. I also contacted the Federal Trade Commission and filed a complaint with them as well. I even had a lawyer send threatening letters but they wouldn't even respond to him. I wish you all good luck but do not hold your breath for GM to do anything for you. They knew about these fires for almost 5 years and we didn't hear anything until March (2 days after my fire). I'm just relieved that I am done dealing with them and I can put this behind me. Good luck to you all!
  • flip7flip7 Posts: 2
    GM cars are better then other car makers out there. You bash them for fires but the number of fires to the cars made are VERY low.. Last I remebered it was in the high 200s but they made alot of cars. Good luck with another car maker because they ALL have problems.
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