Edmunds dealer partner, Bayway Leasing, is now offering transparent lease deals via these forums. Click here to see the latest vehicles!

Pontiac Sunfire Care and Maintenance

bronx72bronx72 Member Posts: 3
Hello everybody I could use a bit of help here. I'm trying to change my oil and can't find the drain pin on a 96 Sunfire 4 door auto with 4.2L motor. Normaly id just take it to a shop but I'm in Switzerland and was charged around $19.00 for a Wix oil filter. so i know better than to take it to a shop. Aside from asking no less than 150Chf then they are going to hit me with the American car factor just like Americans like to do to European car owners except its much worse here. Unlike in America, the Europeans really don't have the parts in large abundance for GM cars.


  • 944s944s Member Posts: 42
    you have a sunfire with a 4.2???? how???
  • bronx72bronx72 Member Posts: 3
    oops i ment 2.4
  • kingstondankingstondan Member Posts: 3
    I have a 02 Sunfire SLX. I have found the fuel filter under the back of the car and it looks to me like its the original. I can access it just fine without lifting the car up but I'm a bit confused about how to disconnect it. I have the Haynes book and I have the just of it BUT looking at it I see the two nuts. I can't decide which one should turn and which should be held stationary.
    Is the filter supposed to spin while I hold a wrench on the line to keep it from twisting?
    Also what are my options if it doesnt want to budge? I have very little space to get a wrench in there and if the filter is supposed to twist theres not much room to do this by hand either.
    Now I can make more space but theres some black box with hoses running into it. I have no idea what this thing is but it looks like one bolt will take it down.
    Any tips would be great!
  • suzy33quesuzy33que Member Posts: 5
    I have a 98 Sunfire/2.4 motor
    There is no flow to or from the radiator...
    I've already done the following....
    replaced thermostat
    replaced water pump
    radiator rod out
    block check for combustion gases
    still.....nothing... anybody know about this car...?
  • dwardelldwardell Member Posts: 3
    Had the thermostat changed about 8 months ago and now the car never gets over 50- 55 degrees. Any suggestions? Rad is good. Thanks
  • sabrina1589sabrina1589 Member Posts: 2
    I'm having a similar problem, I have had three new thermostats in the last week, yeah I do mean week. Each time I get great heat at first and I think we might be done, then it suddenly stops having heat. I live in ohio with zero degree weather right now and a two year old child with me. Now today my car suddenly has no heat BUT the engine is overheating. Can someone pleeeeze help me before I take a baseball batt to this car. Its supposed to last me untill I graduate from college and I really want it to. :sick:
  • dwardelldwardell Member Posts: 3
    My car is not over heating. I just can't get any heat over 55 degrees. Can you possibly put the thermostat in backwards? The garage put mine in. Where is the thermostat? On the top of the motor, at the top rad hose that goes into the block?
  • dwardelldwardell Member Posts: 3
    Have you had your system flushed? Sounds like you have a blockage somewhere. Is the thermostat on the top of the block at the top rad hose? I am going to try another thermostat. Might have a faulty one..Thanks
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Member Posts: 421
    What are the steps in changing the water pump and thermostat? How difficult was it and how much time did it take? Thanks ;)
  • bmohrbmohr Member Posts: 1

    I know how to do and oil change and all that good stuff. Here is the issue. 1) Can't find the oil filter; 2) Can't find the drain plug (I mean come on, the drain plug!!!); 3) I have never change an oil filter like this before. It is just a filter, like an air filter??? Any info is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • sunfiredsunfired Member Posts: 1
    I agree with BMohr, never seen such an odd setup for oil changes. '04 Sunfire, first time working on a GM product. The filter is a small element type, but HOW do you install it? It looks like it goes into a cast-on piece located just under the air-intake pipe leading to the air cleaner housing. A mechanic told me there is a bolt that runs through it that has to be removed, but this one seems to be a sort of rubber or neoprene cap that might fit a large filter wrench. Grrrrrr has GM not heard of spin-on filters? Am I on the right track or should I look somewhere else? Any help is appreciated!
  • mapantmapant Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I'm new here, not sure how to start a new discussion for my question.

    I just replaced the spark plugs in my Sunfire. I used NGKs instead of ACDelcos. Is that OK? I read somewhere that in some GM cars, one MUST use ACDelco plugs because the computer is tuned to the electrical resistance of ACDelcos, and that using another brand like NGKs will throw the efficiency off and cause bad gas mileage. Is that true of the 01 Sunfire 2.2?

    I noticed the NGKs are gapped at .050 and the ACDelcos are .040 (I left the NGK at .05 per their specs). Is that an indicator that it's not a good match for my car?

    Since I just replaced the plugs I haven't had a chance to measure my MPG, but I wonder if I should just dump the NGKs and get ACDelcos.
  • 70ss454_man70ss454_man Member Posts: 107
    friend's got a 99 sunfire with the 2.4 and 96,051 miles. it sometimes feels like im towing something when i drove it. when in part, the idle seems tensed if that makes sense, and when you rev it hesitates or something like that. hard to explain. when going it sometimes felt sluggish and engine sounded a bit odd.
    there is also a pop when turning the wheel right or let, like turning around a corner.
    any ideas would be GREATLY appreciated.
  • ladyfromstl23ladyfromstl23 Member Posts: 1
    the only problem i'm having that when its hot outside my car gets heat but when its cold the heat works but no heat blows out. I know its not the thermostat someone said it could be something call the vacumn is that right
  • camandlissacamandlissa Member Posts: 6
    Did you ever find out what was wrong with your sunfire? I am having the exact same problem right now with mine. We have replaced the Water pump, the thermostat and now the head gasket and we are having the exact same problem still.... PLEASE HELP! :lemon:
  • lglicklglick Member Posts: 1
    I have a 96 pontiac sunfire 2.2. We have replaced the thermostat, water pump, and done a radiator flush. My temp gauge keeps going through the roof, (but only sometimes) and some of the guys at work suggested that it could be a sensor. I am not loosing any coolant, and I have heat. The only other thing I can think of is the head gasket, but hope to find a cheaper solution... does anyone know anything about this sensor possibility? Thanks a bunch
  • jeff_nwbamajeff_nwbama Member Posts: 1
    Hi, I have a 96 sunfire 2.4L. I have a leaking fuel injector. The car has 265K miles and was wondering how hard it is to change the injector myself. Has anyone done this that could offer some steps?
  • pavel6pavel6 Member Posts: 8
    do you need special tools to remove the control arm bushings??

  • bronx72bronx72 Member Posts: 3
    sounds like your coolant level is low
  • carolmorriscarolmorris Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone have a list of services that will be performed for a 72, 000 mile maintenance on
    a 2004 pontiac sunfire?
    Can anyone suggest a website to view that shows services that will be performed for a 72,000 mile maintenance?
    Thank you for your help.
  • ClairesClaires Member Posts: 1,222
    Try the Edmunds.com Maintenance Guide. Just enter the info for your car and it will tell you what maintenance is due and how much it should cost, along with any TSBs and recall information.


    Need help getting around? claires@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Tell everyone about your buying experience: Write a Dealer Review

  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Member Posts: 421
    Hi All, I have a coolant dripping right by the floor panel on the drivers side. (I believe the heating coil is located behind the firewall on this side.) When looking from underneath the car, I don't see any visible hoses or lines that the leak is coming from. Any ideas? If it is the heater coil, how easy is it to replace. Thanks :cry:
  • zigerothzigeroth Member Posts: 1
    I had the same problem. My car was always over heating, even while I was going short distances. I discovered by trial and error that if I turn my cabin fans off on my 97 Sunfire wouldn't over heat anymore.

    Don't ask me why it works. Everyone tells me it’s the opposite of what should happen. I have a feeling it’s because air is being drawn away from the engine and over it when the vents are open and pulling air through. Respond back if it works, thanks.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Member Posts: 421
    I found out what was the problem. One of the heater hose clamps connected to the heater core was lose. I tightened it and so far, no more leaks.
  • l2pilotl2pilot Member Posts: 1
    I have an 02 sunfire SLX 2.2L. about amonth ago the fuel gauge went to full and stayed there,even when the tank is empty. I've unplugged the wire harness with no change. Does anyone know where the ground wire is?..ie where it is grounded to. :cry:
  • initialdinitiald Member Posts: 1
    I had the same issue with my '96 Sunfire earlier this year. I replace the sensor, and the problem went away. Im pretty sure there are two sensors, I got mine from my local Pontiac dealer.
  • terrycoleeterrycolee Member Posts: 2
    need to find out where to locate the coolant temp sensor
    on a 2002 pontaic sunfire I'm female and i realy want to do this myself
    :cry::blush: :sick:
  • terrycoleeterrycolee Member Posts: 2
    please help me i am unable as a female to find where to locate the temp sensor to my pontiac 2002 sunbird i need to change it and i cant find it :blush::blush::blush:
  • yellowvetteyellowvette Member Posts: 25
    Sensor should be located in the radiator.
  • tee1954tee1954 Member Posts: 1
    just bot me a sunfire. anybody know where the trans dip stick tube is? and what kind of oil it takes. or, where can i purchase a owners manual i didnt get one with the car used from dealer still under warranty just my fyi so when i do annual trans fluid change. thanks ya`ll for respondin.
  • rousearousea Member Posts: 4
    I noticed yesterday on my way home that the light for my odometer wasn't working. Is this an easy fix?
  • msokol87msokol87 Member Posts: 4
    I have had a 2000 pontiac sunfire coupe for nearly a year now. It began giving me trouble from the time I bought it, which was all anticipated since it had over 150K. The panel cluster and for that matter ALL lights were not working within the car. I had to get the pontiac dealer to reprogram the computer and now the lights have been working ever since. However, not two months later, the transmission died-- not surprisingly, the auto place notified me that it was nothing but broken parts. 2 G's and perhaps 2 months later, I felt that there was still something wrong w/ the transmission but when I sent it to get fixed, they told me that the brake pads and spark plugs were bad so that they couldn't even check out the transmission until they were fixed. After this, I was getting thoroughly irritated and felt I'd just live with the grinding I experience from time to time. Since then, I've also had to get the heater core bypassed as it was leaking coolant some time over summer. The head gasket is leaking oil but not too bad that I'm losing any-- I just check it once or twice a week. Too, way too many issues to deal with. Now that is care and maintenance for ya.
  • mrjdmrjd Member Posts: 1
    hi all ive got a 98 sun fire : with 164000 miles today i went to stop amd no brakes just a clicking sound i pumped the pedal a few times and they were back then my abs light cam on for a while then went out any ideas what i need to fix before this happens agin?????
  • artsamartsam Member Posts: 1
    There isn't the trans dip stick on a sunfire. You only have a oil dip stick.
    Oil is 5W-30, when you take a oil dip stick out- you will see in on the bottom.
    I put 10W-30 synthetic.
    Try Ebay for the owners manual.
  • dawnyadieseldawnyadiesel Member Posts: 6
    If your sunfire is anything like mine (05), the oil pin is a nut underneath the car and you need a wrench to loosen it. The oil filter is in the most half assed place, between the radiator and the engine buried kinda far down in it. You'll need a 1" socket to get it off with many extentions, or hand held vice grips. Good luck!
  • dawnyadieseldawnyadiesel Member Posts: 6
    Is the car actually overheating? Because my temp gauge is just straight broken.. it says my car is overheating, but I know better.. it's just the gauge reading stupidly
  • bottlefed23bottlefed23 Member Posts: 2
    hi i hope to god someone can help me........ i have a 97 sunfire with a 2.2 and 70,000 miles on it ....its a great car....im having a problem with overheating....i replaced the thermostat then i had flushed the block and radiator with water getting all the old dex cool out...... still overheating....... so then i had replaced tempature sending unit........still reading hot about 225-230 on the gauge.........so then the only thing left would be the water pump so i replaced that also............when im driving it seems to overheat.....but if im at idle it dont wanna heat up to quick???? so i hard wired the fan directly to the battery .......still says its over heating.....i turn the heater on in the car and its not blowing super hot (like its overheating) but its warm so i open the overflow res. and the waters hot but not super hot like it be overheating???? can anyone please give me any info???? im thinking it maybe the actual temp gauge in the car .....can these go bad??????PLEASE HELP ME!!!!
  • bottlefed23bottlefed23 Member Posts: 2
    no the car dont over heat....i hooked a buddys snap on scanner on and drove around and the hottest it got was 223 degrees??? i dont know the nor temp range....... but its pissin me off something fierce....idk what else to do ....today i replaced the thermostat and temp sendin unit again and still the same......im ready to put a aftermarket gauge in it and see if thats the problem????does anyone know how to get all the air out of the block when you do a coolant change??whats the easiest way to bleed it?? thank you bunches......
  • kkatgirlkkatgirl Member Posts: 1
    my water pump went out, i think ! is this going to be difficult and costly to replace?
  • jeffy_finchjeffy_finch Member Posts: 2
    I have a 98 sunfire convertible 2.4l, and i recently replaced the spark plugs, only now it idles @ 1500 rpm instead of the previous 1000 rpm. is this normal? if not How do i adjust the idle
  • jeffy_finchjeffy_finch Member Posts: 2
    is it 2.2l or 2.4l?
  • shanekrenekshanekrenek Member Posts: 3
    Did u get this problem figured out? Mine 02 2.2 is doing the exact same thing...I have done the exact same thing...
  • shanekrenekshanekrenek Member Posts: 3
    I am having the exact same problem on my 02...have changed thermostat, pump, flushed, was gonna do compression test this eve...(Head)...but found a post on here about the temp sensor...gonna change it and level sensor...did u figure out the issue?
  • hpackhpack Member Posts: 1
    what causes water to run out of the drain line of a radiator on a 2000 sunfire?? need answers asap! thanks
  • shanekrenekshanekrenek Member Posts: 3
    I finally figured this thing out...greater innovation by GM! :-p...I filled overflow, pulled bleeder screw on heater hose line (driver's side of engine on mine), and kept filling till water ran out. put bleeder back in... keep refilling till stands full for five minutes...I also "pumped" top radiator hose a little occaisionally to help push out air...I then started and let run for 15 minutes refilling when water level dropped, which it didn't much...some of this description is found in owners manual under overheating...mine has been fine now for a week...before it would heat up in 5 minutes...btw, it was spilling over before...
  • rebriderebride Member Posts: 1
    Check/replace radiator fan relay. It is in the black box under the hood.
  • malibu2005malibu2005 Member Posts: 5
    edited July 2011
    My wife has a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire the radiator cooling fan has stopped working. After switching the relay switch out it still doesn't work. Can anyone tell me what I should try next before replacing the fan or motor.
  • loganhankinsloganhankins Member Posts: 1
    What you can do is find a way to hook up the positive and negative leads from your battery to the fan motors positive and negative leads. if you unplug the radiator fans power you should be able to try it. careful that you are only doing the positive negative leads or you could take out the relay. if it cuts on then its something other than the fan motor itself. Like a broken wire not allowing power to reach it. but if it does NOT cut on, then it is the fan motor. they are usually 20-40 bucks and real easy to replace. only replace the fan motor not the whole radiator fan assembly, those are way more money and actually harder to replace lol.
  • ClairesClaires Member Posts: 1,222
    Thanks for the walkthrough on that, loganhankins! Hope to see more of you around here.

    ClaireS, Host
    Automotive News & Views | Coupes & Convertibles


    Need help getting around? claires@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Tell everyone about your buying experience: Write a Dealer Review

  • malibu2005malibu2005 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks for the info I really appreciate it.
Sign In or Register to comment.