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Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair



  • azuazu Member Posts: 84
    It could be one of many and replacing one by one may be costly and time consuming. Have the OBC checked as there should be codes being set.
  • bigbaboobigbaboo Member Posts: 4
    Just an update... My 92 is still running fine. A few comments & answers for some posts...

    First to "ssei"...
    I actually had the problem a few months ago and did a complete tune up (including wires, & coil pack) that seemed to fix the problem. It came back, Then I had a shop test it. Apparently there was also a prob. with the control module under the pack. I had to replace it. Problem fixed? Only for about 1 month. The bad controller must have messed up the new coil pack? I don't know, they are electrical parts... That was the last thing I replaced on 9/11. So far so good...

    In response to "hodgie1"...
    Sorry I haven't looked back in a while...
    The car did seem a bit under powered when I was having problems. This would be VERY consistent with missing sparks. A few times I noticed a little backfire when aggressively accelerating. This kinda led me to the "tune up" I spoke about. I would suggest a tune-up if your car is due. And definitely include wires... Let us know how you fared.
  • mrjavamrjava Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 SSEi and the "head-up" display shows a different speed than the speedometer. Is this normal? How does one get them to be the same?
  • dmckeowndmckeown Member Posts: 107
    How much is it off ? My 2000 SSEi is about 1 mph different with the analog reading faster then hud . I just figured is was normal tolerances in the two systems . Doug
  • reino4reino4 Member Posts: 2
    I've read all the topics about the bonnies jerking and convulsing while driving. My problem is that it's happening when I go to accelerate, it sounds and feels like the front wheels are jerking and convulsing, shaking the whole front end, it's never happened while driving, only while accelerating from a stop. I then release the accelerator and re-accelerate a little slower and it's fine. Any help? 1999 Bonneville 20,000 miles.
  • jkk6jkk6 Member Posts: 3
    Our heads up display reads 4-5 miles less than the actual speedometer, and only seems to do it when we're on the freeway. Maybe above a certain speed or when cruise is on.
  • jkk6jkk6 Member Posts: 3
    I have a friend who has a 94 Bonneville and he has had to replace coil packs 3 different times (after warrrenty expired of course). The last 2 times he purchases the coil packs and did the labor himself.
  • edmund17edmund17 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 92 SE that had to have a transmission rebuilt after some kind of internal seal broke down. The transmission was rebuilt at about 100,000 miles and AFTER it was rebuilt it immediately had the same kind of problems as many people are describing here (shudder in O/D on accelerating while driving at highway speeds, more noticeably when going uphill & accelerating lightly).

    It's interesting to read about the "coil packs" (on various posts) maybe being the problem; in my case, though, the rebuilder ended up making some kind of "adjustments" to the valve body and this took care of the problem (car now has about 140,000 miles on it).

    In city driving I now stay in "D", which seems to deliver more precise shifting generally. My last car was an 81 Buick Regal with a Turbo-Hydramatic transmission (3spd.), and I just wish all transmissions were that smooth & reliable.
  • dmckeowndmckeown Member Posts: 107
    My 93 sle pulls 26 to 27 mpg mixed driving , about two thirds or so highway and the rest town driving . On a complete highway trip at 70 -75 mph she gets about 30 mpg . Car has 110 k miles on it and is just starting a slight shudder when lightly accelerating on highway without down shifting out of overdrive , oh well , I will watch and wait on this one to see if it gets worse . Tranny fluid changed at 50 and 100 k so that should not be a factor .
  • chevydude2chevydude2 Member Posts: 36
    Hi... Great forum, been reading it for a few months and now I need some help. I have a '98 SE with the SSE upgraded interior and its a really great car. Recently I have noticed the engine bogs down and has a real loss of power when I stop and then attempt to turn left. It almost dies and when I accelerate harder it feels like it running on about 3 cylinders. Never does it when I do straight line acceleration. Any ideas? I do my own full maintenance and change my fuel filter annually -- made no difference. Just started getting static on AM band on the radio. Any input would be great. Sorry for the length. Thanks in advance.

  • SpangSpang Member Posts: 6
    This car leaves me stranded repeatedly because the battery somehow becomes discharged. The alternator works fine. I replaced the battery and it still happens. It seems to happen intermittently. What could be harder to figure out than an intermittent parasitic draw on the battery? Anyone had this problem?? It appears that the positive terminal got very hot, hot enough to char the red plastic insulator that bolts up to the battery side terminal.
  • 52merc52merc Member Posts: 2
    I just had the 5th alternator installed today! Most everything else works good: hud is 2-3mph faster than analog, a/c head replaced at 65,000, and the tranny is starting to act up a bit.
    What gives with the alternators? Of course GM says there isn't a problem w/Bville's. Mileage: 78,000.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Ask your dealer to look up the update which gives the part numbers for the larger alternator and longer serpentine belt. Supposed to eliminate the problem.
  • rcattellrcattell Member Posts: 1
    Hey everyone,

    New to the lists, have a 96 SLE with 71000 on it and starting to have problems and modify it. As far as the battery becoming discharged and the car dying, (for everyone), check your battery connections. It seems as if GM has used connectors that on some batteries will never tighten down. Check to see if both your negative and positive cables are tight by grasping them and trying to move them gently. If you do have the problem, the cable will easily move. I have had my car die while trying to start it, only to start on the next attempt. I have gone through two alternators and two batteries in about 42K. This would explain the fried battery connections in one of the posts I read. It may also be why the alternators fry. Don't know for sure yet, fixed my negative cable the other day.

    OK on to the fix, don't expect dealer to do this for you!!!

    The problem seems to be that the large post bolts that bolt into the battery are too long, and in some batteries, (maybe not AC Delco), they bottom out before the cable end is tight. Solution, gently pull the cable end bolt out of the rubber end. Thoroughly clean all parts, and use a washer under the bolt head to ensure the cable end tighten securely to the battery. DO NOT over tighten as this will ruin the post on the battery and cause an electrolyte leakage. The washer need not be that thick, usually standard thickness will work, although the last time I did this, I had to use a Dremel tool to make the hole in the washer bigger.

    Sorry for the length, I think this might help out a great many of you.

    Maybe we can get a recall and get Pontiac to fix permanently. Great car despite problems.
  • sseissei Member Posts: 3
    I mentioned in post #39 that I had changed my plug wires & this cured the transmission problem that I was experiencing. Still runs fine after 6 weeks.
    My current problem is with power steering. It works perfectly when car is cold or moving, but becomes very stiff after car has reached operating temperature and you I am trying to park. Increasing the rpm slightly seems to make turning easier.The other problem, that may be related, is a whine or buzzing sound that occurs when accelerating and seems to be more pronounced when turning corners. Could the power steering pump be faulty? I checked & changed the fluid. Car is 96 SSEI. Any suggestions?
  • jeffb1243jeffb1243 Member Posts: 1
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    The stiff steering at hot idle and the whining noise are both symptoms of a defective power steering pump.
  • hodgie1hodgie1 Member Posts: 4
    Well the last trip to the dealer solved NOTHING! I talked with them about the coil packs spark plugs and any other possible problems which they did check out. Unfortunately they found everything to be working perfectly. The car still jumps usually in the 40 to 50 mile an hour range in either D or 3 gear when accelerating. Some days the car seems to lack power other days its fine. Ive also noticed the car will vibrate going down the highway and other times it will be smooth as silk with plenty of power. This is why I bought the car not to fight with power and transmission problems. Im still looking for a solution if anyone has it.
  • tmfnursetmfnurse Member Posts: 2
    I went to testdrive a 2000 se bonneville...i took it on the feeder and it seemed like everybody was passing seemed that the speed odometer was reading 7-10 miles faster than what i was really going...later, my dad and i drove side by side with cellphones in place...the speed odometer on the bonneville was reading 8 miles over than what i was actually going...anybody else have problems with this???...this is not normal!!!
  • ginnyfginnyf Member Posts: 1
    Can anyone offer a solution to my problem. About once a month or so for no reason that I can determine, my car just quits. I can always put it in neutral and restart it, but it is very disconserting. speed and weather seem not to be contributing factors. This can occur 5-20 times in a 5 mile or so distance. I have a 1990 bonneville
  • cyberexcyberex Member Posts: 2
    I have just purchased a 1998 SSEi with 45,000 miles. The HUD appears blurry, almost to the extent of double vision. I've adjusted the illumination, no affect on blurriness. any ideas?
  • todds2todds2 Member Posts: 1
    HI,I was wondering if anyone had a 93 SSEI Bonneville. I am looking to buy one that has 72,000 miles on it and I was wondering what I was stepping into and if there were any problems people have had with the 93 SSEI Bonnevilles. Your comments would be greatly appreciated Thanks
  • chevydude2chevydude2 Member Posts: 36
    Ginnyf.... I had a '88 Buick that did the same thing... I could be cruising down the hiway at 65 and it would just quit. Took it in to the dealer and it was a Crankshaft sensor. Got it replaced and never had a problem after that. Good luck.
  • sseissei Member Posts: 3
    Thanks alcan for the advice in your post #72.
    I changed the power steering pump on my 96 SSEI and the problem is solved. The part was not expensive, only $124.00 at Canadian Tire and the job is fairly easy just difficult to reach. You have to feel for the bolts through the pump pulley.
    I thought that changing the belts would be a good idea at this time but after much frustration realised that you have to remove the front motor mount to do this on the SSEI. This was a five minute job on my 91 Bonny.
    To cyberex in post #76. My HUD display was blurry when I first got the car because someone had cleaned the dash with a shiny type of treatment and got it on the HUD. After cleaning with a soft cloth & a glass cleaner it looks fine.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Yep, I'd love to meet the idiot who designed the 3800 serpentine belt routing. They're a pain in the patootie to change. Glad to hear the reman pump cured your steering problems. It's pretty common. Will have to change mine when the whine gets to where the radio won't drown it out. :-)
  • cyberexcyberex Member Posts: 2
    I've had the car ('98 SSEi) 2 days and LOVE it. I'm glad I chose it over the 2000 Intrepid. Unfortunately when I test drove the car, I didn't have a CD with me to test the CD player. When I try to play CDs, (new, old, scratched, or unscratched), I am getting an error message E20, and the CD is ejected back out. There are no error codes listed in the manual. Any Clues?
  • 2kssei2kssei Member Posts: 1
    Hello All,

    I have a 2000 ssei with idle roughness in Park problem similar to #29. The dealer and I have looked at four different 2000 ssei vehicles, all with intermittent misfires on cylinder #4. My service manager forwarded the data (with VINs) to GM for research.

    One of the many things changed in the 2000 car is the engine mounting. We believe this is a contributer to the rough idle. The amount of roughness gets worse as mileage adds up.

    If any of you have a 2000 ssei with rough idle in Park, letting your dealer know can add more data so the engineers can develop a solution.

    It's not: Ignition; fuel delivery, or valve train. My 5400-mile car just released from the shop after 10 days and a rebuilt cylinder head is a strong testament to that.

    Otherwise, it's a great car. Stay tuned.
  • auburnmanauburnman Member Posts: 1
    I thought I had a problem too, until I realized it was the carwash guys wiping armorall all over the dash, including the HUD. Try a little Windex on the HUD window and the problem should "clear up"
  • donpohldonpohl Member Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a 2000 SLE, at 15,000 miles the steering system started acting up. It seems looser than it did when it was new, especially when turning right hand corners. You can also feel a "clicking" in the steering wheel when turning right. It doesn't always do it, I took it into the dealer, it wouldn't repeat the problem. They said to bring it by whenever it started acting up again, I took it back when it was acting up and they said it was power surges from the variable assist power steering and this was normal. Is this normal? Any ideas would greatly be appreciated.
  • jus88jus88 Member Posts: 2
    i have a 1988 Bonneville LE and I am not having severe problems with it,but I am not quite sure whats going on.It makes an awful rattling noise,and i think its something coming from the belt system.Its some kind of cranking soud,I have been told its the alternator,but we replaced that and we still get the noise,so now we hear that its the poewr steerin pump,could it be?
  • constmanconstman Member Posts: 3
    I recently purchased a 93 SSEI with 46000 miles. This car is in immaculate condition!!! The only problem that ive been having is the rear view mirror shakes while idling and driving. I dont see a way to tighten it up. Any suggestions or do i just have to bare with it and quit being so picky???
  • chevydude2chevydude2 Member Posts: 36
    Cyberex.... Had the same thing on my 98 SE .. and it was covered under warranty -- CD player is bad and they replaced the unit -- no problems now. Mine would play new CD's O.K., but not my older ones. Go figure....
  • tigger2tigger2 Member Posts: 4
    I just Zaino'd my dark green 2001 4Runner. Went with the Z1 and Z2 combo along with the leather conditioner.

    The truck looks great! However, it took an excruciating long 8-9 hours for this stuff to dry. Ever have to wait to open your x-mas present?! It was about 45 deg and rainy outside so I'm to blame.

    The leather treatment turned out nice as well. It goes on a little shiny but once it's absorbed into the leather, it leaves it feeling and smelling rich.

    On the way to work today, some rude feathered creature decided to go on a bombing raid all over my hood. Picasso would have been proud. Got home later on in the day and lo and behold that stuff just flaked right off. A couple of soft swipes with a damp cloth and she was good as new.

    Anyone know how long Sal and the gang have been around? I would be interested to hear about the experiences of long-time users.
  • 52merc52merc Member Posts: 2
    Driving the 405 and got a terrible racket, oil press. diving towards zero. Towed to a Buick dealer in Torrance, looks like a crankshaft, rods, and misc parts or a new engine - oh, give me the alternator problems again and I won't complain. Any suggestions: 80,000miles, good body and interior....Is $4200 too much for a dealer installed engine? Thanks
  • anonymousanonymous Member Posts: 314
    Instead of the crankshaft, I threw a rod. 80,000 miles, good maintenance, what's the deal? Is this car worth a new engine? Anyone else with this problem?
  • atr121atr121 Member Posts: 1
    the windshield may not be the original. Replacements don't have the same clarity.

  • marx68marx68 Member Posts: 1
    Bonneville 2000 SSei, 15k miles
    idles rough most time in drive or park, really acts up after hot, and shakes the entire car!
    Dealer has no idea. This car has been in the shop 1-2 weeks every month for the past 10 months!
    Computer failure, steering, fuel door, security, suspension, tires, wheel balance, brakes, rough idle, paint, low fuel milage, low SC boost.

    Rough Idle, low fuel milage, low SC boost all not fixed, I guess they want us to wait until the warrenty runs out!

    What a piece of #^#$!!!

    For $34K I would expect better!
  • edmund17edmund17 Member Posts: 2
    OK, so my 93 Bonneville SE has had the transmission overhauled THREE separate times (!) & now has about 150k miles on it and runs fine...

    So I take it in (to the place that overhauled it the last time) for a fluid change, and they significantly overfill it.

    When I call them on it, they tell me "GM won't tell you this, but there's a problem with these transmissions that requires you to fill it up more because these transmissions aren't getting enough fluid" !!!!!!!!!!!!

    My natural assumption, actually, is that the transmission guy is full of it because he doesn't want to be bothered dealing with anything. But on the other hand, their rebuild is still under warranty (so he should have some incentive to get it right).

    Is anyone aware of some "secret overfill" solution re GM transmissions?
  • ChasbChasb Member Posts: 1
    I have a 92 Bonneville SE with 283,000 miles on it. (No typo) Been through 5 alternators, 1 radiator, 3 water pumps, and am on the 1st. transmission. Secret is, don't change the fluid. Last fluid change was at 45K. I ad more fluid as necessary, but rarely. At 6,000 I added some "Tuff-Kote" to the transmission and crank case. It said that 300K on the engine would not be unusual. Only problem, you can't get that stuff anymore.
  • chevydude2chevydude2 Member Posts: 36
    Just rolled 60K on my '98 SE and noticed the belt is starting to crack slightly, so I thought I would replace it. Another GM milestone -- looks like I have to loosen / remove the front engine mount to get the belt off. On my '88 Buick it took about 5 minutes to change it -- guess they weren't getting enough dealer revenue as it was too easy. Any suggestions?
  • alcannalcann Member Posts: 9
    Support the engine with a block of wood on a floor jack under the oil pan, remove the front portion of the mount, and change the belt.
  • dinglesmandinglesman Member Posts: 1
    Hi , I just looked at a black 1996 bonneville and the dealer price was 7950. The car has 58k and is loaded. I thought this price was unusually low. The dealer explained that domestic cars are not selling and it had been on his lot for over 60 days so he is selling below dealer price to get rid of it. I took it for a test drive and their appeared to be a vibration or shimmy in the front end when i was going up a hill. I thought it may be the traction control so I disabled it and it still happened. Does anyone know what could be wrong and if this dealer is just jerking my chain about this fabulous offer?
  • jperdochjperdoch Member Posts: 2
    Just bought a 2001 SSEi. Car runs great, looks cool and is very comfortable to drive. Turnpike at 75mph gets me 28MPG.

    Anyone know if you can run 89 octane fuel rather than 91 ?

  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    I'd do a Topic Search (left side of the page) on Bonneville and ask that question in the active topic in our Sedans conference. That's the most likely place in Town Hall to find other 2001 owners.

    Good luck with your new car!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • texaggie2003texaggie2003 Member Posts: 1
    The serpentine belt that goes around the alternator and power sterring pump keeps jumping off one notch around the water pump pulley. It only does this when I run it hard or downshift. I have already replaced the alternator (finding it had some play in it) and that didnt fix the problem. Please help. Thanks
  • litemuplitemup Member Posts: 7
    i just bought a 92 ssei and i love it, its got 90k and has been taken care of, just make sure to get it for the right price because the superchargers are known to go out around 100k, its a perfect all around car, power, comfort, and economical
  • didoyfdidoyf Member Posts: 2
    Once in a while when I put the key in and turn it to the ON position, I wont get the instrumentation lights (diagnostic lights) and the Bing-Bing-Bing sound and the car wont START (no cranking). It will seem to reset itself within an hour and will not happen again for months. Recently however, it has been happening more often. I cannot get it fixed because the mechanics cannot reproduce the situation. Any ideas?
    I only have 91K miles on it and so far, I have had the alternator replaced at 37K, the waterpump at 90K, and my mechanic disconnected the tranny auto-lockup because I was having a problem with the tranny shifting late in stop and go situations (so far that has worked for me). I also had a warped ATF pan and was leaking ATF slowly, this has been solved by a trans service and something Orange (i dont know what he used) was added to the regular gasket to stop the leak.
  • ejm200ejm200 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 97 SSE that experienced the same kind of problems many have mentioned earlier: between 45 and 60 mph a stutter while in 4th gear.
    Took it to a dealer and they diagnosed it as:
    excessive clearance of tcc apply valve tcc is surging when in lockup, will not surge when full apply command is used with tech 2 r&r valve body and inspect tcc apply valve, found excessive clearance between valve and bore allowing pressure loss. replace valve body.

    Whatever they did it fixed my problem and they did it at no charge!
    problem hasn't returned and car is running fine.
  • jrg4299jrg4299 Member Posts: 1
    I have a '92 SE, and used to occasionally encounter a similar starting problem. I'm no mechanic, but from what I can gather it has something to do with the "Pass-Key" system (that little chip in the key). The raised edge on the key wears down over time and use, and according to the owners manual, if the key slot doesn't recognize the chip as an exact match, it will not allow the car to start, and it will wait 10 minutes before starting again regardless of the key inserted. I got a new key from my dealer (around $15) and it seemed to solve the problem. Just a minor problem on what has been a great car to own (128,000 miles and counting).
  • burnedbygmburnedbygm Member Posts: 5
    Have 80k miles on the vehicle. 3800 engine . S/C is making a rattling noise; thought it was waterpump at first and so did mechanic. Replaced waterpump, it's the supercharger. Does anyone know how to check the oil in the s/c? What kind of oil does it take? Does the rattling and clanking mean failure soon? I would appreciate help from anyone on this as i'm completely in the dark here. Can the s/c be rebuilt?
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