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Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair



  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Welcome to Town Hall!

    That is very helpful information, thanks for posting it. I'm sure it will help someone out around here.

    I just wanted to mention, though, that posts are easier to read if they are not in all caps.

    Hope you are finding your way successfully around Town Hall and enjoying what you see.

    Thanks again!

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • cr8cr8 Posts: 1
    I have a 96 SE. The engine has been turning off under various speeds and conditions for about 3 months. It starts immediately after shifting to park and re-starting. The car has 54k on it and has been maintained on a 3-month/3k schedule. So far my mechanic replaced the 3 ignition modules, but that didn't fix it. Took it in to the dealer where no codes showed up, but replaced split fuel hose to fuel regulator. No problems for exactly 1 week, but the problem occurred again. Took car back to dealer today, we'll see. This is a very dangerous problem as it has happened on the expressway/70mph or in local traffic.
    We have owned 7 various models of Pontiac and never encountered a serious problem before this one.
  • I originally made post #19 regarding similar transmission problems as many of the previous postings. At this point (1 day back from the dealer) my problem seems to be fixed. I am crossing my fingers! The solution is rather odd though...

    After reading the previous posts, I was pretty convinced that I had the same problems as everyone else. When I cruised at 60mph in overdrive and slowly pressed the accelerator, the car would buck violently as though it had a problem shifting. I could alleviate the problem by shifting to drive myself. A friend of mine also witnessed it and thought the same.

    As it turns out the ignition coil pack was failing when the engine was bogged down or under heavy load. The coil pack has 3 sections, each firing a set of 2 cylinders. Apparently, #4 & #6 were not firing. Oddly enough, as I said before, the car ran FINE when going through all the other gears. The problem was easily reproduced when going up a hill at 50mph in overdrive.

    I can't really see why/how a dealer would miss this but I guess anything's possible. The coil is about $70 a the parts store. I paid $240 for 2 hours labor and a $130 GM part. I went with the dealer install because in comes with a warrantee . Hope this helps somebody....
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    We have a lot of unfinished stories around Town Hall. It's very nice when someone comes back and posts a resolution - or apparent resolution - because you are right, it very well may help someone else.

    Hope this takes care of the problem once and for all.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • sseissei Posts: 3
    Hi guys. I recently found this site & find it quite helpfull.
    My 96 Bonneville recently started bucking after about 50 MPH or when going uphill under light acceleration. I took it to my trusty tranny guy who suggested I check the coil pack & change the plug wires. The coils checked out OK and I was not too optimistic but I changed the sparkplug wires and guess what? Runs perfectly! Shifts perfectly under any condition. Try it. I still can,t believed it's fixed for $50.00.
    He is one honest transmission guy.
  • Having read some of the posts on transmission issues and surging engines, I am relieved to only be experiencing fit and finish problems. These are mostly in the form of rattles from the dashboard area as well as the cheap plastic trim on the doors. The model has the bench seat, and perhaps the lack of the floor transmission console allows too much play when vibrations/bumps occur. Everytime I hit a bump I am treated to a rattle. Playing the radio at healthy volumes also elicits rattles on the deep bass notes. When the A/C is on it is noticeably worse, and sometimes in reverse I get some rattles coming from the dash. My dealer claims to have tightened things up twice but to no avail. Anyone else experiencing this trivial but nevertheless irritating problem ?
  • I was so busy describing the rattles that I neglected to mention this is a 2000 Bonneville SE with 3200 miles on it.
  • Im curious bibaboo, if you ever noticed your car feeling less powerful and with a vibration that acted as if the tires were out of balance. This seems to occur when the transmission is acting up. Other days the car runs flawlessly with quick crisp responses.
    Also the Adaptive memory does not seem to be the solution. I ran fine for about 1100 miles and then the car sat for the weekend and on monday it was worse than ever. I also suddenly had a great deal of vibration so severe I could not focus on the cars in my rearview.
    On Tuesday the car ran better but still had more vibration than normal. After having the tires balanced and rotated there was no change.
    The coil pack seems to make sense to me because I keep thinking the car doesnt feel like all pistons are firing properly.
    It goes back in on 9/19 for the 6th time with my patience running out for this problem. Ill let you know what they say.
  • I just got my 97 Bonneville back from the dealer because of the torque conv. kicking in and out. The check eng. light also happened to be on. They said the light was on due to "A plug wire breaking down under a load" and that this was probably causing the transmission woes. They installed new plug wires and reset the light and it has stayed off. I have yet to get the car out on the interstate and see how it does. This all makes sense after reading this board. Hopefully this will take care of it. Thanks for all the follow ups.
  • Hi, guys - hope y'all can help me - I'm just a little lady with no idea about cars.

    My 96 Bonneville has 182,000 highway miles on it with no major problems - until today.

    The car won't start, the battery is fully charged, and interior lights work until key is turned, engine tries to turn over, but then everything dies.

    Also, one other little problem I've been living with for a vibrates very badly when going around 70 mph, even on flat roads, no problems around 65 or 75 though. Is this the same type of transmission problem you other guys were experiencing?

    Any help would certainly be appreciated!
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Welcome to Town Hall!

    I was wondering if you had found the Our Turn conference yet? That conference is dedicated to women's automotive issues of ALL sorts - Town Hall is fortunate to have an automotive technician co-hosting there. Her name is Kristina and she posts under the ID of md_tech.

    While you are waiting for a response here, you might want to drop by over there to see if she has any thoughts for you.

    Good luck and again, welcome.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • A few months back I left the dome light on in my 93 Bonnie and had to jump start it . After I did that I started to have problems with CD player , which progressively got worse , till last week it completely died and became a clock . Before I sent it out for repair I took a chance and reset the codes in the car by disconnecting the battery for a minute .Bingo , that fixed the problems completely . When experiencing phantom electrical or PCM related problem's , you may want to try this first .
    Also was running a 165 deg. thermostate in my 2000 SSEi to help reduce detonation and after a few days it made the PCM upset and it turned the "SERVICE ENGINE SOON" light on . Changed back to stock therm. but light stayed on till I reset codes by disconnecting battery , then every thing was OK .
  • When a battery starts to go bad it will do what you describe , but you said it was fully charged . Did it test to 12 volts or less which would indicate one or more cells are bad . could you jump start it ? Otherwise it may be the ignition switch or short in starter .
    May sound dumb on the vibration issue , but are tires OK ? all in balance and no belts broken , no scalloping of the tread ?
    It's always nice to hear about a bonnie getting near the 200 k mark , good luck . Doug
  • In addition to dmckeown's suggestion re: dead cell, I've had similar symptoms when the battery cable to the starter gets corroded. Corroded ground strap can also cause them. An easy fix IF the starter is easily accessible (unlikely now-a-days). Good luck!
  • On the steering issue , did you try a new SSEi on your dealers lot to see if the steering felt the same as your car , it should with only 11 or 12 k on it . What was the reason they stated for a new SSEi to be for sale , a trade up ?
    What octane gas are you running in it . My 2000 SSEi always liked 93 or 94 octane and runs very smooth , even with modifications I have made for performance . The problem may be that previous owner ran cheap 87 oct. in it . Are you interested in increasing performance in your SSEi ?
  • hodgie1 reported a problem of low response and poor power. I had a similar problem that took 3 trips to the shop to find and fix. It turned out to be a bad "Bulk Air Sensor" that was supposed to be good for 100,000 miles, but mine died at around 55000.
  • jkk6jkk6 Posts: 3
    I have a 97 SSEi and about a week ago the alarm went off 3 times for no reason. It happened in 3 different places so I'm sure nothing occured to prompt it. It also happened today twice at work. Could it be a short? I don't think it's the key controller since it has also happened in the middle of the night (happy neighbors, I'm sure!). Is there some kind of a fuse for that or any way of disabling it until I can get it looked at? Thanks in advance!
  • To #36, The engine shuts off while driving, any speed or time. I had this problem too and all the mechanics would say there are no computer codes showing a problem (bring it back when it doesn't run). The car became almost totally useless, until I found an Oldsmobile dealership which ran it until it stopped. Turns out the problem was caused by a crankshaft sensor, which would heat up and short out. The part was just $40 but the labor was over $200. Have driven the car whith out problem for 3 weeks now. Hope this helps!
  • I had a friend look at my 94 Bonnevile and we decided to go for a drive so that he could feel the problem. As soon as it started he said I had an ingition problem, so we went to his shop and he tested the coil pack. Sure enough one of the three coil packs were bad. The car ran a little better but was still not like it should have been. Next we replaced the computer with one from a wrecked 95 bonneville and it ran great for three days and now the jerking and convulsing motor is acting up again at 2000 rpms,especially in OD. I am totally clueless at to what may be causing these problems.It has new plugs, wires, fuel pump, computer, coil pack, injectors, and fuel filter. Help..........
  • Hey guys,

    I have a '97SSE with 78K, and recently my ABS and Traction Control lights came on when I started the car and stayed on. It didn't happen all the time. I took it to the mechanic, and he says the computer shows a "Stuck ABS motor." He is not sure if it is the traction controle module or the whole ABS system needs to be replaced. Apparently there is a whole procedure he has to go through to determine that. Anybody have a similar situation, and what would case this? the way my transmission was behaving very similar to what you guys are describing and putting a little fluid in fixed it.
  • azuazu 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.
  • 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 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 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 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 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 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.
  • 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 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 .
  • 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.

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