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Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair



  • What is your engine RPM @ while you are driving at 65mph, it almost sounds like your tourque converter isn't kicking in and is keeping your engine @ a higher RPM which would account for the decreased fuel mileage. but not sure that's an interesting problem i haven't heard of.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,384
    You should be able to go 50 in 3rd gear at an even speed then touch the brake pedal and see the RPM rise as the converter unlocks.
    Then try the same in 4th at 60. The engine speeds up even on level roads with no great load on the engine.

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

  • Guys - thanks for the info.

    Can you (or anyone else) please clarify: if follow ideas in message #1214 and I do the 50mph, steady speed, in 3rd gear, then do 60mph steady speed, and step on the brake - will the spike in the tachometer you mentioned be temporary and any associated noise abate IF it's *functioning normally?* The hum (or drone) I am experiencing virtually always begins when I've achieved a steady higher speed (mostly highway, or higher-speed back roads) and if I let up momentarily on the accelerator it STOPS - then when immediately resuming acceleration the hum instantaneously begins again. I can usually make it start/stop just by goin off and on the accelerator while driving 60 mph/2000 - 2500 rpm, where this 'noise' really settles in to stay. Moving into neutral while coasting yet pressing the accelerator cannot reproduce the hum - nor can being in park and revving the engine - I have to be moving fairly fast.

    Best - Mike
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The torque converter unlocks when the throttle is closed. To check for TCC apply, maintain a constant highway speed and depress the brake pedal with your left foot enough to turn on the brake lights. This should unlock the TCC and cause in increase of about 300 RPM.
  • lkfinlkfin Posts: 2
    I have a 97 SSEI which I purchased at 65K miles. It's been a great car to drive, but I experienced a whining noise shortly after I bought it - which I thought might be the alternator or supercharger drive. The local Pontiac dealer informed me that it was the transmission, which I replaced at about 70K miles. That took care of the noise until a few days ago, and now - as I approach 105K miles - the whine seems to be back.

    Has anyone else experienced a similar problem, or have some insight as to what could be causing this noise?
  • My two very recent posts describe a strange HUM or whine, to be even more exact - in my 2000 Bonneville. Firestone Service guys said "transmission." Car is on 0-deductible warranty. Pontiac service said "can't reproduce the problem." Hum remains at higher speeds at 2000rpm+ so far.

    Have tried the torque converter test in message #1214 and #1216 - the spike mentioned when going a steady speed in 3rd and Drive and suddenly tapping the brake DOES NOT cause a momentary spike upward on my tachometer. Does this mean its not functioning properly?

    This hum you had (or whine) message #1217: was is constant or only at a certain speed/rpm? Please advise. I am NOW planning to get my problem diagnosed by a non-Pontiac/GM repair shop, and then go back to Pontiac and say FIX IT.
  • got in the car this afternoon (2000 SSEi) and the service engine soon light came on. Car has 55,430 on it and it just came on today. Is this something that comes on at a certain mileage or is there something actually wrong that sensors are picking up. Should I just disconnet the battery to reset the PCM?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,384
    and it's on steady, read the owner's manual--
    but that's probably an emission control item
    for the fuel systems. The pressure check on the
    tank failed. I had one last year and it was a tube
    had rotten at the end where it connects into the
    charcoal canister. Then I had one last week, but it
    was the gas cap was not tight. It had been several days since I had put in gas. But apparently it had vibrated loose enough that there was not seal.
    Check you manual and see if the light solid means emissions. Flashing means something more important.

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

  • thanx imidazol97, the light is orange and it is on steady, not blinking or anything.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The powertain control module monitors various sensors on the engine, fuel, and exhaust systems. If it detects an out of range sensor signal it will turn on the Check Engine light and (usually) store a diagnostic trouble code.

    Occasional flash = intermittent problem.
    Steady light = hard failure.
    Flashing light = more serious problem which could cause engine or component damage.

    If the problem is eliminated, the Check Engine light may turn off after a given number of drive cycles but the trouble code will remain in the computer's memory. A scan tool or code reader is required to retrieve the codes. Disconnecting the battery will NOT erase the codes, but will erase any radio and seat/mirror presets.

    A loose gas cap is probably the most common cause of a Check Engine light, but certainly not the only cause. Auto parts outlets such as AutoZone will retrieve stored codes at no charge in the hope of selling parts.
  • lkfinlkfin Posts: 2
    In response to message #1218, the noise I have occurs in each gear and increases with rpm. It cycles up, then down, as each gear is engaged. It is somewhat "high-pitched", so I would not describe it as a "humming" noise. This is very disturbing to me, as I have owned a number of new and used Pontiacs - but have never had to replace a transmission. This car has been well maintained and looks nearly as good as new, despite the high mileage. Are there any other Bonneville owners reading this board with transmission noise experiences?
  • does anyone have a problem of an altenator belt slipping when it is wet out? everytime i hit a puddle it slips and cause the volts to drop to 12 or lower then takes a while to charge back up (about 30 seconds). Does anyone have the same problem or know how to fix it?!

    Also i saw a 03 SSEi with 9,000 miles @ a dealer lot for $25,000, completely loaded was thinking about trading my 2000 in b/c of all the problems does that sound like a good price? I live in Mass. if that makes a difference.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Sounds like a worn belt tensioner, glazed belt, or both.
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    My 2000 SSEi had developed the popping or clunking noise in the steering as well (this is a low-mileage car with only about 13000 miles). This is a common problem. The dealer replaced the entire intermediate steering shaft rather than using the lube kit. The lube kit is only about $7 but one hour of labor to take the shaft out, lube it and replace it. The new shaft was $158.51 list price, plus an hour of labor.

    After the repair I inspected what I could of it and noticed that the rubber boot over the shaft was pulled away from the point where the lower shaft meets the rack assembly. There is a lip on the boot and a flange on the rack that look like they should be clamped together, but it appears as if the boot just floats there. Doesn't look right but I think that's the way it was before they replaced the shaft.

    Later on the day of the repair, when it was dark, I noticed that all the interior lamps were not working. Turned out to be a blown fuse, but I'm wondering what the tech did to cause that. So after replacing the fuse I decided to check everything electrical. When I went to lower the right rear window, the regulator made a cruch! noise and now the window can be raised and lowered only by hand. Another common problem on these cars. Ordered a new regulator (apparently you have to get the motor with it) at gmpartsdirect for about $90 less than the dealer wants even with shipping. Might even try to replace it myself.
  • I have a 96 Bonneville SE with 78,000 miles. My dealer said that I need to have the brake fluid changed. What is the opinion of others and what kind of cost would be associated with this(?), dealer said that it will cost around $65.00.
    SUPERCHARGER: Had a 92, 94, 96, and 2000 SSEI and I always checked the SC oil every 10,000 miles. I never had a problem with any of these. I purchased the oil from the dealer....
    Thanks for the help:-)
  • Hi All,

      I had enough. I had a 2000 Bonneville SLE that I just could not stop the tires from vibrating. I tried everything. And I mean everything. But when I finally wore out the goodyear tires and replaced them with dunlop sa sport a2 tires, which I loved and balanced perfectly, and the car still vibrated I went to my local Pontiac Dealer and traded it for a new Grand Prix GT 2004. You may ask "Why another Pontiac?". Well I loved the Bonneville. It was a good car. Even with all its problems. But the wheels just kept on vibrating. But as much as I liked the Bonne, the Grand Prix is a much better fit for me. I like the smaller size and the sportier handling. The 3800 III ,yes III , is a better fit for a lighter weight car. And the drive by wire throttle is much more responsive paired with the electronic trans. And the wheels do not vibrate, the trans shifts much smoother and at the right places everytime. I trully look forward to every drive in the Grand Prix.

    Enough advertising. Just wanted to thank all you fine folks on the message board for all the info on how to repair the Bonne. It was most helpful. But it got to a point where the value of my car was decreasing and I needed to keep it or sell it. So bye, bye Bonne.
  • I have one too. Tomorrow I go to yet ANOTHER Pontiac dealer in hopes of finding out why it makes a droning noise (or hum) at high speeds and 2000+ RPM.

    I had the vibration problem you had. I went NUTS over it - Pontiac dealers (I went to many) denied the vibration was there or just continually lied to me about it. I eventually had to buy $600+ worth of new tires, and get them continually rebalanced. I finally sued GM and settled out of court.

    Firestone Corp. eventually got rid of the vibration problem! By just good balance jobs. I think GM dealers are a racket...
  • I have a 96 SLE with 78,000miles on it. Dealer is telling me that I need the brake fluid changed.
    Is this common and is the cost of $65.00 in line for this type of service? Thanks for the help and guidance.
  • I am seeing water leaking onto my carpet on my 2002 Bonneville. I pulled up the carpet and can see water dripping down the sidewall onto the wiring conduit and onto the floor. I poured water from the hose on the windshield and corner of the car and it did come in. I assume windshield leak. But, has any one experienced this, and can you confirm the windshiled or possibly something else to check?
  • I had a similar problem with my 1999 GTP turned out to be the gasket seal around the windsheild letting water into the air intake for the heater, it blew my rear speaker due to the water getting into the amp that is located on the passengers side under the dash, however haven't had similar problem with the bonneville i have.
  • A possible passenger side water leak could come from the A/C housing drains being blocked. The unit fills up with water then leaks into the car. Have read posts about Grand Prixs with this type of condition. You may want to see if you can find the drain on the firewall of the engine compartment. See if it is clogged.
  • Folks new to board so just wanted to exchange repair stories; in particular if you have a 97 Vin K. Being a persistent person, I've tried just about everything I can, short of visiting GM headquarters to get the word out on bad design problems with this car.

    I have basically had to sink $3,250 worth of repairs into a vehicle with 65,000 miles. Unacceptable!

    The car was fine until this summer, when it started leaking coolant. Wow it made it five summers without leaking which is an above average failure timeframe I guess comparing the other notes on boards. So we went with the $1100 new intake manifold, luckily the leak was external so the engine was safe.

    No sooner we replaced the intake as the transmission started slipping all over the place; 3rd and 4th gear. This car has been babied (it's my wife's car, primarily used to pick kids up from school), so it riddles me how the transmission was "abused" but that's what the dealer's mechanic "told" us it "looked like."

    Too bad for GM because we were also negotiating the sale of an Envoy with their sales staff; unknown to the maitenance dept. So I then took the car to another very reputable transmission shop who basically told us in short order it had to be rebuilt. So another $2,100.

    I am happy to inform that after $3,200 in repairs this year the car neither leaks coolant, nor the transmission slip. Wow what a deal!

    So I started making the rounds with GM. I have service receipts from the point of ownership; a case was opened; many letters sent to GM. Nothing, nothing, nothing.

    Guess with the new global economy these folks just don't give a hoot about even responding in writing to the average consumer.

    I will never, never, never, never buy another GM - which was just about every car my father owned while I was growing up, and what I have owned so far.

    Anyone else tried to get a word out of GM on paper, and if so what was their response in writing to the coolant issues?
  • I find it hard to believe that you received no acknowledgement for your many letters. Why didn't your extended service plan cover the cost of repairs? Why did your coolant leak cost so much to fix? What did you ask your dealer/GM for?
  • Well folks - luck finally went my way with a dealership. After taking a mechanic out for a test run, and pointing out to him the bizarre drone coming from the engine at 2000+ RPM/high speeds - the problem is apparently that the TORQUE CONVERTER is faulty. What a relief to find out after being told by other dealers that "nothing is wrong that [they] could find." The mechanic I went to suspected he might NOT find the problem with the noise (which he said might be due to "age" (ha!), and he was very unsure that the big drop in gas mileage (which is getting worse) were related. But after he hooked the car up to all these gadgets (I was not able to see any of that process, of course) the service manager finally came to me in the waiting room and said "the tech thinks the 2 problems you have are related: your torque converter is faulty and the transmission has to be separated from the engine to fix it." So I take my Bonne back to service on Dec. 29, for what will be a two to three day repair job. Let's hope this is the end of the story! I'll let you good folks know...

    Can anyone tell me more about torque converters and how this problem would so affect my auto by creating this high speed droning noise and greatly reduce gas mileage??
  • the air pump for the suspension keeps cycling on every 30 seconds in my car (2000 SSEi), i'm assuming it's a leak. Any suggestions?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Use soapy water in a spray bottle to check for leaks at:
    Lines from the air dryer to the rear shocks. Replace as required.
    Rubber air sleeves on the rear shocks. Replace as required.
    Solenoid valve -- Replace the air compressor head if leaking.
    Air dryer to compressor head O-ring -- Replace the air dryer if leaking.
    Air dryer cover -- Replace the air dryer if leaking.
    Air compressor head gasket -- Replace the air compressor head if leaking.
    Air compressor head cover gasket -- Tighten the cover bolts to 5.6 N·m (50 lb. in.) if the head cover gasket is leaking. If the leak persists, replace the air compressor head.
  • I have a 2000 SSEi that has served me well. Within the last two weeks a problem has developed that has me stumped. The car will intermitantly stall. It will stall under acceleration, it will stall under no load at all. Sometimes it will stall and restart it's self. Each time the altenator light will come on and then go off if it restarts its self. I have changed the battery thinking that this might be the problem since it is almost 4 years old. This did not cure the problem. The altenator appears to be putting out adequate voltage. It seems to be charging at 14 to 15 volts. Could it be the built in voltage regulator inside the altenator? The car is perfectly driveable otherwise. No missing or hesitation at idle or under a load. Just the occasional dieing of the engine. I have checked all the battery and altenator connections, they are tight and free from corrosion. The problem seems to occure more frequently when there is a load on the electrical system, ie, fog lights, head lights and other accessories on. Any assistance on this problem would be appreciated, I really hate to take it in to the dealer for diagnosis, they don't have a good reputation.

    Thanks, Ken Bidwell
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    Question: is the engine just starting to stall, or completely shutting down? What you describe sounds familiar, except for the stalling. My 2000 SSEi has a similar problem where every once in a while the lights will dim and the engine seems to hesitate (but only slightly) as if the alternator load just went sky high. The voltage will drop to battery level and then slowly climb back to 14-15 volts. As far as I can tell, GM claims this is "normal" although I don't understand why the electrical load is changing. It most often happens when I first start from a full stop, both in forwards and reverse, or when I step on the brake, although it has happened at other times as well.
    Watch the voltage reading the next time it happens and I bet the voltage drops to 12 briefly.
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