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Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair



  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    My radio had the same issue on my '00 SLE, but I was luckier that it was still under warranty...

    Good luck.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254
    We had this exact same problem with my mom's '93 SSEi. We went into Subway to get dinner to take home, came back outside and it wouldn't start. All the electronics worked, but turn the key and you didn't even get a click. It ended up being the starter. If you have a wrench or something similar, if it happens again, get under the car and hit the starter a few times with the wrench, then it should start. If it doesn't, then it's probably not the starter. Also helps if you have someone in the car turning the key while you're hitting the starter. It's a common problem with GM vehicles, especially '90s models, for starters to go out. My neighbor's '97 Chevy Silverado did the same thing. I had jumped her off once when it wouldn't start, then when she came to me a second time for help, we looked at the starter, because even hooking it up to my explorer with jumper cables wouldn't turn it over. After getting underneath and hitting the starter a few times, it fired right up.
    After replacing the starter on the SSEi, never had another problem with it starting.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254
    My parents gave my sister the SSEi when mom got a '00 LeSabre in August, and after putting 3k miles on it already, now she's having a problem with it missing. I'm describing the problem as she's told us about it, I've not seen her or the car since she took it home to NC on Labor Day.
    When accellerating normally...not lightly nor flooring it, it jerks and vibrates, she described it as running over the grooves on the interstate when you go outside your lane or when approaching an intersection that has the grooves in the pavement before you get to the stop sign. Her husband replaced spark plugs and plug wires, but the problem is still there. We always had a problem with it missing from the time we got it in '96. But, it was never as severe as she's describing it. What could it be? Any ideas?
  • I have a 2000 Bonneville SSEI. I have always had a problem with it hesitating and jerking during mild acceleration especially at the 40 to 50 mph range. I have carried it in to the dealer at least 10 times and they have never fixed the problem. They have even changed out my turbo charger. I know of one other person who had the exact same problem and finally traded his in because it could not be fixed. I think it may be in the transmission or torque converter but that is just a guess. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  • Hi all. Still putting miles on my 94 SE, it's up to 115K with ONLY five alternators so far. Been having a problem with it stalling out going downhill (here in SF, that's a problem), usually with a full or near full tank. Nothing precipitates the stall, it just cuts out and then starts right back up in neutral with a turn of the key. I've replaced the fuel filter, plugs, throttle pos. sensor, crank pos. sensor, the MAF sensor, the O2 sensor, cleaned the EGR. No codes have been thrown. Any suggestions? Thanx and keep on wide trackin'.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254
    In regards to your alternators, I hope that you've discovered Advanced Auto Parts and their "Lifetime Warranty." After the 2nd Alternator went out on our '93, we got one from Advanced, and from then on it was never a question of cost. Just take the old one off, take it to Advanced along with the original receipt, pick up the new on, put it on and there ya go for another 20-40k miles.
  • My SLE developed the binding feel in the steering shaft early last spring. During the summer months it was not as noticable, now with the return of cool weather, it started again. Took it to the dealer and they sd they are now replacing the shaft rather than lubricating it. They claim the lube process was only a temporary fix. They replaced the steering shaft (with a new design so they say). Now, with the new steering shaft, the feel is much tighter...almost too much so, since on a recent trip on the interstate, it seemed as if I kept over correcting the steering. It cd be I'm just not used to the tighter feel yet. Also, I had both tie-rods replaced, dealer claimed they were worn.(?) (28,000 miles). I had noticed the front suspension was a little noisier lately. Anyway, all seems fine now, just hope I get used to the tighter feel of the steering column.
    Was wondering if anyone else have had the steering shaft replaced and if so, noticed any difference in the "feel".
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254
    Can somebody explain to me how this might happen????

    My sister, now the owner of my mom's old '93 SSEi, was driving down an NC interstate last week when a rock was thrown from a tractor trailer, and she hear it pop the roof of the car. When she got to her destination and got out of the car, she looked at the roof, only to discover something unbelievable: The rock had hit the sunroof and shattered it. There was a bit hole right in the center of it where the rock hit, and the entire glass was shattered. She now has it oh-so-tastefully duct-taped.

    How might one go about finding a replacment glass for the sunroof? Is it even possible? I wasn't sure if she'd have to go to a junk yard and get one or if she could get one from a regular glass place. Any ideas? Also, would one of those wind guards that cover the front section of the sunroof have prevented such an incident?
  • dhaagdhaag Posts: 1
    Dumb question, where is the drain for the radiator?
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254
    I posted about this a while back, and finally found out yesterday what the problem is. My sister came up for Thanksgiving, and she took the Bonneville to the local garage, which serviced it the whole time my parents had it. The transmission fluid had never been changed, primarily because it'd never created a problem for us. After the mechanic rode in it, he diagnosed the problem as the torque converter. When they changed the fluid, the mechanic said that the fluid was burnt, therefore he suggests not only a torque converter, but a whole new transmission. He quoted a price of between $1400 and $1600, and I think the car might actually be worth $2k or $2500. Add to the cost of the new transmission the cost of replacing the sunroof, and you've got how much the car is worth. I have a feeling that she'll be looking for a new car soon. No use putting that money into something thats only worth as much, when she could put it towards something newer. She's only had the car barely 3 months (my parents gave it to her on Labor Day), and it's now got 122k miles on it.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,432
    " she took the Bonneville to the local garage, which serviced it the whole time my parents had it. The transmission fluid had never been changed, primarily because it'd never created a problem for us"

    The garage serviced it but never changed the transmission fluid on a car with 122K???? I think I'd find another garage that would do a proper service and maintenance schedule on my car.

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

  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254
    Since routine transmission fluid changes were not required for the bonneville, the garage never suggested changing the fluid nor did my dad ever ask for it to be done. Unlike my Explorer, which has to have the transmission fluid changed every 30k miles. The guy we spoke with is a transmission expert, and he said that if you've never had the fluid changed on a high mileage vehicle, you're better off not to change it. He said that most times you do more harm than good to change the fluid on a high mileage vehicle thats never had the fluid changed before...if that makes any sense.
  • Not sure which forum to ask this question. The Buick forum is not very active but the Pontiac is and I have both a Buick and Pontiac so here goes.
    I just had a LOF and engine detail on my wife's 2000 Ultra. Now the DIC shows 129 psi oil pressure regardless of engine RPM. I have never seen it that high and I have never seen it rock solid unchanging. Is it possible that water from the engine detail has messed with a connection somewhere (all the other DIC indicators seem to be working okay)? Or could they have done something in the oil change to make the pressure that high?
    My 04 Bonneville SLE has a gage which typically shows between 60 and 80 psi oil pressure. The gage does sweep from 0 to 120 back to 0 at startup before registering the actual pressure.

    Thanks in advance for any info

  • I had a 2000 SEii that averaged 23.8 mpg over its 96,000 miles. I now have a 2004 GXP that is averaging 18.3 mpg over the last 6,500 miles. That's a drop of some 23% with the same drag coefficients and nearly the same power rating, Is anyone else noticing this kind of mileage? The dealer says everything "checks out."
  • My wife has a Buick Ultra with the supercharged 3.8 and it provides an excellent compromise of performance and economy. So when I went car shopping earlier this year I was very disappointed to find that Pontiac had replaced that engine with the Northstar. I bought an SLE and am happy with it but the extra performance of the supercharger is missed. Not sure why Pontiac made the switch. The Northstar is a great engine but it displaces more and requires a deeper final drive ratio to provide performance - hence it sucks when it comes to highway economy. Hope someone from Pontiac is reading this and offers the SCd 3.8 again in the Bonnie. They offer it in the Grand Prix and have even managed to tweak a few more horsepower out of it so why not tweak it again and put it back in the Bonnie.
  • i have a 2000 pontiac bonneville sse and right rear window regulator needs replaced.what i need is a few tips as to how to remove the inside door panel. i have power windows and locks.if the regulator is bad, is there a way to hold window in upright position untill i can get a new regulator? thanks in advance
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Removal Procedure

    Insert a flat bladed tool behind the forward upper edge of the door handle bezel.

    Gently pry the upper portion of the bezel away from the door trim panel.

    Pull the bezel forward over the inside door handle.

    Release the retainers around the outside edges of the door trim panel.

    Rock the door trim panel upwards, starting at the rear, while lifting upwards to remove.

    Disconnect the door trim panel wiring harness.

    Remove the armrest pull cup retainers from the inside of the door trim panel.

    Use needle nose pliers to compress the 360 clip.

    Pull the 360 clip out of the nylon nut on the door trim panel.

    Disconnect the electrical connectors.

    Remove the door control module fasteners.

    Remove the door control module.

    Remove the push in retainers at the upper corners of the water deflector.

    Push the wiring harness through the slit in the water deflector.

    Carefully peel the water deflector away from the door, being careful not to damage the butyl sealing strip.

    Loosen the window retainer to window clamp fasteners 4 revolutions.

    Lower the window regulator about half way down.

    Disconnect the electrical connector from the power window motor.

    Remove the window regulator to inner door panel fasteners.

    Tilt the motor end of the window regulator to the forward end of the door.

    Tilt the top of the regulator toward the lower rear corner of the door.

    Remove the regulator through the front access hole in the door panel.
  • The exact same thing happened to me. Naturally this had to happen in sub-zero weather. The medium size suction cups that you see on windows, etc. to display suncatchers, etc. Works perfect. You will need two or three. Pull window up place the suction cups at the bottom of the window. It will hold it in place.
  • Has anyone had a similar problem with a bonnie. It seems to skip from side to side in the rear end when going over a bump and jumps around in the snow.


    Kinda feels like it is being tossed around on a windy day, when the weather is fine.


    Tire are new and the struts look good. GM cannot find anything wrong with it.


    What have you done to fix the problem?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,432
    Has the alignment been reset to "right on"? My service manager had talked about slight misalignment causing hunting in the rear of cars.


    People often don't realize they could drive straighter if the rear is in perfect alignment. His example was where the road is grooved out by the heavy trucks damaging the pavement. When people drive there the car wants to wander a lot more than on a flat road. Align the rear and that hunting goes away to a great degree.

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

  • avuxavux Posts: 12
    I need to know how to remove the valve cover form a 93 SSE 3800 engine,particularly the one against the fire wall. Will it squeeze out after removing the 4 nuts or is there more to it. Thanks, Al
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The procedure varies. What's the engine code, 8th digit of the VIN? Should be 1, 3, C or L.
  • avuxavux Posts: 12
    The 8th digit of the VIN is L.

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Here you go:


    Valve Cover

    GM Bonneville/Eighty Eight/LeSabre 1986-1999


    3.8L (VIN 1, C and L) Engine - Except 1995-99 VIN 1 Models1




    Disconnect the negative battery cable.

    Remove the serpentine drive belt.

    Remove the alternator-to-brace bolt, then remove the brace.

    Remove the spark plug wire harness and position aside.

    Remove the valve cover retaining bolts and remove the cover. It may be necessary to tap the cover lightly with a rubber mallet in order to dislodge it.

    Thoroughly clean the gasket mating surfaces and clean and dry all parts.


    To install:


    Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure.

    Place the gasket into position, apply a suitable thread-locking compound to the threads, then install the bolts and tighten them to 89 inch lbs. (50 Nm).

    Connect the negative battery cable.

    Run the engine and check for leaks.




    Disconnect the negative battery cable.

    Remove the accessory drive belt(s).

    Without disconnecting the fluid lines, unbolt the power steering pump and position it aside.

    Remove the power steering pump braces.

    Tag and disconnect the spark plug wires.

    For 3.8L (VIN C) engines, perform the following:

    - Remove the EGR pipe.

    - Remove the EGR valve and adapter from the throttle body adapter.

    Unfasten the valve cover retaining bolts, then remove the cover. It may be necessary to tap the cover lightly with a rubber mallet in order to dislodge it.

    Thoroughly clean the gasket mating surfaces and clean and dry all parts.


    To install:


    Place the gasket into position, apply thread-locking compound to the threads, then install the bolts and tighten them to 89 inch lbs. (50 Nm).

    If equipped with a 3.8L (VIN C) engine, perform the following:

    - Install the EGR valve and adapter to the throttle body adapter.

    - Install the EGR pipe.

    Install the power steering pump braces.

    Place the power steering pump into position and secure with the mounting bolts.

    Install the accessory drive belt(s).

    Connect the negative battery cable.
  • avuxavux Posts: 12
    Thanks for your quick reply, I'll give it a try this beautiful New Years day.

  • avuxavux Posts: 12
    I only just saw your post. My wife's 93 Bonny with climate control just had a blower control module short out. The blower motor came on all the time and ruined the battery, all overnight. You maybe have a problem w/ the same module, it seems to be a type of relay.
  • idntnvuidntnvu Pulaski, VirginiaPosts: 254
    How many miles are on your wife's Bonny, avux? My sister has a '93 SSEi with 125k on it now.


    Also, to any of you out there who may be interested, but have you looked in your owners manual and read how it recommends you operate the transmission? My sister's torque converter is going out, so she can't run it in OD anymore. According to the manual, OD is "for interstate driving only." She feels that had the car been driven in Drive all along, with the exception of the occasional interstate trip, the life of the torque converter and transmission may have been lengthened. You may want to tell your wife that, avux, to save replacing the transmission at a cost even with how much the car is worth.
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    The GXP's reduced fuel economy with only marginal performance gain is precisely why I went looking for a new '03 SSEi last spring. It took a bit of looking because I needed one without a moonroof and there were only two available within 500 miles.


    Happy to say I did find one that was ideally equipped (chromes, HUD, and heated seats).


    It is hard to beat the 3.8 on any count - fine economy, good performance, reliable, durable, and smooth running.
  • Glad you were able to find the car you wanted.


    The 3.8 is indeed an example of an excellent compromise - it does everything pretty well! I am saddened that even the SCd version in the Grand Prix is going away this summer to be replaced with an alumimun small block V-8 with some Corvette heritage. Here comes premium fuel and not so good mileage. Of course, GM could come up with a 5-speed auto that allows a deeper final drive for performance and a really lonnnng OD 5th to bring the revs back down when cruising.


    I am tempted to replace my wife's 2000 Ultra with a new one just to get one last 3.8 with a SC.


  • This complaint is a nit, but the gauges on my 02 SE are noisy. They grind both the tach and the spedo at low speed. I got a new cluster under warrantee, but the replacement has started grinding again. Just curious if other 02 owners have experienced the same.
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