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Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair



  • richrichrichrich Posts: 4
    I have just purchased a 93 bonneville and when i open the door the interior lights dont come on in the inside and the door locks dont work. I have check fuses and didnt see any blew and the lights on the inside comes on if u do it manually. Just wondering if anybody else have seen this problem?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Check for a broken wire in the conduit between the driver's door and the body.
  • My Bonnie is a 1996 SE, 3800 Series II engine w/ 59,600 miles. I have several problems and issues I'd like a little assistance with, if someone could help me out. I prefer to work on cars myself, and have an excellent assortment of tools, including special GM tools. I just haven't had to work on this car before, and I'm not up on its quirks.

    First: I have an intermittent "SECURITY" light. I've been told that it's due to a faulty "ignition module" or a wire or wires going bad in that module, which causes the key chip not to be fully recognised. The car starts on the first try 99.99% of the time, but there's been five occasions that I had to turn the key 30-40-50 times or more to get it to start (usually it's at the worst possible time, like in a bad neighbourhood or when I HAVE to be somewhere). What I'd like to know is what EXACTLY is the problem, what part or parts require replacing, and where I can find repair/replacement information. Also, if it's just a bad wire or wires, can I resolder or replace just the wires? Will this screw up the resistance of the security system's electrics?

    Second: I have an intermittent "SES" light (so the dealership says, I call it "check engine" light, because that's what the light says). I do not remember the error code, but I was told it was due to a faulty oxygen sensor. I replaced it, but the same problem still occurred. When I took it to the dealer, they said that I installed the "wrong brand" of sensor - but didn't tell me the right brand. I believe the one I put in was a Bosch. What brand of sensor should I get, and where can I get it cheapest?

    Third: My car has the AM/FM stereo head unit w/ CD player & EQ. The radio works fine, but whenever I try to play a CD it skips so badly that it's unlistenable - I have to eject it immediately. Dealership told me to "clean the laser lens", which I've done 20 times - literally. Still same problem. Is this fixable? If I have to replace the head unit, I do not know if the "theftlock" code has ever been entered (I haven't done it, but it was a used car when I bought it). Is there a procedure I can use, or someone I can call, to clear out any possible code on this?

    Fourth: I have the 60,000 mile checkup to do now. Things I plan to work on: changing brake pads/shoes, oil & filter, cleaning fuel injection system, trans filter, gasket, flush, & refill, check & replace spark plugs & wires if necessary, check timing belt/chain (don't know what it has), replace fuel filter. As this is my first time working on this car, I'd appreciate some tips on the above - best brands of parts to use, procedures, etc. Is the injection system cleanable at home? What's the easiest method to de/repressurize the fuel system? If I can't clean the injection system myself, can I just take the fuel rails & etc. to a shop for cleaning, at a reduced expense? What's the correct solvent(s) to use to clean these injectors & other items, if it is home cleanable?

    Fifth: I have a couple of issues with my front doors. The drivers' door's key cylinder has fallen into the bottom of the door (broken clip or ?), and the outside power mirror shakes & wobbles during driving, making it VERY difficult to see in the mirror. The passenger door sticks quite a bit trying to open it - including the door handle. I've tried lubing the weatherstripping seals, and the door handle (what I could get to, anyway). This helps for about a week, then it starts sticking again. Suggestions on the sticking door? Anyone know what part(s) I might need for the driver's mirror and the key cylinder? Also, where do I get replacement water deflector plastic and adhesive if necessary, and what do I need to ask for?

    Sixth, and last (for now): I have several large spots on my paint (middle of front roof, both rear corners of roof, both front corners of trunklid) that have a burned, oxidized appearance. Is there a method I can use myself, short of repainting the entire car, to restore these areas? I've thought of using "FLITZ for paint", either by hand or on a random orbit buffer on low speed. I am not very experienced with painting cars, but I do know a little bit. I'd like to avoid the expense of repainting the entire car, as I'm on a limited, fixed income - but I'd still like to be proud of my car's appearance again. These "spots" started to appear about four months after I bought the car (at a reputable dealer, where family worked at the time), and it was waxed & taken care of. Any suggestions here?

    I greatly appreciate any and all assistance with these issues. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of info on Bonnevilles out there!
  • I was told by mechanic that the lifter problem in my '02 Bonneville could be a result of a flaky oil relief valve. Has anyone else heard of this before?

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,439
    The security light might be deterioration of the wires at the ignition key unit. My 93 had the light come on but the car kept running and starting. The dealer replaced the switch and wires. The strands inside the wire were breaking one by one and that changes the resistance measuring the chip in the key. He said eventually the resistance would be off and the security would block starting the car.

    The breaking of the wires was caused by putting the tilt wheel up and down. I always put it all the way up and all the way down when I got in. ON my newer cars, I don't put the wheel up and down as much. Want to avoid the $200 cost... the 93 had 100K + on it when that happened.

    As for cleaning the injection system, I'd just use a couple of tanks with Techron fuel system cleaner added. Buy it at Advanced Auto or Meijers discount stores or whereevere. Run tank nearly empty. Put in Techron, add enough gallons to equal what it says the size bottle is for (12 and 20 sizes???) and run till nearly empty and repeat. Do not so more than two cycles. Use premium brand fuel when filling the car up to the 12 gal. or 20 gal.

    That should solve many problems unless you've got a major injector problem.

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

  • Mine dies, and doesn't start again for about an half hour or so. Runs fine, then when it dies, it doesn't start again for a half and hour or so.. Smell gas, but no spark it seems. Over and over, this happens, please, when you figure out your problem, let me know. I put it on a computer to show my EMG modulator is bad on my 89bonneville. Getting a new one tomorrow. 300bucks, just for the part. I hope it's it... Good luck.
  • richrichrichrich Posts: 4
    Where is that at?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Between the front of the door and the body. The wires flex every time the door's opened and closed, can lead to wires breaking inside the rubber covering.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,439
    They are inside a flexible rubber tube about 1.5 inches in diameter. I _believe_ you can pull and twist on an end of that tube and get to the wires inside the bundle.

    Testing each wire for continuity would require a needle poked in at each end of the wire and check for resistance of 0 ohms.

    Out of curiosity, do the interior lights come on if one of the other doors is opened? Or do they just work with the dash switch? If they don't work with another door, would the problem be in just the driver's door? Would it keep all doors from working?

    I have a 93 LeSabre manual. I could try to check for color code on the wire in the bundle that are related to door locks and interior light grounding.

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

  • richrichrichrich Posts: 4
    They just work with the dash switch. What about if the oil gauge on the dash keeps moving around?
  • nicowarenicoware Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Bonneville with about 120,000 miles and for the past months the gas gauge has not been working it stays at full and the check engine light will no go off I have had the light checked and all they do is tell me the gas cap was not on tight and they reset the computer. When I get it back the light will be off for a short time then kicks back on. I have made sure the gas cap is snug.
    Does anyone know what could be the cause to these problems and how much having them fixed would cose.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    What is the trouble code number they retrieved?
  • ardbegardbeg Posts: 2
    I also have a 2000 SSEi and had to respond to this note... It sounds like I wrote it. I've replaced the window regulators in all windows except the driver's window... and even it's given me intermittent problems over the past year. I'm glad that's the only problem you've had. I've replaced the transmission, front wheel bearings 3 times, other front bearings that sit at the top of the shock/spring tower (both sides). The list goes on and on. I presently have what feels like a wheel balance problem, but the dealer replaced all 4 wheels with 4 from a new car and the vibration is still there.... this problem is accompanied by a slight vibration when turning the steering wheel at 50 MPH +.
  • 2k1olds2k1olds Posts: 98
    My Dad owns either a 97 or 98 Bonnie, and it has fog lights on the front of the car. While driving it the other day, I could not find any switch to turn on or off. Looked in the owners manual, no luck there, either. Are these lights just for decoration???
    Any feedback appreciated :confuse:
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Left side, below the trunk lid release switch.

    Document ID# 360971, 1998 Pontiac Bonneville, Fog Lights Circuit Description

    When the park lights are activated, battery positive voltage (B+) is supplied to the foglamp switch through CKT 9 (BRN). Battery positive voltage (B+) is supplied at all times to the switch side of the fog lamps relay position A in the RH IP fuse block through the IP fuse block FOG LPS fuse and CKT 1440 (ORN). With the foglamp switch in the ON position, battery positive voltage (B+) is supplied to the coil of the fog lamps relay position A through CKT 317 (YEL). The coil receives ground from the lamp control module (LCM). With the fog lamps relay position A coil energized, the coil contacts close, supplying battery positive voltage (B+) to the fog lamps. Turning on the high beam headlights produces the following effects:

    The LCM removes the ground from the fog lamps relay position A.
    The fog lamps turn OFF
  • worm68worm68 Posts: 1
    Im working on a 93 bonneville when its cold it starts fine, runs fine but after it gets to operating temp, the volt gauge drops like it not charging the check gauge light comes on and the car wont idle i had the attunator rebuilt it still doing the samething have no clue what to look for and the check engine light comes on thanks
  • dkurrledkurrle Posts: 20
    96 Bonneville. SOunds just like a problem i am having. Car stalls out and stops running while driving, and the windows wont roll up or down. Car will crank over but not start for a while. After a few minutes or 20 minutes car will magically start up and go for a while and windows will work. IT has thrown me through a loop. Thinking it must be a short somewhere. Took it to a shop, they are tellin me it is the fuel pump, but can that account for the windows not working as well??? What did you do to fix yours? Also my climate control flashes and blows cold air in winter and extremely hot air in summertime, sometimes it will work great, but mostly not. This is accompanied by a "burping" and "growling" sound from what sounds like behind the glove compartment. ANy ideas what so ever?? Thanks
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Read posts 1449, 1450, 1451 and 1452.
  • dkurrledkurrle Posts: 20
    Thanks guys, i got my car running and windows working. The shop i had it at didnt even know what was wrong. I had to tell them. Saved a lot of money and a new fuel pump i didnt need. Does anyone have an idea about the climate control in the original post.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Was it the ground point under the carpet?
  • 2k1olds2k1olds Posts: 98
    switch not there--taking it to Pontiac!
  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    Must not have a 1997 (since you thought it was a 1997 or 1998), in my uncle's 1997 owners manual looked up "fog lamps" in the index and on page 2-45 there was a listing and picture of the switch which is still on the overhead panel with the interior reading lamps ( same location as my 1992).
  • 2k1olds2k1olds Posts: 98
    You are right; I said it was a 97 or 98. It is a 98. Does that make any difference???
  • Desertrat5:

    The crazy oil pressure readings from the DIC are due to a failed oil pressure sending unit. I have a 2004 Lesabre Limited that, without warning, started showing psychotic oil pressure numbers; they'd race high, then low, then high, all the while causing the dash warnings to ping and wail. Bottom line was that actual engine oil pressure was fine. The dealer replaced the sending unit with no question or problem, and the problem was solved.

  • 96bonsle96bonsle Posts: 1
    My 96 did exactly the same thing. After being left at the side of the road in winter too amy times I had it towed to the local Pontiac dealer and asked them to keep it until they figured it out. This is of course after removing the remote starter, a new fuel pump, etc. Took a whole week but they tracked it down to corroded wiring on the drivers side near the firewall. Redid the wiring and it's never crapped out again.

    Lately the ABS and Traction have been kicking out without throwing codes. You guessed it, more corroded wires.

    Hope this helps someone before they soend all the money I did.
  • My dad has a 95 SE. In the morning it starts fine but after getting to work if he shuts it off and goes to start it again it wont start. It will just crank and crank. When it first started to do this if you were to put the gas to the floor it would start. Some times the idle would go up to about 3k rpm then come back down so he changed the tps. Now that he changed the tps it still wont start and he cant do the gas thing because that dont work so he has to wait for about 20 min or so for it to start again. And now it idles at about 3k all the time. He put it on the computer at a local garage and nothing came up. Any one have any ideas I think it might be a corroded wire or bad ground but dont know were.
  • dkurrledkurrle Posts: 20
    yup, it was the ground center where all that stuff connects under the driver side seat.. Thanks for all the help, this is the most helpful website i have ever seen. does anyone have a 96 bonneville that when the traction control is on, and it is wet or slick, and when the tires spin, you hear a god awful sound from the front end, but then if you turn off the traction, it will not do that anymore. What could that be a sign of, basically i see my traction control as useless now.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 22,439
    Is it the same noise as when the ABS does its check of the system when the car just starts rolling about 8 mph only louder? That's the way I'd describe it in my 03 LeSabre when traction control works. My 98 has louder ABS check but doesn't have traction control so I can't compare the sounds of when it's applying the brake on one side to slow that spinning wheel down and make the other wheel get the power from the engine.

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

  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Remove the vacuum hose from the fuel pressure regulator mounted on the fuel rail, and check for the presence of gas. If so, the diaphragm in the regulator is split and requires regulator replacement.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    "yup, it was the ground center where all that stuff connects under the driver side seat.. "

    With any model of vehicle, certain problems surface often enough to become "pattern failures", they tend to follow a pattern and make diagnosis easier.

    "does anyone have a 96 bonneville that when the traction control is on, and it is wet or slick, and when the tires spin, you hear a god awful sound from the front end, but then if you turn off the traction, it will not do that anymore. What could that be a sign of, basically i see my traction control as useless now"

    When the ABS/Traction Control module senses wheelspin from a wheel speed sensor, it first sends a torque reduction request to the powertrain control module. The PCM responds by retarding ignition timing and shutting off up to 3 of the fuel injectors to reduce available torque to the drive wheels. If this doesn't work (it usually doesn't), the ABS/TCM then provides brake intervention. It turns on a pump and motor in the brake hydraulic modulator which then provides rapid brake apply pulses to the affected wheel. Gets the wheel back under control but beats the **** out of the drivetrain. I usually have it shut off on my Riviera because I can visualize what it's doing to those expensive CV joints and the differential.
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