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Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair



  • jbohrjbohr Posts: 2
    My 1992 Bonnevill SE starts fine, and when the engine is hot it sometimes wants to choke out. Sometimes it just misses awhile and continues to run, and othertimes the engine dies. My mechanic is puzzeled. He has tried new plug and wires, a new ignitor module, new computer and coil packs. But nothing yet will fix. Does anyone have any ideas what is the problem with this engine?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Suggest you get away from the parts replacer and find a good mechanic who knows how to use a scan tool and interpret it's data. The guy you're using is just guessing. Btw, what's the fuel pressure, has the check engine light come on, are there any diagnostic trouble codes?
  • You're back! We've missed you over here!

  • jbohrjbohr Posts: 2
    My mechanic has a scanner and you're right he has had a hard time intrepreting the data. He has checked everything that has come up on the scanner. He had another mechanic from another shop check it out yesterday and they could not figure it out yet. The check engine light has never come on. I don't know what the diagnostic codes have been. I don't know if has checked the fuel pressure. He says he needs to get it on a scope machine, which he does not have. What could the fuel pressure have to do with this problem?
  • I had a similar problem in that the engine on my 97 would just die. The engine was fully warmed up, and it wouldn't matter at what speed I was driving. The car would then restart fine, run fine for a few days, and then the same thing would happen. No check engine or other diagnostic lights came on. I brought it to a mechanic who could not find anything wrong with it but wanted to change the fuel pump. I felt he was just guessing, so I brought it to a dealership. They replaced the crankshaft sensor (problem came up on their computer) and it has been fine since.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Yep, a crankshaft position sensor would cause the stall. Not uncommon on 3.8's and 3800's. Can be fun to get out too if they break. Driving the car with a scan tool attached and "movie" function activated allows a tech to record what the engine control module sees from all it's input sensors in real time. The tech can then play back the readings from just before the time of the fault and see which input signal was dropping out, or out of range. With a fuel pressure gauge attached and taped to the windshield, fuel pressure can be monitored. If pressure drops just before the stall it can help zero in on the fault.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    I'm usually lurking around in the background. I'll try to answer specific questions (make, model, year, engine, stored codes, symptoms, all help) Gripe sessions may make the poster feel better but don't really warrant a response.
  • I have a 96 Bonneville that has puzzled a few mechanics. On several different occasions the car seems to "spit and sputter" when stopped at a red light. If you don't put the car in park and rev the engine, it will shut off. Also, if you take a curve and have to slow down considerably, the gas pedal seems to "stick" momentarily. Fuel cleaners have been added and my husband has "blown the carbon" out a few times and it seems to improve for awhile. Then suddenly without any warning, it will start to sputter again. The check engine light does come on and stays on until my husband has taken the car for a drive. Not sure what he's doing to it while he's gone other than driving extremely fast I'm sure.
    Help - Car has 71,000 miles on it and in great running condition other than the above.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    All late '95 and newer cars are OBD-II equipped and if the MIL has come on there will be a diagnostic trouble code stored in the powertrain control module. The only way to retrieve stored codes in with a scan tool, which will tell any mechanic who knows how to use a scanner which system is affected. It's not a matter of guesswork. Assuming your car has the 3800 series II engine, they are noted for the EGR valve sticking open from small carbon deposits, especially after a highway run. The pintle return spring is relatively weak and may not close the valve off completely under closed throttle, allowing some exhaust gas back into the intake tract at idle. "Blowing the carbon out" is not an effective or recommended procedure for removing EGR system deposits. Try using GM Top Engine Cleaner, and if no improvement have the EGR valve removed and inspected for deposits.
  • I have a 97 bonneville with 44000 miles. During the term of the warranty I kept complaining to the dealer that the car was missing. They made several attempts to find the problem. Finally at 36000 miles they isolated it to the valve body in the transmission. They replaced the valve body as per a repair bulletin issued by "All Data". This repair bulletin is dated February 1997. I purchased my car new in August 1997. No other work was done to the transmission as far as replacing distressed parts. About a week ago the 3rd gear clutch failed completely. Has anyone else had this problem? From the research I have done to date it appears that when the valve body was replaced all distressed parts should have been removed from the transmission and replaced. The dealer never did this. I am not getting much help from the dealer or G.M. G.M. says I may get help if I take the car to a G.M. dealer and have them rip down the transmission and advise G.M. of the problem. I am concerned about the bias of a G.M. dealer to protect themselves or G.M. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. Currently I am renting a car while I decide how this should be handled but I can't continue to do so much longer.
  • dbacadbaca Posts: 20
    Hello everyone! I have a problem with my Pontiac Bonneville 95. I bought this car in January 2001 with 85000 miles on. The story is as follows.
    After two day I had owned this car, I changed the transmission oil, the engine oil and sparkplugs. Then next the day, the warning light "Check engine soon" came on after driving 10 miles. I stopped the car and I started it after one hour. The light disappeared after going few meters. However, this same failure repeated after a week again (the light disappeared after getting the 10 minutes rest to the car). My auto-mechanic recommended changing the oxygen sensor and he did so. But it did not help; the same problem repeated, so he scanned the car for errors on the computer. During this scan, the warning light was not on. The computer showed misfiring and faulty pedal positioner. The pedal positioner was changed; though, it did not help either. Next time, when the warning light came on, I drove immediately to my auto-mechanic with the light on in order to scan the computer when the light is on. It showed that the oxygen sensor is faulty. I changed the oxygen sensor again, but it did not help. The light came on every day in the morning. I stopped the car, waited 10 minutes, started the car and the light came off for the rest of the day. My auto-mechanic checked all important parts, and everything looked fain. Then he recommended changing sparkplugs and sparkplug wires for the original (AC Delco). I did it and then the problem worsened. Now, the light comes on not just in the morning (or the first time I drive the car during the day), but every time I drive the car. The scenario is that since I usually stop the car with the warning light on, the light appears immediately after I start the engine. I drive 100 meters and the light disappears. However, the light usually comes on back after 5 minutes of driving.
    I set up an entire diagnosis test of the car at the dealer. I hope that they will not tell me that my oxygen sensor is faulty because it is not the primary failure; however, it is what the computer shows. Has anyone a clue what this problem could be?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Hmmm...very puzzling, but there are quite a few possibilities....I'm thinkin' here....faulty gas cap, clogged catalytic converter.........

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  • ayratayrat Posts: 26
    During last oil change I found that power steering reservoir is filled with tranny.
    I almost decided to drain and fill it up with normal p.s. fluid, when one mechanic told Me that, basically, there is no big difference on what to use for power steering, and it should not harm anything. What do you think on this?
  • My boss drives a 2000 Bonneville SE. By next year when the car has 60K, he will be getting another company car, and I am planning to buy this car from him. I will probably get it for about$9K. he is not a hot rod, and I know he takes it easy on the car.

    Right now, I am driving a 96 Toyota Camry XLE V-6 with 45K miles. the Camry drives very nice. the 200HP V-6 is a jewel. It does 80MPH like it is standing still.

    Am I crazy for even thinking about selling the Camry and buying the Bonneville?
  • augyaugy Posts: 3
    Replace the front stabilizer pins. They cost about $8 each. It is allmost impossible to tell if they are gone by visually inspecting them. They are easy to replace, you may need a nut splitter or a recipricating saw if the nut cannot be loosened. You will notice a big difference in handling!
  • oranreneoranrene Posts: 1
    GO FOR IT!!!!! I wish I had the opportunity to purchase a 2000 Bonneville! My husband and I were tired of $600 a month car payments and finally decided to purchase a car for cash. We found a White 93 Pontiac Bonneville with 78000 miles for 5G cash. It has tawny colored leather interior and all power. I LOVE MY CAR!! The Bonneville is such a smooth ride and looks sporty as well. I had to have a car big enough to tote around my two boys, but I didn't want an "old fart" car, so this car was perfect for me. We have yet to have any problems and it was well-maintained with new tires.
    I would take a 2000 Bonneville over a Camry any day. I am partial to GMC cars and don't really care for Camry's, Acura's, etc..
    Take that car and run...hope this helps :)
  • mwthamesmwthames Posts: 2
    roy41144 Feb 22, 2001 7:55am

    Thanks for responding - that was a big help. I would like to know if you had to take out the dash to replace the switch.

    I found the recall notice (I do have the Twilight Sentinel option) and talked to my local dealer who said that it was not a recall but a technical service bulletin and as such I would have to pay for it. I'm gonna try the 1-800-Pontiac number and the NTSB numbers to see if I can get them to change their minds. Thanks again! MWThames
  • Hi Purchased a Dark green Bonnie SLE with gold rims in 95 over the Ford Crown Victoria 210 hp engine. Within the 3 year warranty period had tranny problems at 10 miles, loose body panel noises, and tie rods noises.

    The car is great on Power and maitainance, low cost of ownership but noticed I pay more gas in a V6 from a 4 cylinder car. After the warranty was over I had to pay $900 at dealership for major oil problem with the engine. I replaced the OEM tires (Eagle GA's) with BF Goodrich Comp TA's from - what a big difference. The car currently still has suspension problems (lots of noises from the tie rods (replaced two months ago NEW) - this SLE has the Traction Control, and Touring/Performance Suspension option. The cars trunk also leaks water. After the rain - There is a huge puddle where the spare tire is.

    I love the engine in the car and the power. I love the size and the soft leather seats. But after 50,000 miles, i still have trunk leak, tie rod noises, now body panel noises. Am I ready to sell or trade in for a realiable family car?

    Nope not yet, I will use this as the family/wimter car and brought a Porsche to drive as my weekend car...

    The Bonnie still has more torque and scence of
    power than my Porsche. Plus will hold the family in living room leather seats.
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    Both my daughter's 92 Bonneville and my 2000 SSEi had the same problem with my daughter's leak being much worse. I removed the spoiler on her car and used body sealer for all of the penetrations into the trunk which cured the problem. When I had the same problem with my car, I told the dealer where to look and lo and behold, that was the problem as well.
  • in our state, we have a lemon law that states if you bring your car in for the same problems 4 times within the first 2 years of warranty, they have to buy the car back. there is a formula for the buyback. gm has mandatory arbitration, which i found to be one sided. guess who's side. but after arbitration, you can litigate. it was very interesting going through the process, but i learned a lot.
  • jeromy1jeromy1 Posts: 5
    I just bought my 95 Bonneville. It runs super-smooth with 96K miles. Starts up as soon as I turn the key. However, yesterday I turned the key and nothing happened. The lights all came on, but nothing happened at all when I turned the key all the way. We tried jumping it, but still nothing happened.

    I'm having my mechanic look at it tomorrow AM. I'm wondering if it could be a problem with the key itself, or if some security sensor in the ignition went haywire. Hopefully a computer diagnostic will uncover the problem.

    Any input? I'll try to post the mechanic's results when I get them, and hopefully the solution to the problem.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Sounds like a problem in the starter motor circuit to the ignition could be from the key on down to the starter solenoid or transmission neutral safety switch. Last of all, it could be a bad starter. Your battery and ignition system have nothing to do with it I don't think.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • ymandjymandj Posts: 10
    i had the same problem with my '96 SE. In my case jumpstart helped, though. Mechanic said there was a short in the starter and replaced it as well as battery. In 3 month I could not start the car again. Lights went on, I heard a clicking sound of relay - and that's it. After 2 tries Voltmeter went to zero. Here went another battery. After one more month it happened again but mechanic was able to recharge the battery. I posted my saga here and I read posts by other guys having the same problem. You can go back to post 108 and look through the posts and get some helpful info.
  • twobrownstwobrowns Posts: 52
    I recently bought a 2001 SSEI. Great car, love the power and the features. It appears to be screwed together well, However I noticed a groan from the power steering when turning the wheel when the car is not moving. Does not do it all the time and it usually occurs when it is cold. Rather loud at times. Any one have similar problems?
  • dbacadbaca Posts: 20
    For these who have similar problems. The failure was brought about by the bad contacts of the mass air flow sensor. Cleaning the contacts helped.
  • alan77alan77 Posts: 1
    I have a 98 Bonneville with 56k miles that has
    had no obvious problems--- been changing oil every
    3k miles and just changed it 2weeks ago and at the
    same time fluids were checked etc.My problem is
    a couple of days ago it started running real rough
    killed then wouldn't start --- after changing plugs and getting it started ran for about 20 mins. then stopped ; tryed to restart and wouldn't start --- found out today that I have a cracked intake manifold -- no warning warning lights had come on ; did not appear to overheat prior to it stopping.... has anyone else had
    similar problems with the intake manifolds on the 3800 v6 with this low milage?
  • 6 months with a demo SSEi that had 5000 miles on it, and no problems - just an ever open ashtray lid we should have noticed on the showroom floor.

    All and all it has proved to be a reliable, fun and powerful car. A bit pricey, perhaps, but the fat insurance check for a wreck helped w/ the down payment.

    If you are just lurking, give it a test drive. Its a sweet ride.
  • augyaugy Posts: 3
    Alan, is the manifold cracked just before the oxygen sensor, if so, make sure you check the transmission mount. I had to replace three manifolds because the mount was gone. It takes about a month for the new manifold to go with a bad mount.
  • ayratayrat Posts: 26
    Would somebody, please, tell Me if that is alright to drive with power-steering reservoir filled (for whatever reason, I do not know) with transmission fluid instead of pwr-steering fluid Should I drain it away and fill up with a standard PS fluid, or there is no harm in using and mixing this two types of fluids?
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    I thought I would give a heads up to people who have older 3.8L engines. My daughter's 92 Bonneville has aver 120,000 miles and when it developed a slow coolant leak that I could see on the ground underneath the water pump, I figured that with that many miles, it must be the water pump. After replacing the pump(no big deal), it still leaked. What I finally found was that tucked up underneath everything, is a small bypass hose. The hose was fine but the plastic nipple that was screwed into the block was cracked. GM must have had a lot of problems with the plastic because when I went to the dealer to get another one, the replacement was metal. I also replaced the serpentine belt while I was at it and fortunately, it wasn't routed through the motor mount as it was on my 96 Bonneville.
    Hopefully, this may save someone some work or prevent them from being stranded if the nipple breaks off.
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