Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair

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Comments

  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    DON'T use aftermarket plug wires. They'll eventually start breaking down, putting you back to point zero. Pay the extra couple of bucks and use Delco wires. Remove the old wires by twisting and pulling on the boots, not the wires themselves. They can be a bear to get off, they tend to bake on. Use a liberal amount of the supplied dielectric grease in the boots of the new wires. Make sure the tubular metal heat shields are in place on the 3 rear bank wire boots. Btw, if you're that far into it you might as well change the plugs while you're there. Undo the front upper dogbone mount(s) if equipped and roll the engine forward for access to the rear bank.
  • smfransmfran Member Posts: 432
    How do I remove the door panels in my 2000 SSEi to tighten components and add insulation? The vibrations and rattles coming from inside the door handle area is driving me crazy.
  • ezraponezrapon Member Posts: 348
    The rattles from my door panel are killing me. It's been to the shop at least 6 times. They go away for a day or two but reappear when I hit a bump or experience temp changes. I have some that come out when cold and others come out in the heat. The service manager has driven the car home to investigate, and I still have rattles. Cheap interior parts and poor design seem to be the culprit here. I have new door panels on order. If they do not fix it for good, I'll be joining another edmund's site. No way for a $34,000 car to behave. This will be my last Pontiac product.
  • smfransmfran Member Posts: 432
    Scott - I'm not as upset as you but am experiencing the same symptoms. My dealer also has done what they can but as you say, it is short term relief. I wish I knew how to do something about it myself. Do you know how to remove the door panels and/or handles?
  • theicemantheiceman Member Posts: 736
    As I've said before, I get a little squeak/rattle out of the passenger door and it seems to be most pronounced near that top black trim strip. I would think that very thin upholsterers foam would be the way to go but, as Stephen has asked, how does one get it in there?

    Mine is not that bothersome and, anyway, with the stereo on and kids in the back, it's hardly worth fussing over - for me.

    Dan
  • dbacadbaca Member Posts: 20
    I followed the alcan's description in the message #256 to pull out the brake switch. However, it did not work. I rotated the switch with the connectors in left (counterclockwise), but I was able to rotate it just about 55° or may be a little bit more. Should I have pulled out the connectors first? I can hardly see what is happening there and what the obstacle is. However, I can clearly see that there is a regular thread on the switch's tube, so maybe I could have a different switch than alcan thought. My Bonneville is SE, 1995. Thanks for ideas.
  • cyoung122cyoung122 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1993 bonneville SSEI. this car is great, other than a few minor things. the one problem that bugs me is that the controls do not work on the steering wheel to control the radio. they have always been funky, and every now and then one of the buttons might work. I have sprayed wd-40 underneath the buttons because I thought maybe the contacts might be corroded, then I worked the switch back and forth for about a minute, but still they do not work. it seems a little coincidental that none of them work, and that there might be a problem with the wiring, but if every now and then one of them might work... for example the up button on seek... and none of the others, then how can it be wiring. thank you for any help it is appreciated.
  • theicemantheiceman Member Posts: 736
    I was able to isolate mine - at the upper rear edge of the door where the top plastic panel and main door panel meet, these two panels flex with vibration and rub against one another. Lubrication will solve this one but I don't want to use a lubrication that will (a) deteriorate the panels and (b) attract dust and start a nice source of dirt. I'll let the dealer puzzle it out.

    Dan
  • homer2000sseihomer2000ssei Member Posts: 159
    I have the rattle in the exact same spot on the passenger door. I reach over, give it a little push and it stops till I bounce the car or close the door or use the gas or the brake or change cabin temp or breath etc etc.

    Be sure to post the final solution the dealer comes up with.
  • mlm4mlm4 Member Posts: 401
    I think I mentioned it a while back, but my passenger door has the same rattle as some of you have described. Just a little pressure on the armrest towards the rear of the door and it stops...for a few seconds, anyway. Kinda annoying, but I'm not sure I want the dealer ripping it apart and making it worse. I also have noticed that when there is a front passenger belted in the seatbelt receiver squeaks against the leather seat.
  • smfransmfran Member Posts: 432
    My cousin once had your problem of the steering wheel controls not working. It turned out to be that the wires got pinched in the wheel because he used to put the tilt wheel in the "all the way down" position. Check out the wiring in the steering column.
  • smfransmfran Member Posts: 432
    Can anyone tell me how to remove the door panels in the 2000 Boneville. I want to try to eliminate the rattles and vibrations myself.
  • h101h101 Member Posts: 62
    I had an '89 Olds Troefeo with steering wheel radio (and heater) controls. Had a problem with the radio controls once. The shop manual said to turn the wheel lock to lock a couple of times to clean the contacts. I thought it was a goofy solution, but I tried it. Hey, it worked and the problem never resurfaced.
  • theicemantheiceman Member Posts: 736
    As opposed to a "rattle" which would be caused by a loose component vibrating, my noises are more like "squeaks" - seemingly caused by two (or more) un-lubricated parts which rub against one another. The problem is likely part and parcel of the surface characteristics of the vinyl itself - it is "squeaky clean". A colleague today recommended a vinyl lubricant - something that won't, in time, deteriorate or mark the vinyl. Even an Armourall product might be the trick - but I suspect that it will have to be able to be thin enough to penetrate the borders between panels but viscous enough to remain there.

    I'll keep you guys posted on my "findings".

    Dan
  • bes01bes01 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 1998 SEE with 44,000 miles. I have noticed that when making a left turn from a dead stop the car will lose power during acceleration. Once the car straightens out the power will return........... anyone else experienced this? Comments/suggestions please.

    Also, I have a whinny power steering pump...... is it the pump or the entire Manna Steer rack?

    Thanks,
    Bruce
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    Check the oil. When you go around a corner the oil sloshes around in the pan, and if it loses oil pressure it will cut out the fuel, causing the loss of power. Computer monitors the oil pressure and if it gets low, it shuts the fuel pump off to save the engine from damage, and when it comes back it turns it back on. I had a '83 Skylark, and a '89 Century that did the same thing. Good luck.
  • mthamesmthames Member Posts: 1
    http://townhall-talk2.edmunds.com/[email protected]@.ee99765/181


    This is for roy41144 who was nice enough to respond to an earlier post. I finally have my car in the shop (not a dealer) to have among other things the Twilight Sentinel switch replaced. He's having trouble finding the switch connector you mentioned. If you happen to have part numbers available for the items you bought, that would be greatly appreciated.


    Thanks

    Michelle I

  • smfransmfran Member Posts: 432
    My 2000 SSEi also surges under the same conditions as the girl with tools. I tried your advice of depressing the brake pedal while it was happening. Sure enough it stopped. Why does the torque converter clutch cycle and is it normal?
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    When the tcc is engaged it places additional load on the engine, raising cylinder pressures. Any weak ingition components such as plugs, wires, or ignition coils will tend to show up then. Assuming it's a 3800 engine, how many miles are on it? Does it act up on level surfaces, or just on grades when the throttle's open wider to maintain vehicle speed (increasing engine load)? Is it a recent condition? Does it do it with the cruise control engaged, disengaged, or both? Scan tools have a tcc status indicator, and you might have to go that route to determine if the tcc is actually cycling or if there's an engine misfire condition.
  • smfransmfran Member Posts: 432
    Thanks for the reply. Answers to your questions:
    1)27,000 miles
    2)Only on grades when increasing engine loads.
    3)This has always happened with all my 3800 engines; I've had many.
    4)It happens with the cruise control on and off.
    This does not appear to be a major problem. I thought it was just the engine cycling between gear. If I put my foot down a little bit to downshift, the cycling stops. Should I have it checked out anyway?
  • twobrownstwobrowns Member Posts: 52
    I have a 01 bonneville ssei . Since new I had a power steering groan when turning hard when parking. The dealer has performed two TSB's including changing a power steering hose which I understand was too small and most recently something with a coolant hose connection. The problem persists and the dealer does not know what is causing the problem. I hope this is not a safety issue. I never hear the noise under normal driving conditions only as mentioned above. Anyone had a similar problem or a sugestion what may be the cause?
  • hutbethutbet Member Posts: 7
    replying to two browns. I have same problem with 2000 e. got some good info from jashou off this post. pap. numbers 200 to 235.
  • higonrg2higonrg2 Member Posts: 2
    Hi all. Enjoy the forum and its mix of ideas and problems. After driving too fast on a washboard road, my '94 SE developed a whole new set of rattles. Most annoying is the one coming from the black plastic piece on the center divider between the front seats -- just behind the shift lever. I popped this off and discovered an unfinished area underneath, also plastic, covering some wires, etc. Does anyone know if GM made an insert for this area that would provide some (open) storage bins type thing? Otherwise I can use some heavy cardboard cut to size....
  • bes01bes01 Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the tip jgmilberg, but I always keep the oil level up. If it's down it would be no more than 1/2 quart at the most. Are you suggesting that the oil level would have to be lower than that to have the effect you mentioned, or not? Where is the oil pick up point in the pan? Front or rear? I have heard people say they put a 1/2 quart too much oil in the car to avoid problems but I have always resisted overfilling any fluids.

    Also, any idea about that whinny power steering? Thanks for the help!

    Bruce
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Member Posts: 872
    Oil pick up is in the deepest part of the pan, in front drivers, most don't have a deep spot, and the pick up is one side or the other, usually farthest away from the drain plug. Any car I had this problem with was 1-2 quarts low. It could be several other things, like a wire grounding out. Check all of the wires near the exhaust manifolds, and check the plug wires for damage like chafing, or rub marks on them, could be just enough to have the spark jump of bare wire touch when cornering.
  • cbricker1cbricker1 Member Posts: 3
    Hello, I am looking at a 98 Bonneville now but i
    am unsure as the reliability of it. It has 47k
    miles on it and looks good on the outside but is it a car I can have for years to come without pouring a lot of money into it for major repairs?


    Thanks
    Christina
  • theicemantheiceman Member Posts: 736
    You don't say what trim level you're looking at. Nevertheless, you should check out a reliability rating of the '98 at Carpoint. They report minimal problems.


    Good luck - and join us on the main board if you do decide to buy.

  • cbricker1cbricker1 Member Posts: 3
    Dear theiceman,
    I got a little more facts on the car today. It was a program car, it has 39k miles on it, it's
    an se edition, and the dealer wants $14,000.00
    for it. I looked at carpoint, some liked the car others didn't. Thanks for the input.

    Christina
  • homer2000sseihomer2000ssei Member Posts: 159
    I've never heard anyone complain about buying a used Bonne - at least one that was maintained decently. These cars are tanks - rock solid - and regular maintenance can help it run forever - i still see a lot of the late 80's, early 90's models on the road - and since it is lacking the supercharger - it probable wasnt driven too hard. Be sure to have someone look it over mechanically and since there are few common failure area's (lemon-aid book or web sites wil help finding them) - it would likely be a good investment at the right price for your budget.
  • tpkentpken Member Posts: 1,108
    Christina - I paid $15,995 for a 2000 SE model in January of this year. You should do much much better on a 98 - maybe 12K - not much more even though that mileage is very low. In fact, before you buy, you may wish to check out local dealers for other 2000 left overs or program cars (often rentals) which are priced in that 13-15K range. I know, for example, that in my area you can get a 2000 Intrigue or Century for $12-13K or an Impala base sedan for $13-14K.

    Best wishes in your car-hunt. The more research and looking around you do, the more knowledgeable you will become prior to negotiating.

    Ken
  • cbricker1cbricker1 Member Posts: 3
    Hello again. If these cars are dependable, do I need to get an extra warrenty? What are some
    opinons on getting one.

    Thank You
    Christina
  • higonrg2higonrg2 Member Posts: 2
    I bought my 1994 - the one with the annoying rattle - just last year. It had 75K on it and needed a minimum of attention. Mostly just a new O2 sensor and water pump. But look carefully at the maintenance logs. Mine is now losing oil -- probably b/c of worn valve guides, as it lets out a nice little blue burp upon starting in the morning. Probably the previous owner didn't change the oil frequently enough. But compared to my Ford purchases, it seems to be holding up well. Just got a brake job and didn't even need new rotors.
  • montanafanmontanafan Member Posts: 945
    Heard of a situation where the steering system was producing noise which the engine knock sensor picked up as a ping and adjusted timing which cut power. I think he ahd to replace the steering pump. And now that I think of it, it was also a 1998. Hope this helps.
  • blacksilverblacksilver Member Posts: 69
    For about a thousand bucks, give or take, you are buying "insurance". A transmission puking out it's guts at 50,000 miles, or one of those half-dozen computers going brain-dead would be instant payback.

    I've been buying extended warranty's (100K miles) for about 15 years. Quick calculation says I might be down a couple hundred bucks overall, but it sure is comforting when your ride breaks down in downtown Hot Springs, South Dakota (yes, it really happened to me) not to have to shell $1,800 out-of-pocket for a new transmission.

    Hans
  • ymandjymandj Member Posts: 10
    I didn't drive a lot lately and for the last 6 month picked up only 1500 miles. Do I need an oil change? Is there any time limit between oil changes or 3500 miles is the only criteria?
  • jjocjjocjjocjjoc Member Posts: 24
    I purchased a near new 1999 Bonneville last year and have been happy with the car. A couple questions to throw out:
    I see Edmund's review shows a con for soggy suspension; I can relate as it seems I feel every bump in the road. Will different (better) shocks improve the ride?
    Also, I now have 44k miles on the car and wondering if it's beneficial or a waste to change the plugs at this point. I've gotten different advice on this one. Some think you should always change plugs every 2 years or so or 30-40k miles; others say your wasting you money since the newer cars (GM) can go up to 60-90k on original plugs.
    Any thoughts?
    Thanks!
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Short trip driving is in the severe service catagory. Like haroldbuick said, 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever occurs irst.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    I replaced the original plugs in my '96 Buick at 60K when I purchased it. They could easily have gone another 30-40K but since they were out..... The 2 year plug change gig goes way back to when lead deposits from gasoline would eventually foul the plug tips. Now we have unleaded gas, higher voltage ignition systems, factory installed double platinum plugs. The plugs in your car are rated for 100K. Change them and the plug wires at 80K if you want to be conservative. In the event a plug or wire starts breaking down, you'll feel the misfire/shudder, typically when the torque converter cluch applies. If a plug or wire is toast, the powertrain control module will set a misfire trouble code and turn on the check engine light. Btw, they're $75 Cdn for 6 AC Delco plugs (which you should be using).
  • mlm4mlm4 Member Posts: 401
    I hardly ever use my fog lamps, but this evening I did and noticed that the left one is failing. The bulb has roasted although it still burns - feebly and sickly. Anyway, even though the owner's manual does not list the replacement part number for this bulb my Helm manual does - 880L. Before I chase around looking for a new one, has anyone else had to replace their fog lamp bulbs and will I find it at AutoZone or Pep Boys, or do I have to go to the dealer?
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    A dim light bulb in any application is almost always caused by excessive voltage drop through a poor electrical connection or ground, not the bulb itself.
  • ezraponezrapon Member Posts: 348
    one word for you my friend... bumper to bumper warranty. They are covered. Let GM pick it up!!!
  • campo57campo57 Member Posts: 94
    Yes, you can find them at most auto parts stores and it is covered under the warranty but it may be easier to just buy one than to tie up the car for a day at the dealer for a bulb. (although you might want to have them check the wiring if the bulb is dim.).

    Campo57
  • mlm4mlm4 Member Posts: 401
    Thanks. I don't plan on visiting the dealer anytime soon so it would be much easier for me to replace it myself, if I can find the bulb. I don't think it is the wiring, the bulb itself is charred brown and black and I don't think it will burn much longer if I tried, I'm surprised it illuminated at all. It's toasted.
  • philly33philly33 Member Posts: 1
    Hey everybody! Great site! I'm a 27 year old grad student in dire need of transportation cause my mazda died. I found a 89 Bonneville SSE with only 94k on it. Wow these cars are sharp. its loaded with leather,sunroof,etc.,the owner only wants$2500 for it,and was wondering if you guys no of any major problems with this year and trim line. he had theECM computer replaced and it needs a AC charge. need something under $4000 and this seems to good to be true? is it? I definetly love these cars but only found a 93 with 130 on it but the woman owner said it might need some transmission work,sounds scary&since I'm in Grad school sounds like I can't afford it,oh its a SE with leather(the 93). Any help with this purchase would be appreciated. Oh my friend who works on Toyotas said bonnes have too many toys and too many headaches. Is he right?or is he just a [non-permissible content removed] lover? Thanks,strapped for cash in Philly
  • h101h101 Member Posts: 62
    Easy replacement... had one go out within a month of car being new... replaced it and it has been fine for 16 months now.

    I'd just pull the bulb and take it to the auto chain, just be careful not to touch the new bulb with your hands, the slight oil from you skin will cause the bulb to fry itself, dunno why... it just will. I learned the hard way on my prior machine (also it says that on the package, but who reads the package :) )

    Bill
  • theicemantheiceman Member Posts: 736
    $2500 sounds great - if it's really clean, fairly rust free, everything works and the seller has service records. Have a mechanic check it out - particularly the A/C. Next to a transmission, this is one of the most expensive of the common repairs that cars often need once they hit 10 years and 100k.

    If everything checks out, the '89's up here are still seen on the road and I've heard of no major problems with them.

    Let us know (on the main forum) if you decide to go for it. Good luck.
  • homer2000sseihomer2000ssei Member Posts: 159
    They are 880 bulbs. no need to even take it in with you to the parts store. That 880 number (stamped right on the plastic body) is a universal light number in the industry.
    I went and bought a few when my first one went out - i changed them bot - cant be sure why - just some kind of habit i guess. Its a simple twist 1/4 turn and pull back. pry back the two little holder tangs on the side and it separates from the wiring plug.
  • mlm4mlm4 Member Posts: 401
    Thanks, I'll head over to the auto parts store and look for it. I'm wondering if moisture had anything to do with it failing, those fog lamp assemblies are not weather-tight at all. In fact, when I wash the car or drive in the rain water gets inside. That little drain hole on the bottom doesn't work too well because a bead of water just sits there until it evaporates. Last year when my parents were in town visiting they rented a Montana, and it had the exact same fog lamps. Being a rental, they just run it through the car wash and don't detail it but the lamps were full of dirt that must have worked its way in through the drain holes. I don't know how one would clean them out.
  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    Oil from your skin gets on the bulb and causes a localized hot spot on the glass. Mostly a problem on halogen bulbs. When all else fails, read the instructions. :-)
  • dbacadbaca Member Posts: 20
    I posted my problem of whistling noise coming from the engine in the message 270. I got several suggestions, and I thank for them, but it turned out to be something else. I left my car at GM repair shop to replace the front tires and to estimate the costs for repair of the engine. Surprisingly, the repaired it offhand and it cost me $41. They just replaced the O ring in the PCV valve sleeve; the O ring costs $1 and the labor $40.
    I hope that this information will be helpful for others with the same problem.
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