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Pontiac Bonneville General Maintenance and Repair



  • montanafanmontanafan Posts: 945
    Pontiac recall campaign #95-C-68 was for "Upper Transaxle Oil Cooler Line Seperation" and dealers were to install a new upper transaxle oil cooler line on involved vehicles. Just one line is all that is to be replaced under the recall.
  • ghchfghchf Posts: 5
    Hi folks, new user here. I have a 95 Bonneville, 141,940 kms....just blew head repaired. New problems, oil pressure gauge reads normal after cold start then degrades throughout day of driving to point of low pressure warning chime. Any ideas? Item 2. shimmy from front end, felt mainly through steering wheel, lessens as speed increases to highway speed. Like everyone here, I love the Bonneville and intend keeping it for a long time yet. Any thoughts on above items would be welcomed. Thanks.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Re the oil pressure problem, have the sending unit removed and a mechanical pressure gauge installed to verify that oil pressure actually is low. Sending units can become defective. If pressure is dropping it could indicate engine bearing damage (main, rod, and/or camshaft bearings) as a result of glycol coolant in the oil.

    Re the steering wheel shimmy at lower speeds, that's usually caused by a bent rim or a tire belt shifted. Try rotating the tires front/rear one at a time and see if the symptoms go away or change to a "waddle" in the rear of the car.
  • ghchfghchf Posts: 5
    95 Bonneville ..low oil pressure warning...checked sending unit...was ok. Flushed all oil out of system..refilled....looking good so far. Rotated tires front to rear as Alcan suggested. No more shimmy! Thanks for advise.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Thank you, but it was just a couple of lucky guesses. And 32 years as a licensed tech. ;-) If the oil pressure seems ok now, I'd recommend another oil/filter change to get rid of any residual glycol. It can be nasty stuff on bearings, but 3.8's are pretty tough engines. And don't forget that there's still an issue of a bent rim or shifted tire belt on the rear now. A shifted belt could eventually lead to a blowout and loss of control. Switching them back to the front one at a time will quickly identify the culprit. Good luck with it.
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    Here I've owned my Bonneville for just over a year and didn't know the remotes were numbered. Because my car has the memory seats, it used to drive me nuts if I grabbed my wife's set of keys because I couldn't get in with the seat so far forward for her. I solved it by (1. programming both remotes for my position as #1 and (2. programming her to not want to drive the car since I've managed to make her so paranoid about getting the first door ding.
    When we first got the car, I was ready to take it back to the dealer because when you would press one of the memory switches for the seats, the CD would change and I thought there was a ghost inhabiting the electrical system. Only after several months of procrastination on taking it back and experimenting did I realize that everything is keyed off of the driver ID.
  • Driving home from out of town, and about an hour and a half away, the "check gauges" light comes on, as the temperature gauge starts fluctuating. Because we replaced the water pump 30 days ago, and the gauge has acted odd in the past (and was told that the gauge was just screwy), I kept driving. Then the gauge red-lined (bottomed out)--car still running just as pretty as you please. BTW it's a '95 Bonnie SSE with 95K miles. At some point the "check engine" light comes on too.

    Many prayers later, I make it to 5 miles south of my exit, and the car starts shaking/shuddering and then 15 seconds later just dies as I'm doing 73 on the interstate. Coasted to a stop. The lights and radio and all power stuff works, but the engine won't start. After about 45 minutes sitting on the side of the road *praying* for a highway patrol officer to mosey on by (and me without a cell phone for once) the car finally starts with a shudder and shake. This lasted about 5 seconds, then it ran smoother and I nursed it home the last 10 miles. I have no idea how.

    Now it absolutely will not start. It tries to turn over, it just can't fire, and therefore just isn't successful. All of the power stuff still works. I don't think that I cracked the engine block and mixed the coolant in the oil because the dipstick isn't milky colored. However, there is coolant in all of the vacuum lines.

    Any ideas or suggestions? I'm already entertaining the idea of a new car, and I've already kicked myself for continuing to drive after the warning lights came on.

  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    You might try pulling several of the plugs to see if they are wet. Head gasket or possibly the intake plenum gasket?
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    ....but I'm here to announce the new Bonneville Owners Club is now available on Owner's Club board. Please stop by and introduce yourself in Meet the Members and let me know how I can help build your club.

    I have linked this discussion into that folder, but it will always reside here in .

    Looking forward to meeting everyone!

    Owner's Clubs

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • Just heard back from the radiator company--said the intake plenum gasket was totally shot, and was the worst he'd ever seen. Lucky me, eh? :) Good news is, only $500 to diagnose and fix, and I'm getting a new car. Thanks for the help!!
  • leoh2leoh2 Posts: 1
    I have a new 2000 Bonneville SLE that I purchased in October 2000. Great car and fun to drive. I noticed a slight vibration around 3000 miles when traveling at 65 to 70 mph. I was going to tell the dealer about the vibration when I got a flat on the right front tire. I had the tire repaired and re balanced. The vibration seemed to go away so I thought it was a balance problem. Now I have around 6000 miles on the car and the vibration is back. The dealer checked it out and said one of the tires was out of balance. He re balanced it. I just tried the car on a long trip and the vibration is still there getting worse. The tires are Goodyear Eagles 235 R55 17 Any ideas??
  • sman002sman002 Posts: 3
    I replaced the oil pressure sending unit and flushed the engine, but the oil pressure gauge still reads low (into the red) and the chimes go off. Any suggestions? HELP!!!
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Take it to a couple of independent tire / front-end shops and get 2nd/3rd opinions if you have to. Alternatively, you can just insist that your dealer do what it takes to resolve it but I doubt if the results will be any more satisfactory or efficient than taking it into your own hands.

    It could be the tires - a slightly separated belt or an imperfection in the sidewall of just one tire could easily be the culprit here. Those Eagles are great tires (I love mine) but I'm suspecting a latent and minor defect. The earlier you can get it diagnosed and fixed, the better for the rest of your tires, your suspension and your peace of mind!

    BTW, other possibilities include a bent or warped rim, loose or bent suspension components or even sticky brake calipers (although you'd usually feel that more at low speeds). I've been through all of this (not on my '00 SLE you understand, on other cars!) and it can make for frustrating sleuthing. Ended up scrapping my tires and forking out $ to replace all four - the result was that the vehicle then drove like new and the problem didn't come back after a few thousand miles either.

    Good luck! theiceman
  • dbacadbaca Posts: 20
    Hello, I have the following problem. The break pedal moves with two switches. I assume that one of them is for switching the brake lights on and the second one says to the computer if the brake pedal is pushed. I have a problem with the second one. After I release the break pedal, the switch doesn't switch back and the computer then thinks that the brake pedal is still pushed. As a result, the computer changes gears as the pedal is pushed (do not use the fourth gear) and I cannot turn the cruiser on. If I push the pedal up by my foot, the switch switches back and since then everything is working fain. I need to repair this switch. However, there are two. So, at first I do not know which one is the right one. In addition, I do not know how to pull the switch out. I tried to pull out the lower one because it was closer to me, but I was not successful. There is a thread on the switch, but I could not twist with the switch to much. Could anybody give me advices what to do?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    You probably have a mis-adjusted switch. Upper is TCC/ABS, lower is Stoplamp/BTSI. To remove, rotate the switch counterclockwise about 60 degrees and pull. To install, push switch in (with electrical connectors installed) until plunger is fully depressed into switch barrel. Rotate clockwise to lock. Do not push or pull on brake pedal during installation.
  • jgmilbergjgmilberg Posts: 872
    Try removing the sending unit, and getting a mechanical gauge to make sure there is or is not oil pressure. If no oil pressure is indicated on the new gauge, it may be an oil pump or spun bearing. If it is the pump you are in luck otherwise look for a new car or motor. Some cars have 2 sending units on them, one tells the computer to turn on the fuel pump oil pressure is present and the other is for the instruments. The one for the dash is usually pretty big, and the other one is just a small black plastic and metal piece. Get a Chilton's or Haynes manual it will tell you where to look for the sensors. If the motor makes a bunch of tapping and ticking you are probably not getting oil pressure. One other messy way to see is to take off the valve cover. Oil will shoot everywhere, and you will only know that oil is flowing and not the pressure it is flowing at.
    Good Luck
  • dbacadbaca Posts: 20
    Where can I find the GM color code on my Bonneville SE 1995? Thanks!
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Paint Code:
    Look on the Service Parts Identification Label on the spare tire cover.
  • j1tj1t Posts: 1
    Someone please tell me what the noise is.
    It's a 93 bonni,134,000mi, had front hub/bearing replaced last year.
    The noise is a heavy 'click' from the front when I do quick right turns or backing out of the garage.
    It is if something is engaging into a slot under load. I was able to duplicate the noise with consistency when out on an empty lot twisting the car sharply from left-center-right-center.
    It's a heavier click from the driver side on left-center turns - less noticible on the right-center turns.
    Anyone had similar problem before? There are just too many possibilities up in the front of these cars for me to guess what has worn out.
  • dbacadbaca Posts: 20
    Paint code:
    There are many numbers. It seems to me that the color code ends with the letter U. There is the number 81U that could be my color. Am I right or do you know how to find out which number is the color one?
  • kzmkzm Posts: 55
    I bought an after market mask from Lebra for my 2000 Pontiac Bonneville In Feb 2001. I only had it for a month and moisture and heat from the mask formed a cloudy stain in the paint on my hood! What ever you do, only get a mask that your dealership recommends. This way they can be held responsible if anything occurs under they mask while you are using it. I took the car to my local dealership and they wouldn't touch it and Lebra says I have to first take it to an auto shop to have heat lamps put on it to try to remove the stain and I will have to be reimbursed for that! I've used a Lebra mask on my 92 Bonneville for weeks at a time with no ill effects. My wife uses a GM mask for her 98 Grand Prix and no problem there either, so I would just be careful.
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    I once had a rubbing/clicking type noise coming from the front of my '94 Bonneville on sharp right turns. I stopped the car in that position to find the left tire hitting a piece of the fender that came loose.
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401

    Thanks for the tip about the front-end mask. Sorry to hear about the damage to your Bonnie. I have been wanting to get one for my 2000 SSEi and not all the mask manufacturers seem to have one yet for this model. I was thinking of just getting the GM Accessories one even though I'm not sure it is of the best quality or value.


    The number with the "U" (for "upper", "L" for lower if two-tone) is the paint code. What color this actually is you'll have to look in the Helm service manual or just ask the service or parts department at a GM dealer.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    I'm also considering what to do to protect the front of my 2000 SE. It already has 23K on it since I bought it used and you can really see the chips on the facia and even the hood. I do a lot of highway driving and of course here in the northeast we have road salt and sand all over the roads. Not sure what I'll do.

  • dbacadbaca Posts: 20
    Hello, thanks everybody for the help with the color code. I have another problem now that seemed to me simple at first. After the engine gets warm I can hear squeaky noise from the engine. It comes from the belt and I was told by few persons that it is faulty water pump. Two days ago, the water pump was changed for the remanufactured one (NAPA). However, the behavior and the noise stayed the same. I tried to listen to the noise with the long paper pipe in order to allocate the source of the noise. It seems to me that the noise is coming from the bottom rear wheel that is moved by the belt also. I do not know what is the function of this wheel. My question is whether I could be right about the source of the noise. Or do you think that it has to be the water pump and the remanufactured one was faulty?
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    dbaca, if the noise is pretty much the same after changing the water pump then either the serpentine belt or one of the belt tensioner pulleys is probably at fault. A stethescope with a 12" probe (or equivalent) will isolate it pretty quickly. Obviously, take care around rotating components.
  • dbacadbaca Posts: 20
    alcan, thank you for your help. The serpentine belt is brand new, so it must be one of pulleys or the water pump. The water pump is just a little bit wobbling; therefore, it occurred to me that the remanufactured water pump could be faulty.
  • dbacadbaca Posts: 20
    I wrote the message 268 thinking that my problem is the water pump. However, starting the engine without the serpentine belt showed that the noise is approximately coming from the space between the engine and the transmission. The auto-mechanic took off the bottom cover of this space, but nothing bad was found. I found out that the frequency of squeaking does not change along with the engine repetitions. I have been driving with this noise 6000 miles and it is still the same. My Bonneville is SE type, has 91000 miles on and is from the year 1995. Does somebody have any idea what can be the source of the noise?
  • dbacadbaca Posts: 20
    The noise turned out to be caused by the engine. People from GM looked at the car and they found out that there is too much vacuum in the engine. When they opened the gap for filling engine oil, the noise stopped. They suspected the PCV valve, but its change did not help. Any ideas?
  • That really would suck!
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