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Pontiac Sunfire Electrical Problems



  • My 2005 Pontiac Sunfire has had several problems over the past couple of months.
    When I was driving all my gages went to zero when I would start to break. After I started moving again they would go up. Also my lights started to dim. When I had the air on all my gages went to zero; when I turned the air off the gages went back up, when I had the lights on. The theft system and service light was on. The mechanic put three different computers in the car. Put in a recall part. Also put in a new part were all wiring connects. They fixed a short near the gages. They did more stuff that I am not sure of. I know they worked on the ground wire. After he told me he could not fix it. I put a new battery in it. Then it worked for a couple of days. I am getting a new belt in tensor put in on Wednesday since that has been something that has needed to be replaced. Now it works most of the time. But the lights still dim. But the theft system lights come on and service so it locks up cruise control. But now the gages do not go to zero. My dad says I do not need new head lamps. But my turn single lights do need to be replaced. Every test that has been run on my car shows that everything is fine. What else can I do?
  • gmcustsvcgmcustsvc Posts: 4,251

    I apologize for the problems you are experiencing with your vehicle. Are you working with a GM dealership or an independent shop?

    Thank you,
    Caron, GM Customer Service
  • I am working with independent shop. Who has called GM several times. Also called GM Dealerships. He has most of the problems fixed now. Since the first people he had worked on were wrong. He found things wrong were they did not look. I will still buy GM made vehicles. I still love the car.

  • Hi. I recently had an oil change & a new battery put on @ wal mart on my 2004 sunfire. As soon as I left I noticed all my warning lights on, check engine, brakes, anti theft. I was still in the wal mart parking lot so I took it right back around & told them something was wrong. They did something under the hood, I don't know what. I was in a hurry to make a 4.5 hour drive to see my granddaughter be born. So I started driving home & noticedall my gauges fluctuating like crazy! The car was driving fine though so I went ahead with my trip. There were times it said I was going zero & it said my full tank was empty. So I get home & I call a friend from high school who is a mechanic & he tells me to check my battery connections & the fluid in my battery. I told him it was a brand new no maintenance battery. He said check it anyway. So I check & notice the negative connector is not on very well & I'll be, my battery was only half, if that full of acid. I take it back to wal mart & encounter the rudest person alive, also the one who originally put my battery in. I told him what the problem was & he fixed the connection & then went & got water from the drinking fountain & put in my battery. I called my dad & told him & he said take it back & make them give you a new battery. He should have never put water in that one & it won't last as long as it's supposed to. So the next morning I went back & they were appalled by what he had done, said he should have automatically given me a new battery. So they decided the one he put in was the wrong size, not enough amps & gave me the right size battery. I thought ok, that was my problem. No. So I went back today & met jackass #2. He said it was probably my altanator, which he checked & it wasn't. I told him I thought when the first guy hooked up my battery the first time he did it backwards & messed up my computer system. He said if my computer system was messed up my car wouldn't start. Maybe I should have said electrical system. My town is small & there are only private mechanics. I'm supposed to go sometime tomorrow for a diagnostic check. It's just that I didn't have one single problem other than needing a new battery before they put in a battery & 2 new terminals. I've checked all my fuses. My problem is I have brain cancer, I'm on disability & now I have to go pay for a diagnostic? Of course if it comes back battery related wal mart will reimburse, they say, but I have a feeling it's going to be a fight. Has anyone else had this experience after getting a new battery put in?
  • Hi, I have a problem on my 2000 Sunfire 2.2. First, i change the steering column because the other ingition key broken and i can get out of OFF. So the less expensive was to by a other complete steering column at a scrap yard. I change it but the car does'nt want to run. The Starter run and the engine crank up but nothing. I ive chek my fuse my fuel pump relais and every thing is fine. By the way my air bag light and car lock is on so....

    If anyone have an idea what is it ?
  • sounds like you messed with the anti theft program
  • annajoannajo Posts: 2
    Ok, after fighting with wal mart and taking down names & dates "my log", I finally go back yesterday bound & determined for them to pay to get my car checked. I'm not unreasonable, I take responsibility for my vehicle. However, I know everything worked fine, they put in a new battery & it then it didn't. I also didn't like being talked down to like I was dumb. "Oh, if your battery was hooked up backwards to begin with & fried your electrical system, your car wouldn't even.start". This is not true! So I went in & asked to speak to the manager & here comes the guy who initially put the battery on! Also the same guy who put drinking fountain water in my brand new battery. I said, no way. I don't want to talk to him, please get me the store manager. So it was the same lady who was there when I got my second battery. I think they are just tired of me because she said, we are going to fix your car. Take it to a certified GM mechanic for an estimate & if it's over $250 we have to get coperate to approve it. I asked her how long that takes & she said, it depends on your adjuster. Well, they won't fart around about because I'll call everyday. So, it turns out there is a certified GM mechanic only about 22 miles away. I take the car there & explain everything. He tells me he still has to run some diagnostics on it & they cost 95.99. I almost start crying. Then he said, if I go ahead & sign for them to do the repairs & not take the car with me, but leave it there, they will just add it to my final bill. Which I did. Diagnostic & driving tests led him to believe that improper installation of the battery fried my electrical panel. So, scott from wal mart, I'm not so dumb after all!
  • usually in the steering wheel
  • I have a 2000 pontiac sunfire and it's obviously giving me problems. first and most threatening is the fact that it stopped shifting. Around 20 mph it revs at around 1800 rpm and 30 at 2500 rpm. it started after hitting a pot hole in my works parking lot. i took it to a shop and they replaced a fuse and it was good again. hit another pot hole going down a hill and it went out again. took it in again and they said it was a wiring problem, fixed again.. they i didn't hit a pot hole but a little ditch thing in the road that i go over everyday after work, it locked up and i had to pull over and turn the car off. turned it right back on and everything was fine but wouldn't shift again. took it in again and they said transmission. but there's to many electrical problems that persist to just ignore. left head light keeps going out, my right blinker light keeps going out, when i put my car in drive my head lights and dashboard lights flash fast about 4-5 times, then service light comes on. i was told to check my ground wire but im not sure where that is. checked the battery for corrosion and none. fuses look like they might be all burnt but yet the lights and such still work, so i'm not to entirely sure. i was also told to check all wires to make sure they are sending the electrical current where it needs to be. another told me that i should do a transmission flush. if that didn't work then change 4 of my (not sure what they are called, i presumed cylinoids but i know that's not it, it's in the engine though). i would like to just check every wire before spending any money cause it seems like the electrical problem might be the cause and nonetheless still a problem. any information on this would be greatly appreciated.
  • sunfriedsunfried Posts: 1
    Hi, Im having the exact same problem w/ my 98 Sunfire. Im glad you were able to prove that Walmart was at fault afterall. However, I purchased my Sunfire used w/ this same issue already in place. It acts up intermittently and didnt act up until I had the car for a couple days. I purchased it from a private owner and have no recourse.
    Was the dealer able to determine what was wrong or causing the problem. If so, what was the issue and did it resolve the problem? I was told I need to replace the instrument (dash) cluster. However before I start changing random things, Id like to see what resolved your issue first. Thank you for your time.
  • I own a 1998 Pontiac Sunfire. When my previous car had to be hauled off my daughter gave this car to me. I live in constant rain country and I am not able to protect this car from the rain sufficiently. The car has a ghost!! the door locks lock and unlock at will, Ha ha. The trunk unlocks in chime on the third beat. The cruise control goes out when hitting certain potholes. The top isn't wanting to close completely without some juggling of the handle. The tension of the brakes under my feet seem to be harder at times. Any ideas!!!!
  • I have the same problem but I bought a new amp and installed but I own a 2002 Chevy Cavalier and sunfires r the same type of vehicle just different name. I was wondering if you solved your problem yet. If so hit me up at P.S. sometimes it will start but if I turn if off it will not start again.
  • jv1979jv1979 Posts: 2
    edited June 2013
    Recently purchased 05 pontiac sunfire. Everything was great untill I took it off the lot and then drove it at night when I discovered...... no dash lights, no button illumination on radio or a/c controls, no fog lights, nor does the fog light buttoned illuminate when pressed. No tail lights, no plate lights. Head lights work including daytime running lights and brights. All turn signal lights work except the 2 indicator lights on the sides of the rear bumper. All brake lights work.
    Reverse lights work. I replaced the turn signal/headlight switch to no benefit. Also checked all fuses with multimeter, they were good. Please help!
  • Sorry I have no idea what is wrong sorry
  • jv1979jv1979 Posts: 2
    So I decided to replace the radio based on a similar issue with a previous vehicle. Everything appears to be wired correctly, but while the head unit gets power (it will accept and eject cd's) there is no power to the display so the radio face does not illuminate. I'm not sure if I've compounded the problem or made it easier to diagnose but I thought I would throw it out there....
  • saby1saby1 Posts: 1
    Started my car on Sunday. Radio went out. Noticed later- no speedometer, RPM, temperature gauge or gas gauge. No inside light, no headlights. No Keyless entry. No tail lights or dashboard lights.
    Windshield wipers, temperature fan, signals and brake lights all work.
    Checked all fuses, all ok
  • sunsal1sunsal1 Posts: 1
    I have the same problem as you. Very hot and humid right now. 2001 Sunfire does not like. Car would turn over but not start. Waited 2 days and tried again. Started but said my anti-thief was on. Radio does not work. Car runs but dashboard indicators do not work. Windshield wipers work. Fan for heater/AC works. So does AC. Been reading on internet possible problems. Electrical most likely. Maybe computer. I left the driver's window down half way in thunderstorm 2 weeks ago. Stupid thing to do. Suggestions? I am going to check all the fuses first. Would resetting the computer help?
  • Hey! I am having a strange issue with my 98 Pontiac Sunfire... took it to my mechanic and they said it was an electrical issue. My brake light and abs light are on in my dashboard but nothing is physically wrong with my brakes... Mechanic said they cannot get a response from the abs brakes or the airbags electrically... My car was in an accident before I owned it. Anybody have any ideas?
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 1,222

    witergirlx22, it looks like other Sunfire owners have had this problem -- some of them said "that's just how Sunfires are", but the folks here seem to think it could be a loose ABS sensor or the jumper harnesses that run to them:


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  • fasterfirefasterfire Bakersfield, ca.Posts: 3
    Does anyone know why my brand new after market tach. Reads low , like when it should read 6 grand,it reads 2 grand. And its shaky at idle
  • Ok, read a lot of these issues. Have a suggestion with those having lights and bells, suggest doing a battery test to determine oltage then start car and see if voltage increases.
    For most issues of electrical I would suggest running a ground wire from the negative of the battery to a bolt on the body, and one to the engine. This covers the possibility of a bad ground affecting those with dim lights and non-working lights as well.
    In the trunk of the 96 Sunfire, the wires all come together on the left hand side at the back where the drivers tail light is, there is a pocket there and this would be a good place to start.
    Those with intermittent starting and running issues follow the above, as well, check the harness from the undercarraige near the gas tank, where it comes out of the body, this is where it tends to fray.
    Anyone with no fuel gauge run a wire from the body to the tank - dont puncture tank, same as those with starting issues, run a ground wire to the gas-tank as if there is no ground the pump will not work, always check the harness that goes to the top of the tank, remove the clip then seperate the harness and you should find 9 to 12 volts between 2 wires and a lower votage on the other two indicate the amount of gas, you can use the Ohm settings as well to find the gas guage wires, the other two are the fuel pump. When the ignition is turned to start the car, a 9 to 12 volts will activate the fuel pump for a brief second or two perhaps.
    One big problem with the computer on these is that the harness leading to it touches against the body and rubs some of the wires bare or break. Check near the ECM or computer closely, looking for a bulge in the line or very weak to move around, give it a tug and it will break.\
    The odometer and gas guages not working are a big problem and the individual stepper-motors can be changed or get a dash board from the scrap-yard ;for $40. Check a local advertising site for back-yard mechancs, parts, etc.
    Hopefully you are not in too remote of a location that you can't get internet or a city with kijiji near you. in Canada here is very popular. Dont take your car in for a 95.00 computer test when cheap stores can sell you an OBDII code reader for $50. 80.00 and you have it for life - The ABS ones are expensive but typical ABS problems are only a broken wire or senst.
    If the ABS and other lights are on, this could be an indicator that the alternator is bad, or going bad, put a tester on it and see if it's pushing out around 14volts when the car is running. Just put the meter on 20V DC and test the battery.if the car is running and you dont have 12 volts at least then the alternator is bad or one of the wires.
    The person that cant start their car with a boost has a broken wire to the starter, the small wire, run a wire from the live battery side to the small post on the starter but look out the car will turn over if you touch the small post with Live. Be sure not to short this wire out as it will get very hot fast and perhaps burn you if you short it out for long, 90 amps coming from a good battery can do damage. Some people with security issues is s different matter.
    If you change your steering column or ignition and you have a key with a chip you will have to take the car to te dealer to reprogram the key. about $150 Canadian.
    Always start with checking the connection to the battery, the alternator and the starter for broken wires or somee that may touch against a hot exhaust or engine.
    Hope my rant can lead you in the right direction.

  • sunfireguysunfireguy Posts: 1
    I am obviously not going to read through every post. But for some of the issues I have seen, I do have answers for. However, like every system there could be a variety of issues that could be contributing to the cause.

    I purchased my Sunfire in Feb of this year. Its a 2002 SE coupe with a 2.2l engine. It is a beast, but unfortunately, due to previous owners, It did not get the TLC it needed, and it sat for quite a few months before I bought it.

    When I purchased the car, it was not in the best shape. There was issues with the engine as well, including 02 sensors, ignition coils and a few other things. Naturally, I started with the things I knew would make the biggest impact, and with my trusty scan tool, figured out quickly that the cylinders were having random misfires, which severely limited the power output. I replaced the spark plugs, ignition coils and the 02 sensors. The plugs and the sensors were "burned' up for lack of a better term. when I took them out, they were black. Installing the coils made a whole new car, and gave it back the power it was lacking.

    The next thing that went was the Starter. I wanted to talk about this, because it is directly related to some of the issues I seen already. The car would turn on, all the electronics, and the Starter would fire but not catch. There is a series of gears in the Starter that crank the engine to life, and if those gears are broken, or damaged. It could cause the car to not start. I quickly replaced it with a used on I picked up from a used parts dealer, and it now starts like a dream. Though i would recommend buying a new one instead. But its a fix I needed for limited money and time.

    At the moment, the car runs perfect. There is a small issue with the idle, which can be fixed by replacing the Idle air control unit on the throttle body. There is also a hesitation in the engine which can be repaired by replacing the Throttle Position Sensor. The car needs a little exhaust work as well, and some small patches of body work. The front struts and springs have been done, but the rear ones need to be replaced soon. And then a break job, oil change and a transmission flush would complete everything.

    Lately, there has been an issue with the transmission being stuck in gear as well. But I have a feeling that pertains to the fact that the fluid has not been changed since the car was brand new. Particulates can build up in the transmission and cause a series of problems that can seem like the transmission itself.

    I hope some of this helps.
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