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Pontiac Bonneville Electrical Problems



  • ok i found out why the dash and tail light was blowing i pulled the radio fuse and it hasnt went out i think i have a short on or around my cd player now to the blubs so the blinkers will work fingers crossed
  • diytosavediytosave Posts: 6
    edited January 2013
    Hi my name is Dan, Now I have done some leg work. By putting a test light between the neg cabel and the battery I have found that there is a maxi fuse on the firewall that say turn sig, horn, trunk when you pull that fuse the light dims down. Any ideas what is drawing the power??
  • craddoxcraddox Posts: 1
    I have an 2003 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi and I love it! I have had a weird problem though. The traction stability sensor comes on every time I begin to drive the car, followed by the Check tire pressure sensor. I know the tire pressure is fine as I check them weekly. The traction control though can kick in anytime it wants and the car thinks it is losing traction so the auto-braking comes on, pretty scary when you passing someone on the highway and all of a sudden your breaks apply themselves especially on snowy or rain soaked roads. The sensor shows the messages all the time the car is running, yet the traction control is an off and on thing, you never know when it will engage.; Luckily I don't have to do much highway driving, mostly in town where any flare ups are simple to control.

    I should mention that the drivers seat heater stopped working about the same time all of the problems started. Any thoughts or solutions would be appreciated.
  • shortdoggshortdogg Posts: 1
    I have exact same problem, now it kills the car too, the whole DIC suts off, then car dies. GM replaced something under the seat but then called and said its still doing it, need another 500$ to diagnose it again.I took it home. It starts when i jiggle the fuse box under the hood, but doesnt stay started. DIC says everything the above guys just said. My back drivers window wont close all the way so the carpet on the floor is always damp,.not a puddle, but damp. I have a 2000 Pontiac Boneville essi. I really dont want to bring it to anyone else before I personaly find out whats wrong with it. I dont want to be told theres a magical fairy under the hood again,.lol..
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    Sounds llike your connector at the wheel for the wheel speed sensor is corroded and not making contact, good contact, on one of the wheels. Or you have a wheel bearing loose enough it's affecting the wheel speed sensor inside. I suggest you go to each wheel and disconnect the connector and clean and reconnect. Check each bearing for noise and for play. The in and out play should be less than 0.005 in. That's in and out along the axis of the hub, not the wobble test usually talked about on forums.

    My first bearing that went out had given some odd signs before my tire place mentioned my hub was getting some play in it. They mentioned that the Stability System code would show in the DIC when the bearing move enough the wheel speed sensor lost count. I had parked on a slant at a garden store. And when I left the stability system was applying one brake as soon as I got up to 15 or so mph. I stopped car. Turned it off for a minute and then restarted and everything was fine. But still got an occasional Service Stability System warning. Replaced bearing with Timken from Autozone and all was fine. Then the other wheel bearing started doing the same thing ending in replacement finally.

    If you don't find what you're looking for, you can pull the fuse for the ABS and disable it. But it is a safety feature.

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

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    I recall reading long ago that some Bonneville owner had a similar problem. He disconnected battery under seat and then went through the various fuse blocks under back seat and tightened connections including the clips that contact fuses. Same thing for the underhood relay/fuse block. He solved the problem. It may have been the actual bolts to the positive supply under the hood that helped. I can't find a stored link to that post from a few years back.

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

  • When my Bonneville was just going dead on me, it turned out to be the smaller power cable from the battery to the area above the firewall. I replaced that cable and we haven't had a problem since. On the traction control, it started happening after the CV joints were replaced, so I suspect the wheel sensors on that issue. It's a great car with a terrible electrical system. Sorry that Pontiac went out of business. Glad that GM dealers still carry parts.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    >n my Bonneville was just going dead on me, it turned out to be the smaller power cable from the battery to the area above the firewall.

    What year is your Bonneville with that cable as the problem? 92-99?

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

  • jillchiljillchil Posts: 3
    I have a 1997 Pontiac Bonneville Anniversary Edition that sat up for about seven months. I'm a fix-it girl, so I decided to see if I could get it going. I got it to running easily by working on the battery, adding water, cleaning the terminals, and installing new posts.

    The car has had a few electrical issues over the past five years. I think a seal around a door is bad, because the car stays damp inside, sometimes with water on floorboard that i have had to shopvac out (not heater hose--checked and is good). I imagine that the moisture is causing part of my problem. I'll list the problems below:

    1) Headlights stay on even after car turned off, key removed, and will stay on until the battery dies. Not as in the twilight sentinel way, but as in they stay on until the battery is dead.

    2) Radio/CD Player has issues of flipping around, changing stations, being unable to control from either the actual unit or the steering wheel controls.

    3) Dash Panel was working as recently as yesterday. Now the speedometer and rpm gauges are messed up.

    Even though the problems above exist (and drive me crazy--I have to unbolt the posts to the battery every day I go to work, grocery, anywhere, to preserve battery), the electric seats still work. The power windows work. The electric antenna works.

    I'd appreciate any advice... if you don't mind, when you mention a place to look, be pretty specific, because I don't know everything by professional name.

    Thank you so much--jill
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    The radio problem could be a result of corrosion on the ground busses on each side of front seat floor under carpet edge when you take off doorsill. It's about even with the front of the seat. The buss bar is wrapped in electrical tape.

    Or it could just be the radio going bad.

    The water problem may be the watershield plastic layer on the door over the metal. It's glued to the metal with a black mastic that looses its stickum. The shape of the mastic stripe is to lead water into the drains to feed bad toward the outside of the door. This is all under the inner part with the upholstery on it. The water comes in around the glass and drips down and is supposed to be kept away from the inside by the plastic layer. If not, you may find water tracks below the rubber seal to the inside of the door after rains that hit on that door when the car is outside.

    The water may be from sunroof drains: got a sunroof? On the newer body in 2000+, they could break where they went through the floor and leak water inside.

    I have also read about some few folks finding their intake for the HVAC that's under the plastic cowl with the slots in it when the hood is raised is no longer sealed. So rain water finds its way inside around the heater air intake opening.

    The headlamps, well that's what I've been tryng to find my 98 service manual to look up. They may have retained power on your cars. Does it have the feature where inside lights, radio, headlamps, get turned off after about 12 minutes if you leave them on? That stays on until a door is opened or it runs out of time.

    I believe that's controlled by a body control computer. I don't know where it's located, yet, til I find my 98 FSM to look it up.

    And you may have a bad headlight switch with the twilight sentinel. I'm trying to think how that would bypass the retained power limit of 10 minutes because you say yours stay on permanently. I would think the retained power would turn the headlights and everything else off at that 10-12 minute mark.

    And your two gauges now don't work. The Pontiacs had trouble with corrosion on the contacts where the gauge cluster slides into the contacts. And that may be from your water.

    But the thing in the back of my mind is that the battery may not be up to snuff. Low battery voltage will cause some computers not to operate right. So I'd have the battery checked. The running down may have damaged a cell or just age may have damaged it along with sitting.

    So I'd start with a known good battery. If there's one you can substitute for troubleshooting purposes that would be good for your efforts.

    Other thoughts on leaks are that some Bonneville owners find water leaks on the trunk lid around the air dam if equipped and around the taillights. One even found a leak through the wheelwell housing inside the trunk due to corrosion and the tire slinging water while driving. He used aluminum metal to rivet in place and then sealed her up. But the point is check your trunk.

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

  • jillchiljillchil Posts: 3
    edited June 2013
    You've given me a lot of good places to start. I'm getting on tis tomorrow and will let you know the results...


    ETA: Will start with battery check with good battery.
    Then will replace light switch.
    Then will check out module under driverside carpet.
    Then will pull radio to see if it's a corrosion problem.

    I can do this!

    Getting her ready to sale, so these are issues I want repaired so that the next owner doesn't have to fight it.

    Thanks again, imidazol97
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    The light switch needs to be checked electrically before replacing. You may be wasting money if you don't. The problem is it's in a circuit that complicated by having a body control module that may be bad--or may be reacting to low battery voltage or a bad ground.

    The buss bars:


    I'm still looking for my 98 manual with circuits on the headlights that may help. Or at least to find out where the body control module is.

    I still recommend cleaning your battery connections for ground and positive, especially between the positive cables themselves. Clean grounds where small black wires go to the front fender from the battery connection.

    And making sure you have a good battery in the power spot.

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

  • jillchiljillchil Posts: 3
    Again, THANKS, especially for the photo. Will post results as soon as I figure this out; your advice has been priceless!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,502
    Which headlights stay on? Brights? DRLs--dim brights? Low beam?

    There are several parts to the headlight circuit. AND lots of pages of troubleshooting. It really needs to have a Tech II type device that can track what's turned on and off. There's a headlight switch. There's a headlight relay if your can has a certain option, which may be twilight sentinal. Thre's a MALL which is the control module.

    One thing I'd suggest is see which lights are on.
    See if it does it the same day or night (put a black cover over the sensor on top of the dash for the sunlight so it thinks it's night).
    If you pull the dash pieces off to remove the headlight switch, disconnect the headlight switch and see if the headlights stay on under the control of another of these relays and small computers.

    Did you check grounds? Loosen, clean, retighten?

    Did you substitute a good battery to be sure you've got adequate voltage?

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

  • I have a 1992 Pontiac Bonnivlle and it acts like it wants to start and does not start, I also put in a new coil and i had the modulator tested and it was fine we put the part in and still no spark can you tell me what the problem may be?
  • hi i am having electrical problems my car tried to turn over and there is no spark. any suggestions?
  • edarredarr Posts: 1
    I have a 97 Bonneville and have been having the same problem others have had with the car stalling when turning on the rear defroster. I have cleaned the comb splice that is pictured on post #197 and also on #43. I started the car and the wires and the metal comb stay cool until I push the rear defrost button. Immediately the big wire in position A heats up and gets extremely hot. I did not leave it on long enough to stall the car. When I turn off the rear defrost the wire instantly cools back down.

    Does anyone have a wiring diagram that shows what wires are running to this comb splice or does anyone have an idea of what is causing the wire to heat up. I have a feeling it has something to do with the ignition switch... with the battery connected and the key in the ignition the door chime sounded. When I unplugged the wire in Position a the chime quit. Any ideas...?

  • benritt76benritt76 Posts: 2
    I replaced the rear shocks on my mothers 2002 bonneville. Shortly after that her alarm went off for about 30 seconds and then shut off. She had not hit the panic button. A couple hours later she left got gas then the car wouldn't start. It turns over but won't fire. We sprayed starting fluid in the throttle body and it ran really ruff for a few seconds then quits. I tried pushing the gas pedal during that time and nothing happens. She does not have the funds to take it to the shop, so any help I could get would be greatly appreciated.
  • I'm having a problem with my dash lights on my 2003 bonneville se will not come on. My shift indicator lights come on but speedo lights, rpm lights, and other gage lights won't come on do you guys have any ideas
  • aharrod30aharrod30 Posts: 5
    @ benrit76 is the sea light on, I had the same problem in my 2000 Bonneville, and it was the crankshaft position sensor. I replaced that disconnected the battery first before replacing because of not the computer will think it's still bad. Start there, could be a bad fuel pump and modulator. I had to replace fuel pump, modulator, ignition coils and sensor in mine when it was doing the exact same thing. Good luck.
  • aharrod30aharrod30 Posts: 5
    Also try disconnecting the battery for a minute or so and reconnecting, you may have to reset the computer for the key but that's a simple reset process.if you even have to called the three step reset. I googled it thinking my key was bent or chip got confused.
  • I have a 2002 Bonneville, going on 3 years this spring. Never had an issue with it until last January when I hit 100,000 miles and it began misfiring. My local mechanic said it was normal around that time, replaced the spark plugs, coil packs, and module. Ran fine until the module went bad again in June and again in October. The module was still under warranty both times and was replaced with a different brand and it ran fine until now.

    A couple weeks ago I took it through a car was and when I drove away it went haywire. The oil pressure gauge (which has been bad since I got the car) began dropping to zero and then shooting back up to full, and every time it hit zero the alarm would ring and the engine would act like it was misfiring. I pulled over and restarted it and it drove fine again until the other day. I started driving when it was rainy and damp outside and the same issue started happening. Oil pressure gauge was going back and forth like crazy and every time it hit zero the engine would cough, not able to speed up at all. The only way I could stay above 50 mph was to take very long to gain speed and use cruise to stay there, but the car would not speed up even with cruise on. The fuel gauge also started going back and forth between zero and full (and I know I had over half a tank of gas) and the RPM gauge was moving really slow and almost jumping up and down. The speedometer also started doing the same, would move up or down very slowly and almost jump between different speeds, and said I was going 15 MPH when I was stopped. Took it to the same mechanic and he said it was most likely a bad connection that was either rusted or going bad, so he cleaned up and replaced all the bad electrical connections he could find,

    After getting the car from my mechanic it drove fine and I drove it back to school (about an hour from my home). The next day it was wet and rainy again and the car began doing the same thing, only worse and more frequent than before so I let it sit for the day and today it is doing the same thing again. Anyone else ever had a similar situation?
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