BulletinBulletin dateReplacement BulletinItem no.SummaryAdded
010601007A07/01/2001010601007620835Experiencing excessive engine coolant consumption, or an engine coolant leak near or under the throttle body area of the upper intake manifold. *tt08/31/2001
01060100709/01/2007010601007C619176Engine coolant consumption or coolant leak (inspect for material degradation/replace intake manifolds) *tt updated 11/02/07 *nj05/17/2001
04060102106/01/200410012148New rear main seal and special tool for installation. *tt02/15/2005
010601008A05/01/2002010601008634813Some owners may comment on a repeat engine oil pan leak. *tt10/09/2002
01060100802/01/2001619177Some owners may comment on a repeat engine oil pan leak. *tt05/17/2001
77611006/01/199752573Engine oil level indicates over full (replace oil level indicator tube assembly). *tw08/21/1997
9874T60E0410/01/1998602997Some vehicles may experience vehicle surging at 72 to 89 km/h ( 45 to 55 mph ). *yc01/25/1999
9709016116A09/01/199754327Comments of an engine oil leak that appears to originate toward the driver's side of the vehicle; rear of engine. *yc03/30/1998
04060101706/01/200410008471New upper intake manifold and gasket kits. *tt08/02/2004


NHTSA IDManufacturerDate openDate closeSubjectRecall campaign
 Alleged engine compartment fire during startup.loud pops or backfires before the fire started

Consumer Complaints

Fail datemilesoccurencesPurchase date
 Tl* the contact owns a 1997 pontiac bonneville. while driving approximately 35 mph, the vehicle stalled. the failure recurred intermittently. the vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnostics where the mechanic was unable to diagnose the failure. the mechanic replaced the battery and check oil sensors. the failure continued after the repair. the vehicle was not further repaired. the approximate failure mileage was 107,000.
 I had a 1997 pontiac bonneville. while i was driving down a highway in michigan, the engine compartment suddenly caught on fire. i was not speeding, and my car was perfectly serviced and maintained. by the time the fire service got there, the whole car burnt down. it took less than 20 minutes for the whole car to get burnt beyond recognition. *tr
 Car completely shuts down while decelerating at anywhere from 30-55 mph. sometimes can restart, sometimes not for a half hour or so. the car's engine coolant has leaked out onto engine. car shut down, no power, no steering, no brakes, then the coolant spilled out everywhere, engine started smoking and now the engine has stopped working even after replacing head gasket. car had been into dealers numerous times to no avail. no one could identify the problem. now have a car that had to be towed and is no longer functioning. numerous fuel injectors were replaced in hopes of stopping the stalling out and shutdowns, but nothing has worked. waiting for a couple of quotes on what it will take to try and fix the engine or most likely need replaced. this has been happening since the car was fairly new.
 I paid the stated amount to replace a component referred to me as a "plennum". the symptom my car was having was, it was overheating. it is made of plastic and is mounted on the top of the 3800 engine. little did i know, that the damage had already been done. the failed part had leaked coolant into the engine. a week and a half after having the plennum replaced, my car broke down. i have been advised that the leaking coolant into the engine from the plennum had caused premature failure of a "rod bearing" in the engine. the coolant i'm told ate away the bearing lubricant. i am told my only option at this point is an engine replacement. i am not a car mechanic by any means and suspected nothing, and was told nothing. i understand and accept the fact that man made products wear out and need replacing. this to me seems to be a poor engineering flaw that costs a lot of money to fix. i did not include the $2000.00 engine replacement in my total repair cost above. the plastic plennum part, by the way, was replaced with another plastic part. i told the driver that was returning me home while the plennum was being replaced, that i was intending to trade my bonneville in on a montana minivan this summer. his reply to me was that they are experiencing the same problem with the montana, as well as other vehicles with the 3800 engine. it sems clear to me that there is obviously a problem here that needs to be recalled.
 Tl*the contact owns a 1997 pontiac bonneville. the contact stated that the vehicle has plastic intake parts, which include the upper and lower intake manifold. while the vehicle was undergoing a routine tune-up, she noticed antifreeze on the intake manifold. the vehicle made a loud booming noise similar to a backfire when the engine was started. the contact could smell fuel in the passenger compartment after placing fuel into the vehicle. there were no recalls for the failures described on this year, make, and model vehicle. the vin and failure mileage were unknown. the current mileage was 134,000.
 Nar 1/29/2003. the vehicle was delivered to the consumer with a bent water pump and a bent wheel. the alternator, power steering pump, transmission and egr valve were replaced. *jb
 1997 pontiac bonneville with dextrol coolant is causing constant trouble. the latest is having to replace the plastic intake manifold to the tune of $598.18. why is this piece plastic, but the pipe going into it is metal? the dex cool is deteriorating all rubber seals. *la
 Loss of coolant. plastic air intake mounted on top of intake manifold failed leaking coolant under pressure into combustion chamber. talked to several licensed technicians in the area and they state that this is a common problem. requires replacement of air intake. $275 & labor. *nlm
 Consumer stated that while driving and without warning coolant fluid was leaking from the engine which caused a distraction to the consumer. dealer notified. ts fumes noticed since vehicle was new, however somewhat better but can still be detected. *tt
 Excessive loss of engine coolant while driving. dealer was not notified at this time. feel free to provide any further information.*ak
 Was traveling 55mph when vehicle started to overheat. pulled to side of road, checked under hood, and noticed steam & anti-freeze was spilling over everything. turned vehicle off & anti-freeze just dripped. noticed it was coming out of bottom of water pump. let vehicle cool down & refilled it with water & drove home. dealer replaced water pump, engine coolant system failed. *slc
 No summary
 Tl*the contact owns a 1997 pontiac bonneville. the vehicle was leaking radiator fluid. the dealer repaired the leak. a year after the repair, the fan connected to the heater and air conditioner stopped working. there was a popping noise intermittently under the hood near the defrost and suddenly, the front window cracked. the dealer has not diagnosed the failure; however, a manufacturers defect does exist. the heater fan also failed to operate intermittently. the failure mileage was 83,000 and the current mileage was 93,000. updated 11/10/09 *bf updated 11/13/09.*jb
 The intake manifold gasket on my 1997 pontiac bonneville 3800 series engine failed causing coolant to gain access to internal engine parts. this caused the engine to seize and become totally inoperable requiring the engine to be replaced at a cost of $2200.00. this failure also happend in a pontiac grand prix, that i also owned, with the same series of engine. the cost of the repair to the grand prix was approx. $650.00. the engine in the grand prix did not have to be replaced. looking at and reading the various gm message boards on the internet, this problem seems to be fairly prevalent with the 3800 series of engine. gm continues to ignore this with no regard to the consumer.
 G.m. 3800 seriesii v-6 engine plastic upper intake manifold plenum & gaskets. failure of inferior parts in conjuction with dex cool (g.m. anti-freeze/coolant). causing deterioration and failure of plenum forcing coolant into engine. engine immediately seizes,trying to restart will cause damage to starter,flywheel,batt.,and engine. remedy? tow to g.m. service center replace upper intake manifold plenum,manifold gskts,spark plugs & wires,starter,pwr-flush eng.& cooling sys.,replace all fluids. g.m. is aware of problem they should be held accountable. service mngr. told me damages to veh.was not due lack of maintenance but use of plastic parts and coolant by g.m. this a major defect & problem. cost of repairs? $1,300.00. *ak
 While driving at normal speed driver began to see smoke coming from the vehicle. driver proceeded to drive home, and parked vehicle. a mechanic stated that there was a whole in the plenum that allowed water to leak and warp the heads. *ak
 The vehicle stalled on several occasions, the vehicle was taken to three different dealers and they all stated the computer showed no errors. *jb *scc *jb
 While driving a 100 miles from home the car overheated & had to be towed. we found that the problem was due to a hole in the air plenum in the upper intake manifold. we have found that there are over 20 such cases in our small community alone. all on 3800 motors in pontiac's. this is a four hundred dollar repair bill that occurred only because pontiac decided to use plastic in their part which in turn melted & caused our motor to overheat. i hope that pontiac will recall these plenums & reimburse us for the cost of repairing & towing our car. if pontiac would call their dealers they would find out just how many of these parts have malfunctioned. *jb
 Intake manifold failure on 1997 pontiac bonneville. coolant entered into cylinder #4 causing engine to seize. total cost of repair approximately $900. reoccuring problem has been reported with this particular engine, and calls to pontiac resulted in no satisfaction.
 Consumer states that while driving at any speed the engine light comes on and will stay on the remainder of the time the vehicle is being operated. dealer notified.ts
 Vehicle will intermittently stall out while consumer is driving. contacted dealer, and the dealer replaced crank sensor signal which dealer stated could be the problem.*ak *tt
 My car wouldn't start and there were no electrical components functioning. i called the car dealership where i purchased the warranty and was told to make sure i didn't have a dead battery because that was not covered under the warranty. i called the towing company and they attempted to charge the battery. battery would not charge; the car went puff and caught on fire. when the wrecker driver attempte to start the car, he heard a loud pop and smoke was rolling out from under the hood. he opened the hood, battery was intact, however the engine was on fire. after fire was extinquished, he found the plenum(?sp) blown off the top f the engine and the oil filtler tube was blown out of he top of te manifold. warranty company would not cover due to the fact the car caught on fire. they said my car ins should cover it. however, i believe the fire was the result of a previously existing defect. i was told the foam used to extinguish the fire could possibly have caused more problems in the engine. was i supposed to let the car completey burn up? i don't think so!*ak
 The plastic engine cover creates wear spots on the spark plug wire insulation. this has caused wires to short, resulting in hesitation and vehicle stalling.*et *mjs
 Perpetual oil leak around engine oil pan.
 Adue to a defective design the rear engine gasket cracked, causing an oil leak, which may result in a fire if there is a source of ignition. pontiac has a new design of the oil pan. *ak.et
 While vehicle was going 65mph, the acclerator pedal dropped to the floor. engine was running hot, and the oil was sizzling. dealer informed. consumer says that 6 out of 6 bearings were worn out , and 4 out 6 rods needed replacement. also, oil pressure sensor malfunctioned. *ak consumer states that the vehicle was well maintained, and that the engine & oil pressure indicator should be recalled to prevent injury or fatality.*scc
 Vehicle broke down, consumer saw smoke, fire in the engine compartment, claim 13-7503-708. *slc
 While driving, vehicle began to smoke and caught on fire in the engine compartment, claim 17-9174-792. *slc
 When the consumer started the vehicle the engine area caught on fire, this fire started back by the fire wall and melted the center of the dash. claim number 23-1435-647. *yh
 Consumer started vehicle, it went puff and the engine area caught fire, fire started back by the firewall and melted the center of the dash, claim 23-1435-647. *slc referenced in ea02-030
 The insured stated there was smoke coming from the vehicle when it broke down. claim#13-7503-708 *yh
 While driving the vehicle began to smoke and caught on fire in the engine compartment. claim number 17-9174-792. *yh
 When the consumer started the vehicle the engine area caught on fire, this fire started back by the fire wall and melted the center of the dash. claim number 23-1435-647. *yh
 The insured stated there was smoke coming from the vehicle when it broke down. claim#13-7503-708 *yh
 Vehicle broke down, consumer saw smoke, fire in the engine compartment, claim 13-7503-708. *slc
 While driving, vehicle began to smoke and caught on fire in the engine compartment, claim 17-9174-792. *slc
 Consumer started vehicle, it went puff and the engine area caught fire, fire started back by the firewall and melted the center of the dash, claim 23-1435-647. *slc
 Twice while driving at approximately 50mph car lost all power for a second or so and then came right back on. during this second or so, i have no power brakes, steering, nothing. this is definitely a safety hazard, if it happens at the wrong time, it could cause a serious accident. one time before i remember at least a month ago, the radio just cut out for a couple of seconds for no reason, and the day after the first time my car lost power, the abs light came on for a couple of seconds and then went out. i don't know if these are related, but something is wrong, i don't know if it's the engine, electrical or computer. *ak
 Vehicle stalled unexpectedly on three occassions while driving. this happened while the vehicle was decelerating at speeds ranging from 35-50mph. vehicle was able to restart after a period time. once immediately and the other two times after 15-30 min. vehicle was taken to dealer service and the problem was not able to be detected or repeated. please provide information on problem and corrective actions taken.
 Vehicle will stall while in motion unexpectedly and without warning, causing loss of power steering. consumer had taken vehicle to dealer between 4-6 times, but defect keeps occurring. finally dealr replaced fuel pressure regulator and defect did stop, but only for 2 years. currently, defect has reappeared.*ak fuel pressure regulator was replaced twice in three years. *yh
 Takes 2 to 3 cranks to start warm engine
 When driving or idling vehicle will suddenly die ,and will not restart until after 10-15 minutes later . dealer has replaced alternator, but defect has reocurred, dealer claimed they could not determine cause without duplicating defect. *ak after multiple attempt to repair the vehicle, the dealer idenfified the problem to be a failed fuel pump and was replaced. the consumer wants reimbersment for the cost of replacing the alternator that was not the cause. *yh
 While driving vehicle stalls unexpectedly, causing the steering to lock up and power to go out. able to restart the vehicle and drive home. currently at dlr's. please provide further information. *ak
 While driving 30 mph the engine completely shut down without warning, cause unknown. dealer cannot identify the problem. please give any further details. *ak
 Upon deceleration, the vehicle engine shuts down, causing the vehicle to stall. please provide details. *ak
 Intermittent stalling.
 When traveling at any speed and upon idling, the vehicle will stall out and cut off. consumer has contacted the dealer , dealer has replaced number of parts, problem still not corrected. *ak
 Nar 1/29/2003. the vehicle was delivered to the consumer with a bent water pump and a bent wheel. the alternator, power steering pump, transmission and egr valve were replaced. *jb
 Consumer states that the exhaust gas recirculation (egr) failed causing a hole in the manifold. ts
 Engine failed due to hole in egr/ inlet in intake manifold which caused engine coolant to enter fuel intake system
 Dt: caller said the plastic intake manifold broke . this happened without warning. caller's wife had to get help to push the car off the road, and car was towed to a dealer. caller said there was a recall # 04v090000. manufacturer said this vehicle was not covered under the recall and would not offer any assistance. *ak *nm
 The plastic intake manifold on my 1997 bonneville warped causing coolant to leak into the engine which then seized the engine. replaced intake manifold and rebuilt both engine heads. total cost was $1,525. my mechanic told me this is a common problem on the gm 3800 series engines because the upper intake manifold is plastic. about 2 weeks later, a rod bearing failed. i was told it failed prematurely because coolant had entered the engine. i do not have a repair estimate yet. i believe all of these problems are related to the defective upper intake manifold. *ak
 Vehicle back fired while driving,then stalled without warning. driver tried to restart vehicle, but was unable to do so. driver had the vehicle towed to the dealer, and mechanic determined that the intake manifold needed to be replaced. *ak
 The intake manifold or the plemium whatever you want to call the thing wore out and all of my engine coolant went into the fuel cylinders and locked my motor down i was headed to macon ga from douglas,ga going to the hospital were they had transfered my brother and here i am in perry,ga broke down because pontiac puts a plastic intake manifold on a motor i feel like pontiac should have to pay for this part being replaced. i also have trouble with my car surging between 35 and 55 miles per hour this is the sorriest car i have ever owed and i have owned 2 grand prixs before this car but liked the body style of the bonneville and i rhought that it would be a good car but boy was i wrong i bought the car in august,2002 and have spent enough money on repairs on it that i could probably done paid for another grand prix.after reading all the complaints on this sight i feel they should have a recall on them for the transmissions and the intake manifolds because they all seem to be related to me .people pay a lot of money for there cars and still have to put money in repairs its just not fair .*ak
 While driving at highway speeds vehicle stalled due to a cracked intake manifold gasket. the intake manifold gasket was replaced. *ak the cracked gasket allowed water to leak into the cylinder's. *nm
 A block from home our engine shut down. the upper manifold had a hole in it due to the manifold being plastic, and crystalizing over a period of time. it cost us $729.00 to get it fixed. luckily our engine wasn't hot or we would have had more serious problems.*ak