Pontiac Grand Prix

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

January 2000

Dear Consumer:

Thank you for contacting the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) about your
Buick Century or Regal, Chevrolet Lumina or Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Cutlass
Supreme or Intrigue, Pontiac Grand Prix (GM’s W-Car). CAS has received
numerous complaints on power steering shudder, stalling,
water leaks, excessive brake wear, peeling
, and seatbelt failure. GM introduced the
W-car in 1988 with the Cutlass Supreme, Regal and Grand Prix. The Lumina
joined the ranks in 1990 followed by the Monte Carlo in 1995, the Century
in 1997 and the Intrigue in 1998.

The reliability of GM’s W-cars is much worse than average. The alloy
used to make the brake caliper sleeves of 1.4 million
1989-93 W-cars is prone to rust. Some consumers report
replacing their brakes as many as five times. GM issued two Technical
Service Bulletins (TSBs 93-5-10 & 91-42-45) detailing rear brake caliper
service procedures. Prompted by CAS’ 1994 petition, the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a defect investigation on
rear brakes. Although NHTSA discovered that GM had received more than
20,000 brake complaints on 1989-93 W-cars, the investigation was closed
in 1996 without a recall.

GM’s door-mounted “automatic” belts on pre-1995s cannot prevent ejection
if the door opens in a crash. In 1990, CAS petitioned NHTSA to conduct
an investigation of faulty “automatic” lap-shoulder belts and
door latches
on 5.5 million 1987-90 GM vehicles including the
1988-90 Regal, Cutlass Supreme/Grand Prix and the 1990 Lumina. NHTSA denied
CAS’ petition even though the guide loop for the passenger-side shoulder
belt in the 1990 Lumina sliced the belt in two during a government crash
test, allowing the dummy to slam into the windshield and dashboard. GM
eventually recalled the 1990-91 Lumina to correct this problem along with
issuing two other recalls regarding the defective shoulder belt guide
loops. Instead of having safer vertically deploying airbags, 1996-97 W-cars
have horizontally deploying airbags that can injure occupants who don’t
use seatbelts.

Slippage, harsh or delayed shifts,
and loss of second gear have plagued the 125-C automatic
transmission. GM had so many problems with the “Quad 4” engine that it
extended the warranty to 6 years/60,000 miles, waived the $100 deductible
on 1987-91s and notified owners about defective head gaskets. An expensive
defect on all 1985-92 W-cars is peeling paint. At CAS’
request, GM agreed to pay for complete repainting for paint peel and delamination
through 6 years/unlimited mileage but, in March 1995, GM cut this to 5

You’ll find information on these and other W-Car defects
below and what you can do about them plus a
complaint box. Your information will help
us build a strong case against GM on the defects we know about and help
us spot new ones.

We need you to support the Center for Auto Safety in our
fight for consumer rights and against poorly designed and unsafe cars.
Your contribution is tax-deductible
and entitles your to our quarterly newsletter, Lemon Times.
Please submit the membership form along with
your contribution and complaint. If you contribute $35 or more, we will send you the current edition of The Ultimate Car Book, by Jack Gillis.
Every home should have this invaluable consumer guide


Clarence M. Ditlow
Executive Director

All technical service bulletin (TSB) numbers are GM unless otherwise noted.

Fuses blow 1989-90 Cutlass Supreme (Olds 90-T-74); Inoperative background
light 1990-93 Lumina (Chev 93-161-8A); Cruise fails 1988-92 Lumina (Chev
92 -107-8A); Cruise drops out when wipers on 1997-98 (73-90-19A); T/signal
inoperative 1994-95 (43-32-05A); Low voltage reading or dim lights at
idle 1990-95 (43-64-07); Inoperative P/door locks 1991-97 (63-10-41B);
Radio interference from fuel pump 1996-98 (83-63-17).

Cold start stall 1990-92 Regal with 3.8L (Buick 92-6E-10); Stall 1991-93
(236007); Stall/long crank/surge 1990-93 Lumina with 3.1L/3.4L (Chev 93-291-6E);
Miss/hesitation 1990-93 Regal, Lumina, Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix (Chev
93-35-6D); Fuel pump noise, no start &/or loss of power 1991-92 Lumina
(Chev 92-176A-6C); Replace crankshaft pulley 1988-92 Regal with Quad 4
(Buick 92-6-13); Replace Quad 4 1988-90 Regal (Buick 91-6A-11); Knock
1992-94 (306001); Exhaust moan/hoot 1993-95 (436601); Cold engine tick/rattle
1990-94 (476115) & 1994-98 with 3.1/3.4L (57-61-24A); Stall/long crank
1990-93 (336506); Exhaust moan/boom 1991 & 1993-95 (13-66-02); Exhaust
manifold seal squeak 1993-95 (43-66-04); Oil leak at rocker cover 1993-95
(47-61-35); Coolant leak near throttle body 1993-95 (57-61-04); Spark
knock/excess oil use 1993-95 (57-61-13); Cold engine lifter tick 1991-94
(57-61-09); No start/runs rough in cold weather 1993-94 (47-65-20); Pop/flutter/tick/spark
knock/clunk 1995-96 (47-60-06C); Poor driveability due to fuel injector
deposits 1994-98 with 3.1/3.4L (77-63-04A); Oil odor – replace rear main
bearing seal 1990-98 with 3.1/3.4L (87-60-02A); Reduced performance, restricted
fuel flow 1995-97 (73-63-13); Excess oil use 1991-95 (67-60-01); Runs
rough, MIL light 1997-98 (87-65-12); Knock from accessory drive belt tensioner
1993-95 (47-61-36).

Bumps/rust spots 1994-99 (43-17-01B). For more information, see Peeling
Paint Woes

Steering column “click” or “scrub” 1994 Regal, Cutlass Supreme, Grand
Prix 1994-95 Lumina & 1995 Monte Carlo (433206); Front suspension
“scrunch”/”pop”’94-97 (53-33-07B); Intermittent steering column “snap”/click
1994-96 Regal, Lumina, Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix & 1995-96 Monte
Carlo (56-32-02A); P/S shudder 1990-91 Lumina with 3.1L (Chev 91-174-3B);
Reduced P/S assist 1990-91 Lumina (Chev 91-208-3B) & All pre-1995
models (033206); Front stabilizer squawk 1988-90 Cutlass Supreme (Olds
90-T-139); Rear suspension noise 1988-89 Regal (Buick 89-3-11A); Steering
column “popping” 1992-93 (333210A); Rear strut thumping/squeaking 1989-95
(13-34-05); Rear stabilizer pop/groan 1997-98 Century, Regal, Grand Prix,
Intrigue (73-34-05).

Harsh 1-2 upshifts 1993-95 Regal, Lumina, Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix
& 1995 Monte Carlo (57-71-04); “Grinding” &/or “growling” while
in “Park,” 1992-95 Regal, Lumina, Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix (57-71-13);
Second gear vibration at 3000-5000 rpm 1991-93 (377138A); Transaxle fluid
leak 1993-94 (37139); Harsh upshifts 1991-94 (477102); Intermittent loss
of drive or erratic shifts 1991-94 (477121). Both 440-T4 automatic over
drive & 125-C A/T prone to failure. For more information, see GM Transmission

Oil pressure gauge flutters 1990-91 Regal (Buick 91-8-51); Dead battery
1990-92 Lumina (Chev 92-297-10); A/C odor 1993-96 (53-12-12); Front shoulder
belt contacts user’s neck 1992-94 (331030); Rear window squeaks 1993-94
(431011); Water leak at header 1992-94 (43-10-41A); Front window scrapping
1993-94 (53-10-05); Left rear door binds 1994-95 (53-10-15); Door glass
rattle 1993-95 (53-10-18); Tail lamp condensation 1994-96 (63-15-09);
Front seat cushion splits or separates 1992-95 (63-16-08); CD changer
malfunction 1995-98 Grand Prix, 1998 Intrigue (83-96-06); Airbag warning
light on 1997-98 Lumina, Monte Carlo, Grand Prix (83-90-10); Door glass
creak on bumpy roads 1997-98 Century, Regal, Intrigue, Grand Prix (73-10-64);
High brake pedal effort 1988-91 Regal (Buick 91-5-12); ABS light on 1991-97
(73-50-26); Front brake squeal, grind 1997-98 (73-50-11A); Defroster doesn’t
clear W/S 1994-95 (63-11-11); Remote keyless entry range 1997-98 (73-90-09A);
Gas pedal hard to depress 1993-97 (67-63-05A); W/S arms/blades park wrong
1997-98 (73-82-05A).

Copies of recalls can be obtained by contacting NHTSA’s Technical
Reference Division at 202-366-2768.

108 2000 Grand Prix, Lumina – Airbag module could explode (99V-283); 268,146
1995 Regal, 1995-96 Cutlass Supreme – Inadvertent airbag deployment (00V-171).

3,857 1988 Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix – Park brake caliper disconnects
(88V-175); 9,661 1988 Regal – Brake light inoperative & Cruise Resume
acceleration (88V-040); 476,422 1989-90 Regal, Cutlass Supreme, Grand
Prix, 1990 Lumina – Brake stop lamps inoperative (90V-185); 112,765 1991
Grand Prix – Brake stoplamp switch (92V-086); 199,572 1994-95 Regal, 1994
Cutlass Supreme – Rear hoses leak (95V-061); 3,591 1996 Lumina, Monte
Carlo – Booster tabs improperly located (96V-122); 8,328 1988 Regal (88V-109)
& 43,213 1996 Regal, Lumina – Left front line leaks (96V-069); 111
2000 Lumina – Right front hose incorrectly routed (99V-357); 1,000+ 2000
Intrigue – Internal fluid leaks in ABS hydraulic modulator (00V-114).

11,432 1991 Regal with 3.8L V6 – Fuel feed hose comes loose (93V-145);
25,000+ 1996 Regal with 3.8L V6 – No start &/or engine compartment
fire (96V-116); 3,784 1989 Regal, Grand Prix – Fuel return lines leak
(88V-188); 1,121 1990 Grand Prix Turbo – Fuel tank crash measures (90V-036);
11, 432 1991 Regal – Fuel feed hose leaks (93V-145); 2,732 ’99 Intrigue
– Coolant hose leak (98V-241); 168,035 1999 Century, Regal – ABS system
short melts plastic fuel hose (99V-170).

5,574 1993 Regal, Lumina, Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix – Seatback suddenly
reclines (93V-035); 1,559 1988 Grand Prix – Shoulder belt web cut by guide
(88V-049); 673,000 1988-90 Grand Prix, Regal, Cutlass Supreme, 1990 Lumina
– Front shoulder belt guide pulls through door-mounted anchor plate (90V-054);
347,866 1991 Regal, Lumina, Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix – Front shoulder
belt guide loops crack (92V-003); 412,792 1990-91 Regal, 1990 Lumina,
Grand Prix, Cutlass Supreme – Belt webbing separates from belt guide loops
(91V-005); 50,709 1995 All – Seatbelt anchor fails (97V-065); 135,475
1998-99 Intrigue – Rear shoulder belt jams in retractor (00V-117).

17, 745 1988 Grand Prix, Regal – Transmission cable disengages (88V-045);
10,141 1992 Regal, Lumina, Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix – Transmission
in Reverse while indicator in Neutral (91V-214).

7,775 1988 Grand Prix – Wheel lug nuts come off (88V-035); 160,000 1990
Regal, Lumina, Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix – Wheel mounting cracks (94V-041);
60,524 1988-90 Regal, Grand Prix, Cutlass Supreme, 1990 Lumina – Kelsey
Hayes wheels separate from vehicle (94V-041, 95V-115); 18,574 2000 Lumina,
Regal, Century – Rear wheels can shift when spindle rod separates (00V-143).

349,331 1994-95 All – W/S washer/wiper switch wire (97V-017); 6,013 1991
Grand Prix – Headlamp/fog light (92V-182); 100,000+ 1988-91 Regal, Cutlass
Supreme, Grand Prix & 1990-91 Lumina – Steering shaft separates from
steering gear (97V-058); 12,457 1988 Regal, Grand Prix – Hood latch does
not engage (88V-065); 155,149 Grand Prix, Century, Regal
– W/S wipers stop (99V-348); 149,342 1997-98 Regal, 1998 Intrigue, 9,600
1998 Intrigue – Headlight aiming instructions incomplete (98V-102, 98V-103;
411,880 1998-99 Regal, Century – Headlight aiming device improperly calibrated


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