1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue GL 3.5L twin cam V6 from North America


I think that I have encountered every problem that the 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue has ever had.

* Blinker bulb kept burning out (couldn't find bulbs anywhere, but the dealer). I discovered that there was a minute amount of corrosion in the bulb socket and once I replaced that I haven't had a problem with it.

* Hard starting, the vehicle just cranks for about 10 seconds or so until it finally starts. I have had it in for this problem 3 times at 2 different shops and the mechanics are dumbfounded, they can't find the problem.

* Service Engine Soon light came on intermittently then finally came on and stayed on. This caused the vehicle to start stalling at low speeds and/or stops, then would be difficult to start. I was told that both the camshaft and crankshaft position sensors were bad so they needed replaced. I thought this would also solve the starting problem, but it didn't.

* Poor gas consumption. I have only gotten about 24 mpg and that is even highway driving. (maybe that will change with the new sensors)

* Poor oil consumption. Never have I seen a newer vehicle use so much oil. It consumes 1 to 2 quarts between 3000 mile oil changes.

* Driver's side window won't go up sometimes. Believe that the button isn't making contact or something because if I wiggle it the window will finally go up.

* Passenger side door sticks. I believe that the problem is the molding around the window. It appears that it has slipped about an inch so the molding is hooking on the body of the vehicle.

* Headlights dim and brighten when the weather is cold.

* Front end makes a "clunking" noise when turning the steering wheel sharply.

What's sad is that I still really love this car. It looks sharp, rides nice, and has great get up and go. I would love to keep it if I knew that these problems could be resolve.

If anybody knows the solution to any of these problems, please let me know.


RE: Problems with Oldsmobile Intrigue.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 4th September, 2003

5th Oct 2003, 07:09


You stated that your headlights dim and brighten when the weather is cold. I am sure I can help you with this problem. I, too, have a 1999 Intrigue that had this same problem. Not only did the headlights dim and brighten, the dashboard did as well. Back in May of this year I did some investigating on-line which led me to ask some questions to local car dealerships. After speaking with them, I learned that the problem is that the original alternator made for this car is defective. GM has since built an alternator to replace the defective one, and it can be replaced at a dealership with no charge (no charge as long as you have under 80,000 miles on the car). My alternator was replaced and the problem is 100% resolved. I hope this information helps.

1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue GL 3.5L from North America


Rock Solid Performer


The only problem I have had with this car, and it showed up at around 92000km, was my HVAC head unit started to fail. No AC/Heat/Defrost, nothing!

There was power going to the unit, but the screen would go blank, or if the screen was on it would freeze on the last used setting, or it would work fine. It had a mind of its own. After taking it to a GM Dealer to get it diagnosed, they told me I had to replace the head unit for about C$600, labour included. I said no. Knowing how easy it is to do it myself, I went to a junk yard, bought one for $100 and installed it myself... same problem even after clearing out the codes. Hmmmm. Then I came here to read some complaints and noticed many others with the same problem. After returning the used head unit, I brought it to my cousin who works as a mechanic for a GM Dealership. After 3 days, he and his trim guy couldn't figure it out! It was again working intermitently and they couldn't get a code. Finally they got one. P1605 - Serial Comm. Error from the HVAC H/U to the PCM. He didn't have anymore free time to look at it and I said no problem, that info helps. I then finally enlisted a good friend of my fathers, a recently retired 30 year GM mechanic. In 30min he figured out what every other serviceman has been stumped about!

He traced the ground wire from the HVAC head unit to a connection under the right side of my dash. The screw holding in the wire wasn't completely tight, yet it was striped from the factory. He replaced the screw, and voila! I think the dude that was on the Intrigue line at the plant was either new or high as he seems to have affected many Intrigues with the same problem. No need to replace the HVAC head units folks!

The reason why I was having it working intermittently was that the ground wire is a high resistance line. When it would heat up outside, the wire would expand and make the connection. When it was cooler, it would not have enough contact to complete the connection. Genius!

BTW, I did have my headlights flicker, I think, once or twice before, no more after this fix. Why? The HVAC head unit controls the twilight sensor for the headlights because when my unit would freeze, my auto night time (twilight) lights would turn off and I had to manually turn them on.

I hope this has helped someone out there as I wish I knew before I spent $100 for a GM tech/kid to incorrectly diagnose the problem. I could have also spent upwards of a $1000 if it wasn't for Gus! Thanks Gus!

General Comments:

I love this car!

The engine is excellent, it runs so smooth. I have used Mobil 1 oil since 20000km. Maybe that helps.

Aside from the problem above, this car has been the most rock solid machinery I have ever owned. But I do take great car in my cars. I think I should be able to take this one to at least 300,000km with no major issues. At 94000km, it feels like I just broke it in. The gas mileage for this 3.5L 24 valve baby Northstar engine is excellent. On a C$35 tank, I average about 500km in the city and have reached 700km on the highway.

The leather on the front seats hasn't even cracked yet, but I do condition them every 6 months. The bank seat leather is of lower quality, but not much traffic there so it still looks new.

Aside from the plastic fantastic of the dash, I think its one of the finest cars Olds/GM has built for under C$35K. I highly recommend buying this car NEW or from someone that is really anal about taking car of their cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th August, 2003

10th Oct 2007, 16:52

This ground connection, where exactally is it? and what does it look like? is it on the firewall of just on a random metal chunk. Thanks.

10th Nov 2007, 12:31

I have the SAME EXACT problem with my 1999 Olds Intrigue GLS. I bought the GM service manuals off of Ebay for about 60.00 USD each and I am going to try to locate this "ground wire". I have been searching high and low for about a year for someone who has already solved this problem, tried to avoid myself paying thousands trying to find out what was wrong. If I find this mysterious ground wire, I will re-post where it is.