5th Jul 2008, 16:57

PEOPLE WITH INSTRUMENT PANEL PROBLEMS pay attention... Yes the grand am instrument panels are junk but if you go to a junk yard a buy a used one for 50 bucks. NOW... when you hook this different one into your car the anti-theft light will come on, the car will turn over but will not start. THIS IS THE FIX... turn the key to the run position (just like if you were gonna crank it) leave it there until the anti theft light goes off. (Usually takes 10 to 15 minutes.) Now turn the key back to the regular position and wait 10 seconds and crank your car. The ECU in the car has to re learn this new device. Just like installing new hardware on your computer. I messed around with this all weekend one time and the credit goes to my friend who found this simple trick on the net. I couldnt believed that it worked, but I hope this takes the headache off of a few of yah. later out...

6th Jul 2008, 12:21

Comment 16:57. THANKS A BUNCH!! As a mechanic I always encourage people to try to do their own repairs instead of paying a dealer or chain store thousands of bucks. I also encourage people to make use of salvage yards for many parts, as they are generally very cheap and in good shape. Most salvage yards allow you to return parts you buy that are not in good shape.

15th Jul 2008, 13:39

I bought my 97 Pontiac grand am GT 2.4 liter engine, brand new in 1998. It currently has 134,000 miles on it and has been through 2 accidents.

The car runs perfectly, and still for an older model looks fantastic.

I have had a couple minors problems; the CD player broke 3 years ago, and the alternator has been replaced 3 times.

The stock battery lasted 9 years, which was an excellent life span.

The muffler had to be replaced last year (rusted out); normal for the weather conditions it lives in.

My AC still works like a charm.

The bearings in the compressor recently had to be replaced, but no biggy and good as new.

My car has been well taken care of, and in the past 5 years been driven hard in its old age.

Personally I have been very satisfied with my vehicle. I am sure most of you won't admit it, but have not taken very good care of your cars and have been driving them into the ground...

Any car you drive into the ground; that's just where it's going to go.

16th Jul 2008, 11:37

21:38, I suspect your front brake calipers may be binding (exerting pressure on the pads all the time) causing premature wear. A lack of rear braking could also contribute to excessive wear. I'd go ahead and replace the rear brake shoes and thoroughly clean the brake assembly and drums (DO NOT use petroleum-based cleaner, use special brake cleaner). Pads and rear brake shoes are very easy to replace on the GA and very inexpensive. I replaced the front pads on my 2001 a few months ago (at 70,000+ miles) at a cost of $18. I did it in 15 minutes during my lunch break. The rear shoes (if they are drum brakes) take a little bit longer, but are still fairly simple.

If the front brake wear persists after replacing the rear brake shoes and cleaning the self-adjusters, I'd look at the calipers to be sure they are not binding. Jack the front end up, put the transmission in neutral and see if you can easily spin the front tire with your hand. If you can't the calipers are sticking and may need to be replaced or repaired. Again, this is a very easy and inexpensive task you can do yourself and save a lot of money.

10th Apr 2009, 01:44

I bought my 97 Grand Am GT 3.1L V-6 about a year and a half ago, and have had a slew of problems.

I bought the car when I was 18 from a private seller. Being young and dumb, I didn't do any research on the car before buying it.

When I bought it, the guy said he was forced to put a new engine into it and had also made several costly repairs.

Since the purchase I've had to replace the serpentine belt (I know this is basic maintenance), two tie rod ends, the coolant sensor twice, thermostat, numerous exhaust parts, and then the real kicker, the intake manifold and head gasket, plus a lot of other related gaskets that all decided to blow at once... this set me back almost 1200.

My windows are constantly having problems despite having new motors numerous times. I too have the faulty radio knob. My check oil light is on 100% of the time, and according to the local GM dealer, there is nothing wrong with the oil sensor.

I can tell the transmission is starting to go because shifting is erratic and I can feel it slipping when I accelerate rapidly. And now, today my check engine light just randomly came on (for like the 7th time since I've owned it). Just hoping that the OBDII actually tells me something beneficial.

At this point, I'm ready to trade the S.O.B. in. Needless to say, I'm done with Pontiac and perhaps GM as a whole. Next car is definitely gonna be Toyota or Honda.

31st May 2010, 19:53

I bought a used 97 Pontiac Grand AM for $2,100 last August, and as much as I gripe about it, it's still a really decent car.

In the approximately 9 months I've owned the car, I've dumped a few thousand dollars into repairs. The previous owner replaced the tires, brakes, and battery before I owned it, but I've been stuck with replacing the intake manifold gasket (about $800), putting on new front tires because they kept leaking profusely and one had a huge bulge in the sidewall, replacing the power window motor in the driver's side front (which is a somewhat humorous-for-others pain when you have to YELL out of the driver's side door at a drive-thru), and having the entire exhaust rebuilt from the catalytic converter back after foolishly trying to bomb my way through a foot of hard-packed snow without being able to properly shovel it out. Additionally, the gas lines leaked for a while, and they also had to be replaced. The back two windows have the original 13-year-old motors and they don't really work, but I never bothered with them anyway.

Granted, I live in upstate NY, but the bottom is rusting out, and it'd be a mighty pain to have to weld new pieces of metal to the bottom to "repair" or at least bolster it.

The radio knob has also gone on my car, which makes adjusting the volume a fun "adventure" sometimes. The AC never worked in the 12 years the original owner had it, and when I charged the system, it lasted about six weeks before it stopped working. Now, the AC compressor makes a hideous rattling / shirring noise whenever the car is running, which I plan on getting repaired at some point (since the car is dark purple and it gets pretty hot inside).

The serpentine belt was replaced on a recommendation from a mechanic, but nothing ridiculously bad has happened to my vehicle.

All in all, my Grand AM has been a decent vehicle, considering that it wasn't used nearly as often as it should have been (I bought it with about 83,000 miles on it), and that it's (through these reviews) had a LOT of problems. It wouldn't be my first car of choice, but I'm glad it gets me across the state and around town more effectively than a bicycle or my own two feet. For my first car, I'd say it wasn't a bad choice.