4th Dec 2008, 22:43

97 Transport, currently 270k miles and out of commission once again, and probably for good.

Bought at 102k miles, SES light came on at 125k (purge solenoid), transmission shutter at highway speeds at 130k.

Transmission rebuilt at 156k (remarkably it is still strong).

Recall work on steering done at about 150k, 3 water pumps, 3 or t-stats.

Motor rebuilt at 203k cuz of blown gasket.

Harmonic balancer replaced at 210k, A/C stopped working, drivers window regulator AFU, frame rotted where the jack is supposed to go so you can jack it up without a floor jack.

Interior lights are acting up, headlight lens fell off, replaced headlights.

Struts, rear shocks and springs broke.

Inside tailgate strap broke, outside tailgate opener broke, doors lock for no reason.

Horn keeps blowing fuse, cigarette lighter not working, ABS light comes on and off, had to replace radio because of display.

Steering travel is short on one side, brake lines rusted on rear axle, rear wiper motor doesn't work, gee have I forgotten anything...

YES, once again starting at about 250k, overheating, suspecting head gasket because I've tried and have done everything I could think of without dumping in more money. Therefore did I mention, it's for sale.


JUST MY 2cents.

28th Dec 2008, 08:52

I repair Nissan, Toyota and Honda vans, and all those vehicles completely crap out before 200k miles. I would thank God I purchased the GM and got those miles on it.

One more thing, all vehicles need their transmissions filters and fluids changed well before 100k miles or damage will occur.

About your GM vehicle. Was all the maintenance performed according to the owners manual? I am guessing all your problems were caused by not following the recommendation maintenance schedule in the owners manual.

Every Montana transmission problem, for example, I see in my shop is caused by not changing the transmission fluid and filter. I would guess the previous owner never had any maintenance performed on your vehicle, and you are stuck with all the problems he/she caused.

7th Feb 2009, 11:36

Original Owner of a 1999 Extended Length Pontiac Montana.

I have just read this entire site and am a bit surprised!

I have owned three Pontiac Transport Vans, a '92, '96 and the '99.

The '99 has all the bells and whistles, and was purchased new ten years ago this week. It currently has 135,000 gently used miles. I like to hyper-mile and get 28 miles to the gallon on the freeway and 20 miles in around town.

I love this vehicle. It has been a stalwart, hauling stuff for two daughters to college and setting up two new homes after graduation. Could not live without it, or my neighbors on occasion.

I have had all the problems I have read on this site, plus one or two others. Surprised there has not been a class-action suite like there is on the 1999-2001 VOLVO S80 Sedan.

I am the son of a mechanic and an engineer. I maintain all my cars, and check fluids weekly and change fluids on schedule, along with filters, etc. I attempt to fix most problems myself.

I now find that all these cataloged problems are not what I thought were just usual wear and tear. I do like the fact that the brakes did not need replacing until 100,000 miles, and the stainless steel exhaust system is still original.

The original 80,000 warrantied tires lasted 55,000 miles when the walls started giving out. The original manufacturer would not honor their warranty. Replaced them with SEARS Michelins; and they still have lots of tread after 80,000 miles.

I did not like the fact that I paid the dealer $4,300 for replacing the manifold head gaskets at 73,000 miles, plus other work to insure the engine would last another 100,000 miles.

The transmission started to intermittently shift heavily during downshifting, and clunking into second on the upshift after about 90,000 miles. Cost a couple hundred to replace the torque converter sensor. It also was the source of the speedometer reading zero. It still shifts heavily on occasion. No predictable schedule for it to act up.

Just paid $1,300 at 130,000 miles to have the radiator replaced because the serpentine belt was squealing and loud noise coming from the attached accessories. Seems coolant was spraying onto the belt. Last week they replaced the water pump for $450 because it was "bad" and leaking, and causing the "LOW COOLANT" light to come on. (Sound Familiar). Appears to be holding for now.

The "LOW TRACTION" light is just now flashing. Actually thought it was working sense we have had ice and snow the last couple weeks...BUT. No, it just flashing and then the TSC and ABS warning lights would come on and the TCS switch embedded light goes off; meaning no TCS. The sensor will reset if the engine is turned off, then restarted! Was diagnosed by the local mechanic reading out the code, that the right front wheel was having a variable reading different from the other three wheel sensors. He recommended NOT replacing the sensor switch since it was intermitent! Not sure I can stand those warning lights. That was how I found this web site, trying to find out where and how to replace the $30 switch.

Last year went through 3 new truck batteries. SEARS (3 years-old) and PEP BOYS (2 month-old) lived up to their warranties, and SEARS even fixed the problem; an improperly seated battery grounding cable on the battery holder. The local GM Dealer took their 2 month-old battery, said everything was working properly and that there was no warranty for the dead battery! Out $102.

Drove though 18" of water two years ago in a Hurricane and lost the FUEL/AIR MIXTURE sensor with water in the sensor. The car would start and then die when it was slowed for a stop sign. Luckily, made it to the local GM dealer, two miles away. My bad.

Pontiac did fix the right-hand auto-door when the car was purchased. Then attempted to fix it again a year later when it was brought in for routine maintenance and the official recall came out. Only they broke it. But the Service Manager and the tech did come to the house and repair it in the driveway. (My wife got involved!)

The LCD read-out on the radio/clock has never worked properly.

The Outside Temperature gauge only works in the Winter! It loves temperatures below 60 degrees, above that, its anybodies guess on what it reads out.

The rear air-shocks work great and give a great ride, even with 2,000 pounds of load. Have never used used the trailer hitch, though the vehicle has the optional towing package, which means it has a larger radiator, additional transmission cooling, and wiring harness for rear lights for trailer.

The front and rear wiper arm attachments appear to be made of pot metal. When placed on the steel-toothed rotary for the wiper, it shreds the pot metal. I have had to routinely repair the expensive arms on a yearly basis.

I was just informed yesterday that I could not pass the 2009 yearly safety inspection because the headlight lenses were fogged over. I spent several hours with a rubbing compound polishing the glazed plastic prior to taking it in. Does not help when the plastic is glazed though-and-through.

I attempt to keep my cars ten years. I have reached that anniversary! I have owned Pontiacs since my first '69 LeMans muscle car. I cannot say that I will shed a tear if GM sheds the Pontiac line. I also now understand why the TRANSPORT VAN line was discontinued. That said I will most likely not purchase another GM vehicle.

I feel sorry for all of you who purchased the MONTANA as a reliable family car.

The 1996 TRANSPORT saved my life when struck head-on by another driver crossing the median. I have gotten my money's worth out of this '99 van. It will probably stay in the garage as a "beater" and a "hauler" after acquiring a new replacement. But I will not invest in anymore "unnecessary repairs.

Will wait to add my name to the class-action suit.