30th Dec 2002, 16:36
We have a 1994 Pontiac Sunbird SE and have had it since brand new on the lot. Its at about 150000 right now and doing sufficient. We have had lots of problems with Alternators. Changed them so far about 7-8 times. Wish they made it easier to take out and put in without having to remove stuff. The radiator was replaced too, and brakes a couple of times, and now the water pump has gone out. What a mess to put in another one. Inside the car? that's another one... that car falls apart so easily!! the roof upholstery is constantly falling apart, the dash board is falling off, what more can I say. At least it is fast at passing cars for such a 4 cylinder. I won't ever get another one. Lemon? Yeah to an extent. Seems like it was put together sloppy and bolts on too tight for you to remove when fixing it; kinda like they do it on purpose so you have to pay more money to get it fixed. As for the A/C??? That thing kills me to this day freezing us to death. And we have yet to add any freon to it since the first day we bought it. Good luck!!!
26th Jan 2003, 13:14
I guess it's a hit and miss when it comes to sun birds. For me, working at a GM dealership, I see many sun birds in the shop. For most of the repairs mentioned, they are normal wear and tear. Breaks, gaskets, water pumps, all of those things are expected to happen. But I have noticed that the heater core is a piece of junk and be prepared to replace it. When you think it's your thermostat, think again. If you can find a decent one with reasonable miles on it, for a first car, it will do the trick.
1st Sep 2003, 10:36
I bought a '94 Pontiac Sunbird from Carmax in October of 1997. It has ABS, which I was not familiar with, so I attributed the bumpy braking to ABS only to find out it had severely warped rotors. (Oh and I had to replace both front and rear brakes inside of 1 month.) I had the ABS light come on in September 2000, and stay on despite what the dealership could find nothing wrong. (My brother in law later found a sensor wire was cut in half) We repaired it and the ABS light went off. I have had the gearshift get stuck, and had the ignition switch replaced. Then is still stuck, and I had the T-bar handle replaced. I had the car cut off on me while driving and would restart when cool. The dealer said I needed a new computer, which did not fix the problem. Later they replaced the crankshaft position sensor, and it fixed the problem.
Needless to say, over the past 6.5 years. the rotors have been replaced 2 more times for severely warping. (They are warped again, and I brake properly, so its not my fault) I have had the bearings go bad on both front sides, the tie rod end (inner and outer) I have replaced the alternator twice, the interior falls apart, the dash above the radio console is separated from the console. Looks like a clip is missing to hold the dash into the curve. The seatbelt cover over the button falls off. The parking break stopped working.
GREAT! I have had no oil burning problems, except when the mechanics fail to put things back together when they change the oil. Now I change it myself every 2,500 miles.
But I have had OVERHEATING problems, chronically. It used to run at the 1/4 mark on the gauge. The gauge starts at 100 degree to 260 degree. It was now running at the 1/2 mark (180 degrees). But if I stopped the car would move up the gauge until I started moving again. If I let it sit, the fan came on slightly over the 1/2 mark (195 degrees?) but it could not cool down. I had the radiator replaced in March 1999. I was told it was rusted out. (Odd because MACCO had supposedly put on a new one due to collision damage 6 months before.
It started with the heater core cracking (January 2002), before that the water pump blew out (December 2001). I replaced it and had a new timing belt put on. Then the water outlet gasket blew (March 2002). It was replaced and a new thermostat put in. For some reason my mechanic also installed another timing belt at that point. Over the summer it ran hot while I was sitting still. I took it back in September 2002 for over heating. They replaced the radiator again. I took it back in December 2002, running hot, and they did a cooling system test, installed a new radiator cap and another radiator. Still it ran hot. I took it back; they said I had an air pocket. It ran hot again, so they drilled a hole in my thermostat. But thru the winter it ran very cold. I took it back in May this year for running hot, while sitting still. Also my AC stopped cooling. I had just had the belt replaced so my dad said to check and make sure the fan was coming on and the belt had not broken. The fan came on properly when the AC was turned on or the thermostat opened. So this was not the overheating problem. The mechanic told me I needed a new ECM because it was affecting the AC and that I was low on Freon. I had it converted to the R134 system. But they did not know why it was overheating. Later they tried to tell me the ECM was bad and was not allowing the fan to kick on. SO they replaced the ECM and still it ran too hot (redline while sitting still).
I have taken it back 6 times in 3 months for overheating. They have replaced the water pump (nothing wrong) radiator (nothing wrong) thermostat 2 times (nothing wrong), changed the head gasket and timing belt (nothing wrong) did a block test, pressure test, misfire test, flow test, relay test, ECM test, still they found nothing wrong. Finally they gave up. They said everything works properly and they cannot find a cause to it running hot. I had no leaks outside or into the engine.
My father and I researched and decided to install a 180-degree thermostat; contrary to the 195 the mechanic had placed in. It ran PERFECTLY back at the 1/4 mark on the gauge. When sitting the fan came on at the 1/2 mark (180) and proceeded to cool down. I assumed that originally, when purchased from Carmax, that is must have had a 180 in it, but was replaced by the mechanic when my water outlet blew. This is when the problems began. So I was confident that we had found the cause. I still don't know why the radiator couldn't properly cool with the dealer specified 195 thermostat.
Then within two weeks is started running hotter each day. It would also run hot while I was moving. I was frustrated. I could turn the heater on, and it would cool down again and run normal a day or so. Or in the morning it would redline, then cool. Then run fine the next day. The fan was coming on at the right temperature, but not cooling. This weekend, I ran by a Mustang shop to pick up a part for my husband. I talked to them about my car. They came out and took a look. The noticed the mechanic had failed to firmly attach the overflow rubber tube onto the overflow pipe. I was loosing antifreeze! We clamped it on. Then after it cooled I added a lot of fluid, and it is running OK again. I will have to see what it does over the next two weeks.
If it overheats again, I will never in my life buy another Pontiac or GM product!
My last gas mileage I calculated was 24 miles per gallon.
Sincerely Unsatisfied with Pontiac.