1996 Pontiac Trans Sport Reviews

1996 Pontiac Trans Sport from North America

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance98000 miles
Previous carDodge Spirit

Summary:

Runs well, with cosmetic annoyances

Faults:

Outside door handles on both front doors broke; repeated fixes have not worked.

General Comments:

The car has run well, with mainly regular wear and tear repairs required.

The main complaint I have is about the door handles, which no mechanics have been able to fix (though I've taken the van in several times). They work from the inside but not the outside, so I have to enter the van through the rear sliding door.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th March, 2009

1996 Pontiac Trans Sport SE 3.4L from North America

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 3.4L Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired134000 kilometres
Most recent distance226000 kilometres
Previous carMazda MPV

Faults:

Minor things. Passenger door handle linkage broke last year during real cold snap. Serpentine belt tensioner, starter, ball joints, wheel bearings. Usual maintenance things.

General Comments:

Great van, 3.4L lots of torque. Auto trans shifts great. Drives like a car in most respects. Modular seating is a bonus. Car doesn't rust. The stock stereo is actually not bad sounding. The van has been reasonably cheap and reliable to run and own. Maintenance is key. I flush and fill the cooling system every two years with GM DexCool. Transmission fluid changed every 80,000 kms. The usual parts replacements as well as rotors, pads, shoes... Run synthetic all the time. Great van. Only caveat - the front windshield is too long...

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

Review Date: 10th January, 2008

1996 Pontiac Trans Sport SE 3.4 V6 from North America

Model year1996
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 3.4 V6 Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.6 / 10
Distance when acquired72000 kilometres
Most recent distance220000 kilometres
Previous carPontiac Fiero

Summary:

A well-designed very versatile van with a body that will last forever

Faults:

Intake manifold gasket was leaking allowing oil and coolant to mix, further causing noisy valves; first noticed soon after 72,000 warranty expiration, also causing engine to intermittently lose power due to sludged/collapsed lifter (s) beginning at 110,000km. New gasket set fixed the problem ever since.

Routine brake service; perhaps less distance than expected on the brake linings.

Currently 2 problems I am dealing with:

1) a minor vibration in the front end which starts at over 100kph (60mph). This is a small- amplitude, but high frequency 'busy' kind of vibration which has eventually resulted in pulsing brakes due to uneven rotor wear, premature wear-out of ball joints tie rod ends and tires. The vibration progressively got worse as parts wore out and rotors & tires wore unevenly. All new parts have restored a decent ride, but now am back to the original minor vibration. Service shop can't find anything else wrong, including drive axles, but I suspect the axles as vibration changes with acceleration/ coasting and slight off-center steering.

2) No-start condition periodically since 200,000km, with the fuel pump relay "chattering" as it is driven with a pulsating DC (switching between 0V and 12VDC rapidly, instead of steady 12VDC) by the power-train control module (PCM). I have jumper-ed the relay contact to put 12V directly to the pump, which runs, but the car still won't start (no spark) while this condition exists. Eventually the problem disappears and normally starts again. The dealer said fuel pump is bad (shorted) causing relay chatter, but this makes no sense as there is no feedback from the contact circuit to the coil drive. A new relay was installed; old one cut open and it's contacts are still perfect.

Pulsating output comes straight from the PCM even with relay removed. I expect PCM is at fault. Is it fixable??

General Comments:

We have enjoyed the versatility of this vehicle, with 5 fold down and removable 2nd and 3rd row seats. Only wish they had head rests, as 1997's do. Good carrying capacity, used to advantage for summer trips back and forth to the cottage, always end up carrying something.

We have had no electrical problems.

The power side door occasionally needs to be reset; easily done.

We selected this minivan specifically to get the latest model available still made with rust & dent-proof plastic body.

I have noticed that newer models of other manufacturers' minivans have become more similar to the Trans Sport's shape and body proportions (e.g., longer sloping windshield and hood and driver further back, closer to middle of vehicle).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th October, 2004

3rd Sep 2007, 14:39

Well, you are lucky. Mine is the biggest lemon on four wheels, and has had problems with virtually every system since I bought it. Some things have been replaced two three and four times. This car is the worst of the worst. I think a YUGO would be better at this point.

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 6 reviews