1 2
Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/8/13 4:45 p.m.

SWMBO's Grand Prix had been a pillar of the "good" GM for us for over 7 years. We bought it with ~60K miles in 2006 from a dealer and found out it was a previous rental. It was super clean, no damage history at all, and a great price (especially compared to comparable cars from not GM).

In the subsequent 7 years, SWMBO took it up to 136K miles and it hasn't needed much. A few sets of tires, brakes (pads once, pads & rotors about 3 months ago finally), bulbs, wipers, and oil changes were pretty much it. I did a full tune up at 100K miles including the notorious UIM and LIM gaskets (replacing the just-started-to-fail OE units with the upgraded metal ones), plugs, thermostat, PCV, etc. It also had the trans serviced by the book.

The only failure it had was a bad rack at about 115K. Couldn't complain too much. I also had some bushings done during one of it's alignments. I also did some mods (drop in K&N, Magnecor wires, removed the fire-prone factory looms, LED taillights, new headlights, 17's from a newer GTP, etc.). It did blow two sets of the crappy plastic coolant elbows, but my fault for not immediately swapping to the aluminum ones.

Now though, the car has hit a maintenance wall. From 135K to 136K it's needed a fuel sender (still not fixed), an HVAC module ($200), an ignition switch ($300 total with install and PASS code and all that crap), shocks/struts (not done yet), and now the LIM is leaking again even though I have the DexCool serviced by the book!

So now I need to spend an entire day and a few hundred dollars taking half the engine apart... again.

I am really, really tempted to bolt a GTP blower on it instead.

(And it really is worth maintaining, it's always garaged so the paint & interior are nearly perfect, and it's still accident free, and it drives really nice especially on the highway/roadtrips)

Sorry, I just really needed to vent. I've spent more money maintaining her car than I have on the entire Javelin in 3 years, including buying the Javelin! I'm feeling a little wallet-shocked.

(PS - Anybody want to buy the world's nicest Grand Prix?)

Vigo
Vigo UberDork
10/8/13 5:27 p.m.

The irony is thick with this one.

In my opinion/experience, all the people who post good experiences with late 90s-early 00's fwd GMs end up in this position sooner or later.

Do the blower thing if it's cheap. If it's not cheap then definitely don't do it because even the world's nicest Grand Prix doesnt deserve very much of your money.

Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel HalfDork
10/8/13 6:13 p.m.

What year GP is this? I ask partly because my son's 2000 Impala has a wonky fuel gauge, and I've been told by a guy who researched it that 2003-down GM vehicles have an in-tank part that gradually dissolves in gasoline (!), leading to erratic data and then failure. The new parts from 2004 up don't do this.

For now, my son is using the trip odometer for gas tank data, but clearly this is not a great plan heading into winter.

Ranger50
Ranger50 PowerDork
10/8/13 6:26 p.m.

Must be odd. Wife's pervious 00 MCSS got 169k on it and besides tires, various trans issues that really never got resolved before I got involved, and the flambe at the end, was bulletproof.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/8/13 6:32 p.m.

In reply to Stealthtercel:

It's a 2001, and it's the ethanol in the gas (oh noes, conspiracy!!!) that eats the float away. In 04 they switched to an ethanol resistant plastic for the float.

Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel HalfDork
10/8/13 6:38 p.m.

Thanks, Javelin, that makes a lot of sense. The explanation I got was thorough and seemed to be knowledgeable, but the big picture somehow didn't seem to add up. Now it does.

Spoolpigeon
Spoolpigeon SuperDork
10/8/13 6:45 p.m.

Did the Intake manifold leak water into the engine? Or is it just a gasket problem? I fixed the leaky water problem on my old bonneville by filling the 2 coolant ports in the intake manifold that go to the throttle body with JB weld. The EGR port is between those 2 passages and it gets hot enough to melt through. Plug them bitches up and it'll never leak again. Added bonus is that you can do it to the existing manifold and save some skrilla.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/8/13 6:49 p.m.

In reply to Spoolpigeon:

It's not leaking into the engine. I have to get the car back and look at it before I can determine what's going on. I'm actually hoping it's just those damned elbows again and I can skip the whole LIM mess.

Toyman01
Toyman01 UltimaDork
10/8/13 6:49 p.m.

I feel your pain. I just helped my son do the gaskets on his Venture. Yes, it sucked.

novaderrik
novaderrik PowerDork
10/8/13 7:03 p.m.

i don't think a supercharger just bolts on.

also, i see that you are still using Dexcool.... that's likely why you need intake gaskets again.. that stuff is evil..

Ranger50
Ranger50 PowerDork
10/8/13 7:24 p.m.
novaderrik wrote: i don't think a supercharger just bolts on. also, i see that you are still using Dexcool.... that's likely why you need intake gaskets again.. that stuff is evil..

S/C kinda does just swap over. It just depends on how far/in depth you want to go.

Dexcool really isn't that bad. You just have to add the additives back into the mix to extend the life of it.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy UberDork
10/8/13 7:50 p.m.

3.4 or 3.8 in that thing? The 3.4 will need the new Felpro aluminum gaskets, and the 3.8 is more likely to be leaking from a couple of plastic elbows that connect the water pump area to the intake area. It does not involve manifold removal if thats the case. Not saying the gasket isn;t leaking, but I'd poke around thae elbows first.

I'd change the ignition switch well before I dealt with any other electrical or electronic problems. If the sawitch is giving you wonky voltage, it causes many issues.

Rob_Mopar
Rob_Mopar SuperDork
10/8/13 9:40 p.m.

Really I'm the first one to say LS swap? LS4 in this case.

Donebrokeit
Donebrokeit HalfDork
10/8/13 9:56 p.m.

I fell your pain as my 04 GTP is in need of a LIG and some other odds and ends. Every car comes to this point, put some money into the car or get rid of it. I want to get a new truck at the end of the year or the being of next year so I am holding up on any major repairs as I might trade the car in on the truck.

You do know that you can program the pass lock yourself right?

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/9/13 9:03 a.m.
novaderrik wrote: i don't think a supercharger just bolts on. also, i see that you are still using Dexcool.... that's likely why you need intake gaskets again.. that stuff is evil..

I would need heads, too, but at this point it's only a few more bolts.

I have to use DexCool, have you ever tried converting over? Unless you replace the radiator, water pump, heater core, all hoses, and the thermostat when you do it you'll still have residue and get nasty sludging.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/9/13 9:04 a.m.

In reply to Streetwiseguy:

All Grand Prix GT's in this generation are 3800 Series II. It's leaking at the TB end of the intake, not at the elbows on the accessories end.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/9/13 9:05 a.m.
Donebrokeit wrote: You do know that you can program the pass lock yourself right?

At this point it was worth the money to just let my shop do it. I have a 21 month old and a 10 week old at home.

moparman76_69
moparman76_69 Dork
10/9/13 9:09 a.m.

You know you can bypass the passlock right? Getting ready to do this to the wife's cutlass (Malibu)

Ranger50
Ranger50 PowerDork
10/9/13 9:13 a.m.
Javelin wrote:
Donebrokeit wrote: You do know that you can program the pass lock yourself right?

At this point it was worth the money to just let my shop do it. I have a 21 month old and a 10 week old at home.

It only takes a battery charger and like 1.5hrs of your time. Most of the time, you stare at it.

docwyte
docwyte HalfDork
10/9/13 9:13 a.m.

So wait. You have a 12 year old car with close to 140k miles on it and you're upset that stuff has worn out and needs to be replaced? Oh the horror!

The car is old. It has a bunch of miles on it. Stuff breaks.

Sorry, it's just amusing to me that everyone expects their cars to run 100's of thousands of miles on just gas, oil and pixie dust. Not that long ago your car would've been considered a paragon of reliability for remaining in running condition without massive rust holes in it after 4 years and 50k miles.

06HHR
06HHR Reader
10/9/13 9:18 a.m.

In reply to moparman76_69: I did that with the VATS in my 96 Bonneville, best 10 bucks i ever spent on the car. Especially since they don't even make some of the key blanks in the necessary resistance anymore. Javelin, if you have the time there are quite a few DIY fixes for the problems you list, but with two babies at home, time is in short (or no) supply I bet. That throttle body leak sounds like the EGR tube, that's another known issue with these cars.

Ashyukun
Ashyukun HalfDork
10/9/13 9:23 a.m.
Ranger50 wrote:
Javelin wrote:
Donebrokeit wrote: You do know that you can program the pass lock yourself right?

At this point it was worth the money to just let my shop do it. I have a 21 month old and a 10 week old at home.

It only takes a battery charger and like 1.5hrs of your time. Most of the time, you stare at it.

Had to deal with this when the ignition switch on my parents' 2000 Intrigue went out- when my brother had it out at a summer camp for the summer. Once I looked up how to do it, I was mostly just sitting there waiting for the requisite time between things that had to be done. Was certainly annoying- and had me up later than I'd planned to be that night- but was quite doable. If I'd been at home working on it I'd not have cared at all as I could have done other stuff either on the car or on other projects.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg MegaDork
10/9/13 9:45 a.m.

FIL has a 2000 Monte Carlo SS with the same engine, he has 298K on it, runs out great, we just went through the front end and replaced bushings, bearings etc, the engine and trans have never been opened. I insisted he use Mobil One since it was new.

We did the aluminum elbow swap a couple of months ago.

Those engines are strong. Don't give up on it, just do the maintenance and enjoy getting 30mpg

doc_speeder
doc_speeder Reader
10/9/13 10:58 a.m.

I'd say fix it. I know I'm in the minority but I kind of like the w-body cars. I've had 4 of them ( 2 Olds and 2 Pontiac). They're not really enthusiast cars per se, but for DD duty, mine were all very good. Nothing but minor repairs and maintenance for all the time I owned all of them. I really liked my two GTP's. Love that SC3800.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
10/9/13 11:44 a.m.
docwyte wrote: So wait. You have a 12 year old car with close to 140k miles on it and you're upset that stuff has worn out and needs to be replaced? Oh the horror!

I know, I know. It's just frustrating that it went from typical W-Body "never broke" to "holy E36 M3, everything is breaking!!!) in basically a 1,000 mile window. That and I've spent more money on maintenance on her car in the last 3 months than I've spent on the Javelin in 3 years, including buying it!

I know I could have done the ignition switch and passlock, but it was A: already in the shop ensuring the diagnosis was correct, 2: already in the shop having the normal trans service done, and III: I don't have literally 15 minutes to myself in a given weekday, so getting the hours to do the swap and then program simply isn't going to happen, especially now that I have to R&R the top 1/3rd of the motor.

The leaks are on both the UIM and LIM, not the TB. Gaskets definitely going out. I used the GM aluminum ones last time.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
jww7rfB9McGYQszOI2hUK3OdalF68F34A9d6SXcA2UwDuYd88NQKjSz0WwtinbD5