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Bonneville GXP/ Northstar Powered Cars Discuss your Bonneville GXP and/or any other Northstar powered Olds or Cadillac... Including the 3.5L Twin Cam V6 (Short Star ) 4.0L and 4.6L Northstar V8's. Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 10-28-2008, 07:30 PM   #1
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Can't say i disagree with some people when they say GM makes unreliable cars. This is getting annoying.


In 55,000 miles, here'* what'* happened to my 2005 Bonneville GXP, to my knowledge:

Blown ignition coil assembly causing misfire, $300+ part

Broken temp guage in guage cluster, requiring replacement of the whole cluster, $300+ part

**** poor design of intermediate steering shaft, requiring replacement

**** poor design of foglight wiring harness. Bulbs burn out every 3 weeks, if that. I ended up installing HIDs to fix the problem.

Trunk leak. When I got the car, there was 3 inches of standing water in the wheel well. Ho-f***ing-ray. I fixed that problem by drilling 3 holes in 3 rubber caps at the bottom of the wheel well. Supposedly, GM pressure tested the car with a few thousand pounds of water pressure. Guess that wasn't enough pressure huh.



And guess what, the car is now in the shop as of yesterday, for the following problems:

considerable loss of coolant (low coolant light pops on after 2 weeks of filling the reservior)

complete loss of power steering fluid (had to pour in 1/3 a quart of steering fluid last week. My regal NEVER lost steering fluid)

unreasonable loss of oil (I know the northstars lose oil, but not at the rate of 3/4 a quart every 1,000 miles, not with this low of a mileage car)

Intermediate shaft is clunking again, so it needs to be replaced, again. Wait, wasn't this the updated and improved version that was replaced last time? Yeah.

Front wheel wobble is now unbearable at over 65 mph, and its not a balancing issue. Wheel hubs seem to be bad.

Tie rods need to be replaced

One or two of the plastic fittings that holds the door panel down broke or got loose or something, so now my driver'* door rattles when i go over bumps. So much for a "sport luxury" car.

Car nudges a little uncomfortably going from park to drive. Suspected engine mount is bad.

Now I understand cars break, but all this by 55,000 miles? Seriously, give it a break man. You know what else? On two occasions, I've smelled burning oil coming through my air vents. Considering that and my loss of oil, I think there'* something seriously wrong.

Get this: I drop the car off at a chevy dealership for service. They can't fix it and don't care to diagnose it too far because its a Northstar engine. However, they suspect the coolant loss is a result of a failed head gasket. WTF?!?! I exploded on the guy. Head gaskets went at 55k? This car was advertised as "no maintenance till 100,000 miles."

No **** you won't have to replace the coolant till 100k; you'll need to replace it because of the failed head gasket instead. I sure hope they're wrong, as I'll be supremely disappointed if I find out that a $38,000 car has a blown head gasket at 55,000 miles.

Now I have to move the car 6 miles out to the nearest Pontiac dealership so they can fix it.

You know what'* the only reason I still love this car? Because the car looks like sex (even more so with 2 sets of HIDs and drilled and slotted rotors), and I have a Quality Guard Plus warranty that fixes damn near anything mechanical on the car for $50 per visit. If it weren't for this warranty, I might be inclined to curse GM to hell, sell the damn car, and buy a 2nd gen Regal GS. Seriously, $38,000 car and head gaskets go at $55,000? On a GXP trim? Give me a break man.
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Old 10-30-2008, 12:41 AM   #2
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Alright, so the Chevy guys refused to do anything once they popped the hood and found a Northstar, but they did diagnose it as 100% a head gasket problem. What'* more is that the book lists it as a 40 hour job. At $112 an hour, that'* a lot of money to put into repairs at barely 55,000 miles. Luckily, I'm not the one stuck forking over the cash for those repairs.
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Old 10-30-2008, 12:22 PM   #3
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ya dont take it to a chevy dealer. Go to a dealer that services Caddys The techs have training on the N*. Its a complicated engine to work on, and you want it done right the first time
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Old 10-30-2008, 12:31 PM   #4
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Pat'* right in saying the northstar engine belongs at a Caddy dealership for work, and they will honor your warranty. Never, have we heard of a blown head gasket on a GXP so you would be a first. I think they were grasping at straws. Coolant loss happens from a wide variety of reasons X. A compression test would be a responsible intelligent thing to preform if a coolant loss cant be visibly explained. How can they do a diagnosis when they refused to do anything? I think hey just wanted to take you and your warranty for a ride.
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Old 10-30-2008, 02:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GXP Venom View Post
Pat'* right in saying the northstar engine belongs at a Caddy dealership for work, and they will honor your warranty. Never, have we heard of a blown head gasket on a GXP so you would be a first. I think they were grasping at straws. Coolant loss happens from a wide variety of reasons X. A compression test would be a responsible intelligent thing to preform if a coolant loss cant be visibly explained. How can they do a diagnosis when they refused to do anything? I think hey just wanted to take you and your warranty for a ride.
Well they fixed the steering shaft, gauge cluster, and coil assembly last time. Caddy didn't want to take it though since its a Pontiac and that it would need more work than just the engine done, so they figure just send it to Pontiac and have them do all the work on it instead of moving it from dealer to dealer. Don't see why Caddy couldn't fix all the problems, but the Pontiac dealership is only a block away, so its not too big of a deal. But just because I believe Caddy mechanics would be better suited, I'll call them up anyway and try again.
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:11 PM   #6
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Ya, I can see the logic in the Pontiac Dealer having parts available, and for most repairs they are better suited and knowledgeable about. But the engine is something Pontiac people rarely see and to just spout off blown headgasket because of a coolant loss seems extreme.

I understand your frustration, most of us have been through the gamut getting our GXP'* fixed to last. For all it'* great styling, they sure came out lacking in what they offered for quality and reliability in a car with a $38-40k asking price. You cant stress hard enough the value of the extended warranty.
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:40 PM   #7
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I just had to have the head gasket replaced on my 04 gxp. I took it to one dealer, after it having been in 3 times for a low coolant light. They would not deal with gm at all for me, I took it to a second dealer that had worked on my husbands gmc truck, they dealt with gmc for me, even though the car was out of warranty, they agreed to cover the head gasket job 100%.
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:49 PM   #8
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Blown head gaskets don't happen all that often. If you suspect or wish to disprove a head gasket, you will need to do a compression test. Unless you find coolant in the cylinder, the head gasket shoule be fine. LIM gasket is a more likely reason for lost coolant. But get this, when you change the head gasket, you also need to change LIM gaskets. Problem all gone now, thanks for paying for a new head gasket.
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Old 11-08-2008, 06:21 PM   #9
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ya but the N* are different animals than the 3800'* Headgaskets are common
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:18 PM   #10
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Are head gaskets really that common? The Chevy dealer quoted head gaskets, yet they didn't even take off the engine cover. They got scared and closed the hood the moment they saw it was a Northstar, so I'm really not sure how they could claim it was a head gasket.

In either case, thank God I don't have to pay for any of this.
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