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Old 07-10-2003, 12:55 AM   #1
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Default Bonneville Engine Fire

Has anyone heard any news regarding the status of the NHTSA investigation of GM concerning non-*/c 3800 engines backfiring on start-up and causing a fire? Last I heard it was in NHTSA'* Engineering Analysis (one step below a recall).

The reason I ask is because I have been fighting GM tooth and nail since Jan. of this year over an exploded manifold and engine fire to my '97 SE (68k) that cost almost $2k and have found it to be an uphill battle since the onset. GM pleads ignorance to the entire affair and has the gaul to attempt to turn things back on me with false claims of poor maintenance just to hide the fact that they really have no idea what caused it. The investigators are so dumb-founded that they cannot even dispute or rebut my arguments over the phone with facts or truth. They simply say "once again sir, we do not regard this to be a defect from GM or see it as a serious problem". This combined with the borderline abusive behavior I have encountered from two GM investigators has lead to a deep hatred for all things Pontiac and a self-impossed life long ban of GM products in general.

The car is in pristine condition inside and out without so much as a stain in the carpet. I have all the records since owning and many of the records since new. It recieves a full detail at least once per month. I treat the drive train with the same care. Does this sound like "poor maintenance"? It has truely lead a babied life. We bought it with the intent on keeping it for many years to come. I love large, sleek cars (I was a long time Thunderbird SC owner previous to this). The trouble is my wife hasn't driven it since Jan. and we will never allow our new baby to ever set foot in it.

Like I said I have been in the trenches for a while now but GM will not get the best of me. I have progressed up the ladder with my state'* attorney generals office to the deputy attorney general. We'll see about the outcome soon.

Has anyone else suffered a similar fate? Has there ever been talk of a class-action suit? Any assistance would be welcomed.


Cheers,

JS
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Old 07-10-2003, 01:32 AM   #2
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Holy Crap

Never heard of that.. but I think either Rat or Willwren may have experienced something similar dealing with a trans or oil line that broke and sprayed the fluid all over the engine bay causing a fire..

I hope all goes well and wish you the best of luck and quick resolve in your case.. it'* sad to see how and and every company ( much like government ) will never claim at fault even though they may have admitted it earlier.. ( much like government.. quick to take your money.. but will beat around the bush to give it back ) Ask DeathRat bout all the recalls and such ( he has vast knowledge of all recalls and such related to GM ) and whether it applies to your car.

I hope you have it resolved and unfortunetly there'* no convincing from us to stay GM, but under your case it'* understandable ( and if I was in your shoes I would probably do the same ) .

So what was damaged? Just everything under the hood? Did it get any further? Glad at least you were all alright in the car.
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Old 07-10-2003, 02:40 AM   #3
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That was me. Pure luck saved the car. There'* an old post here about it somewhere.
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Old 07-11-2003, 05:57 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply and the sympathy. To answer your question; no, no one was hurt although I had to jump back from the flames upon lifting the hood (I was going to slam it shut to extingush the flames). Luckily my wife met me at the door with the fire extingusher from our kitchen and it was out within seconds. Most of the fire damage was between the firewall and the engine. Among other parts, the fuel rail partially melted if that gives any indication as to the heat involved. No telling how much would have be damaged had we been away from home and our extingisher when it happened. In retrospect maybe I should have let it burn. At least then I would be entitled to something. I'll try to post a picture if I can.

Talk to you later,

Joel
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Old 07-11-2003, 06:14 PM   #5
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Yeah, if it burned up you could at least have gotten some insurance money.
I've seen one vehicle engine fire and the thing went pretty dang fast, there was hardly any time for the driver to get out of the truck.
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Old 07-13-2003, 04:53 AM   #6
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I know there was a recall on the 96 models in mid 96 but haven't heard anything about the 97 models. Here is what I have on the 96 recalls.

Quote:
Recall - Upper Intake Manifold Fractures


Number: 97-C-02
Date: 06/01/96
Recall - Upper Intake Manifold Fractures
Owner Letter
June, 1996

Dear Pontiac Bonneville Customer:

This notice is sent to you in accordance with the requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

REASON FOR THIS RECALL

General Motors has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in the vehicle engine control system of certain 1996 Pontiac Bonneville model vehicles equipped with a 3.8L V6 engine (RPO L36). These vehicles may exhibit, under a certain set of complex conditions, a backfire during engine starting that can cause breakage of the upper intake manifold. This can cause a no start condition and possibly an engine compartment fire. Also, if a person was in the immediate vicinity of the intake manifold when the hood was open, and this backfire occurred, it could result in personal injury.

WHAT WE WILL DO

To prevent this condition from occurring, your dealer will update the vehicle Powertrain Control Module with new programming software. This service will be performed at no cost to you.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

Although the likelihood of this condition occurring is very low, we suggest that the vehicle hood be shut whenever starting your vehicle. If possible, start your vehicle only in an open area.

Please contact your Pontiac dealer as soon as possible to arrange an appointment.

Instructions for making this correction have been sent to your dealer. The labor time necessary to perform this service correction is approximately thirty (30) minutes. Please ask your dealer if you wish to know how much additional time will be needed to schedule and process your vehicle.

Your Pontiac dealer is best equipped to obtain parts and provide service to ensure that your vehicle is corrected as promptly as possible. If, however, you take your vehicle to your dealer on the agreed service date, and they do not remedy this condition on that date, or within five (5) days, we recommend you contact the Pontiac Customer Assistance Center by calling: 1-800-762-2737.

After contacting your dealer and the Pontiac Customer Assistance Center, if you are still not satisfied that we have done our best to remedy this condition, without charge and within a reasonable time, you may wish to write the Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, *.W., Washington, DC 20590 or call 1-800-424-9393 (Washington, DC residents use 202-366-0123).

The enclosed Campaign Customer Reply Card identifies your vehicle. Presentation of this card to your dealer will assist in making the necessary inspection/correction in the shortest possible time. If you have sold or traded your vehicle, please let us know by completing the postage paid Customer Reply Card and returning it to us.

We are sorry to cause you this inconvenience; however, we have taken this action in the interest of your safety and continued satisfaction with our products.
Quote:
Recall 96V116000: Intake Backfire During Starting


Number: NHTSA96V116000
Date: 06/24/96
Recall 96V116000: Intake Backfire During Starting
A BACKFIRE DURING ENGINE STARTING CAN CAUSE BREAKAGE OF THE UPPER INTAKE MANIFOLD. THIS CONDITION CAN CAUSE A NO-START CONDITION AND POSSIBLY AN ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRE. DEALERS WILL UPDATE THE POWERTRAIN CONTROL MODULE PROGRAMMING. UNTIL THE CAMPAIGN REPAIR IS MADE, THE VEHICLE HOOD SHOULD BE SHUT WHENEVER STARTING THE VEHICLE TO REDUCE THE CHANCE OF PERSONAL INJURY.

SYSTEM: FUEL; CARBURETOR; MANIFOLD; INTAKE.

VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH 3.8L V6 ENGINE.

OWNER NOTIFICATION: OWNER NOTIFICATIONS BEGAN DURING JUNE 1996.

NOTE: OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT BUICK AT 1-800-521-7300; PONTIAC AT 1-800-762-2737; OR OLDSMOBILE AT1-800-442-6537. ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'* AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-800-424-9393.

1996 BUICK LESABRE
1996 BUICK PARK AVENUE
1996 BUICK REGAL
1996 BUICK RIVIERA
1996 OLDSMOBILE 88
1996 OLDSMOBILE 98
1996 PONTIAC BONNEVILLE
1997 BUICK LESABRE
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Old 07-13-2003, 12:45 PM   #7
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You're very lucky to have a car still. I was told by the dealer that probably only 10% of the cars that had my problem (bad crimps on the trans lines) still exist. Most people don't move quick enough to get the fire out before it reaches a critical stage.

Kudos to your wife for quick thinking!
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Old 07-13-2003, 05:36 PM   #8
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If my 96 Bonny catches on fire, I will take a sledge hammmer and beat the crap out of it, and then go out and by a FORD.
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Old 07-13-2003, 07:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tutu67
If my 96 Bonny catches on fire, I will take a sledge hammmer and beat the crap out of it, and then go out and by a FORD.
Well after a month or so of you owning a FORD, we should see you here. You think a ford will have a more reliable engine then a 3800?? Well lets just say they aren't gonna be #1 anytime soon...
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Old 07-14-2003, 05:43 AM   #10
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I was supposed to get some humor out of that. I don't think about buying a Ford anytime soon, or ever. Found On Road Dead P.O.*.'* Ford'*. I don't see why the F-150'* are the #1 selling truck. I guess tho there'* so many old Chevy'* out there that are still running strong.
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