Sep 132017

1992 Pontiac Firebird

Electrical popping sound while starting

I had a starter replaced on my 1992 Firebird. Now somethings not right. When I start my car with new starter, I hear a electrical popping sound while starting. Any ideas? I think there’s one way to install the starter, only 2 wires…what’s else could it be? Touching wires?

Loose connections and or worn wiring rubbing against the block.


Jun 262017

1970 Pontiac FirebirdSelecting an alternator

I recently add several electrical components to the engine and chassis.
Before selecting an alternator to handle the extra loads, I’ve been advised to compile a list of units and amp draws.
The add-ons list this info in their included literature, but I’m unable to find amp draws for the OEM units like: fan blower, headlights, ignition, radio etc.
Where I can I get this info?

Just use the max amp draw for that circuit. For example, the radio has a 5 amp fuse. even though this is the max amperage you could use it and be safe. Headlights use a 20 amp fuse. 30 amp for the blower. I would think just go for the largest available and you should be good. I am sure the 100 amp alternator would be fine but if you also have a hopped up stereo you may want to opt for the 130 amp alternator. Might as well through in an extra large battery as well.

Alternator Precautions

To prevent serious damage to the alternator and the rest of the charging system, the following precautions must be observed:

  • When installing a battery, make sure that the positive cable is connected to the positive terminal and the negative to the negative.
  • When jump-starting the car with another battery, make sure that like terminals are connected. This also applies when using a battery charger.
  • Never operate the alternator with the battery disconnected or otherwise on an uncontrolled open circuit. Double-check to ensure that all connections are tight.
  • Do not short across or ground any alternator or regulator terminals.
  • Don’t try to polarize the alternator.
  • Do not apply full battery voltage to the field (brown) connector.
  • Always disconnect the negative battery cable before disconnecting the alternator lead.
May 292017

1993 Pontiac Grand AmWhen it sets at idle it is fine. But when I start to back up the driveway it starts missing real bad and blows black smoke.

Black smoke is an indication of fuel that did not get burned. The engine miss may have something to do with this. The best approach would be to check for any existing check engine light codes that may have been stored. These codes can point us in the right direction. Fortunately the 1993 Pontiac is an OBD I system. This means we are able to pull the Pontiac Codes without a scan tool. Once you have pulled the codes post them below in the comments for more information.

May 032017

2001 Pontiac Boneville

Check engine light starts flashing

I’m stranded on the side of Interstate 5 in Northern California. I was traveling at about 70 mph and all of a sudden I lost power and my check engine light starts flashing then it overheated and I stalled out. After it cooled off but won’t start even jumped the battery. Removed the spark plugs to check for water in the cylinders. There was water in 3 cylinders so I removed the spark plugs one at a time and then started the car to blow out the water. About 3 weeks ago had the oil changed but now the oil smells burnt but there isn’t any water in the oil.

You are experiencing all the classic symptoms of a blown head gasket or intake gasket.

May 032017

2008 Pontiac Torrent

Torrent that was serviced a week ago

I have a front wheel drive, 6 cyl engine, 151,00 miles on it, Torrent that was serviced a week ago. The service performed included a coolant system flush. The following day the engine light indicated it was overheating. The next day the warning system sounded that the engine was overheating. Since it was a weekend I could not contact the dealership until Monday.

I took my car in this past Tuesday, April 18, and they kept trying to find the problem all week long. Now they are saying it was not a problem from what they did, but just a coincidence. In order for them to find the problem they want to begin taking the engine apart. They said it might be the heads, or an engine crack. The cost to just take it apart has been quoted at $660, then any and all repairs will need to be done. Are they correct in stating that the coolant flush, and oil flush had nothing to do with the problem?

Prior to taking it in because of the engine light being on

Prior to taking it in because of the engine light being on, which was emission related, I have not had the vehicle overheat. I only drove it 10 miles home and then 10 miles back and forth to work for 2 days. It only overheated on the way to work, not back. The temperature gauge only elevated on the trip going to work, I do work nights, but the temperature in Michigan has not been warm during this period. There was also no fluid leaking in my driveway or garage, nor was any seen in the parking lot. The dealership now claims it is leaking fluid after they drive it, which is causing it to overheat.

I have had all service done with this dealership since I bought the car new. I’m afraid to drive it in fear it will completely destroy the engine. But I don’t feel putting in a another 2 to 3 thousand will be worth it.

Are they correct in stating that the coolant flush, and oil flush had nothing to do with the problem?

It is hard to say. Not sure what your reason for having a coolant system flush performed was to begin with.

If the issues occurred from the coolant level not being refilled correctly it is possible that it would be partially at fault. However the vehicle should have been removed from service when the gauges indicated a problem. Continuing to use the vehicle is a distressed condition was your decission and may be the reason further damage has occurred.

Coolant System Flush

Important Do not use a chemical flush.
Store used coolant in the proper manner, such as in a used engine coolant holding tank. Do not pour used coolant down a drain. Ethylene glycol antifreeze is a very toxic chemical. Do not dispose of coolant into the sewer system or ground water. This is illegal and ecologically unsound. Various methods and equipment can be used to flush the cooling system. If special equipment is used, such as a back flusher, follow the manufacturer’s instruction. Always remove the thermostat before flushing the cooling system.
When the cooling system becomes contaminated, the cooling system should be flushed thoroughly to remove the contaminants before the engine is seriously damaged.

  • Drain the cooling system.
  • Remove the surge tank.
  • Clean and flush the surge tank with clean, drinkable water.
  • Install the surge tank.
  • Follow the drain and fill procedure using only clean, drinkable water.
    •Run the engine for 20 minutes.
  • Stop the engine.
  • Drain the cooling system.
  • Repeat the procedure if necessary, until the fluid is nearly colorless.
  • Fill the cooling system.


Apr 042017

Fuse Blows Grand PrixFuse Blows. I replaced the starter for it was bad, now when I try to start it I’m blowing fuses. I have looked for an exposed ground and no luck…any ideas???


Double check your work. It is common for the big power cables, that attach to the back of the starter to touch something it shouldn’t. Look there first.

Fuse Blows

A fuse blows from a direct short. So look for one of the cables to be touching the side of the engine block or starter case.

Starting System Description and Operation

When the ignition switch is placed in the Start position a discrete 12 volts signal is supplied to the BCM notifying it that the ignition is in the Start position. The BCM then supplies a class 2 message to the PCM notifying it that CRANK has been requested. At the same time the BCM is supplying 12 volts for the IGN 1 relay closing it and supplying battery positive voltage for the Crank relay coil. The PCM verifies that the transmission is in Park or Neutral. If it is, the PCM grounds the control circuit of the Crank relay. When this occurs battery positive voltage is supplied through the switch side of the Crank relay to the S terminal of the starter solenoid.

Feb 092017

2005 Pontiac AztecMy battery is dead and I can not remove key from the ignition. It wont turn back to the off position for me to take it out.


Can not remove key

The ignition key can only be removed when the transmission is placed in park. The first thing I would check is the boot around the shifter. There could be something cause in there stopping the shifter from fully reaching the park position. If there is nothing, the park lock solenoid may be faulty.

Park Lock Solenoid

The park lock solenoid is a safety device that prevents an inadvertent shift out of PARK when the key is in the OFF position. The key must be in the RUN position to release the park lock solenoid.

The system consists of the park lock solenoid.

With the ignition in the ON position, voltage is supplied to the park lock solenoid. The park lock solenoid energizes through a permanent ground unlocking the shift lever. With the ignition in the OFF or ACCY position the park lock solenoid de-energizes and locks the shift lever in the park position.

Dec 272016

2002 Pontiac Grand AmCar wouldn’t start one morning. It gets fuel and spark. We took it to our mechanic friend where it sat for about 2 months. We got the car back when he wasn’t able to figure it out. It started right away and was fine for a few days then died while I was driving. The dash lights have been on since we got it over a year ago, we tried to bypass the security. We are at a loss. Please help!


The security will shut off the fuel injector pulse. So if you are getting fuel and spark, it has nothing to do with the security. Here is a wonderful no start diagnostic chart that gives you step by step checks to follow.

Dec 082016

1993 Pontiac Grand PrixOn 11/30/16 my car stalled as I was driving in heavy rain. I did drive through some not so high standing water. I pulled to the side and tried to start the engine and it idled for a minute or two but when I tried to pull away it stalled. It would only start if I feed it gas and it did not want to stay running as it did back fire. I had it towed to a small shop where a friend is the service writer. The mechanic pulled about 7 different codes and when cleared they came back. I feel it’s unlikely that all of these different things failed at the same time? The mechanic doesn’t know where to start with all of these codes as it would cost much money. Where would you start? Thanks for your help


I would take an air hose tot eh engine compartment to dry out the engine bay and all around the spark plugs, and electrical connections. Electronics do weird things when exposed to lots of water.