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Amedee, Pontiac Technician
Category: Pontiac
Satisfied Customers: 25198
Experience:  ASE certified Technician advanced level specialist. Wisconsin certified emissions state inspector
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Pontiac Bonneville SE 99 bonneville 3.8 engine. had ignition

Customer Question

99 bonneville 3.8 engine.
had ignition module replaced 2 months ago.
noticed coolant was low and oil level was ok...added day it had trouble strating and did not want to stay running..and mis firing.
Local shop says it seemed to run fine until he added coolant again..then it was misfiring..was going to check it for blown head gasket next day but it wouldnt start. error code said random misfire. plugs were soaked with gas ? oil level reads over filled, coolant low again. thinks coolant is going to crankcase...either blown head gasket or intake gasket, or worse. Is it worth another 2-3 hours labor to find out or is this engine shot ?
Coolant level goes down pretty quick but does not come out tail pipe...when i drove it to shop there was white smoke for awhile....any advice would be appreciated
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Pontiac
Expert:  Amedee replied 5 years ago.

I believe there is a Technical Service Bulletin out about this condition. The upper intake manifold assembly usually is the root cause. This plastic manifold goes bad over time and warps which allows coolant to get into the engine. Please don't get mad at me if this is not the problem here, but I was you to know, that I do these intake jobs ALL of the time because of this problem. These engines are outstanding engines and I would seriously doubt that you a blown head gasket. The engine had to seriously overheat in order for a head gasket to blow on this particular engine. I would be willing to bet that if you replaced the upper intake manifold and gasket, you will be good to go!
Amedee and 2 other Pontiac Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

You were exactly correct. New intake manifold and gasket...But what other issues it caused were obviously the crankcase had to be drained and all the coolant replaced.....for some reason the plugs were soaked so it needed new plugs...just curious what normal repair cost should be? i payed 750 total....also he showed me there is a small leak from radiator.....i cant afford his labor so ill probably do that myself...hopefully i can find one for 100 ......but i cant afford to lose this engine...

Thanks again

Expert:  Amedee replied 5 years ago.

I am aware of this because not only I have done this intake manifold many many times because of this exact problem, but I own an Intrigue with the same exact motor.

750 does sound about right. You may have some a few bucks if you bought the part yourself. But either way, it would have been above 500 bucks total. This job calls for 3 to 5 hours labor depending on what repair guide you go by.

Anyway, glad to hear it is all fixed!