Diagnosing my car issues(Grand Prix GT 2000)

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  #1  
Old 10-11-08, 02:31 PM
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Diagnosing my car issues(Grand Prix GT 2000)

Hey all,

It seems that after a 8 year smooth ride, my car is beginning to "show its age". I have a list of things that are going wrong and I want to get opinions on what must be fix now, what can wait, what are lies from the mechanic etc. Oh yeah, if anyone lives in the NW Chicago suburbs and knows an honest reliable mechanic, please let me know.

For while I have been getting a screeching sound whenever I am turning, especially during tight turns (like when parking) and I thought it was a serpentine belt problem. Midas took a look and let me know that the belt was okay. The sound continued
and then I started noticed my car with start to feel a bit unstable when I get on the highway and start above 70 mph.

During my last oil change, Midas said that my wheel bearing were bad and gave be an estimate bill for $1,500(other things were added). Of course, I didn't change it but the screeching & instability is getting worse and now I'm hearing the screech when I make left hand turns. I does seem like I have a wheel bearing problem... right?

Other things listed in the "$1500 estimate bill"
1) Replace Wheel Bearing - $700
2) Replace Control Arm SHaft and Bushing - $271
What is this?
3) Sway Bar kit - $75.36
I was told last year by Pontiac that there was a crack in the stability bar. Is this the same thing?

Another main thing....there is a hole or something in the oil pan gasket, so I am beginning to see oil on my garage floor. Is this one of those "must get it fixed ASAP" repairs? My car emits a really bad odor and I'm not sure if this is the root of it.

Also the shock absorption is poor, could be related to the wheel bearing issue or maybe something else?

What's the opinion on a Brake flush?


Thanks in advance.
 
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  #2  
Old 10-11-08, 03:46 PM
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Does it making the screeching noise when you are parked and crank the steering all the way over? If so, I would lean more towards the rack n pinion, or steering pump. Check your fluid level.

Can you confirm your oil leak? Could it be power steering fluid?

If it is indeed oil leaking from the pan, just keep an eye on your oil level and top off as needed until you have the funds to fix it.

A blown strut would put some considerable stress on the front end components, so blown bearing could be an issue too.

I would set your priorities for:

1. Steering stability issue (strut, bearings, rack n pinion)

2. Oil pan leak

Hang in there and we will get more opinions.

Also, this is a DoItYourself site, we can help you save money by doing the work yourself?
 
  #3  
Old 10-12-08, 06:10 PM
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I work for a pontiac dealership and all of this problems with your car are common problems. The prices for service are a quite high. I agree that is a doityourself web site and some of these problems aren't to difficult to fix.
 
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Old 10-15-08, 09:04 AM
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Highway vibration symptom

Another problem that could cause the high vibration in the highway could be your tires. Try rotating your tires and see if the vibration goes down. If it does, have the balancing checked.
 
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Old 10-15-08, 10:23 AM
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Well...as to the finding a mechanic question...
Ask friends and neighbors who they would recommend or like.

Sometimes, auto parts counter guys are a good resource, as long as they aren't affiliated with a repair shop as well.

Angies List is supposed to be a good reference..I've never needed it.

The Car Talk website has a find a mechanic area, and I have used that once or twice and was pretty happy with the places I found.
 
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Old 10-15-08, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by HotinOKC View Post
Does it making the screeching noise when you are parked and crank the steering all the way over? If so, I would lean more towards the rack n pinion, or steering pump. Check your fluid level.
No, it doesn't.

Originally Posted by HotinOKC View Post
Can you confirm your oil leak? Could it be power steering fluid?
Yes, this is oil on the garage floor. Its a yellowish greasy substance....I think that's oil.


Originally Posted by HotinOKC View Post
If it is indeed oil leaking from the pan, just keep an eye on your oil level and top off as needed until you have the funds to fix it.
That's a great idea.

Originally Posted by HotinOKC View Post
Also, this is a DoItYourself site, we can help you save money by doing the work yourself?
I know, know and I love to do-it-myself.......if I have some semblance of experience and I have none with auto stuff. I'm going to check out youtube and see if I can watch some "how-to" videos to gauge if I could do some car things by myself and with a helper. I love to save money
 
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Old 10-15-08, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by acepop View Post
Another problem that could cause the high vibration in the highway could be your tires. Try rotating your tires and see if the vibration goes down. If it does, have the balancing checked.
I rotate my tires with every oil change i.e, it still happened right after I got them rotated, so I don't know if it that's it. I can have the balancing checked.


Gunguy45, Thanks for the recommendations.


Originally Posted by Gmtech425 View Post
I work for a pontiac dealership and all of this problems with your car are common problems. The prices for service are a quite high. I agree that is a doityourself web site and some of these problems aren't to difficult to fix.
Gmtech, where would you recommend I start? I agree with you and I actually try to avoid dealership service at all costs. I wonder if there is some tutorials on the internet that I watch (I like visual illustrations) and I would probably need some basic tools as well.

Thanks to all for the help.
 
  #8  
Old 10-16-08, 04:36 AM
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The squeaking is most likely the bearing on the top of the strut. On a car 8 years old the struts likely need to be replaced any way, so you can check the bearings while you have them out, new struts will help with the instability at highway speed. The wheel bearing is not difficult to change, if you have the tools, it requires removing the big nut on the end of the drive axle, the brake caliper, and the hub retaining bolts. The drive axle nut will be easier to remove with an air compressor and impact wrench. Get under the car and pinpoint the oil leak then we can help you with the repair, until then just keep the oil level full.
 
  #9  
Old 10-16-08, 06:20 PM
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Ok, I think they are hosing you.
Yes, all of things may realy be bad BUT........on an 8 year old car may just be something to live with.
The brake flush question I would only add fluid if you need it is low or if the pads or worn, some after-market brake pads can squeel when the rotors and drums get worn.
The vibration could be tire balance or just worn out tires.
The control arm bushing/bearing, I would get a 2nd opinion.
And the yellow/greasy stuff on the floor could be anti-freeze NOT oil. Do a smell test rub it on your fingers and sniff. Does it smell sweet or like a gassy/burnt smell. If it is somewhat sweet it's a coolant (anti-freeze) leak and could be a potential leaky intake gasket (known to fail on these cars). If it is oil and just a small amout I would not worry about it but just check your oil level every 2 weeks.
The wheel bearings on these cars are pretty reliable and question the validity of a bad bearing. A bad bearing will howl as you speed up and increase the sound when turning in a particular direction.
I never heard of a sway bar or stabilizer bar cracking but the bushings do shrink and wear out that can cause poor cornering and handleing but don't cause a serious threat to your safety.
It does sound like the front struts are worn out
I would hate to see you dump $2 grand into and old Pontiac thats only worth about $ 1 grand and get taken to to the cleaners.
 
  #10  
Old 10-22-08, 12:39 PM
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Quick Update: My car stuff has taken a back seat to my numerous House problems that seems to be cropping up at a daily basis .

Mackey, I checked the substance on the garage floor and it does not smell burnt, however, I do smell burned oil when I drive the car and especially after I park it in the garage. I placed a cardboard under the car, but I only got one drop of oil. It was brownish in color which is different from what's on the garage floor (yellowish). To better detect, I decided to place a white plastic on top of the cardboard, so I let you know. I think its odd that there was only 1 drop of oil on the cardboard. The oil level looks fine.

The car is due an oil change, so I plan to rotate & align my tires to see if that helps with the vibration and also see what the service guys say (i.e. second opinion) . If I can get a clear confirmation on whether its struts or wheal-bearing then I can see if its something I can research on and do with assistance from one of my many brothers/male cousins that I have. I can't believe none of them are DIYers or have friends that are DIYers, heck I'm more of a DIYer that 90% of them combined.

Again, thanks to everyone for your help. I appreciate it.
 
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