Leaking Coolant, Cracked Intake Manifold Gasket

2001 Pontiac Grand Am (Page 2 of 4)

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Pontiac dealer.

CarComplaints.com Seal Of Avoid Like The Plague


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
89,816 miles
Total Complaints:
63 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace intake manifold gasket (32 reports)
  2. not sure (10 reports)
  3. replace intake manifold gaskets (6 reports)
  4. re-imbursement of expense due to GM and Dex-cool Corp. deals (4 reports)
  5. replace intake manifold (3 reports)
  6. gm should replace all models with these problems (2 reports)
2001 Pontiac Grand Am engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2001 Pontiac Grand Am:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2001 Pontiac Grand Am Owner Comments (Page 2 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #43

Jun 012006

Grand Am GT1 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,000 miles


Needless to say, this was the first of MANY issues with my car. I purchased it from my parents with 33k on the odometer (about four years old) for trade in value of what the car was worth. I thought that I couldn't go wrong as my current ride was an 99' Altima SE with 110k miles. For $4k, I moved up two model years and 75k miles less. My parents don't know the half of the problems I have had with this car...should of kept the Altima (I thought it was going to start nickel and diming me). The Altima did not go into the shop for anything ever (we bought it new) other than normal maintenance. I have typically leaned towards American cars (mostly GM) in the past but now I will be rethinking my future purchases. And yes, I have encountered just about every problem known to this car (two pass lock sensors, ABS wheel sensor, catalytic converter, heater fan switch, turn signal indicator, and another leaking intake manifold at about 95k miles). GM didn't want to do anything either.

- , Columbia City, IN, USA

problem #42

Nov 222008

Grand Am GT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

I bought this car from a "certified gm dealership" and I have had nothing but problems with this piece of sh*t car. Within a matter of months, I had to replace both tie rods, the windshield wiper arms, and the head gaskets. The head gaskets were actually melted. Within about 6 months I ended up having to replace the torque converter. Let's see, less than a year later, the fuel pump went followed by the air conditioner. Now I am being told that the catalytic converter is gone and I have a leak in the intake manifold that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. I really don't want to ever purchase another Pontiac as long as I live. I would rather ride my bike than deal with this car again.

- , Browns Mills, NJ, USA

problem #41

Dec 012008

Grand Am GT V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

Just another one of the people who have to deal with this same problem. Luckily I have a really cool brother in-law who is willing to fix it for me. If not I really couldn't afford to have it repaired for the estimated $700. What is the deal with the Dex-cool anyway? I see a couple people have listed that they re-filled with normal anti-freeze after replacing the gaskets. Is that really ok to do?

- , Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #40

Jan 082007

Grand Am

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles


I have had to have the intake manifold gasket replaced twice in my car. The first time I had reported a leak BEFORE my warranty ran out. After my warranty ran out and it had been in the shop a couple of times, they figured out it was the gasket. Thankfully, after a bit of crying and frustration on my part - they covered under a warranty. I had to pay a deductible of $200.00. Imagine my frustration - when it happened AGAIN a few years later and this time - no dice - I was stuck with the bill of $900 some dollars. I bought this car new so that I could have a reliable car. This car has been in the shop more than probably all my other cars combined and they were all used. I have had numerous electrical problems - the doors unlocked WHILE I was driving!?!. I have a dome light that STAYS on, a heater/AC that blows only on 3 (not 1 or 2), a cd player that won't play cds, I have replaced or repaired two windows, one - twice, a turn signal that is TWICE as fast as the other, a dash that is pulling away from everything, brake rotors that have to be machined most everytime the brakes are replaced, and a crunching noise on the passenger side when I take a bump that no one can find. If I lived close enough and it were feasible - I would WALK or ride my bike to work - This is ridiculous!

- , Hampton, VA, USA

problem #39

Feb 012008

Grand Am GT 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I initially discovered this problem in the winter when I got into the car on a very cold day. Enough coolant had been consumed by the engine that the level had dropped to the point that the low coolant light came on when I started the car. I let it run for a couple of minutes to see if it would expand enough to hit the sensor and turn the light off and it did (I was no where close to buy more coolant to top it up). I drove it home and bought some famous "Dexcool" and whipped up a batch of 50/50 to top up the surge tank. At that time, I thought I had solved the problem.

A couple of weeks later the light came on again and basically I went through the same drill. I confirmed that there were no puddles of coolant on the floor in my garage or in my parking spot at work and both were dry. At that point, I had no idea about the infamous intake manifold and gasket problem with these engines, but after extensive research on the internet (a lot from this website), I was steered in the right direction. In June, the coolant consumption was getting worse and the car started to run hotter than usual, so I had to carry out the repairs. I did not get decent information or answers from several local GM dealers, so I took it to a local independent shop which is owned and operated by an ex GM mechanic with many many years of GM experience. He said that he had repaired a very large amount of engines with this exact problem. There are websites that state that this only affects the 3.1, 3.4, 3.8 and 4.3 L V6 engines, however I was told that it even affects some of the larger V8 engines such as the 350 (5.7L), etc. It may be wise to do some homework if you have a GM between 1995 and 2003 to see if your engine is affected regardless of the model. Dexcool seems to be getting a lot of the blame for these issues as it is an organic acidic formula that is meant to reduce corrosion to the inside of the aluminum components of your cooling system (heater core, radiator, w/p, etc). Care should be taken to ensure that the formula does not become too acidic and start to erode internal sealing surfaces. Varying time and mileage is being given by people who are experiencing issues. I decided to flush out the Dexcool completely and go back to the green type that has always been used in the past. It is also important to note that GM had released a Service Bulletin which not only mentioned changing the Intake Manifold Gaskets but also the studs which fasten the manifold to the engine as well. In addition to that, they also recommended a higher torque (from 11 ft-lbs to 18 ft-lbs - from memory - this should be confirmed), but this difference seemed like quite a blunder to me to recommend nearly twice the torque that was originally specified.

When I saw how large the problem was regarding how many engines and vehicle models this affected, it prompted me to research it further where I came across a website stating that there was a class action suit pending this case in the US as well as one in Canada. The Canadian website is: http://www.gmcanadianclassaction.ca/forms/form.html where you can enter all of your relevant information if you would like to join the long list of plaintiffs.

The Repair:

I had my local independent expert GM mechanic replace the intake manifold gaskets with a Felpro intake manifold gasket kit. He told me that he observed that they seemed to be slightly thicker than the OEM Genuine gaskets, so hopefully they will be a permanent fix (or at least last longer than the original ones did). He changed the thermostat while he was in that far and I had him flush all of the Dexcool out of the system and replace it with green coolant (OEM GM coolant was used in this case). As this problem can cause coolant to leak into your oil system, an oil change is required to ensure that clean and pure oil is put back in your system to avoid severe and even catastrophic damage to your bearings and other contact surfaces in your engine. Some engines have a plastic intake manifold that can get burned spots and require replacement. On this particular Grand Am GT, the intake manifold is aluminum and did not require replacement. The total bill was $1005 CAD which is hard to take especially after I had just had to replace the security key sensor 2 weeks earlier (also another huge issue with GM vehicles) to the tune of $800 CAD and the front brakes the week before that.

I have always been a GM fan (cars and trucks), but this car has been a real money pit and I have run out of reasons to not go with a foreign car. The North American vehicle manufacturers have a lot of catching up to do and hopefully they can before it's too late. I firmly believe that GM should offer some sort of compensation to its loyal customers for this issue. Typical warranty statements mention something to the effect of your equipment being free from material defects or workmanship for a certain period of time. These gaskets and the material are not free from defects especially when used in conjunction with a questionable coolant formula and a torque spec that was too low from the start. It will cost a lot of money to make this right, but that is the cost of doing business and I'm sure that most of GM's "victims" would be happy to get even a portion of their hard earned money back that they had to pay to correct a problem that should have never been an issue right off the drawing board.

- , Okotoks, Alberta, Canada

problem #38

Oct 152006

(reported on)

Grand Am GT

  • 69,000 miles

i like the car, looks good, handles well, good gas mileage. unfortunately i wont buy American again. GM should know they have a problem with the dexcool and the gaskets. they need to stand behind their products a little better. my Pontiac ends up in the shop every 10,000 miles. i am ready to add a third Toyota to my car family, maybe my mechanic will be able to finally take a vacation!

- , Toms Brook, VA, USA

problem #37

Apr 252007

(reported on)

Grand Am GT 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,934 miles


well guys i got screwed too , i had this car and its had nothing but problems , if any one wants to join up and sue this company for not telling us that its products are useless then lets do it , my head gasket went and at first it was only meant to cost 1500 then they rang up and suggested a whole load of other jobs that they recommend , so basically if you don't do this your not covered in warranty down the road , in other words i couldn't sit down for a week after i got #$@$ in the bum of gm , never buying off them again and i will never recommend a gm grand am gt to any one , rubbish engines made cheap sold for too much , and gm dealers keep inop to them selfs and the service manager didn't know what was going on . peace out

- , Saskatoon, Saskatchewen, Canada

problem #36

Jun 232004

Grand Am GT

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles

Noticed that the engine coolant was starting to drop. Added coolant and could not find leak. Had a dealership look at and intake manifold was leaking. This was covered under extended warranty. Still was a pain in the butt and took a week to fix. Warranty didn't cover the oil change that had to be done since coolant leaked into the engine. Engine still running and no other problems except the pass lock.

- , Colby, KS, USA

problem #35

Mar 042008

Grand Am V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

Add me to the ever-growing list of Grand Ams leaking coolant. My temperature gauge would quit working for a day or two and then resume working. Then the Service Engine Soon light came on. This is after I had the car in the shop for a $300 fix to repair the heater fan. And that was after the windshield fluid reservoir and turning signal connections were repaired ($250). I once heard that 75,000 miles was the limit for Grand Ams, but I did not take the comment seriously. $1500 over a 6-month period has convinced me otherwise. PLUS my front tires leak air, even though the tire shop could find nothing wrong with the tires themselves. I was told the rims somehow attract debris and gradually the dirt wedges a space, which allows air to leak. I only drive an average of 12,000 a year - that's hardly enough to take a toll on the car's engine, in my opinion.

- , Wooster, OH, USA

problem #34

Jan 082008

Grand Am Grand Am GT 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 71,000 miles

leaking coolant on driveway. intake manifold shot I was told that this is at least a 500 dollar fix but that it is very labor intensive and I don't like it when people start taking my car apart.

- , Northeast, OH, USA

problem #33

Jan 282008

Grand Am GT 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,310 miles


click to see larger images

leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket leaking coolant, cracked intake manifold gasket

Intake Gaskets were leaking Anti-Freeze, a common problem with this motor due to the Dex-Cool GM uses. Anyway I went to change the gaskets and found the coolant passage on the head closest to the firewall on the pass side clogged with this really hard crystal like substance. Thats where the gasket broke. Replaced intake gaskets and seems to be fine now. I went with the new Antifreeze that can be mixed with any color any type instead of the Dex-Cool.

- , Burlington, KY, USA

problem #32

Jun 012007

Grand Am SE 3.2ll V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

Just Don't Buy A Grand Am. Always something wrong. Now I have a car I don't need and never drive, with currently a small leak. However, I can't sell it. Without the leak, it has a good body, still runs fine. I was offered $3,000 for a car that should be at least $5,000. Everybody knows that the manufacturer screwed up and will not recall to repair. I don't have money to sink into this car and no one else wants to either. No wonder foreign cars are selling so well in the United States. I may become a Honda fan.

- , Fostoria, MI, USA

problem #31

Oct 192007

Grand Am GT 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,916 miles

Unfortunately I made the biggest mistake that a person can make when purchasing a vehicle. I trusted the dealer. The asking price was high but I figured it was worth it considering the low mileage. I drove the car home twenty minutes later after my fathers hundred point inspection he found oil in the radiator. I took it to a shop and the mechanic said that it was most likely the intake manifold gasket. Luckily, the car was still under warranty so I made an appointment with my dealer, drove the two hours and then waited all day till my car was fixed because their insurance does not allow loaner cars. Two weeks later still oil in the radiator. My dealer refused to give me my work orders( which is unlawful) and said that the car was fixed. I demanded that he drain and refill my radiator. This time I left the car there for two weeks. Yes It took them two weeks to do this one simple task. He gave me an extended warranty for intake manifold and head gaskets because he was positive that this was not the problem. I got the car back and surprise surprise their was still oil in the radiator. I told my dealer that he was an incompetent idiot and the car was not fixed, and of course he was flabbergasted. At this point I began to wonder if their really was anything wrong with my car. I took it to my own mechanic who diagnosed that why their was still oil in my radiator was because it was never drained and refilled by my dealer. So at this point I wanted to shove the car where the sun doesn't shine. I paid to have it done properly and guess what it is fixed. For now that is, but their is a larger issue here that thankfully because of this site I know that its not just the car. It's the coolant. The 50/50 Dex cool that is recommended by GM is currently eating away at my car and the same problem will occur again in the future. GM is full aware of what this coolant is doing. So why do they continue to use and approve of it? Because they manufacture it. So if you currently use this coolant, get it out of your vehicle now before it causes costly repairs. Or to save thousands of dollars in the long run just pay extra money for a Toyota, Subaru, or Honda. Their is a reason these are not GM made vehicles.

- , Avoca, NY, USA

problem #30

Dec 082007

Grand Am SE 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 97,000 miles

everyone that has had or has problems with their gm , it is because of the coolant that we are recommended to use, it is acting as an acid and it is eating its way through our radiators, water pumps, intake gaskets, and more, go to consumeraffairs.com for more information regarding this. knowledge is power people!!!

- , Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #29

Nov 012007

Grand Am SE 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

This pos car has been al ot more trouble than it was worth, as a teenager, since before i was able to even drive my dream car was a pontiac grand am, gt, later model around the 2000 to 03 models, with a sunroof, nice rims, and it had to have ram air with the hood display on it. I dreamed about this car for a long time, after going through my first car which was a pontiac grand prix, (1993), i was finally able to get a car that was close to what i had originally wanted. The grand prix i previously owned had a freeze plug that went out in it, so i had to get rid of that one. Well I got this car at a used car lot, and I also did the whole car fax history report thing too. It had been wrecked in the front end but no report of damage to the engine at all. When I purchased this car, there was 74,000 miles on it. a few weeks later, i had put it in the shop for a possible coolant leak, and i had used the shop that was recommended by the dealer , when i bought this car i had also purchased an extended warranty for 1500 dollars, thank god i did, because to this day my car has been in and out of the shop 8 times, for various problems. The car was being returned to me everytime, with the excuse that they did not find a leak in the coolant system, but I knew I should not be having to fill the reservoir every 3 weeks to a month. The problem got worse as time went by, and the engine was idling rough quite frequently, today my car is in the shop for the 9th time for the same problems, only i chose a different shop, and the problems got so much worse over the past week, the temperature has been sky rocketing to the danger zone, and when it does this the car completely shuts down, while this happened the low coolant light kept coming on, while the service engine light was repeatedly flashing, the engine was just shaking profusely, on top of this previously before the car had done this, I lost all power, while having to keep refilling the coolant every couple days now, I had to fight this car to make it up a hill, constantly , needless to say the highways were not an option. This makes me so mad because I am still currently paying 300 dollars a month on the stupid thing, not to mention the insurance. I also have two kids which makes the situation worse, since I am paying on a unreliable vehicle. My car had to be towed 2 days ago to a shop, because on my way to work it broke down on me, I ended up getting to work 2 hours late and I had to sign a write up, I was so pissed off, and now the shop is telling me that it will take over a week to replace what they think is the head gasket(intake manifold) on my car. So i did some research on this, just to see if i was the only one, and I found I was not the only one having these problems, so before my car gets even worse before I GET RID OF IT, and never buy another gm again, what advice does anyone have for me about this coolant, besides don't use it, It would be nice to inform my shop which one I would like to be put into the car , so if anyone of you guys know which one would be safe to use please advise me of this, and just in case gm manufacturers are reading this, you guys suck and you are gonna go down, you should notify the public about this, this is our lives, and our money you are messing with, I would really sue you guys if I just had the chance, I am so dissappointed with this car, because it had let down all my dreams of owning one, I planned on keeping this car until I found one that was a gt, with ram air, and a ram air hood, and it had to be black, which is the color of my current grand am.

- , Saint Louis, MO, USA

problem #28

Mar 072007

Grand Am SE 1 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,933 miles

On 03/01/06 I took my car to the authorized dealer to have my brakes checked. My mistake. The car was no longer under warranty. I could have taken the car anywhere for repair. I was told that I need new brakes and rotors. I had them replaced. When I went to pick up my car I was informed by the dealer that I had a leak. I was told that it was a high pressure steering hose. They would have to order it. I told the dealer to order the hose and I would bring my car back to them when they had the hose which would only take two days to get the part. When I returned to the dealer they kept my car for two days. When I called to check up on my car they told me that there was nothing leaking and I could come and get my car. Couple of days later I noticed fluid under my car. I was not going to take it back to the same dealer. I took my car to another very qualified mechanic only to find that I had an oil leak that was mixing oil with coolant. This would have ruined my engine if I did not get it repaired. The high pressure steering hose was also leaking. I was told by my mechanic that this problem with the engine leak was common on the 2001 model only. It was the intake manifold. It was a defect and I should contact General Motors and officially complain about this problem. In order to fix the car correctly the engine had to be slightly modified. Now the car is fine. GM did not want to here it. As far as they were concerned this was not an issue and it was not their problem. Too bad this didn't happen while the car was under warranty.

- , Bronx, NY, USA

problem #27

Oct 112007

(reported on)

Grand Am SE 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles

I have been a long time Pontiac customer, but not after I get rid of this piece of junk Grand Am. First off, I had to have $16000 worth of warranty work done on the car in the first 2 years (thankfully I had an extended warranty). Then, approximately 1 year ago, apparently I hit one of those concrete curbs that are at the front of most parking stalls. The stupid cowling at the front of the car scraped against the curb which moved the radiator, condenser and heaven only knows what else. The air conditioner immediately stopped working. The GM dealership told me it would cost about $800 to fix which I couldn't afford, so I left it and just did without the air conditioner. Then last month, the car started leaking engine coolant like crazy so I took it in and $250 later was assured it was fixed. The next day, coolant was once again all over the driveway, and I was told it would cost at least another $900 to replace the rad, condenser etc.

This car just seems to have so many design flaws that cost so much money to repair (anybody else have problems with the lower engine cowl?). Goodbye GM, my money is heading towards an import.

- , Chilliack, BC, Canada

problem #26

Sep 012007

(reported on)

Grand Am SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

For the last month I have been w/o out a car due to my car overheating and a friend, who works on cars part time, could not figure out what was wrong. He replaced the thermostat. Nothing. The temperature coolant sensor. Nothing. The fan relay. Nothing. He has it on the computer and very was registering the car was fine however when the engine got to a certain temperature, the fan would not click on.

After the inconvenience of being w/o a car, I called another friend that was a mechanic and he reminded me that my prior car had the same problem and he has fixed it. It was the intake gasket. He explained that Dex-cool is used in GM cars instead of the "green anti-freeze" and that Dex-cool acts as an acid. This is exactly what it did.

I had to take it to a service shop and this is what they diagnosed and had to fix. They also flush out the Dex-cool from the car and replaced it with the green anti-freeze. This and the other parts to repair cost me over $700. This is something that should never have happened if GM would not use Dex-cool in their cars. I am having to pay for their mistakes. I would like to see if something can come of this since it is a problem that happens almost all the time.

- , Douglasville, GA, USA

problem #25

Aug 232007

(reported on)

Grand Am GT 3.4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,200 miles

Typical intake gaskets leaks due to Dexcool coolant crap! I've had the car 2 years. Replaced intakes gaskets in early 2006. Replaced again a month later. This month just replaced again along with cracked head. I'm out over 3k because of this f'n stuff. This is my 3rd Grand Am I have had. This one has gave me more issues the double what the other two gave me. I 'm a big GM fan (mainly Chevy stuff) but this really burns me. No wonder GM has been having financial troubles.

- , Platte City, MO, USA

problem #24

Aug 172007

(reported on)

Grand Am SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

Back in August 2006 I kept seeing the "low coolant" light pop on and off. I took it into the dealer to have it inspected. It cost me $1300 to fix. Then in December it came back on had it repaired again another $500. Then later that month I had to replace the coolant sensor $400. Recently it popped up again I went back to the dealer and had the radiator hoses replaced $300. Then believe it or not the light came back on and today I was told the intake was all messed up and it was going to cost me another $900. I refuse to pay any more money towards the coolant system. I'm ready to file a complaint to GM and the BBB regarding this matter. I can't believe the lack in quality in this vehicle. I've had problems with the power steering, security chip, and computer system with this vehicle. The stupid car has cost me more to fix then buy! I'm NEVER buying a Pontiac again after this experience.

- , San Diego, CA, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?