Head Gasket Failure


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
93,000 miles
Total Complaints:
11 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. had the head gasket replaced (6 reports)
  2. replaced engine (3 reports)
  3. not sure (2 reports)
2001 Pontiac Montana engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Pontiac Montana Owner Comments

problem #11

Oct 012006

Montana 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles


Because of the cost we delayed making the repair. I finally had a buddy do it for me for about half the cost of a quote from a service shop. Even after the repair was made I paid a price. The gunk from the leak ended up clogging my exhaust system. It plugged the catalytic converter and caused a loss of power that confounded us for quite a while.

- dec0, Westlake, OH, US

problem #10

Mar 242013

Montana ES 3.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,167 miles

My daughter was on her way to work. Check engine light starts flashing. She feels the engine to start running rough and sees a big cloud of white smoke pouring out the back. And that is all she wrote. . . .

Just spent $1800 having the struts and shocks replaced and transmission serviced so that my daughter would have what I thought would be a safe reliable vehicle to commute to work and school. Bought it new 12 years ago. It isn't worth much on a trade and now, it's worth nothing. I thought it would work as a first vehicle for my daughter rather than buying used and getting someone else's problems. Well I guess that didn't work out so well.

Next vehicle will be an import

- dalebc, Surrey, BC, canada

problem #9

May 052005

Montana SE 3.1L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

The head gasket needed replacing just after the air intake gasket -- two very large fixes inside of a year.

- derty42, Delhi, ON, Canada

problem #8

Mar 012008

Montana Extended 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles


this is the first engine i have replaced and now the second motor is doing the same thing.I WILL NEVER BUY A PONTIAC VEHICLE AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND I WILL TELL EVERYONE I KNOW NOT TO BUY ONE EITHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Venita L., la Vergne, TN, US

problem #7

Jan 012009

Montana Extended 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles



- Venita L., la Vergne, TN, US

problem #6

Sep 062007

Montana Extended

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles

coming home from taking my children shopping, oldest started school the next day. about 20 miles away from home vehicle starts acting up before you know it, the engine starts knocking. Knowing that wasn't a good sign, got a hold of mechanic, and the engine was blown!!!!! Find out the recall work for the heads that was fixed before we bought it still didn't work, and not being able to get the company to help us out we had no choice but to get it fixed now we owe twice as much on a vehicle that we will never get all repaid for..

- Kristen F., Thompson Falls, MT, US

problem #5

Aug 062007

Montana Extended

  • Automatic transmission
  • 91,000 miles


After having my 3rd child we decided to go and buy a different vehicle. We found our 2001 Pontiac Montana and was told about the head gasket problem and the dealer had it already fixed even though it hadn't been a problem yet. But without much warning as i was coming home from school clothes shopping started to lose speed, and then there was the knocking. The gasket had been leaking and not even the mechanic that changed the oil noticed. So our answer was to replace the engine, which happened 4 months and $4,000.00 later. Now having a vehicle that you owe twice as much as its worth and who wants to buy a vehicle with these problems?

SO ADD ME to any class action suites!!!

- Kristen F., Thompson Falls, MT, US

problem #4

Mar 032008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,788 miles

This problem had very little warning.. 2 weeks ago I had oil change, transmission flush, etc. Right after, I noticed the heating was acting odd.. cold and hot.. I wondered if it was due to the levels, as the guy at Mr. Lube had said to come back in a few days and have the transmission level checked. So, I did, and it was fine.

Yesterday, I took my kids to school and was in line at Tim Hortons.. suddenly the temp. light went on. (thank God for those lights.. i dont know if I would ever have noticed that the dial was in the red before I saw smoke!) I was smart enough to turn on the van, and the temp went down immediately. I drove to Mr. Lube, to see if they could spot the problem..

yes, the coolant was leaking. He also showed me a lid and said it appears to be the head gasket, I should take it right to the dealer... he also mentioned that there have been problems with this, that it was a defect in the design. He was nice enough to top up the coolant with a litre for me, so that I could get over there!!! He told me it would probably cost about $1000, so I was reasonably prepared. (I thought)

I drove to the dealership and since I had to pick my kids up and it wasn't leaking substantially, I decided to keep the van and drop it off last night.

This morning I got the call. Head gasket, intake gasket and some other small gaskets that may as well be replaced while they are in there. The biggest cost is labor. 11.5 hours. She quoted me $1400!!! After my husband and I freaked out a bit, we drove the kids to school and then I dropped my husband at the airport, he was heading out of town. I then went to a mechanic/maintenance shop where I had my emission test done.. I figured I would at least get a quote from someone else. The guy told me they dont do this type of work... too big a job. then, I called our family mechanic in the next town, my family has been using him for years. He also told me about the defect, in fact, he made a few calls then called me back and said that they had even changed the warranty to 5 years because of it. (later, after investigation online, I discovered it was changed for vehicles made AFTER the defect had been fixed, not on mine) He told me to call them, say I was looking on the internet etc. and see what they could do.

Anyway, I called the girl back at GM and she was well aware of the defect, said it's unfortunate and that they definitely should have done a recall. She said she is going to see what she can do about the price, that the manager had given her a bit of freedom in this situation to work the price a bit. My current quote is $1400 so I am not sure how much she will be able to knock off, but since I have heard from two mechanics that for the job, $1400 is considered reasonable, I will take what I can get.

She did tell me the parts that will be used are the upgraded newer ones, so if we hang on to this van, at least I shouldn't have to deal with that problem again!

This is a great site.. i was really helped by the comments of others which is why I chose to add mine so that hopefully it will also help someone!!! Cheers.

- Tracey D., Oakville, ON, Canada

problem #3

Feb 122008

Montana 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

This will be the third time I would have to replace the head gasket. I was told by my regular mechanic that the Montana's were well know for blowing head gaskets at around 60,000 miles. I bought this vehicle with 10,000 miles on it. A little over 60,000 miles, my check engine light started to come on, losing compression and speed, then my temperature gage rose quickly and the car died.

After cooling off, it would start right back up again, only to keep doing the same. I took it to my mechanic to have the work done. $1800.00 USD and three days later we got the car back, only to find out that it was running rough. It messed up on the the injectors, which we had to replace for another $550.00 USD. The car ran fine until we hit the 100,000 mile mark where it happened again. Same problems, took it to a different mechanic this time, spent another $1800.00 USD for the same problem. This mechanic used two gaskets, because this was not the first Montana he had to fix either. Got the car back and low and behold, had to fix another fuel injector, he only charged $300.00 USD. Got the car back, was running great, now I have 121,000 miles and when I just go the oil changed, they said the oil was milky and suggested it was the head gasket again.

I feel that if GM knows about all these problems with the head gasket on their engines, then why are they not being recalled? My brother has a 1999 Chevy Venture and is having the same exact problem. He has changed hi head gasket out twice and this last time, it blew his whole engine. So this issue is a total failure for GM products of this type.

They need to held responsible for these major issues!

Rob M

- Robert M., Bolingbrook, IL, US

problem #2

Feb 112008

Montana 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles

Add me to the list of a class action suit. I have had to replace the head gasket twice. Once at 60,000 miles and the other time at 100,000 miles. I am now at 121,000 miles and it is going again!

No wonder why GM is losing so much money every quarter. Great Customer Service, makes me want to run out and by another GM product. My brother is having the same problem with his 1999 Chevy Venture.

- Robert M., Bolingbrook, IL, US

problem #1

Oct 032007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,885 miles

I've have been the only owner of this van, I did all the proper care, and in the last 7 months I've dropped more than $4500 in repairs into the thing. I'm extremely disappointed with this product and it has turned me off buying American made vehicles in the future. The exhaust manifold gasket, an oil gasket, front brake system, head gasket, and now it seems like the transmission in acting up. If I could I'd take TNT to the thing, but discretion is the better part of valor.

- Andrew S., Vancouver, BC, Canada

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