Pontiac Sunbird

The Pontiac Sunbird was a subcompact, four-passenger car produced from 1975 to 1994 by General Motors’ Pontiac division. This model was offered in notchback coupe, station wagon, sedan, hatchback and convertible body styles.

1,922 Questions
Serpentine Belts
Pontiac Sunbird

Where can you find an illustration - diagram for serpentine belt routing on a Mercury Sable?

There 'should' be a diagram sticker somewhere inside the engine compartment.

- free online diagramsDayco.com offers a free online comprehensive serpentine belt reference tool - including routing diagrams and tensioner information.

See "Related Links" below

Installation notes:NOTE: See "Related Questions" below for more information on installing serpentine belt - Taurus information equally applies to the Sable

Replace the belt by fitting it around the pulleys and lastly loosening the tension with the tensioner/idler pulley to allow the belt to fit over the last pulley.

  1. Attach a 15mm socket or wrench to the bolt in the middle of the tensioner pulley.
  2. On all 3.0L (OHV) engines, rotate the drive belt tensioner clockwise to relieve belt tension and slide the belt off the pulleys.
  3. On 3.0L (DOHC) engines, rotate the tensioner counter-clockwise to relieve belt tension and slide the belt off the pulleys.
Replace the belt by fitting it around the pulleys and lastly loosening the tension with the tensioner/idler pulley to allow the belt to fit over the last pulley.

Go to the Autozone website and put in the information on your car and they will show you a diagram.

Put a wrench on the (spring loaded) tensioner/idler pulley and take out the tension. You can then remove the belt. Replace the belt by fitting it around the pulleys and lastly loosening the tension with the tensioner/idler pulley to allow the belt to fit over the last pulley.

Should be located on the underside of the hood.

Hey Nikki==It should be on the fan shroud. If it isn't and you don't have an owners manual, go to a used car lot and find a like car and draw a schematic or if you haven't taken it off yet, draw your schematic before you remove it. GoodluckJoe

Brake Pads and Rotors
Pontiac Sunbird
VW Polo
Volvo S60

How do you change the brake pads on an '88 Pontiac Sunbird?

1st. If you intend to do any work on this car at all you need tools and a good repair manual. Spend the $20.00 bucks for a manual at autozone and read read read.

There are several things to consider

Rotors need replaced?...(can be turned?)Pads?Fluid and what type?Proportioning valve problems?Spongy brakes? need new rubber lines?Vac boost working correctly?Bad calipers need rebuild?leaking fluid?bad leaking brake master cylinder?

If this work was completed by a pro could cost well over $500.00The Pro has the book that's the only dif.Get the book and read, buy the tools you need and save yourself 200.00-300.00 bucks?

It is of my opinion never buy autozone brakes get NAPA's best Pay the extra money and stop when you need it.

Ford Explorer
Pontiac Sunbird
Ford Explorer XLT

Are electrical problems common for a Pontiac Sunbird?

If you're in the Northeast where the dampness and salt eat up cars, then yes, any older car will probably have electrical problems.

Another possible factor: previous owners may have tested electrical wires with probes that pierced the protective plastic on the wire. Left open, corrosion forms and shorts out wires. I've seen this on fairly new cars.

I own a '93 Pontiac Sunbird LE, my mother was the original owner, and we haven't experienced any electrical problems with her whatsoever... but then again, I live in the desert of California so that might have somethin' to do with it. Hope this helped!

I have a '93 Sunbird as well. I hit an animal with my car and the turn signal fell off. This created numerous problems with the wiring. I replaced the blinker and bulbs and then the left blinker signal stayed on when my lights were on. I replaced the flasher and still nothing. The guys at the auto parts store said it was a short in a wire but I have power, it just doesnt blink. Any suggestions?!

I used to own a 92 Pontiac sunbird, I bought it used with 90,000 miles on it so expected some issues. in the first 2 years I replaced the alternator 3 times, had constant problems with the lights, and radio sparadicaly going out. I then had a mechanic look at it and found that the battery's negative post was literaly hanging on by a thread. after replacing the battery I drove the car for another 3 years with out any major electrical problems.

Hello, I live in Mexico City, I own a Sunbird 90 convertible, i thisnk its a incredible car, but i have a electrical proble, the light on the dash board CHECK ENGINE is lighting, some time turn off and turn on while I�m driving, when the CHKENG lights the car feels a little weird, i repaired of the TPS sensor, Jack valve, fix the wires, scan the car with the computer, that it says nothing is bad, but the problem stills and I hate it, what can I do for that, it might be a short cut somewhere, but what? a light? convertible system?

Do you have any idea guys about it ?... please help me !!! I don't wnt to sell my car, I just want to fix it, besides bof that its a outstanding machine

Gabriel Karcher (52-55) 8589-6804

Hello !!! My name is Max Power, I living in Amarillo, Texas, I have a Sunbird convertible 90, the electrical system doesn�t work with my roof, I can�t open it, i send it to fix but this guys have no idea... and I don�t have the User Manual, two questions:

1.- Where can I find the User Manual Book for the Sunbird convertible 90 ?, with that I can Fix it by myself. 2.- What can I do if I want to replace my current engine 4 cyl. 2.0 l for the 3.1 V6 brand new, is there anyway tgo do it fine ?

I hope that anybody can help me out with this questions, congratulations for the Sunbird owners, be pacient fellows with your cars, if you treat them well they will survive with you, jaja, thank you very much for your attention and your answers.

Best Regards Maximilian Power


i have a 92 Pontiac sunbird. I fixed the fuel pump and it ran great now all of a sudden it just stopped running. I put two coaialls in and a something shock i have no idea about cars as you can read but if you have a suggestion please let me know.. MY EMAIL IS Lonikiaforga87yahoo.com Thnx
Chevy Malibu
Pontiac Sunbird
Chevy Camaro RS

How do you replace the thermostat housing gasket on a 87 Pontiac Sunbird 2.0L OHC?

Drain about 1 gallon of coolant from radiator Follow the upper radiator hose to engine compartment - should end at thermostat housing Remove 2 mounting bolts Remove housing Clean both surfaces Replace gasket Re-Install housing Re-fill coolant slowly to prevent "airlock" Start engine Watch for leaks Run engine to normal operating temperature with heater on Check coolant level

Fuel and Engines
Pontiac Sunbird
Saturn S-Series

Why would there be water in the engine block?


If your oil looks watery and milky, you more than likely have a blown head.

Get it checked -- you actually could do more damage to your car engine. Some cars also get a mositure build up in the oil that might be white or yellowish color if you don't get the engine warmed up all the way in the morning causing condensation to build up on the underside of the oil cap.

More than likely it is a head gasket, the type of vehicle and mileage would be helpful, however, some times to keep an older vehicle running for a short while, would be to loosen the radiator cap, lets the pressure off, but u definitly have a cracked head, block or blown headgasket.

Car Fuses and Wiring
Headlights Tail and Brake Lights
Dashboard Lights and Gauges
Pontiac Sunbird

Why would the tail light fuse blow when you turn on the park lights on a 1993 Pontiac Sunbird?

If it's anything like my 92 Sunbird, (and they do have the same inherent problems), they are leaky cars (water wise) and it's probably wiring. There's a grounding problem it sounds like. I used to have a similar problem in my 92 when I used the cigarette lighter, it would blow the taillight fuse everytime. Replaced the cigarette lighter and problem went away. See, the cigarette lighter was rusted and the ground was faulty, so it would ground to the nearest fuse (which was taillight fuse) overload it, and blow the taillight fuse. Your parking lights are probably not grounded properly and it is doing the same thing my cigarette lighter was. Is it just me or are these cars just like the old Ford Tempo's and Dodge K cars, very reliable for the most part, but very leaky?!

Pontiac Sunbird
Chevy Cavalier Z24
The Sims 2

Why would a 91 Pontiac Sunbird convertible top just make a 'click' and not go down when you push the button?

The motor could be bad. Takeit to a garage. I have a 92 sunbird convertable I had the same problem Its the relay switch located in the trunk on the left side of the pump mounted to the back wall of the trunk with one screw Unfortunatly it is a very hard junkyard part to find and you have to buy a new one from a dealer and it costs about $120.00 or so (very high i thought for such a little part) so I f your ready here is a simple easy and cheap way to fix it. First pull the conector plug fromp the pump shold be two thick wires orange and brown i think put a wire in each one and run it to a good baterry one on ethe positive and one on the negative ( don't matter which one it works both ways one way makes it go up then switch wires other way goes down that will tell you if its the motoe or not. Then if the motoe works then go and get a high output 3 way switch and wire it your self deleting the relay and mount it in you dash then you have a new switch and you top should work good luck1

cheak all the fuses. there should be on and it proubley blew

The electric motor is bad.

I had the same problem and it was the top cylinder that are finish i replace the top cylinder and the problem was solved. It depend where you live it could be a $300. to a$500 dolars fix. i got the cylinder from the convertable guy on the internet

Have a nice day gerrybelca@yahoo.com

I thought it was a major issue, too. One day I was talking to a friend with the engine running. I pressed the rocker switch and the top started to move. I found it wouldn't work with the ignition shut off yet the relay clicked...try it with the key in the "on" position.

Air Conditioning and Coolant
Pontiac Sunbird
Chevy Blazer S-10
DIY Projects

How do you refill the freon in a 1992 Pontiac Sunbird?

most likely you have a r12 cooling system. You will first have to visit a certified AC mechanic to have the r12 drained from your system and since you have to do that then you might as well have them do the r134 conversion at the same time, it won't add that much more to the cost.

Head Gaskets and Valve Covers
Pontiac Sunbird
Saturn S-Series
1982-1994 Chevy Cavaliers

How do you replace the head gasket located on a 1998 Saturn Sl2 automatic?


Important When required, refer to the appropriate year service manuals when performing the following procedures.

Remove camshaft from cylinder head. Pressure test cooling system.

While monitoring the pressure gauge for air pressure drop, inspect all hose connections and visible joints for engine coolant leaks. Inspect the camshaft journals and surrounding areas using a bright light, to help locate hairline cracks. (Refer to illustrations for examples of area where cracks may appear.)

Important Air pressure may drop slowly, depending on the severity of the crack(s).

If a crack is detected in one or more of the areas shown, cylinder head assembly must be replaced. If no crack is detected, proceed to step 5. Remove cylinder head and gasket. Proceed to step 6 and flush engine block and cooling system before installing new cylinder head and new cylinder head gasket.

Important Engine block, radiator and heater core must be flushed before installing new cylinder head and new cylinder head gasket.

If pressure bleeds down, but no leaks or cracks are detected, remove cylinder head assembly and inspect the cylinder head gasket for damage between the oil and engine coolant passages. If cylinder head gasket is damaged, remove and discard cylinder head gasket, and proceed to step 6.

Important Engine block, radiator and heater core must be flushed before installing cylinder head and new cylinder head gasket.

If cylinder head gasket is not damaged, inspect engine blocks for cracks in the oil and engine coolant passages in the cylinder liner area. If cracks are detected, replace engine block. Leave upper radiator hose connected to the radiator. Remove and discard lower radiator hose. Open radiator drain plug. Insert a hose in the upper radiator hose and flush radiator with clean water until clean water flows from the lower radiator hose connection. Remove and discard upper radiator hose. Remove water inlet housing and thermostat and discard thermostat. Remove engine cooling system drain plug, located at the right front of the engine block below the thermostat. Remove and discard water pump. Place shop rags in the exposed cylinder bores. Using a hose, fill the exposed water jacket surrounding the cylinders with clean water until clean water comes out of the thermostat location. Remove shop rags from cylinder head bores and apply a liberal amount of 5W - 30 engine oil to the cylinder liners to help prevent corrosion.

Important Do not install thermostat at this time.

Install water inlet housing to engine. Install engine cooling system drain plug. Install new water pump. Leave inlet heater hose connected to heater core. Remove and discard outlet heater hose. Insert hose into inlet heater hose and flush with clean water until clean water comes out of heater core outlet. Remove and discard inlet heater core hose. Remove and discard coolant recovery hose. Remove coolant recovery reservoir and flush thoroughly with clean water. Install remanufactured or previously removed cylinder head and new cylinder head gasket. Install new radiator, heater and coolant recovery hoses. Change engine oil engine oil filter.

Prepare a mixture of Calgon � or equivalent (automatic dishwater detergent), and water at the rate of 59 milliliters (two ounces) (dry measure) to 3.8 Liters (1 gallon) of water. The cooling system holds approximately 7.6 liters (two gallons) of coolant.

Fill the cooling system with the mixture. Run the engine for five minutes.

Drain the cooling system. Repeat Step 29 through 32 until all oil residue is remove from system. Fill the cooling system with clean water. Let the engine run five minutes. Drain the cooling system completely. Install new engine thermostat. Install cylinder block drain plug. Close radiator drain plug.

Important The vehicle must be level when filling with coolant.

Fill the system with coolant. 1991-1996 early vehicle equipped with "Green" Saturn non-phosphate ethylene glycol-base coolant, fill the cooling system with a 50/50 mixture of new Saturn non-phosphate ethylene glycol-base coolant (P/N 21030365, 3.8 Liter [one gallon] container). 1996 interim and 1997 vehicles equipped with "Orange" Saturn DEX-COOL � extended-life engine coolant, fill the cooling system with a 50/50 mixture of new Saturn DEX-COOL � extended-life engine coolant (P/N 21031164, 3.8 Liter [one gallon] container). Start engine and check for leaks. Fill the coolant recovery reservoir to the full cold line after the engine has run for two or three minutes. Install and tighten cap.

When adding DEXCOOL, Make sure it is mixed at a 50/50 ratio with distilled water. And never add any unless it is DEXCOOL or distiled water. Adding the old green takes away boil protection and returns the coolant to 2-3 year change cycle.

Car Horns
Pontiac Sunbird
Ford F-150

Where is the horn relay on a 1991 Pontiac Sunbird?

right next to the emergency flasher It is a white three prong connector

Auto Parts and Repairs
Head Gaskets and Valve Covers
Ford Thunderbird
Pontiac Sunbird
1982-1994 Chevy Cavaliers

How do you replace the head gasket located on a 1994 Ford Thunderbird?

Hey Aaron==It is a pretty big job but if you feel up to tackeling it get you a shop manual on your car. It will have pictures and everything. Good luck Joe

Replacing the head gasket on any vehicle is a long and complicated process, however if you wish to see basic step-by-step instructions go to the related question on the right side of the page "How do you replace a head gasket?"

Pontiac Sunbird

What is the firing order for a 1991 Pontiac Sunbird 4 cylinder?

1 3 4 2

Pontiac Sunbird
Turn Signals and Hazard Lights

Where is the turn signal flasher on a 1991 Pontiac Sunbird GT located?

on the right hand side of the steering column by the column support bracket. It is tucked in behind and you need to feel for the round device.

Oil and Oil Filters
1995-1999 Dodge & Plymouth Neons
Pontiac Sunbird

Where is the location of the oil sensor in a '90 Pontiac Sunbird?

beside coil pack behind firewall

1995-1999 Dodge & Plymouth Neons
Pontiac Sunbird
Timing Belts and Chains
Ford F-350

How do you loosen the timing belt tensioner on a 94 Pontiac Sunbird 4cy 2.0L OHC?

dude, i just had to take mine off like 3 times, i dont really know how to do it rite, but it worked 4 me, there is a hole in the spring thingy and i put like a nail in it and it relieves a little stress on it, then pry, to get it back on, just get it mostly on, and flip the starter a few short! flips to get it back on track

The proper way to remove the tensioner is to loosen the water pump. The water pump is held down with clamping screws that do not go thru the water pump but rather beside it.If you look closely at the pump (pump off of engine) you will see that the shaft and pulley are not in the center of the pump but rather offset(eccentric) so that as as you rotate the pump in its housing the pulley will move in or out. The hole in the tensioner is used to help install it not remove it. To install the belt first loosen the water pump bolts enough so the water pump will rotate in its housing,mount the tensioner to the engine with a nail or drill bit thru it(as the previous poster noted)install the belt (making sure the marks are in alignment),remove the nail or drill bit and rotate the water pump intil the tensioner spring just reaches full compression and then tighten down thw water pump bolts. Hope this is a better explanation - Clyde

the proper whay is to push the tab down/or loosen the bolts and it comes off easy.

Windshields and Wipers
Jeep Cherokee Laredo
Pontiac Sunbird

What could be wrong if the wipers on your 1994 Pontiac Sunbird are sweeping sporadically?

i believe your relay might be acting up. i would replace it r u sure u aren't stuck on delay!!?? been there, done that!! This happened on our 94 Sunbird LE...it is indeed the relay.

Auto Parts and Repairs
Pontiac Sunbird

Where is the starter on a 93 Pontiac Sunbird?

Assuming it's a 4 cylinder, it's buried way up behind the back of the block and REALLY not a lot of fun to change because you need eight inch fingers with four knuckles to reach one of the bolts.

Buick Skylark
Plymouth Breeze
Pontiac Sunbird

How do you replace the alternator on a 1989 Pontiac Sunbird?

The only hard part is that you've got to get a big crescent wrench or pipe wrench onto the square extrusion on the belt tensioner and relieve the pressure so that you can slip the belt off (and back onto) the alternator. Once you've done that (the tensioner is one of the small pulleys on the side of the engine that the belt is wrapped around - it's very firm but WILL move with enough pressure; WATCH your knuckles!!! If you slip it can hurt like heck!)it's a simple matter of pulling the wiring plug off and undoing the bolts that hold the alternator.

There should be a belt/pulley diagram sticker on the radiator support near the front of the car that will show you the belt routing, make sure that the belt goes back on the right way around the proper pulleys! It can take a minute to make sure you've got it wound round everything the right way (and again, watch your knuckles with that tensioner!) Good luck!

Pontiac Sunbird
Classic 1964-1978 Ford Mustangs
Late Model 1979-New Ford Mustangs

What is involved in changing a gas tank on a 1992 Pontiac Sunbird?

There are two heavy steel straps that support the tank. I *think* (it's been a few years since I did one) that you may have to drop the exhaust a bit to let the tank clear. The straps have one big bolt each, once those are out the tank will come down (and you'll get a face full of dirt and crap falling off the top of the tank, if you're under it). There are flexible, clamped fuel lines (pressure, return and vent, if I remember right) plus the wiring for the pump; all this has to be disconnected once the tank is lowered but before you pull the tank completely out. If you're replacing the fuel sender or pump (the only reason to pull a tank 99% of the time), CLEAN off the top of the pump assembly (or all the dirt will fall into the tank when you remove the pump) and rotate the circular retaining ring by ALTERNATELY tapping the tabs on opposing sides of it with a screwdriver and hammer until it releases the plate that has all the feed lines and wires going into it. That's actually the top of the pump/sender assembly. Remove the assembly carefully. Don't forget to inspect and/or replace the big rubber O-ring underneath when you put it back together. Getting the tank re-aligned and up into place can be a pain, especially when there's just one of you lifting, positioning and balancing the tank and trying to start the strap bolts all at the same time - be patient. Good luck!!

Pontiac Grand Prix
Pontiac Sunbird
Turn Signals and Hazard Lights

How do you replace the turn signal switch located on a 1993 Pontiac Grand Prix?

My turn signal switch died on my 92 Grand Prix. Rather than attempting the repair, I took it to a shop. The steering column had to be removed to get to the switch.

Heating AC and Engine Cooling
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo
Pontiac Sunbird
Grand Am GT

Where is the cooling fan relay on a '91 Pontiac Sunbird SE 3.1 Liter V6?

The sensor is located below the hood on the pasanger side. It it normally the second relay switch. Their is three other relay switces.

Starters and Ignition Systems
Dodge Grand Caravan
Pontiac Sunbird

How do you change the starter on a 1989 Pontiac Sunbird with a 2.0 L engine?

You remove the bolts, take off the old one and bolt on the new one.

My uncle had a 1992 sunbird and in order to change the starter on that one you had to take the front axle off and drop the starter out from the bottom because of the frame and cross over bars. Not sure if 89 would be exactly the same.

My daughter had one of those front drive cars. Rather than spend a lot of time on my back, I removed the head to get at it from above. I took the head in for service and wound up with a better car.

apparently the first person has no idea about the 89 turbos, the starter is under the multi port intake under the right side near the firewall, not a good take off bolt, replace job. I TOO would like to know from the gurus out here, do you take the passenger side wheel and axel off to get to the starter? Engine only has 52K Miles. Do not wish to remove anything i do not have to. Thanks!

Pontiac Sunbird

How do you install a replacement cv joint on the driver's side on a '92 Pontiac Sunbird SE automatic?

don't repalce just one joint. purchase a rebuilt axle. It will be quicker and easier. Go to your local library to find a repair manual.

Water Pumps
Windshields and Wipers
Dodge Durango
Pontiac Sunbird

How do you replace the water pump on a 1991 Pontiac Sunbird 4 cylinder?

Hey Le==Some of these cars have to have the engine supports removed to get to the water pump. I suggest getting a manual on your car from a parts store. It will have pictures and everything. GoodluckJoe

i recently did this repair for a friend. It was excruciating. it was all day.

There are two pulleys running in this engine, and the water pump runs on the second pully behind a case. so you have to take almost everything off to get at it. Then, the water pump is actually the belt tensioner for that pulley system. it is excentric (sp?) so when you turn it in place, it tightens the belt. then you secure it back with three bolts. The belt system in question connects the drive shaft with the cam shaft, So you do have to be Very Careful with the belt/ pulley alignment.i marked the pulleys very very carefully so i could get everything lined up again.

This was a challenging repair. The one thing i did was had my GM Dealer parts person print the screen showing the breakdown of all the parts in that location so i had a reference point. Good luck

Pontiac Sunbird
Timing Belts and Chains
Ford Ranger XLT
Late Model 1979-New Ford Mustangs

How do you align the engine before you put the timing belt on for the 1994 2.0L Sunbird?

I would HIGHLY recommend you get a manual (Haynes, Chilton, etc.) with a diagram, I don't think you could do it (read: You wouldn't WANT to try to do it) properly by a written description alone. Like all timing, of course, it has to be *exactly* right, you can't be out a notch or two or your car will run terrible (if it runs at all) and you'll be pulling the belt and retiming it all again.

The top (cam)gear has dot on one the teeth on the front of the gear which is aligned with a "v" notch on the rear part of the timing belt cover. The lower gear on the crankshaft should also have mark on one of the teeth that aligns with a mark on the rear cover or you could install the crank pulley and use the timing pointer as a reference. It will be necessary to buy a new o-ring for the water pump(or preferably a new pump) as this is used to adjust the tension applied to the timing belt. You should adjust the tension on the belt until the spring loaded tensioner just reaches full compression then rotate the engine 2 full revolutions by hand and verify that the marks are still in alignment. - Clyde


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