Where I've Been – Grand Prix Hell

January 22, 2009

For the past several days, I’ve been working on my car.  For what should have been a 20-minute job turned into quite an ordeal, but I can now say that it seems to be working properly.

I have a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GTP  (yes, the engine is supercharged — that actually felt good to say when gas was under $2.00).

At some point, perhaps more than a year ago, the heating/air conditioning blower stopped blowing on the lowest setting, #1.  Over time, it gradually started losing higher settings, 2, 3, and finally 4.  At that point, heat or a/c would only work on the highest setting, 5.

There was only one thing more unbearable than heat or a/c set constantly on 5, and that is no heat or a/c at all.  On the coldest day of the year, when the temperature was -11 F, and you could see the vapor from your mouth crystallize and fall to the ground when you breathed, the number 5 setting died.

At that point I still had heat.  The blower motor was still blowing full-blast no matter what setting it was on.  When I was leaving work, heading to my car on Wednesday, I noticed a noise coming from the car.  I was standing outside of it, and the doors were still locked.  Upon opening it, I realized that the blower motor was still churning at full power.  Before I could get home, it shut itself off.  Apparently, however, that was just a temporary safety mechanism.

When I went to start the car the next day, the battery was dead.  Charging the battery again would only last until the blower motor zapped the juice again.  I knew I could not delay any longer.  I did not have $300+ dollars to shell out for repairs on my car, so I took matters into my own hands.

Apparently, Grand Prix owners have been plagued with the same failing part: a blower motor resistor that regulates the air output of the blower motor.  If part of it fails, you’ll lose functionality on some settings.  If and when it fails completely, it will never shut off until you pull the fuse, which is what I was forced to do.

It is not just 1997 Grand Prix’s affected by this problem.  Owners of models form every year even up to 2004 seem to have the same problems with this little resistor.  I knew it was a small part and knew that it was located inside of the car (not under the hood or underneath), but nothing could prepare me for the ordeal of trying to replace this part.

In my next post, I’ll detail what it took to obtain the part and finally get it installed into my car.



  1. Hey, what’s up man? How are you doing? Hope all is well.

  2. […] Daily Automobile Maintenance Answers: How much would this cost in … […]

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