Jump to content
Forums Gone... but not forgotten!
Pontiac of the Month

brandyv73's 1968 Firebird

2019 June
of the Month


64 Bonneville cuts out in reverse

Recommended Posts

I have been having an issue with my 64 Bonneville Vista. It will start right up and run just fine but as soon as it gets to operating temperature it will shut off if I put it in reverse. Once it dies  I can't get it to even turn over or click. I know the proximity of the alternator to the exhaust manifold heats the alternator up really fast and it needs to cool off before it will start again, but is the issue with it cutting out in reverse a separate issue? I bought a heat shield to put on the alternator and if that doesn't solve the problem with the nonstart, I might just end up going with a mini-starter. Any help or suggestions about the stalling in reverse would be helpful. Thanks in advance

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tired of these Ads? Register Today!

Hi LiveRiveted64. I think we might be fighting a couple of issues here.

Pontiac engines have a notorious heat soak re-start problem, especially if you have wrap-around headers. The problem is the starter or solenoid gets so hot from the heat of the exhaust manifolds/headers that it won't engage. You can buy a heat shield, and add some heat resistant material to the shield from most of the catalogs. However, for the actual starter, you have two choices, purchase a heavy-duty Pontiac starter (Pontiac had 2 different starters back in the day - a standard starter and an optional heavy duty starter - if your car is mostly original you may have the standard starter) or a more modern compact mini-torque starter. Also, check your battery cables, are they in good shape or could they stand to be replaced?

On my 455, I run factory reproduction HO/Ram Air exhaust manifolds (factory headers essentially). I have a heat shield with no material and a heavy-duty starter. I make sure the wires don't come in contact with engine (no burn through - I had that happen once before too). I make sure the engine's intial and total timing is within proper spec.

Now your reverse problem I think is something else. Is you car an automatic or manual? Since it is a 4-door Vista, I am going to assume for the moment is an automatic. I am wondering if your neutral safety switch has partially or completely failed thus cutting off the ignition when you go to shift. You can't restart the car because the engine is already too hot (problem #1).

  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everybody. Not sure why I kept saying alternator. Yes, I meant the starter. The car is 100% stock and is a column shift automatic. Sounds like I was on the right track with the starter. Thanks for everyone’s input! I love driving my Bonny but it gets frustrating and embarrassing when I need to sit for an extended period of time for it to start again. One last question on the same vehicle. Wipers aren’t working. Fuse is good and switch has been replaced. Anybody know of a place to source a wiper motor? I have looked high and low and have only found one online through the auction site that starts with an E for big money. It’s a two speed motor with three connections. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're having a hard time locating the wiper motor assembly....Or would like to keep the original...It is a serviceable unit and can be repaired...took photos with my phone hope you can see them OK...Hopefully this helps....




















  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cool. Thanks for all of the help! 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Tired of these Ads? Purchase Enhanced Membership today to remove them!
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.