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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:11 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:26 pm
Posts: 19
Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
Greetings everyone,
My Grandmother gave me here 1997 SE. It's been garaged and has low mileage.
I'd like to do things to address issues and make it as good as possible.
Great running car and looks like new.

I've read about alot of the common issues here on a the 3800 engine expert guy in Facebook.

History so far
-has 57k on it now after I drove it home.
-grandma bought it new in 97. clean and very little rust.
-no OBD codes found, but a Tech 2 scanner was not used.

-had oil changes at 5k at Midas with Valvoline traditional 5w-30. inside the oil cap looks clean.
-had brakes and rotors redone at some point. needs a brake fluid flush asap.
-a/c unit had a recharge at Pep Boys at some point with a new a/c clutch added too. still blows cold after many years.

-had an external coolant in 2010 (intake) at 43k. a GM dealer did the work with gm parts.
-parts used: 89017817 gasket kit, 24505924 thermostat, 19209288 water pump, 88986805 serp belt
-work done: replace intake gasket, thermo, water pump, flush engine oil, flush coolant (dexcool put back in), replace serp belt
-no idea is the exhaust pipe issue was addressed inside the plastic intake. the intake was reused so i'm guessing no damage seen. is this an issue?
-there is some dexcool sludge issue.

-at 55k i replace the radiator hoses and added prestone universal 50/50 coolant to it. cleaned out overflow and added prestone to that too. plan on buying a dorman replacement asap. did not bleed it just drove it. temp is solid at 190 and level in bottle stable.
-plan on doing additional drains and flushes with more prestone now i'm home plus adding rmi-25 at the final change when the orange dexcool color is all gone from the system.

-the alternator (I think) makes a bearing noise at times. was worse until I drove it 1000 miles. changes out the serp tension pully with a new dorman metal one as i thought that was issue. no, but the oem pulley bearing were marginal anyway.
-looking at Rock Auto alternators and leaning toward Denso rebuilt one as I trust Denso from the Japanese world of electronics. thoughts?
-when I replace the alternator i'm doing the coolant elbows proactively at the tensioner. using those alum ones and getting oem o-rings from the dealer. watched the a1 video on it. I only see 1 elbow used as the other inlet is built into the tensioner bracket yet those dorman elbow kits have 2 elbows...what am I missing here???

-gone thru and started added di-electric grease to all the connections fittings. the ground busses are brand new looking under the carpet. sealed then up with grease at fitting and liquid electric tape at the bottom of the wire at the crimps. no issues.
-battery is newer and strong. wire brushed & greased connections plus the frame ground point next to it.
where are the other frame grounds???

-air cleaner is new looking
-mass air flow sensor was cleaned by me but looked good. no engine performance issues.
-new Dorman PCV kit added

Problems cars has:
1. abs light on dash comes on and off with restarts. need to check, clean and re-grease those abs sensors at each wheel and see what happens. will report back.
2. the cruise control has an issue. no light on dash ever. sometimes it kicks off when driving. sometimes it will not go on when I press in the center to activate it. waiting a few minutes the switching lever to off and on again it works again. not heat related as it did not work on cool driving day too
3.are these 2 inter-related? the cruise would work (when working) with the abs light on or off however.

Updates planned
1. plugs and wires. Denso Iridium plugs and which wires? Delco or another better/stronger?
2. transmission fluid change with new Dorman pan with a drain bolt. which gasket is best? best fluid to use? i plan on a drain, fill drive, then repeat a few times. fluid color looks good but no history of fluid.
3 next oil change. 5w-30 semi-synth Castrol GTX? gets cold in Colorado. leak issue using sem-synth GTX?
non found so far :-) oem filter, other, Pure ONE?
4 fuel filter. once again probably original & want to be safe.
5 more coolant drain and fills till the coolant has no orange tint left.

Anything else? Any sensors known to go bad and worth swapping out.
I'm into fixing things before issues happens vs driving and seeing.
Since it's my labor and Rock Auto part order costs are reasonable.

I really like this car!!!
I'll post a pic asap.

Thanks, Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:26 pm
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
thanks for the post acceptance. excited i found this dedicated group for this new car of mine.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:36 pm 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
Tell me about using a 180 degree thermo vs the 195 in there now and drilling a small hole in it.
I'm in Colorado if that matters. Thnx


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:46 pm 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
So I've found some surface rust on parts of the brake lines and frame areas. I've read use por 15 by some but use a converter then encapsolater by others as por 15 requires all the rust to be removed first.

It looks difficult and potentially degrading to the lines to get all the rust off first. Are spray on rust converters legit or bogus? If legit do I then top coat the lines to future protect?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:58 pm 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
So I've settled on the good Napa Beldin spark plug wires.
Seems those are highly recommend.
Add to that NGK iridium plugs.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:05 pm 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
I have deteriorating subframe front bushings on my 97.
Are the bushing from the newer Bonneville generation the same fit? Or do I need to use the Dorman kit?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 6:11 pm
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Location: Chicago, IL
Year and Trim: 2003 SLE
Welcome. Car looks great!

ABS light may be a bad wheel bearing. Not sure on the cruise issue and whether it is related. I do believe a TechII should be able to tell you more about the issue. I'm more familiar with the 2000+ than the 92-99 to be honest though.

Use any stock heat range iridium spark plug with ACDelco, Belden, or Delphi wires. Basically any wire set that isn't the absolute cheapest. I got Delphi wires for myself and am happy with them.

Use whatever 5W30 motor oil you like. Synthetic allows for longer change intervals. ACDelco PF52 oil filter adds .5 quart capacity, making the fill an even 5 quarts.

Use Dex III or any compatible fluid for the transmission, with the stock gasket. The stock gasket is metal and rubber and should last the life of the vehicle. Using the Dorman trans pan is up to you. I would also add a Trans-Go shift kit while you're in there. One fluid exchange is more than enough. I don't remember if the 97 has the 4T65 or the 4T60. The shift kit only works in the 65.

Use the appropriate ACDelco fuel filter. They are cheap and quick to change.

The 180 thermostat will allow the car to run cooler when on the highway, but otherwise won't change anything else. It is your choice. You won't notice anything without a tune to adjust the fans down to the 180 thermostat. I would just leave the 195.

The plastic intake may need replacing. You can also drill, tap, and plug the coolant passages in the lower intake to completely eliminate any future issues, as that is what ultimately causes the motor to die.

Not sure on the subframe bushings.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:53 am 
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Posts like an L67
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:11 pm
Posts: 1235
Location: Ontario, Canada
Year and Trim: 2000 Bonniville SSEi L67
hi, welcome to the club!!

now there is a hand me down you can accept with pride!

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2000 SSEi
past rides:
1996 SSEi
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1987 Grand Am


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:52 am 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
nos4blood70 wrote:
Welcome. Car looks great!

ABS light may be a bad wheel bearing. Not sure on the cruise issue and whether it is related. I do believe a TechII should be able to tell you more about the issue. I'm more familiar with the 2000+ than the 92-99 to be honest though.

Use any stock heat range iridium spark plug with ACDelco, Belden, or Delphi wires. Basically any wire set that isn't the absolute cheapest. I got Delphi wires for myself and am happy with them.

Use whatever 5W30 motor oil you like. Synthetic allows for longer change intervals. ACDelco PF52 oil filter adds .5 quart capacity, making the fill an even 5 quarts.

Use Dex III or any compatible fluid for the transmission, with the stock gasket. The stock gasket is metal and rubber and should last the life of the vehicle. Using the Dorman trans pan is up to you. I would also add a Trans-Go shift kit while you're in there. One fluid exchange is more than enough. I don't remember if the 97 has the 4T65 or the 4T60. The shift kit only works in the 65.

Use the appropriate ACDelco fuel filter. They are cheap and quick to change.

The 180 thermostat will allow the car to run cooler when on the highway, but otherwise won't change anything else. It is your choice. You won't notice anything without a tune to adjust the fans down to the 180 thermostat. I would just leave the 195.

The plastic intake may need replacing. You can also drill, tap, and plug the coolant passages in the lower intake to completely eliminate any future issues, as that is what ultimately causes the motor to die.

Not sure on the subframe bushings.


Thanks.

The ABS problem seems to be going away. Light goes off now. Tested it in the dirt and it works. Need to flush fluid asap.

My tranny is a 60 not a 65. Planning on changing filter (Napa) and adding that Dorman pan with drain bolt.
So I've read some say use dex 3 (maxlife) and others say use newest dex spec oil???

I'll get one of those Delco fuel filters to be safe.

Changed oil with that larger filter, a Pure One.

Thinking I'll keep my 195 thermo.

So what happens to the intake housing?
Does the egr pipe melt it?


Thanks Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:26 pm
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
96 SSEi wrote:
hi, welcome to the club!!

now there is a hand me down you can accept with pride!

Thanks, I've gotten a few remarks how good that old car looks. Very long and curvy vrs many new cars.
Still getting use to the long hood and long turning radius.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:57 am 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
Still having problems with cruise control. Has a mind of it's own. Does not turn on every time & just kicks off at times going down the road.
Ideas?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:12 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 11:11 pm
Posts: 1235
Location: Ontario, Canada
Year and Trim: 2000 Bonniville SSEi L67
did you check the fuse?

_________________
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2000 SSEi
past rides:
1996 SSEi
1992 GTP
1987 Grand Am


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:26 pm
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
96 SSEi wrote:
did you check the fuse?

Fuse all good, it's intermittent.

Neighbor suggested either brake pedal switch, checking wires that come off the steering column switch or changing out all rear brake bulbs.

I looked at the cable and clips of the cruise control unit in the engine bay. All looks good. Took off the round cable attachment to the cc unit and looked in. That flat yellow cable looks brand new, no issues.

Someone mention cable slack adjustment but I fail to see an adjuster on the throttle cable nor the cruise control cable where they attach that the throttle body. Am I missing something?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:50 pm 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
Anyone have a source for the front liscense plate bracket on a 1997 SE bumper? It's a pointed bumper design. Different than the SSE/SSEi which has an integrated spot for plate.

I can see where there was a bracket in the past with 2 screw holes in the plastic bumper. My grandmother moved from a front plate state to a rear only and she had dealer toss it for looks.

Now I need it in Colorado. My plate hoes do not line up either to bumper holes. I need the factory bracket.
Searched eBay no luck. Can't find a part number to search used places. Any ideas? Thnx


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:09 pm 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
How about a plastic bug shield?
We see a ton of rock chips in the front edge of hoods here.

And wheel well splash guards? Those rubber unbranded oem GM ones? Years ago you could get them with a Pontiac symbol too?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2017 2:32 pm 
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Location: Dearborn, MI
Year and Trim: '93 SSEi
'05 STS-4
'97 Camaro
'97 LeSabre
Bushings - the newer Bonneville bushings do not fit directly. Your best bet is to remove one first, and check the condition. If the subframe hole is starting to rot out, you need to repair that by welding in a new patch panel first. Bolting new bushings into a rotted subframe won't do anything to help you. You can get aftermarket generic replacements as well, but I don't know if they fit the hole in the subframe exact or not.

Spray on rust stuff: leave it. Por15 is good, but if you have rust on the brake lines your best option is to cut it out and replace. Is it surface rust, or is the line starting to crumble already?

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Runs:
'93 Pontiac Bonneville SSEi - Twincharged, manual, racecar! Build thread
'97 Chevy Camaro - 3800, T5, T-tops, my DD
'05 Cadillac STS - V8, AWD, her DD
'89 Buick LeSabre Limited - winter DD
'84 GMC Sierra Classic - Twin turbo 3800
'97 Buick LeSabre - L67 project
'92 Pontiac Bonneville SSE future project

Doesn't run:
'87 Buick LeSabre T-type - future victim
'67 Buick LeSabre - future victim


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:18 pm 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
MattStrike wrote:
Bushings - the newer Bonneville bushings do not fit directly. Your best bet is to remove one first, and check the condition. If the subframe hole is starting to rot out, you need to repair that by welding in a new patch panel first. Bolting new bushings into a rotted subframe won't do anything to help you. You can get aftermarket generic replacements as well, but I don't know if they fit the hole in the subframe exact or not.

Spray on rust stuff: leave it. Por15 is good, but if you have rust on the brake lines your best option is to cut it out and replace. Is it surface rust, or is the line starting to crumble already?

Thanks.

No real rust issues. This car was well protected and hardly ever went out in the winter.
The rubber is just degrading around the edge from old age that's all. Only has 57k on it. Suspension still works great, no noises or issues.

Brake lines just have some surface rust on a few places.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:23 pm 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
eakins wrote:
Anyone have a source for the front liscense plate bracket on a 1997 SE bumper? It's a pointed bumper design. Different than the SSE/SSEi which has an integrated spot for plate.

I can see where there was a bracket in the past with 2 screw holes in the plastic bumper. My grandmother moved from a front plate state to a rear only and she had dealer toss it for looks.

Now I need it in Colorado. My plate hoes do not line up either to bumper holes. I need the factory bracket.
Searched eBay no luck. Can't find a part number to search used places. Any ideas? Thnx


Anyone have any ideas on this? I need to get my front plate mounted up asap.
Is there a way to look up the original Pontiac part # so I can do a Google search?
Seems most GM part searches do not include Pontiac.
Are there used stocking places?

Here is what this part looks like:
http://images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/12826368.jpg


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:46 pm 
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Year and Trim: 97 Bonneville SE L36
This is liscense plate bracket I need. Any ideas where to source one? Ideally used


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:51 am 
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Year and Trim: 1995 pontiac bonneville se
i think i found a plate mount that mite work for you.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/A-NASA-like-Ru ... #vi-ilComp


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