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 Post subject: Never ending battle
PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:24 pm 
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SLE Member
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Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:18 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Alberta, Canada
Year and Trim: 96 Bonneville SSEi
I’m pretty sure I bought a Bonneville that hates me. This *dang* car has been trouble since the day I bought it and has been nothing but headaches and kicks to the ribs while I’m down.

96 SSEi with 205,000kmin very good condition and only 2 owners. You’d think it would be a great purchase at $1000 for a nice old daily driver. This car has been one thing after another in a domino effect of unexpected repairs and failiures over the last 5 months. I’ve managed to only put 3000km on this car in almost 6 months of ownership.

I’ve had to replace the water pump when that started leaking. The belt tensioner cracked in the block and leaked. Both belts needed replacing. Needed a coolant flush and then 2 days ago the rad tank cracked and leaked under the tranny cooler line. Oil pan gasket is on the to do list. One rear shock is broken and the other is leaking oil and new ones will be here tomorrow. Had to replace a front hub. Had to replace the blend door actuator, and that was the job that married me to this car, 8 hours of pulling and reinstalling the dash was miserable. Spark plugs were one of the first things needing attention. New fuel filter. And in the meantime I’ve been trying to get all the modifications done on it. Every time I fix something, something else goes.

There are days like yesterday I just want to set the *dang* thing on fire, but I keep outing money and time into this stupid thing because I love it for some unknown reason. I drive it for a day or 2 and something else goes wrong. This has literallly been the best worst car I’ve ever owned. It’s a sleeper and a wonderful car to drive. I’ve learned so much working on this car and even though it’s bern a pain in the ass, it’s been a great learning experience for me.

I feel like I just needed to vent. I was frustrated yesterday working on it. My daily LeSabre never gives me a problem. I’m glad I had something reliable and trusty that I can rely on while I fight the monster that is my Bonneville.

Lol, thanks for taking the time to read this. It’s pretty much a frustrated rambling on. :btruestory:

_________________
'96 Bonneville SSEi - White on Teal - ZZP Stage 1 Kit, 3.6" Modular pulley, ZZP ported TB w/spacer, L3 short ram intake w/K&N filter, ZZP Power Log, ZZP DP w/high flow cat & 97+ manifold, ZZP SC coupler, ZZP HV ignition coils w/10.5mm plug wires, 16" Gold crosslaces w/Yokohama Avid tires, Olds LSS T-handle, Sony HU.

2000 Buick LeSabre Custom - Daily - Sony double DIN headunit, ZZP plug wires, ZZP TB spacer, L3 short ram intake - Dark Bronzemist Metallic on taupe


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 Post subject: Re: Never ending battle
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:55 am 
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Certified Bonneville Nut
Certified Bonneville Nut
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Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 6:11 pm
Posts: 8852
Location: Chicago, IL
Year and Trim: 2003 SLE
It's a 22 year old car with over 200,000 miles. I'm not sure why you are so surprised!

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-Car Guy Carl
"Penelope" - 2003 SLE - 172k Miles
2000 Honda S2000 - 52k miles
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 Post subject: Re: Never ending battle
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:48 am 
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Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:09 pm
Posts: 277
Location: Newtown Square, PA
Year and Trim: '97 SSEi
One must consider that once a car has 200k, anything can and will happen. Could be a very nice car and once brought up to spec can even be pretty reliable but older cars need TLC, no two ways about that.

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'97 SSEi, Majestic Teal / Beige interior, Bose, HUD, iPod ready! - SOLD! :sad: Check it out!
'99 Buick Regal LSE, Matador Red / Beige interior - SOLD! Check it out!
'96 Chevy Camaro - White w/Black / fire red interior, 3800, manual, loaded, T-tops, Bose - SOLD! Check it out!


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 Post subject: Re: Never ending battle
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:18 am 
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Certified Bonneville Nut
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Joined: Wed May 13, 2009 10:45 pm
Posts: 5425
Location: CHICAGO
Year and Trim: 2006 Cadillac STS-V, 2004 Pontiac GTO
Carl beat me to it.

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Retired Bonneville Owner and former GM Tech:
2004 Pontiac Bonneville GXP: Black/Ebony *SOLD*

Summer Toys: Combined 827 RWHP / 877lb/ft RWTQ
2004 Pontiac GTO: Impulse Blue Metallic/Black/M6: lots 'o mods, 415 RWHP / 405lb/ft RWTQ!
2006 Cadillac STS-V: Light Platinum Metallic/Light Gray/A6 - Spectre CAI, Magnaflow exhaust, Speed Inc. tune, 412 RWHP / 472lb/ft RWTQ

Daily Drivers:
2015 Chrysler Town & Country Limited Platinum: Mommy's NEW RGC
2007 Chrysler Town & Country Limited: Daddy's beater affectionately called the Rolling Garbage Can or "RGC" for short
2009 Chevrolet Impala SS: LS4 V8, Victory Red
1999 Chevrolet Suburban: Sunset Gold Metallic - Daddy's winter beater and plow truck


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 Post subject: Re: Never ending battle
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:05 pm 
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SLE Member
SLE Member

Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:18 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Alberta, Canada
Year and Trim: 96 Bonneville SSEi
Well of course it's an old car. That's obvious that things will go here and there. Also, it's just under 130k MI. I figure that's fairly low for a car that age. My 2000 LeSabre has more miles on it.

I knew this car was going to have some gremlins given the age and all the bells and whistles attached to an SSEi. And my favourite quote is "Do you know how to tell when a 3800 has oil in it? It leaks." But this car just hates me lol. It's sitting in the driveway at the moment in a puddle of every possible fluid, with a broken strut, exhaust cut off and no radiator. All of this is going to be repaired by the end of the weekend. Then I'm sure something else will break lol.

It's a labour of love. I love the car for what it is. It's more tempermental than my ex, but atleast it doesn't yell at me. :D

_________________
'96 Bonneville SSEi - White on Teal - ZZP Stage 1 Kit, 3.6" Modular pulley, ZZP ported TB w/spacer, L3 short ram intake w/K&N filter, ZZP Power Log, ZZP DP w/high flow cat & 97+ manifold, ZZP SC coupler, ZZP HV ignition coils w/10.5mm plug wires, 16" Gold crosslaces w/Yokohama Avid tires, Olds LSS T-handle, Sony HU.

2000 Buick LeSabre Custom - Daily - Sony double DIN headunit, ZZP plug wires, ZZP TB spacer, L3 short ram intake - Dark Bronzemist Metallic on taupe


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 Post subject: Re: Never ending battle
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:52 pm 
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Certified Bonneville Nut
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:32 pm
Posts: 4323
Location: Dearborn, MI
Year and Trim: '93 SSEi
'05 STS-4
'97 Camaro
'97 LeSabre
My experience with two cars so far has been if it sits (old and low mileage) things go bad faster than if it's used a lot.

My 1989 LeSabre, 130k miles on it when I got it for $350, needed everything. Luckily I had most of the parts on hand on my 260k mile '86 among other parts cars, so I haven't had to buy a lot new. But everything... PCM, fuel injectors, MAS, EGR valve, intake manifold gaskets, water pump, power steering pump, starter motor, two alternators, O2 sensor and wiring, both overflow tanks, knock sensor and wire, both front wheel bearings, brakes, one C/V axle, brake lines (done right before I got it), fuel lines and tank and sending unit and pump and filler tube, sway bars and links, ball joints, outer tie rods, shocks/struts and mounts, water leaking in windshield and rear window, etc.... The upside, is that actual downtime has been limited to weekends, and it's been a reliable winter car. Usually I just leave things until summer (when I don't drive it every day) unless it has to be fixed. Right now it has a mystery coolant leak, and one of the rear sway bar brackets is broken and needs welding, and the water leaks around the windows aren't fully fixed. But with a car like this you have to differentiate between what "must be fixed" and "what needs to be fixed" to determine if it's reliable. I will say that this car has been reliable, in that even when it's been broken it still starts and drives every time and the heat works brilliantly, and anything that keeps it from that state is usually fixed in about 30 minutes.

Another car I am working on for a friend is a '96 SSEi that has less than 90k miles on it. Motor went bad (cam bearings trashed and low oil pressure as a result), starter went bad, lifters went bad, etc. We just started on it, and I'm sure that there will be more soon enough.

Low mileage either means the car was driven every day for about 5 minutes, or it sat for a long time. Either is not a good combination, and I expect to have to deal with some spider webs as a result.

And Kudos to you for keeping it out of the scrapper for what I completely understand to be a frustrating example of what is normally a very reliable car. Being able to DIY stuff really does help control costs at least.

_________________
I don't know how much boost it takes to blow the tires off. But I know how much I'm going to use!
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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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 Post subject: Re: Never ending battle
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:19 pm 
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SLE Member
SLE Member

Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:18 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Alberta, Canada
Year and Trim: 96 Bonneville SSEi
You’re absolutely right. Every low mileage older vehicle I’ve owned has been nothing but trouble. I say, if it’s older with high miles it’s a safe bet because it’s been reliable and maintained. I’ve owned vehicles with over 300 and 400k km on them and they’ve been some of the best I’ve had.

I am happy to report I reinstalled my plastic welded rad and my ZZP downpipe his afternoon and fired up the car for the first time in over a week. Started right up, ran it for a good 20 min. The rad is holding up and the car ran great. I just need to tighten a few exhaust manifold and downpipe bolts to eliminate 2 leaks I heard. Once the new rear shocks go in, its roadworthy again. I’m excited to take it for a spin with all its new goodies. I then need to send my pcm for tuning so it’ll be more downtime while that’s being done.

But hooray, success of some sort!

_________________
'96 Bonneville SSEi - White on Teal - ZZP Stage 1 Kit, 3.6" Modular pulley, ZZP ported TB w/spacer, L3 short ram intake w/K&N filter, ZZP Power Log, ZZP DP w/high flow cat & 97+ manifold, ZZP SC coupler, ZZP HV ignition coils w/10.5mm plug wires, 16" Gold crosslaces w/Yokohama Avid tires, Olds LSS T-handle, Sony HU.

2000 Buick LeSabre Custom - Daily - Sony double DIN headunit, ZZP plug wires, ZZP TB spacer, L3 short ram intake - Dark Bronzemist Metallic on taupe


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 Post subject: Re: Never ending battle
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:52 pm 
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Certified Bonneville Nut
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Joined: Wed May 21, 2008 11:47 pm
Posts: 5929
Location: Philly
Year and Trim: 95 SLE
Just for future reference or anyone else reading, the dash doesn't need to come out for the blend for actuator. It's rough to do it with the dash in but its quicker.

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95 SLE... a keeper. 241k miles. Low and Slow.
98 Infiniti vq35'd i30: 13.3@104mph, 30MPG Hwy
07 Infiniti G35s 6MT
07 Ducati Monster S2R 800 with DS1000 swap
05 Suzuki DRZ400S
74 Yamaha DT175: brap brap, brap
72 Yamaha DS7: '74 RD250 swap, JL chambers

Info on dropping a 92-99: Here.


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 Post subject: Re: Never ending battle
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:19 am 
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Resident Gearhead
Resident Gearhead

Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:11 pm
Posts: 2327
Location: Alberta, Canada
Year and Trim: 2004 GXP, 2008 STS, 2008 DTS
It is an older car, but it does only have 127,000 MILES. Keep in mind that this owner is in Canada and has specified an odometer of 205,000 KILOMETERS.

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Bose Luxury Sound System w/Touch Screen Navigation, Addition of Factory XM, 2005 MY Antenna, OnStar Upgrade (3G),
RainSense Wipers, Backup Camera, '00 Style Door Panel Courtesy Lights, Heated Washer Solvent, 2X Remote Trunk Release,
Turn Signal Mirrors, Center Console Courtesy Lamp, Rear Outboard Heated Seats, PVD Chrome 18" Factory Rims, Upgraded
Carbon Fibre Appearance Interior Trim, Highly Modified Main Body Harness, Instrument Panel, Door, Door Panel & Headliner
Wiring Harnesses, Custom Fuse Box & Tire and Loading Information Decals, Additional Acoustic Insulation


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