My 1998 Bonneville SE is currently in the shop. Here is what they found:
1. The rack and pinion unit was bad. I was getting "stiff" steeering and it was also "choppy" in turns, not smooth at all. This was putting added stress on the power steering pump as well. $925 with labor. Ouch! I went ahead and had them perform this since I need to drive the car soon.
2. I am leaking a little coolant that can be see with the car up in the air at the back of the engine. Not a lot, a very tiny leak. This is the dreaded Intake manifold issue. I went to the Techinfo area of this board and read up about this. I also found the updated kit that sells for $98.00. My mechanic is quoting $900 in labor along with a new t-stat and some other misc. parts to replace the unit. This seems very expensive to me. What should this cost and what have people paid? They told me that they perform an extensive cleaning of the intakes and this is essentially the same thing as doing an upper engine rebuild. I told them to wait on this until I can do more research.
3. One bent 16" stock wheel. (2) decent tires and (2) tires with uneven wear. Both are contributing to my shimmy at speed. I bought a refurbished 16" wheel from the e of bay and will research some good replacement tires. What are people buying for these cars? I'm a Michellin guy, but open to suggestions.
4. The remote for unlock/lock is broken internally. I bought a new battery but the battery housing is physically disconnected from the circuit board. I bought a replacement unit from the e of bay as well.
5. The power antenna mast is bent. The radio shop will buy a new mast from the dealer and install it for me. I can hear the motor operating when the radio is turned on or off so I think it'* just the bent mast that is keeping it from retracting.
So the biggy is the intake manifold. It sure does seem like a lot of money for labor on this job. I have not contacted a local dealer or other shops to get quotes yet. I thought I'd post here first since it seems like such a common problem and many others have had this work performed as well.