I've owned two Bonnevilles in the past... 1995 SSE and a 1992 SSEi. Both were outstanding cars and neither required more than normal maintenance items. Having sold them years ago, I find myself wanting to pick up another and am considering a 2002-2003 SSEi. There are a handful here locally with 60K on them, give or take. The 2004-05 GXPs look nice, but I have heard far too many horror stories about the Northstars. I'll take the 3800 any day as it'* a solid motor and I am familiar with it.
So having spent days scouring the forum for information, I've accepted the fact that any Bonneville in this age range will likely have issues with the intermediate steering shaft, lower intake gasket, door and trunk seals, wheel bearings, and window regulators... among other items. I am handy with tools and enjoy doing light repairs, so no concerns there.
But I also enjoy taking long road trips, and nothing ruins a good drive like serious car trouble on a trip. I'm not so worried about the powertrain, mechanically speaking... the engine/tranny combo in this car is proven to be reliable. But the hundreds of sensors and electrical crap - and the random failures with them - makes me nervous, as do the page after page here in the forum of complaints and reports of problems. Given the nature of this forum, I realize that the ratio of problems to praise will favor toward problems, but it is still a little discouraging to see so many issues being reported.
So my question to you guys is this... What kind of realistic expectations (generally speaking, of course) can I expect from an 02-03 SSEi? I don't plan on loading it up with mods or abusing it... just want a nice cruiser and the Bonneville has the looks and features I like. Do these things have a tendency to crap out and leave you stranded, or do all these little annoyances and problems give you a chance to get the car home or to a mechanic before completely failing? Is there anyone out there who has something nice to say about their 00-03?
I'd be very interested in your comments, advice, warnings, etc.