1997 Bonneville SE: What to expect? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 09-18-2005, 11:54 PM   #1
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Default 1997 Bonneville SE: What to expect?

I am looking to buy a 1997 Bonneville SE with 108,020 miles on it. It is absolutely clean inside and out. Small crease in the lower driver'* door, but is minor. Car is otherwise solid with some recent maintainence done (plugs, tires, brakes).

Interior is immaculate, tires look new, and it runs great. She'* asking $4000 or best offer. Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds both have it at about $2800-$3300 for private party sale. I want to offer her $3000 for it.

Is there any common problems I should be aware of? I do see some reports of head gaskets letting water into the oil. Then again, I see other reports of these cars going 200,000 miles with little repairs needed. I looked up the VIN number at work (I work at GM). In the first 36,000 miles, it only needed an alternator.

Help a fella out?
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Old 09-19-2005, 12:01 AM   #2
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the upper intake would be the biggest concern in my mind........
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Old 09-19-2005, 12:05 AM   #3
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I can do most things on cars, but have never tore one of these apart.

I've R & R'd motors, converted manual systems to power systems and do all my own maintainenece.

These days, I have triplets and the things I do need to be relatively quick. Would that gasket be doable in my garage in an afternoon?
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Old 09-19-2005, 12:27 AM   #4
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Pat is referring to replacement of the upper intake itself, and you would probably want to do the lower intake gaskets at the same time. Remove the top end other than the heads. It'* a 4-hour job for the experienced.
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Old 09-19-2005, 12:31 AM   #5
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i wish u luck stealing the $1000 from her
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Old 09-19-2005, 02:40 AM   #6
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you might want to see if the upper has already been replaced on it, and if you do get it i would do it as a preventative measure..its not really as hard as it sounds, go slow and get yourself a repair manual or two, like a Chiltons or something.

here are a couple links to some information about the upper intake failure, which is by far the most common problem in the series 2, theyre otherwise pretty much indestructible like the other 3.8s.

http://bonnevilleclub.com/techinfo/?article=85
http://bonnevilleclub.com/techinfo/?article=72

that car is in the range where the upper intakes like to start failing, mine failed at 157,xxx i believe it was, but many have failed far sooner than that.
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Old 09-19-2005, 12:52 PM   #7
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While mine is a 93, I had no problems with it whatsoever except for AC failiure ($3,000 repair!). Other things like a leaky TB gasket can simply be attributed to age.
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