97 SE/SLE questions...... Newbe here - old guy but a newbe - 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 06-05-2005, 09:06 PM   #1
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Default 97 SE/SLE questions...... Newbe here - old guy but a newbe

I have owned a couple of Bonnevilles in this catagory, 92-99, the latest is a 97 bought new in 97. It is a 40th anniversary edition with the emblems, I don't know if that means anything or just a sales pitch by Pontiac. Great car, color is white and still in mint shape, it is a SE with the SLE option. It has 104,000 miles on it and it still runs great. Fuel mileage is always around 22-25 depending on speed driven. Freeways out here in Tucson AZ is at 75mph but common at 80+mph. The only issues I have had with it has been a bad alternator at 5,000 miles and the usual items like braks and tires. I change the oil at 5000-6000 miles as I have done in all my previous cars including my first car I got, 1962 Catalina in the 60'*.
I don't like changing anything unless it is needed, I have never changed the plugs, wires or any of the other items I have been reading here.
So after saying all of that I need to ask, I was just about to sell the car but I am finding it hard to do it, What do you think I need to do or be prepared to do very shortley if I do keep this car? I have been concered that the timing chain or belt will need to be replaced but I am unsure, no, nothing is indicating to me that it needs to be replaced, just a thought. What about struts, hard to do or is it simple? I am into muscle cars so I have the knowledege to turn a wrench, but I am getting a little old to do it often.
any help would be apprieciated, thanks......
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Old 06-05-2005, 09:31 PM   #2
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The first thing you need to be concerned about is the Upper Intake Manifold and lower intake gaskets. They're VERY prone to failing on 95-99 L36 engines. Honestly, I'm surprised you haven't had an issue yet. They typically will fail between 40 and 100K. Keep an eye on your coolant level. That will be the first sign of a leaking UIM and/or LIM gaskets. If coolant is consumed, drain the oil immediately and start the process of replacing the UIM and LIM gaskets. There are all kinds of details here on how to do it.

Otherwise, there'* not much more to be concerned about. I've seen several 3800s with mroe than 250K on the clock still on the original timing chain. I don't think you have anything to worry about there.
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Old 06-05-2005, 09:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vital49
The first thing you need to be concerned about is the Upper Intake Manifold and lower intake gaskets. They're VERY prone to failing on 95-99 L36 engines. Honestly, I'm surprised you haven't had an issue yet. They typically will fail between 40 and 100K. Keep an eye on your coolant level. That will be the first sign of a leaking UIM and/or LIM gaskets. If coolant is consumed, drain the oil immediately and start the process of replacing the UIM and LIM gaskets. There are all kinds of details here on how to do it.

Otherwise, there'* not much more to be concerned about. I've seen several 3800s with mroe than 250K on the clock still on the original timing chain. I don't think you have anything to worry about there.
first let me say thank you for taking the time to reply.....
you said "That will be the first sign of a leaking UIM and/or LIM gaskets. If coolant is consumed, drain the oil immediately and start the process of replacing the UIM and LIM gaskets".

Where would I find this information?
Is it a difficult job to do?

anyone else have any opinions?
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Old 06-05-2005, 09:57 PM   #4
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This is an excellent place to use as a table of contents of other threads to start reading:

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

There'* tons of information here on how to do the job. It'* not tough. Keeping everything clean is most important. Pickup a Chilton'* too...they're invaluable for doing the job. You should be able to do the upper and lower in on a weekend day if you're fairly savy with working on cars.

Welcome to the club, btw.
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Old 06-05-2005, 10:35 PM   #5
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The timing chain is supposed to be replaced at 150K on these cars, not 100K like the older cars.
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Old 06-05-2005, 10:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Damemorder
The timing chain is supposed to be replaced at 150K on these cars, not 100K like the older cars.
Yes, you are right. Even so, most don't and never have an issue for the life of the engine and car.
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Old 06-05-2005, 11:03 PM   #7
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most of these 3800'* go well past 200K with no problems, just watch that coolant level
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Old 06-05-2005, 11:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vital49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damemorder
The timing chain is supposed to be replaced at 150K on these cars, not 100K like the older cars.
Yes, you are right. Even so, most don't and never have an issue for the life of the engine and car.
Oh yeah, I was just saying since he asked about it as maintenence with his mileage
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:34 AM   #9
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thanks for all the replys....
thank you for the links to the technical areas.
So I guess the main thing to be aware of will be watching that coolant level.

another 2 questions:
1. I have a squeak that sounds like it is coming from behind the rear seat, on the drivers side, it happens when the car is driven over uneven surfaces on the road. How do you remove the back seats, both bottom and back? Anyone have any expirence with a squeak in this area or has an Idea of what it could be?

2. What is a sure sign of struts going bad and are they hard to change?
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Old 06-06-2005, 01:06 PM   #10
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i would keep that SLE 40th but that is just me.....

anyway

the rear seat, you need to pull the back of the seat up and towards the front of the car and then lift it out of the tabs

bounce the car, if it takes more than 3 times to stop bouncing its time to replace the struts
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