New member with 97 SE seeking repair opinions - 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 01-27-2007, 01:28 PM   #1
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Default New member with 97 SE seeking repair opinions

Am new BC member with 97 Bonn SE. Original owner, with 165K miles. Was passed down from me, to wife, to college sons over the years. It'* transportation for us, not a show piece. Performed regular maintenance over the years - nothing major to date needed. Body and interior in good condition, but in past year mechanically things started to snow ball. I'm a relative auto novice with no talent or tools - rely on mechanic for repair. Mechanic friend told me I need a transmission overhaul (stalls and surges from D to OD; not as bad if drive in 3rd) and fuel pump (was difficult to start sometimes). Drove it that way for ~6 months. Then check engine light came on and car running rough; quit driving it routinely. Now car won't start - suspect starter, cause won't start with jump. However, battery is 5 years old and should be replaced too. Original plug wires. Trying to decide whether to invest the $ in repairs and get a few more years out of the car, or whether it is now at the money pit stage and should take a tax writeoff. My current thinking is that I cannot buy something different that will be as nice or reliable for cost of repairing this one (~$2K-3K?). However, mechanic friend said he would not do it. Have a couple months to decide. Seeking opinons of people more knowledgeable than I about this particular car and about autos in general. Thanks!
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Old 01-27-2007, 01:30 PM   #2
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was the exaust smelling sweet when you ran it?
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Old 01-27-2007, 01:33 PM   #3
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Not sure what you mean "sweet," but I smelled or observed nothing unusual.
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Old 01-27-2007, 01:36 PM   #4
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you car could be experencing a uim failure
http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...e=article&k=38
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Old 01-27-2007, 10:39 PM   #5
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As sqela suggested, with 165K on your car, unless you have had the lower intake manifold (LIM) gaskets and the upper intake manifold (UIM) replaced recently, that common failure is a possible cause for your current no-start condition. To diagnose your car for that problem, with the engine cold, remove the radiator cap and check the coolant level. It should be up to the overflow hole in the filler neck. Check the overflow or coolant recovery tank; it should be full to the cold line. Low levels with no evidence of external coolant leaks imply an internal leak - usually the LIM gaskets or UIM. Check the engine oil for evidence of coolant contamination and mixing. This can cause the oil to appear like chocolate milk, opaque rather than transparent and brown. Remove the spark plugs and see if they are wet with coolant or smell like coolant. Turn the engine over a few times, with the plugs out. Look for evidence of coolant blown out of the plug holes. Smell the exhaust for the telltale sweet smell of coolant. If you find any of these symptoms, and especially if it has been several years since the last LIM/UIM work, that is a likely suspect.

If that is your problem, the LIM/UIM repairs can be done for $200 by a mechanically inclined person with the proper tools. Proper tools could be purchased from Sears to do the job for another $200. By shopping around, you may find a mechanic willing to do the work for $500 or so.

You can go to many parts stores and rent (for free) a code reader to pull the code stored in your computer. You will want to do this before you disconnect the battery or let it go dead. If that happens, you will lose the code.

The old wires are a very probable cause of an engine miss that could easily be confused for transmission troubles. New plugs and wires can be done for $50 and can make a huge difference. Another common cause of engine stall and miss is corroded battery cables. Sometimes both ends of both cables can be peeled open and cleaned; other times, they need to be replaced. Ground connections can also become corroded and cause a host of problems. These are cheap things to check and repair.

If the transmission is really bad, a good used trans is a lower cost option than a rebuild. It will not last as long, but it may give you several more years service if driven gently.

If you are patient and willing, you can get a lot of help from this site to determine what'* wrong with your car and if reasonable to do so, to put it back on the road. Reading the entire article linked above for you by sqela is a good place to start. Welcome to the Bonneville Club.
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Old 01-28-2007, 10:06 PM   #6
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if you want some help changing UIM or LIM gaskets, i live in wisconsin (not sure where grafton is, so not sure how easy it would be to find you), but i'd be happy to
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Old 01-29-2007, 01:33 AM   #7
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when doing the upper and lower intake manifolds, be sure to check if the uim is melted by the egr port, i've done about 5 of these that resulted in no starts. You should be able to get a new UIM form Napa for around $200
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Old 01-29-2007, 01:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b18jason
when doing the upper and lower intake manifolds, be sure to check if the uim is melted by the egr port, i've done about 5 of these that resulted in no starts. You should be able to get a new UIM form Napa for around $200
jason, take a look at the Techinfo article 38 linked above in this thread. APNs sleeved UIM kit is a better choice for about $115 if you can wait a few days for delivery.
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:20 PM   #9
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For the trans, there'* a Technical Service Bulletin on '97s specifically, about changing the valve body. You can find it here if you search. I found that my '97 would surge only when hot, so rather than replace the valve body (side of the trans), I added a trans cooler with a fan ($100), and it never surged again.

http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...ic.php?t=38917
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Old 01-30-2007, 11:42 AM   #10
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<<stalls and surges from D to OD; not as bad if drive in 3rd>>

I had a similar problem. New plugs and wires took care of it. You can see my post here: http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...980&highlight=


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