My 2000SSEi Experience (beyond frustration) - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


2000-2005 Discuss your 2000-2005 Bonneville SE, SLE, and SSEi Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 04-07-2006, 04:18 PM   #1
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Default My 2000SSEi Experience (beyond frustration)

In the beginning, I wanted a car that would be a nice looking sedan with some guts. I wanted something reliable that would last me long enough (10 years or so) to justify a high price tag. I wanted something with style. The 2000 Bonneville SSEi fit the bill perfectly. Or so I thought.

It started out as whopping $34,000 purchase. But the power! The style! It would be worth it. It was supposed to be worth it. I was going to buy it new, and drive it for a decade. With a car like that who could argue?

My friends all told me how unreliable American cars were, and I laughed at them as they bought their rice burners. I was American all the way, no way could you get me to buy a foriegn car. Impossible.

Well the problems started small. A trunk leak here. A window regulator there. All cars have problems right? Still I loved my baby and took extra special care of her.

Then the problems got bigger. The supercharger pulley actually FELL OFF. The other window regulator went. A new water leak developed under my driver seat, and behold, my seat heater didn't work anymore.

The radio needed replaced. The tranny started shifting much harder than usual, 2 dealers said they can't find any problem. The check engine light was on constantly for months as the Pontiac certified mechanics keep resetting it as they couldn't find anything. (corrosion on the gas cap! - total cost..3 dealer visits at $80 an hour = $240. Rusty gas cap.)

The trunk started to pop for no reason. The anti-freeze was leaking somewhere. But where? Oh...cracked intake manifold.

Its was only at 60,000 miles. What is happening to my baby. I kept pouring money in trying to keep her in tip top shape. I was determined to get another 60,000 miles out of her.

Well at 66,000mi the engine went. "Cylinder 3 is shot." The dealer tells me. "We can repair it, but it'll cost more than just buying a new engine." Oh and since it is a 2000, we can't offer any assistance with the repair.

I'm still waiting to hear from GM regarding what assistance they can provide. But as it stands, I'm looking at putting another $5,000 into the car. Is it time to let it go? Oh, and by the way. My friends with rice burners (Honda and Acura) still have them. They haven't had ANY trouble except needing new mufflers after 5 years.

Now I come to this board and see most of my problems are "common." Almost "accepted" as the price to pay for driving a Pontiac. According to the board, and what I am feeling in my car, it looks like my tranny will go soon...another $2500.

Am I experiencing a higher number of problems than most of you guys? Or is this just a standard Bonneville?

BTW, the things that went wrong that were underwarranty include: Trunk Leak, 1 window regulator, and some recalls. Everything else was on my multitude of dimes.
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Old 04-07-2006, 04:49 PM   #2
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some people have VERY similar experience as you. Yours is above the typical however, where as my car with 101k miles on it has had next to no reapirs done to it. Some people just seem to have better luck than others..
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Old 04-07-2006, 04:55 PM   #3
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Also, from looking at the index of messages, I remembered that my sunroof also needed repairs. So many I can't keep track of them all!
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Old 04-07-2006, 05:36 PM   #4
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Sorry about your luck, I just bought mine at 132k klms and had a couple repairs - sunroof leaking,hood bubbling,window reg I hope this is the extent but I love the car and am learning to fix almost everything myself while enjoying modding.They can keep there rice burners,maybe more reliable but dont like em.Welcome to the club ,the people here may help change your mind.
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Old 04-07-2006, 06:01 PM   #5
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if the engine is shot you can get a new one put in for much cheaper..probably in the $2000 range which would include a rebuild and junkyard engine with low miles.


Overall the 2000+ have their problems but find a better car these days for the price?

good luck pal.


I have horror stories for friends who have purchased new acuras, nissans (even with the 3.5) etc with equal or more problems than what you have had. They did not have as many problems but the cost was proabably about the same due to the high cost of parts outside or not within warranty items.


In other words just buy a friggin Hynduai, my friend has one and it is only on its second engine at 60,000 and the windows dont stay shut but other than that it is a pretty good car he only puts about $2000 in repairs each year...even THOUGH IT IS UNDER WARRANTY.
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Old 04-07-2006, 06:46 PM   #6
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Yeah, I understand your frustration. I haven't had as many problems, but when I brought it home a 21K miles with coolant all over the place, I probably shouldv'e ran.

I love the looks, power and all the little "toys" it has, but the quality of the Bonneville is one of the worst I've seen for the price. To be honest with you, I would fix what you need to get fixed and let it be gone. First lesson, don't buy an American car new.. One year old cars are at half of sticker price. This way, IF you have all these problems, your not so tied up in the car. Second, don't buy a first year production of a car. Especially not a GM.

I love my Bonneville, but it'* been in the shop many times, and reading others' problems, I'll be doing many more fixes. Of course, after warranty, all fixes will be done by myself unless it'* major.

All of your repairs sound normal though for a 2000. I sure would like to hear about this engine problem. What is it doing and why does he say #3 is dead? Beyond the coolant problems, that 3800 is durable enough for 200-300K miles. (if the rest of car can make it that long)..

Pat
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
I sure would like to hear about this engine problem. What is it doing and why does he say #3 is dead? Beyond the coolant problems, that 3800 is durable enough for 200-300K miles. (if the rest of car can make it that long)..
Well I had the car to a repair shop about 4 miles after I first noticed a slight knocking in the engine. It synched with the RPMs -- higher RPM = faster knocking. I've moved since I bought the car, and the closest "Mr. Goodwrench Certified Repair" shop was a Chevy dealer, so I took it there. I told them what was up, and they diagnosed it as "something in the lower engine, a piston or something. You need a new engine." As an aside, on of the techs there offered to buy the car with the blown engine. So I guess these things are still in demand.

I called Pontaic to see if they'd do anything for me. $34,000+ for a top of the line Pontiac should get me further than 66,000mi, and I wanted to see if they cared. I had 2 previous Pontiacs an 86' Grand Am and a 91' Sunbird that lasted 130k(dead) and 93k(traded it in on bonneville). I expected at least the same type of reliablility from their top of the line model. I wouldn't be VERY upset if this happend at 100k+.

My Customer service rep told me that I needed to get it to a Pontiac dealer before she could do anything. So I paid the Chevy Dealer the diagonstic fee of $50. Then got it towed to where I bought the car for $70 (luckily I have AAA). I then paid the Pontiac dealer $80 for them to re-diagnose my engine. His exact words were: "Cylinder 3 is dead. A pistion or ring problem or something. We can repair it, but it will cost less to just buy a new engine." When I asked him, he stated: "This is nothing that you could have caused or prevented." He then "researched" what he could do for me at the dealer level. HIS Pontiac rep told him that he can't do anything because it is a year 2000 model. "If you wanted protection at this level, you should have bought the 84 month 84,000 mile warranty."

So now that I have that diagnosis, the GM customer service rep needs to see if GM will do anything about it knowing that I didn't cause it. For this privlidge, I've paid a total of $200. Hopefully, I will get some of that money back.

GM'* customer service has been spotty at best. I had to get a new representitive once, as the first rep wasn't even working on my case. The new rep has been very good, when I can get a hold of her. She does all the work she says she will do, but doesn't keep me updated enough. On Monday she tells me she'lll call me back "tomorrow" with a decision. I've left her 1 message per day since Wednesday and have yet to hear from her. This is not the type of thing that takes 3 working days to decide. At least have enough respect for the customer to call them back when you say you will.

I have been overly polite to the customer service rep, but my patience is wearing thin.
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
if the engine is shot you can get a new one put in for much cheaper..probably in the $2000 range which would include a rebuild and junkyard engine with low miles.
I'm not a mechanic. Far from it. So how would you recommend I go about doing this? Do I need to just call a bunch of junkyards and have them ship the engine to the dealer? Or is there an easier way to go about it.

My current quote is $4600 for the whole thing. $1300 of that is labor, the rest is a "new" rebuilt engine from GM.
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:50 PM   #9
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Yeah, that'* pretty bad. NO engine should have bought the farm at 66,000 miles UNLESS that intake coolant leak dumped lots of coolant down in the motor (or the mechanic who did the work helped dump even more) and it wasn't flushed out. I wonder if they changed the oil once or even twice after the upper intake coolant leak?

The more I think about it, this has got to be related to that coolant incident.

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Old 04-07-2006, 07:59 PM   #10
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I wonder if they changed the oil once or even twice after the upper intake coolant leak?
They changed it after the leak was fixed. That was a week after Christmas. This happened in late March. So yeah...I figured this has something to do with the coolant leak, but nobody can prove it. That is, unless I want to pay $80x4hrs to tear apart the engine to get a better answer.

No I'm not kidding.
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