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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 06-22-2009, 08:46 PM   #1
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Default Reasonable Expectations

Hello everyone,

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.

Thanks!
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:35 PM   #2
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For the most part the years your looking in is a solid car. Yes, there are a few problems, the intermediate shaft is a problem, but it wont strand you. The LIM gaskets are also a problem, but changing them is a easy <$100 fix if you do it yourself. If the car was cared for you will have a great car.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:00 PM   #3
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The key to getting a solid car in that year is to find one that has lovingly been cared for and maintained. You know the kind of car that the Bonnie is and that they can run a very long time with hardly any real serious problems. If you get a 02 or 03 SSEi with low miles and well cared for, you can easily put 100K plus miles on it and get a great return on your investment.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:00 AM   #4
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In a nutshell.
Get one from a GM dealer that is 'certified used' with a warranty
They are usually one owner or been serviced by that dealer since new and know the history
You'll pay top dollar but will have satisfation
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:59 PM   #5
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Certified Used isn't an option as the car must be 2004 or newer to qualify. But I'm certain there'* some good vehicles out there... it'll just take a bit of searching.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:21 PM   #6
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You just have to be willing to wait and watch. Something will fall in your lap.
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