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Old 10-27-2004, 03:25 PM   #1
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Default reliability of supercharged engines

I am looking to replace our 1996 Bonneville, and was wondering how wise it would be to buy a supercharged model with regard to maintenance and reliability. Is it basically the same engine w/the supercharger added?
The power of the non-supercharged version is fine for me, but I've seen several SSEi'* for sale for around the same price that are REALLY tempting me...
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Old 10-27-2004, 03:29 PM   #2
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A supercharger will outlast the engine in many cases if taken care of. At least once a year, all you have to do is replace the supercharger oil, which is very easy. Also, you just have to listen for noises in the bearings occationally. If a bearing is going bad, you can replace them for cheap.

The only concern about the supercharged cars is the tranny. The tranny is really the only weakness on the SSEi'*, or in my case, the GTP. But if you drive nice most of the time, you should be fine.
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Old 10-27-2004, 03:38 PM   #3
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Is it the same trans as the non-*/C? At this very moment I was calling transmission shops since my 96 has started missing 2nd gear completely about 1 in 5 shifts. Great.
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Old 10-27-2004, 03:42 PM   #4
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Another bad thing about a supercharged car is the fact that you have to run high octane fuels, which typically cost 15 cents more a litre (up here in Canada). 98 octane costs 1.19/L where i live. Most of the time i stick with my 92 octane which right now is at .98/L
Not AS bad but still pretty heafty..

Its pretty sad when the price counter goes up faster than the quantity counter.. Anyway thats another aspect to consider, and the fact that a supercharged car is going to be driven much harded by some people because the fact that the power is there at hand.

But i am an owner of a 95 SSEi and im glad that i bought it. Shes my baby!

Had a 94, but the tranny and diff went so sold it to wrecking yard and bought a newer one. Haha

~Matt
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Old 10-27-2004, 03:43 PM   #5
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The supercharged cars have the 4-T60E Heavy Duty transmission, while the N/A cars have the 4-T60E transmission. The newer versions, i think 96/97 and up use the 4-T65E transmission
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Old 10-27-2004, 03:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laff66
Is it the same trans as the non-*/C? At this very moment I was calling transmission shops since my 96 has started missing 2nd gear completely about 1 in 5 shifts. Great.
The */C'ed car has a heavy duty tranny, but it still has problems if you are hard on it.


I wouldn't worry too much about gas. I got this car a couple months ago. I came from a 95 NA Bonnie. I really don't mind at all paying for the premium fuel.

It really is great having so much power on tap, especially the torque. I highly recommend the */C'ed 3800.
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:13 PM   #7
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Have you ever tried the regular unleaded? I am curious if it will knock. I've read several articles that say newer cars dont actually have to have premium unless they knock; even if the manufacturer recommends it. Supposedly the electronics adjust for it. There'* a weekend talk show locally on which the host repeatedly tells people they don't have to use premium, they just might not get the mileage the car is rated for.
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Old 10-28-2004, 09:39 PM   #8
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I generally use regular or mid-grade with no problems.
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Old 10-30-2004, 06:57 PM   #9
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My In-Laws had a SC Park Avenue and never knew that they were supposed to use High octane fuel and it ran fine. They never had a problem with it until the SuperCharger failed at around 110,000 miles and had it replaced for around a grand. The Fuel had nothing to do with it. I think those SuperChargers'* are supposed to last around 100,000 miles give or take depending on how you take care of them according to the manufacturer. I bought an SLE because I did not want to have to use high octane fuel all the time but would have knowing what I know now. :(
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Old 10-30-2004, 08:19 PM   #10
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The Series II SC'ed 3800 is a better engine than the non-SC'ed Series II 3800. You don't have to worry about the upper intake plenum, and the possibility of hydrolocking the engine if it does go bad. I personally would own another SSEi (had a 1999 SSEi), but I found my SSE in my favorite color with my favorite rims for a price I couldn't pass -$3k.
A well cared for Series II SC'ed 3800 could last as much as 300,000 miles +. Same for the non SC'ed.
But as was mentioned the tranny can be a problem. It is the weekest part of the car, but it too could last as much as 200K if it isn't beat and has proper maintenance. In my 1999 the previous owner had the trans rebuilt at 135K because the lady thought it should be rebuilt -it hadn't given them any problems -they just did it for peace of mind. The second time they rebuilt it (7k later) was due to them using parts for a 4T60E HD in the 4T65E HD.
Also, the SC'ed tranny on 1997-newer is a 4T65E HD. In 1992-1997 non SC'ed 3800'* it was a 4T60E and 1992-1996 SC'ed (Series I and Series II) was a 4T60E HD (Heavy Duty). In 1998-newer 3800'* a 4T60E was implemented.
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