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Old 07-21-2011, 04:50 PM   #1
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Default bonneville safety and reliable engine?

Can i have some info on the 2000-2005 bonnevilles? I was wondering which one of the se,sle,ssei and gxp had the most weight and which had the best crash/safety rating? Also, how about which of them had the most reliable engine? Thanks for the help!
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:23 PM   #2
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Generally the SSEi and GXP were the heavier of the bunch, as they were generally equipped with more options. From a safety standpoint, consider all models in that year range generally the same. The only big difference was side impact airbags on the later years, however they are not known for deploying reliably. The other plus is the SSEi and GXP models were equipped with StabiliTrak, which will use the ABS to pull the car out of an oversteer situation.

Engines are consistent for this year range also. The SE and SLE was equipped with the NA 3.8 V6. Good for 205 HP, and very reliable. The most noteworthy issue is the UIM Plenum is prone to failure in the area near the EGR, and the gaskets typically fail for the UIM and LIM, however this failure is caused by the coolant not regularly being serviced, or by contamination, both cases cause the coolant to turn acidic, sludge, and destroy everything.

The supercharged 3.8 V6 is good for 240 HP, and is known for failing LIM gaskets, due to the coolant issues highlighted above. Very strong engine, that modifies well if cared for. The only down side, is that the transmissions do not stand up well to modification.

The GXP Northstar V8 is the king when it comes to power, however there is really no aftermarket to speak of, so for now you are stuck with what you get. The engine is generally regarded as very reliable, however can be "needy" in excess of 100k miles. These engines were designed to run, and really show their legs on the highway. Fuel mileage is not as good on this model as it is with the 3.8.

In general, look at the styling on all of them, and consider engine characteristics. If the coolant and manifold issues are handled prior to failure on both 3.8'*, the engines, with proper service, will usually outlast the car. The Northstar engines do pretty good as well, however you must be sure they are properly maintained, and ran regularly. When choked up in town all the time, they will die fast. That is why you hear a lot about low mileage failures in caddy'* driven by older folks.

Any more questions? Ask.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:53 PM   #3
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the LIM gaskets on the 3800'* were not due to coolant issues it was all about a poorly designed plastic framed gasket that couldn't handle the temps in the motor. if they were replaced previous to your purchase they should have received the new aluminum ones that will never fail.

problems with the N* engines in the gxp'* power steering lines, head gaskets, oil cooler lines. GM designed that motor essentially as a throw away motor. it'* cheaper to get a new one when i head gasket goes than to repair the head gasket
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:33 PM   #4
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You can see the LIM gaskets between the head and the LIM. If they are black, they are stock or OEM. If they have a light green color, they are the new aluminum framed gaskets, and wont fail. The UIM fails because the EGR stove pipe gets hot and over time degrades the plastic between the EGR and the coolant passages. When this happens the LIM will fill with coolant and you will hydrolock. If the UIM is aluminum, your safe.

As for the coolant, it'* not the cause of these failures. With that being said, the coolant still needs to be replaced every 5 years. Just because it says 100k miles does not mean you can forget about it.

The 3800 is a solid engine, there have been members that have hit 400k, but like any engine, you need to maintain it.
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:35 PM   #5
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IMO, a 2003 SSEi is the way to go if you can find one. I've got a 2003 SLE I enjoy greatly as well.

Both very reliable engines when cared for, and the trans on both of mine have been rock solid, both take a beating, my SSEi is over 300HP.
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