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Old 09-21-2007, 06:53 PM   #1
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Default feedback, tips, advice - potential new owner

Greetings-

I'm brand new here and I'm seeking some input. I'm looking pretty hard at an '01 SSEi at a local GM dealer. I've done all the consumer feedback forum cruising, epa.gov scope-out, Edmunds/Kelly value lookup, etc, etc. And now I'm here...!

So it'* pretty much got every option except sunroof (which I really, really wanted), is maroon (prefer white or black), has 99K miles. But the asking price is a couple grand below a low Edmunds/Kelly rating for the vehicle. That'* got me a bit nervous. The carfax came back good and clear, two owner, been a local car it'* whole life. The mystery is it was last sold to a dealer last November - nearly 11 months ago - and hasn't been licensed since March. Curious.

Test drove it last night and it drove fine. The dealer put new tires on it (nothing big - Coopers, or somesuch), the rotors have very little wear, the oil cap looks very, very clean, the interior is spotless and in perfect shape as near as I could see. The trunk likewise. It tracked perfectly straight down the road with my hands off the wheel. It started right up and purred like a Singer sewing machine. The engine compartment was a bit dusty, but no signs of grease or oil anywhere... just dusty. All the door panels, trunk, and hood line up correctly and there is now 'wow' or any unusual gap anywhere.

The one nit - and I'm going back tomorrow morning to go over it once more before making an offer - is that the paint looks pretty swirly - particulary the hood and front fascia. My first response was, "aha - accident", but I crawled underneath with a flashlight and saw nothing that would indicate any type of collision. Besides, like I said, the Carfax came back good. It was past twilight, so I really need to look closer tomorrow, but it was pretty major swirling - don't know if it would polish/buff/wax out or not.

So... (I tend to be wordy!), let'* here it gang... what are the red flags that I should specifically look for when I go back tomorrow? I've read enough in the last 48 hours to know about the transmissions being a potential issue. What else should I be looking for? What are some potential near-term maintenance issues that might be on the horizon with 100K miles around the corner. Also, it appears that the aftermarket performace market is aimed more toward the Grand Prix - not the Bonneville, except for exhaust and blower pullies. Any good sources for things like suspension, braking, etc upgrades? What about aluminum heads?

Another concern for me is that I really want to draw at leat mid-20'* for gas mileage. Is that doable here? My winter driver is an '89 K1500 that I ordered brand new and that now has 385K miles (no lie). It'* a great truck, but at $3.00+ a gallon for gas, 15 mpg just isn't cutting it any longer. My summer driver is an '02 Camaro SS. I've never pulled less than 22 mpg with it, and even hit 29.1 on a trip. Ideally, those are numbers I'd like to hit with the Bonneville.

I look forward to hearing back from you folks. I've already been rooting around on the board enough to know this is a good place. I belong to a few Camaro boards and a couple of them are packed with bozos!

Stuart
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Old 09-21-2007, 07:04 PM   #2
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http://www.bonnevilleclub.com/forum/...ic.php?t=45965

read that...7 pages is worth reading if you are buying a new one.

I have an 01 SSEi as well with a tad over 100k. The problems it has had since it was built:

Steering Position sensor, solenoid in transmission, steering shaft (clunk in steering), wheel bearing....windows have not failed yet but will eventually.

Everything motor-wise will work on a bonneville from the grand prix world, headers, rockers, cams, heads, pulleys...etc. Obviously stuff like ehxuast is different and will require some modification. Stuff like solid motor mounts are easily available for the 00+. I just made one a week ago for my 01.

If the car is tuned up properly it should get around 31MPG on the highway.

Its pretty easy to get these cars faster than your SS, headers, rockers/cam, pulley, pcm and intake should do it.
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Old 09-21-2007, 08:51 PM   #3
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My own reccomendation is that you take it to another GM dealer for a prebuy inspection. They can usually spot any looming problems.
It sounds like you know what you're doing.

As far as upgrades, the brakes on these cars are pretty strong already. Best upgrade is slotted rotors and ceramic pads.
Suspension upgrades I know nothing of.
Aluminum heads are right out. Nobody makes them that I know of, but INTENSE and ZZP both have reworked heads for sale, and there'* a lot you can do to these motors before you need to go that far. In fact, basic mods can have a pretty dramatic effect on their own. Intake, pulley, PCM, exhaust is the usual order for modding around here.
Beyond that, there'* rockers, cams, pretty much anything you could ever want, right up to complete racing long blocks.
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Old 09-21-2007, 09:41 PM   #4
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As Hans mentioned, check out the common problems and solutions sticky in the 2000 - 2005 section....keeping in mind that some are more common than others.

In your test drive, be sure to get it up to highway speeds. The lighter suspension components are more prone to vibration problems.

As for mods - just take a look around http://www.intense-racing.com/ for what'* available.
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Old 09-23-2007, 01:07 PM   #5
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Default Thanks!

Thanks for the replies!

Well, I did it. Pulled the trigger and bought it. The only issue so far is the drivers mirror doesn't drop down in reverse as it should. The RH mirror does. So maybe that'* a new one for the problem thread

Anybody do a fix/diagnosis on that?

Stuart
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Old 09-23-2007, 01:21 PM   #6
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my drivers side mirror has never done that either.
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Old 09-23-2007, 09:19 PM   #7
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Default DOH!

It pays to read the owners manual! Only the passenger side mirror does the reverse tilt-down. So I actually picked it up today; my son is in the driveway washing it right now . For a dealership. they really didn't clean it up that well.

I finished programming the home-link openers - that'* nice. And I discovered it even has some kind of air compressor in the trunk! How flippin' trick is that! The climate control is going to take some learning to get used to. And so far the mpg calculator is still below 21 mpg. That'* not going to make me very happy if it doesn't come up a few more miles. Time will tell.

Stuart
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Old 09-23-2007, 09:38 PM   #8
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The paint on the front is more than likley painted to cover the common hood bubbling that is found on many 2k+ bonnevilles
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Old 09-23-2007, 10:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: DOH!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sl63409
It pays to read the owners manual! Only the passenger side mirror does the reverse tilt-down. So I actually picked it up today; my son is in the driveway washing it right now . For a dealership. they really didn't clean it up that well.

I finished programming the home-link openers - that'* nice. And I discovered it even has some kind of air compressor in the trunk! How flippin' trick is that! The climate control is going to take some learning to get used to. And so far the mpg calculator is still below 21 mpg. That'* not going to make me very happy if it doesn't come up a few more miles. Time will tell.

Stuart
Reset the average on your mpg counter, from my experience cars don't always get the best mileage while on dealership lots. At 60 I can get a solid 30 mpg. Some people say they can get better than that, but you will definitely get high 20'*.
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Old 09-24-2007, 02:59 AM   #10
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If they didn't bother to clean it, there'* always the possibility they didn't bother to give it a tune up either. So you might consider that as a first course of action. Restore some lost power and make sure its running top notch might help to bring up those MPG'* a little.
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