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Old 03-16-2011, 02:33 PM   #1
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Default Good deal or buying trouble?

I've been offered a '92 Bonneville for £1250 (about $2000), 140000 miles, no rust.
But it has a "slight water leak from the radiator" which I suspect may be the inlet manifold and the drivers window doesn't work.
I can do the repairs myself but I would value any opinions you guys may have.
Thanks in anticipation,
Roger.
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Old 03-16-2011, 03:09 PM   #2
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$2000 is a bit steep IMO.

In anticipation, how hard is it to find radiators in your area?

If it'* just the drivers window, then good chance the motor is gone. Again, how hard to find one in your area. More than likely you may have to import from the US.
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Old 03-17-2011, 05:19 AM   #3
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American cars don't follow the normal rules as far as price goes over here as they are in a niche market, parts are suprisingly cheap from a number of specialist suppliers (roughly the same as Japanese regular imports) but you may wait a few days for delvery.
I think I should have asked if these cars have any weaknesses that will eat my hard earned money.
I understand the 3800 engine had gasket problems, is it something that can be permanently fixed or a repair I will have to do over and over?.
Currently I have an '87 Olds Delta 88 which I am very happy with, the only thing I don't like is being a 2 door parking in tiny British parking slots is a problem.
Pontiacs have a strong following here, there are several active owners clubs. I know Buicks and Oldsmobiles share much the same platform, I have owned 10 Americans over the years but never a Pontiac. My taste is for quiet luxury rather than performance, how do Pontiacs measure up in that respect?.
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Old 03-17-2011, 05:26 AM   #4
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I posted before I had finished, getting a radiator recored is not a problem as long as it isn't plastic/alumium. 5 of the cars I owned had clogged radiators, I look after a lot of fellow American enthusists cars and it seems to be a regular occurrence with them too. It'* fair to say it probably is a problem with any older car that doesn't do many miles - aircooled VWs being an exception!.
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:54 AM   #5
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the intake manifolds are like a composite plastic and break down over time and heat cycles, there are better aftermarket intakes and you likely will only have to change it once.

if you have problems with clogged rads you need change the coolant more often, ive only ever had issues with the heater core on older cars when the previous owner didnt do enough maintenance, but i can usually do a good back flush with a garden hose and get them to work.

the rad will likely be alum/plastic why is that a problem?
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Old 03-17-2011, 11:55 AM   #6
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The answer about good idea or not generally depends on the condition of the car. If it has been taken care of properly, it still has many more miles to go. If it has been abused badly all of its life, it is nearing the end of it'* lifespan. Weakest point generally is the transmission. You will want to be mindful of fluid condition and shifting behavior before purchasing. Also, being a 92, it has no egr, which has been known for an occasional burnt valve. The PCM'* can be iffy sometimes too, but not enough to warrant concern, especially if the car is driving good.

Drive it, check it out. If it looks and drives good, it should treat you well. If looks trashed, it could go either way.
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:52 AM   #7
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Default Gonna pass on this one.

Thanks for your input guys.
I got to look at the car yesterday, seems the sellers answer to the leak was to pour leak sealer into the radiator. He couldn't tell me anything about the cars service history in the 2 years he owned it - ie he hadn't done any maintenance. Also the wiring had been messed with, I saw a lot of scotchlocked wires under the dash, to me a sign of poor workmanship.

I think I'll keep my Olds a while longer.

As far as I know plastic/aluminium radiators are virtualy impossible to repair whereas recoring a copper one is no problem, maybe you know otherwise in which case I would be glad to learn more.

Thank you to all who replied.
Roger.
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:00 AM   #8
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i havent seen a copper rad in a gm in a very long time. as long as you keep them cleaned inside and out the failures you have is from the plastic getting old and brittle. ive had the tanks replaced locally before it didnt seem like the radiator place thought it was a big deal.
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