High Milage '96 SSEi .... stay away or go for it? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 03-28-2009, 01:28 AM   #1
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Default High Milage '96 SSEi .... stay away or go for it?

I'm looking at a '96 Bonneville SSEi with almost 160k miles for around $2000 black on black leather. Its a friend'* friends and from what I understand it had a lot of time on the highway commuting to work; at least the past 40k miles or so.

How are these cars overall when it comes to problems/reliability?

The N/A 3.8ls seem to be good based on other family members and friends that have GM cars with them grind prix, park ave, etc but how are these supercharged 3.8s when they get into the higher millage? I've heard about intake manifold gaskets being a problem with these engines or is that just with the N/A 3.8l? I've also heard rumors about the supercharger bearings having problems, or is that a wivestail?

Besides coolant when the IMG is bad, are there any common things to leak such as oil cooling lines on s10s/blazers? (lol)


Otherwise are there any common problems with these cars or things to look for? common issues?
How do the transmissions hold up over time behind the supercharged 3.8s?

I have a 5sp blazer at the moment which I need a break from driving and looking for something comfortable, reliable, that won't develop any stupid or annoying problems. I'm gonna be putting a bunch of miles on it this summer if I do get it that'* why I'm just looking for some opinions on these from the people who know them best.

Thanks in advance

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Old 03-28-2009, 02:15 AM   #2
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Im at 158,000 on my 94 and not too many problems... she sat for 3 yrs without being started so some bugs but nothing really major... the LIM Gaskets are a problem for some but at those miles your prolly not going to have to worry if its still the original motor and tranny... if both feel strong and theyre original then they will prolly stay strong for a while. These motors are very strong in the lower end and hard to mess them up other than sensors and gaskets failing. At least as long as it was properly maintained. Cant say for sure tho

does anything seem out of the ordinary with it, ticks, querks, shimmies, shakes???
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:12 AM   #3
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1996 was a odd year for there transmissions. The SSEi came with a under built(weak) tranny 4T60E

I know, I've gone through 2.5 of them. But had the last one built strong and its holding up very well. So if your willing to spend a little money...well I spent in total 1,400 to have mine built strong....the tranny will be just fine.

As far as the motor goes, proper maintenance goes a long way. Do you know the maintenance of the car in question?

And IMO 2K for a 1996 SSEi w/160K plus miles a bit too much.

The supercharger can be rebuilt cheaply so no worries there, cross that road when it happens.

But then going from a manual Blazer to a cush auto Bonneville is a step up.

So here is the thing J894, even if you buy this car we will do our best to help you with any issue that comes up so be confident in any Bonneville you buy because you came to the right place for all your Bonneville needs. Welcome to the Bonneville Forum!!

Todd.
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Old 03-30-2009, 08:34 AM   #4
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My 96 had 140,000 on it and went well, besides the crappy tranny. Really couldn't hold up well to the supercharger.
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:55 PM   #5
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Like mentioned the transmissions weren't quite built strong enough for day in and day out abuse. Although I did beat mine pretty harshly before driving it 12 hours to have it rebuilt.

Overall the drivetrains are good and sturdy in the higher miles. LIM gaskets are a given in my book unless you look and they are aluminum colored.

$2K would be a pretty high price around here for one though.
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:36 PM   #6
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i'd say talk him down and you'd have yourself a deal. of course, set some money aside for maintenance before you begin driving it. it would be a good idea to give it a thorough inspection before you buy it. check for excessive rust and broken suspension parts in addition to electrical problems
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:42 PM   #7
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Check under for rust. Seems the rear passenger side is prone to rust threw in the rear wheel well area. Check for water in the spare tire well.
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