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Old 06-02-2006, 06:14 PM   #1
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Default Project Bonneville: bringing a 1997 back to life

Well, I recently purchased a 1997 Bonneville and joined here to get a head start on this summers work ahead. The goal, to bring an otherwise "junkyard" car back to life and make it suitable for years to come.

The Plan: To bring a 1997 Pontiac Bonneville SE back to life.
The Budget: Including the price of the car the budget is $2000.00

To start off, I heard about a 1997 Bonneville from a local dealership for $750 (+tax) that would have likley gone to car heaven.I immediately took the car to the family mechanic (the guy'* been the only one to work on my dad'* corvette since he bought it in 1972 so I trust him) for a "should I bother with it" estimate. We found the body is solid underneath, but there are a few issues.

Issues:

Leaks oil like a sive. Most likely needs a valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket, but we are hopefull that we don't need an oil pan.

Windshield is cracked in half and will need to be replaced

Headlight needs to be replaced, a few rocks cracked through the lense and the person who "fixed" it used silicone that when expanded made it worse.

Exhaust/Muffler - it'* shot

Brake lines are leaking a bit and fairly rusty, they will have to be replaced.

Interior: FILTHY! the carpet was black...coffee stains all over...not fun, the leather, well, it was grey....it is supposed to be the tan leather....basically the car looks like it was NEVER cleaned.

Rust: Well, it was mainly surface, but ugly none the less, so it'* going.

I went to take some pics of the bonneville today but the batteries in my camera were dead and so were my backup batteries. The batteries are on the charger right now.....should have pics by end of Saturday, but I'll post them in the members rides section.

Yesterday I...

spent 4 hours cleaning the interior....the seats have gone from grey leather to beige leather (literally)

the carpets went from black to beige (literally took 2 bottles of carpet cleaner and allmost 3 hours of scrubbing and 1 steam clean at the end)

When I went to work my dad was was priming the sanded down rust spots....we have sanded and primed:

1) 6'' by 8'' patch on the back passengers side door (at the seam of the 2 doors)
2) 4'' by 5'' patch on the front passenger door by the fender (also on drivers side)
3) 3'' by 1-3'' patch on the passenger quatrter where the tail light/bumper meet
4) 2 spots 4'' by 6'' on the drivers side roof above the door drim and windshield
5) 7 or 8 spots on the hood

Total Cost'* thus far:

Cost of car $872.50
leather cleaner $11.99
sandpaper $2.89
body filler $7.45
2 bottle carpet cleaner $12.89
1 bottle engine degreaser $8.52
1 can primer $5.99
paint and clearcoat $66.00

Total: $988.23

Total Hours spent working on car between me and my dad: 15 hours
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Old 06-02-2006, 06:17 PM   #2
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Father and Son restorations are always fun....


good luck and lets see the pics
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Old 06-02-2006, 06:31 PM   #3
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Yeah, both my dad and I love our cars.

Since I now have a baby on the way, having the 2dr 1999 cougar (VERY modded) it just can't be a daily driver. My "winter beater" 1988 Buick Regal recently died and was going to cost $400 in parts alone to get it fixed, and was simply not worth it, so I crushed it.

With this project, my dad and I can get together, and see the results of our labor....not to mention his daily driver is an Expedition, so he wants to use the Bonneville to drive back and fourth to work while I drive the Cougar (just because of gas prices). Also, with the baby due in September, I'm going to need a 4dr, the babyseat doesn't fit right in the cougar, so it'* just not an option for me.
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Old 06-02-2006, 07:11 PM   #4
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Sound like fun but when need before and after pics
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Old 06-02-2006, 07:18 PM   #5
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I know, I know....I can't really provide "before" pics....especially since I cleaned the hell out of it allready. But I'll be sure to get pics tomorrow before any paint goes on the primer

...also, I left one little spot in the interior that is still dirty, I left it so people can see how bad the carpet was. My word of honor, it was BAD!
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Old 06-04-2006, 01:38 AM   #6
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For your carpet, if you want to get really serious about it, you can do like some other members of this club, and pull out your seats and remove the carpet and wash it in a washing machine. You'd get bonus instant respect of everybody in the club! But otherwise, since it sounds like you already bought the car, I think you should have no trouble getting it in shape for your budget of $2000, all you need is good donor parts from junkyards. You might even be able to get junkyard parts from many of the junkyarders on this club. Get the stock exhaust off another Bonneville from a junkyard, because all our pipes are stainless. It'll last much longer than if you get new exhaust from a shop (and it will keep you in your budget!)
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Old 06-04-2006, 06:09 AM   #7
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dang nice project! but yea the key is pictures! i need to also say that i love that fact that you want to bring a SE back to life!!!!!
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Old 06-04-2006, 10:16 AM   #8
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Oil leaks are most likely the valve covers. Then you'll find the oil pan probably seeps.

Sounds good so far...keep the good work coming.
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Old 06-04-2006, 10:50 AM   #9
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wow with the way it sounds that you working on it, i can't wait to see the Pics and how nice it turns out.
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Old 06-05-2006, 08:17 PM   #10
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well, I gave it a bath yesterday, and it looks alot better. Took the camera out, shot a few decent pics. But photobucket is being a PITA for me so I couldn't post them. If I can e-mail them to someone can they upload them? (or can you upload them locally here as an attachment...didn't look) My buddy can't believe how well the interior came out.....nor can my neighbours.

The only issue I'm having now is finding paint. Looks like I'll have to get some made up. Dupicolor didn't have any for the color and the only thing I know about the color is it'* like 116B or something.
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