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Old 04-29-2005, 09:58 AM   #1
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Default What to look for when buying a car?

Hi, I'm looking into buying a car with a 3800 series II V6. Specifically at the moment, a 2001 Bonnevile. It has 89,200 miles on it. I really like the Bonneville'* anywhere from 94ish up...but, mainly I'm looking for something with the 3800 motor. I would like to know what to look for when buying a car with this motor. Also, would 89,200 miles (highway supposedly) be too much for one of these engines to start with? Let me know your thoughts...Thanks.
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Old 04-29-2005, 10:02 AM   #2
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What trim level is the car? SE, SLE, SSEi? Mechanically, these engines have practically no issues at all. 89K on the clock is nothing for the 3800. The biggest issues you'll have with the 2k models would be body wise; window regulator, leaky trunk. Check the 2000+ forum to get an idea.
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Old 04-29-2005, 10:20 AM   #3
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It'* an SE. Has Traction Control as well. (Another quick question: Do the supercharged versions of these motors have to run on Premium fuel?)
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Old 04-29-2005, 10:25 AM   #4
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Recommended. But the best part is it'* funner. (is that a word?)
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:02 AM   #5
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89K is just getting broke in good for the 3800. The only potential problem on the SE would be the upper intake, but I think the one you're looking at has the good one in it already.

And yeah, the supercharged folks do have to use Premium (pricey) fuel...
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOS95B
89K is just getting broke in good for the 3800. The only potential problem on the SE would be the upper intake, but I think the one you're looking at has the good one in it already.

And yeah, the supercharged folks do have to use Premium (pricey) fuel...
Is this a fact? I have a '96 SSEi, and I use plus unleaded. I use premium in my Caprice, because it runs better with it, but the Bonne , I haven't had the bonne long enough to determine what seems to run best in it.

My Caprice is meant to run on 87 octane, and I assumed most cars were made to run on the same. (There I go, assuming..... )

I was reading in another forum, that if a car is made to run on cheap unleaded, but runs better with higher octane...that means we need to fix our engines. I also have a link that suggests using the wrong octane could hamper the engine, and even make it run hotter......I dunno, something about the premium burning slower, which supposedly causes buildup over time in engines programmed to run on 87 octane. I'll find that link for you guys to read.........

I don't have my owners manual handy, but I would like to know what GM recomends we run our series II SSEi on. If it'* supposed to be 92-93-94 ?? octane, I'm gonna kick myself in the butt for not being certain. especially after recently reading that link.....


OK, found the link: http://www.lubedev.com/smartgas/octane.htm

I don't remember where I got that link from, but it was an interesting read.

In a way, I hope it'* rated at higher octane..... I buy it for the Caprice, which drinks a little more than the Bonne..
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:02 PM   #7
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I was going to chime in on the upper intake. No idea when the new upper was done but starting in 95 Series II there was a known issue with upper intakes. Just make sure which intake it would have. The bad, or the new revised one.

As for the SC guys having to use premium, we don't HAVE to, at least my 95 manual says I don't have to. But the er uh POWER is really addictive, and mines a non-modded motor. I've been told once you mod and hear the SC whine you would have trouble going back.
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
The only potential problem on the SE would be the upper intake, but I think the one you're looking at has the good one in it already.
Is there a way to tell if it already has the "good one"? Also, is there anything else for me to look for on this car that would be a tell of bad things to come?
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:28 PM   #9
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Good intake ... you need the Bonnie Veterans to chime in. They'll see the post soon and you'll have tons of information.

I do a few things when I look at a car....here'* some of them.
Start the car and let it sit there running for a while...you want to pop the hood and let it get warm enough while you are looking around it for the fans to come on and cycle back off. By cycling off you know the fans work and that if you are stuck in traffic you shouldn't overheat.

With engine running pull the oil filler cap off. You should not see a lot of smoke known as blow by. My 95 doesn't puff anything out the cap. Look at the radiator and heater hoses, none of them should look cracked or pregnant. Look at the motor in general, does it have nuts and berries on top of it? It shouldn't...but that usually means it sat for a while. What condition are the belts. Frequently belts are in need of replacement, they are pretty easy to do.

When you test drive, park the car near it'* original location and look for spots on the ground. If you see anything look under the car and verify it'* from that car. After the test drive is a good time to look at the fluids. Tranny fluid should be red. Oil...if it'* perfectly clean it was either time or they just changed it for the sale. Ok either way.

Play with all the gadgets inside the car. Cruise might be the only one you can't try. Run all the windows up and down ...if they sound funny do it a few times. Let the window break while they own it. Even press the rear window defogger, while the blower motor is at max...think worse case winter scenario.....and think of all that electricity it uses..

When you test drive...try and find some sand or dirt...check the abs (warn the person before you lock the brakes lol) You also want to test the traction control in the same sand. Make sure no lights pop on while you are driving.

Power seats require a good testing...specially the 9 way ones. Check all switches...both sides and both seats.

Feel the trunk carpet for wetness, pull up the mat like you are looking at the spare tire...notice if the well where the spare is located is full of water.
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadSam
Quote:
Originally Posted by MOS95B
89K is just getting broke in good for the 3800. The only potential problem on the SE would be the upper intake, but I think the one you're looking at has the good one in it already.

And yeah, the supercharged folks do have to use Premium (pricey) fuel...
Is this a fact? I have a '96 SSEi, and I use plus unleaded. I use premium in my Caprice, because it runs better with it, but the Bonne , I haven't had the bonne long enough to determine what seems to run best in it.

My Caprice is meant to run on 87 octane, and I assumed most cars were made to run on the same. (There I go, assuming..... )

I was reading in another forum, that if a car is made to run on cheap unleaded, but runs better with higher octane...that means we need to fix our engines. I also have a link that suggests using the wrong octane could hamper the engine, and even make it run hotter......I dunno, something about the premium burning slower, which supposedly causes buildup over time in engines programmed to run on 87 octane. I'll find that link for you guys to read.........

I don't have my owners manual handy, but I would like to know what GM recomends we run our series II SSEi on. If it'* supposed to be 92-93-94 ?? octane, I'm gonna kick myself in the butt for not being certain. especially after recently reading that link.....


OK, found the link: http://www.lubedev.com/smartgas/octane.htm

I don't remember where I got that link from, but it was an interesting read.

In a way, I hope it'* rated at higher octane..... I buy it for the Caprice, which drinks a little more than the Bonne..
By not running 91-93 octane, your total fuel costs are probably higher. Especially in the summer. Mid-grade will cause KR, reducing efficiency, and by running premium, you'll actually save fuel and money. Not to mention wear and tear on your engine internals.



Quote:
Is there a way to tell if it already has the "good one"? Also, is there anything else for me to look for on this car that would be a tell of bad things to come?
That'* debatable. Our thoughts for some time has been that GM fixed the problem in or after 1999. We have had a couple failures after that, but it seems to be at least improved. There are preventive (cheaper) methods to preventing the failure. There is some information on this in the 2000+ section, and a TON in Techinfo and new information in the 1992-1999 section.
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