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Old 03-28-2010, 11:38 PM   #1
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Hello Everyone, I have been a Member here sometime and enjoy reading everyones post and seeing awesome pictures of peoples cars however this is my first post. Sorry for the length I just feel that the back story needs to be told plus this will stand in for my introduction about how I came to be with my bonneville.

I am currently in possesion of a 94' Bonneville SE, I call Ol' Smoky beacuse well she smokes and is that goldish color that reminded me of a bear. It has been in my family since it was brand new, I remember as a young child of four years old (im 20 now) sitting in the waiting room seemingly for eternity as my parents filled out the paperwork for their new car. And just a side note, We maintain our vehicles to a very high degree ourselves, my father has been a mechanic his whole life and by age 11 I could completley assymble and dissasymble a small block chevy by myself, and it run perfect. Anyways i digress, around 120,000 miles the trans went out, so my father had it rebuilt, it came with a 12(365 days) month 12K warranty. It drove fine for the whole time, the morning after the warranty went out day 366 it stated acting up slipping when shifting and would barley grab the gears, took it back to them and of course since it was out of warranty they said they could fix it but they would have to go into it again. They said something about the clutch bands slipping or something.
After this my father was infuriated, we talked to other trans. mechanics, and they all said the same thing, the car could drive ok as long as you babied it bettween shifts for years or a couple days, regardless someday it would have to be rebuilt. My dad drove it maybe two more weeks and its slipping increased to the point where he could no longer trust it to take him on his hour long drive on the interstates to work at then NorthWest. So he parked it.
Years have passed now and except for the occasinall drive from me, it does not get driven. Because now after sitting so long, a days worth of driving maybe 40 miles or so you will burn through over half a quart of oil, and another half will leak out while running, or parked, Its valves tick like crazy for the first ten minutes of driving. So now it very rarley gets driven. My dad is so fed up with the car now he wanted to sell it and when he saw that the "good condition" sell value was only 800$ he knew in its current running state it would bring more money at a scrapyard. Instead of scrapping it I convinced him to give it to me to hopefully fix.
I will be obtaining my associates in two more months, and then I will be off to get my Engineering Bachleors degree at UGA or GT. And my current vehicle which I absolutley love, my 95' chevy Z71 will guzzle way to much gas( even at its astonding 18 mpg high way with a lift and 33'' mud tires) driving back and forth that 1 1/2- 2 hour drive each way, each day.

So my question is this is it worth putting enough money into this car to rebuild the engine and have the transmission rebuilt by someone I have found that i can trust to do me right(I will actually rebuild the engine myself I will take the stripped block to a shop the be resurfaced and honed and Bored over just enough, and the heads resurfaced). Or should I just save up some more and buy another car,and also what would roughly be the cost of all parts to rebuild this engine pistons, rings, valves, pushrods, rocker arms, all of it? If I am going to do this it will be like like new or better than new when finished. Sorry for the long post, I just felt some back info on the car might help to sway you one way or the other. Oh she has the standard 3.8
So in short is it worth it, And if so what overall cost should I be looking at roughly?

Last edited by Olchevy; 03-28-2010 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:45 PM   #2
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Sentimental value. Engine may need good flush.Same tranny.New filter & fluid may do the trick. I love my '97 SE. Other will ring with their opinions
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:50 PM   #3
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welcome to the forum! I would think that you could find a reasonably priced motor and trans combo in the bone yards for it. or look into fixing what is wrong with the motor and have to pull the tans out and put a newer one in. you could have the very common. valve cover gasket leak and well as the UIM and LIM gaskets need doing. does it by chance eat or leak coolant?
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:12 AM   #4
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Okay about two weeks ago I went to replace the rear valve cover gasket(is the rear bank two?) because it was shot out big time, after removing everything to get to it I noticed the water bypass hose had a huge (1-1/2'' long completely through) gash in it so I replaced it. after re assymbleing it all it seemed good to go drove it around seemed ok, parked it and in less than 3-4 minutes there was a 2'' round oil spot beneath the car so i parked it because that was all the time I had to work on it that day. So until I clean it underneath I will not know if it is still leaking or if it was just some of the tons of residual oil on the engine and everything below.

As for the rebuild vs junkyard, I personally would rather rebuild. I know and have helped plenty of people install( I do engine and trans swaps for people on the side to make extra money) their "low milage" junkyard Engines/Transmissions and out of those many many people, I only know of three or four whos are still doing ok, all the rest had to rebuild shortly thereafter.

Oh and on a side note right before the car had messed up, my dad had just had the whole headliner visors and all redone, so the interior looks brand new.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:20 AM   #5
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Hmmm. Good questions. These are good running cars WHEN they are taken care of. It appears that you and your father have done a good job doing this.

As far as wether to rebuild or sell, would really depend on the body of the car. Is it showing signs of cancer anywhere? Rocker panels, wheel wells?

A master rebuild kit for these transmissions run around $300.
Considering you have a Series 1 engine, not sure about rebuild kits for those. As future mods are concerned, you are limited with this engine.
Found one website that sells rebuild kits for your engine, runs between $300 and $800. 300 consisting of new rings, block gaskets etc. Does not appear that it comes with intake gaskets. Which will run you more. $800 kit comes with cam bearins, rod bearings, oil pump, plus a bunch of other goodies.

With both of those kits, your almost $1000 out of pocket, and that'* not counting new coolant, tuneup, trans fluid and whatever else breaks during disassembly.

On a side note, I have replaced my trans 3 times with junk yard ones. They don't fail because of it being a junkyard one, they fail because I beat the snot out of them.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:14 PM   #6
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The body is in perfect shape even the paint looks good except for the spoiler which has faded off over the years. The interior is as near perfect as it will get for a 16 year old car there are no stains or tears or anything of the like, and back before we parked it the only problem was the trans, engine was fine then no oil leaks no valves ticking or problems of any sort, but we all know what happens to a car when they sit for prolonged periods of time ie. a couple years.

As for upgrading, I really could care less about performance upgrades unless they lead to better fuel economy, which usually the amount of fuel savings does not constitute the price of the part. If I keep this car the most that will be done to it after being put back in running order, is new tires and some window tint. If I decide on keeping it long term I MIGHT ( key word here) possibly put some new wheels on it and repaint it down the road, I am in the process of learning how to paint cars. And if I decide to really keep it I might try my hand at fitting some of those those bmw headlights I saw another guy had on here, those look awesome!
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Olchevy View Post
Hello Everyone, I have been a Member here sometime and enjoy reading everyones post and seeing awesome pictures of peoples cars however this is my first post. Sorry for the length I just feel that the back story needs to be told plus this will stand in for my introduction about how I came to be with my bonneville.

I am currently in possesion of a 94' Bonneville SE, I call Ol' Smoky beacuse well she smokes and is that goldish color that reminded me of a bear. It has been in my family since it was brand new, I remember as a young child of four years old (im 20 now) sitting in the waiting room seemingly for eternity as my parents filled out the paperwork for their new car. And just a side note, We maintain our vehicles to a very high degree ourselves, my father has been a mechanic his whole life and by age 11 I could completley assymble and dissasymble a small block chevy by myself, and it run perfect. Anyways i digress, around 120,000 miles the trans went out, so my father had it rebuilt, it came with a 12(365 days) month 12K warranty. It drove fine for the whole time, the morning after the warranty went out day 366 it stated acting up slipping when shifting and would barley grab the gears, took it back to them and of course since it was out of warranty they said they could fix it but they would have to go into it again. They said something about the clutch bands slipping or something.
After this my father was infuriated, we talked to other trans. mechanics, and they all said the same thing, the car could drive ok as long as you babied it bettween shifts for years or a couple days, regardless someday it would have to be rebuilt. My dad drove it maybe two more weeks and its slipping increased to the point where he could no longer trust it to take him on his hour long drive on the interstates to work at then NorthWest. So he parked it.
Years have passed now and except for the occasinall drive from me, it does not get driven. Because now after sitting so long, a days worth of driving maybe 40 miles or so you will burn through over half a quart of oil, and another half will leak out while running, or parked, Its valves tick like crazy for the first ten minutes of driving. So now it very rarley gets driven. My dad is so fed up with the car now he wanted to sell it and when he saw that the "good condition" sell value was only 800$ he knew in its current running state it would bring more money at a scrapyard. Instead of scrapping it I convinced him to give it to me to hopefully fix.
I will be obtaining my associates in two more months, and then I will be off to get my Engineering Bachleors degree at UGA or GT. And my current vehicle which I absolutley love, my 95' chevy Z71 will guzzle way to much gas( even at its astonding 18 mpg high way with a lift and 33'' mud tires) driving back and forth that 1 1/2- 2 hour drive each way, each day.

So my question is this is it worth putting enough money into this car to rebuild the engine and have the transmission rebuilt by someone I have found that i can trust to do me right(I will actually rebuild the engine myself I will take the stripped block to a shop the be resurfaced and honed and Bored over just enough, and the heads resurfaced). Or should I just save up some more and buy another car,and also what would roughly be the cost of all parts to rebuild this engine pistons, rings, valves, pushrods, rocker arms, all of it? If I am going to do this it will be like like new or better than new when finished. Sorry for the long post, I just felt some back info on the car might help to sway you one way or the other. Oh she has the standard 3.8
So in short is it worth it, And if so what overall cost should I be looking at roughly?
Well a little information about myself. All I use to own were Pontiacs and Chevys' Most of my best cars were Pontiacs including my 69 GTO Judge, 79 10th anniversary Trans-am, 75 GT Astre with a 350 chevy , 2 1970 SS Nova'*, 1970 SS Chevelle, 1968 Pro Stock Camaro that ran 7.43 at 182mph in a quarter mile and now my 1993 SSEI bonneville in which I take care of alot, but over the years I have notice that these bonnevilles have symptoms that can be very costly and common problems, that the old pontiacs dont have but only these bonnevilles have. These bonnevilles can either break you or make you. Luckily my 93 bonneville has been very reliable until the past couple of years and mind you not it only has 155,000 miles in which is not alot for a 1993. I have gone through a new supercharger, new oxygen sensor,new fuel pump and screen, new crankshaft sensor, tps sensor and even a new guage cluster (thats very expensive), 2 harmonic balancers, water pump and radiator. I experienced a problem one day where the car would turn over but would not fire up. it took 2 experience mechanic shops and finally a dealership to figure out the problem. The mechanic from the Dealership told me that all he did was unplug this and unplug that clean out all the connectors even if they looked cleaned. but still couldnt really pin point why the car would just all of a sudden not fire up. They got it to work and works fine now and then just this weekend a weird noise is coming from the under the hood where its sounds like its giving out a high pitched screeching (metal to metal) noise when you give it gas. It maybe a torque convertor. So now I'm to point that I'm going to look for another car, My wife owns a 1991 subaru Legacy L with 224,000 miles and this car still runs strong, looks good, no rust and all wheel drive, while my bonne sat during winter and most winters would sit and the subaru would be driven. So this tells me should I go pontiac or jap - I would go jap because these bonnevilles are costly when it comes to repairing them and a Transmission is no joke. I priced out a new converter - $99.00 for a new one and then taking out the transmission and put in back in would cost 1200-1500 So If you want something reliable, The bonnevilles can be reliable, but with alot of miles on them, I would just trade it in or sell it for something much much more reliable. Its not worth it. You know my car was $36,000+ when I bought it new, Now its worth maybe 2000 at the most. My wifes car - 91 subaru - 1700 at craigslist. go do the math. These bonnevilles dont hold diddly. If you spent lets say over 2000 to get your bonneville up and going. look at craigslist for a comparable car around 2000 and see what you will find. You will be shocked. I think I will buy a $2000 legacy outback or Altima before I spend money on a 2000 dollar transmission for my bonneville. Sorry I'm a big bonneville fan but for this thread I have to be for real.

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Old 03-29-2010, 05:17 PM   #8
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Well a little information about myself. All I use to own were Pontiacs and Chevys' Most of my best cars were Pontiacs including my 69 GTO Judge, 79 10th anniversary Trans-am, 75 GT Astre with a 350 chevy , 2 1970 SS Nova'*, 1970 SS Chevelle, 1968 Pro Stock Camaro that ran 7.43 at 182mph in a quarter mile and now my 1993 SSEI bonneville in which I take care of alot, but over the years I have notice that these bonnevilles have symptoms that can be very costly and common problems, that the old pontiacs dont have but only these bonnevilles have. These bonnevilles can either break you or make you. Luckily my 93 bonneville has been very reliable until the past couple of years and mind you not it only has 155,000 miles in which is not alot for a 1993. I have gone through a new supercharger, new oxygen sensor,new fuel pump and screen, new crankshaft sensor, tps sensor and even a new guage cluster (thats very expensive), 2 harmonic balancers, water pump and radiator. I experienced a problem one day where the car would turn over but would not fire up. it took 2 experience mechanic shops and finally a dealership to figure out the problem. The mechanic from the Dealership told me that all he did was unplug this and unplug that clean out all the connectors even if they looked cleaned. but still couldnt really pin point why the car would just all of a sudden not fire up. They got it to work and works fine now and then just this weekend a weird noise is coming from the under the hood where its sounds like its giving out a high pitched screeching (metal to metal) noise when you give it gas. It maybe a torque convertor. So now I'm to point that I'm going to look for another car, My wife owns a 1991 subaru Legacy L with 224,000 miles and this car still runs strong, looks good, no rust and all wheel drive, while my bonne sat during winter and most winters would sit and the subaru would be driven. So this tells me should I go pontiac or jap - I would go jap because these bonnevilles are costly when it comes to repairing them and a Transmission is no joke. I priced out a new converter - $99.00 for a new one and then taking out the transmission and put in back in would cost 1200-1500 So If you want something reliable, The bonnevilles can be reliable, but with alot of miles on them, I would just trade it in or sell it for something much much more reliable. Its not worth it. You know my car was $36,000+ when I bought it new, Now its worth maybe 2000 at the most. My wifes car - 91 subaru - 1700 at craigslist. go do the math. These bonnevilles dont hold diddly. If you spent lets say over 2000 to get your bonneville up and going. look at craigslist for a comparable car around 2000 and see what you will find. You will be shocked. I think I will buy a $2000 legacy outback or Altima before I spend money on a 2000 dollar transmission for my bonneville. Sorry I'm a big bonneville fan but for this thread I have to be for real.
Thank you very much, that is what I am looking for "real honest opinions" and on a side note my bonnieville is at 134,000 it started having problems at 120K and has never been the same since. Up until 120K the only problem we had is that it would fly through alternators I think we replaced them 5 or 6 times, luckily its a very easy fix on these cars.But considering its KBB is only 730$ and it has a list of problems I believe it may be time to put it to rest, there are just so many memories in that car, so many vacations, fun times, road trips etc.....
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Old 03-30-2010, 05:18 PM   #9
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Thank you very much, that is what I am looking for "real honest opinions" and on a side note my bonnieville is at 134,000 it started having problems at 120K and has never been the same since. Up until 120K the only problem we had is that it would fly through alternators I think we replaced them 5 or 6 times, luckily its a very easy fix on these cars.But considering its KBB is only 730$ and it has a list of problems I believe it may be time to put it to rest, there are just so many memories in that car, so many vacations, fun times, road trips etc.....
You know I love my car so much, that I hate to get rid of it but it too is time to go. I have been looking at the subaru'* legacy'* and outbacks for around 2400. and some as far under 10,000. I'm in the market for a subaru Legacy GT turbo in the 2000 - 2005 years and also the outbacks as well and the Mazda6'*. My bonneville is nice but it has to many problems and they seem to hit you all at once and very expensive to fix. specially if you dont have the money do so. I would rather work on a mid 60'* - early 70'* car as a fixer upper because you will gain your money back. These bonnevilles arent worth a dime is in value wise. where lets say a 1972 Nova - can be worth up too 10 - 12,000 after fixing it up and less money to do so depending on what it needs. Find an old grandma 6 banger 68 - 72 Nova and drop a LT-1 350 and do some body work on it and paint - look on craigslist see if how much those cars go for. The Bonnes are worthless.
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