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Old 09-19-2005, 01:14 PM   #1
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Default New member & Bonnie owner, but it'* already died!

I can't believe my misfortune. I bought a 94 Bonneville SE with 125,000 miles on it for only $500! I was really enjoying my 'new' ride home until it started coming apart only a few miles from the one-owner fellow I bought it from. It never made it home. My mechanic now says it needs a new motor. I know the 3800 is a solid engine, just bad luck on my part. Any thoughts or advice? I'm quoted $2500 to put in a USED motor! Maybe I'll get a $450 motor from the junkyard and try it myself... or should I just scrap it and try again?
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Old 09-19-2005, 01:18 PM   #2
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$2500? You can get several fixer-upper Bonnies for that. The previous owner didn't take any responsibility for selling you a car that wouldn't make it home, or were you aware that it might not when you paid?

Maybe you could give us symptoms and we can help you out.
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Old 09-19-2005, 01:31 PM   #3
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could you please tell us...why i didnt make it home in more detail??
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Old 09-19-2005, 05:30 PM   #4
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We can round up a couple members to head over for a diagnosis. Might be in order for this one.
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Old 09-19-2005, 07:00 PM   #5
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More details of engine trouble please
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Old 09-19-2005, 11:12 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your interest! Ok, I'll try to answer you all at once.
First, I did call the previous owner and told him that I had to have it towed halfway home, and he was more surprised than I, as it had served him well with no hint of engine trouble since he bought it new. He hadn't put many miles on it in the last couple of months or so, but did drive it about once a week to make sure everything still worked.
I believe he will be receptive to work out some sort of settlement, but I'm leaning toward making it a project.

Now, the symptoms. On the way home, I first noticed a lack of power when I tried to kick it into passing gear starting at about 60. It didn't 'launch' the way I expected, but felt more like it had a clogged catalytic. It drove fine a week ago, and had lots of pep, but not going from 60 to ?. From there, the performance slowly degraded over the next several miles, until I pulled off the freeway to go to a barbecue. The engine stalled at the stop. My wife, in the chase car, went for gas because I was driving near empty and thought that I just ran it dry. A single gallon seemed to revive it, but it was still stalling at every stop on the way to the gas station just two blocks away. By now, I was noticing that the oil pressure was borderline, too. Incidentally, while waiting for my wife to bring gas, I called AAA and found out they won't provide road service to a car that isn't currently registered! I was madder at them than I care to describe. So, we limped to our barbecue, then headed for home, still over 20 miles away. (Total trip distance was 44 miles). The car made it about 5-6 miles before it started to really drop in power, and now it was overheating, too! Keep in mind that the engine was getting noisy, no doubt due in part to oil starvation. I did check the oil level at the gas station, and added a quart just to be sure, but it didn't help.

My mechanic says its noisy in the bottom end, so I need another engine. Do you all think that the oil starvation may have killed a bearing, or is the low oil pressure is causing the noise... I hope? What is the likelihood that the first cause is a blown head gasket? That would explain the overheating, but you might know if the loss in oil pressure is also a possible effect. When I checked the oil, first at the gas station, then again when it finally breathed its last, the dipstick came out looking like it was "smoking", not really smoke, but vapors coming off like there was excessive blow-by.

I did finally get AAA to come tow the car to the mechanic by having my wife make the call, and not tell them what I had told them before. She was told by the AAA person that the driver would ask to see the license and registration, but they never have, and fortunately did not this time.

The most amazing part of this whole story is my wife never rode in the car, but still likes it better than my Volvo, and thought I should make a project out of it even before the Volvo suffered a major failure TODAY ON THE WAY HOME FROM WORK! I think I need a vacation! Incidentally, my wife drives a 1994 Chrysler Town & Country with over 225,000 miles. The Volvo had over 250,000 miles, so it'* due, I guess.

Thanks for your help!
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Old 09-20-2005, 01:53 AM   #7
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Well, I can't help you with your situation, but WELCOME nonetheless!
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Old 09-20-2005, 09:43 PM   #8
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Default The trip back home... for the blown Bonnie...

I just drove the car back from the shop. It still has the noticeable rod knock, but now runs fairly decent, and didn't stall as soon as I pulled in the driveway. I've got to take a closer look at things when I have some time off work, etc. So, when cool, compression seems up, as does oil pressure. Note: The trip back from the shop was only 1 mile, on flat highway.

Thanks for your thoughts... in advance!

-Paul
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