Jump to content

Cars... What should I do...


Recommended Posts

A little history leason on me, I have a son freshman in college living at home to save money. (It is smart and works for our family.) I have a daughter yet in highschool as a soph she will turn 16 in March. Of course the car-debate will arise, I have bought 3 cars in the past 7 years very unlike me I do buy in spurts, but I think I am stuck getting another one for her or my son. That is a fact I guess, but what to get. My wife said get a Sunfire or Cobalt, I would rather get something larger and older for the same or less money. My son is a Pontiac guy at heart but likes Chevy too. I don't want another Impala from the same generation or a Bonneville. My son likes the 1996-1999 Bonneville SSE/SSEi or 1998-1999 SLE *when they had the SSE body styling* are they good cars? If it is supercharged do you need to put premium in it? Anyone own one or have an experinse with them, I want something in the 4-6K price range with under 100K on the clock. Color is not a big deal no gold or maroon as I already have a vehicles in those colors. I also want something with NO RUST undercoating is a plus, if it is well taken care of and is about or under 100K I would be happy. Can I pick one of these up for that? And am I kidding myself that I can find them priced right with no rust? If you see any amazing deals in the coming months hit me up. Leather and sunroof are nice for him but not a need. Do they have any big problems? Oh and what is the first year they put the 3800 Series II? 1996? Do they have the intake problems other 3800 Series II have? I also approved of the Bonneville put noticed SLE/SSE/SSEi's are hard to find most are SE's which he nor I want, yuck. Have at it and any info is helpful so are nice high quality photos or brochure scans!

Edited by gm4life
Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know how big the college/university is, but I think you should let him live on campus instead and not give him a car. Yes, it saves money to live at home, but he's missing a good experience, and you wouldn't need to buy another car and pay to maintain it.

Just MO.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I am sure that is what is happening. Trust me we have been around the block around that. I told him he COULD live at home like I did. I am no worse for the wear. Now about the car... Dave I hope that isn't true that they are so beat up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Northie it is a college of 2000 students my wife went there. It is 7K a year to live in a dumby dorm and he didn't want too, trust me if we found a nice GM car for him he would MUCH rather have that. He wants a Camaro when he gets out. (Then I don't have to buy one, but I will be co-signing on that loan!) :rolleyes::P

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you! My son would totally agree. Oh as for the car I am in Iowa. On the WI/IL board where Iowa meets them on the mighty Miss. I will go to Des Monies, Chicago, Madison, Millwaukee, Waterloo, Greenbay, Quad Cities for a car... Or even the Twin Cities as well... Any other way to find cars beside autotrader and Cars.com or Craigslist? So can I find one in the 4-6K price bracket with under 100K in good-great shape? I like cars owned by old farts too so long as the drove there cars 5K or so a year.

Edited by gm4life
Link to post
Share on other sites

Loss of power and ping under acceleration. I'm sure there are more negatives to running regular, but these are what I've experienced so far. I'm planning to do some major work to my drivetrain in the coming months and then I'll have to make the switch back to premium fuel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

How about building his own electric car? That'd be a fun project for any college student. Someone in my dorm has a first-gen Saturn SL with its gasoline engine and gas tank replaced with an electric motor and a collection of batteries.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I'd buy a Cobalt. Newer, probably much less problematic and lower miles, etc.

I have an 18 YO and a 15 getting ready to turn 16 YO, so I am thinking Cobalt, but I had the same Bonneville thought you did.

Chris

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Just thought I'd fill you in on another 3800 update. At about 104,700 miles my Riviera's intake manifold gasket began leaking this past Thursday. I just had it replaced and the bill came out $578 including an oil change and 2 gallons of antifreeze. So I would have all gaskets checked by a mechanic you trust on any car with a 3800 engine even if the mileage is bellow 100K just to be sure.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, check out fuel economy above all else. As a grad student, and having many undergrad friends, all you need are 5 seats, and maybe some configurable space to haul things (fold down rear seats).

I know you like your Bonnevilles, but have you considered the 2nd-gen Oldsmobile Aurora? VERY similar to the last Bonneville, but with much better engines and interiors.

I will ALWAYS put in a good word for my 2nd-gen Aurora, as it gets pretty good fuel economy, and the 3.5 has a lot of power. The cars are a little quirky, though, so if you want to go that route I can PM you all the things to look into. I love my car, all my friends love riding in my car, and the trunk holds a lot. No fold-down rear seats, though, but the seats are comfortable as hell. I average 20/21mpg in mixed driving, keep in mind I'm in LA, so mileage could be a little higher elsewhere. I've also gotten 30+ on the highway before.

Same motor can be found in the uplevel Intrigues, from 1999 onward, I believe. Those are good cars, and look classy still even with a design that's 10 years old. The 2002s were the best-equipped, and free from all initial quality bugs.

Overall, though, I'd say the Aurora is the better car. Nice interior materials and design, and there are a lot of thoughtful little touches that make you go "wow...I can't believe they thought of that!" Auroras also have Magnasteer, so like all Magnasteer systems it can be programmed by a GM dealership to different power steering boost settings for like $50. I recommend the firmest setting. For the Aurora, though, get the 3.5 over the 4.0. Even though the V8 sounds like it has more power, you really just take a penalty in fuel economy and handling. The 3.5 has a better weight balance, and a gas tank that holds an extra gallon. The 4.0 (V8) is more front-heavy, and the 0-60 times are within a tenth of a second of each other.

Edited by Croc
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had both that body style Bonneville (1992 loaded SE) and a 2001 Aurora 3.5. I love both cars but the Pontiac was a better car. Even though I'm a die hard Oldsmobile fan the Aurora is a constant maintenance car. The Aurora is much more modern, comfortable, and has plenty of power even with the V6 but the repairs will kill ya and many mechanics that I have dealt with don't like to play with the Aurora so mine always ends up at the dealership which means $97.00/hr labor.

Edit:

Tip, when buying an H body GM car pull back the trunk carpeting around the rear wheels. The wheel wells on these cars (Bonneville/LeSabre/Eighty Eight) tend to rot away, starting around the top or middle of the well then working its way to the trunk floor. Its hard to tell from the outside (tire side) of the well because 1. everything is black 2. the placement of the shock hide a lot of the well(which is were the rot starts) Both my 92 Bonneville and 93 LeSabre had rot here and both I fixed with fiberglass.

Edited by Brougham-Holiday
Link to post
Share on other sites
I have had both that body style Bonneville (1992 loaded SE) and a 2001 Aurora 3.5. I love both cars but the Pontiac was a better car. Even though I'm a die hard Oldsmobile fan the Aurora is a constant maintenance car. The Aurora is much more modern, comfortable, and has plenty of power even with the V6 but the repairs will kill ya and many mechanics that I have dealt with don't like to play with the Aurora so mine always ends up at the dealership which means $97.00/hr labor.

Interesting you say that...the only issue I have had that wasn't already an issue when I bought the car was the PCS needed replacement.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Both our on the list...

2001-2002 Aurora 3.5

1998-1999 Bonneville SLE/SSE L36 3.8

I don't want to got the Cobalt route because I will have to drive it. I don't want a little car not yet. I almost got an Aurora fall 2007 an '01 Red 3.5, but he was asking to much, way to much. I would rather go Bonneville just because I am a Pontiac man, if the right Aurora pops up both would be great car, and have enough power and drive nice. My son likes big cars, and so do I. That is why my wife is driving the Torrent although we do trade between the too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you get a nice Aurora (NO RUST) with under 75K for 6-7K? On the Bonneville I want to go 5-6K or so but under 75K is way hard to find in SSE trim level... But I have a guy whom works for a huge Toyo dealership great guy but he drives Honda's... :AH-HA_wink: He can find anything we want... So it depends... I am looking foward to another whip just as much as my son whom will be driving it, and I will be footing the bill. Isn't that sick? Although if it is a Bonneville SSE or Aurora at least it will be fun to drive...

Link to post
Share on other sites

gm4life...I understand you want to get something both you and your son would enjoy, but why not consider something cheap and efficient if your son is primarily going to be driving it? Sure a Bonneville SSEI would be nice, and I'm sure he would love it to death, but is that really something he would "need" right now? Your country is falling into hard times, gas prices are at a small point of relief right now, but is most likely going to still climb up at a slow and steady pace. Do you really want to put yourself at risk to buy something that goes through gas like crazy? If your son plans on buying a Camaro after school, why not get something that's cheap to run and maintain until he's done school, so that when it's time for him to replace it, it won't be too hard to sell, and he can then get something "fun" for himself?

When it was time for me to get my first car, there were several things I wanted to buy, but since I made crappy money at my part-time job, I bought what I could afford, which at the time was a 1990 sunbird 4 door. No it wasn't cool, and yes, my friends had cooler cars than I did, but the whole point of it was to get me to and from school and my co-op placement (something I couldn't do with a bus-pass at the time). My dad helped me out with insurance and the occasional $20 for gas so I was deeply grateful for that, but looking back, I didn't want to put him in a position where I would ask for more help than I had to, so I drove that POS till I could afford something better. Yes, I drove the POS for 4 years, but that ain't the point. I was only in high school at the time.

Moral of the story, is that I hope that your looking at this car as a way of your son getting to and from school, and not as a way to serve your own needs of having a Bonneville back in your driveway, because if your son will be putting in the gas and paying the insurance, he's going to be hurting in the longrun.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Can you get a nice Aurora (NO RUST) with under 75K for 6-7K?

Maybe. I bought my Aurora a little over a year ago with similar mileage as you've indicated, and it worked out to 7.5k plus tax. There was a good bit of haggling involved though, and I nearly walked out of the deal at the last minute (that got me an extra $500 off and a brake replacement).

Shouldn't be too bad, though.

I'll trot out something now, though:

2001 3.5 Aurora

19mpg City

28mpg Highway

1999 Bonneville 3.8 Supercharged

18mpg City

27mpg Highway

I haven't owned a supercharged 3.8, so I don't have a basis for comparison, but the 3.5 delivers ~22 or ~23 combined, and I've gotten 30+ on the highway before. With gas prices and the economy where they are, every mpg counts! It also meets LEV emmissions.

Plus, the 3.5 doesn't require premium, and it runs great no matter what I put in it (I try to stay with Chevron since they put Techron in all grades, but if none is around, I'll spring for premium).

Edited by Croc
Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks Croc I would go with a L36 3.8 no a Supercharged L67. So the 3.5 is doesn't need premium and it isn't recommend in the book. Honestly I would do a 3.8 L36 or a 3.5 DOHC.

Correct, the 3.5 runs just fine on regular.

If you're going to go for the standard 3.8, then you're going to get the same fuel economy as the 3.5, but with less power. With the 3.5, you might as well have an 8 when you're driving, but at starts (like from traffic lights) you don't get all the crazy torque steer and tire squealing. You still CAN squeal the tires, though, if you'd like.

I highly recommend the 3.5, in either the Aurora or the Intrigue. Let me know if/when you start looking at Aurora 3.5s, and I'll tell you some of the things you should look for, and some common quirks with the cars.

Link to post
Share on other sites
gm4life...I understand you want to get something both you and your son would enjoy, but why not consider something cheap and efficient if your son is primarily going to be driving it? Sure a Bonneville SSEI would be nice, and I'm sure he would love it to death, but is that really something he would "need" right now? Your country is falling into hard times, gas prices are at a small point of relief right now, but is most likely going to still climb up at a slow and steady pace. Do you really want to put yourself at risk to buy something that goes through gas like crazy? If your son plans on buying a Camaro after school, why not get something that's cheap to run and maintain until he's done school, so that when it's time for him to replace it, it won't be too hard to sell, and he can then get something "fun" for himself?

When it was time for me to get my first car, there were several things I wanted to buy, but since I made crappy money at my part-time job, I bought what I could afford, which at the time was a 1990 sunbird 4 door. No it wasn't cool, and yes, my friends had cooler cars than I did, but the whole point of it was to get me to and from school and my co-op placement (something I couldn't do with a bus-pass at the time). My dad helped me out with insurance and the occasional $20 for gas so I was deeply grateful for that, but looking back, I didn't want to put him in a position where I would ask for more help than I had to, so I drove that POS till I could afford something better. Yes, I drove the POS for 4 years, but that ain't the point. I was only in high school at the time.

Moral of the story, is that I hope that your looking at this car as a way of your son getting to and from school, and not as a way to serve your own needs of having a Bonneville back in your driveway, because if your son will be putting in the gas and paying the insurance, he's going to be hurting in the longrun.

Well I want something I want to drive too. We have similar tastes and I always like the late 90's SSE's and the Olds Aurora's in the 01-02. I cover the gas and insurance and my son is not a small guy nor am I. If we did a compact it would be a G5 and they are out of our budget for a GT with a 5spd.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You can find an Aurora for around 7500, thats what I paid for mine last year ($7495) with 80,000 miles on it.

Just for comparison the Bonneville I had was $200 :-D)

As stated before the 3.5 is so smooth and powerful that I also highly recommend it. The down side is that it is a high maintenance car. I had a leaky trunk and the ISS replaced already, and now the Input turbine sensor in the trans is acting up. Check out the Aurora Club of North America forum before you buy one (I wish I did) and you can find all the things to look for. On top of what I've had on my car, others have had issues with vibrating front ends, air shocks, various electronics, etc. The positive is they ride great, have lots of power, and everything has a power button. My personal favorite thing is the center console because of how its slanted towards the driver.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

In my last post I stated that my Input turbine sensor was acting up, well it acted its way to the dealership along with shift solenoids new trans fluid, etc and of course the usual oil change....$1,544.88. Now in the spring I'm going to need brakes...... like I said, I'm a die hard Oldsmobile nut but I've also had all 3 of the H body cars (92 Bonneville, 93 LeSabre, 88 Delta 88) and all were far better cars then my Aurora.

A little humor, the 2nd to last time I got my oil changed there was another Aurora in the service bay (black 3.5). I said to the service manager "Hey nice Aurora!" to which he responded "Oh you don't want one of those, its a nightmare."

Stick with the Bonneville, I sure as hell wish I did!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm your mileage is really close to mine, Brougham-Holiday. Honestly the only non-standard maintenance I've needed to perform was the solenoid replacement. All the other work I've had done to it was either collision repair, or due to personal anal-retentiveness about my car.

I got the car pre-owned, so initially I had to do some upgrades to get it running well, but that's kinda to be expected with a used car.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe I got a Friday afternoon car? I've considered myself lucky, check out the Aurora Club Forum Link and you can read for yourself the many problems these cars face, bad air shocks, steering shaft issues, trunk leaks, and many of costly repairs.

No I'm a member, and I've read up on a lot of those. That's how I figured out I needed a new solenoid...what, you think I'd go to a dealership and trust THEIR diagnostics? No way.

Really, the main issues the car has are the Secondary Air System (design defect), window regulators (design defect), PCS solenoid (hard-to-access sensor), and an out-of-the-ordinary need to keep the alignment near-perfect.

The trunk leaks affect V6 models and 2003 V8 models, as it is caused by the plastic insert on the rear decklid, same issue Caddy CTS had in 2003. Steering shaft just needs to be lubricated periodically, and I'm not aware of widespread air shock problems. I know the load leveling system can get out of calibration after the car has been lifted, but otherwise I don't know what you mean, nor have I seen it over at ACNA.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My car's previous owner had the Secondary Air system replaced at the Oldsmobile dealership a few years back. I had the PCS replaced in that big transmission repair along with the input turbine sensor. My intermediate steering shaft was replaced last January. I adjusted the sun roof because it leaked, and my trunk leak wasn't due to that plastic insert, I had to re-glue the weatherstripping around the trunk to get the leak to stop. There have been a few Aurora owners on ACNA who have had their air shocks go, which according to my local dealership the parts are over $400. based on your alignment remark, I guess your car also has the infamous highway vibration? Its been a hot topic over at ACNA because no one can seem to find a definite answer for the majority of owners, much like the trunk leak, it happens for various different reasons.

At the end of the day though, its still a beautiful car.

Link to post
Share on other sites
My car's previous owner had the Secondary Air system replaced at the Oldsmobile dealership a few years back. I had the PCS replaced in that big transmission repair along with the input turbine sensor. My intermediate steering shaft was replaced last January. I adjusted the sun roof because it leaked, and my trunk leak wasn't due to that plastic insert, I had to re-glue the weatherstripping around the trunk to get the leak to stop. There have been a few Aurora owners on ACNA who have had their air shocks go, which according to my local dealership the parts are over $400. based on your alignment remark, I guess your car also has the infamous highway vibration? Its been a hot topic over at ACNA because no one can seem to find a definite answer for the majority of owners, much like the trunk leak, it happens for various different reasons.

At the end of the day though, its still a beautiful car.

I actually don't really have the highway vibration issue, just read about it. I'm also in LA, so all the freeways have vibration. She rides pretty smoothly overall, though.

I agree, it is a beautiful car, and a fantastic performer as well. So much thought went into the interior and ergonomics (save the cupholders) that it is such a satisfying car to drive.

Question: does your armrest still have the spring in it? Apparently broken armrest replacement parts did not include the spring, so my armrest does not "catch" open. Previous owner replaced it. And are your interior buttons scratched?

Oh the joys of an early model...mine was built November 1999, what about yours?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the intermittent vibration (some days it happens others it doesn't).

My arm rest doesn't stay open say mid way up, I didn't know it was supposed to have a spring in it, but I'll look and see whats going on with it.

My interior buttons arn't scratch but I have seen other GM cars that have had it badly, my best friends sister had a 2000 Cavalier Z24 where the radio buttons were almost totally white from the paint chipping away.

Mine was built December 2000.

I actually like the cup holders though they don't hold the biggest cups that you can get from the drive thru window. I agree the interior is amazing, more storage then you can shake your proverbial stick at. I love the storage under the a/c controls (behind the wood door) perfect for holding my extra cds.

Except for the quality issues, there isn't anything on the car I would change, save for an upgraded model (V8/navigation/Bose). Although I'm sure everyone thinks I'm crazy I take mine to the dealership(Buick/Pontiac/GMC) where be buy our cars because they have been great. When I had the transmission problem I talked to our mechanic and he was afraid to even walk near the car, BPG took it in 12 Monday afternoon and I had it back 2 Tuesday afternoon.

Sorry gm4life, I didn't mean to hijack your thread!

Link to post
Share on other sites

My main issue with the cupholders are that the bottom of them doesn't catch condensation, so they can drip, and they drip right on the heated seat buttons. Otherwise I like the design...though if you have two full drinks in them, the cupholder mechanism does have a tendancy to flop back and forth a bit at acceleration/braking.

Agreed on the interior storage...that center stack storage is CAVERNOUS!!! And the coin holder box under the trip computer/dash lighting dial is a great touch.

I actually sought out the V6 for fuel economy reasons, and also because it drives better than the 4.0 due to weight distribution issues. Not only do you get more front weight from the 4.0, but to reduce weight, the 4.0 got the lighter, cleaner-looking aluminum decklid, as well as a 1-gallon smaller fuel tank...all of which further shifts the weight distribution to the front. And IMO, the V8 doesn't offer a significant performance upgrade at all over the 3.5.

My father has bought various Devilles over the years, and I swear my 3.5 is just as fast as his Northstars have been (I know this is likely due to weight), but it is still one hell of an engine. I also like the throttle progression of 6s over 8s in general, too.

-------------------------

gm4life: If you go with the Bonneville, you're still getting a great car. The 2000+ Bonnevilles are very similar in interior layout to the Aurora, so you can't go wrong with that. Both are excellent cars.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I have the intermittent vibration (some days it happens others it doesn't).

My arm rest doesn't stay open say mid way up, I didn't know it was supposed to have a spring in it, but I'll look and see whats going on with it.

My interior buttons arn't scratch but I have seen other GM cars that have had it badly, my best friends sister had a 2000 Cavalier Z24 where the radio buttons were almost totally white from the paint chipping away.

Mine was built December 2000.

I actually like the cup holders though they don't hold the biggest cups that you can get from the drive thru window. I agree the interior is amazing, more storage then you can shake your proverbial stick at. I love the storage under the a/c controls (behind the wood door) perfect for holding my extra cds.

Except for the quality issues, there isn't anything on the car I would change, save for an upgraded model (V8/navigation/Bose). Although I'm sure everyone thinks I'm crazy I take mine to the dealership(Buick/Pontiac/GMC) where be buy our cars because they have been great. When I had the transmission problem I talked to our mechanic and he was afraid to even walk near the car, BPG took it in 12 Monday afternoon and I had it back 2 Tuesday afternoon.

Sorry gm4life, I didn't mean to hijack your thread!

No this is stuff I like to know. It is making a 98-99 Bonneville SSE more likely tho. Anyone know anything about the replacement intakes? And also do the HUD (eyecue heads up display) on the GM cars last? What about the 12 way power seats as well?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been told that the V8 is much harder (thus more expensive) to repair because the engine compartment is so tight.

Even with all of the issues I've had, the Aurora is still a beautiful car, I'm slowly getting the bugs worked.

My cop holders are the same, I don't have heated seats so my condensation just drips on the wood which makes me crazy.

The real wood is a great touch, and the leather is softer then many other luxury cars I've driven including BMWs and Acuras.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×
×
  • Create New...