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Pontiac Bonneville



  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Good to see you again. Glad to hear you're still enjoying your Bonneville and that the GXP is still a consideration for you; it sure looks like a fantastic car. Perhaps in a few yrs when the 04 leases start hitting the used market I'll seriously consider one.

    Yes my email is unchanged so please do drop a note when you can.

    Hope all in the northeast are prepared for the deep freeze again after a couple days respite. I'm becoming intimately aquainted with how to diagnose and solve frozen pipe situations!
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Yeah, the GXP is definitely a consideration but my wife is deadly serious about the H2 (I'm a tad shocked on this one) and I'm still a year away from being even 1/2 serious in the market. By then, who knows what's going to be out? A CTS-V? ;-)

    I'll drop you a line sometime. Take it easy there tpken.
  • ezraponezrapon Posts: 348
    Good to see some of the old salts on here again. I bought a new Denali and couldn't miss the old ssei less. I've never been back to dealership for any reason with the new rig. It would appear much of the passion generated by all the new owners of the "new 2000" model has long since disappeared from this board. I still post over in the yukon board, but only check this one every few months. The way my ssei was falling apart at 32,000 I doubt my posts would have been very cheerful. My wife wanted me to trade it in...I wanted to drive a wooden stake through it, douse it with holy water, and bury it in the back yard; she won, I traded it in September. Did drive a Comp GTP, but was totally unimpressed. I've seen a few GTO's around. They do little for me. I'm still waiting for the GXP. Too bad they didn't give it some real power. While it was making its way from the drawing board to the real world, real world HP passed it by. If it ever breaks 300 HP, I might look at it again.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I've had the intermediate steering shaft lubed in my '02 Bonneville at 30000mls. I'd heard about this issue, but so far thought that somehow I'd be luckier. Anyway, I wonder if the lube kit contains a grease that won't dry out. Would anybody be able to say?

    Now, another issue that has been endemic to the H-bodies is a resilient vibration at a specific speed, between 65 and 70MPH in my case, that refuses to go away with wheel balancing. After replacing loose tie rods, the issue was still there, and after road force balancing, the dealer concluded that the tires were bad and that they'll be replaced under warranty. So far, so good. But is this the actual fix? Now, to those who work in the dealer service area, can I get to choose the tire of my liking, must it be like the original tire or must I accept whatever they get?

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,387
    For Buick Park Ave they started replacing problem tires with Symmetrys by Michelin, exactly what's put on the Sevilles, a very similar chassis.

    They may be getting tires that are road force checked from the factory (GM). Those may have variation of I believe 17 or less in order to be shipped out to use to correct problems. My OEM Symmetrys have 12 as the highest, 7, 3, 4, after the one tire was rotated on the rim after checking about 17 or so, at the maximum allowed.

    Also you may want to have the front end carefully aligned. I had observed that after work on the tires and balance, on long sloping uphill grades I would feel the persistent repetitive vibration in the steering and my feet. My tires show a little edge wear with all the blocks wearing in one direction. The service manager said they were sensitive to too much toein. He checked toe and reset front and back; front was toed in slightly more than he wants, and back was off. Now this vibration was so little my wife probably never noticed it on that trip, but I could feel it come and go on the Tennessee I65 slopes between Louisville and Nashville.

    If I were you I push for Symmetrys, even if it meant a copayment, but I'm partial to Michelins. Note that my original balance moved with tires, it's not wheel hub/bearing runout, where the problem was the same even when I rotated the wheels at home from front to back.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    Hey guys. I posted over on the maintenance board about the new steering shaft (I hear that's better than the lube kit, which is sort of a stop-gap measure) and replacing the busted window regulator myself. The vibration is bugging me but I'm pretty sure the tires are the biggest part of the problem, I can feel the flat spots especially when it's cold (not often here in Florida). Maybe soon I'll look into a set of Michelins. Punishment for garaging the car so much, I guess. Still less than 14,000 miles in almost four years, I drive it more than the Tahoe in the winter when the weather here is fabulous (sorry you guys up north, where I'm from too so I can sympathize) -- kinda backwards, eh? Needless to say I've never used the block heater (but I do occassionally use the heated seats, if only briefly)! :-)

    The other thing I've had to fix was the pop-up wind deflector for the sunroof, it got crunched one day when I was closing the roof. The new one has a different design, I guess they figured out there was a problem with the old one. The rear edge of the sunroof was also sagging and I was able to adjust it up flush with the roof but it's at the limit of the adjustment so I hope it doesn't sag any more. Still love the car, the styling is still fresh to me.

    I've had an XM Satellite Radio receiver in the truck for two years but in the Bonnie I was having withdrawls so I put a Delphi Roady into it. I can't find a place to mount the darn thing, though, so it just sits on top of the cup holder cover (despite the small holder I like the old-style flip cover). Rocks with the Bose system.

    Drooling over the GXP but also the new 'Vette, can't decide whether to keep the SSEi, upgrade to the GXP or go for the Corvette. Decisions, decisions...
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    the idea of the GXP but agree that they left too many ponies on the drawing board. I've got dibs on 24 hours with one as soon as my dealer gets one in next month. If my wife wins out and gets an H2 to replace her GP next year, I might be able to argue for a CTS-V (one of the few cars out there right now that genuinely excites me). Frankly, though, that duo just sounds waay too rich for my blood. Perhaps sanity will prevail (has worked for me thus far...)

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,387
    I feel sorry for you not being able to experience the crispness of cold air at 17 degrees or see beautiful snow flakes falling from the sky and layering an inch of pure white on the ground. Watching the birds flock to the feeders on those days alone is worth the heating bill.

    But then we can't all live where there are seasons!!! Some of us are luckier!!!

    Have you rotated the tires on the Bonnie? If not rotated at 6-7K, depending on load and alignment they might have worn unevenly. Then if moved from back to front, you may feel that uneveness.

    Otherwise, my point is that you might have a belt defect in a tire that you're feeling when starting out cold ( cool in Florida ).

    Might be time for an alignment check. Realign only if truly out at extremes of alignment tolerances. Most shops use "checks" as a way to sell alignments because one spec will be off some from center. (Toe-in could cause a problem and still drive nicely.)

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I'm assuming that after replacing the tie-rods they've aligned the front end.

    My Bonneville is an SLE, wearing 235/55R17 tires, which narrows the choices quite a bit: it seems that I'll have to settle for a new set of Eagle RS-A. It's OK, a new set after 30000mls is not that a bad deal...
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    The tires have been rotated, balanced (twice) plus road force and match mounted with the wheels, and one new tie-rod end (right). The dealer said it didn't need an alignment. It actually pulls a bit to the right but the tech (via the service manager) said "only if you let go of the wheel." Big help that was! After all the other stuff, it was no better and no worse, but over time it seems to be getting worse so I suspect flat spotting on the tires. I'm pretty sure it's all four of them, but who knows. It didn't do this when it was new, I really started noticing it at about 8,000 miles.

    I do miss the winter and snow and change of seasons and dread the long Florida summers, but the weather right now is picture-perfect, so I shouldn't complain! :-)
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,387
    Wow. That's a lot of tire for the car. My LeSabre has 225 60 16s and I think that's too much -- hence susceptibility to any uneveness in the tires, wheels, or rotation of those parts.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,387
    If the car pulls right, I'd suspect an alignment or related problem. My car has a slight left lead but it's just the amount that balances the crown and slope of the road making the car go right on a two lane road.

    Yours sounds more dramatic. On an interstate or four lane divided highway where the left lane drains water to the middle or median, does the car seem neutral or have a left drift if you take hands off the wheel?

    I suspect an alignment is needed by someone who understands problems in that car model -- not the quickly slam-bam thank you type done at some pushy tire or muffler places...

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    When I swapped out my RS-As, I switched over to Nokian WRs. They closest size they come to the ones I swapped out was 225/55/17 - close enough and a little easier to steer but not what everybody would want. They're a V-rated all weather tire that is severe snow rated too - I get snow tire traction without having to switch in the summer. You lose a little dry grip over the RS-As but, frankly those tires had long lost their grip by the time I chucked them in the rubbish bin. After 20k miles, the Nokians are still performing this (very cold) winter.

    Not for everybody but I'm a big fan.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    I think is adequate for the car, especially up front with 230ft.lbs. of torque to handle. At 3700lbs, they support the car well too.

    However, I could find only 7 all-season tires available at Tire Rack with speed ratings S, T or H ( - =235%2F&ratio=55&diameter=17&search=true&pagelen=- - 20&pagenum=1&pagemark=1&x=14&y=14&speed_ratin- - g=SR&speed_rating=TR&speed_rating=HR ): 1 Continental, 2 Michelin, 2 Goodyear, 1 Dunlop and 1 Pirelli. The only ones rated among the best in their respective categories were the Continental, ContiPremierContact, and the Dunlop, SP Sport A2.

    The Dunlop had many complaints about tread wear and the Continental had less than 5000mls reported, so it doesn't seem to be a general consensus. But I'll keep an eye on it.

    I have the impression that 17" tires are more common in +1 or +2 sizes, mostly with very low profiles (45 or 50).

    My Intrigue uses 225/60R16, which seemed to me to be ubiquitous when I needed new ones 6 months ago: plenty of choices.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    You guys know more about tires and suspensions than I'll ever wonder!

    I had replaced my original Firestone Affinities at 40K miles when they were absolute junk - vobrating badly and worn unevenly. I put on Goodyear Aquatread IIIs which were phenomenal in rain as one would suspect and also on dry pavement but vibrations started again after about 15K miles. The tire shop noticed the tires were feathering - particularly in the rear but with time and rotations they evened out however the vibrations never totally disappeared. I guess I just don't get too excited about minor vibes so I lived with them till this past Dec when they had 45K on them and were performing poorly in snow. I now have Symmetrys and they seem smooth and quiet. But yes there is still a perceptible but very minor vibe at highway speeds up to 75 or so, then it disappears.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,387
    Have a good alignment check done on your car by a dealer who is willing to deal with vibration. In an earlier post I mentioned my dealer did this at about 8K because of problems. He found the front toed-in and the rears were not parallel either. He did this when I mentioned the feathering along the fine lugs on the edge of the Symmetries on the car.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    I'll have the alignment checked again this spring after we get through this miserable winter. There is a particularly obnoxious pothole right on Rt 95 on my commute that I have bounced through several times. I try to move over a lane or two well in advance of it but sometimes forget and then BANG I remember! So I won't be going for alignment till it's fixed and I'm sure that repeated hit has probably knocked my alignment out of spec by now.
  • hammen2hammen2 Posts: 1,313
    Also get your tires road-force balanced by a shop that has a Hunter GSP9700 machine: gives you more info on the road force balance, and a locator to find shops near you that have this machine and can do it for you (the G and H bodies, like Aurora, Seville, LeSabre, and Bonneville, are sensitive to minor tire variations which the road force balance can help cure).

    Hope this helps,

    Aurora owner who pays $50 to have all 4 of his tires road force balanced.
  • ezraponezrapon Posts: 348
    when most of us veterans of this board started here with our new 2000 ssei's and bonnevilles we talked of lessor competition. Cars like 300 M's, intrepids, Maximas, and such. Well I just put down a review of the new 300c. 340 hp hemi, rear wheel drive, and a 5 speed auto! Lights out Pontiac, you have demonstrated time after time the lack of commitment needed to be the excitement division... maybe the parts shelf or retread division.. The race is over. Take the underpowered GXP and trash it and start over. You have been smoked. ICEMAN... call thye Chrsyler dealer. Probably only need a 12 hour drive in the Hemi to decide who is on the cutting edge...not PMD!
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Can't wait to see that Chrysler. The memories of unreliable electronics memories in Chryslers from years past have kept me away from buying a newer model. It's exciting to see the products that DC is bringing to the market. I drove a Durango Hemi a couple weeks ago and was very impressed. Looking forward to seeing this 300C. I won't be in the market for a car in that price range but it it'll be fun to see and drive - then maybe wait for the preowned deals to surface.

    Hammen2 - Thanks for the link. I found several shops in my area so I guess I'll give it a try. Printed out lots of info to read up on first.
  • hammen2hammen2 Posts: 1,313
    Pics of the 300C can be found here (Google is your friend):

    It's personally not my cup of tea.

    I think the price on the Bonneville GXP is too high, unless we see mega incentives. For that $$$ I'd look at a CTS or even a GTO (comparing apples to oranges here :-)

    Ken, I agree with you re: past Chrysler reliability. My dad was a Mopar man from the 30's through the 70's, but I had more problems with being stranded by Chrysler products (from a 1981 Omni I used to own when I was a poor starving college student, to a 1995 minivan I rented) that I don't know if I could seriously consider one without having my sanity questioned :-)

  • fantascpfantascp Posts: 175
    BOB,I have to agree with you on this also.
    It looks more like a boxed off cheese grater- nothing left to the imagination (IMO)
    That said, I did a comparison on MSN between the 300C and the GXP-the GXP is more expensive and the 300C has more HP but to me two things come into play here- style and reliability.
    Obviously, if you had bad experiences owning a prior make your going to be inclined to purchase the opposite based on that.
    Unfortunately, I'm not in the market myself right now to purchase either car brand new and even if I were I'd probably lean toward what Ken suggested- go with a car 1 or 2 years old ETC.
    but if I could buy new, I'd go with a new Bonneville not the Chrysler.
    I come from a Chrysler car owning family also-
    Anyone who ever owned a Chrysler from the 60's,70's knows what I mean- that sickening WHINING SOUND from the starter as the car struggled to turn over because of the moisture,humidity etc. UGH!!!!
    We owned our share of GM cars also- but I would have to honestly say (again, in my opinion) that the GXP is the better looking vehicle- reliability between both cars is the unknown element right now.
    Reliability between GM vs Chrysler- GM wins.
  • bunky36bunky36 Posts: 94
    I dropped off this board awhile back when it got quiet and nobody was talking about the GXP. Glad to see folks talking about it again now that it is about to start showing up in showrooms. I can’t wait to see and drive one. Pontiac engineering, reliability, and style all push me toward the GXP. I’m a little biased because I have been a Pontiac owner for years, but I have stayed with Pontiac because all my Pontiacs have been reliable, fun to drive, and have served me well. I like fantascp’s characterization of the 300C as a boxed off cheese grater! It also looks like it has the roofline from a Checker Cab. And the squared off and flat instrument panel (as opposed to the rounded and “curved around the driver” panel of the Bonneville) turns me off. To each his own, but I guess I’m just not a fan of all the squared off and “angry”looks that many cars’ interiors and exteriors are gravitating toward. The Bonneville from 2000 on, and now especially the GXP, is especially graceful-looking to me, inside and out. There’s nothing “in-your-face” about it—just grace and elegance, now with some real performance goodies added. I hoped for a tad more horsepower than 275 in the GXP, but if that moves that 3,700 pound car 0-60 in 6.5 or 6.6 as advertised, that’s plenty fast for me. I imagine if I wanted to boost the horsepower of the Northstar, that wouldn’t be hard to do.

    I agree with the comments on the Hunter GSP9700 balancer. I had balancing problems on my ’98 Trans Am that several dealers and tire shops could not resolve until I found a shop with the Hunter balancer. That was the solution.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    For those who might remember, I had been an import buyer for 20+ years before I bought the '00 SLE. Coincidentally, it was a couple of bad import experiences plus the allure of a 300M that made me even consider domestics. I eventually passed on the Chrysler (spotty electricals and trannies) and circumstances led me to Pontiac. I've been happy for 3+ years

    But I have to admit that I've been happy despite a few things and some of these things - like the interior - Pontiac has not improved in the 4 years since they introduced the current Bonneville. So, while I will definitely consider the GXP next year, I will have an honest look at all the competition. Will one of those be the 300M? Maybe - but the large-mouth-bass-[non-permissible content removed]-subway-vent grille will have to grow on me first.

    But stranger things have been known to happen in Chateau Ice...
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    GXP is a decent car, but the dash needs fixing and the price needs to drop some. With cars like the TL out there a few grand cheaper, the GXP needs better pricing. Pontiac fixed the cladding and engine woes.

    Those who buy it are likely to be quite happy with it, however. Nice mill under the hood.
  • are you feeling all right???
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    That's kinda how I'd describe the current Bonnie as well, Reg: a decent - but not great - car. For what I paid, decent is fine. As you move up the entry price scale, decent won't cut it - particularly as there always seems to be a competitor out there who is upping the refinement ante.

    Guys, don't get me wrong on this: I still love my Bonnie and still rate it as the best 4 door sedan I have owned. It is certainly better than my '92 Mazda 929 but it should be: it's 8 years newer. But the Bonneville is, in many ways, less refined than that 8 year older car - more NVH and less well-designed interior (particularly the dash and the door panels).

    But the Bonnie is a more visceral experience - it has gobs of low-end torque courtesy the much-maligned 3.8 (keep in mind that mine is the non s/c version). Case in point: I have a stoplight reference point that I've been using for the past decade or so just to cut loose every once in a while. I occasionally let my cars rip from a standing stop and check my speed when I hit the next intersection (it's a country road and there's rarely any traffic so it's safe...). I don't know the distance because that's not the point - it's a consistent reference point and I just like to let it rip. The 195 hp 929 used to hit 105 km/h at that point - my '95 Camry V6 a little less (somewhere between 100 and 105 IIRC). The Bonnie? 120+ easy. And, what's more, it's easy to control the entire time. That little stunt with the Camry is how it earned the name "The Wanderer" in our household.

    But for all of the Bonnie's admirable traits, there are warts: to me, it's primarily that the central dash instrument stack is not up to par. The material used for the dash cover itself are fine but that centre stack! It's primarily those cheap grey plastic Sunfire knobs and radio controls but it's not just that - the stack just lacks a sculpted feel. And the those dash vents - sheesh! I know the car is supposed to be "luxury with attitude" and I don't want the attitude scrapped but I want GM to spend more time getting the "luxury" thing right: it's not just amenities (which the Pontiac has in gobs) and materials (which they have mostly right) but elegance of the design as well. And this is the Achilles heel.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I personally would prefer an "elegance with attitude" - that would be a balance that would keep me in a Bonnie. And the GXP is miles closer on that balance - just a little more $ on the interior (and maybe RWD?) and I'll be ordering an '05 GXP.

    The TL? Well, it impressed me 3 years ago - but lost out to the Bonnie's more visceral nature and more roomy interior. The '04 TL is a huge improvement and is definitely a competitor - but, while certainly more elegant and a strong performer, it lacks the attitude quotient. But frankly, attitude without cojones is simply delusional.

    Long post - my bad.

  • bunky36bunky36 Posts: 94
    Sounds like I'm the Lone Ranger here. I like the Bonneville cockpit style dash and orange lighting but maybe I'm biased because I'm ex-Air Force. My only complaint is that I have to peek around the steering wheel to see the DIC. And I like the FWD on my SSEi. It certainly has little torque steer on hard acceleration like some others I've driven, and I've owned a long string of RWD cars (TA's)in Kansas. While we don't get the snow and ice that some of you farther north and east get, we get enough that it was pointless to get out in it in the TA. My wife got real tired of me bumming rides to work with her (she has an '01 GTP). I realize the weight distribution is front-heavy with FWD, but that's what gives it the go in the snow, and I'm not into slalom driving and hard cornering anymore, so FWD with StabiliTrak works fine for me.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    You're not alone, I dig the Bonnie's dash too! I think that it's a matter of personal taste. Personally, I don't care for that Bauhaus styling that everybody and their dog ape from German cars. IMO, Germans never had any sense of style.

    But it always baffles me that no one in the press points out to the TL and TSX copying the Bonnie's front-end...
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