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Pontiac Bonneville



  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    I don't have any more info on the TSB. Next time you go for service, point out the TSB (give them a copy of the title) and have them solve this. Mine certainly doesn't do that & I would consider that more than a little annoyance. Has yours been doing this from day 1?
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    We talked about this earlier but I just came across this article - pretty thin on details but it gives more info than I previously had on the kind of mods that went into those speed runs at Bonneville:
  • One month to go and already 25,500 joyful miles on my SLE! This car is the best car I've ever owned. It continues to draw praise and looks from everyone. My only drawback is 2 can drink holders in the front... idiots, and the weird headrest which still are a bit uncomfortable. Anyone fix that yet?
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    my favorite car; my 1988 Regal T Type. I would love to Email you a picture of it, since I do not know how to post it here.
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    Since my wife likes to rest her head on the headrest while in the front passenger seat, I had to do something. First I explored the idea of changing them out with the previous style like I had in my '97. No luck. They don't interchange. Then I was recommended to AAA Market place through this forum and purchased the add-on head rest which attaches with elastic straps. I was also told that Brookstone. carries them. My wife is happy with it.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Nice to hear a +ve story from a fellow SLE owner (it turns out, we're rather rare).

    Regarding the cupholders - absolutely everybody agrees with you on this one. My sister has a Grand Prix GT & has the same complaint. Even my Pontiac dealer admits they're crappy. I personally think that GM should quieten us down by designing twin travel mugs that would fit in this cupholder - at the same time!. Hey, it would sweeten it somewhat if they just gave us as a pair of them as a token of their acknowledgement of our loyalty to GM.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Having just bought my SLE last December - & having exclusively used touchless carwashes since - today was the first time I took a squeegee to the rear window at the gas station. How many others out there have experienced the wacky curvature at the bottom of the back window which essentially prevents good squeegee contact (at least in a horizontal sweep)? I suspect these would be expensive to replace.

    Today got mild (hah! it reached 5 degrees celsius) enough for me to try a hand wash this afternoon. First one! Now that's a good feeling.

    Saw a convertible late 90's SSEi this morning. The guy's daughter is in my daughter's dance class so I'll have a chance to catch up with him sometime in the next couple of weeks and find out what the story is. It's a black top on that ubiquitous dark Bonneville green & it looks pretty sharp. Betcha looks a ton sharper with the top down....
  • bohoobohoo Posts: 3
    Are you sure you weren't looking at a SSEi with one of those cheesy dealer installed vinyl roofs made to look like a convertable top???
  • I'm thinking of buying a 1997 Bonneville SE 48,000 miles, and wondered if anyone out there had experience with them? Any odd problems specific to that model year?

    Weighing that car against a 1996 Caprice outfitted like an Impala, sort of a "Capala", I guess you'd say. Only drawback, high mileage.

    I'm new to the room, so thanks in advance if anyone can help out.
  • martyb4martyb4 Posts: 9
    Hi folks, I've been pretty busy lately - more business travel than usual.

    Anyway, one correction to my 522 fuel range story. A typical reading after filling up is high 300's, close to 400 (I sometimes do quite a bit of highway driving). The 489 was a bit unusal (I realized this after the next fill up). I attribute it to filling up just after an hour + drive on the highway. I remember reading somewhere that the range shown is base on the remaining fuel in the tank and the average MPG over the last 25 miles. Most of what I've seen says the tank holds 18.5 gallons. 522 would be based on an expected average of about 28.2 MPG. I don't rememer just how low I was that night before filling up. However, I have pulled a "Kosmo Kramer" (Seinfeld fans should understand), but not to where I ran out before making to the gas station. I ran it down to were it took somewhere between 17 & 17.5 gallons to fill up. Maybe I'll have to put a gallon or two in the trunk (in an gas can would probably be helpful) and go all the way. Oops!, hope I don't get censored.

    Iceman - It was only about 5 miles to home after filling up. That's partly why I was so amazed about getting to 522 when I hoping just to see 500. The terrain here (Northeast Ohio) is pretty flat.

  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    How do I make words bold/underlined/and use italics the way you do in this forum? Also, can you tell me how to post a .bmp file from my paint program? Please Email me at fii@massed. net. Thanks.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Thanks for the tip Marty. I finally figured it out today. You're likely to get the best figures fueling up in the middle of a highway trip where you're travelling at 90 kmh (or 55 mph). Still, I fueled up today and, with some careful driving on suburban and rural roads (no hwy driving), I managed to get the fuel range to 501 miles when I turned into my driveway.

    Re. convertible: Might have been one of those cheesy cosmetic job. Who would do such a thing to an SSEi? The back end looked pretty realistic but we were both moving in opposite directions and my glance was not too probing.

    I'll send you a quick note Stephen.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Iceman - The first time I cleaned the window at the gas station I noticed that curvature too. Then I understood why looking through the rear view mirror, somtimes cars are distorted. I'm getting a new window for my '00 SE because the rear defroster doesn't work properly and that causes interference with FM radio as well. I'll have to ask the dealer what the cost of that window is. Glad it's covered under warranty.

  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    Any truth to the rumor that the person responsible for the design of the infamous 96 Taurus was demoted, quit Ford, and went to work for GM as the director in charge of cupholders and remote trunk lid release switch placement?
    While I truly enjoy our SSEi, my all time favorite car (and a better performer) was the 93 Taurus SHO 5-speed that I conned as a company car. It was absolutely horrible in snow but an awful lot of fun any other time. I still haven't forgiven my wife for not letting me buy it when the lease was up. Something about almost hitting the same tree several times when it was snowing and she was trying to make the car turn a corner.
    I know the placement of the trunk release switch is a small thing but my daughter's 92 Bonneville and my prior 96 Bonneville both had the release switch in the driver's door panel. I don't even bother to use the one on the 2000. What were they thinking?
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Okay, all of this talk about cupholders has just gotten me going. There is no question that this Bonneville is one of the two or three best vehicles I have ever owned and it possesses many features that truly impress. But, there are a number of things that make you ask what they were thinking. So what are some of these +ve and -ve features (IMHO)?

    driver/passenger comfort
    fuel economy
    cavernous trunk
    safety features (and rating)

    Nice Features
    17 in. wheels with 55 series tires
    headlights (excellent road illumination)
    lockable gas cap feature (no release required)
    centre vents for rear
    map lights for rear
    fold-down rear console with cubby
    trunk net system
    remote keyless entry, incl. trunk
    side air bags
    all speed traction control

    What was Pontiac thinking?
    more headroom please!
    cupholders are just short of being criminal
    cruise controls not on steering wheel
    chintzy cap for power outlet in back
    no light under hood *
    heated rear seats would be a nice touch!
    tilt steering - not enough increments in adjustment range
    trunk release should be on driver's door
    no heated seats available for the leather on my SLE! *
    * I think these were corrected for 2001

    Have I missed anything? The -ve list is pretty short and I remain impressed both with the car and with GM's R&D and ability to build exciting, quality vehicles. If this car continues to serve me as it has been doing, I'll put my deposit down for an SSEi at the next redesign.

    Check out this ancient link for "performance vehicles" from 1999: 1999 Performance vehicles.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Arctic white is the right colour (excuse my Canadian spelling) name. Perhaps yours was either built or labelled before the marketing chaps settled on the name. A colleague recently bought a white SE - I'll ask him if his has the same labelling inconsistency.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Annoyances that I would like to see addressed:

    Add visor extendors to properly cover the side window

    Fix curvature in rear window that distorts appearance of cars behind.

    SE bucket seat padding - presently inadequate

    Add steering wheel telescoping feature or else move wheel slightly closer to seat

    Include driver/passenger individual climate adjustment in basic 1SB package or else make standard across the board

  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    I'd like to second Ken's comment about the telescoping steering wheel. My daughter just bought a new Ford Focus and for $16,000, guess what it has? I also see that Consumer Reports made a comment about the SE not being very agile (their words). Makes you wonder if a rear sway bar would have helped the car's rating. This month's issue is their annual car guide and it was interesting to read their comments on reliability. Based on the number of defects and problems per car, the defect rate has decreased by nearly 80% since 1980. Obviously, the American manufacturers improved the most because they had the furthest to go but still, that is a very impressive improvement. Guess it is true that they don't make them like they used to.
  • fantascpfantascp Posts: 175
    thanks for the help- still very curious that the correct color is Artic White yet the label calls for Bright White.I think i'll also call the dealership to see if they also might know why there is a difference
    BTW- i was on the MSN- Carpoint site- which is where i have my personal auto page- i brought up the consumer reviews for the 2000 bonneville- a person from rupert idaho has the same problem i had on my vehicle with regards to brakes-
    at 5 to 15 mph- his brakes are grinding as he is slowing down- he stated that his dealership told him that was normal for the ABS system- WRONG!!!- my vehicle was doing the same identical thing last year- i got the car in March-2000-by July/Aug- about 5000 miles on the car the brakes started to grind- my dealership changed the back brakes and pads-car ran fine for about 1000 more miles- then started to grind again- changed front pads- only- started to grind again around 7000 miles- finally they changed the front pads and rotors- so they ended up changeing all the brakes and rotors- the car now has around 13,200 miles on her and NO brake problems at all-.
    No problems" period" car is running great!!!!

    The dealer stated to me that the problem was the pads that were shipped to them from the GM Factory and placed into the correct shipping box was NOT the correct pad # that was supposed to be in the box- different brake pads were placed inside the CORRECTLY labelled box.

    I called them today to inquire if anyone else had this problem with brakes since my vehicle last august- no other bonnevilles had this problem- (LUCKY ME RIGHT!)
    They also said the grinding sound IS NOT NORMAL FOR THE ABS SYSTEM - which is what i told "RuPERT IDAHO" is a new message for him-
    Let me throw this out to the forum- other possible cause- the car was built in OCT99- and sat on the dealers lot till i purchased the car in MARCH 2000- 5 months of non-use- is that enough to exceed normal rust setting in on the rotors causing them to pit? and then causing the brake pads to glaze- or not?

    Is there any other 2000 SE owners with vehicles built in OCT99 that had the same brake problem- (trying to find any common threads!)

    Thanks again for your help iceman.

  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Thanks. I had noted your posting to the MSN Carpoint reviews for the 2000 Bonneville & I am sure that your comments will be very helpful to the other Bonny-owner with the noisy brakes. My car was built in May '00 and I bought it in Dec. '00 - as I am only up to 3500 miles, I'll be keeping my eyes (and ears) open for this problem. Thanks for alerting us Chuck. I will add that I'd rather a car manifest this type of infinitely solveable problem (and one that underscores the human equation in assembly) in the early months than a tranny rebuild at 61,000 miles.

    For others who haven't visited the Carpoint site and rated your Bonny, check it out at Carpoint - 2001 Bonneville or at Carpoint - 2000 Bonneville. Click on "Consumer Ratings and Reviews" (I'd post a more direct link but it is too many characters). There's a recent review there (on the 2000 model) from somebody who apparently owns the car, who's 5'11", has a sunroof and gripes about the headroom. Any of you guys? Anyway, I absolutely concur. I've had power sliders in past cars and do miss them but it is now a prerequisite of any car I drive (even rent!) that they cannot have a sunroof. The Bonneville's headroom is no worse than most other cars and is in fact better than some. Too bad the sunroof takes up so much headroom

    Ken: (re. the visor issue) does yours not have the two part visor? My SLE has a smaller plastic inner visor that folds down and can be used in the front while the main visor is swivelled off to the side. Does yours have this as well? If so, do you find this inadequate? On the distortion out the rear window - odd but this is apparently nothing compared with '70s Camaros - the price we pay for "swoopy" lines.

    Trunk release in glove box: An anachronism to be sure (hey, I had a '92 Mazda that had the trunk release on the door) but I suspect that Pontiac decided that Bonneville owners would be apt to use valet parking and they opted for the extra (albeit traditional form of) security. Since most of us have the remote keyless access, it's somewhat moot. With keyless remote as a $CDN 300+ option on an SE, it's obviously the way to go.

    Regarding the "list", I've been thinking of compiling it and sending it off to GM (yeah, I actually do that sort of thing). I personally think they've designed one helluva car and I'd like them to improve it for the next redesign. If you've got suggestions, by all means post them (but try to say something +ve for every -ve, otherwise you risk bumming out the rest of us). I confess to omitting the cursory glove box. I've also heard some gripes about the narrow door arm rests (important for some, irrelevant for me). Consider these and the telescoping steering wheel added to the list (maybe as an option on lower models with mounted cruise control). Hey, how about indicator lights in the rear view mirrors for the SSEi?

  • I did have 1 problem. The fuse to the gas lock died, and I could only open the latch through the trunk emergency release. This was repaired at no cost, but it did scare me for a moment. I've decided that my next Bonnie will be the SSEi. My wife now fell in love with the heated seat option in a friends bmw. And since the leather seats were the thing keeping me from it this time, viola! I'm set. I just realized I'll have over 150000 miles by then! LOL!
  • kzmkzm Posts: 55
    I've been reading these post since the archived ones and I am now ready to participate. I've recently purchased a beautiful black 2000 SSEi from a Ford dealership(?). I traded in my 97 SSEi for it and I made the mistake of leaving my cone filter in it. They gave me the runaround when I asked for it back even though I told them that I was coming back for it. Car dealers are the worst. Well it was worth it anyway. Filters can be replaced and my car is the greatest.

  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    My wife refuses to drive her Toyota Sienna because the rear view mirror broke. Actually I broke it along with cracking the windsheild:( Therefore, until I get it replaced, she is driving the Bonnie. She has never liked my cars but prefers driving this one over not having the mirror. I am actually enjoying driving the mini van for a change, and used the opportunity to pick up a new screen door! The van goes in on Thursday for the glass replacement and by that time I will be glad to have my Bonnie back. (what do you think iceman?, thanks)
  • fantascpfantascp Posts: 175
    glad to post the info- no problem- hopefully no one else has a brake pad problem.
    i called the dealer again today-re the correct color- here we go again- they claim that the correct paint color is what is on the label- i told them the # on the label is for BRIGHT WHITE- not ARTIC WHITE- I think i might have a collectors item already (LOL) since the only color of white
    for 2000 was ARTIC WHITE- -2001 they used IVORY WHITE.
    I bought both touch-up varities to test and the BRIGHT WHITE is the better match-
    oh well- no big deal- just as long as she runs great and she does!!!!!!

    KEN:how did you make out with your front seats- any luck on trying to make them more comfortable? what about the possibility of a back support that they sell for cars?
    just trying to help.

    Have a Happy

  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Iceman - I do have the secondary plastic visor but the issue I refer to is that when the main visor is swivelled to the side glass, it covers only one third of the window. From my seat position, if the sun is coming in the side window, there is just no way to block it since that visor is not long enough. An extendor as other cars have would be the simple solution and it bugs me that this obvious solution was not provided. I wondered if SLE and SSEi owners had a different visor than that on my SE - guess not.

    Chuck - I have continued to experiment with my bucket seat and have found that a small rectangle of foam egg crate style packing material is just the right padding to make the seat tolerable. I will either end up at the upholstery shop to see if they can fit the appropriate size pad under the existing upholstery for optimal visual effect or else I will find a seat cover that works with the side airbag.

    My Bonnie goes in for rear window replacement tomorrow - hope it is a good fit and proper installation because I will be driving to PA on Sunday for a week of work there and don't want to have any issues to deal with. Looking forward to my first major road trip with this car and wondering what the gas mileage will be.

    Have a great day everyone. It's my B-Day today (46) and that 50 milestone is starting to stare me down! I'll probably be forced to blink first.

  • ezraponezrapon Posts: 348
    On my road trips I have been able to squeak out about 24/26 with the S/C sleeping. My old Park Ave had the visor extenders and every morning when I turned south, I pulled it out. Sometimes going east I extended the right and left to provide great forward vision. The visors, quietness, and (beleive it or not) the cornering lights are 3 things I really miss. OK, the trunk release by the wheel, the glove box, the 35 MPG, and the cup holders were better too. What was I thinking? Any one want to buy an SSEi real cheap... I'm going back to Park Ave!!! I'll beat any deal in town! Best one on the lot. Don't miss this one.
  • Dear friend:

    The '97 Bonneville is a good car, just check with the dealer 'cause there is a malfunction of the ABS module covered by the warranty in some cars (read the vin numbers and serial number), and in case the warranty does not proceed, DO NOT buy the car. It's a very expensive repairing cost.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    I appreciated those cornering lights on a couple of old Caddies and my wife's prior car - a Taurus LX wagon. They are a great feature. Come to think of it, that car had the visor extendors too.

    You got 35 mpg in a Park Ave? That is amazing! No reason this car could not equal that experience. My overall average in 2 months and 2K miles mixed driving so far is around 21. Of course we end up idling quite a bit during winter months here for warm up and waiting for someone with engine running to stay comfortable.

  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    Still faithfully following the discussion, but have not contributed for awhile. I'm still having a blast with my Y2K SSEi - just "celebrated" it's one-year anniversary. Fun to drive, unique styling still draws looks, cool do-dads...did I say "fun to drive?" I agree with most of the complaints being aired here. At 6' 2", my head butts against the roof panel next to the sunroof, but I traded an '85 Camaro with T-tops and really wanted the open air feeling, so I deal with it. More adjustments on the steering wheel would be welcome. Visor extensions (like my Tahoe has) are necessary because I sit so far back. But I think the seats are reasonable and the curvature of the back window doesn't bother me. Cup holders are a dumb design but not a big issue for me. Trunk release in the glove box isn't the most convenient, but I can reach it easily. (I know there is a way to engineer a valet lock-out trunk release without placing the switch in the glove box.) My biggest complaint is simply the typical GM build quality, which isn't as good as I think it could be. Especially irksome are the door panel rattles, and also the flimsiness of the trim pieces in general. The exterior body panels don't align with the precision of the Japanese or German cars. Paint job isn't the best. My parents just bought a new Lexus LS 430, and even though it was expensive, it is a fabulous car. Solid and well-built. Drives like a dream (but not as exciting as the SSEi!). They traded their '93 SSE for it - didn't like the new Bonnevilles because of the build quality issues and lack of headroom. My mom really likes the OnStar but also wanted a navigation system.

    New problem no one else has mentioned is with the electrical system. Very occassionally (more noticable at night with the headlights on) the voltage will drop from its normal operating range of 14.5 to 15.0 volts down to about 12 volts (which is battery level), and then a few seconds later slowly climb back up again. It's almost as if the alternator is cutting out briefly. I have not had the dealer look at it yet since it happens so rarely (they'll just say, "we can't find anything wrong"), but I may bring it in soon. Also the other day I bought a CD and stuck it in the single CD player, but it made scratching sounds and would not play. I put in in the trunk changer and it played fine. Other discs don't do this, but this one is a little thicker than most (I've noticed that there is a large variance among compact disc thickness) and the single CD player might not like it so much.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Thanks for the detail on the visor - seems you have company for your opinion on this one. Unfortunately, as I was previously a committed import buyer, I have never experienced the pleasure of which you speak (imports, as a rule, are not as decked out as their domestic counterparts). Sounds like a good idea - IT WILL BE ADDED TO THE LIST!!!

    Again, many happy returns,

This discussion has been closed.