Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Pontiac Bonneville



  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    Congratulations on your new Bonnie! You've made a wise choice, as all here can attest to. ;^)

    About breaking it in, take a look in the owner's manual. In short, it advises to drive your new car NEVER at one speed only and to go easy on start ups for the 1st 500mls.

    I myself am still breaking in my '02 SLE. I've already put over 500mls into it, but I'll keep the break in phase until 1000mls.

    BTW, the car has been flawless since day 1 and the joy of driving it is ever more gratifying. I've even been looking forward to the morning and evening commute! :^)
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    and stick with regular oil for the first 3k miles and then consider switching to synthetic. It's only an extra $15-$20 4-6 times a year and you'll at least feel as if you're pampering the most important component of your car.

    Makes me feel good.
  • evandroevandro Posts: 1,108
    FWIW, even though the Bonneville's computer, as most GM cars nowadays, advises about when it's time to change the oil, I always have it changed at the 1st 3000mls. There are 2 reasons for that: 1st, the engine has been broken in and it may be abnormally dirty; 2nd, what if the oil sensor is not working?

    Hope this helps...
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Congrats to you Mike! It's great to welcome you into the rank and file of Bonneville owners. You're going to enjoy your car immensely as you probably suspect already.

    Out of curiosity - what options/color combo do you have? And where do you live?

    What other cars did you consider and what were the determining factors in favor of Bonneville?

    Enough inquisition! I'm a 2000 SE (Spruce Green with dark graphite cloth interior) owner with 36K presently on the ticker and I absolutely love the car - even more so now that I have a stabilizer bar on the back end to keep it flat in the curves.

    Again - welcome. We look forward to hearing of your driving and ownership experiences.

  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    I occasionally glance at the oil life monitor and aim to change the oil at either 5000 kms (3000 miles) or at 40-50% of oil life remaining. So far, I once let the Bonnie go as much as 7000 kms (a little over 4000 miles) between changes. The monitor was showing about 30% life remaining on the oil.

    I personally think it's a +ve thing when a mechanic tells me that the oil still looked good when it came out.
  • mlm4mlm4 Posts: 401
    (Otherwise known as "oil" ;-) I think an initial oil change at 3,000 miles is a good idea because the oil will contain metal particulates from the residuals of machining the new engine parts. Actually, the oil filter should catch most of these, so it is really the filter that needs changing. After 3,000 miles, I've decided to let the Oil Life Monitor do the thinking (remember that it is NOT an oil sensor, it is just the computer guessing how much the oil has broken down - not applicable to synthetics). The "every 3,000 mile" rule is conservative for most every condition (except maybe a police car or taxi), so why waste oil unnecessarily?
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    cause it's cheap and rings ain't.
  • odin2odin2 Posts: 5
    I made the choice to buy a Bonneville because of this site. Looked at the Impala and LeSabre but for the money the Bonneville SE was the clear choice. It drives great and I only have the SE only opition the leather steering wheel with the radio controls. Light Bronzemist was the only color available as the car just literally came off the truck. I test drove with 5 miles on it. I am very happy with my choice and thanks to all of your as I have been reading here for about a month. Got the 0.09 48 month finance and it really is a deal. Love the car so far and sure I will be very happy with it.
  • Congrats on the new Bonneville. I also looked to this message board before purchasing my 01 SSEi. The folks here certainly added to my confidence in the Bonneville.

    Good Luck

    Enjoy the ride...
  • My wife and I are NASCAR fans.

    That may be what took us to the Pontiac dealership in the first place. We orginally thought of buying the GTP Grand Prix, but fell in love with the look of this Dark Bronzemist SSEi.

    If Pontiac put some good ads on TV during the races I am sure they could push a few Bonnevilles to the NASCAR fans.

    I am pretty sure that Pontiac had some Bonnevilles at the track during the Daytona 500. I think I saw one during the parade laps at the begining of the race. They used the Aztek to pace the race... what a mistake that was.

    Enjoy the ride...
  • I was begining to think there wasn't going to be anyone join us here - all that talk of sales/production numbers was discouraging ;)

    Welcome odin ! be sure to chirp in and ask questions - some of us have too much time on our hands now that the cooler weather is hitting the centre of the universe (Toronto)

    I'll relate two stories (almost three now)

    1-went to the track with the Grand Prix club i'm in last Saturday - and am glad to say achieved a new record time for me . . 14.36 seconds at 96.96 MPH. This cooler weather does serve its purpose. I'm going to put on some decent tires in the spring and go for better traction on the start - that'll help. My RSA's have 66,000KM and maybe the winter left on them. I suspect there is too much tread on my wheel wells to make it any further.

    2- today - at the local mall, i pull up to the corner of a Zellers (like Kmart for you Americans), and there in a prominent employee parking spot is what appears to be a 2000 SE - black. I stop (cause the sign says to) and go around the corner where I am met by a shopping cart rolling off the sidewalk cause some moron didnt think it needed to stay where it was supposed to. I stop in front of it, get out and put it back on the sidewalk (again, cause Im a nice guy - i could of driven around it). As Im walking back into my car, I look across the laneway and in the parking spot right beside where I stopped was a 2000 SSEi - black. Finally - i see another one with the same 6 spoke chrome rims. So, there are three new models, all black within 60 seconds and 100ft of each other. I should have went a bought a lottery ticket I suppose, cause i rarely see any version of the new ones around here. I had to keep going to make an appointment, but 10 minutes later i drove back and put a note on the SSEi's windshield. Left my email address - told him I had one too - gee I hope he gets in touch :)

    That last part was meant to be funny guys ;)

    #3 - On Saturday coming - Im going to a dyno day, and gonna have this puppy strapped down and tested. Since it came from the factory almost a full second faster than listed - and I have done the pulley and intake mods to it - I am very curious to see how it measures up.

    Scott - I dont see your name here much anymore - but I'll be sure to let you know what happens.

    Cheers for now . . . Dennis
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    your enthusiasm (and tpken's) is always inspiring. Makes me want to go out and zaino the beast as I write....

    BTW, thanks for asking about my father - 2 months now since the 3ple bypass and the docs say he's one of the best healers they have EVER seen. The guy's absolutely amazing. That's certainly a load off my mind....
  • Just a note to anyone thinking of purchasing a 98 Bonneville. My Bonneville had 64,700 miles on it and the head cracked, leaking anti-freeze into two of my cylinders, locking it up. I had to buy a new engine and starter (which also blew when the engine did). The whole cost for all of the repairs was $4,059...needless to say that I would not recommend buying a Bonneville. In addition the oil was changed on a regular basis and the car never showed any signs that anything was wrong. Once the head cracked, it locked the engine up instantly...the engine is a 3800 Series II V6.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Bad news. Very bad. Sorry to hear it.

    I have never heard of this happening on a series II (until now that is) and even on an original 3800, only when there's been some serious coolant neglect - I doubt if that would be the case with your car - the engine being too "new".

    Even Consumer Reports gives the Bonneville engine top marks for '98 and later - and pretty decent marks for '97 and earlier.

    I even went through my TSB's and guides on secret warranties and couldn't find anything.

    Horrible feeling.

    Was your engine supercharged?
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    This morning I noticed the Tire Pressure monitor light is on. First time I've seen this and I'll have to go check the tires and find out where the culprit is. I remember seeing in the manual about reseting the monitor but will have to reread that section.

    Anyone else ever have this experience yet?

  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    twice - once when I had the tires rotated and another time that I honestly forget. I don't know what type of DIC your SE has but on my SLE it's pretty easy to reset - you just keep entering mode (I think) until the monitor is displayed and then you hold "reset".

    Couldn't be easier.

    Let us know how far off your tire pressure is. 2-3 lbs seems to do it on mine.
  • jeffbogjeffbog Posts: 63
    Ken, sorry it took so long to get back to you. I owned the Impala for about 24K and now have a little over 2K on the SLE. My initial impressions so far are that the Bonneville feels much larger on the road. Accoring to the stats, it is not that much bigger but it definitely give you the impression that it is. It also handles much better through the turns while still delivering a very comparable, if not better, ride.

    I also prefer options that are not available on the LS like: full instrumentation, auto climate control, auto level, a trunk that opens when you hit the remote, rear vents in the console (not under the seats), darker colors for the seating materials and the driver orientation of the dash, etc.

    Don't get me wrong, the Impala was a fine car.. for a while. When they offered up a replacement, I said no thanks. I just couldn't take a chance to deal with the service issues dealing with the cradle, steering shaft, steering rack, etc. I know many 2000 owners and most 2001+ owners are happy with their Impala's. I just couldn't do it.

    My wife's Grand Prix is much more comparable to the Impala. It feels just slightly smaller, handles much better and delivers a stiffer ride. Pretty much just what you expect.

    Jewel: Sorry to hear about your problems. I wouldn't condemn the 3800 though. Many people have driven these engines well over 200K without a major incident. I still have my 89 w/3800 (I believe series I) with over 120K. In twelve years I've changed a battery and an alternator. I think I lost the alternator jumping my old beeter years ago.

    odin: Congrats!
  • Hope everyone is still enjoying their cars.
    Evandro, glad to see you are enjoying your new car. Ever since I bought my car at the end of July, driving people around is not a problem.

    I did take the Bonnie and some friends up to the Rhinebeck Aerodrom in Rhinebeck, NY for their weekend airshow of early vintage aircraft in late September. Also, they had some antique cars (1922 Buick - Car of the future) plus some neat cars from the mid 30's were there as well.

    The Bonnie was a pleasure to drive from the Phila area up to NY and I needed to break the car in on the highway instead of just local driving. I only saw a mid 90's Bonnie and either a 2000/2001 up in NY on the thruway. Had no problems with the Firestone's in the rain and achieved 34 mpg on the return trip.
    Does anyone have a preference between Mother's and Mcguires wax for use on the Bonnie. I have not waxed it yet but have kept up with the washing every two weeks or so. I don't plan on the local car washes since I feel I can do a better job on my own.

    Also, ken if you have any tips on how the Bonnie handle's in snow, I would appeciate that very much.
    Take care everybody and keep on cruisen'

  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Good to see you

    Sounds like an excellent trip up into NY - anywhere in these parts is gorgeous this time of year. I especially want to see NY Thousand Islands area some one of these days.

    Mine handled terrific last winter. Need new tires this winter at 36K now so I'll let yo know how I make out there.

    Take care. Thanks for speaking up!

  • odin2odin2 Posts: 5
    Drove 100 miles to go shopping just to break in new Bonneville. I cannot see why this is not a top seller, it is a great secret. I am so happpy I got a bonneville. Pontiac should really be selling this better. My friend got a V6 Camary , leather, etc but really it is still a Toyota. At the very least I feel special in my bonneville. So glad I read the post here. GREAT CAR, GREAT ENGINE.
  • smfransmfran Posts: 432
    The low tire pressure warning has come on once in my Bonnie and once in my wife's Sienna. Both times a tire was found to have a slow leak and subsequently patched for a small amount of money. This is a great feature that warns you of a small problem before it becomes a bigger one.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Agreed - saves on premature tire wear, preserves fuel economy and provides better grip.

    Nice feature.
  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    I got out the pressure gauge and checked them all this morning - and found the driver side rear is about 6-7 lbs lower than the others. I'll have to keep an eye on it now (and the monitor). What I don't know is how long the monitor warning was on since my wife drove the car on a 500 mile weekend trip. It was on when I started it up the next day (Tues). Great feature.

  • Zavier - if I was forced to "wax" my car - I would use Meguiars over Mothers.

    However , I love my car too much to simply wax it. Check out Zaino Bros. Show Car Polishes. (sorry, dont know how to place a real link) - then read both the town hall forums here on car car / polishes. Everyone loves what they use - but time ofter time - Zaino comes out with the best protection - and never less than first on shine. I love the stuff so much - that I started selling it this year. Used to use "M" before - and it is a fine wax . . .

    Winter driving . . . we had a very snowy winer last year in Ontario - and I have a 40 minute drive at best after and often druing every single snow fall (I help my brother with his snow plow business at and the trucks are at his place). anyways - I never had a problem being the firsat guy on the snow covered roads - keep trac control on, dont take advantage of all the hp we have, and remember - stopping is not easy at all in some conditions - no matter what tires you have. I have the RSA's - and they are going into winer number 3 . . .
    because ours cars are heavy enough - we have some real good get up and go, while others are left spinning . . .

    just drive carefully - hate to scratch that fine body styling . . :)
  • mfahey1mfahey1 Posts: 419
    In the two weeks I was gone, things really seem to have heated up on this board. I too would be distressed to see the Bonneville go but GM is obviously trying to adapt to a new world out there in which it is playing an ever smaller role. What they may be trying to do is realign their offerings and production capacity to be able to close some plants and more fully utilize the remaining ones. As to the LeSabre and Cadillac being the only ones left on this platform, I just don't see myself in a LeSabre (young at heart, you know) and ditto for the Caddy unless they make an amazing turnaround. The Bonneville name being retained in the Grand Prix line in the same as was done in the mid-80s when the full size Pontiac became the Parisienne and the Bonneville was built on the Malibu/Cutlass platform.
    After my car being at the dealer in Maine for over a month, I picked it up only to have the service manager, who knew full well I had made a 2200 mile round trip to pick the car up, tell me that he hoped it would start since they hadn't done anything to it for awhile. He was kind enough to offer me a jump if it didn't start. I do believe that Pontiac will be getting a letter about this dealer that will be less than complimentary.
    When I left Maine last Friday, it was peak leaf season and all of the leaf peepers in the world were out dawdling along. Since I go through New Hampshire, Vermont and part of New York on 2 lane roads, I got plenty of opportunity to use the supercharger(I still wish the car had another 30-40hp). To show you how few of our cars are on the road or how dead tired I was, I came up behind a car that from a modest distance I couldn't figure out what it was. Since it was filled with 4 gray haired leaf I have a lot of room to talk about gray hair, I was on them in no time and around them in even less. It was a bit of a surprise when I did figure out it was a new Bonneville.
    You know, those who follow this forum generally really like our cars and say so. We also aren't shy about making suggestions to GM about what they could do better but one area that I feel GM doesn't get enough credit is in the area of fuel economy for the V-6s. I averaged 29mpg at an average speed of 75mph for this trip which I found to be nothing short of phenomenal. In fact, if you talk to Honda or Toyota owners with V-6s, their cars are nowhere near as efficient. I think that some people look at these cars and assume that they are gas hogs but from my point of view, to get 29mpg with a car of this size and power is astounding and GM should get some credit where credit is due.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    absolutely on the car mileage. I'm just two months shy of a full year and have averaged 23.9 mpg since day one - and that with only one measly 7 hr road trip.

    Credit is merited not just by the engine but the obviously smart gearing in the tranny.

    Excellent car - I wouldn't hestitate to buy another.
  • ezraponezrapon Posts: 348
    Been thinking about bumping up to a 2002 ssei. With the 0% money and the shakey future of the car's future. Trouble is... can't find one in St. Louis. None of the dealers have them in stock... not a good sign.
  • theicemantheiceman Posts: 736
    Hey! not sure I've seen a post from you since Sept. 11th. How have you been?

    Yeah, the dearth of Bonnies at the dealerships is one of the things we've been talking about. The dealers aren't ordering them because GM's not supporting them. Even the 0.9% ads (we're not getting the 0% here) don't mention the Bonneville (even though it qualifies). Sorry state when GM lets a decent car whither on the vine - especially so obviously. It's amazing that they made ANY changes to the '02 model.

    Get going - go to GMbuy and find out where there's an SSEi near you and buy the heck out of it. You deserve it.
  • Hey - that ones easy - get your pulley changed to a 3.4dia. $85 bones for the pulley - maybe 50-60 to get it installed - and away you go.

  • tpkentpken Posts: 1,108
    Glad to hear you've got your car back again at long last Mark! Sorry, though to hear of the dealer's lack of service to you. That is certainly one to avoid!

    Regarding the hair - not sure which I would rather have - my present thinning brown or a thick shock of gray! My younger son wants to know when my hair is going to grow back. Do I tell him his likely future haircut will look like mine? lol

    You've got it right though - still feeling too young for a LeSabre or Caddy. If Bonneville goes away though - what would you go to next?

    I saw a number of leaf peeping Bonnevilles the other weekend too - a couple were 2002s - most likely rentals.

This discussion has been closed.