: need a new car so asking those with more knowledge for information



railven
11-01-06, 09:36 AM
We, my girlfriend and I, need a second car to help with our new commute from our new condo so I wanted to ask the people who I've learned a lot from.

I own a 98 STS and love it and found the information within the older Seville forums to be priceless.

I've tried to talk my girlfriend into getting an Eldorado, but she won't have it. She's a Pontiac girl and wants something within that family. My research has shown me bad things but like most forums for cars most people only post the bad and not the good.

So if any members of the forum have any recommendations for a good Pontiac or even some horror stories let me know, please.

Our price range right now is $3,000 but we can probably stretch to $3,500 so I know that leaves us in the 92-99 range for most Pontiacs.

She loves Trans-Am but because of money I think she'll be happy with a Grand Am or Prix.

Thanks guys.

Elvis
11-01-06, 09:44 AM
I don't know about the reliability of the Grand Prix, but if you're looking for something with decent size, ride, and MPG, it's probably a good enough choice. Bonneville isn't bad either. FWD is a good idea for Mass. winters.

Night Wolf
11-01-06, 10:45 AM
I know plenty about the Grand Am... check out gaownersclub.com for into on them.

In that range, it'll be tight... but a '96-'98 Grand Am could be had in mint shape for that price... you could get 2 or 4 door, SE or sporty GT, V6 or I4.... I really like this gen because you could get a 5spd GT... but 5spd is only with the 4cyl (2.4 Twin Cam) I think a 5spd 2 door GT would be a nice car.. I considered them once. V6 was the 3100.

Maybe a '99 or '00 SE is in that range too, again, 2 or 4 door, I4 or V6... but no 5spd GT this time. I4 was the 2.4 Twin Cam, then later the 2.2 Ecotec... V6 was the 3400.

MAYBE a '97-'99 Grand Prix, tho I would avoid '97 and even '98... the SE's are not cool at all with the 3100... so a GT would be minimum.

Or also a Sunfire... but that may be too basic/small?

If Pontiac is a must, I'd go with a '96-'98 Grand Am GT, 2-door, 2.4 and 5spd.... nice cars.

Night Wolf
11-01-06, 10:49 AM
True, forgot about the Bonnie.... early 90's GM + 3800, can't go wrong...

'92-'96 Grand Pric were a funny GM chassis, Aimee's Regal is the same chassis (she has the TPI 3800 tho... GP had the 3100) and if you are used to the normal GM, that car will leave you scratching your head thinking WTF? But they are decent cars too.

davesdeville
11-01-06, 11:04 AM
The 3100 is a solid reliable motor, so is the 3800. I dunno so much about the 2.4, but the 2.2 Ecotec seems to be good too.

OffThaHorseCEO
11-01-06, 11:36 AM
which bonnie had the northstar?

Elvis
11-01-06, 12:28 PM
which bonnie had the northstar?

I think that was within the past 3-4 years.

Dadillac
11-01-06, 01:22 PM
which bonnie had the northstar?

I think that was the '05 and '06 GXP. I saw a few on Ebay, and I like it alot. If I ever buy a Bonneville, that would be the one.

My sister has a "95 Bonneville. She got it for under $3500, and has only had the infamous plastic intake manifold issue. She loves it. I love the seats in it. I keep telling her that I am going to steal them, and give her my leather seats, from the Seville. GM did a pretty good job in thier luxury line cars through the '90s. Materials seem to be a little lacking, but workmanship and reliability, seem to be up to par.

Don

RobertCTS
11-01-06, 02:14 PM
We, my girlfriend and I, need a second car to help with our new commute from our new condo so I wanted to ask the people who I've learned a lot from.

I own a 98 STS and love it and found the information within the older Seville forums to be priceless.

I've tried to talk my girlfriend into getting an Eldorado, but she won't have it. She's a Pontiac girl and wants something within that family. My research has shown me bad things but like most forums for cars most people only post the bad and not the good.

So if any members of the forum have any recommendations for a good Pontiac or even some horror stories let me know, please.

Our price range right now is $3,000 but we can probably stretch to $3,500 so I know that leaves us in the 92-99 range for most Pontiacs.

She loves Trans-Am but because of money I think she'll be happy with a Grand Am or Prix.

Thanks guys.

I owned both the Pontiac supercharged GTP and the Eldorado. Downside is they are both wrong wheel drive. For creature comfort you give it to the Eldo. The Pontiac 3.8(Buick) engine is bullet proof. For looks I give it to the Eldo. The Eldo will cost more. I've heard high mileage NorthStar engines can kill you with expensive repairs. I think I talked myself into a SC GTP Pontiac.:) Let us know what you decide.

CadillacSTS42005
11-01-06, 03:11 PM
SSEI Bonnie
GTP

powerglide
11-01-06, 05:36 PM
Bought a 95 Grand Prix with Sport Package for my bro for $1350. It had only 70,000 miles and is a strong and reliable ride. We put about $600 or so into it to fix a leaky intake manifold gasket (common probs with the GM 3.1). My brother totally fell in love with .....its a very unique style thats kinda rare these days. We stayed clear of GrandPrix's because the reputation was bad. Try autos.msn.com and see the reviews by owners. Good Luck.
PS Gas mileage isn't the best...heavy car and all.

railven
11-01-06, 09:40 PM
Wow tons of info! Lots of Engine talk I'll have to read up on that. Thanks for that link too Night Wolf.

So it seems no one recommends a Prix over an AM. We've seen a 97 Black Grand AM GT automatic with the 6-cyl 3.1L engine. The car pickes up rather well. My only concern was the suspension. I think my opinion is jaded by my experience with the Cadillac. She says it was fine. The seller wanted $2300. It has 133K on the dash. KKB.com has it at about $2500 at fair condition. I'd try to talk him down to 2K-2.1K. As a mechanic he said he'd change the brakes and any thing we address before the sale he'd look at it.

I'm going to spend a few hours reading those engine models and see if I can find some info on this intake manifold issue.

Thanks guys, I really appreciate it and I'll let you know what she decides on. I think she wants a 2-door too.

[I was very happy to get back in my Seville after we test drove the Pontiac. I've been spoiled!]

I~LUV~Caddys8792
11-01-06, 11:15 PM
For a $3,000- $3,500 Pontiac, I'd go with a Bonneville SLE, SSE or possibly and SSEi.

I'm a big pushover for the 92-99 Bonnevilles. Great exterior and interior design, lots of features, VERY comfortable, roomy, reliable, fun to drive, powerful, etc etc.

The 3800 is probably the greatest pushrod V6 of all time. It's low maintenance, VERY reliable, very durable, and even the 170hp Series I motors have pretty decent performance, and you have to TRY to get them to get less than 18 MPG in city driving, and on the highway, they'll pull atleast 29-30 MPG if they're the naturally aspirated motor. If they're the Supercharged motor, they'll get 16-18 in town, 27-28 on the highway.

The seats in all of the Bonnevilles rock. Lots of support, support everywhere, great lumbar support, great lateral support and in the SSE and SSEi's, they have like 16 way power seats! The SSE and SSEi's have most of the features of the Sevilles...I kinda think of them as the poor man's Seville.

I drove a '97 Bonneville SSE when I was looking to replace my Roadmaster about two years ago, in October of '04. It had like 137k on the clock, and they wanted $3700 for it, it was a fair price, 137k is like 1/2 of a 3800's lifespan if you take care of it. It was fully loaded, leather, 16 way power seats, HUD, etc etc. The 3800 in that car is the 205hp Series II, and it pulled that car along almost as good as the 4.9 V8 in my deVille. It had sharper steering than my '92 and it handed quite well for a full size GM FWD sedan.

That car was probably the #3 car on my list at the time, behind the deVille and an Oldsmobile Ninety Eight. But back then I was so shallow minded, all I wanted was a car with the trip computer and the Bonneville didn't have it, so it was out in my book.

I'd definetly rock a Bonneville SLE, SSE or SSEi..

Night Wolf
11-01-06, 11:21 PM
My fathers lightly modded '99 GTP with 120k runs high 13's in the 1/4 and gets 22mpg town and 34mpg highway, as told by the on board computer and actual calculations.

dp102288
11-02-06, 10:00 AM
Good info here. Hope this makes it easier. I like the Prix more than the Am. Let us know what you decide on.

railven
11-02-06, 11:46 AM
I've pressing this info on her. We're reading articles about the 3800 engine and the 3100.

We haven't seen any decently kept Bonnevilles but the few Grand Ams we've seen have had a few things she isn't happy with. [She wants power windows and I guess there is no talking her out of it.]

When I told her about the intake manifold issue she didn't really listen haha.

I'm hitting the local dealers' websites today before work. The private sales are really high, literally KBB value, so if the dealers have something along the same lines I'm going with that at least that way she'll have a 30 day service warranty and the lemon law to protect her.

Thanks again guys, I greatly appreciate all the info.

powerglide
11-02-06, 11:56 AM
Here's a good way to negotiate down the price:

Goto AAA and look for VIP mechanics in your area (Vehichle Inspection Program). After you find a car that looks like the one, you say I'll buy it if the car is as you say (nothing wrong) Then meet at the mechanic, fork over 80 buck and the mechanic goes through everything from spare tire air pressure to leaky components. The mechanic makes a long list of everything that is wrong and a price it will cost to fix it. You turn around and negotiate the seller down. Then you go back to the mechanic and say which one of these do your 'really' need fixed. My mechanic was totally honest, he told me forget this and this, just fix the gasket. And he applied the $80 I paid for VIP towards the repair. I;ve done it everytime I buy used from a private party. Just my 2 cents..

railven
11-02-06, 12:07 PM
Wow that sounds awesome!

I'll keep that in mind when she narrows her list down. We got three more to see and three on her list.

RobertCTS
11-02-06, 12:07 PM
I've pressing this info on her. We're reading articles about the 3800 engine and the 3100.

We haven't seen any decently kept Bonnevilles but the few Grand Ams we've seen have had a few things she isn't happy with. [She wants power windows and I guess there is no talking her out of it.]

When I told her about the intake manifold issue she didn't really listen haha.

I'm hitting the local dealers' websites today before work. The private sales are really high, literally KBB value, so if the dealers have something along the same lines I'm going with that at least that way she'll have a 30 day service warranty and the lemon law to protect her.

Thanks again guys, I greatly appreciate all the info.

As I'm sure you know the Grand Am is a step down in the Pontiac line up. It would be a few bucks cheaper but I recommend the GTP with tough 3.8 old reliable engine. GM has supercharged and turbo charged that engine with excellent results. Parts should be easy to come by. Personally I wouldn't be happy with the 3.1. The Bonneville is just a bigger and heavier Pontiac with the same drive train. Performance and MPG should be a bit less while the interior would be a bit nicer.

You could also go to www.edmunds.com (http://www.edmunds.com) and look at the pros and cons of these vehicles.

railven
11-02-06, 12:26 PM
We saw a nice GTP posted but the value of the car is pushing out of our price range. Right now money is super strapped. I think I'll still take her to see it and if she likes it, which she loved the pictures, maybe I'll pull some money out of my piggy bank.

railven
11-02-06, 12:29 PM
Here it is, if you'd like to see it, we haven't contacted the seller because the price is about 1K more then we can afford. And in our state you have to register and have it insured the same day. So we'd assume that be another 600-800 for that model.

Also we're a bit nervous buying a car where it has been modded. We would hate to have to fix something and not know what to buy since its no longer stock...but it looks great [and my favorite color is red!]

http://boston.craigslist.org/sob/car/229072016.html

What you think?

EDIT: The mileage on it made her worry a bit. Her first car was a 91 Chrysler Lebaron and it didn't last her a full year. She said when she first got it, it ran fine but soon enough it wouldn't start, it would stall on the highway if it rained, and the transmission was starting to go. I blamed it partionally on her wreckless behavior and lack of attention to small things [she claims I'm paranoid when I hear stop to ask about noises in my Seville.] So she'd prefer something with less then 130K on the clock. Helping her is rather frustrating. I got my STS with 155K on the clock for a bit over 3K, insured and registered everything for about 4.1K [less then this car is posted for] and I love mine! I'd be jealous if she got this one though because my STS had a damaged front bumber when I got bought it...that GTP looks prestine!

RobertCTS
11-02-06, 01:15 PM
I don't think I'd go for it. It's definately own by a very young person, not proverbal school teacher. A number of performance parts added which suggest its been driven hard. "Nice summer car"? what does that mean? Not fit for winter?

ChicagoCTS32
11-02-06, 03:17 PM
Pass.

Looks nice, but I'm sure it's probably been beat on quite a bit.
I would definately look for something with the 3800 V6 and pass on the supercharged version. Great power, but the tranny tends to be the weak point. A friend of mine has a GTP and the tranny was toast twice.

But for sure, the 3800 is bulletproof and will run for 1,000,000 miles!

Night Wolf
11-02-06, 10:41 PM
'92-~'95 Bonnie SSE..... NA so a couple less things to worry about.

3800 is awesome.

railven
11-03-06, 12:41 AM
Well a Bonneville is out. I showed her the body for the Bonneville within our price range and she didn't like that "old car" design. I'm not sure what she means but thats wat she says about my Seville and an Eldo.

So I found these two and am in the process of contacting the sellers. I hope one of the two would be available.

I prefer the 95 Grand Prix just because of the price. We'd be able to insure it and register it for the same price the 98 Grand Prix would cost.

What you think?
98 Grand Prix: http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/car/228397686.html
95 Grand Prix: http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/car/227454354.html

I'm hoping to test drive both Saturday.

dp102288
11-03-06, 08:57 AM
^^ They look ok but both of them don't have miles listed...

Jesda
11-03-06, 09:33 AM
Women LOVE Pontiacs. Its the #1 female-owned brand in the country.

railven
11-03-06, 09:54 AM
The 95 is sitting on 97,000 while the 98 has none listed.

I'm waiting for a response via E-Mail but will be calling around noon-ish.

Again I tried to sell her an Eldo...she just don't want it. I found her a great one too just needs a bit of work, mostly cosmetic, but noooooo she wants her Pontiac.

powerglide
11-03-06, 11:36 AM
Thats the body style (95) my bro bought. Its quite nice.
And I think you can get i for much less than 2500$ (obo) he wants.
try the VIP thing....

railven
11-03-06, 11:56 AM
Definately! He doesn't mention the engine but if its the 3.4 without the GT-Package KKB lists it as $2500 in EXCELLENT condition.

I'll assume its FAIR at which its listed at about $2200.

I got word from the 98, tomorrow at 2PM, but just want to see that 95 and hope we can talk him down to 2K thus registered and insured for no more then 2.5K and take the other grand and pay the insurance off for the year.

powerglide
11-03-06, 01:46 PM
ist the SE so I think its the 3.1 engine.
The GTP has the 3.8 supercharged as I recall....I think the 3.1 would be less trouble

AznPrydeRegalRyde
11-03-06, 02:48 PM
Heres a suggestion. The Buick Regal of the same years were practically the same cars, save for design. A Supercharged Buick Regal always was cheaper to insure the a sc'ed GTP, AND a Regal was cheaper used. Not to mention, everyone and their sister wanted and bought the GTP. GTPs were too typical for my liking.

creeker
11-03-06, 03:03 PM
Check out this website "car survey.org" ,grand am gets poor reports,I have owned 3 cars with 3.8's ,their a great motor.

railven
11-04-06, 11:10 PM
Hey guys thanks for all the help.

We're still searching. We went to see a few Pontiac's today but none got the green light. A few of them were poorly kept and well we didn't want to travel that road.

On our way back home at a red light she saw something that caught her eye.

A 2000 Chrysler Seabreeze. I called the guy up and he said he had it posted on the internet. I found it:

http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/car/230138780.html

Now I know I said she didn't want a Chrysler again but when she saw the inside she was blown away. I'll be honest, the interior made me a bit jealous. This car was pristine. The engine was nice and clean, it started up fine no problem, I shifted it a few times with no hesitation, I found no obvious rust signs, no odd noises from the muffler, the top went up and down with out a hitch, and basically it seemed like a great car. It was way better then any of the other POS we've seen today.

She hit a hick-up when the dash said 170K. Now I ask those who know better then me, do these Chrysler's run good miles on the original transmission and engine? The seller said the owner kept the car up to date and all services done by the dealer. He claimed she gave him all the service records.

I'm going to go to a few of the links provided here and read up on the car.

I'd love for any advice. The car had written on it $2,600 he said he'd let it go for $2,400 but the online ad has it listed for $2,000. I wonder whats up with that. I'm a check KBB and then edmunds.

RobertCTS
11-05-06, 06:02 AM
Hey guys thanks for all the help.

We're still searching. We went to see a few Pontiac's today but none got the green light. A few of them were poorly kept and well we didn't want to travel that road.

On our way back home at a red light she saw something that caught her eye.

A 2000 Chrysler Seabreeze. I called the guy up and he said he had it posted on the internet. I found it:

http://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/car/230138780.html

Now I know I said she didn't want a Chrysler again but when she saw the inside she was blown away. I'll be honest, the interior made me a bit jealous. This car was pristine. The engine was nice and clean, it started up fine no problem, I shifted it a few times with no hesitation, I found no obvious rust signs, no odd noises from the muffler, the top went up and down with out a hitch, and basically it seemed like a great car. It was way better then any of the other POS we've seen today.

She hit a hick-up when the dash said 170K. Now I ask those who know better then me, do these Chrysler's run good miles on the original transmission and engine? The seller said the owner kept the car up to date and all services done by the dealer. He claimed she gave him all the service records.

I'm going to go to a few of the links provided here and read up on the car.

I'd love for any advice. The car had written on it $2,600 he said he'd let it go for $2,400 but the online ad has it listed for $2,000. I wonder whats up with that. I'm a check KBB and then edmunds.

If he had it listed for $2000 I'd remind him of that and offer him $1900. Hows the top and rear window? 4 or 6 cylinder? That's a bunch of miles!!!!!

davesdeville
11-05-06, 06:23 AM
If you're going to check blue book values... you might want to know that the model name is Sebring. A sea breeze is a girly drink.

railven
11-05-06, 07:46 AM
Yeah I know, I couldn't find Seabreeze anywhere. She insisted it was called seabreeze "I saw the name on the car myself" but I'm leaning more towards the Sebring JX [it didn't have fog lights.]

It was a v6 2.5l auto. It wasn't raining so I couldn't see if it leaked. All the research I did last night before bed was:
1. top leaks
2. redefroster wiring comes off
3. squeaky brakes

Some comments made it sound like a nightmare others like a dream. The ones in the middles sounded realistic enough to give me confidence. Most said their car, none at 170K highest at about 140K, runs great and it just needs gas and oil.

She finally snapped out of her "only Pontiac" but the Eldo I found her is gone...sniff.

Oh well, I'm going to try to see that Sebring again and pour water on the top.