i am pretty happy with the 97 bon'eville i got a few days ago but the
display on the radio/time display does not work and i wonder if it is
something easy to fix or would the problem be involved?
also, i know the arguement about putting low octane gas in the ssei is
going to come up,(with swmbo and swmbo-jr), and while i figure the pcm
would probably compensate and provide lowered performance, i would like
to have a stronger position that just "cause i say so". what do you
have for me?
Congrats on the Bonneville purchase, they are great cars. I have a 1997
SSEi myself, and love it.
If the rest of the radio works (as in, it produces sound), the problem is
usually the light bulb behind the face plate is blown. My radio is in the
same shape as yours, but I haven't fixed it yet. You can get the bulbs, and
replace it yourself if you want. It doesn't take long, and no soldering is
required, as it just screws out and back in.
This argument has been going on for a very, very long time. I have a 1997
SSEi (with the supercharged engine, like yours) and used to have a 1996 SSEi
(same engine). Both *require* 91 octane, and that is stated in the owners
manual, and usually on a sticker on the gas tank filler door. You can use
the 87, or 89, but it isn't worth it. That engine will get close to 30 MPG,
if properly tuned, but using the lower octane's you will loose several
points off that 30 MPG figure. The money you would save from using the
cheaper gas, isn't recouped because you get worse MPG. As for the PCM
compensating for the lesser octane gases, if memory serves, the knock sensor
does compensate, however if your knock sensor were to not work as well as it
should, you could seriously damage the engine. You also loose power, as the
engine is designed to run off 91. My Bonnie has almost 300,000 KMs on it,
and runs like it's brand new. I always use AC/Delco plugs and wires, and 91
octane fuel. Doing that, and changing the oil every few months, will likely
make your new car last forever.
I had a 92 Park Ave Ultra with the supercharged 3.6 and I always ran the
cheap stuff in it. Around town, I consistently got 24-25 and on the
highway, over 30. I drive with a fairly heavy right foot and I like to feel
a car push me back in the seat when I accelerate, so this was no baby
driving. Not sure if it would have gotten any better with 91 - maybe, but I
can't imagine it would have been much better.
Amen on the AC Delco plugs and wires. I don't know why, but it does seem to
make a difference.
Correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't your '92 have had the Series I 3800?
I've never owned a Series I with the supercharger on top. A couple without
it, but none with it. But, you could of course be very right, however in
both of my Bonnie's, they always demanded the 91, and would get bitter
without it. ;)
I tired a couple of different brands when I got my first Series II engine,
and ended up going back to AC Delco. I found the car performed better, gas
MPG was better, and it ran smoother. I remember asking a mechanic once
which plugs he recommended, and he said 'the car came with AC Delco, it must
Ahhhh - you might have a point there sir. Had not thought about that. But
yes - the '92 had a Series I, I'm pretty sure. I should have been more
clear in what I wrote though. We would put a tankful of premium in from
time to time - probably 2-3 times per year. If it seemed to be running
"just a bit off" - and I apologize for such a lousy description. For sure,
there was some noticable difference in things with premium - I was just too
conditioned to go for the cheap stuff, and the difference was not enough to
change my mind at the time. Maybe that's because that car flat out moved -
even on the cheap stuff. When we did put premium in, we did it for a few
tankfuls - maybe 3 or 4 or 5. Certainly enough to see a responsiveness
difference. Just never saw a big mpg difference in the car.
Isn't the power of those engines great? I have seen many 3800 supercharged
engines all rebuilt to racing specs, and they sure sound awesome, but I'm
quite content with the sound from my stock blower, and exhaust. Hell, it
can even kick my '82 Trans Am's ass with 3 cylinder's tied behind it's
back...then again, the 1982 305 isn't really a fair comparison to a car 15
years newer. I think the best thing about the 3800 supercharged engines (to
me at least), is they seem to last forever, have incredible power
(especially when the cars they use them in (Park Ave, Bonneville's, etc.)
aren't exactly light, and get great MPG for the power, and weight.
i carefully disassembled the radio, including unscrewing the circuit
board, (which doesn't need to be removed), and finally got the bulb out
with the brown base. it looked like a "push" or compression fit so i
pulled it out...i am not sure that was a good thing to do as i pulled
the two wires off the bulb and they stayed with the base. is the base
and bulb sold as a unit? i don't see any id number on the bulb, it is a
dealer item? do you know the bulb number? or spec's?
i plan a full tune up and fluid change soon
a first thought is to include:
plugs/ wires (its a little early but why not)
anti-freeze, oil, p/s, brake, (maybe go to DOT 4)
there is separate s/c oil, right? any tricks to changing this?
filters, oil, gas, air
am i missing anything?
i have a Haynes manual and for the first time, i find Haynes to be
inadequate , what do you guys use.
I read your new thread a few post's up, so I think you have the radio
problem fixed, or at least will when your part arrives.
As recommended by myself and others, be sure to use AC Delco plugs and
wires. They are the best for that engine.
Yes, the supercharger has separate oil. There is a small hole (use an allen
key to get the bolt out) on the nose cone (the end where the belt attaches
too), that you have to screw out, to empty and re-fill. Just make sure you
have the correct screw. Here is a link to a very well done write up (not by
me, so I take no credit for it):
Also, be sure to use GM supercharger fluid. When I went to change mine, I
tried looking all over, Napa, Canadian Tire, PartsMan, and every other parts
(new or used) store, and none had the fluid, but a couple suggested I could
"try" what they had. Don't bother, just go to your local GM dealer, and pay
the $7 dollars (x 2, because you need 2 bottles of the stuff), it's well
worth it. And don't mind the smell when you open up the supercharger. That
oil is one of the most terrible smelling liquids I have ever smelt.
Sounds like you are covering everything, as far as I can tell at the moment.
How does the Air Conditioning work?
Personally, I use http://www.bonnevilleforum.com/ It is *full* of
information about Bonneville's, and also has 100's of Bonneville experts who
can usually help you diagnose and repair almost anything related to your
Bonneville, or any other 3800 powered car. Other then that, I use
www.autozone.com as it seems to have alright write up's, but I think they
are the same write up's that are in you're Haynes manuals.
Good Luck with your new Bonneville.
Years ago someone posted that if you put lower octane gas in a
supercharged car you were only saving roughly $3.00 per tank.
The poster said it was better to use the higher octane as required.
The supercharger does have oil in it. I've heard some people have used a
suction bulb to remove the old oil. The oil minght be dealer item only.
I don't know if this applies to a 97 SSE, but your serpentine belt may
go around a motor mount. ( another GM trick) It adds about 45 minutes
more to the job that takes roughly 90 seconds to change on my
91 Bonneville 318,253
05 Park Avenue 84,726
Perhaps someone in the group has a better memory than me (and can
remind me) but I don't remember having a choice of octanes when I
filled up with 'petrol' in the U.K. in my youth (circa. 1960) ??
Me too. My first bike was an 'Ivory White Calthorpe' although is
was painted black by the time I got it. My ol' man owned an AJS.
While I was at sea he 'gave' the AJS to an engineer next door,
who put it in a public collection (Elmdon, Warks - I think), Shortly
after we emigrated to Canada, we heard that they'd been a fire
and all the bikes had been destroyed.. the owner, an arab, collected
on the insurance, so probably all the bikes are still in pristine condition
bot in a private collection in Saudia Arabia
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