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  Commodore Faults VL

Early VL Commodores Temperature Gauge Rises but car not over heating
VL Nissan 6 cylinder engine notes
Various VL Turbo Problems: (Could also be common on normally aspirated VL)
VL Commodore 6cyl auto: first gear only revs out to approx 3500rpm when floored, even in power mode
VL Commodore: inherant flatspot on some
VL Commodore Engine Cutting Out
VL Commodore: Changing to disc brake on rear of car
VL Commodore Air Box modification
VL Commodore High fuel consumption with black smoke from exhaust
VL and upwards crank angle sensor
 
 


Early VL Commodores Temperature Gauge Rises but car not over heating
This is common, the temp gauge needle is loose and moves as you go around corners. You can tighten it but it is a pain in the ass, it's easier to get a new instrument panel from a wreck.

From: David Carlyon
 


VL Nissan 6 cylinder engine notes
VL commodore owners BEWARE,the Nissan head on ht turbo or the Atmo is very prone to cracking and it CANNOT be welded, I should know this because I am a Professional engine reconditioner, there are a few remedies, the easiest is to upgrade the cooling system, also there are bleed valves on the head that need to be bled after you refill the engine with coolant, if you don't an air pocket will create a hot spot an your head which will shit itself, also you should get your local mechanic to use his FLUKE meter (if he is any good he will have one) to adjust the airflow so that the engine runs slightly richer and therefore cooler

From: Ricky
 


Various VL Turbo Problems: (Could also be common on normally aspirated VL)
Common problems I have found.

Best cheaper workshop manual I believe is the Max Ellery's Factory Workshop Manual, I have referenced the pages in this manual.

Auto Transmission:
Not selecting the correct gears, not down-shifting on hills: Oil ingress to the throttle valve switch (via butterfly shaft). The throttle valve switch contains a throttle position sensor which outputs to the trans computers, gets oily and stops working. Solution is to replace it or remove it, drill out 2 rivets and clean with switch contact cleaner, glue cover back on refit and adjust. Manual Ref: Engine Management Page 298 for description, 311 for adjustment.

No kickdown:
Detent switch not working properly. Switch is located above the accelerator pedal, activated on full throttle. Solution: adjust it. Manual Ref: Auto Trans Page 440.

Poor driveability / lack of power:
1. oxygen sensor is not working. Manual Ref Page 330
2. corrosion on electrical contacts, very common on coolant temp sensor and crank angle sensor if you wash the engine a lot. Check for green or white power on contact pins & in plugs. Solution: clean off of pins with contact cleaner, replace the connector pins.
3. replace the fuel filter every 30K.

P.S: Read the precautions in the manual with regards to working on the Engine Management System and follow them. If in doubt, take it to somebody who knows these cars.

From: Martin
 


VL Commodore 6cyl auto: first gear only revs out to approx 3500rpm when floored, even in power mode
fix: detent switch above accelerator, sometimes can be adjusted, but even then, often not far enough to operate correctly. Fitting a piece of hose over the sliding rod to enlarge it's diameter will allow more travel, and will then operate correctly ie: first gear will rev out to optimum rpm before changing to second. saves changing manually!!! most vl's I see have this problem. who knows why.

From: Paul T
 


VL Commodore: inherant flatspot on some
fix: apart from filling with premium and advancing the timing so much it pings it's ass off, try this: advance the cam timing by one tooth. You may also have to cut a piece away from the base plate of the distributor to gain enough timing adjustment. Set the timing to ear, not with a timing light (don't be lazy!!! grab a spanner and drive up and down the road and keep fiddling til its optimum!) generally should gain some healthy performance, and loose the flatspot!

From: Paul T
 


VL Commodore Engine Cutting Out
Engine cutting out under all driving conditions. Switch into Power Mode by pressing switch on t-bar. You will notice the power light will come on at the instrument cluster. Now road test the car. When the engine dies you will notice that the power light will turn off as well. The problem is either a faulty auto trans ECU or just a dry solder on the board. You can wiggle the connections to the trans ECU as an intermittent fix, located under driver's side dash area.

From: Ben A
 


VL Commodore: Changing to disc brake on rear of car
It is quite possible to change from drums to disc, just need to note that the only difference in axle specs is the size of the seal, change this and there will be no dramas.

N.B The handbrake cables are different as well.. Nearly easier to change the whole diff assembly if you can get ya hands on one.

From: Andrew
 


VL Commodore Air Box Modification
VL normally aspirated engines were tricked on Government specification by removing the funnel at the air filter box and enlargening the opening by 50%. (To the next flute is neat). The 3.0 litre loves oxygen. I have never had overheating and think the power increase is about 15 percent. You do get a throaty exhaust under exceleration . I was very impressed after 30 minutes of operation.

From: David
 


VL Commodore High fuel consumption with black smoke from exhaust
I investigated a VL Commodore (my son's) that displayed a very rich mixture at idle, though the car drove OK. Copious amonts of black mixture smoke were emitted from the exhaust, particularly at idle and when accelarating from rest.

The ECU was checked and recalibrated to specs. The air flow sensor was replaced, and all other input sensors checked. All were found to be OK.

However, the fuel rail pressure was found to be excessively high, around 400kPa instad of 200 to 250 (approx). This was causing excessive fuel to be metered into the engine. The fuel regulator was changed with no effect. But significant back pressure was detected in the return line to the tank. The return line was disconnected at the engine end, and return fuel collected separately. Engine running improved immediately.

The return line was inspected and found to be free from any kinks or pinched/perished hoses. Removing the return line at the tank end produced a similar improvement to engine running.

The problem proved to be the following (with a little help from a Holden dealer who confirmed my suspicions). The return fuel line inside the tank is connected to a plastic swirl pot, where fuel is continually circulated around the low pressure pump inside the tank. The return line has some sort of a jet on the end that causes the fuel to be squirted out, creating the swirl. This appears to become blocked or pinched, thus causing back pressure to build up. The awirl pot and return line can just be seen inside the tank, through the apeture where the pump and sender are attached. (The tank has really to be removed to see this).

The only practical solution is to fit a replacement tank, as to check or repair the swirl pot means cutting open the tank. This was done with a tank of a wrecked vehicle, and the car has been 100% since.

From: Peter H.
 


VL and upwards crank angle sensor
When ever you replace your crank angle sensor, you MUST replace the lower bearing in the distributor. A faulty bearing will give off a red dust that will cause the new sensor to fail very quickly. A faulty sensor will cause hot starting problems.

From: Mike
 

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