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  Commodore Faults VN - VS

VN petrol and temp. gauge intermittently failing
VN Temperature Gauge Tip
VN Calais Trip Computer Special Functions
VN Commodore continual flat battery
VN Commodore not starting
VN Commodore alternator light is on and not charging
VN Commodore fuel pump fuse blown but pump is ok
VN Commodore fuel pump operates continuosly after ignition is turned off
VN Commodore tail lights blow
VN - VP Commodore Power Door Locks fail
VN Commodore Boot Leak
V6 Commodore hard starting and misfiring under load
V6 Commodore cuts out
V6 Engine Noise
VN Commodore Rough Idle
VN V6 Won't Idle When Warm
VN - VR central locking wiring harness falling out of rear door locks
VN - VS Engine cuts over intermittently and won't start again
VN - VS Repair of interior window rubber at the top of the door trim
VN - VS Heater/air conditioner fan only works on some speeds
V6 3800 and V8 5000 Oil Pressure Problems (my VS Caprice, 160,000km)
Removal of console in VP Commodore
Tip for leaking boot on VP exec sedan
VP Repairing Electric Side Mirror Switch on a VP Commodore
Loose Steering Wheel Grip on VP (and other models?)
Petrol Fumes in Interior of VP
VP alternator charge wire burnt out at alternator b+ terminal
VR Acclaim water in boot
VR Runs rough and misfires when warm
VR stops for no reason (check engine light on)
VR V6 Engine stalls or cranks over roughly and doesn't fire
VR II will not start for up to 1 hour intermittant problem
VR II - VS Speed Alert Special Functions
VS Commodore Radio Security Function


VN - VS Engine cuts over intermittently and won't start again whether it's hot or cold.

Remedy: Replace faulty ignition module.
From: Devilman

Repair of interior window rubber at the top of the door trim. Covers all doors on sedan and wagon.
Models: VN - VS, Executive, Berlina, not sure about door trim construction on Calais, Statesman.

Problem: The black rubber window seal between the top of the interior door trim and the window glass separates from the door trim.

Author: Paul Heuer - 30APR96

Disclaimer: This is my account of how I did this little repair. I don't suggest you follow these steps, I'm not a motor mechanic and I don't work for Holden or GM. I took lots of care not to sniff the glue, cut myself with screwdrivers, etc. I suggest you do too. Parental guidance recommended. Is this stuff really neccessay?


0. Remove the positive battery terminal and chock the wheels. They always say that in the manuals. It's some sort of disclaimer for idiots who burn down their car or run themselves over.

1. Grab the rubber seal before it completely separates from the door trim and falls into the door cavity. This makes the job relatively easy. If the rubber seal has fallen into the door cavity you can still follow these instructions, you just need to continue to remove the door trim, fish out the rubber seal, then replace the trim and join us again near the end (heh, heh).

2. Remove the interior door lock knob. This needs a simple tool to be made.

2a. Using a wire coat hanger, cut a length of wire about 300mm long.

2b. Flatten about 75mm at one end.

2c. Using a pair of pliers, from a 90 degree bend at the flattened end so that there is a 1 - 2mm lip at the flattened end.

2d. Make a gentle curve in the flattened part so that the lip can get down the side of the lock knob while the wire lays horizontally across the orange strip at the front of the knob.

2e. The orange strip across the front of the lock knob is what holds the knob onto the lock rod. Lay the homemade tool across the orange strip as described in 2d. Hook the lip of the tool behing the side of the orange strip, and swing the other end of the tool in toward the centre of the car. You should now be able to tug the tool and have the orange strip pop out from the lock knob.

2f. If the orange strip won't pop free, you may need to just pull up on the lock knob while using the tool to pull the orange strip toward the centre of the car. This may be enough to release the clamp on the lock rod.

2g. Remove the lock knob trim ring by removing the retaining screw.

3. Remove the interior door grab handle trim plate by gently prising it off with a small screwdriver. Slacken the two grab handle retaining screws. If your car has electrical remote mirrors you may need to pop the adjustment switch out of the grab handle. It is just a press fit.

4. Remove the rear view mirror trim plate on front doors by removing the screw and prising the trim away from the door frame. My car has electric mirrors, so I'm not sure how this bit differs for cars with manual mirrors.

5. Wind the window down as far as it will go.

6. Gently prise the top edge of the door trim away from the door slightly. You should feel the press in clips just 'pop' free, that's far enough.

7. Using a screwdriver, and being careful not to damage the door trim, prise up one end of the plastic strip along the top edge of the door trim. This piece is pressed onto the door itself, it is not attached to the door trim.

8. Work along the plastic strip, lifting it upwards. Make sure the black rubber seal comes with the trim. Don't let it fall into the door.

9. Using a contact adhesive (eg Bostik), glue the black rubber back onto the plastic trim strip. You may need to slightly stretch the black rubber seal so that it reaches along the full length of the plastic strip.

10. Installation is a reversal of the removal procedure (yeh, right). OK, here's the gotchas:

11. With the window still wound down, and the door trim still pulled slightly away from the door, press the plastic trim strip back onto the top edge of the door metalwork. Press the door trim back into place. You should feel the press in clips 'pop' back in. Check that the door trim has slid in under the lip on the plastic trim strip at the top of the door trim. Check that the window can be wound up without fouling on the rubber seal.

12. To replace the rear view mirror trim plate on the front doors you need to reset the locking plug on the insige of the trim plate. Simply move the black plug to the outer end of the four locking fingers in the centre of the trim plate. When replacing the trim plate, make sure the edge of the plate nearest the window has located over the window frame, then locate the four locking fingers into the hole and tap into place. Replace the screw. I don't have manual mirrors, so I don't know how this part would differ on cars with manual mirrors.

13. Retighten the screws in the grab handle, replace the mirror ajustment switch (if fitted), and the trim plate. Check operation of the mirror adjustment switch.

14. Replace the lock knob trim ring and the retaining screw. Insert the orange strip into the lock knob so that it sits out from the front of the lock knob. Make sure the door is unlocked (ie the lock rod is pulled up). Drop the lock knob over the lock rod so that the orange strip rests against the bottom of the lock knob trim ring. Press the orange strip into the lock knob so it sits flush with the front of the lock knob. Check operation of the lock knob.

15. That's it. Sit back and wait for the rubber strip to come adrift from the next door.

Heater/air conditioner fan on a VN-VS only works on some speeds
If the heater/air conditioner fan on a VN-VS only works on some speeds ie; only high speeds, its very likely to be the resistor found under the plastic cover under the windscreen wiper arms.

It is a very simple job. The tools required are a small flathead screwdiver and a smallish phillips head screwdriver.

1. The plastic cover is removed by displacing rubber seal, undoing the clips with small screwdriver and lifting it off.

2. When the plastic cover is off you will see a dome held on with 2 screws in front of the passenger seat towards the centre of the car.

3. Remove the dome and then take the elecrical plug off the resistor, undo the 2 screws (2 more screws) holding the resistor in and withdraw the resistor. It looks kind of like a bird cage.

4. In the birdcage are 3 coils of wire if one of them is broken thats why the fan is acting up. You will probably have to look very closely at it.

5. Buy a new one!!!

6. From go to woa this job takes about half an hour if you take your time and do it carefully. A sparkie will charge you copious amounts of your well deserved and hardly earned $$$$$.

7. As they say; "installation is the same procedure in reverse.

From: Pete Vennix


VN petrol and temp. gauge intermittently failing
Get Voltage regulator board mounted behind cluster re-soldered/repaired.

From: David Roitman

VN Temperature Gauge Tip
If the gauge is reading funny, check the main earth strap from the coil pack of the sixes to near the air filter box. Holden usually forgets this earth and the motor earths through the temp gauge and will give a false reading. After many tests, an Auto Electrician told me to check it and it was stuck under the air box. A new clamp and perfect. Holden's reply- Oh well you get that! Not any more I don't... Hope this helps someone else.

From: Andrew

VN Calais Trip Computer Special Functions
To start the special functions, press and hold the RESET button while turning on the ignition. The manual says to exit use the + and - buttons, it does not work on mine, MODE and RESET buttons have to be pressed simultaneously. The computer will do a self diagnostic check and display the word 'FAIL' if it finds an internal fault.

There are three modes of operation, the 1st diagnostic display shows: speed in km/h, fuel in L/h, Button Test. In the button test a '0' should be displayed for each button pressed (trip computer only).

Press the mode button to change the display to the 2nd diagnostic display: Battery Voltage, Fuel tank sender Volts, Button Test again. For the fuel tank: Tank full approx 4.4V, Half full approx 6.6V, Empty tank approx 8.5V.

Press the mode button to energise all segments of the display.

VN Commodore continual flat battery
Fault- boot lamp switch faulty

From: Peter Forster

VN Commodore not starting
Symptom- VN Commodore not starting when fuel and spark are present. Fault- spark plugs and/or leads

Symptom- VN Commodore not starting. Fault- Alarm switch in glovebox faulty

From: Peter Forster

VN Commodore alternator light is on and not charging
Fault- poor connection or blown fuseable link (brown wire) at the battery positive terminal.

From: Peter Forster

VN Commodore fuel pump fuse blown but pump is ok
Fault- oil pressure switch

From: Peter Forster

VN Commodore fuel pump operates continuosly after ignition is turned off
Fault- oil pressure switch

From: Peter Forster

VN Commodore tail lights blow
Check the wiring loom, a new one may be required.

From: Ian Haldoupis

VN, VP Commodore Power Door Locks fail
Recently my right rear door stopped locking/unlocking properly. I pulled out the door lock and took a gander at the power door lock actuator. The thing can't be triggered without power, so don't bother, but when trying to lock/unlock, it wasn't moving anyway, as if it had no power, and because that wasn't moving, it was stopping the mechanical lock operating manually. The problem with these GM actuators is that they aren't easily servicable, by the user. However, if you want to have a go, here it is:

Open the actuator at the seams. It can be quite difficult, I did it by shoving a flat-blade screw-driver down the cable-end, into the verticle gap closest to the edge, which started it opening. Then, I shoved another screwdriver down the same side at the other end -- by the actuator. Don't worry if it sounds like things are breaking, they are, and there isn't much you can do. Once you have it open, have a look at the wires connecting the motor to the circuit board. On mine, the red wire had disconnected. I soldered it back on, and put it back together (using masking tape to seal it again - it won't reseal), and it works perfectly again.

Hope this helps!

From: Phillip O'Donnell

Before you go ripping actuators apart, first simply look at the connector. Mine was dirty, all it needed was a clean, and a fine pick to bend the pins back out to make a firmer connection.

From: Ash

VN Commodore Boot Leak
Water leaking in boot? Then check the screws that fix the fuel cap onto the body of the vehicle. A bit of silicone rubber around the screws and surround should do the trick!

From: Leon

V6 Commodore hard starting and misfiring under load
Fault- coil pack or DFI module

From: Peter Forster

V6 Commodore cuts out
If it cuts out and you are unable to start it for 5 or 10 minutes, try replacing crankshaft sensor.

From: Steve

V6 Engine Noise
Just a quick note to let some of you know about a engine noise on the V6. Problem sounds like the timing chain but is actually the pulley on the top of the engine near the alternator, worth checking before doing your timing chain. I changed this and no more noise!

From: Darren

VN Commodore Rough Idle
Faulty wiring connection. Black wire with Yellow trace - inside the engine bay coming from EFI control unit. Single wire splits off to two wires. Hold wire, squeeze or move wire at join and the engine should increase in idle then settle. In some cases, the engine may stall. Repair connection.

The above wires run to the Coolant Temperature Sensor and the Throttle Position Sensor.

From: Scott

VN V6 Won't Idle When Warm
Remove the Air Filter Duct at the Throttle Valve end. Soak a rag in Carburetter Cleaner and clean both faces of the Throttle Valve butterfly and venturi duct as far as you can get with the rag. If the idle improves, it is worth removing the Throttle body, disassembling and cleaning thoroughly.

From: Stu

VN-VR central locking wiring harness falling out of rear door locks

A simple way to fix: drill a 1/8" hole through female connection inside door- thread a small wire tie through drilled hole and through little loop on male connector, do up wire tie and this will hold connection firmly in place. (Take care with centralising hole in female connector, if off centre wiring loom will not connect properly thus failure to operate will result, and keep hole as close to front edge as possible avoiding damage to wires.)

From: Mick

V6 3800 and V8 5000 Oil Pressure Problems (my VS Caprice, 160,000km)
Recently my wife was driving the car on a 2hour trip from Perth to Bunbury in heavy traffic. The Oil warning light came on and she stopped - that was the good news. The bad news was- there was NO oil pressure. A friend helped her get the car home (towed only a few k's). When I started it the top end was rattling badly - lifted deflated, etc. Recognised mechanics all said change the oil pump after checking the filter. Nothing wrong with the filter so off with the oil pump, Hmmm brand new! no wear! still no oil pressure. checked the "Gregorys" manual, followed checks. Finally had to drop the oil pan for inspection, read on for procedure.

Caution - ALWAYS THINK SAFETY FIRST and DO NOT climb under vehicle unless well supported by approved methods. Approved Methods do not include the use of house bricks!!

Step 1.Remove the front suspension crossmember(x-mmbr). Jack or Raise the front of the car and support on the chassis under front door pillars with car jacks, not on car ramps) Then lower the x-mmbr(easiest when 4 x-mmbr bolts undone and lift the bolts out of the chassis rail by bending back the tab on top of the bolt, slowly lower the xmmbr a few inches and support). "Lifting the engine may not be required but this is how I did it, and suggest undoing the manifolds is still a good idea"

Step 2. Drain the oil (1 inch socket), if the oil is new you may want to recover it into oil drums not your grotty sump tray.

Step 3.Undo the two lower engine mount bolts and exhaust manifold bolts and checking the wiring and hoses all the time (esp. aircon) lift the engine with a quality sling under the harmonic balancer(may not be a good lifting point but it works!)and the oil pan "can" be removed without removing starter, aircon, etc! saves time. use a 3/8 & 14mm socket to remove the oil pan bolts.

Step 4. with the oil pan out you should be able to see the cause of your problem. Crud blocking the sump pump pickup and filling the "dead space" in the bottom of the sump. NB: This problem has come about by Holden trying to resolve oil surge problems. There is a metal "cup" over the steel gauze (read: "crud filter". Crud is caused by using "Stop Leak" products usually by car salesman fixing gasket leakage or compression problems) which slowly fills with crud and does not fall out when the oil is changed.

Step 5. Remove and wash clean the pickup (1 x Main bearing bolt and 2 x 3/8 socket sized bolts) Cut 3/4 of this "cup" away, clean the rest of the crud out and smooth the edges of the cut joint (I marked a line and used an angle grinder to cut the cup off) then refit it in the engine and torque the Main Bearing bolt back up using a torque wrench with correct setting.

Step 6a. Clean the remaining crud and your "recently serviced" oil from the pan. NB: Important point for your NEXT SERVICE - note how the Sump Drain Bolt sits on the side of the pan and does not drain all the oil and crud from the sump when doing and oil change. I suggest you raise the left side of the car when draining oil - (maybe drive it up a car ramp at front and jack the back? or change gravity 30' for a few minutes).

Step 6b. Refit the pan using a new neoprene gasket from Coventries (about $17:00, * aids their xmas pissup fund) using red high temp RTV to hold the gasket to the bottom of the engine while lifting the pan into place.

Step 7.Checking all cables/hoses clear raise(hydraulic jack) and rebolt the x-mmbr in place, these are locking nuts and should be thrown away and replaced with new bolts and nuts(see * in step 6b).

Step 8.Check the rest of wiring/hoses etc and Lower Engine and rebolt.

Steps 9 to 15. Remount manifolds, lower vehicle, (I installed a 600 kPa gauge beside oil pressure switch (and 1000kPa gauge in fuel delivery line) for future reference) Fill 'er up with oil/water etc. and check engine pressure with a gauge when starting.

See attached photos of pickup and crud.

Remember, "Good Luck is usually predetermined by Good Management"

From: Graeme H

Removal of console in VP Commodore
From: Pete

To remove the entire centre console assembly do this.

Remove the ashtray in the centre console. Grab the panel around the gear lever and yank it upwards from the rear (note it clips in at the rear and hinges up at the front - be careful)

Remove glovebox - RHS at the back is a black hinge pivot. Slide this left and unclip box. Remove inspection panel beneath steering wheel by removing clips on front and the hinge pin in a similar manner.

Remove 3 screws along front bottom of radio/storage cup etc facia. Pull it out bottom first. Unplug harnesses for AC/driving lights etc. Remove 3 screws either side of the shroud surrounding the radio etc assembly. LOOSEN the two screws at the leading edge (front) of the console until the console drops down from the radio assemble shroud (what a silly name I gave it eh?). Should unclip at the back and remove.

There is a security screw on the radio that needs to be undo as well as the rivets on the front bracket. Remove radio. Remove climate controls.

To remove console, lift carpet at bottom of centre console storage bin and remove two screws below. Unzip hand brake. Lift rear of console and remove window harness etc. Remove console with heaps of swearing and argueing.

Thats about what I can remember. Some things may be in the wrong order.

If you need more help just yell!

Cheers, Pete!

BTW when you reassemble a good idea is to put a drop of glue (not too much, just a drop to stop any lateral movement) on the mating surfaces of the plastic panelling as it has a habit of squeaking and creaking if it has been removed several times. I use 3M 4475-multipurpose adhesive. Careful, its gets the mozzarella cheese effect happening easily!

Tip for leaking boot on VP exec sedan
A leaking boot is not always due to a faulty boot lid seal. The seal between the tail lights and the body shrinks over time and allows water to pass into the light assembly and out along one of the two studs holding the light cluster to the body. This can corrode the light globes as well as the spare wheel well!. The fix is to replace the lights ($$$) or clean the mating surfaces and augment the seal with some silastic.

I hope this saves many frustrating hours locked in the boot of a Commodore for some.

From: Steve

Repairing Electric Side Mirror Switch on a VP Commodore
1. If the bulb has blown, replacements are available from Tandy. They are referred to as Microlamps 12V 60mA Product Code 272-1092. They are soldered in.

2. Using a screwdriver as a lever remove the cover on the front of the door handle. The switch is a push fit. Remove the foam from the connector plug and disconnect the switch from the wiring harness.

3. Pull off the Left/Right selector knob and the square directional adjustment knob. The latter is firmly attached.

4. Insert a screwdriver alternately into the three 'windows' on the sides of the switch and press down towards the base to push the switch out of its shell. Warning: Do this over a large bowl as there are many small components including springs that will pop out.

5. You should have 4 small round springs, two flat metal springs, three conical buttons and two small silver metal strips as well as a number of larger components.

6. As the contacts are made of silver they tarnish and that results in a poor contact. All contact surfaces have to be cleaned. I used silver dip followed by thorough washing for the conical silver buttons. This isn't suitable for the fixed contacts as residues are corrosive. Cotton buds and silver cleaner are OK. Clean off residues.

7. Clean copper switch contacts and solder in new bulb if required.

8. Hold switch housing upside down, preferably clamped to keep it steady. Lower the left/right toggle in position with its four springs in each corner. Tweezers will be necessary. Position the two silver strip contacts over the springs.

9. Lower the directional toggle in position. Take care to align it corectly so that it will mate up with the three locations on the switch block.

10. Grease the copper printed circuit contacts. Grease the three locations for the silver buttons and sit the buttons in position pointy side down. Place the flat springs in position (may have to hold in place with grease). Invert the switch block carefully and lower into the housing ensuring that nothing falls out. It snaps into position.

11. Re-attach the two knobs. Note the square one has a small indentation on the shaft that alligns with a tiny plastic clip.

12. Plug in and refit into door handle.

From: Mike Griffin

Loose Steering Wheel Grip on VP (and other models?)
I don't know about your particular State, but during the long, hot summers in the West, prolonged exposure to the sun seems to soften the steering wheel grip, to the point where it "rolls" in your hands when driving, as if it has come adrift from the steel former (which it has).

Don't buy another steering wheel. All you gotta do is re-glue it! I fixed it a treat by using a syringe and needle measuring about 1mm (not being a junkie, I don't know the proper needle size terms, just as long as the centre is sufficient to pass some glue).

1. Drill a hole through the grip, to the steel centre, using the smallest bit you can find. Allow one drilled hole per 3-4" of wheel circumference, wherever the grip has come adrift.

2. Fill the syringe with glue (I used Selleys general purpose multi-grip glue).

3. Insert the syringe needle into each drilled hole, and push the plunger like hell, because the glue is pretty thick. Usually 2-3 ml will do each hole.

4. If a bulge appears in the grip,(because you have inserted too much glue),just even it out with a good hand grip!

The above directions work best in warmer temps, when the steering wheel grip is pliable, and the glue runs better. Allow at least 24 hrs for the glue to set. Where you get the syringe from is your business! Hewlett Packard ink refill kits contain them, and is one easy source.

Happy glueing!

From: Mike Cannon

Petrol Fumes in Interior of VP
Petrol fumes leak into interior of VP commodore when fan is on (especially when set to heating mode).

Clean/Replace carbon cannister. Check vacuum hoses

From: Tim

VP alternator charge wire burnt out at alternator b+ terminal
Cut wire back and solder new connector.

From: Chris

VR Acclaim water in boot
I found water in the boot of my 1995 VR Acclaim. After accusing and replacing the boot rubber and still having the leak I did the usual and got myself locked in the boot. It turns out that the rear side window (between C & D pillars) is an integral unit with the rubber. Removing the interior trim around the window reveals the bolts that hold the window on. The seal around the window/rubber had perished with age and was letting water in above the wheel well. The solution was to silicon it back on/in.

MAJOR TIP: If you need to smash any window to get into the car - smash door glass not this window as the door glass is easier to replace!!!

From: David

VR Runs rough and misfires when warm

How I diagnosed this was checking the ignition leads in the dark, you can see sparks earthing on to nearby metal. New leads will rectify this problem.

From: Eddie/Melton


VR V6 Engine stalls or cranks over roughly and doesn't fire

If the car is doing the above or possibly fires and stops shortly after the fuel pump is likely to be the cause. Get a rubber mallet or something similar and bang on the middle of the petrol tank while someone is cranking over the car. This might allow it to run for a while to get you out of trouble. It is wise at this stage to change the fuel pump A.S.A.P!

From: Eddie/Melton


VR stops for no reason (check engine light on)
If your VR stops for no specific reason (check engine light comes on) and then starts after a period of time, try fiddling with the wiring loom below the coil pack. It works for me.

From: Graham

This works, but only for a short time. The problem is corrosion (probably not visible) between the plug and socket connector pins. The plug and socket are held together by a bolt in the middle (~6mm), undo this, pull the two apart and work them in and out a few times, then squirt good quality WD40 etc in before reassembling. This is a much more long-lasting fix. The basic problem is that the pins should be gold plated to prevent corrosion but they aren't to cut 10c off the production price for Holden. The WD makes an oil film to keep oxygen out.

Update from: Darrell

VR Series 2 will not start for up to 1 hour intermittant problem
Generated code 46, no spark or injection pulse. Found problem to be the crank angle sensor, being a controls tech I tracked the fault by spraying the crank sensor with rapid freeze, the trusty V6 fired straight away. Changed the sensor 4 months ago problem solved.

From: William

Speed Alert Special Functions on VR II and VS

Holding the Speed Up/Speed Down buttons depressed while turning ignition on and starting engine will give you an online digital speedo (in the speed alert module).

From: Mark

VS Commodore Radio Security Function

To reset the radio after disconnecting power, from the manual for Radio Model 6430V:

1. Turn ignition switch to accessories.

2. Turn radio on, "1" will appear in the display.

3. Via the 6 preset buttons enter the supplied 6 digit security number. As each digit is entered, the number will be displayed in the LCD.

4. If the correct number was entered, the unit will become operational after a few seconds. This release procedure will not have to be performed again, unless the vehicle's battery has been disconnected.

5. If the incorrect number was entered, "2" will appear in the LCD.

6. Enter the correct code and the unit will operate. Should an incorrect number have been entered again, "3" will appear in the display. The unit will only accept the code once more. Should this number be incorrect again, the display will show "---" and the unit must remain connected to power for approximately 1 hour before the correct number can be entered.

From: Neale

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