I agree with everyone and I'm due to change my thermo on my 96 Combo van so I'd appreciate any help, photos, tips... etc.
Would like to know if there is any other way.. besides going to Holden.. to have the ECU replaced?
I bought an '03 Combo. It drives well for about 20 minutes, then stops for 1 day. Computer problems, thermostat problems, gear shift problems, the list just goes on and on. The parts are very expensive.
My advice for anyone who wants to buy one; go for a Toyota. Holden dealers are not a great help, they just know how to charge you.
I met a courier driving one at the airport. He loves the Combo, "it's great, he said".
I was thinking about converting one to an EV. But after reading about the brake and electrical issues, you've scared me off the idea. (plus I still love my 89 diesel Hilux with 800,000 k's). Go Hilux.
Hi, when you said it stopped working, did you mean the speedo or the car? The reason I'm asking is my 98 conked out, and when I got it towed home, I tried it again and it started, and now won't start again.
Hi. I have the same problem. It won't start, just stopped. Plenty of spark, but won't go. How did you go? Any good advice?
Yes, it will make it around Australia. All you have to do is tow it on a trailer with a more reliable vehicle, like a MAZDA; buy one, and you will be amazed at the reliability. I have run Mazda's for the last 22 years, and had very good service from the suppliers (I'm a mechanic by trade, so I know what's good and what's bad).
Combo's are crap, they have virtually no steering lock, i.e. the turning circle is terrible; takes two shots to get into a parking bay, the indicators do not always cancel, and the trip triggers for the same are not adjustable.
You will have problems with the aircon. My boss runs a small fleet of 5 Combos. One day he stopped outside our workshop, opened the driver's door, and both the hinge pins had dropped out into the lower part of the hinge assembly. The result was as the door swung open, it fell off the van. Yeah, nice one Holden.
If you need to replace a fuse, be careful; in some of the owners hand books, it give you a number for the cigar lighter fuse, but there isn't a fuse in that slot in the fuse box (very conFUSED).
It just goes on and on; went to get an engine oil filter from our local Holden dealer the other day, stood at the counter for 10 minutes, one joker in an office on the phone, and no one serving on the trade counter. Got annoyed, and went to Super Cheap Autos, and was served in one minute, and back to the workshop.
Do yourself a BIG favor mate, buy a Mazda Bongo if you only need a small van.
Good luck, Robbie.
If your thinking about buying a Holden Combo, don't even think about it. Our company has used a fleet of these vehicles for the past decade because of their cheap purchase price, and they're nothing but trouble.
Common faults over the years are fuel pumps giving up, ignition packs needing to be replaced all the time, and the hydraulic clutch cylinders failing. I personally have been left stranded 3 times, and have had to limp back to a dealer a further 3 times over the past decade, driving various Combo's.
All of the vehicles had less than 100,000km when in service. The most frustrating thing is it seems Holden does not improve the vehicle, as they seem to have the same old faults year after year.
I have a 2009 Combo (bought new) and done 101,000km. No problems except a loose door seal. I agree a bit gutless, but at 6.5l/100km, who cares! Changed front tyres at 75,000km and put on rear - still OK at 101,100km! It is a bit noisy on the highway (most of my travelling) and the indicator clicker is too quiet, but a modification fixed that.
Also agree that Holden is too expensive - my reputable local guy does it for half price, and is wealth of info on known issues with this vehicle.
Me again, as I haven't been able to sell the Combo - because it keeps me too poor to save for an upgrade. :(
Overheated due to a stuck thermostat - OK, get it replaced, but it's in behind the pump. Who would design such a thing? So not long after, the pump goes as well, and so should replace the timing belt while dismantled. I have kept the plastic gear linkages, together with some cable ties and material tape; probably the best engineered thing on it now.
Besides keeping me broke, the worst part is driving it for work every day; it's a very hard car to drive. You have to be in continuous concentration to take off smoothly with the aberrant inconsistent power curve. It rocks sharply side to side on even a seemingly smooth road, and the back end shudders violently when braking over any dips or bumps, and round corners. This will cause the rear to skip out a bit.
Odometer light keeps blowing - fun times replacing it.
Front end rattles over bumps when not accelerating - nothing worn, just the poor design. Chews through tyres due to the top heavy body on a thin track - even the rear tyres are feathered quickly.
My 1996 Combo Van was slow as a wet week, and I smashed out the guts of the catalytic converter and it flew. A mate told me if it stuffs up and you can't move, smash a hole in it and that's what I did, and it's been zippy ever since. I got a long bar, and kept poking and whacking it until I got it all out...
I hope some of you guys (Macca) are still around. My 2003 Combo had the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recycling) valve replaced twice under warranty; when it stuck, it overheated. Now the thing is doing it again, overheating badly on a 20 degree day. Had to do the old trick and replace the water in the bottle twice on the 30k trip home, by using a doona to cover the cap. It stinks and I think it may be the catalytic converter, which I'm going to butcher as Macca suggests. Anybody know what would happen if I was able to find the EGR valve and somehow bypass it?
After having it from new, I agree with other posters - total lemon, I have had every issue and driving experience listed here. Oil pick-up point clogged just out of warranty, and cost $2300 to fix the top end damage. Now that I've read all this, I'll be fire-saleing it.
I bought one of these lemons for the bargain price of $1,300. After inspecting the motor, I heard the sound of hand grenades from the motor, so picked it her up cheap.
The Holden Combo Van was a 1999 model I think, with the Opel motor to my surprise. After visiting the fuel station and filling the beast up with 2 litres of oil, the lifter noise was reduced. I considered servicing the machine, but opted for loading it up with another 3-4 litres of oil, which resulted into gale force smoke being launched out of the leaking exhaust system, and covering our freeway in white smoke.
After this event, I decided for a service and inspection. After 3.5 litres of Mobil oil, the engine operates great, however I've noted a few faults including the car completing stopping, exhaust gasket leak and a faulty speedo, which plays up sometimes. Beyond that, the fuel economy is great, and is ideal for daily driving. However, my pushbike is quicker than this 5 speed.
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