1988 Holden Commodore SL 3.0 turbo from Australia and New Zealand


At 150kw, it is a high performance car for the price, but be prepared to fork out big $ for repairs


Firstly, the engine misfires every opportunity it gets. Once one problem is fixed up, another one then appears straight after. Problems that have contributed to misfiring:

1) Bad tension leads

2) Faulty spark plugs

3) Worn rotor inside distributor cap

4) I'm trying to diagnose this one now. As you can see, the car has misfired basically the whole time I have had it, extremely unreliable.

Another problem I had concerned the fan. This should be one of the first parts checked if the car is overheating, oh and I forgot to mention, I nearly cracked the head one day when the car had cooling problems. The fan was not moving quick enough.

Automatic gearbox- extremely bad in the VL, many problems have arisen. The most irritating one being that sometimes the gearbox does not kick back gears sometimes, and when on full throttle, does not reach even close to redline and changes at 4,300rpm. Also, if you are considering modifications, the gearbox must be scrapped as it is way too weak.

General Comments:

The VL turbo is great bang for you buck, though the cost of maintaning the car is unbelievable. The fact that it is a Nissan motor automatically commands large amounts of money for parts. E. g lifters for a VL are $60 each genuine, though only $15 each for models such as the VH and VK.

If you want to race a car properly, the VL isn't for you. The suspension lives up to it's 'family car' status and as a result handles like a dog. An R33 or R34 skyline should be used for this purpose instead. The standard T3 turbo in the VL does not produce sufficient boost, and as a result a higher flow turbo is needed to increase performance.

If you want a VL, just remember to get kill-switches, immobilisers and steering locks, because your car will get stolen if you don't. These cars are extremely sorted from young male drivers, and if you don't take these precautions I am sure they will take your car. I know this because VL's are the most common car to get stolen in Australia, and Wollongong, my local town, has the worst theft rate in the country.

My last word of advice is to watch what VL you buy. Rust is very common in the windscreen and in the boot, so check them out before you buy. Please, if you can, avoid buying an Automatic VL turbo, I guarantee you that it is the worst decision you can ever make. Beware of the kilometers on these cars, cause the majority of them have been wound back about 100000km at least.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd June, 2003

1988 Holden Commodore Executive 3.8L V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Gives you most bang for buck, and thrash it every SINGLE day without failure. 3 years so far (=


D.F.I Module -> Coil Pack -> Spark Leads.

Windscreen wiper blades rust easy.

Harmonic Balancer killed fan belt which ripped off crank angle sensor (instant engine-off) ow!

Throttle-body sensor died slowly over 3 years, got it replaced recently and found 20-30% more performance than I've ever had.

The only other real problem is the door seals and trims are poorly attached, and door trims never stay "on" the door - and causes you headaches when your subwoofahs vibrate all your locking mechanisms when listening to fear factory.

General Comments:

You can thrash it day in, day out, every takeoff, drag regularly, wrap the speedometer around the clock and have it tapping well below the 220km/hour mark (the last one) on the speedometer and the engine just keeps on going.

Run it on premium and you'll find it cheaper than running on regular since you'll get an extra 60-80 km per tank for about 5% extra petrol bill.

Run it on good oil, good petrol and good coolant and she'll make any 5L made before your V.N or mates X.F Falcon cry.

Mine is ex-cop and is chipped, but that's about it.

You might have to spend at this age some small $ on doing a full "minors" replacement - say $300 gets your front/rear light covers, globes and globe harnesses, and only take an hour for you to do it all yourself.

That $300 will also pay for your new sparks/leads, as well as replaced door seals all around.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th May, 2003

3rd Mar 2007, 13:06

I drove a Commodore Executive for 2 years in Adelaide and it was a great car (it was new). The only problem was a leaky power steering pump. Also, after parking it outside at the beach for 1 year, the chrome started to show signs of corrosion. Other than that, the car was awesome.