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.
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