2001 Holden Commodore VT 3.8L V6 from Australia and New Zealand
The aging VT is still a reasonable vehicle, and it's CHEAP
Just general age/wear tear items. Hardly anything worth noting.
On my car:
Ignition barrel, like every other Commodore on the road, mine failed.
The shift lever plastic button indent pawl broke, where the roll pin goes through it.
Rocker covers leaked when I got it. These fail from exhaust manifold temperature, poor shielding and high under bonnet temperatures. It's common, and can start fires in extreme cases. Fumes are present under this condition.
My car idled rough when I first bought it. What I found was a vacuum line on the inlet manifold had fallen off. I sat it on and it never come off again. This is common.
Bonnet struts failed to hold the bonnet. I just use a stick that I sit in the engine bay now.
Door rattles etc; just secure these.
Dash rattles. The VT, VX and VY models all do it. Leave this one rattle.
Poor rear tyre life, keep the standard ride height and the standard 15 inch wheels. Tyres are around 100, and the higher sidewall helps conform to the road for best wear. Plenty of late model cars are hard on tyres, and some are very expensive to replace.
Keep weight out of the boot to maximize tyre life.
The VX series 2 had updated suspension with an added toe control link; this greatly improves tyre life. This particular vehicle doesn't hold correct toe throughout suspension travel; this is a major contributor to the poor rear tyre life.
Some VTs like to rust on the integrated chassis rail on the corner of firewall and the floor (cars that get washed a lot).
My brother's car:
Ignition barrel, crank angle sensor, horn, tail light sockets (these were superseded); his used baker-light style. A few exhaust manifold bolts or studs failed (can't remember).
EGR valve should be checked at some point.
However I have had experience with these, and these are usual faults that occur with this model.
Hydraulic engine mounts age and then leak/sag. As a result, the sump will, or will nearly hit the K frame. The front suspension bushes age, front stock caster rod bush is hydraulic and they fail; these unbolt, unlike earlier Commys, and are easily replaced. Caster rod bushes fail, creating a misalignment under braking, promoting tyre wear and squirm.
Great all round cheap large car. The no frills approach from Holden really worked on this car. Not much is standard equipment, but what is there works and stays working.
The V6 is a great simple engine that will last for a very long time correctly maintained. You will not have the issues associated with the long timing chains on later Alloytec engines. The autos are pretty good, and don't seem to give many issues. The Borg Warner M80 diff works and seems to last.
This car isn't the best at anything, but it is good at nearly everything. A trustworthy companion, and comfortable and economical on a long trip. These were sold in large numbers, and spare parts are everywhere CHEAP!
VTs had upgraded brakes compared with early Commys as standard equipment, with twin piston front calipers. This coupled to increased vehicle weight increased front rotor problems. My car had brake shudder when I first acquired it, it's common. Once machined they never failed again.
Great on fuel, and can tow a reasonable size trailer at a sensible speed.
Like any 14 year vehicle, these are starting to age, and some will have significant problems. Be sure to have your car inspected before buying.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th January, 2015