1999 Holden Vectra GL 2.2L Ecotec from Australia and New Zealand


Good economical car with reasonable grunt for what it is!


Engine warning light "Emission Control Systems" stays on. Easy fix and DTC had showed it had a faulty O2 sensor, cam angle sensor & MAP sensor. It pays to look around and get quotes for these components as prices can vary from $15-$350 just for one sensor! I'd managed to get all the sensors I'd needed along with a crank angle sensor "for possible future use" at the cost of around $250, along with an engine service kit.

For some people, it may even pay to take their faulty Vectra into a garage and get them to put it on a diagnostic scan tool. That way you will know exactly what sensors have gone faulty.

When the ECS warning light is on, the car will basically run on limp-home mode and consume very large amounts of fuel "around 5-10L per 100km", so it's a good idea to get it sorted.

Parts took around hour to install, and since then economy has been back up to 6-7L per 100km, which is great IMO.

I don't find these any worse really than most cars on the market today. They're not quite as hard to get your hands into as a Holden Barina/Combo Van as a backyard mechanic.

General Comments:

I have the station wagon version and it's much like a mini version of the VT Commodore wagon.

Suspension, ride and handling is great on this little bus. Brakes are adequate, and the steering is good.

Engine is no worse than any others out there these days, as they're all computer controlled, rely heavily on sensors and are prone to failure. Engine performance however, is quite good for this car! More than acceptable throttle response, power, and the capability to do some light to mild towing. Has no problems towing my 8x5 caged box trailer around with my quad bike!

The 5-speed gearbox has quite long legs and keeps the engine at a warm idle for general cruising and driving around. I'd imagine this helps with the good fuel economy figures.

MAP sensors can foul up on these, so it can help to give them a clean out once in a while to keep the engine in good running shape.

Interior room is adequate and the station wagon is a good little bus for space and shopping, even with a small family.

If maintained, as it should be in regular intervals and looked after, they seldom give any major problems.

One thing I'd like to say though, is keep up to date with the timing belts on these. I've been told they run on an interference head and if that's the case, you'll bend valves/damage pistons if a timing belt breaks. If you do get the timing belt replaced, do replace the tensioner, cam/cranks seals and water pump. This will ensure some longevity and you'll be right for around another 100,000km in that department.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th December, 2016

1999 Holden Vectra JS CD 2.2L from Australia and New Zealand


Apart from the above problems, I am actually happy with my Vectra with over ten years of service


To replace the alternator belt, you have to jack up the engine, lifting part of the engine mounting up off the chassis (right front side), which I must say is ridiculous. You should be able to replace an alternator belt on the side of the road - but it is impossible on the Vectra. It could take over 40 minutes to replace the belt with the correct tools - whereas on a Commodore for example, it takes under 5 minutes.

To replace the alternator, it cannot be removed from under the vehicle, so that only leaves through the top, but it's not so easy, because you have to remove the air filter box unit, then some piping, then jack up the engine carefully from underneath and remove the nearside engine mount to move the engine a little to remove/replace the alternator - ridiculous again.

I have had my car stall in traffic, but have found that if you take the main air intake pipe off the throttle body, remove the 4 bolts holding the throttle body to the engine (carefully not to destroy the gasket) and thoroughly clean both ends of the throttle body with carbon cleaner, especially in all the very little vacuum ports and other small holes and connected vacuum hoses etc (both ends of each hose), on the side of the throttle body is a piston type motor; let that soak in carbon cleaner for 10 minutes or so and blow all these areas out with air, then this seems to work. Well it does for me all the time. It's called regular service; it is easy to do yourself.

My Blaupunkt radio also has the problem with the very loud volume when you turn it on. This problem was very well known to Holden, but Blaupunkt was to blame, but in saying that, the radio can be fixed. It was a general fault with that model in Astras and Vectras of that time, being of European 'Opel' build and sold as a Holden brand - something like a resistor is replaced in the unit through Holden, then all is well again.

But the biggest problem I had with my Vectra was that it increased speed on its own without my foot on the accelerator - most dangerous, the tachometer usually idles around 780 RPM, but when the problem rears its dangerous head, the engine when at idle is anywhere around 1000 - 2500 RPM, even with your foot hard on the brake pedal, so with your foot off the brake pedal, the car instantly drives off into who knows what speed without putting your foot once onto the accelerator pedal. But while under warranty, Holden said that they had to replace the throttle body unit to fix the problem, which cost them some $1100.00. Really all they had to do was thoroughly clean out the throttle body as I have suggested above, then they would have saved $1100.00 of their money and labour and my time.

If the 'engine shape' light shows on the dash, then it is more likely to be the camshaft sensor over the crankshaft sensor from my experience. The camshaft sensor is fairly easy to replace, although you will have to place the car on stands to remove the nearside wheel and wheel arch plastic cover, and then jack up the engine carefully from underneath and remove the nearside (air filter box side) engine mount, to then remove the timing belt cover, to then remove the camshaft sensor bolt and sensor, which is then removed from the nearside top of the engine cover.

With the crankshaft sensor, don't even bother unless you have plenty (and I mean plenty) of time and patience - LOTS OF PATIENCE.

General Comments:

The car I feel has nice appeal and style. It is comfortable and cosy, and fairly easy to service and look after. It also drives very well and smooth, and for me has enough power, leg room, boot space and plenty of creature comforts for the price.

But service is the key to any car; you look after something and it will look after you, and remember that the best maintained plane, ship, train or car can still break down. All things on this earth are vulnerable to breaking down, rusting or dying etc...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st July, 2013