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.
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