The limited-slip Borg-Warner differential was noisy & leaked when I bought the car. be warned, to rebuild it properly with new seals, gears (to overcome noise) bearings & LSD cones/springs will set you back about $1,600...
The lifters are quite noisy when the engine is cold.
Shock absorbers, springs & urethane bushes make a very good difference to the way the car drives.
If the voltage regulator or alternator are faulty, there are 4 completely unrelated lights on the dashboard that light briefly, you may also hear a slight buzzing noise from the passenger foot well at the same time.
Spark plugs are an absolute pain to change. All of the piping between the inlet manifold has to come off, and you have to have a lot of patience unscrewing them 1/16 of a turn at a time.
Fuel injectors start to clog after about 190000kms. If it isn't done, some cylinders run lean, giving pre-ignition problems, destroying pistons. While the top of the manifold is off, it's a very good idea to change the spark plugs. Makes it relatively easy to perform, and once the car is back together again & tuned, quite often gives within 1 Kw of the manufacturers specs, and gives you back the mid-range torque that you probably didn't notice was missing...
The auto transmission doesn't handle abuse very well, it develops a bad vibration under acceleration when hot.
The little rubber bush off the bottom of the gear selector perishes & drops off, leaving a sloppy selector.
The door & boot seals leak from time to time, normally in heavy rain. This can cause a little bit of rust in the sides of the boot floor if it isn't looked into.
The wheel trims on this model rattle over rough roads.
Tyre choice is important. They have a reputation for being a bit tail happy on wet roads, which is accentuated when worn, cheap or retread tyres are used.
This car may sound like a bomb, but I'm very thorough and considering that it gets used (and abused) every day as a delivery vehicle, it has held up very well.
These vehicles are generally well built. If looked after & regularly maintained, is a good strong performer that is reasonably economical, comfortable, and surprisingly fast.
Its good for long distances or a 'round town runabout.
If the suspension is in good condition, handling of vehicle is quite good for a car it's size.
If something breaks, parts are usually easy to find, either from a VL Commodore (for engine parts, except the distributer - it's different) or the Pintara (for everything else).
They have a very good engine as standard. It can tow quite well and hold it's own at the traffic lights... For those who are interested, they are also quite responsive to modification.
Firstly, get hold of a pod-style air filter & replace the very restrictive airbox. gives the car a rorty sound, and increases mid-range torque.
A 2.5" - 3" exhaust, warmer camshaft & computer upgrade will give a nice car a bit more oomf.
If you're serious, the VL Commodore has the same engine, and has a turbo-charged version. It should be inter-cooled when fitted, though.
The Japanese RB25 twin-cam head (with or without turbo) can be fitted, with only minor modifications. This will need after-market engine management system, however.
The Japanese RB20/RB25/RB26 twin-cam engines could be fitted quite easily. They also have the advantage of having better injection, multi-coil ignition etc etc.
Some of these engine variants even come with single or twin turbo-chargers.
Rust isn't generally a problem unless it gets driven into the ocean on a regular basis.