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2003 Holden VY Commodore Needs Help

Sukibruh

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2003 Holden VY commodore S Series 2
Hello everyone,

I wanted to share my recent experience with my 2003 Holden VY Commodore S Series 2. As an international student, I made the switch from owning a Toyota to this Commodore three months ago. I was drawn to its appearance, especially since it had been modified by the previous owner with a lowered riding height, giving it a sporty look.

However, shortly after purchasing the car, I encountered several issues. Initially, the engine began overheating, leading me to seek help from a mechanic. The diagnosis was that the radiator fans were malfunctioning. Despite trying a new thermal sensor, the issue persisted until the mechanic unplugged the sensor from the engine, causing the fan to operate at full speed. Following this, the radiator started leaking, prompting me to replace it. Additionally, I noticed the car was pulling to the left side, leading to the replacement of the front wheel bearing and brake pads, which incurred a cost of over 1500 AUD.

Now, I'm facing a new problem with the exhaust emitting white smoke, and the engine starting in an unusual manner. After some research on car forums, I suspect a blown head gasket may be causing coolant to leak into the engine. With my registration due in a few days, I'm in a bit of a predicament. The ongoing repairs are becoming costly, but I'm attached to the car and hesitant to let it go.

I'd appreciate any advice or recommendations from the community regarding my situation. Thank you in advance.
IMG_20231230_171122_369~2.jpg
 

figjam

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Car looks good.

As you are in QLD, you won't need a roadworthy for rego, so that is one problem not to have.
The previous owner may have lowered it, making it look sporty, but did he/she service it ? Perhaps show and shine, at the expense of maintenance.

Is it losing any coolant ? Your diagnosis could be correct, but a RACQ certified mech's advice should be sought, not a backyarder who just wants your money.

International student ......... for how long ?
Short term, get rid of it before it becomes a bigger money drain, if it does have problems, as diagnosed by a reliable mech.
Long term, if it is not too bad, get it fixed to your satisfaction / budget, as the next car could be a repeat performance.

The ongoing repairs are becoming costly, but I'm attached to the car and hesitant to let it go.
Trap. We all love our Holdens, but sometimes ................
I had a very nice V8 Calais, until my economic maths told me it was cheaper to pay off a new Holden than it was to continually repair it.
If that is the case, if you can afford it, think about a used smaller car (Toyota), with remaining manufacturer's warranty as a replacement.
Costly, but you can recoup some costs by selling it at the end of your Student Visa.
 

krusing

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Assuming its a V6,

Without BS, and being honest,

Being the age of it, and the k's it has possibly done, that if they are original,
and possibly the PO didn't do much to it, but to make it look appealing for a buyer, as they do ! to off load them.

I am tipping the LIM Gaskets are possibly in need of replacement if its overheating or loosing coolant.
LIM issues are very common in Ecotec engines due to the age of them, and if they have been maintained correctly,

You have to wonder, Why the Black Bumper Cover and Guards ? (as you mentioned it pulled to the Left)
Hmmmm !
 

Sukibruh

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Assuming its a V6,

Without BS, and being honest,

Being the age of it, and the k's it has possibly done, that if they are original,
and possibly the PO didn't do much to it, but to make it look appealing for a buyer, as they do ! to off load them.

I am tipping the LIM Gaskets are possibly in need of replacement if its overheating or loosing coolant.
LIM issues are very common in Ecotec engines due to the age of them, and if they have been maintained correctly,

You have to wonder, Why the Black Bumper Cover and Guards ? (as you mentioned it pulled to the Left)
Hmmmm !
I've got a V6 - 3.8L 3800 and recently dealt with some issues. The car was pulling to the left due to a wobbly brake disc, but after installing new wheel bearings and brake discs at the front, it's stable now. Overall, it's a fantastic car to drive, but the ongoing troubles are a headache.

I had a discussion with my mechanic about a coolant leak, and he swiftly replaced the radiator without a thorough inspection. I suggested considering the head gasket, but he warned me that changing it might impact the engine's performance. He even proposed getting a new engine altogether. I'm unsure where to locate S series 2 engines, especially in good condition without spending a fortune. Are there any Holden wreckers in QLD that might have what I need? Also, I'm curious about the possibility of installing an SSV engine in my 2003 model—would that be feasible?

Any advice or pointers on these matters would be greatly appreciated!
 

figjam

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I suggested considering the head gasket, but he warned me that changing it might impact the engine's performance.
Really ? In what way ? More or less performance.

He even proposed getting a new engine altogether.
Shut up and take my money ........... no, that's KFC. But you get my point ?

Also, I'm curious about the possibility of installing an SSV engine in my 2003 model—would that be feasible?
Economically, a big NO.
Mechanically and electronically, possibly, it has been done, but not worth the effort. Just but a factory V8 to save time and expense.

Plenty of threads on here from dreamers who want to 'chuck' a V8 into their base V6. After the initial question, never hear any more on the subject.
 

krusing

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I've got a V6 - 3.8L 3800 and recently dealt with some issues. The car was pulling to the left due to a wobbly brake disc, but after installing new wheel bearings and brake discs at the front, it's stable now. Overall, it's a fantastic car to drive, but the ongoing troubles are a headache.

I had a discussion with my mechanic about a coolant leak, and he swiftly replaced the radiator without a thorough inspection. I suggested considering the head gasket, but he warned me that changing it might impact the engine's performance. He even proposed getting a new engine altogether. I'm unsure where to locate S series 2 engines, especially in good condition without spending a fortune. Are there any Holden wreckers in QLD that might have what I need? Also, I'm curious about the possibility of installing an SSV engine in my 2003 model—would that be feasible?

Any advice or pointers on these matters would be greatly appreciated!
I recon he can see you as a cash cow.

Since he didn't diagnose it efficiently, and replaced the radiator, thinking he can make a few quick bucks, and send you on your way poorer at your expense.
I find it very hard to believe it will be Head Gasket/s, not a common issue on Ecotec's, but still possible, dont think in this case.

As I mentioned, I am tipping its LIM Gaskets, as these engines are getting older and more K's on them,
the general gaskets and seals are the weakest point to these engines and cooling systems,
Yes, Radiators do fail, I have replaced all 3 on my three cars, ( I have been there with my VY, VE & VZ in that order.)
but to determine that, is to pressure test the cooling system correctly,
and not to take a stab in the dark and rip the customer off.

As for SSV conversion, Ye, Nu, best you wait till you will Lotto.
 

vc commodore

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First thing I'd do is get rid of the mechanic...He's interested in filling his pockets from your pockets

Not sure what car forums you've been visiting to come up with a head gasket issue.....The symptoms described getting posted on this forum would have had the answer LIM gasket...Even a forum search would produce the same thing...

So forget this engine replacement stuff...Not necessary...

Find out from this forum a good place to get the LIM gaskets replaced, where you will deal with a mechanic wanting to keep you happy, not his pockets....And then enjoy plenty of years happy motoring
 

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Better still replacing LIM gaskets are something you can do at home.
 

vc commodore

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