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Bridgestone Tyres for VX Calais & Variatronic Steering Issues

Discussion in 'VT - VX Holden Commodore (1997 - 2002)' started by VFCalais2017, Nov 7, 2018.

  1. VFCalais2017

    VFCalais2017 New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm looking to replace the tyres on my VX Calais at the moment. I have Toyo Proxes 100's fitted at the moment which are extremely poor in the wet. The car has slipped a few times in wet weather. I'm not a fast driver or a heavy braker so I'm not sure if this is the tyres or the car is too light in the back end.

    I'm looking at either the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus or the Turanza T001. Bridgestone are recommending the Serenity Plus as they believe these are better than the T001. The T001's are $1 cheaper each, but the Serenity Plus are on sale at the moment. I'm not sure if they're giving this advice because the dealer makes more money via Bridgestone during the special offer. I just fitted four Serenity Plus to my wife's Hyundai i30 though and they seem to handle very well with low road noise. Obviously these are lighter cars so it might be a different case with the VX Calais.

    I have T001's as factory equipment on my 2017 VF Calais which handle exceptionally well in wet and dry. Great fuel economy, comfort and low road noise. So I'm inclined to pay the extra to get these instead.

    It's difficult to compare between different vehicles which is why I tend not to rely on Product Review opinions. Not many reviews based on the VX sedans.

    Just wondering if anyone has any recommendations for these tyres fitted to a VT/VX or if anyone has fitted these to their own car.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. PeterVX2

    PeterVX2 Member

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    I have had 3 sets of the T001's on my VX II Equipe since 2012. The original Japanese set was the best, lasted 60,000 klm. The recent sets have been the Thai made ones. These are still good but you are looking at 50,000 off these. I have not tried the Serenitys. I have a second car, a 2009 XR6 Falcon. I was going to fit a set of the T001's to this but after some research, I went for the Dunlop FM 800's. They are a bit cheaper. I thought the T001 was a quiet tyre, these Dunlops are better. The Falcon is a difficult car on tyres, but these have transformed it into a classy ride. Only downside to the Dunlops, appears to be higher wear.
     
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  3. krusing

    krusing Member

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    I have just put a set of T001's on my [stock] 2002 VY L67 Calais, and they seem to be ok so far, I find they are quiet on the road, but that's not to say the old tyres were not to well.
    I also bought a complete set of bushes and replaced all the control arm bushes, Radial Control Arm Bushes to Nolathane, as they were "Well Worn, and Worn Well" ;), So with new Tyres, Full Front Brush replacement & Wheel Alignment, It dives like new.
    I did a bit or research on them [T001] before I bought them, and they had a good write up, hence the reason I bought them.
    Probably done approx. 3,000 k's on them so far. [Being its the Wife's Car, doesn't get driven much now, probably to the Shops and Back, Quickest Shopping Trolley in the Bayside Area :)].
    In all honesty, it a great car to drive now, and a ton of fun too sometimes ;).
    On anther note, I noticed the speedo it more accurate now, 100km/h on the speedo, is 100km/h road speed, where before it was approx. 3 k's my favour.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
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  4. VFCalais2017

    VFCalais2017 New Member

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    Hi PeterVX2 and krusing,

    Thanks for your advice and input on this. I've been leaning towards the T001's. From the experience with my VF Calais they are a great handling and low noise tyre. Not too concerned about losing 10,000kms on wear as I'm only going to be using the car for another 2 years after which it should be eligible for historic plates. I just don't want to buy the wrong tyres for the sake of a special offer and regret it down on the track.

    I've done all the front suspension on this car too. New radius arms and bushes, new lower control arms, new front shocks and new steering rack and pump too. Having an issue with the variatronic at the moment but that's for another thread...

    It's approaching 19 years old now but I still find the VX Calais to be a smooth, responsive and pleasurable drive... as good as the day it was built

    Once I have the steering issue resolved and the tyres fitted I will update you with my new tyre experience!

    Cheers ☺️
     
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  5. lout

    lout Well-Known Member

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    i am going to throw the pirelli P1 centurato in for consideration
    i have these on my wifes vx, daughters vx and another daughters mazda 3
    as you can tell i am very happy with them
     
  6. gohrdrgomad

    gohrdrgomad Member

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    hmmmm I've got the p7 version and all is good. 225 55 16.
     
  7. krusing

    krusing Member

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    Hi VFCalais2017,

    Where you say "the variatronic", Can I assume that the steering vibrates [like a shuddering] at low speed when parking or driving in around the Car parks or similar ?

    Not sure if this is related to your Car, but approx. 8 years ago my VY 2002 L67 Calais had a steering issue for some time, and it was driving me crazy to what cause of it, It was like a steering a truck, really heavy and vibrate, so I did some research and resolved it.
    I had the Rack Replaced and a Wheel alignment done at Pedder's, thought of doing it myself, but decided didn't have the time, at the time, the Rack was weeping oil anyway.
    After that was done, it was ok for about 6 months, and its started to do the same thing [vibrating when parking or low speed],
    I took it back to them, and they said its because of the Tyres, ye right, in actual fact I did ask them to replace the PS Pump also, but they said it didn't need to be replaced, however I was willing to pay for them to do it, so one would think they know what they are talking about, to them I am just a dumb customer, little did they know that I could see through their smoke screen.
    After being told its the tyres, I search on the web for some time and found a fix for the VX / VY steering vibration issue, I found out there was a GM recall for the VT/ VX / VY for that same very reason "Steering Vibration at Low Speed", however I did contact Holden and asked was there any reason to why my car wasn't done with the recall, their answer was, "I was not the original owner" "as it should of been done in the 3 years of warranty. by this time it was only 6 years old.
    So that then pushed me to fix it myself, so I found that the original High Pressure Power Steering plumbing hose/pipes were changed to a larger and longer fittings to buffer the vibration in the recall, I found the part number on here [Just Commodores], and ordered the replacement high pressure pipe [not cheap from GM, as I didn't know anywhere else to get it at the time], and purchased a New replacement Power Steering Pump, and New Oil Reservoir on eBay, and installed all 3 items, and has been silky smooth ever since.
    [I used some low pressure compressed air to blow all the old PS oil out existing pipes and refilled it with all now oil]
    Part number below for the replacement Power steering hose.
    However, the pipe doe's double back on itself, and mounts to the square tube located at the back, and bottom of the radiator, as there are already 2 mounting holes in it.
    Here is a quote from another thread on here I found -

    "To fix VY steering shudder at low speed ( parking ) just fit genuine GM hose part number 92174786 .
    It is longer & is mounted along front of engine between engine & radiator on the square tube which all ready has holes in it for mounting the hose brackets on to. cost of hose $218 at holden dealer or $188 at coventys in perth. FIXED MINE & MATES ALSO"

    sorry for the banter,

    hope this helps. cheers
     
  8. krusing

    krusing Member

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    On another note, I did search for prices for the T001's, and found I could save heaps to what Bridgestone Quoted me
    Bridgestone Quoted me $239ea F&B [$956 for 4 + $80 for a wheel alignment ],
    where I searched on tyresales.com.au [which is a part of carsales.com.au] and got a quote for the same tyre for $179ea F&B [$716 for 4 + $70 for a wheel alignment], so I very happy with the savings.
    hope this helps, cheers.
     
  9. VFCalais2017

    VFCalais2017 New Member

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    Hi krusing,

    Thanks for your response. Banter is good! Every piece of information and advice on these forums is useful. I hope my experiences are assisting other users too. It's strange to hear about the recall issue for the shuddering with your VY. I replaced the PS hose on my Calais last year and didn't have that issue. Unfortunately that's not the problem I'm experiencing at the moment although I did have a steering shudder issue last year. It turned out to be warped front discs. I ended up replacing with high end DBA discs and pads and the problem disappeared

    The issue I'm having with the variatronic power steering at the moment is that the power assist is constant and not variable. It's very hard to steer at low 'parking' speeds but comfortable above 50kms. I personally fitteda recinditioned rack and power steering pump 2 years ago and a brand new solenoid fitted only last weekend. The solenoid did not fix the problem though but at least I'm confident with the new part as the wires on the old one had perished.

    Last year though, I hit a kerb during wet weather. The car lost control coming out of a roundabout - the rear end fishtailed (rear tyres were Toyos and poor quality in my opinion) and this was at low speed too. Thankfully I regained some control of the car and was fortunate enough to get away with just hitting the kerb. No damage to my car (body wise) or any one else's. Only damage to my car was that the front left tyre blew out (no rim damage fortunately) and threw the steering wheel off centre by about 15 degrees.

    After that I had the front tyres replaced and the wheel alignment redone. Steering was fine after that although the steering rack had developed its original knocking sound when racking the wheel whilst stationary. I'm not sure if this is what has caused the variatronic to fail over time since then.

    When I first noticed it failing, a simple remedy was to turn the ignition off and then on again to reset itself. Over time the problem was more consistent until finally... no more variable power assist but I did notice that my biceps were becoming more prominent ☺️

    I'm determined to resolve the problem though. A very good friend of mine in my car club has a workshop and he is going to run some tests with the Tech2 this weekend. He wants to check for a signal from the variatronic solenoid supply which comes from the BCM. I did a test using a multimeter and there is power between the two supply terminals of the plug. Not sure if this is sufficient diagnosis though. Apparently if the wires on the solenoid arc out, it can damage the circuitry in the BCM. Hoping that isn't the problem in my case.

    I'll keep you updated after the tests are done. Could be that I've damaged the internals of the rack after hitting the kerb and broken the plastic valve in the rack housing.

    As for the tyre prices you were quoted that seems quite expensive! My local Bridgestone quoted me $137 each for T001's in 215/60/16. They're $1 cheaper per tyre than the Serenity Plus. They're recommending the Serenity Plus over the Turanza but similar to your experience at Pedders, I'm doubtful of this advice. I believe they make more money from the Serenity Plus via Bridgestone when they are on special.

    First task is to get the steering issue resolved and then I'll get the new tyres. I don't want to pour any more money into the car if this can't be resolved.

    Thanks for your advice, I'll keep you updated.

    Cheers ☺️
     
  10. bigdealbaby

    bigdealbaby New Member

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    I have a set of the serenity plus on my girlfriends car (kia rio) so the results may vary as far as wear etc, however they've been fantastic so far.

    Absolutely fantastic wear characteristics.
     
  11. VT&VX

    VT&VX Active Member

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    In Queensland that 3 km in your favour won't do you any when the cops ping you. Has anyone blamed their new tyres for speeding yet?
     
  12. krusing

    krusing Member

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    Sorry, I may of confused you.
    When I say 3k's my favour,
    I meant, the Speedo indicates 100 km/h, where the actual Car/Road Speed was 97 km/h, so the car is travelling a bit slower than measured speed, as I measured that with 3 devices, so I haven't had to pay any voluntary tax's as yet ;)
    cheers
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018 at 7:34 PM
  13. krusing

    krusing Member

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    View attachment 202202 View attachment 202202 View attachment 202202
    I remembered something else today, I did a bit of research on PS Pumps & Racks when we had steering issues, my VY Calais didn't have the solenoid on the power steering rack, however I did read the steering it does have on it, is only usually fitted to the "Luxury Variants" [they call it] ie: Calais & Statesman, and the Pedders did also say the same, that those models do have a special type of Steering hardware, or was it a ploy to milk some more $'s from me ;). So it needed "Special" Rack & Power Steering Pump that is suited to work correctly together, where they [Pedders] just fitted the "Special" Rack, this could be because mine is Supercharged V6, as there is a lot of different items on it compared to the standard V6 Calais. Maybe that's an option to convert yours to a VY Steering Kit. Sometimes you just need to ask yourself how far do a I go, and how much do I need to spend :eek:.
    I have spent approx. $3,000 on it in the past 18 [wont bore you with the finer details], just to get it up to Mint Condition, as I want to preserve it, as a Genuine stock vehicle, to show it some time in the future, and hopefully it will increase in value. Even the wreckers have said, "If its a clean one, hang on to it".

    So hopefully your colleague with the Tech2 will be able to shed some light on the fault.
    I have a Autel DS708 Analyser unit, [currently selling], and its surprising the information you can view, good luck. cheers
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018 at 4:14 AM
  14. krusing

    krusing Member

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    Just for anyone that is interested, and is looking for the replacement Power Steering Pipe at the wreckers, Here is photo of the Power Steering Pipe that was replaced, as it sits at the front of the motor where it is mounted on, which is the square tube that is behind the Radiator. [its double back in to its self, hence the longer rubber piping to buffer the vibration I guess]
     

    Attached Files:

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  15. VFCalais2017

    VFCalais2017 New Member

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    Hi krusing,

    Thanks for the photo. My VX has a different setup for that. It has a full steel pipe that doubles back on itself. Pipe is still in perfect condition but I will check for any rubbing against the supports. I usually cut some fuel hose and wrap around pipes to stop vibration. Good to know that the can be replaced with a flexible hose option though. I may just do that still for confidence.

    I was researching the high pressure hose for my VX this week (the one that runs from the pump to the rack). Apparently the variable effort steering has a different path number to standard steering. I thought this might have been the problem as I replaced mine with a standard hose. Had it confirmed by my friend with the Tech2 that the only difference is a support bracket to hold the pipe in place. Not difficult to make something up to support it though.

    I believe the racks for VT to VZ are the same although the variable effort assist setup may have changed. I don't want to change the setup on the car because, like you, I want to preserve the car in orignal condition as it's an extremely clean and straight example. I don't mind putting extra money into the car to get everything perfect as long as it's guaranteed to resolve the issue. In the past 18 months, I've spent around $2000 on the car, mainly trying to get an ongoing igniton problem resolved (see my other thread). It's had regular servicing and preventative maintenance done on the car. I believe in fixing something before it becomes and issue on the road.

    Here's a link to the showcase item for my car;

    https://forums.justcommodores.com.au/showcase/2000-vx-calais-v6.3657/

    I had Bridgestone call me yesterday too... they're insisting on the Serenity Plus as they come with a 50,000km warranty. Free regular checks for wear etc... I guess I just have to make the call when I'm ready to fit them. I also go by the look of the tyre and the T001 has a cleaner and smarter looking side wall in my opinion. I don't doubt that the Serenity would be a great tyre but it comes down to personal preference.

    How much do you have the Autel DS708 Analyser selling for? I'm looking at other units at the moment. Would be handy to have, not just for the VX but also for the VF and my wife's Hyundai (sorry, not sure if I'm allowed to say Hyundai on this site :D )

    Cheers :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018 at 5:23 AM
  16. vc commodore

    vc commodore Well-Known Member

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    Is that price for the first person that buys a set, the second person or 3rd person? I'm positive that is the site, where 3 seperate people, all known to each other, have to buy a set of tyres each, to get a massive discount on the 3rd set....The first person pays full price, 2nd gets a small discount and the 3rd gets the best discount.

    I also heard a rumour, that that place is up for sale, because it is loosing money hand over fist....I believe they lost $2.4 mill last year
     
  17. VFCalais2017

    VFCalais2017 New Member

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    Hi all,

    Firstly I thought I'd better change the title of this thread as we've side tracked onto steering issues. This will make it easier for other users when searching threads and posts.

    Secondly, I had my steering issue resolved yesterday! :)

    I visited my friend who has the Tech 2 and a spare parts workshop in Sydney.
    He ran a few simple diagnostic tests to start with but nailed the problem!

    1) Check power supply to Variatronic Solenoid on rack.
    Disconnect cable and connect test lamp across terminals to check for pulse signal. No signal found.

    2) Check that Variatronic Solenoid is operating (I installed a brand new genuine solenoid last weekend).
    Connect solenoid with jumper wires directly to battery, switch ignition on and turn wheel - result... fingertip steering control again! :)

    So we narrowed down that there was no power supply to the solenoid.
    This is supplied directly from the BCM (Body Control Module). My friend sells reconditioned BCM's including 2 brand new keys.
    We then tried the following;

    3) Replace current BCM with reconditioned BCM
    Used Tech 2 to connect BCM to PCM (Powertrain Control Module).
    Switched ignition on and turn wheel - result... NO power steering assist! :(

    4) Trace wiring and check for fault
    My friend had the genuine wiring diagrams available for the VX Calais. We traced the wiring for the Variatronic Solenoid and discovered that it is supplied via fuse #15. Under the dash however, this is not labelled as power steering. Note: whilst the steering was not working I still had full functionality with power mirrors and cruise control. We checked the fuse and it was blown! Replaced fuse.
    Switched ignition on and turn wheel - result... fingertip steering control again! :)

    5) Check original BCM
    Taking a step back, we thought we'd try the original BCM with the new fuse (thinking we should have checked the fuse first!). Reinstalled old BCM and used Tech 2 to connect BCM to PCM.
    Switched ignition on and turn wheel - result... NO power steering assist! :(

    6) Reinstall reconditioned BCM
    Having found the faults (blown fuse and faulty BCM circuitry), we reinstalled the new BCM and normal service was resumed :D

    How the fault occurred;
    The insulation around wiring at the base of the solenoid had perished from exposure and PS fluid leaks.
    Over time the wires must have shorted out, damaging the BCM circuitry and blowing fuse #15.

    So, the original solenoid I have can still function provided that I solder on new wires and perhaps Araldite or silicone them in place to prevent future damage. Otherwise I will keep it as a spare.

    The drive back from the workshop yesterday morning was unbelievable. Steering is so smooth and ride is unbelievable.
    It's not the ride of the new VF Calais but for what it is, the VX Calais provides a smooth and comfortable driving experience.
    I love the car and given its condition, time and money to resolve issues such as this are well worth it in the long run.

    Now I can book in to get my new Bridgestone T001 tyres fitted next weekend :D

    I hope this thread assists other Holden nuts, such as myself, to resolve an issue with their Variatronic Power Steering.

    Cheers :)
     
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  18. lout

    lout Well-Known Member

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    just an fyi the power steer pipe that is all steel and doubles back back on itself is designed as a cooling heatsink
     
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  19. krusing

    krusing Member

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    That's excellent, I wouldn't of thought of it being the BMC, but yet again, nothing is impossible as the wires had shorted out, very unfortunate that you had to replaced the BMC, expensive exercise I can only assume, especially having to link it to the EMC,[haven't done it myself], but I guess we love our cars, with your step by step explanation, its sure to help Holden Buffs out there.
    When you say the wires had shorted out, I am not surprised due to the location of the solenoid, the insulation on the wires would of become so brittle over the years and just flake off, being subject to PS oil, general environmental elements, and especially constant heat from the exhaust manifold in and around the engine in general over the years, as they say, nothing lasts for ever.
    I haven't worked on VX or VY's with variatronic steering, or seen the solenoid installed, but have seen it in the service/repair manual I have for my VY.
    Well done, and happy motoring. :)
     
  20. krusing

    krusing Member

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    The Price I got quoted was for a set of 4 on the web, as I stumbled across them just searching for tyres for my VY, you can search by Tyre Size, Vehicle or Tyre Brand, It was a very simple search, purchase and fitting [apart from other things I had to do to the car prior getting a set of tyres fitted], I will definitely use them again for my next set of tyres for any of our 5 cars we have.
     

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