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Taffy, The VS Executive with big dreams.

Discussion in 'VR - VS' started by Vexhana, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. Vexhana

    Vexhana New Member

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    Well met, fellow Commodorians,

    I've been a long time stalker of this forum, it has been quite valuable in helping me make informed decisions and picked up a few gems of knowledge along the way. I thought it was about time to sign up so, here is my story.

    This is my Commodore, there are many like it but, this one is mine. It is my fourth Commodore with the first being 89' VN Executive(miss that car), then I had a VR acclaim Wagon. Wasn't really keen on the VR/VS shape back then but, it was too good of a deal to pass up and with a VK track car, it wasn't the object of my affection. But, I reminisce.

    Now I drive a May 96' VS Executive home grown in Elizabeth, SA. Unfortunately, some photos are locked away on an inaccessible hard drive so, insert a couple of photos of a grandpa spec, untouched Commodore sitting in a used car dealership yard with the caption "It was love at first sight"

    Car was originally purchased and used by the Department of Education in NSW for some years before it changed hands to who I believe was a mature aged driver, possibly eastern regional Victoria, considering the stone chips, scrapes, haphazard touchups and the location I bought it from a secondhand car yard in August 2016 with 187,XXXkms on the clock with service logs going all the way to 185,XXXkms. It is white(as you will soon see), with original 14" steelies and Holden hubcaps(scratched to all hell), mud flaps, driver's side weathershield on the door, headlight protectors and original Eurovox tape deck, seemingly untouched, even the seat covers appeared to have been fitted early in its life and never removed so, seats were near perfect. Total entry level trim with live axle, no ABS but, luckily it has a driver's airbag so, I get to hold the wheel at an awkward 8 & 4 or slightly less awkward 10 & 2 position... what I'd give to grip the wheel securely at 9 & 3. She was a little rough around the edges but otherwise a solid starting point, not so bad to be too much trouble, nor too good to modify.

    I drove her around like this for some months, getting to know the car, then the fun begun. Now, in hind sight(20/20), I made a few errors of judgement along the way so, forgive me.

    First, was that weather shield, it had to come off, and discarded. As were headlight protectors(oops, I should have kept these). Then the mudflaps went to the bin(again, regrettable). Stripped the seat covers and gave it the entire car a thorough detail, cut & polish.

    Next, was to try and address the car's weakest attribute, the squishy, road barge, body rolling handling. I also had a few scares with the back slipping in the wet on a particular roundabout, due to a road repair creating a dip and change in surface and the cheese cutter tyres so, off to the wheel and tyre shop. I ordered a set of 18" Kingwheels Korrupt rims in satin black with machined lip & face with a set of 235/40R18 Hankook Ventus S1 Noble2 tyres. I also had them install SuperLow King springs with a ~50mm drop in ride height. I also requested they install new struts and shocks to suit and was dubious about their choice in brand(Sachs) but, trusted their judgement. I wasn't in a position to source and install these parts myself at the time. In hindsight again, I'd make a slightly different choice but, it made such a huge difference that, I was quite happy with the result compared to what I started with. Photo time!
    [​IMG]
    Not much to look at in the above photo, really wish I could access the car yard photo to use as a comparison. Anyway, next was the windows. The above is just before tinting, and below is not long after.
    [​IMG]
    She looked like this for some months before any major changes. Some mechanical issues arose such as the alternator regulator, heater tap and developed a power steering leak, which I chased for a while. Installed a Kenwood KMM-BT302 head unit and scrapped the Eurovox(another oops) and some Pioneer 6" 2-way rear speakers(should have put the money into front speakers instead). Wanted a little more bass so picked up a cheap 10" Fusion all-in-one sub and strapped that inside the boot. You can't see in these photos but, she also had a big dent in the front passenger fender so, found a colour matched replacement from Laverton Motor Wreckers, thanks mate.
    Feeling pretty happy with cars new handling and fixing that dent, I looked at power mods so, I dropped the car off at Performance Exhaust in Knoxfield to get Pacemakers, Hi-flow Cat converter and 2.5" Redback muffler exhaust with a droopy twin tip, in black.

    After replacing the power steering reservoir, low pressure line and tightening various clamps, I could not stop this persistent leak. It was embarrassing but now I had access to a garage and had invested in some tools so, off the road it came for a few days whilst I fixed this once and for all.
    [​IMG]
    Whilst she was on stands, I replaced power steering pump with a new one, high pressure hose and thanks to that enduring leak, I had ATF everywhere. Alternator was covered so, bought a shiny new one to replace that(tried cleaning it but, the inside was full of oil and rubber). Also due to the leak, I had belt slippage which chewed the ribs on the belt and added little bits of rubber all over the engine bay. It really was a sorry state of affairs. So, I dismantled all the easy stuff, blocked up air intake, covered electronics and went to town with 4 or 5 cans of degreaser and blasted it with a karcher. Dried and wiped everything until I was happy and proceeded to reassemble everything with all my shiny new bits. I gave it a full service, flushed the radiator several times and added a Mace thermostat with a lower threshold and installed a 25mm manifold insulator, an accompanying 12.5mm plenum spacer, 69mm throttle body and CAI, grabbed some new high voltage packs(not really necessary but, may as well), 1:9 high ratio rocker arms and a pre-tuned Memcal all from Mace Engineering. When I had the plenum apart, I noticed it was covered in oil deposits so, picked up a SAAS oil catch-can and bypassed one of the PCVs to it. Would have liked to do both but, the second valve would require plumbing a new fitting to the manifold and blocking the factory one, which I wasn't in a position to do. I told myself most of the mess came from the one feeding into the throttle so, I was happy enough until I am able to reroute that 2nd PCV.
    [​IMG]
    Feeling much better about engine health and cleanliness, and a little more poke to boot, I turned my attention to aesthetics. Next on my hit list was the amber indicators so, I picked some secondhand but new tail lights off Gumtree and ordered some clear side indicators and replaced many globes with LED varieties. New headlight globes(standard) too as one of those blew somewhere along the line. The next surprise was my heater core, it became blocked, probably all that flushing pushed crud into it so, ordered a new one of those. and yes, I took the shortcut, been over a year so far and no issues, yet.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Now I am well involved and invested, I start having track car aspirations which means, back to the start, suspension! I ordered 4-way adjustable Whiteline sway bars for front and rear, and a 2-way adjustable Whiteline panhard rod. I also ordered another set of SSSL springs for front and rear and some Monroe GT Sports struts/shocks to suit. After almost 23 years, all the bushes are probably due to be replaced so, I ordered a complete package from SuperPro to do front and rear bushes. This photo has the SSLs and Sachs shocks has I had already installed everything but some bushes.
    [​IMG]
    The only bushes that need fitting now are the lower trailing arm bushes. after the challenge of changing every other bush in the car without the correct tool, I doubt my crude ghetto rigged bush removal solution would succeed with the bushes in the rear axle. Also opted to not replace the ball joints as mine looked good and wanted to wait for a second set of knuckles to restore and paint (didn't want to bolt rusty onto shiny. also, read horror stories of ball joint-to-control arm bolts shearing). I skipped the tie rod ends as they will get done when I have a re-manufactured steering rack.
    Have a giggle at this.. hey, it worked, kinda, just, never again.
    [​IMG]
    So, to get the front lower control arms out, I had to remove the brake rotor for clearance, then this happened..
    [​IMG]
    So a trip to Pick-A-Part to salvage some decent rotors because I'm planning a complete brake overhaul and upgrade so, didn't want to invest too much in new rotors that will be changed in near future. Got lucky and found some really good ones, virtually no wear and chunky Bendix pads to suit. I wanted to go back and harvest the rears and bearing hubs because they were better than mine, too.

    Another surprise, I bent and broke my new front sway bar links, I think due to excessive binding from incorrect installation. Spent a few days hunting for the kit that links sway bar to control arm but, no dice. After consulting Whiteline for a solution, they advised I use Nolathane(essentially same company) heavy duty links for a VT/VX as they use a ball type joint to the sway bar which would allow better articulation, so far, so good.
    [​IMG]
    Next mod I wanted to do was badges. I pulled all the badges and door moulds, cleaned, sanded and painted in satin black. Also did the wiper arms as they were faded, wiper jet nozzles, grille inserts. Already had black mirrors and black window trims, gave the inner wheel wells some black to touch up all the stone chips and give better contrast for the wheels.
    [​IMG]
    Everything was going well, wait, what is that noise?!..
    [​IMG]
    Out comes the heat gun and mallet, silly me should have seen that coming. I noticed my hood liner was in a poor state, 23 years old, brittle, mouldy and soaked in ATF. As these cars have been known to burn down due to damaged alternator wiring, it came off.
    [​IMG]
    Whilst waiting to replenish funds to buy more parts, I decided to try something I've never done before, tyre lettering!
    [​IMG]
    Let's go bigger!
    [​IMG]
    because, race car.
    [​IMG]
    Looking better, not sure if I will keep it this way. Just a fun inexpensive mod to experiment with. Now, if you scrolled through all that looking for photos, here you go.
    Mt.Donna, VIC in the winter:
    [​IMG]
    National Holden Museum in Echuca, ViC:
    [​IMG]
    Lunch in Heathcote, VIC:
    [​IMG]
    Silo art in Rochester, VIC:
    [​IMG]
    Instagram; @vexhana
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019
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  2. immortality

    immortality Home of the smoky breakfast Bacon! Staff Member

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    Nice, don't see many straight and clean VS's these days :)
     
  3. Vexhana

    Vexhana New Member

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    Hey thanks. I find myself saying the same thing. They're definitely on the decline or, all tucked away in garages getting LS conversions.
     
  4. immortality

    immortality Home of the smoky breakfast Bacon! Staff Member

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    **** that. Nothing wrong with a 304 or V6 if that is what you like.
     
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  5. Vexhana

    Vexhana New Member

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    Fair call. I'm not even sure which way to go with this one. I'd like to do a V8 manual conversion but, I keep window shopping cam packages and looking for secondhand superchargers for the V6.
     
  6. VS 5.0

    VS 5.0 Well-Known Member

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    Nice work.....good to see the old girl getting some love.
     
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  7. Vexhana

    Vexhana New Member

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    Thank you, I'd park it inside if I was allowed.
     
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  8. VS_Pete

    VS_Pete Donating Member

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    Love your work mate.
     
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  9. Vexhana

    Vexhana New Member

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    Thanks man, here's another photo.
    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Deuce

    Deuce Super Stock

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    Fixed it. ;)
    #GMHV8 the world
     
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  11. Deuce

    Deuce Super Stock

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    A good supercharged v6 conversion is nice light weight and can make good power.
     
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  12. Vexhana

    Vexhana New Member

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    I could really get used to that supercharger whine, too.
     
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  13. immortality

    immortality Home of the smoky breakfast Bacon! Staff Member

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    That bloody supercharger makes me spend way to much time/money on my missus car....
     
  14. Vexhana

    Vexhana New Member

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    Never had forced induction so, would be a whole new world for me.

    Small update; after running the shorter serpentine belt to bypass A/C for a year whilst I decided whether to keep or not, I finally decided to pull it out(mostly). After having the system discharged, I removed compressor, accumulator and condenser. I wasn't in the mood to pull the dash out again so, cut the lines close to the fire wall, crimped and folded them until I have the dash apart another time to get the evaporator. After weighing everything that came out, it resulted in ~11kg reduction, a bit more than I was expecting and certainly welcome coming off the nose of a V6. It also opened up the front air dam for better airflow to the radiator so, engine and transmission should be happy, too.
    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Vexhana

    Vexhana New Member

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    After some delays with mismatched parts, finally installed a new steering rack, rods & ends. But, once I put her back on the ground, I discovered I had a flat tyre. A screw had made a home for itself in the tread. So, limped to my local tyre shop on a half flat spare where they fixed the puncture and did a wheel alignment. Now, hopefully my diff gasket shows up today so I can change the gear oil, probably for the first time in the car's life.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. evBenji

    evBenji Active Member

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    looks wicked, had a vs back in the day, one awesome thing i done was colour matched my door handles, found silver handles from a statesman

    ive seen white door handles on gumtree here in adelaide lately
     
  17. evBenji

    evBenji Active Member

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    ok bugger it i photoshopped u some white door handles on it #sortof

    88FYGvm.jpg
     
  18. losh1971

    losh1971 Well-Known Member

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    Nice ride, not sure about VS but my LSD in the ute has a drain plug so no need to remove the cover, unless it's leaking. I am fairly sure this was a feature on VS as well.
    Shame about losing the A/C but I know what it can cost. I spent probably $1000 bucks on mine and that was with a fair discount on parts. I still could use an new comp but at an extra 600 bucks I will wait until mine shits itself before I replace it. Probably one good part on the VR A/C is the comp as they were a fairly decent unit from factory.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
  19. Lex

    Lex Well-Known Member

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    Looks like you lost them. HAHAHAHA
     

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