Holden Viva Common Problems

Holden Viva common problemsThe Holden Viva is the Canberra of the car world. Dull, boring, plain, boasts average sporting teams and hides its service stations from obvious view. We believe deliberatly hiding vital resources from visitors seems to come from the same collective minds that built the Viva.
The Holden Viva value for money is not that bad, but paying 15 cents for a mouldy tomato sandwich doesn’t make it good just because it was cheap.
The Viva comes from the same manufacturers as the Astra which we have covered in depth in previous blogs, which if you were interested you can find here.
If you can’t be bothered to click the link and check out what we have to say about the Astra, allow us to paraphrase it for you. The Holden TS Astra is the number one car on our “Never to Buy” list. In fact, it is the number one contender for our Seven of the Worlds Worst Cars.
We would advise buying a Chrysler Voyager over a Holden Astra and thats saying something. Now that we have finished with our rant about how bad the TS Astra is, lets get back to the point at hand. The Viva is almost the exact same car as the TS Astra.
It comes from the same manufacturers and boasts the same conglomerate of issues the Astra has. To be fair, we feel the Viva is actually an improvement on the Astra with many changes made to try and rectify some of the common faults that plagued the Astra.
However the Viva still suffers many of the common ailments as the Astra. Coil pack and spark plug failure, transmission issues, inhibitor faults in the automatic transmissions, electric throttle body and air conditioning issues. Timing belts still need to be changed in these far more frequently than other vehicles running timing belts, and it is semi common for a loud ticking noise from the inlet manifold.
The Viva’s worst attribute actually comes down to the motor change in them, whilst they are a 1.8 litre engine, the same as the Astra it is not the same motor used. The Z18XE is the jellybean fitted to the Astra. Knowing this motor was the mechanical equivalent to fitting a burrito to your vehicle, the Viva got a motor facelift and the F18D motor fitted, with some changes, that in spite of the manufacturers best efforts seem to make the car worse.
The most common of these issues lies with the engine valves. The motor is known for carbon issues on the intake which also build up on the valves, the result is once the valve stems are caked in carbon they become stuck open as the sticky gum prevents the valve from passing through the valve stem seal. The first symptom of this is a misfire often followed by a check engine light on.
carbon on intake valvesThe fault code to go with this is P0300 random misfire detected. Due to the common fault for coil pack issues, many mechanics assume this code is the result of a faulty coil pack and put a coil pack on it, only to find the fault is still there. If the random misfire detected code comes up, you may have this sticky valve issue.
The temporary fix for this is a serious dose of the Subaru upper engine cleaner however this only treats 50% of the problem as the exhaust valves don’t get a look in.
There are aftermarket valves available, that have a recess fitted to the valve stem to rectify this fault. This does become a very costly repair as it requires the cylinder head to be removed to do this. However over time, the same fault will reoccur with the upgraded valve only buying owners more time before it happens again. Sadly it’s one of those common faults with no real permanent solution. Overall we strongly recommend that if your choice is between a Holden Viva and catching a bus, I’m sure the bus driver is a top bloke.

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