Cruising around Sydney suburban streets in your V6 Holden Captiva or Commodore thinking you have backed the homegrown Aussie brand, is all an elaborate lie you have been led to believe by clever marketing. If you own a car that has the alloy tech V6 engine in it you have in fact indirectly purchased yourself a Daewoo. Granted our main promotional vehicle is a Daewoo and that may make you think we endorse those kind of purchases, however a few small facts are missing from your equation. Firstly, we were given our promotional Daewoo for free which means we have probably already paid too much for it. Secondly, since then we have accidentally spent at least $15K on the car. You should never pay more than a packet of salt and vinegar chips for any Daewoo. This may help put into perspective the quality of car you may currently be driving.
So you have made the choice and for a while you have been driving around in your Holden with no problems. Slowly over time you have noticed the car progressively start to sound like a diesel powered piece of farm machinery and then the beloved “Check Engine” light came on. You have had the light checked and cleared any number of times, the special mechanical language that the scan tool keeps spitting out gives you some hints as to what the fault may be. You clear the light and hope it stays off, but it keeps coming back, you’re avoiding the problem and it just won’t go away. Odds are that the fault codes in your cars computer, are codes relating to the common problem these cars have, which is stretched timing chains.
The chains stretch to a point that the cam shafts and crank shaft are no longer in sync with one another and eventually if left unattended, will eat all the chocolate biscuits and finally break. The V6 Holdens run three timing chains to keep the four cam shafts and crank shaft aligned. The job of these chains is to keep the pistons and the valves moving in time with one another. The chains are known to stretch and if it gets to the point of complete failure, it turns the inside of your engine into a giant blender and thats all bad for everyone involved.
So what can you do about this? The short answer is nothing. At this stage Holden is in the know about the “common fault” but have yet to release revised parts to prevent this from happening in the future. This means that if you’re the owner of one of these vehicles and you fork out the mega cash for this job to be carried out, there is a very real chance that in the future the fault could return and you would have to carry out the same repair all over again.
WARNING: You can save some costs on this job by getting a private workshop to carry out the repairs rather than a Holden dealership. The cheaper labour rate means you could save yourself up to $2k depending on the labour rate of the workshop and the dealerships. However if you do this, insist that the small shop uses genuine parts.
Local parts distributors such as Burson Auto Parts and Repco do stock aftermarket timing chain kits and the temptation to save a few quid is understandable. Be warned, the after market kits fail prematurely and don’t just stretch but have been known to break. When it comes to this job insist on genuine parts.
So what does this major surgery cost you? Our local Holden dealership is doing the job just shy of $5K. Through a small privately owned workshop using genuine parts the job should cost you around the $3.5k the super bad part to all this is you could be doing it all again in a few years time.
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