The final series of Holden Commodore V8s – powered by an engine once used in the Chevrolet Corvette – were built to roar.
But less than two years after the end of local production, “thousands” of Commodore V8s have been reduced to a whimper.
The last run of Holden Commodore V8s made locally – assembled from October 2015 until the last day on October 2017 – were meant to send off the homegrown hero on a high note.
However, dealers have since been inundated with what they estimate to be “thousands” of Commodore V8s – including highway patrol police vehicles – that have been forced into “limp home” mode starving of fuel.
More than half a dozen Holden dealers contacted by CarAdvice said the problem is widespread.
“I know how many we’ve done, and I know how many the nearest dealer to us has done, so it has to be in the thousands if you include every dealership across Australia,” said the major metropolitan Holden dealer who asked to remain anonymous.
Holden customers and technicians interviewed by CarAdvice say the problem with the affected Commodore V8s powered by the LS3 6.2-litre V8 can be traced to faulty fuel injectors.
Holden would not disclose how many Commodore V8s have had their fuel injectors replaced under warranty.
However, a statement from Holden points the blame at poor quality fuel.
“Our monitoring of fuel injectors on (Model Year 2016 and Model Year 2017) Commodore V8 engines has shown that variable fuel quality can greatly impact performance of the injectors,” said a Holden spokesman.
“When variable fuel quality has impacted performance of the injector, a warning light appears and the engine can run a little rough. In such instances, we recommend customers contact their preferred Holden dealer or service centre to arrange a vehicle inspection.”
Although the LS3 6.2-litre V8 is able to run on regular 91 RON unleaded, Holden recommends customers use 95 or 98 RON premium unleaded. However, even cars that run on premium unleaded have experienced fuel injector problems.
Holden dealers have told CarAdvice the fuel injectors are replaced free of charge even if the vehicle is out of warranty – but only if the customer presents the car with the symptoms.
“To be honest, it’s so widespread Holden should really just replace the injectors as a running change rather than waiting for customers to be inconvenienced,” said another Holden service department representative.
Technicians say the problem won’t leave Holden V8 owners stranded but it will greatly diminish power and reduce vehicle speed.
Highway patrol officers across NSW have also reportedly had widespread issues. In some cases the fault occurred as they were responding to an urgent call. In a number of instances, it has put highway patrol cars off the road awaiting repairs.
Holden technicians interviewed by CarAdvice disagreed that dodgy fuel is the cause.
“I don’t think it’s a fuel issue. It’s happened to too many cars. If it was bad fuel you’d think it would isolated to one area where the bad fuel came from,” said a veteran Holden mechanic from a major metropolitan dealership.
Although the Commodore V8s are not subject to a recall and Holden has not issued a bulletin to have fuel injectors replaced on all potentially affected vehicles, dealer sources say Holden is replacing them without any argument if the car has the symptoms.
“I will say that, they don’t knock it back if the car turns up like that,” said a senior Holden technician.
Holden sold approximately 24,600 vehicles equipped with the LS3 6.2-litre V8 in the final two years of production.
The LS3 6.2-litre V8 was fitted to 23,000 Holden Commodore sedans, wagons and utes and approximately 1600 Caprice limousines.
When launched in October 2015 Holden said “the powerful LS3 6.2-litre V8 delivers 304kW of power and a stunning 570Nm of torque … ensuring VFII is the quickest Commodore ever”.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling
Have you experienced fuel injector issues with your LS3-powered Holden Commodore V8? Let us know in the comments below.