Holden VE Commodore SS/SS V: Buying used
2006-10 Holden VE Commodore SS/SS V Sedan and Sportwagon
Holden VE Commodore SS/SS V
A huge August 2006 VE launch spawned one of the best factory muscle sedans with the SS range.
After VE SS’s sticker price dropped $4000, the new, range-topping SS V was priced just above the previous SS. The L98 Gen IV 6.0-litre V8 delivered 270kW/530Nm with a close-ratio M10 version of the Tremec T56 manual (with new bearing-supported shift linkages) or new 6L80E six-speed auto with sequential manual function. The SS V added new features not available as SS options.
Running changes were extensive. Six airbags were standard from March 2008. An SS V 60th Anniversary edition arrived in April 2008 along with the Sportwagon with extra ball joints and upgraded anti-roll bar in the rear suspension. The L76 V8 automatic with ‘Active Fuel Management’, or AFM, cylinder shutdown tech launched in January 2009 to save fuel, but lost 10kW/13Nm. The L98 continued as a manual only. Minor dash trim changes followed later in 2009. The September 2009 MY10 upgrade brought major refinement tweaks including the Sportwagon’s rear suspension for the sedans.
Earlier VE safety tweaks now applied to the SS range for a five-star safety rating. In October 2009, a limited-edition SS V came with the Pontiac G8 nose in black, red or blue hues. The latest TR6060 manual gearbox with a heftier clutch, as for earlier HSV models, replaced the M10 manual late in 2009. The VE Series II was announced in September 2010.
The forthcoming VF and abundant supplies set a new price point for early VE SSs at just under $15,000. Early, top-notch examples range between $19,000 and $30,000. The SS V commands a premium of at least $4000.
¦ 15,000km service intervals are too long under stop-start conditions especially for later L76 AFM version, which relies on clean oil for the cylinder de-activation process. To avoid hydraulic lifter and sludging problems stick to 10,000km oil/filter changes.
¦ Auto transmission fluid life is 150,000km, changes are essential with this much grunt.
¦ 19/20-inch alloy wheel packages boost tyre costs dramatically and risk of rim damage on broken road surfaces. Check tyre replacement quality and inspect for damage carefully.
¦ The rear-mounted battery went flat on early examples, especially SS V. Electronics tweaks should have fixed it by now.
¦ Rear main engine oil seal failure is a major repair. Early M10 manual can throw its output seal and if gearbox runs dry, will dictate major overhaul or replacement. Check for clutch slip on early cars.
¦ Check for leaks around water pump and heater hose clamps. Sticky steering or front-end clunks can indicate sticky or noisy strut top bearings.
¦ Examples not serviced at Holden dealer and plugged into Holden computer may not have the latest power and economy updates.
¦ Check the SS V’s screen is fully functional. Sports seats can show crazing and cracking if abused.
¦ Rear driveshafts and extensive rubber suspension bushes suffer with abuse. Check underbody for damage and shredded rubber. Walk away if there is excessive drivetrain shunt while accelerating/
¦ Recycled wrecks and doubtful histories were rife in the SS market to satisfy demand for cheap performance so investigate any warning signs.
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