Holden VB Commodore wagon oil leak - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens

Presented by

holden vb commodore engine bay Bonnets up! Here’s the start of another happy day working on cool old cars! holden vb commodore engine bay
oil leak Oil from the front seal dripped from the sway bar to leave an embarrassing stain wherever I went oil leak
holden vb commodore 2 Okay, looking good. Just the pulley to come off now holden vb commodore 2
holden vb commodore 3 I used a puller to pull the pulley. Got that?! holden vb commodore 3
holden vb commodore 4 Bits of broken fan belt from a few months ago had caused the oil seal damage holden vb commodore 4
holden vb commodore 5 By removing the fan and radiator, I was able to easily access the front of the engine holden vb commodore 5
holden vb commodore 6 The new seal is just about in place holden vb commodore 6
holden vb commodore 7 Behind-the-dash stuff can be such a pain! holden vb commodore 7
holden vb commodore 10 holden vb commodore 10
holden vb commodore 8 Don’t try this at home, kids! holden vb commodore 8
holden vb commodore 9 This is not how to finish the day… holden vb commodore 9

A little leak leads to a big bummer when Glenn Torrens becomes lost in a maze of maintenance

Well, that was crap. What should have been an easy repair of an oil leak from my 1979 VB Commodore SL wagon escalated into a hair-tearing exercise that dragged out over several weeks.

It all began with a busted fan belt and destroyed radiator several months ago: A couple of hours’ effort fitting a second-hand radiator and I was cruising again. But I hadn’t noticed the string of delaminated fan belt that had damaged the engine’s front seal to cause an annoying oil leak.

oil-leak.jpgOil from the front seal dripped from the sway bar to leave an embarrassing stain wherever I went

The fix wasn’t too difficult: remove the cooling fan, radiator and the engine’s front pulley. I used the bush mechanics’ trick of removing No 1 spark plug and filling the cylinder with string to prevent the piston moving – and hence the engine turning – while spannering the pulleys.

After fixing the seal, I turned my attention to some other maintenance. The carburettor was leaking so I rebuilt it with new gaskets. The choke cable needed replacing (yes – these first Commodores had a manual choke – our millennial readers may need to Google that!) and frustratingly, half the dash needed to be removed for that job…

holden-vb-commodore-2.jpgOkay, looking good. Just the pulley to come off now

I also replaced the O-rings in the air-conditioning system. Re-gassing the air just after I bought the car two years ago proved the system worked but it had quickly lost its gas. Replacing all the seals (and of course a re-gas) will hopefully have it pumping proper coolness for next summer. With all those little tasks completed during a relaxing Sunday I cracked a beer and hit the key… but I’d forgotten that engine-locking string in the number one pot.

F***!

holden-vb-commodore-5.jpgBy removing the fan and radiator, I was able to easily access the front of the engine

I hoped I hadn’t done any damage… but after removing the string and replacing the spark plug, there was a distinctive doink-doink noise of something unhappy inside my engine.

My beer suddenly tasted terrible. I slammed the garage door and with my head hung in frustration and shame I walked away from playing with cars for a week or three…

 

Classic Australian Family Car Value Guide home page

Muscle Car Value Guide home page

Japanese Classic Car Value Guide home page

Recent auction results

Sell your car for free right here

 

Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more unique car reviews and features plus see the latest unique and classic cars for sale.

Subscribe to Unique Cars magazine
- Print edition
- Digital edition