Holden VB Commodore wagon - Our Shed

By: Glenn Torrens - Words & Photos

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After several setbacks, GT's luck finally changes with his Commodore wagon

Expecting an ‘are you kidding?’, instead I had the hopeful response of: "Hold on – I’ll just check!", when I rang my muffler-shop mate Pete about an exhaust for my ’79 VB Holden Commodore wagon. Until this moment, I reckoned my chance of finding an exhaust, brand new, in stock, five days before Christmas, for my now 39-year old wagon were – at best – dismal.

holden-vb-commodore-repairs-13.jpgI squared-up the sides of the damaged diff filler bolt so it could be unscrewed

Pete returned to the phone: "Yep! Got one!" he said brightly. "I must’ve had it leaning against the wall for years!" he continued, bursting into laughter. It seemed Pete was as surprised as me that he had what I needed!

diff-oil-2.jpgYuk! The diff oil was obviously long overdue for replacement

As my Commodore wagon has provided plenty of drama recently – busted fan belts, holed radiators, oil leaks and a damaged piston/con-rod – the news from Pete was the best I’d heard for months. It meant I could DIY-fix my wagon’s holey exhaust right away instead of waiting weeks to book-in my car to have a new pipe bent to shape.

holden-vb-commodore-repairs-7.jpgA brand-new exhaust in stock for a 40-year-old car

Half an hour later, I arrived at Pete’s Newcastle Muffler Service where he greeted me by wiping a layer of dust from the two-decade-old, brand-new exhaust! Excellent! After prepping the car’s old exhaust nuts with an overnight soak of penetrating spray, I fitted the new pipe the next morning.

holden-vb-commodore-repairs-8.jpgThe rusty old exhaust had been patched; elsewhere it was paper-thin

My wagon needed other attention, too. I’d suspected worn rear suspension bushes and my mechanic mate Shano’s first-ever words during his first-ever ride in my wagon provided a worthwhile second opinion: "Ahh! The old Commodore bum wiggle!" he laughed. "That’ll be the Panhard rod bushes…!"

holden-vb-commodore-repairs-6.jpgNow.. the one on the left is the new one, right?

And I hadn’t yet changed the differential oil because the filler plug was rounded-off. So, after installing the exhaust, I spent another worthwhile hour under my wagon replacing the Panhard rod bushes and bush-hacking the old filler plug to drain and refill the diff.

holden-vb-commodore-repairs-10.jpgThat’ll shut the Commodore up

New exhaust, fresh diff oil and tight bushes; three more important tasks completed for my brown Commodore wagon’s rolling restoration. 

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