Holden Repair Manual

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About the VS Commodore

April 1995 to August 1997
(Statesman and Caprice continued until mid-1999, Utes until late-2000)
Total production- 277,774

The VS series was a minor facelift of the successful VR with very few visual changes – most innovations were under the skin.  Badging featured Holden’s re-designed corporate Lion logo and new style engine identification on the front guards, just below the side blinker repeater lamps. Basic model line-up remained the same as the VR series.

The big news for VS was the use of the new ECOTEC V6 engine. The ECOTEC acronym stood for Emissions and Consumption Optimisation through TEChnology. Slightly smaller, lighter,smoother and more powerful, it was more fuel-efficient than previous V6 engines. Engine capacity remained at 3.8 litres and although similar in design, shared very few components with the old VN/VP/VR unit. Apart from the new block, heads and manifolds, it featured a new cast alloy sump. The electronics received major improvements with a more powerful computer, a hot-wire air-mass sensor and sequential fuel injection. In all ,these improvements increased power by 17kW, used 6 percent less fuel, yet surpassed all emission regulations.

For improved safety, a front passenger airbag was made available, in addition to the previously available driver side unit. Dual airbags were fitted as standard to the Acclaim, Calais, Statesman and Caprice models and were optional for all other models. Security systems were further improved with a new 2-button remote key head (3-button for Berlina sedan and above). One button was used for locking doors and setting the immobiliser, it also set the alarm on the Calais and above. The second button was for unlocking the driver’s door only, all doors if pressed for alonger period (or a second time). The tailgate on the wagon models operated in conjunction with the passenger doors. A third button for Berlina sedan and above, released the boot lock. The now regular Series II upgrade was announced in June1996 for all variants except the Statesman and Caprice models. New oval-shaped amber side blinker repeater lamps and obligatory SeriesII badges easily identified the VS Series II. The main mechanical change for Series II was the use of the German Getrag 5-speed manual gearbox as a base transmission for the V6.  The BorgWarner TS manual continued in production for V8 models. The V8 engine came in for minor attention, gaining 3kW with the addition of a new cold air intake. Two months later (September 1996) the Statesman and Caprice received their Series II treatment. Most interest revolved around the new supercharged version of the ECOTEC V6, which boasted 165kW. This new engine, available with automatic transmission only, was also made available for the VS II Calais at the same time.

During mid-1998 the Statesman, Caprice and utility range were released in Series III guise. With interior and exterior upgrades, they were identified by oval side blinker repeater lights, with white lenses and of course, Series III badges. The limited-edition Series III SS utility was announced at the same time.  The VS Series III was sold concurrently with the new VT sedan and wagon range. Many limited-edition value packages were released during the VS series model-run. Most notable were the Vacationer (Series 1), the Equipe (Series I and II) and the Esteem (Series II). These vehicles offered many normally optional items as standard for very little extra cost. They were powerful weapons in the car sales wars of the mid-1990s. The limited-edition Greg Norman Statesman International was introduced in late 1995 and again in February 1997, for Series II. They featured 16″ alloy wheels, electric sunroof, specific paint and trim as well as a set of Cobra brand golf clubs in the boot. Late in Series II production, a 50th Anniversary limited-edition utility was released. It was the first of several such models for Holden’s 1998 celebrations. Likewise, a 50th Anniversary Statesman was produced for the VS Series III in late 1998. An Olympic Edition VS III Ute was sold in early 2000. In October 1998, the VT style sequential injection 5.0-litre V8 (with roller camshaft) producing 179 kW, superseded the old 168 kW unit in VS production. Holden referred to the upgraded V8 as P.O. XT9. Soon after this change the HSV/HBD V8 engines increased from 185 to 195 kW. The 195i also gained VT sequential fuel injection and roller cam. The 220i (5.7-litre HSV Straker) engine, offered in the VT series, was not fitted to any VS III model. Statesman and Caprice Series III models were replaced by the new WH series in mid-1999. Series III Utes continued until late-2000, when they were finally replaced by the VU series. The VS utility range was the longest running individual Holden model to date. The HSV model line-up continued as before, with the addition of the new price leading Manta sedan and wagon models. For Series II and III, the HSV Statesman was re-labelled to Grange, after Penfolds premium red wine.  Export VS models featured an Opel-sourced 2.5-litre quad-cam V6, similar to late YE Calibra and new JR Vectra. It was mated to GM’s 4L30-E automatic transmission.

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