WH Caprice

  • BigMik's WH Telematics Guide

    Stalwart member BigMIk Temple has contributed a guide about how to disconnect the now-problematic telematics system from the WH Statesman and Caprice.

    This is a great guide to save your WH from some now-redundant traps like a flat battery.

    Thanks Mick.

    pdf Disconnect WH Telematics Guidelines (1.37 MB)

  • Holden WH/WHII Statesman/Caprice (1999-2003)

    An old car advice yarn about WH Statesmans. Holden's first long wheelbase export to wear the Chevrolet badge, the WH Statesman was a more profound upgrade over the Commodore than its Fairlane rival thanks to the export investment. Because it is a purer, more cohesive design than later facelifts,

    HISTORY
    The WH Statesman which arrived in June 1999 has a stand-alone presence quite different to the Commodore. No longer tied to the VT Commodore's Opel Omega side pressings, Holden designers could develop a more integrated big car look.

    The old cost-cutting ploy of adding a filler blank behind the Commodore's short rear doors and extra C-pillar glass to conceal the boost in wheelbase from 2788mm to 2939mm is now the most glaring giveaway of this Statesman's Omega/Commodore origins when the new model has extended rear doors.

    Early WH models came with a V6, supercharged V6 and the first of the Gen III alloy V8 engines. The Caprice offered the complete luxury treatment with the same choice of engines at a $14,000 new premium over the Statesman.

    Although the WH's rear self-levelling hid flaws of crude semi-trailing arm rear suspension, the WHII series of August 2001 which levelled WH with VXII upgrades was a major advance with its extra rear control links for camber and toe control, improved switchgear, classier interiors and minor appearance changes.

    The torquey supercharged V6, arguably the engine best suited to the bigger car, was dropped at this point. Entry weight of 1689kg is lighter than today's Commodore so it can work well even as a base V6.

    PRICES
    Big fleet buys leave no shortage of used early examples with little prestige value and $12,000 starting price. Early supercharged models fetch an $800 premium while a good V8 might add $1500 over the V6. The very best WHII Statesman examples hover just above and below $20,000 with later WH examples filling the gap. The rare Caprice will generally command an extra $3000 across the board with the best WHII models spanning the $23-28,000 range.

    CHECKPOINTS


    • Parts and running costs are tied to everyday Holden models which is good in terms of labour and parts but not so good when WH shared ongoing VT quality niggles.
    • Early V6 engine is torquier and better suited to Statesman than later Alloytec engine. Factory LPG system automatically injected petrol under high load to protect engine so look for V6 cylinder head problems if LPG conversion is sub-standard.
    • Early Gen III engine with low friction piston ring pack generates "ring flutter" on deceleration which boosts oil consumption. Because auto-only WH series selected higher gear after throttle lift-off which takes the pressure off the engine, the problem rarely showed up in the WH. Drivers who regularly hold the auto in lower gears and decelerate sharply can send oil consumption soaring.
    • US V8 engines had oil level warning light but local sump eliminated this feature. Once engine is driven with oil pressure light on, the oil pick-up will almost certainly have sucked air and starved the bottom end bearings. Listening for bearing rumble is critical for any early Gen III engine in the Australian context especially in those cars with service gaps.
    • The V8's low friction piston clearance can also generate piston slap which is heard as a sharp metallic noise at idle which did affect some early WH examples but it's more of an annoyance than a problem.
    • Local V8 sump places oil pick-up at front of sump which can starve engine of oil under hard acceleration if oil level is low, again for terminal bearing damage. Oil level must be checked on regular basis. Retrofit dipstick left the engine with more oil at minimum and maximum marks.
    • Intermittent ECU and sensor problems with V8 can send fuel consumption soaring so check trip computer averages.
    • Automatic is bulletproof but shift quality varies. Main culprit is build-up of metal filings around the magnetic speed sensor. A general clean-up of filters and other parts and sensors can usually get everything working as it should.
    • Power steering seal and bearing failure and leaky hoses are a routine service item.
    • Brake shudder can be an ongoing problem that may demand rotor replacement, not just machining.
    • Drive belt tensioner is a routine service item as bearing dries out and wears.
    • Odd inner or outer rear tyre wear on early WH series is not easily fixed when rear suspension is not adjustable in standard form. Later WHII can be adjusted with big improvement in tyre life and handling.
    • Front strut inserts and rear shockers can leak and rattle after a hard life.
    • Check that all accessories work including all climate control functions. Leather trim where fitted needs regular conditioning.