One month with the Commodore SS

It’s been a bit over a month now since we bought a used Commodore SS, and I’ve had some time to reflect on it. It turned out fortuitous that the seller wasn’t able to get everything done for us to pick it up before my cousin’s wedding, as we were planning on driving it down there. As it happened, the seller must have been in a hurry when doing the brake job, and managed to do it wrong, leaving one wheel grabbing, so it got very hot just tootling around town - imagine what would have happened on the highway at 110KM/h!

We got that issue sorted out, and Sabriena quickly realized she couldn’t live with the stereo that was in it… such a pain in the arse that it didn’t do bluetooth. So I tore off the bandaid, and ordered a Pioneer DMH-Z5150BT head unit, along with all the shit to hook it up, including an eye-wateringly expensive fascia to put back the heater controls that removing the stock head unit takes with it (what an unbelievably shitty design!). It came earlier during the week (this was a few weeks ago now), but the instructions and the video I watched recommended allowing 5 hours for the installation, so I left it to the weekend to attempt it.

In the end I was about 70 minutes into it with everything hooked up and working, I just had to put the dash back together. Thinking how stupid it was that I’d waited all week for what turned out to be a comfortably-under-two-hours job, I hit a snag: the fascia wouldn’t fit the bottom of the dash! I spent quite some time double checking everything, and even went inside to make sure that a) I had not ordered the incorrect fascia kit and b) that they had sent me what I ordered. Both were correct, and by this time the sun arrived in just the right position that when trying to peek through from the driver’s footwell to work out why it wouldn’t fit, I spotted the problem. Now illuminated by the sun, I could see that the centre console was not put back in correctly… I’m suspecting during the police conversion they hadn’t located two lugs correctly, so the whole thing was shifted up and forward by about 15mm, resulting in the fascia not locating correctly.

By the time I’d sorted that out and got everything buttoned up, I arrived right around the 4.5 hour mark… so yes, good thing I did not attempt it on a weeknight!

We’re pretty content with the new stereo - I think the highs sound a fair bit too bright, not sure if I want to replace the speakers (will have to wait for the budget to recover) or just try EQ it out. Android Auto is excellent, and we have our full steering controls and everything which is super-nice. The climate control is excellent on recirculation mode, but decidedly less accurate (blasting you with hot or cold air as it feels like) when fresh air mode is on - I think this is due to the location of the thermostat, perhaps I can locate it better and fix that issue.

We took it out to Mum and Dad’s and it drove quite pleasantly on the highway, but that exhaust drone is quite bothersome. I think I’ll have to look at having someone put J pipes on it, or possibly tune AFM out but I really don’t want to do that if I can avoid it.

Now we just have to hope the damn thing lasts ten years for it to be even remotely as good a buy as the VT was!

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle



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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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