OUR CARS – TORRENS
GT’S COLD AIR COMMO WAGON
BOUGHT IN summer, it wasn’t until late autumn that I rea lised my new-to-me 1979 V B Commodore wagon’s heater wasn’t working too well. Despite cold-climate European origins, these early Commodores weren’t k nown for their burning heater performance but a lthough air wafted to the foot wells, face vents or demister ports on command, it was only luke-warm!
My f irst f i x-it task was to check t he engine’s thermostat, a common cause of a too-cool heating system. Fast-idling a car from cold
while feeling t he top radiator hose is an easy diagnosis: a gradual warm-up of the hose indicates a dud thermostat while a sudden rush of warmth in the hose af ter f ive to-10 minutes shows the thermostat opening correct ly. But for $15 and around 20 minutes’ work, I simply replaced t he t hermostat.
While doing t his, I noticed t he crappy condition of t he cooling system’s interna ls: The old thermostat was rust y and there were horror-movie grow ths on the underside of its a lloy housing. Ew ww! According to t he prev ious owner, my Commodore
“THE COMMODORE’S HEATER WASN’T WORKING PROPERLY”
0202 Brisk autumn mornings revealed my wagon’s heater to be less than oven-hot
01 01 “The old garden hose in the radiator trick”
04 Everything looks clean and tidy but there was hidden trouble lurking in the cooling system 04
03 The “coolant” is supposed to be green, not orange. Yukky! 03