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Old 24-02-08, 07:38   #1
Waughy
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Waughy's 5L Calais

I've had the car for about 6 months now. It's a Nov'86 Calais, silver over grey, 5L auto. 294,xxxk's and still going well. Only mod so far is an aftermarket air cleaner, plans are for headers and exhaust, and when the time comes to rebuild the motor, possibly some head work and a cam at the most, the plan is to leave it as stock as I can, but a little more out of it won't hurt.
Since the purchase I've added a series 2 console lid and glovebox pad (chasing a badge for that), leather steering wheel, updated the original stereo with a CD/MP3 player plus replaced all the speakers, with the rears being amplified. Replaced old melted fuserail with one of Niche's items (fantastic product). Aftermarket tail lights have been fitted as the originals were quite faded (pink tail lights anyone?), and I have refurb'd the centre garnish which didn't come up too bad in the end.

Plans: First thing is to get the rust done in the front screen, that will be done early March, and I've decided to go with the newer, one piece rubber mould. I like the look of the original but think the newer one will do a better job at keeping the water out, so it should at least prolong the time until I see rust again, I know it won't prevent it. Exhaust and engine work as mentioned. The car needs a new front bar so when that is done the bottom half will get a respray, the top will be hit with the buffer as while it's got a few chips and marks, the paint is in pretty good shape and my panel beater said it would be worth buffing first to see how it comes up. Plus I can't afford a full respray right now so anything to make it look any percent better can't hurt. Also need to replace the front guard bullet and Calais wording badges as they weren't fitted to the car when I bought it.

Work done so far: Fixed a few oil leaks, in particular the front main with harmonic balancer and rocker covers, seems to be holding oil better now (rear main still appears to have a small leak). Replaced nearly every coolant hose as they needed it. I had the car tuned about a week ago as it wasn't running the best and both the cold start and normal idles were a bit ordinary.
Turned out I had a cracked spark plug so that wouldn't help. The dizzy was removed and serviced. Carby was removed and serviced, turns out at some point the air cleaner was screwed down too far which bent something that affected the operation of the secondaries (can't recall exactly what was said but something like that. Second hand info from my Father who took the car in for me). The car was dynoed and tuned for 98RON, and the redouts were:
Torque of 348.6FtLb @ 56KPH, Power of 133.7HP @ 96KPH, and Motive Force of 4335.8N @ 56KPH. Don't know exactly what it all means as I don't really know what's "standard" for the VL 8. The car now drives a heap better, throttle response is better that it was, and when you give it a squirt it gets up and dances pretty well I think.

Some pics, not the best, she's a bit dirty right now. I'll update the thread as things happen, so don't expect too much too soon, Lol.








Last edited by Waughy; 25-07-11 at 12:55.
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Old 02-03-08, 20:45   #2
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looks really neat now mate.
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Old 03-03-08, 12:51   #3
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Thanks. It's getting there. Went to the beaters today for the windscreen and lower half spray, see how it comes back later in the week.
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Old 17-03-08, 19:00   #4
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Well nothing was done last week, panelbeater had the week off to dig trenches in his yard. No big deal, don't need the car. In the mean time here's my 2 faves out of all the cars I've owned. Wish I kept the VT, had to sell for the money, the VL replaced it, would have kept it but was offered the oldies car at a steal, couldn't knock it back, kinda wish I did. The VT had headers, exhaust and 10psi pulley, went very well. The VL had a cam and chip package, headers and sports exhaust and "high flow" cat, as I was told when I bought it. Turned out high flow meant no guts, wasn't happy. Anyway, here they are.













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Last edited by Waughy; 25-07-11 at 12:56.
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Old 17-03-08, 21:49   #5
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damn that vl looks clean mate.
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Old 18-03-08, 05:40   #6
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Yeah I liked it but it had quite a few issues. Was an SL with series 2 Calais interior minus rear headrests (I was chasing some at the time), power windows and mirrors as well. The gearbox was apparently in great shape having recently been rebuilt at the time. I drove it from Hornsby to Newy no worries, then after about a week, driving it normally and not being a ****, 2nd became harder to select and 3rd wasn't so easy, probably just synchro's. Had the usual rust around the front window, paint on the roof was all crow footed around the back right corner, about half a meter square patch. The hollowed "high flow" cat as mentioned, aircon had been ripped out. The back window hadn't been fitted properly so it leaked bad, and there was a fair bit of rust around the sill when I popped it out. That's about all I can think of, and it would have all been sorted by now if I kept the car, but yeah, there was some work to do. Loved the fact it was manual but, much more fun to drive. Would love for a T5 conversion to fall in my lap for the Calais, if I ever get financial enough to go EFI I'll be looking to get a manual box to back it.

Last edited by Waughy; 22-01-14 at 12:31.
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Old 18-03-08, 14:36   #7
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well looks good in the pics.
yeah the calais would be nice with a manual def do it if you can.
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Old 18-03-08, 14:52   #8
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I've been looking, not much I can afford to look at though, lol. What did the VL's have behind the carby 8's? Was it the M21 or did they get a 5 speed?
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Old 18-03-08, 18:38   #9
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hey champ i really love this colour , same as my old one
i havent seen this car around at all
keep with it its getting there now, what colour are you spraying the lowerhalf? i recomend a darker grey which i did aqnd looked alot better
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Old 19-03-08, 06:47   #10
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If you mean the maroon, that's my old VL that I wish I didn't sell about 4 years ago. My current VL is the one in the first post, haven't had it out a great deal as it's not my daily and it had some things to sort that kept it off the road for a while, like a shot harmonic balancer. The lower half is being resprayed the original dark grey, the door moulds are quite faded and it's getting a new front bar so doing the whole lower half. Just need to sort the chrome strips, some of them are shot, the front section on the passenger rear door is missing, so I'm looking at going the stick on D moulds, they look good and seem to be the best way to go without selling my kids, lol. Once I get it back (hopefully in the next week or 2), I'll get it out from time to time, mostly weekends, maybe a work run once a week to keep the oil moving. Got some bits for the front suspension to go in as well, tie rod ends, lower ball joints and radius rod bushes. I eventually want to replace all the bushes as most seem shot or close to it, expected with 294xxx on the clock.


If anyone knows of the maroon VL's whereabouts I'd be interested to hear about it, I had advertised it on a few forums, can't remember which one I sold it through now. probably had a couple of owners since I sold it, maybe even scrapped by now, hope not, with it's few faults it was still a nice car. think it ended up in Sydney.

Last edited by Waughy; 26-03-08 at 07:35.
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Old 06-05-08, 09:11   #11
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Finally got it back last night. Excellent job, the new style seal suits it and looks good, can easily see there won't be any water getting caught under it. Hopefully it won't rust for a while, if ever again, last VL I had done with factory style seal lasted 6 months before it started to rust again. Great job on the paint match, they ended painting the whole roof too, so a bit less to do when I get the funds for a full respray. New aircon compressor as well so it's nice and cold with the air on, not that it's needed right now.
Pics by the weekend. Was good to get in and drive it too after waiting so long.
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Old 17-05-08, 11:32   #12
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Ok, here's the new look, seal is a perfect fit and looks good IMO, not the same as the factory kit but at least this will stop water getting in and delay, if not prevent any future rusting. The car is currently on stands in the garage, tomorrow I'll be starting on replacing radius rod bushes as well as sway bar mounts and link pins. I've got some lower ball joints and tie rod ends as well, I might fit them if I can get the tooling to do the ball joints. Then onto the rear end to sort the handbrake, it's not working too well and sounds like it might be dragging a bit when going slow, I'll know what's going on shortly.
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Last edited by Waughy; 17-05-08 at 11:36.
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Old 19-05-08, 06:35   #13
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Well spent a few hours yesterday under the front pulling the steering apart. Tie rod ends and ball joints are shot, boots split, left ball has been replaced at some stage so hopefully the new one will still press in as I can't afford exchange control arms. Worst part was getting the front radius rod bushes out, they were a bitch for me. Just need to find someone local to do the balls without robbing me blind like a few places try to around here, probably should do the control arm mount bushes too. Then it's all back together and hopefully a better feeling in the steering, I'll know in a week hopefully.
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Old 31-05-08, 10:52   #14
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Front end all back together and wheel alignment done, not overly happy. Steering is definitely tighter but still get the pulling in the opposite direction when taking bends and corners. Going to get an inspection at Pedders next week if I can get it in so see what they say. Had a fair bit of shudder on some corners too but that seems to have settled so I'm thinking air in the power steering from me moving the wheels back and forth without the pump running, fluid is a milky sort of colour too, not transparent as the fluid usually is so I'll look at dumping and replacing it to be sure it's all good.
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Old 31-05-08, 10:55   #15
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Old 31-05-08, 11:01   #16
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New ball joints, and the VY power window switch. Due to it's size, the centre console needs to be modified as the hole isn't long enough, plus the switch hits the floor before being properly seated, as the pic shows with it not in properly. Thinking of getting a VY centre console, cutting out the bit the switch locks into and fixing that to the VL console, it'll lock the switch in better, plus it'll sit up a bit so shouldn't foul on the floor, only needs to go up about 5-10mm so won't look out of place.
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Last edited by Waughy; 10-07-08 at 23:20.
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Old 23-07-08, 07:28   #17
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Not much done lately, just been tidying it here and there and just enjoying driving it when I can get it out. It's in getting a new handbrake cable, old one was stretched about 2 inches more than the new one. Also found the lever on the left side for the hand brake was broken, the pin that holds it missing, so that side wasn't really doing anything, got new parts through holden so should work properly now. Look like getting some decent $$$ back with my captiva lease after they did the reconciliation, that and hopefully a decent tax return might see some headers and exhaust on the car in the next few weeks, should make a fair improvement. Modified the centre console some more to get the window switch to fit, sits sweetly now.
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Old 24-08-08, 20:06   #18
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does the power window switch just plug in? and work 100%?
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Old 24-08-08, 20:53   #19
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I used a loom from a busted VL switch, and had to figure out the wiring and mod the switch assy to fit the space, plus the hole in the console had to be opened up a little, but once sorted yes it works 100%, even the switches lighting up. The rear window lockout isn't used as there's already the factory switch under the dash. You could make the one on the switch assembly work if you want to. Thanks to JET-6 for supplying the VL wiring. The VY/VZ switches have no wires, the loom from the car side plugs directly into it. I went with the VL wiring so it can easily be plugged in and removed if ever needed. You can just cut the VL plug on the car side and splice wires to the switch if you want, but could be a pain if you ever need to remove the console.

Also with the car, I replaced the rear sway bar link pins and D bushes, and fitted a 2-1/2" cat back system, sounds a little bit better. tax return not as good as I hoped, plus it needs a new water pump, and rego has snuck up on me so headers and high flow cat will be next year sometime. Looking at a power steering rack too so that'll slow the mods down a bit more cash wise. Currently has no front bar after some person backed into it and busted it up quite bad. Have another one, hopefully fit it this week. I just want to drive it, has been a while now.
Just looking at the old pics above, I miss the 5 speed. Wish I could convert the calais, 5L 5 speed would be awesome. See what happens when it's rebuild time and how much cash I have.

Last edited by Waughy; 24-08-08 at 21:01.
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Old 18-09-08, 10:57   #20
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Picked up some Genie headers on the weekend, good nick, just need a clean and paint and they'll go on. Thinking of going a 3 inch cat back system and ditching the 2-1/2 inch, depends on funds. After that nice V8 note, not a power machine and not driven much so any loss in power and/or economy won't bother me too much. going to re-register it to keep it from the pits and the rack will have to wait, so it won't be out as much as I'd like it to be over the next few months. I'll get some pics of the headers when they're clean and ready to fit.
Replaced the water pump too so no more leaks, had fun doing it but, snapped one bolt, snapped the easy out, got it sorted but.

Last edited by Waughy; 18-09-08 at 10:59.
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Old 10-10-08, 16:14   #21
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Well I finally got the Genie's sandblasted and have painted them up, just waiting on gaskets, plus I'm yet to tackle the task of removing the factory setup. Got a high flow cat to replace the old one that had fallen apart internally and was causing the car to run quite bad. Hopefully in about a month I'll be driving it again, will still need a steering rack and rear trailing arms then I'll be happy with the car until I can afford a respray and engine rebuild. Thanks to my uncle who got the pipes sand blasted for me, I painted them this afternoon with heat proof paint, will wait and see how it goes. Took pics before I attempt to fit them as I'm sure to scratch the $hit out of them.

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Last edited by Waughy; 25-07-11 at 12:58.
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Old 28-10-08, 14:37   #22
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Finally got the headers and cat fitted, also found the power steering leak was actually a loose fluid pipe conenction, all sorted there. Steering is still a bit "funny" ie: loose so I'll still be getting it looked at. As for the exhaust, I can see why the local exhaust bloke wanted $200 to fit them, but I managed to do it all on my own and the experience was good. Car now runs and sounds sweet, I'm very pleased with the result. Pics shortly.
Hmmm, just going through the accessory codes to find out what paint the bumpers actually are (thought they were MX, but looks like they Asteroid trim), and found my car has a Victorian state code. I'm going to have to see if there's any way at all to trace the history of the car, or as much as I can.
Starter motor needs to be repalced too now, pulled it off to make room to fit the keft header, all I did was clean the muck off the case and refit it. Now when I turn the key it either does nothing, works, or struggles to kick in. Pretty annoying, and I'm not keen driving it now in case it decides it doesn't want to kick over at all. About $180 for a new, compact design starter, get rid of the bulky thing that's most likely factory, same as everything I've replaced on the car so far.

Last edited by Waughy; 09-11-08 at 07:20.
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Old 09-11-08, 07:16   #23
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Pics as promised. Ignore the rest of the mess, I plan to tidy it all up one day, most likely when the engine comes out as I reckon that won't be too far away. Thinking I'll need a resonator as well, was ok at first but now it's been on a couple of weeks I'm beginning to notice a bit of drone around 70 k's. Otherwise it sounds pretty good. The emissions valve works too, but when the car is warm and the vac backs off to let it open, it isn't opening fully and the butterfly rattles, bit annoying. Pulled the hose off at the thermal switch on the front of the manifold and blanked it off, so I can quickly reconnect it if I ever get caught out.






The new cat in place.




Not much room between pipe and steering rack.

Last edited by Waughy; 25-07-11 at 12:59.
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Old 15-03-09, 18:50   #24
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It's looking good now waughy.
How about some Fuel Injectors and an Autronic??? That would make it rock along!
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Old 15-03-09, 19:55   #25
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Thanks mate. It's slowly getting to where I'd like it. 2 biggest things I want to do is rebuild the motor with some minor mods, and respray it, that's the ultimate goal before I can say I'm happy. Injectors? What are they? Every now and then I get the urge to inject the motor, or replace it outright, but in the end I'm pretty sure I'll keep it carby, looking to stay as close to original as I can without too many out there mods.
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