Symptoms: Randomly doesn’t start. After anywhere between 30 seconds to 60 minutes (or longer), the injectors pulse once (click) and the fuel pump fires up for a few seconds. After this point, the car starts normally. Sometimes (less often) the engine stops whilst driving, followed by the above procedure of waiting for the “problem” to reset. ECU code retrieval (bridge pins 5 and 6 on the diagnostics connector under the dash – watch flashing engine light) reveals error code 46 (No Reference Signal while cranking). Problem seems worse after stopping the motor and trying to restart it, for about an hour or so afterwards.
The Problem: faulty Hall Effect sensor located in the distributor.
Info and some hints: VS (and probably VR and VN etc) Holden Commodores with V8 motor do not have a crank angle sensor on the front like the V6 ecotech. The only way the computer knows when to pulse the injectors and fire the electronic ignition is from the hall effect sensor in the distributor, which activates each time a gap in the hall rotor passes by it. Obviously the hall rotor has 8 gaps. Some tips: Dont muck around – remove the bonnet straight away. Grab some soft pillows to put on the engine so you can kneel on it – getting the distributor out is really tricky, because theres only a very small gap between the intake manifolds and the firewall. It does pull out though, although mine was really really stiff. Siemens don’t make the original hall sensor anymore, you can get a “universal” replacement from most good auto parts shops. You’ll need to drill the rivets out of the old sensor and attach the new one accurately in the right position, as well as solder/rewire it into the existing connector.
-update: you can get the exact replacement part from Altronics and probably Jaycar