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    Thread: An average guy's '76 Rolls Royce ownership experience thread...

    1. Member drecian's Avatar
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      01-06-2017 04:03 AM #1
      I know many of you have been following ValveCoverGasket’s 67 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow build thread here,
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...project-thread
      so I thought some might be curious about what owning a car like that would be for an average Joe like me, who would be farming out most of the work. I have a habit of rambling on when I have a keyboard in front of me, so apologies in advance, and I’ll try to break up walls of text into separate posts.

      A little about me first:
      I always liked cars as a kid, and spent most of my time playing with matchbox toys.
      My parents were never into cars, just buying a new midsize hatch every 5 years, so when I was 8 years old and my father brought home a cream 1979 Silver Shadow, my mind was blown. Electric seats, walnut dash, map lights! It was nothing like the Nissan Pulsar or Mazda 626 we had.
      I loved that car and have some of my fondest memories riding around in it.



      Of course, not being a car guy, the old man bought it because it was the thing to do in the mid 1990’s and he obviously thought it to be cheap enough, but maintaining a 20yr old Rolls Royce soon caught up with him. He would take it back to the authorized dealer for any little servicing item, and having only owned new cars, showed no understanding of the needs of aging cars and how spending even half an hour a week learning to tinker can save you many trips to a workshop for something simple like a dry choke linkage causing a high idle.

      Oil drip? RR dealer.
      New tires? RR dealer.
      Car care products? RR dealer.

      Look closely and you can see the K-Mart faux leather steering wheel cover he put on.


      I’m not sure if he expected the same $150 annual servicing requirements as his new Nissan Pulsar, but after a few years, he got fed up with the ongoing running costs and sold it. Being his only foray into the ‘car world’ it turned him off anything other than buying new cars. When I taught myself to change oil in the driveway years later, he would shake his head and yell “Cars are not toys, you’ll waste all your money.”

      Last edited by drecian; 01-06-2017 at 05:15 AM.
      Jeff

    2. Member drecian's Avatar
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      01-06-2017 04:19 AM #2
      Fast forward 20 years and various junky cars later, I was getting bored of the ratty MGB I had at the time thought I should finally get something nice (my DD was a 15yr old fleet special Ford fullsize sedan, cheap to run and dead nuts reliable).

      Here was the list of candidates.



      Now I’m not rich by any means, I work an office job earning the national average wage, so a RR wasn’t even on my radar until I was going through childhood photos and found a few snaps of that cream Silver Shadow 2. It was 2015 and I had been following ValveCoverGasket’s RR built thread out of curiosity, reminiscing on my childhood.

      I looked at market prices, which appeared to be within my budget and that was it; I had decided my next car would be a Silver Shadow. I was getting married in Oct 2017 and that was my deadline; I would drive my own Rolls Royce to my wedding.

      I joined the RROC forums to see how bad servicing costs could really be, and settled on a realistic spend of $3000 AUD annually on regular servicing, with an extra allowance for once off repairs. Sounded like a lot in one hit, but doing the sums, it’s $60 a week, and as you car guys (and girls) will understand, it’s not hard to find a new $100 gadget to buy every few weeks for a toy car. Gauges, suspension bushings, misc trim bits, exhaust, there’s always something.

      So I started trawling club and online classifieds.
      Classic car shopping is always a minefield, with asking prices varying as much as quality, and often not correlated. Down under, the going rate for a Shadow is $30k+AUD for a mint car, $20k for a rough around the edges but solid driver, and a bit of a crapshoot for anything less.

      I was holding out for a nice local $25k example with good paint and solid mechanicals, but after nothing really coming up for a while, I kept coming back to a local listing that had been up for a few months for a 76 UK import with 135k miles on the clock. It was $18k and all the ad said was “Money spent in key areas, paint peeling from early restoration” with some general shots of the car.











      I don't like brown, but noticed that it looked like a gold pearl, so after drafting up a set of questions for the seller, I gave the number a call.
      Jeff

    3. Member drecian's Avatar
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      01-06-2017 04:38 AM #3
      The seller was an old car guy in his 70’s? selling off his collection, including an old Lotus and Alfas.
      He had the car for 11 years and had only put 2000 miles on it in that time, only really taking it out every few months for a club run. Despite this, he still had it serviced every 2 years, and the car got whatever it needed. I have a thing about test drives and see them as sorta pointless unless you know the model of car well enough to feel anything unusual. Anything major you can feel from the passenger seat anyway, so the seller took me for a drive, with nothing to report other than the expected floaty ride and creaking leather.

      The paint makes it a decent 10footer, but I was OK with it I guess and the I’ll let the pics speak for themselves. The seller claimed it was repainted in the 1990's in the original color, but adding the gold roof. He said the paint was like that when he got it and it hadn't got any worse in the last decade he owned it. Poking around found no rust and the paint had the usual amount of filler for a good quality paint job. Where the paint was still good, it was very good. There was no orange peel and the finish was glassy, clearly quality work, adhesion issues aside.













      I asked where he had it serviced, as the local RR specialist retired in 2014 (with many discussions within the RR club of “What now?!””.
      It turns out the guy that ran the RR workshop was a school chum of the seller, and was servicing it from his home, with all the tools that he took when he closed up shop.
      I arranged to speak to him, and pending an inspection a week later, settled on a price of $17000 AUD.

      The inspection report came back with the following comments (I’ve left out all the “… checked, OK items):
      - A/C cooling down on efficiency
      - Left rear window switch intermittent (OK from driver’s switch)
      - Steering shaft joint boot torn
      - Front lower suspension bushes showing wear (oil affected, not critical)
      - Oil seepage on lower part of engine
      With a conclusion that the vehicle was in above average mechanical condition for age and mileage.

      My biggest concern was the hydraulic system, where you hear horror stories of $15k rebuild bills.
      Very briefly, the hydraulics operate the brakes and self-leveling suspension as follows: two camshaft driven pumps pressurize the brake fluid (more on that later) into accumululator spheres to a few thousand psi, then pressing the brake pedal opens valves from the accumulator to the brake calipers.



      Simple in theory, but lots of little valves and switches to stick, fail and generally go wrong with something like 14 rubber hoses for the system. The inspection showed some replacement hoses had been fitted, so at least it had not been neglected, which is where things seize and cause big bills.

      I took it with a grain of salt as the mechanic was a friend of the owner, but he seemed to speak truthfully about the car and we had a good chat about all things old cars.
      I made sure to ask of whether he would agree to continue servicing the car, which he was happy to. His recommendation was change the oil, drive it for a few months and take note of little things, then call him to arrange a service to address anything that I had noticed.

      I transferred the funds and picked up the car a week later. I was running late and the seller had a medical appointment, so handover was brief with a quick run down of operations and a few receipts. My fiance left and I found an old service station to familiarize myself with the controls.





      Next up, first impressions and service history (with costs).
      Jeff

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      01-06-2017 05:09 AM #4
      Awesome - thanks for taking the time to document this!

      Cheers - Mike

    5. Member mhjett's Avatar
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      01-06-2017 06:49 AM #5
      In for reading later.
      2008 VW Jetta SE 2.5
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      01-06-2017 07:35 AM #6
      Cool story so far
      Quote Originally Posted by alleghenyman
      Is it weird that I want to cram into the back seat in cycling clothes and feel the mechanical vibrations as you tear around the Outback?

    7. 01-06-2017 07:45 AM #7
      Definitely in for more stories about this car. Thanks for posting the stories/pics so far. Congrats!

      Joe C.

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      01-06-2017 07:51 AM #8
      Very cool! I was in a similar situation and had a chance to cross a V12 BMW E38 off my bucket list, so I did. It was an expensive couple of years, but not terrible. Looking forward to hearing more!
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      01-06-2017 08:31 AM #9
      Subscribed!
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    10. 01-06-2017 09:10 AM #10
      Great thread so far, looking forward to more.

    11. Member drecian's Avatar
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      01-06-2017 09:17 AM #11
      First impressions:
      Driving out of the seller’s property after the flurry of paperwork, my first thought was,
      “I just bought a Rolls Royce!”
      followed by,
      “I really hope this isn’t a ticking time-bomb.”
      and moments later,
      “This thing handles like a sack of crap!”

      The suspension and steering are tight, and the tires aren’t too old, but man, this car hates corners. The seller lived in the mountains, and those speed advisory signs just before sharp bends? Those that nobody ever follows, not even coaches? Yeah, you want to follow them in the RR. I'm guessing it would understeer at the limit, but I'm sure I'd be rolling around the footwell well before then. I guess all my old cars have been somewhat sporty...
      The steering has almost no feel; virtually no change in resistance no matter what the front end is doing. Think 90’s arcade games.

      This is what negotiating a roundabout faster than 10mph feels like from the driver's seat:



      The brakes; for all the hype; are no better than ‘normal’ brakes and about what you’d expect for a 5500lb car. Because the brake pedal actually opens the valve allowing high pressure brake to the calipers, there’s no feel, just a light spring pressure. The early cars incorporated a master cylinder plumbed to one of the rear brake pistons for feel, but that was deleted way before my car.

      The engine is a 6.75L/410CI pushrod V8, rated for something like 220hp and gobs of torque, backed by a GM TH400 3 speed auto trans. Not fast, but not dangerous slow either, and I think the acceleration numbers are on par with a Prius.

      And you sit up HIGH, for a car anyway. The tires are huge, 235/70 15, that’s like a RAV4's size, and this is just for car, You sit eye to eye with most soft-roader SUV’s and not far off a Range Rover or LandCruiser.
      This, together with the handling makes the car feel huge. It’s no bigger than a modern full-size sedan, but on the road it feels like you are taking up the whole lane.

      The interior is as you’d expect, all the best materials at the time with very little plastic. Most of the switchgear is chromed steel, and everything operates with a solid click.
      The seats are closer to chairs. Very softly sprung with zero lateral support. Imagine a bench seat with the center cut out and that’s about how much bolstering there is.

      It’s not a quiet as the nameplate would suggest. Sounds and noises are present, you can hear the V8 somewhere in the distance and combined with tire and wind noise, it's like a gentle hum. All the noise is there, just together and damped without any one sound louder than another combining together as white noise, so you tend toignore after a few minutes. It’s almost like they just threw a whole lot of sound deadening in and called it a day, rather than being designed with NVH in mind like modern cars.
      To put it into perspective, my ’99 Ford Fairlane is quieter on the freeway is all aspects apart from wind noise, but because everything else in the Ford is so quite, it makes the wind noise really stand out. It's a really strange sensation.

      I did not get many receipts with the car at all, and there’s obviously a chunk missing from the middle, but you get the idea. I thought at least having the most recent records were the most important, considering the seller only drove it 200miles annually.


      Here’s a summary (prices in AUD)

      September 2005 (when he purchased it)
      - Drain & clean brake fluid reservoir
      - Remove & replace rear ride height leveling hoses
      - Remove rear brake calipers, install new pistons, seals & pads
      - Flush hydraulic system
      - Repair drivers door wiring
      - Lubricate door mechanisms
      TOTAL PARTS & LABOR: $2300

      September 2013
      - Remove and complete rebuild TH400 transmission
      TOTAL PARTS & LABOR: $3500

      December 2013 (indie RR shop)
      - Inspect exhaust & oil leak
      - Fabricate and weld Y-pipe exhaust section (the bit connecting the two manifolds to the rest of the exhaust)
      - Remove and machine exhaust manifold
      - Dismantle rear ride height hydraulic rams, install new seals etc
      - Flush hydraulic system
      - Oil & filter change
      - New spark plugs, a few new HT leads
      - Timing and mixture tune
      TOTAL PARTS & LABOR: $2900

      October 2015 (retired RR tech working from home)
      - Inspect exhaust, tighten manifolds
      - Cut out and fabricate Y-pipe (again?!) *shrug*
      - Test charging system for reported discharge
      - Repair indicator switch wiring
      - Timing & mixture tune
      - Adjust transmission
      TOTAL PARTS & LABOR: $1000

      If I interpolate and assume that's half the receipts, we can call it $20k over 10 years. So looking at what was actually done and allowing for the missing receipts and other once-off’s like the trans rebuild, my initial budget of $3k per year sounds about on the ball, but time will tell.



      Next up, digging in and learning to live with it.
      Jeff

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      01-06-2017 09:41 AM #12
      Excellent read!

    13. Member drecian's Avatar
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      01-06-2017 10:07 AM #13
      In the meantime, I had essentially swapped my ratty MGB for a clean Mini.
      I had done some measurements prior to picking up the RR and rearranged some storage in my 19’ x 19’ garage to allow both cars to fit in.



      The car is 17' long, so there's about 11 inches between the bumpers and the garage doors front and rear, so parking has to be spot on (see the blue tape on the floor). Luckily the RR hood is front hinged, so engine bay access is from the sides. It’s tight, but the doors can still open to the first detent on the wall side and almost fully on the other.

      I picked it up 1st Oct, a saturday morning. My fiance DJ's weddings on the side, and had a gig that night, so I got in a good night of guilt free car time.

      My car didn’t come with a water temp gauge from the factory, so that was the very first thing to avoid cooking an expensive and hard to get motor. The early Silver Shadows came with a temp gauge, but due to numerous complaints from overcautious drivers about the needle reaching 2/3rds of the Normal scale, RR deleted it in favour of a coolant level sensor and overheat alarm (known as the your engine is toast alarm because it comes on too late). Good heavens! A RR shouldn’t overheat anyway!
      I’m naturally lazy, and have understood that the less I disturb things, the less I will break them, so I ordered a thermocouple style temp gauge. $150 and no thread tapping and no water sensors mean less possible future leaks.



      The sender goes under a thermostat housing bolt and it gets power from a 12v cigarette plug, so no hacking into the wiring a letting the smoke out. The hardest part was finding a firewall grommet to poke the wire through.
      The gauge reads 8*c low compared to an IR temp gun, but it’s more to provide an early warning something’s not right. Velcro's under the dash, it's simple, cheap, and nothing more than what I need.





      An interesting point is how many redundancies and failsafes RR designed into these cars. The thermostat has a row of lead pellets around the edge, with a melting point of 120*c/250*f. If the thermostat sticks shut, once the water gets hot enough, the plugs melt out and it acts as a permanently open thermostat.



      After fitting the gauge, I started it and the RPM jumped way up and stayed there. I thought to myself, "C'mon! 12hrs and one bolt and I've broken it?!."
      I frantically jumped on the RROC forums and learnt (I think) that the auto-choke defaults to ON with high idle when cold, with a solenoid pulling it OFF CHOKE when it warms up through a series of springs, lever tabs and throttle cams. Turns out these lever tabs were a little dry and the springs weren't strong enough to pull the choke off once it was warm.
      A few drops of motor oil and all was good; fast idle on start up, then decreasing choke as it warmed.

      This is what I meant earlier by tinkering with it for half an hour once a week ensuring linkages were free would avoid things like this. I would not be surprised if the same thing happened to my dad and he took it to the RR dealership for a few hours of RR priced. 'diagnostic fee' for a few drops of oil.


      I drove it to work (10 miles each way) over the next week and got used to the size, and over the fear of hitting every car around me in traffic. Checked the fluids lots to see if it was drinking/burning/leaking anything, which it wasn't.

      Looking over that hood and listening to the creaking leather makes you feel a million bucks. Everyone looks at the car in traffic. I’m sure half of them don’t know what it is and is just curious about the car that looks a little too big.

      Driving a RR you really have to try to be nice so you don’t get labeled the d-bag in the Rolls. Wave when people let you in, letting others merge/pass etc. One surprising thing I noticed was that people were also willing to play nice in traffic, as I assumed I would be thought of as ‘that jerk’

      People stop to ask about it, usually asking whether my dad knows I took his car. Otherwise mostly ‘cool car’ comments, nothing negative. Again, I'm sure most people just see a cool old car with chrome bumpers.

      My boss saw me pull in one day and joked that he was paying me too much. I told him that if he paid me a proper wage, I wouldn’t have to drive a 40 year old brown jalopy and we had a good laugh.



      Next up, trying to find the room to get to those pre-inspection issues
      Last edited by drecian; 01-06-2017 at 10:37 AM.
      Jeff

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      01-06-2017 10:11 AM #14
      I am fan of RR threads.

      If you do decide to do paintwork, LMK and I can advise about pretreatment so you don't get bubbles.
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      01-06-2017 11:16 AM #15
      Great write-up! Looks like a solid driver for sure, I haven't seen one around my way for a little while unfortunately...just a bunch of the newer 90s models.

      Quote Originally Posted by drecian View Post
      My boss saw me pull in one day and joked that he was paying me too much.
      I got this by my old employer when I had my C6 Z06....told her I paid less than her Passat then her **** eating grin went away.

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      01-06-2017 12:31 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by drecian View Post
      This is what negotiating a roundabout faster than 10mph feels like from the driver's seat:



      .
      That looks like a hell of an interesting comparison test. Link?
      Typical forum guy with busted third-hand cars.
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      01-06-2017 12:58 PM #17
      OP, you have a very unique car and a hell of a gift for writing. Thanks for sharing!

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      01-06-2017 01:08 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by drecian View Post
      In the meantime, I had essentially swapped my ratty MGB for a clean Mini.
      I had done some measurements prior to picking up the RR and rearranged some storage in my 19’ x 19’ garage to allow both cars to fit in.


      It that a real 1275 or AUS spec Mini with 1275 front end?

      Nice cars

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      01-06-2017 01:30 PM #19
      Enjoyable read!
      Driving While Awesome Podcast. Give it a listen.
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    20. Member drecian's Avatar
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      01-06-2017 11:41 PM #20
      Thanks for all the comments guys, I didn't think there'd be that much interest in a guy fumbling with an old car compared to all the build threads here on TCL

      Quote Originally Posted by 88c900t View Post
      That looks like a hell of an interesting comparison test. Link?
      Here's the roadtest a few posts down:
      https://drive-my.com/en/social/dashb...er-Shadow.html

      Turns out there's not a whole lot of photo's out there of them getting all squirrelly and crossed up.


      Quote Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
      It that a real 1275 or AUS spec Mini with 1275 front end?
      All the later Aus made Mini's had the square front. Mine is an 'S', which is one up from the base, with the 998cc motor. It's got twin-SU's a cam and an exhaust, so it can get out of its own way, just.
      It's my 'let's wrench without stressing because I can buy new parts locally the next day' car.
      Jeff

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      01-06-2017 11:56 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by drecian View Post

      An interesting point is how many redundancies and failsafes RR designed into these cars. The thermostat has a row of lead pellets around the edge, with a melting point of 120*c/250*f. If the thermostat sticks shut, once the water gets hot enough, the plugs melt out and it acts as a permanently open thermostat.


      Only $73 for one of these. Thought they were be way more.

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      01-07-2017 12:37 AM #22
      A RR and a Clubman? Nice! I'm enjoying reading about your RR adventures.
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    23. Member drecian's Avatar
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      01-07-2017 12:50 AM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Harv View Post
      Only $73 for one of these. Thought they were be way more.
      My exact thoughts when I price bits up. Usually followed by "OK, so there's RR tax, but a thermostat is a thermostat, right?"
      Such is life, an I knew this wouldn't be champagne on a beer budget.

      So, one week (9th Oct 2016) and a hundred or so miles under the belt and what has the car told me?

      Fuel mileage is bad. 27L/100km / 8.5mpg bad; and that’s babyfooting it around. Based on the price of premium gas here, that works out to around $60 per 100 miles.
      I’m hoping that I can squeeze a few more mpg’s out of it with a tune.

      The whole “A/C cooling down on efficiency” line on the inspection report had me stumped. It seemed to work great, even better than my fleet special DD, but then again it runs an old Harrison A6 compressor the size of a shoebox.

      I still haven’t figured out the HVAC controls beyond really cold air, really hot air, and fresh ventilation.
      Here are the knobs:



      And here is the HVAC chapter from the owners’ manual











      I can imagine chauffeurs all around the world scratching their heads. I’m sure it doesn’t help when Sir or Madam wants “some cold air, but not too much, Jeffrey”.

      Being a Shadow 1, the HVAC is a simple ‘more cold/less cold’ system, rather than the climate control in later cars. The theory of operation is turning the knobs (6 positions left-right) selects the temperature of the air, and pulling the knobs out (4 positions full in-full out) selects the quantity of air (but not when more than the second level of ‘cold’ is selected, it does nothing then).
      Clear as mud huh? But oh, there’s also a 4 position blower fan switch for the twin fans if the quantity is not enough…?

      The center position is fresh air, but the first click to cold seems really cold and the first click to heat seem really hot. We had a few hot 35*c days, so I used the A/C until I got too cold, then opened the windows to thaw out. Vice-versa on the cold mornings, which was fresh but actually pretty pleasant.

      Every time you move the switches, there’s a little flurry of servo’s buzzing away under the dash opening and closing flaps, blending and redirecting air. It assumes to know when you will want fresh and recirculated air. I read they screech and squeal when they need greasing. Mine don't. *sigh of relief*
      For further detail, ValveCoverGasket’s thread has a good writeup of these little servos and their insides.


      The car had always started, but does a thing I’ve had with older cars where the starter struggles to get through the first compression stroke, but then spins quite quickly as expected.

      The dash has an ammeter to show whether the battery is charging or draining, which is always nice on old British cars with factory Lucas smoke. This has always read as expected, but one time, I went into the supermarket on the way home from work, and on my return, it wouldn’t quite turn over.
      I immediately thought to that little service receipt line:
      ”Test charging system for reported discharge”, how it was never mentioned to have been rectified, and dollar signs rolled through my eyes, but not in a good way.
      I jump started it from my battery pack; with the battery being trunk mounted (because racecar) behind a velcro cover making it a 20 second effort.



      Common sense kicked in and I thought since the seller never really drove it much maybe the battery just needs a good charge to top it off. I got home, pulled the battery and saw the water lever was low, just exposing the top of the plates. 5 minutes later, battery topped up and back in the car and onto a maintenance charger.

      I pulled it off the charger the next morning to start it and it was much better. The starter did the ‘slower through the first compression’ thing, but as least I know that’s normal and it spun right up.
      Cool. I don’t have to spend $250 on a new battery right now. I park next to a power outlet, so hooking the charger up isn’t a hassle. Looks like it’ll just be a little thing to monitor to see if it gets worse and set some money aside if it needs it.

      And it leaks oil. A few drops overnight after driving, a little less when sitting. Not sure at this stage where from as the sump has a good few mm of gunk all over it. I think one of the receipts mentioned compressed rocker cover gaskets as a side-note.

      I’ll jack it up and have a look better sometime.

      Last edited by drecian; 01-07-2017 at 12:54 AM.
      Jeff

    24. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      01-07-2017 01:06 AM #24
      incredible that your dad owned one back in the day as well

      also it sounds like you bought the ideal shadow.. i do have to ask though, what are shipping costs like to get something from the west coast to AUS?
      if shadows go for that kind of money you might well be able to save some buying something on the west coast and sending it over, especially as RHD ones here dont command a premium.

      are you on the RROA (i think thats the acronym for the austrailian club) forums? theyre public as i recall and have some good hidden gems of tech threads on them

      if you do end up needing to do any major (or major-ish) brake work, i think its not so horrible if you have the means to get the thing in the air. theres a few pages of our build thread detailing the soft line replacement (20 or 22 in total on our early car) and all but a few were fairly straightforward


      couple other thoughts -

      - for oil leaks check all the little relief holes midway up each cylinder bore on the outside of the block. seems most have leaky oil orings where the liners sit and seep some oil there.
      - the front cover also leaks - and is likely whats caused some of the suspension bushings to get soft, ours is like that too.
      - i think your mpg is spot on, from reading RROC folks claim 9-11 and running ac all the time i think around 9 isnt bad, i think i put it in our thread but i remember seeing something like that after extended cruising.
      - rocker covers are easy to do at home if you feel like attempting it, i did those on ours fairly early in the build thread, get the later turbo bentley rubber gaskets if you do pull them.
      - does yours have the semi-truck sized starter? ours does, and its horribly inefficient, and runs about like you described. i remember seeing somewhere online a modern compact gear reduction starter someone was making that fit these... thats going on ours if this original one kicks the bucket
      - also the handling its very "stately" hah but i remember reading folks were prone to run the tires waay way too low of pressure as thats what was recommended in the manual for the original old school tires. running ours at nearer to 40psi helped a bit. you can also install a bigger front sway bar from the later turbo cars to stiffen things further... and its likely that the springs have started to sag as well. apparently they all get that way, especially the rears. ours need replacing and im told the rears are fairly easy to swap
      - RR really botched the coolant gauges in the early cars... ours is all over the map being a first run car with the sensor at the hottest point of the motor, later cars used the same gauge and same sensor but placed it near the t-stat... so of course it showed slightly cooler, but still erratic readings. every time ive probed ours its right at the t-stat temp on the housing, but man the gauge can get scary idling in traffic.


      cant wait to see more updates! really curious how you get on with it, and we can live vicariously through you enjoying it in the sun during our cold rainy winter here
      Last edited by ValveCoverGasket; 01-07-2017 at 01:15 AM.

    25. Member drecian's Avatar
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      01-07-2017 02:10 AM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      incredible that your dad owned one back in the day as well

      also it sounds like you bought the ideal shadow.. i do have to ask though, what are shipping costs like to get something from the west coast to AUS?
      if shadows go for that kind of money you might well be able to save some buying something on the west coast and sending it over, especially as RHD ones here dont command a premium.

      are you on the RROA (i think thats the acronym for the austrailian club) forums? theyre public as i recall and have some good hidden gems of tech threads on them

      if you do end up needing to do any major (or major-ish) brake work, i think its not so horrible if you have the means to get the thing in the air. theres a few pages of our build thread detailing the soft line replacement (20 or 22 in total on our early car) and all but a few were fairly straightforward


      couple other thoughts -

      - for oil leaks check all the little relief holes midway up each cylinder bore on the outside of the block. seems most have leaky oil orings where the liners sit and seep some oil there.
      - the front cover also leaks - and is likely whats caused some of the suspension bushings to get soft, ours is like that too.
      - i think your mpg is spot on, from reading RROC folks claim 9-11 and running ac all the time i think around 9 isnt bad, i think i put it in our thread but i remember seeing something like that after extended cruising.
      - rocker covers are easy to do at home if you feel like attempting it, i did those on ours fairly early in the build thread, get the later turbo bentley rubber gaskets if you do pull them.
      - does yours have the semi-truck sized starter? ours does, and its horribly inefficient, and runs about like you described. i remember seeing somewhere online a modern compact gear reduction starter someone was making that fit these... thats going on ours if this original one kicks the bucket
      - also the handling its very "stately" hah but i remember reading folks were prone to run the tires waay way too low of pressure as thats what was recommended in the manual for the original old school tires. running ours at nearer to 40psi helped a bit. you can also install a bigger front sway bar from the later turbo cars to stiffen things further... and its likely that the springs have started to sag as well. apparently they all get that way, especially the rears. ours need replacing and im told the rears are fairly easy to swap
      - RR really botched the coolant gauges in the early cars... ours is all over the map being a first run car with the sensor at the hottest point of the motor, later cars used the same gauge and same sensor but placed it near the t-stat... so of course it showed slightly cooler, but still erratic readings. every time ive probed ours its right at the t-stat temp on the housing, but man the gauge can get scary idling in traffic.


      cant wait to see more updates! really curious how you get on with it, and we can live vicariously through you enjoying it in the sun during our cold rainy winter here
      I don't think I'd show any interest in these cars outside of a morbid curiosity if my dad didn't own one years ago.
      I've actually managed to track down his car, which is still kept locally. I entertained the thought of buying it back if it hits the market, but the SS2 climate control black-box voodoo scares me if it were to every go wrong.

      Shipping a car from Stateside to Oz would be around $4k I'm guessing. But we're pretty strict here on imports, so it would have to be totally factory spec, then have new Australian coded tires put on, so easily another few thousand. I'm sure there's already someone doing it, but interest, how much do RHD Shadows go for over there?

      I am indeed on the Australian RROC forums. They move a bit slower, but there is a lot of good info on there.

      I think garage space is my main issue for getting the car in the air; I can get my jack perpendicular to the car, but there's no room to swing the handle. My driveway is about a car-length before the gutter, so I have put it up on ramps there before. I've read through your thread several times, especially the hydraulic posts. My car has had new rear-subframe soft lines in the last decade, and the rat-trap to chassis soft-lines look brand new, so depending on what the tech suggests, I might do a few of them every year since it'll be having an annual hydraulic flush anyway.

      I'll poke around at the relief holes and see if I can find anything next time I'm in the shed (it's been 40*c this week). Last I checked the front of the motor was mostly dry, so the front cover should be OK, or not too bad. Most of the oil comes from the rear-main area, but some may be running down the block. I have looked at the rocker covers, but there's a whole lot of lines all over the place. I might dig in if I feel adventurous, but otherwise, since the RR tech has no overhead from working at home, I might just pay for an hour of his time (or a slab or beer) to get him to do it while the car is with him.

      I do have the huge starter, but it's goo to know there are gear reduction replacements out there if it ever craps out.

      My rear springs have sagged a bit, but it seems to ride on the height rams without complaint. It tucks juuust a little tire when it's been sitting a while, so it's not too bad for now.

      Regarding your temp gauge, I guess if it keeps bugging you, you could always run a later t-stat housing with the sender port.

      The sun is nice down here, but it's been over 38*c the past week, and I just don't trust old cars in the heat anymore.

      Jeff

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