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Maintaining your Aston Martin

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  • 13 Feb 2024 4:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    “Well, well, well, what do we have here, sir?” “It’s not what it looks like, officer, honest!”

    After a night in the cells and a forensic examination of the mystery substances, the charges were dropped.

    OK, maybe that part of the story is fiction, but the substance is very real and not as its maker intended.

    The symptom

    When I started researching 1970s Aston Martin V8s with a view to buying one, I soon discovered that ‘rotting from the inside out’ seems to be the norm. It’s no better illustrated than what happens to the front seats. Apparently, it’s fairly common to see ‘foam dandruff’ scattered around the base of the seats. It’s vacuumed up easily enough and otherwise not much of a nuisance.

    When I bought my car, it was no different. Although, I soon get fed up of vacuuming and tried to block up the spaces around the bottom of the seat backs to reduce, if not eliminate, the problem. Some spare leather, double-sided tape and non-permanent sealant helped, but only a little.

    I started to seek professional opinions, most of which coalesced around “you’ll have to re-cover the seats”. I was reluctant to replace the perfectly good leather when only foam rubber was needed (in my amateur opinion).

    Luckily, I have a mate who’s been upholstering cars for many years and indeed doing complete rebuilds to concours-winning standard.

    Enter Roger McCouat

    In addition to the foam dandruff problem, Roger was intrigued by the flat profile of the usually convex seat and back cushion fluting.

    Having expressed my view about retaining the leather, Roger’s response was “I’m sure I can do something. Leave it with me.”

    Two weeks later…

    The job was done. Two front seats looking like brand new.

    However, getting there was anything but simple.

    The good news was that both seat frames were in good condition and the side bolsters had retained much of their integrity. The bad news was the cushion foam had disintegrated to tiny pieces and in some areas nothing more than powder… three vacuum machine bags full of the stuff!

    To fix the problem, Roger unpicked the stitching of all 32 flutes to scrape out the residue material. At this point he discovered that my ‘non-permanent sealant’ was stuck fast (sorry Roger!). He then inserted modern (correct) foam and re-stitched, by hand, 64 feet of backing cloth. For our younger/non-UK readers, that’s almost 20 meters of tough hand stitching!

    Post-Mortem

    It seems that when my car’s seats were fitted with Vantage-esq head restraints in the 1980s, either the wrong foam and/or the wrong glue were used. If that wasn’t the cause, perhaps a bad batch of foam was the less likely culprit.

    Roger’s work also included fitting the correct support webbing which, combined with his cushion work, has resulted in seats which look good, do their job and don’t shed suspicious looking substances that might attract the attention of the law!

    And now for the evidence...


    Inserting the vacuum cleaner nozzle was the beginning of the long process of dismantling the seats

    Part of 3 vacuum cleaner bags full of rotten foam rubber

    Oh dear, yet more rotting foam


    Only the fixed straps and the side bolsters offered any 'support'

    The seat back looking the worse for (many years of) wear

    Thankfully, the 'barnacle' encrusted frames were in good condition.

    Anyone want to buy some secondhand, genuine(?) Aston Martin parts?

    Evidence m'lud!

    New and correct foam inserted then stitched into place by hand

    Fluting backing required 12m of hand stitching

    Lovely new Pirelli webbing in place

    Underside webbing

    Old and new. The leather was in fine fettle, but see how flat the flutes were before Roger worked his magic.


    Great workmanship that few people will get to see in the flesh (seat backs)

    Ta da!... some lovely 'new' seats

    The man himself tests his handiwork (thank you, Roger)

    And back where they belong... with no 'dandruff'!


    All but the last 2 photo are Roger's.


  • 19 May 2023 8:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Reproduced with the kind permission of the copyright owner Dayton Closser  May 2023

    It looks like to date no one else on the forums has covered this topic, so I thought I might as well.

    My background : I am an Aston Martin DB7 owner, and a grad student in electrical engineering at a prestigious school. I like technical things. As a disclaimer, I do NOT own any of the copyright to AMDS, I do NOT work for Aston Martin, and the information I am providing is in good faith, however, no warranties either expressed or implied will be granted, and I am not infallible. Information is as accurate as the people that have provided it to me are, which should be taken with a grain of salt. If there is any issue with any content of this post, please message me and it will be removed.

    My Journey:

    I  flew to Santa Barbara! I called 15+ dealers across North America, and even long-distance dialed England! I HAD to know more about the holy grail of Aston Martin ownership...no not the car, but the computer system it used! Plus, my DB7 was broken, and this was a good excuse as any. I picked the worst week between orientation at my new school, seeing a space launch, and Jury Duty, but it was my window of time and I took it!

    I flew to Santa Barbara! I called 15+ dealers across North America, and even long-distance dialed England! I HAD to know more about the holy grail of Aston Martin ownership...no not the car, but the computer system it used! Plus, my DB7 was broken, and this was a good excuse as any. I picked the worst week between orientation at my new school, seeing a space launch, and Jury Duty, but it was my window of time and I took it!

    My story takes place in several sagas, meeting different people. If you don’t care for a story, skip below for the nitty gritty technical details.

    Dr. Yvo:

    Ironically, after I bought my DB7 from a Youtuber who did a bunch of repair work to it, a lot was still broken on it. I wanted to learn more about the diagnostic trouble codes, and found that my Jaguar OBD scanner was not able to access all the data from the two ports. The body port was very mysterious, and it prompted me to look online for Aston specific tools.

    [214300%2F8195510%2Fmceclip0]

    I came across an eBay listing for an old WDS system, and wrote the seller (If interested, it is occasionally on eBay for around $2,000 USD). At first, I just wanted to buy it. However, the seller was also an Aston Martin owner of 3 DBs, and instead, he taught me a lot about how WDS works, and even sent me some source files to look at. His name was Dr. Yvo, a medical doctor from the Netherlands.

    He and I kept in touch over several weeks discussing the possibility of using a Vehicle Communication Interface (VCI) with WDS. At the time, I had no idea that the API is integrated into the GenRad (more on that below), and that a better option was just getting a license of AMDS. I already have much of the hardware, so I just wanted the software. Dr. Yvo said the only options were $10,000 “clones” from Taiwan (they actually aren’t, more on that later). None of the local Aston Martin dealers would sell me just the license/software, nor any of the hardware. The only way to get the whole kit was to buy it directly from Aston Martin at a price that rivals the cost of some used cars.

    [214300%2F8195511%2Fmceclip0]

    John Draper:

    During my request for a license key on the Aston Martin Technical hub, I received an e-mail from their Technical Support Engineer. I found his Linkedin profile, and it looks like John has been working for Ford and Aston Martin longer than I have been alive. In tradition with keeping Dr. Yvo up to date on my research, I sent him the following e-mail:

    17-04-2023 Email to Dr. Yvo

    ‘I just got off the phone with John Draper from Aston Martin's headquarters. I called him right at 8:00 am British Summer time, which is like 2am in the morning for me! I think I took him by surprise because when I got all detailed about the AMDS system, he asked, "have we met before?"


    Some of our assumptions were wrong though. He told me that AMDS1 is NOT based upon anything before, it is a "scripted" program which is built from the ground up. The reason they switched in 2007 from AM WDS was because the amount of modules they needed to support for DB9 was untenable. As well, the new system was NOT sold separately from the hardware. In short, the reason they advocate for buying the whole kit at $20,000 is because that is the only way you can get ALL the software. Additionally, the license key that is available is for renewal is for the newer AMDS2 system, which ONLY supports the DB11. Literally! The license online at 1,500 GBP is useless for older cars, and the AMDSB software package is only for those cars as well.
    They "scripted" custom apps for the other models of cars before it, basically, there's short-cuts on the desktop which launch dedicated apps for DB7, DB9, the Vanquish, etc. These apps are not a part of AMDS2, they are additions, completely separate. In some of the Taiwan "clones" screenshots, if you look carefully at the desktops, you can see the shortcut icons for these special apps. John told me there is no emulation or anything like that of the GDS3500, it's just an all new design. Likely, there aren't any wrappers, just direct APIs that communicate over the Bosch VCI.

    In 2016ish, all the dealers were asked to turn in their AMDS1 systems (which used the silver/black VCIS which are INCREDIBLY hard to find according to John) for a lucrative credit towards parts and supplies for newer models, and for newer inventories. John told me the older system is quite impossible to find because of this, and he said he wouldn't ask questions how if/ we happened to get our hands on one, but that if we did, to "hold onto it forever, as AMDS1 is quite useful" and doesn't require "a yearly license." Think of it like Jaguar's IDS V. 118ish, the latest, greatest version and edition of a bygone thing. We both reminisced about Bloxham where John worked as DB7s were built, and his father as well, in 1995. Afterwards, he had to attend a meeting just then, but I had so many more questions I wanted to ask, so I let him go to his meeting. Maybe he just wanted to get me off the phone because of all my questions, lol! But anyways, I got a good fifteen minutes with the world's AMDS expert though.

    I'll let you know how it goes when I meet with Bob. Wish me luck.’

    [214300%2F8195512%2Fmceclip0]


    JOHN DRAPER AT AM - DB7GT - SO PROBABLY.... 2003

     

     

    Dr. Yvo responded with a picture of John he found online and some comments, mostly wishing me luck. I was the only one in the world to fly out to Santa Barbara for AMDS. I so desperately wanted to see it in action.


    Bob Jarrett:

     

    During my extensive calls sweeping across the western and central United States, I had called practically every Aston Martin dealer from Texas to British Columbia, and heard the same replies from all of them. One dealer parts guy even admitted when I asked how to buy a copy of just the AMDS license/software, “I wouldn’t even know where to direct you.” The Aston Martin dealer network does not understand the software side of things, unfortunately.

     

    By accident screening for Aston dealers, I accidentally called Bob. Our call went something like this:

     

    “Hi there, is this Aston Martin of Santa Barbara? I’m looking for a tool.”

     

    “Hi, uh yes” a British accent responded.

     

    “I’d like to buy an AMDS.”

     

    “You can’t.” he sharply responded. “At least, not officially.”

     

    Bob and I found immediate ground. Here was a man who actually understood the tolls of my search, who knew how special AMDS is. He explained he got a copy of his from an Asian seller, which he thought was a clone at first but turned out to be a genuine system. I later learned that AMDS clones do NOT actually exist. The Taiwanese companies that produce the Toughbook laptops, the VCIs, and cables produce these systems in small batches of probably 500-1000 each time. However, considering that is probably more than all the Aston Martin dealers in the world, this obviously means there is extra inventory, which is why you can find AMDS from “unofficial” sources at around $10,000 USD. It is a total rip off of course, there is nothing about the system that costs that much to produce, other than Aston Martin ensuring the right to repair is all but impossible for the DIY community.

     

    Bob inspired me in our half hour chat to fly out and see his shop in-person. I was not too sure about it myself at first, buying a ticket to travel 1,500 miles to see how a computer system worked, but I had no other options at the time, and it was a good excuse to see the other coast of the United States when I had a little bit of free time. I flew out that very week, and told a local taxi cab driver, “take me to Bob Jarrett’s Aston Martin shop!” I bet that was the first time he EVER heard that.

     

    Much of what I know about AMDS comes from this encounter. Bob was a bit of a crusty old Englishman who had emigrated to the US in the 1980s. He was also very to the point and very colorful with language, calling the GenRad GDS3500 a bloody piece of s***. As he opened the AMDS special case, I watched it gleam with a shine. It was indeed the holy grail of Aston Martin. The VCI itself did NOT have any markings from Bosch, and was silver and metallic in color. I spent what little time I had in Santa Barbara looking over it thoroughly, taking notes, and watching Bob demonstrate what it could do. In short, Bob was super kind for giving his time for free. In fact, I may have overstayed my welcome, with questions upon questions, but I couldn’t help myself. He had what we all can only dream of having.

    With a heavy heart, I left Bob Jarrett’s of Santa Barbara for the beach to dip in the Pacific ocean and to catch my flight back. I forgot to mention, my same taxi cab driver took me on a brief tour of the coast. Highly recommend!

    Technical Outline:

    AM PDU:

    This is the tool that actually piqued my interest in Aston Martin diagnostic tools. I saw in my repair manual for the DB7 this strange looking contraption that looks like something from the Enterprise’s bridge on Star Trek. I have NEVER seen one in-person, so if you have one, feel free to upload pictures and content on yours. It is a real gem.

    [214300%2F8195515%2Fmceclip0]

    The crux of this unit is the Portable Diagnostic Unit, or PDU. It is computer driven, with several really awesome features, like monitoring throttle position. While I’ve read a lot of hatred for PDU, and how WDS is better, I do not know of a single diagnostic tool better suited to working with the older Series I 1995-1997 DB7s (Zytek), and the OBD-I cars, as Virage, (likely the Virage Lagonda/Lagonda Vignale), Vantage V8 V550/V600 Le Mans. This tool is the most feature functioned for these older cars.

    It also has my favorite feature which no newer tool I know of has, interfacing with the Valeo Air Conditioning System over the 3130-0030-01 VIA-PDU Cable! Of course, I’m from Texas, so A/C is a must!

    From the handbook:

    ‘Communication with 97 model year control units is principally via an Aston Martin multi-protocol adaptor to 2 inbuilt diagnostic sockets in the vehicle. Only the air conditioning unit requires the VIA on 97 model year vehicles.’

    AM WDS:

    This is the gold standard for older Series II DB7. Unfortunately, Bob Jarrett called the old GenRad GDS 3500 a piece of s*** for a good reason. If you like Windows 98 menus, dated tooling (25+ years old), and no update functionality, this tool is it. It does offer the most advanced diagnostics for these older cars.

    [214300%2F8195516%2Fmceclip0]

    Image courtesy of Dr. Yvo – I don’t own one.

    Many of the files are contained in BIN, umf, and then some other odd 1990s formats that never became standards.

    IDS:

    This system is just WDS ported, and I do mean just. I compared the DB7 content from WDS to IDS, and it is remarkably similar in hierarchy.

    [214300%2F8195517%2Fmceclip0]

    The logos, and much of the content from Ford’s WDS is transferred over, even the GDS3500 folder. Contrary to public opinion, I cannot find any deviation from WDS in terms of content. In other words, it’s all there.

    One of the files responsible for the GUI interface for VIN Entry is literally a copy-cat of the WDS Javascript file. Note the brand, ‘aml’ is double slashed out so as not to appear in the VIN entry screen of IDS.


    [214300%2F8195518%2Fmceclip0]

    With a few tweaks, it’s there, and with a few more, it’s even got a little check-box.

    AMDS1:

    This all new diagnostic system is a complete departure from the GenRad days. It is non-API dependent, written in Borland Delphi 3/4, and is not based upon anything before it as John Draper explained. AMDS 1.0 introduces the AM Vanquish, AM DB7, and AMDS1 applications. These are stand-alone, and handle Aston Martins DB7, Vanquish, DB9, Virage (2008+), Vantage, from model 1997-2016.

    I don’t know anybody with one because they are so rare. I did ask Steve (Aston1936), but he never replied to my questions about AMDS1. Note at the time index 26:09 in his video entitled ‘Astonishingly Simple Episode 2 - Diagnostics, Scanners and Fault Finding,’ the laptop reads IDS. I do find some irony in his comment, “but how would you know you have an AMDS?”

    [214300%2F8195519%2Fmceclip0]

    Here’s an official one:

    [214300%2F8195520%2Fmceclip0]

    AMDS2:

    [214300%2F8195521%2Fmceclip0]

    Everybody hates a subscription-based system, but that is how Aston Martin has moved with their diagnostic vendor Bosch. It features both the old Bosch VCI I as well as the new Bosch MTS 6531 system, VCI II, for newer DB11. This is what Aston Martin of Austin, my local dealer uses, and per their technician there, Matt, he said it was pretty limited for older cars. He of course was not talking about the AMDS2 app, but rather the stand-alone apps, like AMDS DB7. AMDS2 itself only interfaces with newer cars. Contrary to what Steve at Aston1936 claimed, AMDS2 does update these older legacy car apps. If you want ABS bleeding functionality and diagnostics, this is an upcoming feature. As of V. 2.06, it is not yet supported.

    [214300%2F8195522%2Fmceclip0]At this time, I will not discuss the AMDS2 itself in depth because I don’t have a DB11 and it is not relevant to me. Feel free to add information about it if you wish.

    The VCIs:

    These are probably the second most important thing about an AMDS. The VCI, is a Bosch re-brand, known as VCI 1 part # 43-27880. This is based upon the EEPOD McS1 vehicle interface. It runs a custom switchable OBD-2 cable, which selects either Body or Powertrain OBD ports based upon demand.

    During an order for the McS1, Kerby Suhre, the CEO at EEPOD, told me they both do NOT run at the same time—this would mix CAN BUS electrical grounds, and short circuit the system. The cable is custom to this VCI. It is notable however, nothing special other than this, and the AMDS Vanquish manual states this system can be run one port as a time (in fact you must with older Vanquish).


    EEPOD McS1:

    [214300%2F8195523%2Fmceclip0]

    AMDS1 VCI:

    [214300%2F8195524%2Fmceclip0]

    AMDS2 VCI:

    [214300%2F8195525%2Fmceclip0]

    [214300%2F8195532%2Fmceclip0]

    The EEPOD carrying bag is basically identical too, except for branding, EEPOD v. AMDS.

    Future endeavors:

    At first, I was considering recommending some alternatives to AMDS, but I so strongly believe in the right to repair, and I firmly believe AMDS (and previous generations) are the BEST tools as Aston owners can get. It is within the realm of possibility that future work could be done by Aston Martin (BUT NOT LIKELY) or the DIY community (MOST LIKELY) to see where old IDS could go in terms of WDS backwards compatibility.

    While I do have a great deal of experience working with software and am studying about the hardware side of vehicle communications and buses, I am resource constrained. For starters, I do not have an Aston Martin VCI, nor the tools yet to undertake the project by myself. However, if this is something the Aston Martin community is interested in supporting fully, resource and time-wise, we could start a new project… Aston Martin IDS.

    [214300%2F8195533%2Fmceclip0]




  • 28 Feb 2023 5:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Generation 2 Vanquish rear light.

    This article has been written to give some idea of the problems with the modern cars. It's going to take considerable effort to ensure that these cars are still on the road in 20 years time.

    The Aston Martin Vanquish (Gen 2), and all the latest Aston Martins, use LED’s for the rear lights, indicators etc. The unit detailed here was removed from a 2012 Aston Martin Gen 2 Vanquish because it’s  LED’s flickered. This is a USA spec left hand unit, and the factory was out of stock of replacements. Some distributors have indicated that AML have no intention of restocking. This car was awaiting a replacement when this article was being written.  

    The replacement cost is £3,500 each!

    It was decided to open up the light to see if the electronics could be fixed. These units have not been designed to be opened. Learning how to open the sealed unit led to its destruction. It cannot be reassembled. It's hoped that a set of electronics could be repaired so that it could be reused. Having a working set of electronics would be really useful.

    Design assessment

    The main PCB has three DC-DC convertors to run the three main light circuits  (probably constant current high frequency switching circuits). The power is supplied via a standard wiring connector on the rear of the unit. The board is conformally coated to protect the electronic components from environmental damage.   

    Each of the 25 small LED boards is fixed with an individual torx head screw.  

    The whole led assembly!

    Micro-controller

    A micro-controller is present on the board to control the logic of the LEDs. The controller on this board is a microchip 16HV785/SS 8-bit microprocessor with 2K of flash. This device is more than adequate to deliver the high intensity for the sidelight brakes and the indicator flashing. The firmware for this device is loaded using the 6 gold plated test pin connector on the PCB. This firmware is easily readable, unless the manufacturer has set the code protection flag. The 16HV785 device is also capable of updating its own firmware, so it's possible that the firmware has corrupted. I have lots of experience with these device and such a failure mode is not uncommon.  


    Datasheet

    The reversing light is a separate unit with its own own heatsinks. This board is permanently bonded to to heatsink and this is in turn bonded to the moulding. The PCB is difficult to remove as it's bonded to the heatsink with double-sided heat conducting tape.


    The rear moulding is very complicated, and the reflective silvering is applied directly to the moulding. The moulding will not be completely sealed, so air will be forced in and out by changes in atmospheric pressure. Should water condensation form, it will be necessary to vent the unit to dry it out. This may need holes to be made in the unit.

    The lights look great when on. They have been designed that way. However, in my opinion they are a very poor design with no regard to production engineering and no prospect of long term maintenance or repair. The fact that they are incredibly difficult to manufacture is not really an issue. They are made in small numbers, with no cost issues, so the time required for assembly is not important. If this design is model-specific it is hard to justify the tooling and design costs. The design and engineering effort and cost could probably have been better used elsewhere.

    This specific PCB has been designed by Trumeter, a large design consultancy. They do not list vehicles as one of their specialities. Why someone with no vehicle design was used is not what I would expect. 

    The boards use a standard break out technique where the whole lot of PCB’s would have been manufactured and tested as one piece. Just before being placed into the light moulding the boards are then broken out to the individual parts.

    Reason for failure?

    The wiring going to a 6 wire connector on the back of the main PCB. The PCB worked OK once removed so the connector wiring was examined. The black (0 volts) wire was loose. This is a manufacturing fault. This wire should be stressed-relieved by the crimp. The black wire is thicker than the others so it is possible it was crimped using the wrong sized crimping tool. Operating the circuit with no good 0 Volt return could damage components.


    On more examination, the logic controller was found to be getting 5 volts but does not seem to be operational. The coating on the PCB made probing the circuit difficult.

    The future

    The unit has 9 large circuit boards and 20 small circuit boards, 8 multiway cables and 25 single wires all soldered at each end. The wiring joints are all mechanically fixed in position with resin. 

    There are about 100 LED’s and the same number of semiconductors, along with a couple of hundred passive components. This is in a lamp unit that is subject to lots of movement, temperature changes, etc. 

    This configuration with so much wiring is a reliability nightmare. We know of several failures, and rear lights are also very liable to crash damage. If AML cannot keep the units in supply there will be no repairability without massive retooling costs.

    The £3,500 replacement cost gives a cost to AML of about £350 (given the industry's normal x10 mark-up on car spares. This parts cost is reasonable given the complexity, although I would argue that the board was far too complicated for the very simple task it needs to accomplish.

    This era of car will probably not become usable classics unless some considerable effort is put into securing the tooling for the plastic parts and/or to produce a reliable and simple led driver board. Given the very simple logic of these LED’s this should be relatively easy.  

    Using prebuilt simple LED drivers such as this may be viable - https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13705

    Update 2/3/2023 : 

    This is the board from a DB9.  It looks so sensible and has LED's on both sides.  It is a flexible PCB  stuck to a bent piece of aluminium.  It has 2 LED's and a single resistor in series.  These are all paralleled up.   This is proper engineering and highly reliable.  




    Gary Ungless

  • 31 Jan 2023 10:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    *******************************************************************************
    Carried out and documented by Brendan Cunningham.  
    Note by Gary Ungless :  This  work has normal copyright.  So please credit Brendan Cunningham in any use of the material
    *******************************************************************************

    Before you start:

    You need to have:
    Suitable range torque wrench/wrenches.
    ¼” drive set capable of off-axis operation.
    Combination spanners down to 7mm.
    Good quality single hex spark plug socket and suitable drive.
    Also helpful would be decent 3/8” drive set with flexible ratchet (very useful for undoing EGR bolts).

    You need to be capable of:
    Spending hours hunched over the engine bay.
    Being familiar with handling tools and mechanical components.
    Getting your fingers into very tight spaces and winding on and off very small nuts and bolts without dropping them or small spanners used, etc.

    You need to be aware of and able to deal with:
    The chance a bolt or stud may shear off (happened to me on the inlet manifold).
    Electrical connectors may be brittle and break.
    The requirement for absolute cleanliness in dealing with the fuel and intake system.
    The possibility of petrol spraying everywhere if the high pressure fuel rail assemblies aren’t assembled correctly.

    Parts you must have:
    12X New coil packs
    12X New spark plugs
    Parts you may need to have ready:
    2X Inlet manifold gaskets
    2X EGR valve gaskets
    2X IAC gaskets

    Remember, if you get half way, get stuck and can’t rebuild back to running order you may not be able to drive your car to a garage to fix it for you.

    This all sounds a bit doom and gloom, however, this is one of those jobs that wasn’t actually as hard I thought it would be, but does have a number of potential pitfalls which could catch out the less experienced/confident.

    Tip: Stuff paper towels below where you are about to undo nuts and bolts. This way, if you drop one and everyone drops at least one, they will not go far and can be retrieved.

    [FIG1]


    1. Disconnect the battery.
    Loosen negative clamp on battery, but don’t remove.
    Turn on ignition, turn off and disconnect battery within 10 seconds to avoid triggering the alarm.

    2. Throttle assembly.
    Unclip the left and right throttle cables, label and store. Be careful not to lose the spring clips on the outboard ends of these cables.
    Remove the 4x 8mm nuts and washers holding the throttle tower.
    The throttle tower can be swung out of the way and placed in front of the radiator without further dismantling or disconnecting the remaining throttle cable.

    3. Injector wiring.
    Carefully unclip the injector connectors (beware brittle parts) and move the harnesses aside to aid access. In my case it was obvious which was left and right, but you may wish to label.

    4. Fuel rail supply.
    RELEASE FUEL PRESSURE in the system by undoing the schraeder valves and depressing the valve centre pin. Shroud with paper towels as a short squirt of fuel will result.
    Slightly back off the 7mm head bolts securing the fuel rails (back of engine), but don’t undo fully yet.
    Remove the 6 bolts securing the fuel rails to the manifolds.
    Carefully, lift fuel rails off injectors. Petrol will spill.
    Keeping everything clean and free from dirt ingress now gets very important.
    With the fuel rails loose, you can now lift them up to get better access to remove the small 7mm head bolts attaching the fuel rails to the supply. Stuff paper towel below and around to catch the petrol which will flow out in alarming amounts.
    Check the blue O rings on the injectors and rails. These are usually fine unless damaged and won’t need replacing. Store everything carefully.
    Sections 5-20 are the same for left and right banks.
    Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 10.18.44.jpg

     

    5. IAC solenoid removal.
    Undo and remove. Remove the wiring connector. The inner bolt will need wriggling to clear the manifold – it should come out, just. The IAC gasket may be fine or may tear and need replacing. I refitted with a slightly shorter bolt for the inner side.

    Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 10.18.52.jpg

     

    6. Down behind where the IAC came from you will see the stud with the extra small 8mm head nut to hold the harness. Undo and remove the nut and stud. These need removing as the studs are threaded into the manifold and it won’t come off otherwise.

    7. Undo the jubilee clip fixing the air intake duct.

    8. Undo the other wiring connector (behind) from the throttle position sensor.

    9. Working back, prise off the three vacuum hoses.

    10. Remove the 8mm head nuts from the EVR solenoid and move the unit aside to gain access below.

    11. Remove the nut and stud as in “6”.

    12. Difficult. Remove the bolt further back securing the rear of the same bracket (engine lift mount doesn’t help).

    13. Unbolt the EGR valve (10mm head bolts). I used deep 3/8” socket and a flexible ratchet drive.
    The bolts are long and in my case tight, so be careful to keep everything square as you do NOT want to round off those relatively small 10mm heads!
    The valve won’t move once undone.

    Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 10.19.07.jpg

    14. Unbolt the inlet manifold. Do this carefully. I suggest you give each nut a series of healthy taps first before loosening. I undid the bolts in the same sequence as tightening 1 (front), 7, 3, 2, 6, 4, 5.
    If any bolts feel “wrong” as you back them off, don’t force them. Squirt a lot of release oil around the base of the bolt where it sits in the cylinder head and wait 24 hrs. Despite my best efforts one bolt sheared and I had to drill it out and helicoil it. It’s now better than new, but this is not for the beginner as very accurate drilling is required.

    15. You are now ready to remove the manifold.
    Lift slightly at the inboard side to break any gasket seal (usually no issue) by the inlets, then slide forward to clear the EGR valve. The manifold should now lift clear.
    Debris will inevitably fall down onto the valves, so plug the inlets with paper towels immediately to stop any more objects going where they could wreak havoc.

    Screenshot 2023-01-31 at 10.19.20.jpg

     

    16. Lift off the gasket. Mine were so good that I reused them, as after 14 years and 40,000 miles they showed no signs of deterioration at all. Their function is simply to maintain an airtight seal at moderate vacuum, so not like head gaskets. You make your own judgement here, but if unsure, fit new ones.

    17. Undo the small torx head machine screws holding the cover plate and store. These are small and break easily, so be careful here. Remove the cover plate to finally reveal your goal!

    18. Gently lift each coil pack slightly out of its recess. This allows some wriggle room and makes unclipping and removing the wiring connectors easier with less force. Note how the coil packs sit for reassembly.
    Very gently unclip and remove the connectors (their brittleness after time is well documented).
    Pull the harness aside as you go.

    19. Pull out the coil packs (mine looked new, so don’t mix up with the expensive new ones you have just bought!).

    20. Using a good single hex dedicated plug socket and taking great care to keep the extension and force on axis undo the and remove the plugs.

    Reassembly.
    This is the whole process in reverse, but please note:
    Torques: Plugs 16-20 NM , Manifold 8-12 NM , Fuel rails to manifold 8-12 NM
    Debris will have fallen down the inlet tracts. Make up a small tube attachment to a powerful vacuum cleaner and thoroughly clean all around the valves – particularly around the seats. Use a powerful torch to check.
    As several of the 14 inlet manifold bolts showed some evidence of corrosion and were tighter than expected, consider replacing them (air can get at these as the threaded holes aren’t blind). AML wanted about £140 for the set. The local engineering factors sold me top quality high torque items for £4.50 for the set. No further comment needed.
    Smear clean oil around the blue fuel rail O rings to ease reassembly as you definitely do not want these to sit incorrectly!
    Remember, given the tiny size of the four nozzles in the injectors, you must keep everything super clean.
    Triple check the fuel rail connections before turning on the ignition as this is the point that the system will re-pressurise and fuel leaks could occur.

    In my case, the engine started on the button and sounded sweet and smooth.
    Time to feel smug.


  • 15 Jan 2023 10:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Right from the very start the DB7 door handle has been fragile.  It was a Mazda part, and it is not being used as it was designed for. The way it is fitted on the DB7 means that the opening mechanical stop is the lever arm, not the stops designed into the handle.  This means that if the handle is given a good tug, it will break, and it will also break under fatigue. This even happened to the prototype

    If the lever arm does break off, there are two, so you can dismantle the other door and swap them over.  You can only do this once.

    New door handle are £180 and don’t fix the problem.  It will still break.

    Using this 3D printed part you can remove the  handle and glue this new part in place to repair the lever arm.  File down the plastic so that the new part fits in place and glue in using superglue. Roughen up the chrome surfaces before glueing. It is substantially stronger than the original.

    You can print the part from the STL file attached to this post.  If you need the other side, then mirror the part in the print software.

    Screenshot 2022-09-09 at 11.13.09.png
    Also included is a part to repair the upright.  The one in the photo was taken off a scrap car. It is the first time I have seen a broken upright.

    Screenshot 2022-09-09 at 11.13.52.png



  • 19 Dec 2022 3:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Neil Woodward

    Replacement reservoir bought of e-bay along with master cylinder. Master cylinder not used. The reservoir was in like new condition.

    Screenshot 2022-12-19 at 15.21.56.png

    Original reservoir cracked by the heat from the chimneys.

    1. Remove fluid from reservoir and put plastic and rags underneath to catch any spillage.
    2. Removed inlet pipe work and throttle assembly to make for easier access.
    3. Disconnect the two brake lines from master cylinder. Remove the two nuts that hold the master cylinder on and remove reservoir complete with cylinder.

    Screenshot 2022-12-19 at 15.22.09.png

    1. The reservoir is held in place by a pin which has to be removed with a pin punch.
    2. The reservoir then pulls off the master cylinder. Clean up around the two tubes that enter the master cylinder.
    3. Check or renew the seal washers (mine were ok to re use) and fit new reservoir. Re fit pin.
    4. Refit master cylinder and then brake pipes.
    5. Fill reservoir with new brake fluid.
    6. Bled frd line through offside front calliper first. (both bleed nipples, one at a time). Press pedal to floor five times  and then refill reservoir.
    7. Next bled offside rear, then Nearside front and finally nearside rear.

    Screenshot 2022-12-19 at 15.22.28.png

    New reservoir fitted.


  • 19 Dec 2022 9:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Andrew Fawkes, (Reproduced from a forum post)

    Whilst replacing the springs in the wiper arms does improve things, it wasn't a perfect result for one arm (weirdly). Also, I'm aware that inferior rubber is being used in modern wiper blades so that they jump/bounce across the screen rather than sliding smoothly to clear water.

    Here's how to replace the blade rubber with modern (silicon-based) blades... or at least how I did it.
    1. Remove the blade with its metal case from the wiper arm then remove the rubber blade. It slides out in one direction:
     
    IMG_9798.jpeg
    2. I bought Bosch blades from Halfords that were the same length (15") as those on my DB6.IMG_9799.jpeg
    Slim-nosed pliers easily bent back the tabs to remove the rubber blade complete with its metal support.

    3. Slide the rubber off the metal supports (thus leaving behind two slim metal rods):
    IMG_9800.jpeg
     
    4. Feed the new rubber blade into the groove on your 'old' wiper arm. There is a wider angled opening at one end to facilitate this:
     IMG_9801.jpeg
    Trim the leading end so that the grooves on each side extend to the end of the rubber. This enables the new blade to fit snugly along its whole length:
    IMG_9802.jpeg
     
    The new blade will now work well when replaced on the car... or at least it did in my case!
    IMG_9803.jpeg
     
    Note: If elite concours is your thing, you might want to retain a pair of the 'old style' blades for fitting prior to judging. If you're anything like me, you will have collected a few spare blades over the years in an effort to find some that wipe properly... like these Bosch ones now do!

    Good luck.



  • 12 Dec 2022 11:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    This cheap repair saves having to spend £450 on a replacement.

    The DB7 Windshield cowl is a highly visible part of the car. They are often seen loose at the ends,  sitting up with the seal sitting away from the screen.   Not only does this look bad, it allows water to drain into the scuttle underneath.  The water should drain from there, but if the small hole becomes blocked you have real problems.

    The recessed part of the cowl used for the 3 plastic fixings to the bodywork is prone to cracking, especially if the Windscreen is replaced, or the cowl had been removed for any other reason. The thin plastic part of the cowl cracks off where the plastic clips fix the cowl to the body.  These cowls have been vacuum formed from a flat sheet, and with a deep recess like this the material is stretched thinner.  The square hole is then punched and this operation could be work harding the material.     I have seen several DB7’s where the cowl has started to lift and you pop the cap off to find the fixing hole full of black sealant to bodge a repair.  This inevitably fails after a few months, and the cowl pops up at the edges.

    Failure means that the cowl is left with a large hole.

       

    IMG_2154.jpegIMG_2148.jpeg than the proper fixing.

    IMG_2153.jpeg

     

    On closer inspection even the proper central fixing shown in the photograph above  was cracked and ready to fail, so it too was removed for repair

    A brand new cowl is going to cost you nearly £300, and it needs the rubber seal bonding to it that costs another £60.  Fixing this seal needs primer and prep that cost £50  The grills need to be carefully removed from the old cowl and bonded back onto the new one. You can buy a complete new set of grills, but that is going to cost another £100.  Preparing and bonding the  seal and the grills is not any easy task.  With a cost of over £450 it is  little wonder that many DB7 owners end up leaving the ends floating.

    You can read very detailed instructions on how to remove and replace your cowl with a brand new one on the AMOC forum

    https://forum.amoc.org/post/winscreen-cowl-replacement-12252322?&trail=25   

    Removal of the cowl to carry out this repair is well within the capabilities of any normal DIY person, but you must follow the detailed instructions in the write up above to do this without damaging the cowl.

    My only addition to these instructions is that it may be better to drill a hole in the fixing covers to get them out.  It is easy to damage the cowl otherwise.  New fixings (697505) are available from AML at £10 for five.

    Once the cowl is out it can be inspected for repair.  

    A 3D  part was drawn up using the free online 3D design service ‘Vectary.com’.  This is a good browser based program that I have used for a few years, and it is suitable for creating simple 3D parts like this.   It outputs a standard industry standard STL file that can be used by anyone with a 3D printer to produce the part.   It uses less than 10p worth of printing filaments and takes about 10 minutes to print.  The part has been carefully designed so that the cap fits flush with the surface of the cowl. That is why I am on version 4 !

    The STL file is available to download.

    3D stl file


    Screenshot 2022-02-05 at 17.41.05.png    

    If you download this file , most computers will allow you to view and rotate the part. The file is free to use, under a public license, you can print the part and supply it at cost, but it is not to be sold for a profit.

    This part is easy to print on a standard filament 3D printer. Many people have these printers, they are remarkably cheap. If you have never used one before, find someone who has. The three I printed were made in blue PLA filament.  (PLA is a standard material for 3D printing).   It should normally be printed in black, I used blue filament because a black part is too difficult to photograph.  The parts cannot be seen, so the colour or finish are not important.  I also intend to paint this repaired cowling as it has some scratches.  The repair part has been designed with a large flat area and a few small holes to help bonding, and the PLA material adheres very well to the plastic material of the cowl.

    The height of the broken bit will probably need to be reduced with a scalpel so that the repair part fits flush to the surface.

    The parts were glued together using Gorilla superglue  .  As with any glueing process you must roughen both surfaces and apply constant pressure while the bond sets.  It is important that the two outside parts are glued with the square hole aligned to the centre of the car NOT along the line of the cowl. 

      IMG_2157.jpegIMG_2161.jpeg 

    The repaired cowl can now be replaced using the rest of the instructions from the Forum.  You will have to remove and replace the double sided tape at the front of the cowl.  This is available from AML, but any good trim shop should stock this type of tape.  The costs of the repair should be less than £25, plus a few hours of your time.


  • 22 Nov 2022 4:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A friend who owns a classic car repair business rang up for a customer with a window problem. The window would not go up to the top. The cause was obvious once the door card was removed (see how to do this below); the teeth on the gear were completely worn away. The reason this happens is that every time you open the door on a DB7 the window drops to clear the door seal, and it then moves back up again to complete the seal when you close the door. This repeated small up and down movement eventually leads to the gear wearing out. Then you are left with a large bill.

    Figure 1 - Applying duct tape to cover the offending gap may help!

    Screenshot 2022-11-22 at 16.25.38.png

    Figure 2 – Severely worn gears
    Screenshot 2022-11-22 at 16.30.16.png

    Looking for a solution to this reoccurring problem I examined a spare regulator and decided that a new gear could be fitted. The main problem would be aligning the gear so that it would rotate freely. The original manufacturer used a jig and the gear is spot welded into position. After a few hours measuring and with quite a few paper patterns tried, I produced a drawing that I considered accurate enough to have the gears laser cut. This is a cheap process and can be done from a drawing in a standard PDF format. I added long side arms to help alignment, and ignored the gearing on the inside as it is not needed. The accuracy of laser cutting is not a problem, but the fitting and alignment of the gear plate could be a stumbling block.

    Figure 3 – The prototype gear plate
    Screenshot 2022-11-22 at 16.29.31.png

    I collected the prototypes a few days later and it was off to the garage where the DB7 was due in. The DB7 arrived with the driver side window sealed with duct tape, and it took about 1⁄2 hour to remove the regulator. Removing the door skin is simple. There are three large screws at the bottom of the door, and there should also be one small Philips screw on the front of the door. The inner door handle has a small Philips screw that needs removing and the plastic part gently eased back and out. The door pull has a hidden Allen bolt, which is under the rubber at the bottom, and has a nut that is accessed through the door shelf. Once these are all removed the door card lifts off. For the driver’s side you need to disconnect the cable to the wing mirror control. The inner window seal simply lifts off after removing the three large Philips screws. The next stage is to remove the door glass, which is fitted to the regulator by two 6 mm bolts. These should be loosened and the regulator slides released from the glass. The four bolts on the two window guides can then be removed and the glass should be free. It can make it easier to remove if you loosen off the nuts on the right angled brackets on the guides. The glass is removed by lowering it at the front and then drawing upwards to the rear.

    The regulator is fixed to the door by five bolts – four in a rectangular pattern near the motor and one to the rear. Some can be hidden by tape, mastic or rubber bungs. Two bolts have slots and these can be left in, but loose – it makes replacement easier. The regulator then simply lifts out, disconnecting the plug from the door electronic control unit (ECU). When you plug the motor back in you will have to ‘lock’ the door by operating the latch with a screwdriver. This fools the door control ECU into thinking the door is locked and the motor will run both ways. The motor should run freely on the gears. If not the welds will need to be ground off and the gear moved slightly (we didn’t have to do this). An alternative way to operate the motor is to apply 12 V to the red and thick blue wires – reversing polarity reverses direction.

    Figure 4 - The old gear is removed by drilling out through the four spot welds on the mounting plate. These holes will later be flood welded to fix the new part
    Screenshot 2022-11-22 at 16.31.35.png


    Figure 5 - It is also a good idea to remove the motor and check the gears on the motor are not damaged. These ones are undamaged
    Screenshot 2022-11-22 at 16.31.47.png


    Figure 6 - The new gear is put in place in the central position. The long arms ensure it is aligned correctly. Position it hard against the gear and then bring it back about 1⁄2 mm for clearance. Clamp it in position. Small tack welds are used to fix it for testing
    Screenshot 2022-11-22 at 16.32.06.png

     

    The laser cutting process used on the gear plates actually surface hardens the tooth edge, so wear should be better than the originals that are stamped out.

    Another window problem that can occur is that when the door is opened, it simply goes all the way down. This is caused by the window controller not getting a signal on the yellow wire that the window is moving. To fix this first check for a bent pin on the ECU/motor connector or a broken wire, then also check for a signal on the yellow wire. There should be a square wave present (6 V volts on a multimeter) when the motoris running; if not the sensor is faulty and the motor will need replacing. Having striped a motor down I have concluded that there are no user repairable parts. The motor is not available separately, but there should be lots available where someone has replaced their whole regulator.

    If the door drops every time you open it, and does not go back up, then the window ECU needs reprogramming (see below).

    Replacement of the regulator is the reverse of disassembly. You will probably need a magnetic tool to recover the window guides that will have fallen to the bottom of the door. Once reassembled, the window will need to be reprogrammed. Close the door, turn on the ignition, lower the window and hold the switch down for 5 sec, then raise the window and hold the switch down for 5 sec. The door should now drop a few millimetres every time the door is opened.

    Figure 8 - Once aligned the holes should be flood welded to give a secure fixing. Some quick drying paint needs to be applied for rust prevention. Apply a generous amount of grease to the gears.
    Screenshot 2022-11-22 at 16.41.12.png

    You can get a repair plate laser cut at your local manufacturer. I have put the drawing (DXF) file required by the laser cutting machine in this forum post.


  • 7 Nov 2022 4:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Changing the plugs and coils in the nearside bank, units 7 to 12.

    6th May 2012 48068miles.

    Untitled.png

    The Parts.

    Switch off the power switch in the boot.

    Untitled 2.png
    Remove cross brace and intake support bracket (note that the intake support bracket also has the cooling line connected to a bracket underneath it so be careful how you remove it).  Bleed the fuel lines (remove blue caps from the end of the fuel lines to access the Schraeder valves).Place plenty of rags to catch the fuel. Don’t have a fag yet! Press the centre pin in to bleed the valve.

     

    Untitled 3.png

    Remove the catalyst chimneys.

    Remove throttle (unplug connector) and induction duct. There is another hose coming into the induction duct underneath it. I found one side had a hose clip on and one side didn’t. However the side that did have the hose clip, the clip was loose. The parts book does not show a hose clip.

    Remove all vacuum hoses.

    Untitled 4.png

    Unplug all the injectors (the connectors are tagged) Unplug fuel pressure and temp sensors. Also remove the vacuum pipe from the fuel rail pressure sensor.

    Unscrew the three bolts securing each fuel rail and pull the rail off the injectors. More fuel will spill so have rags ready.


    Untitled 5.png

    Move fuel rails out of the way, move cooling pipe out of the way.

    Untitled 6.png
    Remove the injectors. Note they are standard ford parts.


    Untitled 7.png
    Disconnect the plate holding the blue and green connectors. This will allow the inlet manifold to be moved out of the way.

     

    Untitled 8.png

    Remove the Inlet manifold bolts. The back one is a bit of a B and you have to lay across the engine to get at it. Make sure you don’t have buttons that will scratch the air filter cover.

     

    Untitled 10.png

    Move inlet manifold out of the way. Remove inlet manifold gasket noting the way the raised bobbins are facing up. Cover the inlets in the heads with cardboard to prevent dropping anything into the head.

     

    Untitled.png

    Remove the cover to access the coils and plugs. Disconnect the coils and pull the coils off the plugs.

    Untitled 2.png

    Remove the plugs. Mine all came out easily. 

    Visit the NGK website so that you know why the plugs are fitted dry. Fit the new plugs and torque to recommended figure (16-20 NM). Fit the new coils and reconnect the connections. Refit the cover. Note that the two fwd lower cover screws are different as they also secure the clips that hold the cable conduit.

    Clean the inlet manifold face and the cylinder head face. Refit inlet manifold with new gasket.

    Tightening sequence is front, back middle, second to front, second to back etc. Torque for the bolts 8-12NM but I don’t know how you will do the back one with a torque wrench. I just did it as tight as the others felt when I used the torque wrench. The head is aluminium so don’t try and see how strong you are.

    Refit the plate above the exhaust that holds the blue and green connectors.

    Refit the injectors with new o seals.

    Refit fuel rails and plug everything back in.

    Refit cooling pipe and then make sure you slide it into the bracket under the intake support bracket.

    Refit throttle valve and intake duct. Don’t forget the hose that comes into the bottom of the induction duct.

    Refit the cross brace.

     

    Put the power back on to the car.

    The workshop manual says that if you have depressurised the fuel system you have to do the following 10 times. Ignition on for 5 seconds, off for 10 seconds. Etc.

    I then vented the fuel lines a couple of times until all the air was out of them.

    Pressed the start button and the beast roared into life.

    Hope I didn’t miss anything out.

    Update October 2022

    23rd September 2022 (82581 miles)

    New plugs fitted. Inlet manifold gasket in good condition (refitted)

    Injector o-rings: Bought from AstonMartinBits.com £70. Rip off. They can be bought from Polymax for 17p each (£4.08 for 24). Note top and bottom o-rings are the same but for some reason originals are blue and green. Aston bits charge more for the lower than the upper which is strange as the upper one is the important one as it is on the fuel rail. All their o-rings are black.  Polymax are black.

    Spark plugs. NGK 5598  (PTR6D-13) £74.76 for 12 from Amazon.

     


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