Posted From: 22.214.171.124
|Posted on Saturday, 06 February, 2016 - 15:27: |
My fondest automotive memory as a child was riding around my my dad's Silver Shadow II in the late 1990's when I was 10 or so years old. However, he was not a 'car guy' and found the maintenance costs "a ridiculous waste of money" compared to his new Nissan Pulsar, prompting him to sell it after only a few years and swearing him off any automotive enthusiasm.
Fast forward to today and I feel I'm almost in the position to pick up a Shadow for myself. I've always had a old toy car to tinker with (currently an MGB), so I'm not 'going in blind' like I believe my father did. My fiance and I also plan to get married in the next few years, and I though what would be cooler than driving my own RR to the wedding (she knows and is OK with it). :-P
I'm still 12 months from being ready to purchase, but I figure research never hurts, so I have some questions for you knowledgeable lot:
1. I'm budgeting to spend $25k AUD for a decent car in the end. Is it better to get the best one can afford outright, or a $20k car and performing $5k of work right off the bat? Part of me keeps thinking having the work done means knowing it's done and won't be a weak point in the future.
2. Speaking of weak points, the brakes and hydraulics are my main concern, I can service 'regular' brakes, but am not confident with high pressure systems. If the system works well, is there still need for worry? Will a functional pump/ACV/etc suddenly fail? I understand a lot of the soft parts may be due for replacement due to age, but I'm hoping it's not common thought that a hydraulic overhaul is expected as preventative for a new owner.
3. I can comfortably budget $2-$3k a year in maintenance. I understand something major may fail, but barring that, would this figure be within the scope of Shadow ownership? I can do minor servicing and maintenance, so hopefully that will reduce costs a little.
Those are my main concerns ATM, but as I mentioned, I won't start car shopping for another 12 months, and would just like to know if I'm going in with reasonable expectations.
Jeff from Adelaide
(Message approved by david_gore)
Post Number: 1900
|Posted on Saturday, 06 February, 2016 - 17:57: |
Shadow Purchase Rule 101: Every extra dollar you spend to buy a well-maintained and cared for Shadow will save you a minimum of $2 or more in repair and maintenance expenses.
If you use the Search function of this forum for the Silver Shadow topic using "purchase" and "problem" as keywords, you will find a lot of useful advice and details of the problems that can arise from acquiring a neglected or poorly maintained vehicle.
Above all, have any vehicle you intend to acquire inspected by a recognised R-R/B specialist before purchase to inform you of any repairs needed and their likely cost. Also join the South Australian Branch of the RROC[Australia] to meet like-minded Shadow owners and to access the various Club journals/newsletters that include details of cars with a known history being offered for sale.
There is a lot more to be said but the above information is the starting point.
Post Number: 232
|Posted on Saturday, 06 February, 2016 - 21:11: |
I agree with David: I’d spend the money up front on getting the best example.
Either way, figure on doing brake overhaul “stuff” during your ownership. May be the pumps one year, and the accumulators another. Various parts of my 1979’s brake system are on their second and third re-builds, so if you keep the car for 15 or 20 years you may even have to do one of them twice.
But I’d still say that would fit into your $2 - $3K yearly spend. I recently had my pumps (both) and accumulators (both) and high-pressure lines re-done for €1,800. (I did everything at once only because the shop is a long way from where I live.)
Post Number: 1833
|Posted on Sunday, 07 February, 2016 - 02:48: |
I'll give a hearty third to Mr. Gore and Mr. Young's observations. My first Shadow II was the proverbial "cheap Shadow" and the old saw, "There's no car more expensive than a cheap Shadow," definitely holds true more often than not. Since I have learned to do my own work, often as events require that I learn something new, my raw cash outlay is low (relatively speaking) but one pays for that with down time and lack of ability to use the car.
My Silver Wraith II, which had been impeccably maintained, went into complete non-use for five years or so, and paid the price. It had (and has) under 30K miles on it and as a 1979 that means it was little more than rolling sculpture. Never good for a mechanical device.
Spend every penny that you can afford up front to get the best example. The "you can afford" and "best example" being equally important. There is an obvious balance to be struck.
If you cannot or will not, by choice, be doing a lot of your own mechanical work on the car then definitely skew that balance as far toward "best example" as your means allow.
Post Number: 1449
|Posted on Sunday, 07 February, 2016 - 08:07: |
I would add that you should go and see as many as you can.
Price has no bearing on the condition or quality of the car.
I've looked at some top of the price range cars which I just laughed at and walked away . . . quickly.
Post Number: 1071
|Posted on Sunday, 07 February, 2016 - 09:47: |
I don't agree with the maxim "the more you pay, the better the car". It most certainly wasn't true in my case. Condition is not the only factor that affects price. Owners can often overvalue their cars whilst others may be looking for a quick sale. These two factors alone will account for major differences in price.
When I was looking for a car in 2011 the first five cars I looked at, variously priced at 18K to 28K US dollars drove and sounded like tractors. The worst was 18K and made for a most interesting test drive. At times the engine sounded like constant breaking glass, a sound I put down to completely worn hydraulic tappets. Approaching the first corner the rear brakes came on first causing the rear tyres to squeal and finally, as I turned a sharp corner back into the dealers forecourt the car suddenly acquired rear wheel steering - he was asking 18 grand. A little annoying since I'd taken a four hour drive to view the car (from Las Vegas, where I was living at the time, to LA).
I also viewed a 79 series II at the Touring Shoppe in Las Vegas. This was up for sale at 28K. It drove very well but I was not sure it was worth 28K. The boot lid had a very slight curvature on it and I suspected it had been rear ended at some time. A few weeks later he had re-advertised it with a huge price reduction to 16K. I went down to check it out in more detail with the intention of buying it. It was then I found it was a repaired insurance write off. Needless to say I declined the sale.
In the end I came across a low mileage 74 series I in really good condition, privately advertised locally at 12K. All I needed to do, to get the car into full running order was to recondition the hydraulic accumulators. I carried out the work myself for a few hundred bucks.
From my original intention of spending up to 30K, I ended up spending half that for a car I am very pleased with. Admittedly it is the earlier model, but I have since found that maintenance costs are much lower than on the series 2 and I am sure the enjoyment level of owning and driving it is the same.
So my advice is to get out there and see what is on the market.
In response to question 1 "Part of me keeps thinking having the work done means knowing it's done and won't be a weak point in the future." Assuming you have bought a car in good condition, be aware that these cars are 40 years old and no matter how much you have paid for it, things will go wrong from time to time. Expect to have to do considerably more maintenance than you would carry out on a modern car.
The fact you can service regular brakes is telling me you are technically able and will therefore be able to service RR hydraulics. Don't worry about these high pressure systems - whenever you work on them you depressurize them first, making them completely safe to work on. In answer to whether a hydraulic pump or ACV can fail suddenly, the answer is yes, of course. These cars are equipped with dual braking systems for that eventuality. Far safer that the MGB (great car) with it's single braking circuit.
I do all my own servicing and have spent less that 3K on my car over the three years I have had it. This includes replacement of the exhaust system, tyres, starter motor and battery, along with the original overhaul of the hydraulic pumps, accumulator and ACVs. Less than 1K a year.
If you are intending to use the services of a local specialist, then I would imagine 2-3K will cover maintenance, but since you are an enthusiast yourself (re the MGB), why not save money and do the work yourself.
Post Number: 1072
|Posted on Sunday, 07 February, 2016 - 09:49: |
I promise you I hadn't seen Paul's entry before entering my own - lol.
Post Number: 1834
|Posted on Sunday, 07 February, 2016 - 10:03: |
I give a hearty "third" to the previous observations that asking price and condition are very often grossly disconnected.
Those who know the least about these cars, or who hope to sell to those who know nothing (or next to it) and have the proverbial stars in their eyes, are frequently the most egregious in the differential between price and actual operating condition (and, sometimes, cosmetic condition, too).
This is one of the reasons one should have any car examined by an expert in the era in question if at all possible, and at the very least by someone you know and trust who has had a long-term ownership experience with the model you're considering. I know that not everyone has a Rolls-Royce or Bentley expert "close to hand" or can afford to transport one from a far-flung location.
I just confirmed in my e-mail archive that Jon Waples, author of The Shadow Owners' Companion [which, by the way, is a good book for any Shadow owner to have], granted me permission to share a Shadow Evaluation Form that he used to have available for download from his website, Sherbourne Mews, but is no longer there. It is attached and is a very good tool for evaluating a Shadow you've identified as a purchase candidate. Mr. Waples is very particular, and some of the things he puts "walk away now" points on are, in my opinion, fairly common and overemphasized, e.g., noisy starter motor, speed control inoperable. One has to adjust values a bit based on one's own tolerances, but it's still a very good tool.
Post Number: 1903
|Posted on Monday, 08 February, 2016 - 09:38: |
By way of explanation:
"Shadow Purchase Rule 101: Every extra dollar you spend to buy a well-maintained and cared for Shadow will save you a minimum of $2 or more in repair and maintenance expenses.
Of course, this only applies to cars with a sound provenance and known history of maintenance - it certainly DOES NOT apply to vehicles outside this category. The pre-purchase professional evaluation is a critical part of the purchase decision.
Caveat Emptor is always relevant and cannot be overlooked.
Post Number: 5
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 February, 2016 - 00:04: |
You’ve open up a huge subject where a lot of people will offer well intentioned good advice. Some write books on the subject.
I can only comment on what I think goes on in the UK, and not any other part of the world with regards to the Silver Shadow.
I’ve owned my Silver Shadow since 2000 and it’s been a labour of love in keeping it in relatively top condition, not concourse. I only use the car in dry weather and so my mileage is very limited. In total it’s done just over 90000 now and it was 81000 when I bought it. So as you can see very limited.
I am a transport engineer (retired) and so I am able to do the work it requires myself at present but that will change the older I get. So, at present I have spent something in the region of £5000 to £6000 on the car in spare parts over the time I have owned it. The money has been spent on the brakes, front suspension, exhaust system, ignition system and recently both rear hubs plus the usual service items.
The cars are a bit of a mine field to work on, in many respects they are over engineered, a one hour job on a modern car will take two or three if not longer on a Rolls Royce.
The prices for the Silver Shadow’s in the UK are now beginning to rise especially for A1 condition examples. There is however a huge variation in the asking prices for some cars and you never know what they actually sell for.
I get asked the question many time about classic car ownership and my stock answer is “you buy the best you can for your budget” Do not buy a bucket of rust, it will consume money at an intolerable rate, and you may have to, increase your initial budget to get the right car.
Buying on old car is full of pit holes no matter what you buy, full service history is a plus but not always. My Shadow came with full service history plus the original purchase invoice, when I started to look into the car I found so many items that had never been touched for years, brake fluid for one, over an inch of slug at the bottom of the brake reservoir and it had main dealer service history. So it’s not all that it is cracked up to be.
Now, I have just purchased a Silver Spirit 1982 a few months ago to compliment the Shadow, it has full service history mostly main dealer 99% in the service book. The previous owner bought the car in 1995 and has kept all the receipts. These receipts total to a value of £ 56,136.00. This money was spent on mechanical repairs as well as some bodywork over a mileage of 27,500 mls in his ownership. I couldn’t believe how much had been spent with such little mileage. I’ll leave you to draw your own assumptions.
I am very pleased with my initial assessment of the Spirit now I have it at home, mechanically it is excellent and the bodywork is very good too although there are some minor issues in certain places which is not uncommon with these cars which I will deal with.
To sum up if you want a Silver Shadow then do your home work and research, if you know nothing about the vehicle then find someone that does and hopefully they will help you to get the right one. They are not easy cars to work on but they can become infectious to the owner like me.
Post Number: 1835
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 February, 2016 - 02:39: |
Thank you very much for that post. You've hit on a couple of things I'd like to add to.
In regard to the "mine field" comment, I couldn't agree with you more. That being said, part of that mine field comes from things that were "under engineered" where you'd least expect it and from a lot of electrical stuff, corrosion on connectors being a big one.
I also agree with your observations regarding having a service history. Certain owners of these cars have an almost religious devotion to compiling one and others have a zealots fervor that only cars that have one are worth considering. The fact is, though, that there are many owners who've taken good care of their cars who treated service receipts like they do for any car, as something disposable after the work is done. They simply don't keep them because it's not something they ever keep. You've noted also the perfect example of someone who had dealer service, but either told them they didn't want the recommended fluid change for the brakes/hydraulics or who had technicians so unfamiliar with the Shadow era cars that they failed to recommend it. Owners with money, who don't do their own maintenance and could not care less to learn the details, rely on their service providers to "steer them right" and some don't. There are many authorized Bentley dealers in the USA who want nothing to do with any car earlier than the Seraph or Arnage and who have no one on maintenance staff who's ever touched anything earlier, either. Unless you as a buyer are very knowledgeable about what the maintenance requirements are, and are willing to pore over the maintenance records in depth before purchase, they're of questionable value. Also, perfect maintenance for years, followed by spotty maintenance, can easily undo a lot of that prior perfect maintenance relatively quickly. A lot of good to very good cars get dismissed based on lack of service documents, and that's a shame. A thorough pre-purchase inspection by a Shadow expert will give you more useful information than hundreds of ancient service receipts will.
Your advice regarding having someone who does know about these cars take a look at your prospective purchase candidate if you know nothing about them is most important. I bought SRH33576 completely blind, and lucked out that I got a car that wasn't a complete basket case. LRK37110 was an "incomplete" basket case due to having been sitting for between 5 and 7 years after her owner became incapacitated, but by the time I bought her I knew exactly what it meant to be buying a car that had done that.
P.S. Your Spirit would likely have a shorthand chassis number of SAC-06265. The first C of the CCH gives model year, but the "CH" part leaves a lot a mystery. See, SZ "Chassis Number" Derivation from VIN
Posted From: 126.96.36.199
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 February, 2016 - 13:46: |
/waiting for forum registration approval, so had to post under a modified name
I'd like to thank everyone for their insights, and I'm sure it will prove helpful when it comes to shopping time, especially that check list.
It seems like it would be good to keep a similar mindset to buying vintage watches where you 'shop/compare' the seller as much as the car itself.
It also seems like higher mileage is not something to be wary of, provided there are records of the required servicing, or at least better than a lower mileage car that may have sat for much of its life.
I have made enquiries about membership the South Australian branch of the RROC, and I'm hoping they have good access to resources and classfieds (their online presence isn't as extensive as other Auto clubs).
Finally, is there anyone here from South Australia that could point me to any local RR specialist workshops or other resources?
(Message approved by david_gore)
Post Number: 6
|Posted on Tuesday, 09 February, 2016 - 20:31: |
I only quoted the last 8 digits the full number is
First registered 19/01/1983.
Post Number: 1836
|Posted on Wednesday, 10 February, 2016 - 00:46: |
I realized what you'd done, but those last 8 digits do not tell a reader anything other than the model year, from the first C, which indicates the 1982 model year, and the production sequence number 06265. The third character of the VIN, A, tells you it's a Rolls-Royce and the fifth, S, tells you it's a Silver Spirit.
I don't know who came up with the derivation scheme, but it was done to make a shorthand that largely matched the old 8-digit chassis numbers for the SY cars. The hyphen between the letters and numbers makes it instantly obvious that an SZ car is what's being referred to.
It's just a really handy way to fully identify the exact model, make, model year, and chassis sequence for an SZ car without having to type out the rest of the VIN.
Robert Noel Reddington
Post Number: 850
|Posted on Wednesday, 10 February, 2016 - 06:46: |
Best way to proceed with the purchase of a Shadow is to look at lots of them in the flesh. Chose a car and look very carefully at it then stick a few gallon of petrol in it and go for a 100 mile drive. If the car is still on your short list get a professional expert to look at the car.
For every £1 I use in petrol I save a notional £1 to pay for upkeep.
The axiom for every pound saved in purchase costs £2 later on is very true.
Never try to do up a Shadow to as new condition. It becomes very uneconomical very fast. If you want a mint car then buy a mint car. If a car past its first flush of youth is ok. But making it look like new is very very expensive.
Cars that have mechanical problems such as the infamous hydraulics are worth a look providing you know how much it is going to cost to fix. A gearbox overhaul diy is about £300 in parts. An engine overhaul £10,000. Hydraulics allow £2000 providing the whole system is not clapped. Usually some of the components are still ok.
A blown engine means probably scrap car. A gearbox is doable.
If you are going to keep the car for years then you will be overhauling the hydraulics to a greater or lesser extent even in a mint car. Good servicing of the car will keep things on the lesser side. Bearing in mind that the older the car the more servicing required.
Shadows are between 52 years old and 36 years. If the car has say 50k miles that's a 1000 miles or less a year. This means that low mileage cars are most likely to have been stored at sometime which is not good. Depends on how stored and how resurrected. Rubber bits deteriorate with age no matter how stored. Low mileage can be a mixed bag. Nice looking car that rides nots so good.
My car is a Shadow 1 1974 SRH 17768. The engine number is also 17768. Up until recently I was using the car on a daily basis. It proved quite reliable and always got me home. Using the car as a normal car means it gets stonechipped. I could get a bare metal respray but I would be worried about damage. So I just touch the paint work now and then and wax it. I keep the car looking nice without spending to much money.
Robert Noel Reddington
Post Number: 851
|Posted on Thursday, 11 February, 2016 - 10:06: |
Jeff Cheng sorry I should have explained about the pumps and acv bits.
The pumps acv and spheres are like a hydraulic power station. The spheres store hydraulic pressure and absorb shocks. The same as a car battery stores electricity and smooths out the system voltage.
The pumps are simple jerk plunger pumps. They have no seals and rely on close tolerance fit that is smaller than a RR363 brake fluid molecule. They only pump pressure on demand. Once the spheres are fully charged the pump can't make pressure because the acv pressure relief valve is now open. And fluid is being sent back to the reservoir.
The acv valve assembly is a demand and pressure regulator.
My ACVs are original and 42 years old the spheres are 19 years old. Both systems have in excess of 70 brake pedal pumps before warning lights display. So myths of continual brake problems aren't true providing servicing and any repairs are done properly.
The rest of the brake system is the same as any car except that instead of moving a pump piston you are opening a valve instead. These valves live in the famous rat trap. Again no seals and they should weep fluid to protect the the fine tolerances.
The calipers etc are standard fare and can be diy overhauled with ease. A common misunderstanding about calipers is that the bore and piston with out the seals are a rattling fit so the piston doesn't actually touch the bore. It's all in the seal which are only 50 quid for the 4 front calipers. I believe stainless pistons are also now available. Changing pads is simple. Pins and R clips.
The ride height hydraulics are also simple. A valve is operated by a link to the trailing arm. When the car is loaded the valve opens and fluid forces a ram piston to press the top of the coil Spring down thus raising the rear off the ground.
My ride height got terrible slow so I changed the two flexible pipes from the valves to the Rams and it's now fine. Again the Rams and valves are original and 42 years old.
Notice that the whole system merely pushes a piston out. The return stroke is from the weight of the car for the ride height and the springiness of the twisting main seal of the brake calipers for the brakes.
If one thinks of the system as 2 power stations. 2 valves for brakes and 2 valves for the rear ride height rams then the system is easy to understand.
The main problems will be the metal pipes. How ever these can be made dig using a inexpensive brake pipe flairing tool the majority of the pipe work is standard 3/16 automotive brake pipe. About 10 quid for 25 ft.
Only special tools required and a must is a 3000 psi pressure gauge. About 15 quid with adaptors and fittings. Overhaul of spheres is best left to the pros and brought on a service exchange basis.
Yet to post message
Post Number: 1
|Posted on Thursday, 11 February, 2016 - 12:07: |
Robert, thanks for you layman's description of the hydraulic system. Sure makes it sound less daunting for those unfamiliar like me. Same goes for the service life of your ACV's and spheres.
I am somewhat surprised at the lack of seals in parts of the system, and although it doesn't change the teardown time when something does fail, it sounds like it would sure bump up the parts cost for a new/refurb unit instead of just replacing 'sacrificial' seals.
I guess the old adage of prevention being better than the cure is amplified with this system.
Post Number: 1909
|Posted on Thursday, 11 February, 2016 - 13:04: |
"I am somewhat surprised at the lack of seals in parts of the system, and although it doesn't change the teardown time when something does fail, it sounds like it would sure bump up the parts cost for a new/refurb unit instead of just replacing 'sacrificial' seals."
The construction of the pumps and valve bank in the Shadow brake system conforms to normal practice for high pressure hydraulic systems where sealing is achieved by tight fits and no mechanical seals. There are two main reasons why this applies:
1. The moving parts rely on the hydraulic fluid to act as a lubricant hence a minuscule leakage of fluid is allowed to lubricate the bores and pistons to keep wear to a minimum. This is also why scrupulous cleanliness is required when assembling hydraulic components to avoid scoring/jamming of these important components.
2. The high pressures used in hydraulic systems mean conventional mechanical seals are impractical as they cannot withstand these high pressures and loss of fluid becomes a major problem from maintenance and safety perspectives.
The design and construction of high pressure hydraulic systems has stood the test of time and has proved to be reliable and effective provided the system is not abused and maintenance is undertaken on a regular basis as designated by the manufacturer.
The Shadow hydraulic system is capable of being maintained by a competent DIY owner with the relevant knowledge and experience of basic hydraulic maintenance plus the appropriate tools. This is not a task where a DIY owner with little or no mechanical experience can "learn on the job" unless supervised by someone with full knowledge of and experience with high pressure hydraulic systems. In my case, I was fortunate to have worked for a multinational manufacturer of hydraulic mining and construction equipment and spent a considerable amount of time using and overhauling equipment to gain the knowledge and experience needed to properly represent my employer to existing and potential customers for their products.
Post Number: 2
|Posted on Thursday, 11 February, 2016 - 14:35: |
Thanks David, you learn something new everyday! Makes sense when explained from an industry perspective.
Having no experience with high pressure hydraulics, I'd be more than happy to farm out that part of servicing. Especially in such a safety critical system as brakes (if it was suspension alone, I might have given it a shot).
I do however plan to do most of the servicing at home, and have a workshop perform an 'annual inspection' for the specialist items, although I'm sure this is depending on finding a solid car to begin with.
Robert Noel Reddington
Post Number: 852
|Posted on Saturday, 13 February, 2016 - 06:12: |
High pressure hydraulics work the same as low pressure hydraulics. Your MGB is about 1500 psi when you do a that was close panic braking.
The Shadow runs at about 2800 psi. The brakes in normal use at a guess run about 1000 psi at the calipers. In panic mode wheels locked ploughing up the Tarmac go to full pressure of about 2800. Plus it has two extra calipers. Hence the very good brakes.
The front brakes of your MGB are very similar to the Shadow brakes except there are 4 calipers at the front and calipers at the rear instead of drums as on the MGB. The pipe work and fittings is the same and the hoses very similar. The Shadow just has more pipes. If you can repair MGB brakes then you can repair a Shadow it just takes longer time because there is more of it.
An in depth knowledge of hydraulics is not necessary to repair the Shadow system. The in depth knowledge has been designed into the system. All you have to do is follow the workshop manual and ask on this forum about things you don't understand. But before asking do read the workshop manual first. When you read the manual think and absorb the text carefully. Also when you finally get your car draw a circuit diagram of the hydraulic system. This way the info gets well learnt.
I don't worry about my hydraulics because I have a good knowledge of its workings nothing fazes me and any problems are quickly nailed down.
The Silver Cloud had also a bad reputation for dodgy brakes. This came about due to incorrect maintenance of the brakes by mechanics who didn't understand the system and rather than spend a couple of hours studying the books they would adjust linkages and rods until the brakes felt better and call it a day. Result is brakes that don't function properly and the comment that all Rollers have dodgy brakes. The same applies to the Shadow.
Best cars in OZ will be the ones that were official RR imported. The U.K. cars are all rusty, some have very little others very much more. Hong Kong cars are generally bad buys and I should think that these Hong Kong cars are now all gone and have been replaced with Spirits.