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Bob Livermore
Experienced User
Username: livermoreb

Post Number: 12
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Sunday, 12 August, 2012 - 03:04:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I have a problem with my 1981 Bentley Mulsanne which started today. It was a very hot day - up to about 43C, and I had stopped for a coffee while out for a drive. I started the car without a problem, put it in reverse to get out of the parking space, and the car moved about a metre and then the engine cut out.

I thought I may have stalled it so started it again - no problem starting - and put it in reverse again and the same thing happened. In forward gears the car is fine but in reverse it keeps cutting out. Any ideas?
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Hubert Kelly
Experienced User
Username: h_kelly

Post Number: 16
Registered: 3-2012
Posted on Sunday, 12 August, 2012 - 05:53:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Hi Bob, not familiar with your car as I have an old Shadow. I just wonder if you put the gear leaver into reverse with the ignition on, but engine stalled, can you hear the actuator change the gears ?. That might rule out a actuator fault?
Good luck with it.
hk
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Bill Coburn
Moderator
Username: bill_coburn

Post Number: 1425
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Sunday, 12 August, 2012 - 14:32:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Bob/ An interesting problem.

.Try stopping on a slope facing upwards and engage reverse. Will the car roll backwards when you release the brake.

.With the engine running at a fast idle, when you engage reverse does the engine cut out immediately or does it labour until it stalls?

Given the age of the car, I immediately think of wiring. The engine wobbles around normally especially when you engage DRIVE or REVERSE. Here I would be looking for a break in the wiring to the coil at the back of the engine. You can test this with a small trouble light clipped onto the terminal which you can see from the driver's seat.

A further check is, with the engine running in neutral and the brakes on, engage reverse. As soon as the engine appears to be cutting out change back to neutral and note if the engine picks up again.

When was the transmission last serviced? if you don't know, service it! This you can do yourself. You should be able to get a service kit locally but if not try the internet. There is a plate on the right hand side of the transmission housing with the code number of the box which you can quote to get the kit. Servicing is detailed in the workshop manual and Tee One Topics both available in the Club Library rrtechnical.info.

If, when you get the sump of the transmission off you find bits of metal, a complete overhaul is indicated. Do not swoon at this point as the whole unit is a General Motors transmission of which in excess of 3,000,000 units were made. Spare parts abound and any respectable transmission service centre will be able to source them.

I suspect that the torque converter is the problem but I have forgotten the details of the mechanism to advise you.

A word on transmission service people. Select one carefully. Get references from other customers and quickly disabuse the service people that you have any illusions about Rolls-Royce lest they feel that working on such a reputable make of vehicle incurs a substantial loading on the manhour rate if you get my drift!!

Co-incidentally I have just had the transmission done on my '84 Spur which has probably done a few million miles!!!??? The unit was removed to replace the rear engine crankshaft seal which was leaking.

I asked the people to open the box to look for nasties and there was a lump of metal a bit bigger than a grain of rice. As removing and replacing the transmission costs about $1000 I asked the people to strip the box and rebuild it.

There was nothing 'wrong' with it but it was well worn in the clutch discs and seals. The torque converter was replaced as an exchange unit since they require special equipment to open them up being welded together on assembly. Since we found no other evidence in the box for the piece of metal we concluded that it came from within the converter.

Including replacing the rear engine seal the whole lot cost $2,500. This was with a manhour rate of $120 per hour. Money well spent - the box changes like silk now!
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Bob Livermore
Experienced User
Username: livermoreb

Post Number: 13
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Sunday, 12 August, 2012 - 17:43:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Thanks for that comprehensive response Bill. I will certainly give the transmission a service. When you say a transmission service kit, do you mean the filter replacement kit - Introcar do one, part number INRH 10009 X for 35.84 which seems to consist of a filter and a new gasket and O rings.

I have read the articles in Tee One Topics 2 page 8 - a great resource by the way - and 26 page 370 about the importance of replacing the rubber O ring.

One other thing. Could this problem have been caused by overheating? It was a very hot day, as I said, and, when I got home I parked the old girl up for a while before putting her to bed and when I started her up later, when the ambient temperature had gone down to about 35C, there was no problem with reverse at all!
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Bill Coburn
Moderator
Username: bill_coburn

Post Number: 1427
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Sunday, 12 August, 2012 - 23:03:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Bob, I do wish you wouldn't complicate life for me with further details!!!!!! I cannot imagine the connection between ambient temperature and your problem. But there is nothing new under the sun! But then I wonder with a buggered converter your experience may just have been precipitated by the heat!!!!! What ever, I have your location and will come over and be very unpleasant if you don't report in detail what you find. So often in these columns we hear of the imminent total destruction of a car after using the gigar lighter and then nothing!! It is not very helpful for people such as myself trying to understand these strange steeds! The filter kit is what you want!!
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Bob Livermore
Experienced User
Username: livermoreb

Post Number: 14
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Sunday, 12 August, 2012 - 23:25:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

OK, I'll do my best. It may be a while though as I live in Spain and everything takes a long time here, plus it is far to hot a the moment to even think about stripping down the gearbox. What I really need is an air conditioned garage!!
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Bob Livermore
Experienced User
Username: livermoreb

Post Number: 15
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Saturday, 05 January, 2013 - 22:29:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Sorry Bill,I did not keep my promise and come back to you on this. The reason was that, shortly after our exchange, I started the process of getting the car registered here in Spain. This, as I indicated in my last post, is taking forever to do and I have now got to the stage of trying to get the car through the ITV (MOT in the UK - I am not sure what you call it in Australia) and it failed on 2 counts - one steering rack boot was split and there is a leak from the front accumulator. I have renewed the steering rack boot and am posting a request for help with the accumulator on a separate thread.

I did ask a friend who lives locally and is an expert on RR/Bentley automatic gearboxes - Johnh Dodd - who said he thought the problem was caused by the extreme heat. I have not had the problem since the weather cooled down but then again I have not used the car much until I get it legalised.

If you need to "come over and be unpleasant" to me I will be in Melbourne in March, which may be a bit nearer for you.
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Bill Coburn
Moderator
Username: bill_coburn

Post Number: 1459
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Sunday, 06 January, 2013 - 05:00:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Bob/ What is the chassis number of your car?

Separately who is John Dodd, - that name sent my memory banks into turmoil?
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Paul Yorke
Grand Master
Username: paul_yorke

Post Number: 923
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Sunday, 06 January, 2013 - 09:48:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Trying to exercise my memory bank and Without benefit of Google I feel he did a Merlin or Jet engined Rolls-Royce.

Probably completely wrong though!
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Bob Livermore
Experienced User
Username: livermoreb

Post Number: 17
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Sunday, 06 January, 2013 - 22:07:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Yes he still has the car - known as The Beast or as he calls it the Motor Avion. It is a Merlin engined car that originally had a RR radiator until they sued him - he lost his house over it back in the 60s or 70s. You tube has a lot of stuff about him and the car.

Chassis number is: SCBZS0001BCH02711
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Jan Forrest
Grand Master
Username: got_one

Post Number: 425
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Sunday, 06 January, 2013 - 22:55:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

He still has the car? I'd read that it was 'written off' at least twice after, IIRC, an accident and then a fire (or was it t'other way round?). Pity about the grill considering that it had/has a Rolls Royce engine under the bonnet.
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Bob Livermore
Experienced User
Username: livermoreb

Post Number: 20
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Monday, 07 January, 2013 - 03:39:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Well, if you type John Dodd The Beast into You Tube you will see a number of videos posted by his daughter Soosie and others from the last few years so, if it was written off (I'll ask him next time I see him) he has put it back together again and is using the car regularly. Although, as it does 1km per litre of fuel, not as a daily driver!!

It always attracts a crowd as you might imagine.
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Beau Anderson
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, 05 October, 2017 - 23:45:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I have a 1981 RR spur and it stalls when I put it in drive or reverse... Help Please

(Message approved by david_gore)
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Omar M. Shams
Grand Master
Username: omar

Post Number: 1333
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Friday, 06 October, 2017 - 15:47:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Try this test but make sure you take all the safety precautions in the world.

make sure you jack up at least one rear wheel.

Now check if your engine will start if you select reverse or drive.
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Patrick Lockyer.
Grand Master
Username: pat_lockyer

Post Number: 1546
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Friday, 06 October, 2017 - 15:53:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Beware of the LSD it may pull its self off the jack etc with one wheel of the ground if it starts.....
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Omar M. Shams
Grand Master
Username: omar

Post Number: 1335
Registered: 4-2009
Posted on Friday, 06 October, 2017 - 16:55:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Good catch Patrick.
The car shouldnt actually start - but just in case it does - both wheels in the air is safest
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Paul Yorke
Grand Master
Username: paul_yorke

Post Number: 1875
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Friday, 06 October, 2017 - 18:25:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Beau, what is it idling like?

If you put your left foot on the brake and give it some extra revs with your right foot, and then put it in gear goes it still cut out?

If it does try again with a little more revs.
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Patrick Lockyer.
Grand Master
Username: pat_lockyer

Post Number: 1547
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Friday, 06 October, 2017 - 22:18:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Make sure your engine mounts are in good condition first.

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