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Bradley Clinch (
Posted on Friday, 05 July, 2002 - 00:06:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

To all concerned.
I have found the information offered here of much interest. Thank you for spending the time to be so helpful to those requesting advice.
I am in the process of buying a 1979 Shadow II, and have had a mechanical inspection of the vehicle by a Rolls Royce experienced and reputable mechanical engineer, which unveiled significant work required on the braking system (besides other areas such as broken differential mounting, engine mount, transmission and steering oil seepage, etc.)
This work was estimated to total about $3000 to $4000- to perform to a suitable standard.
The owner requested a quote for the work required for RWC, and consequently the mechanic supplied him with an itemised list, which included the overhauling of one of the braking systems due to several concerns including soft rear hoses, contamination of one system by a green coloured fluid, and the fact that during the test procedure (as described on this forum) the first warning light illuminated after only 6 light pumps of the pedal (after having first let the car idle for about 15mins after having driven it)
The warning system for the 2nd system is not even functioning, as after a further 100 pumps the light would still not illuminate.
The total of the RWC quote was around $2000.
I now find that the current owner, after having stated that he would have all done to have the car correctly made safe and roadworthy, insists the mechanic only flushes the system and perform the most basic necessities to make the vehicle "roadworthy".
The owner had stated and reiterated that the car has been "meticulously maintained" yet the vehicle has no service records, not even for the period he has owned it (approximately 3 years). The evidence of certain areas having been clearly neglected does not support such a claim.
The car was imported from the UK in 1997, by the previous owner, who I believe had the current owner schedule maintenance on his behalf as part of his employment duties, prior to he then purchasing it himself apparently about 3 years ago.
It appears otherwise in very good condition generally, but this work clearly requires being performed.
The owner also refuses to return my deposit.
Can anyone assist me in where I can obtain (in print) information pertaining to the legal requirements regarding roadworthy standards of this car?
I would be prepared to take the car Ďas isí at a reduced cost and rectify these faults at my expense. From my research, I am already paying "top dollar" for a private sale, let alone being expected to also meet these costs.
Thank you in advance for any advice.
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RTreacy (
Posted on Friday, 05 July, 2002 - 17:16:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

If you get off for $2,000 on fixes when buying this car you are in very good shape. Be fair, if you didn't have to spend it immediately you would have to do the job within a year or so anyhow. Forget the legal stuff. Count on spending at least 30% of the purchase price on bringing it up to standard. I spent 40% on my seemingly 100% Turbo R before I started on improvements.

When buying a SSII, factor in some immediate jobs: spheres, all brake hoses, new front discs and pads, engine mounts, steering rack overhaul, water pump and front suspension ball joints. All these usually need replacing in the short term regarless of their present apparent condition. Don't be too hard on the guy selling his pride and joy.
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BradBallroom (
Posted on Friday, 05 July, 2002 - 20:07:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Thank you RTreacy for you comments, but I particularly would like to know what is considered roadworthy (i.e. safe) regarding the braking system. Would only 6 pumps of the pedal (in total) be considered safe for a hydraulic system such as fitted to the SS series II? ...I think not! Particularly when I read that one should expect to have between 60 and 90 pumps per system for a sound functional system, with 30 being an absolute minimum.
My expertise is largely in aircraft. Two 18 seat aircraft of which I work with have a very similar (fully hydraulic powered) braking systems, where if one loses pressure, then there is no braking available what-so-ever (not as in power-assisted system, where unassisted braking is still available on failure of the power assistance)
As I have stated, I am paying top end price for this vehicle, being $20,000 more than others I have seen available for purchase, yet prefer to pay the extra to get a "good" SS.
Additional expected or anticipated required expenses aside, a legal requirement is that the vehicle be roadworthy.
I am endeavouring to ascertain what constitutes roadworthiness in this area. And preferably find printed information which supports brake pressure testing and requirements of work required based on the results.
If anyone can advise further, I would most welcome you doing so.
Thanks again.
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RTreacy (
Posted on Friday, 05 July, 2002 - 20:35:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

The brakes should last at least 20 applications, but preferably over 50, with the motor stopped.

My point is that I replaced all the (four) spheres on my car (SZs have four spheres by the way) even though they were apparently quite OK. I paid absolutely top price for my Turbo R too, but still replaced all the parts I mentioned in the earlier mail as a precaution, and then some. I don't want to stop in the middle of the german Autobahn with a blown water pump, in a land which despises English cars afterall. Bill Coburn did the spheres years back on our T-Series in Canberra (he has a tool to replace the diagphrams on the more expensive RR363 equipped cars). Better to buy a car with dodgy spheres etc, negotiate a lower price, and do all the jobs. At least then you know your starting point - a clean record. I think, from aircraft experience, you will understand that replacement before failure is mandatory. You'll have to do all these jobs sooner or later, so sooner is better and you can stop worrying. The spheres and hoses are a service requirement to be replaced every 100,000 km or five years in any case. Afterall, the newest Silver Shadow II is already 22 years old and will need a bit of TLC.

Please, don't be put off this fabulous car. If you know all the problems you are in a very good position: buy it, fix it and enjoy it. Roadworthiness is the easiest part of owning a Silver Shadow. Major problems can be something else. Be sure of the majors (engine, axles, rust) before buying, sort the minors out afterwards.
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Robert Chapman (
Posted on Saturday, 06 July, 2002 - 18:29:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Mr Clinch,
As a licenced vehicle tester for Vic-Roads and Rolls-Royce specialist I would strongly advise you not forget the legal stuff this could be a very costly mistake.Whilst the brake pumping method is a good guide, it is not accurate enough {because of switch faults and variations}for RW testing. The only accurate method is by pressure gauge.I was the person that brought this type of system and its testing procedure to Vic-road attention along with the failure of rusty vented front brake discs.Buying a Shadow of this age that has been recently imported is fraught with danger and I would strongly advise caution as a rust damaged hydraulic system can consume many thousands of dollars.If you would like more details or pictures you may like to visit my web-site or call me at work before you go any further with this purchase.
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Bradley Clinch (
Posted on Saturday, 06 July, 2002 - 19:24:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Thank you for your advice Robert.
I certainly would like to visit your web-site and to 'phone you for a discussion. Please advise me of your web address and contact details, or where I can find them.
Thank you.
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robert chapman (
Posted on Saturday, 06 July, 2002 - 19:39:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

My web address is
check articles and pre-purchase
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john dare (
Posted on Sunday, 07 July, 2002 - 13:27:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

to bradley clinch. re proposed purchase of SS11. as an enthusiast and owner I have assisted and represented several owners of S/shadows. many of these cars (especially non-aust. delivered cars) are misrepresented by the seller, either innocently or by deliberate intent. in most cases they require extensive and therefore expensive SPECIALIST repairs and that is usually the very reason WHY the vehicle is for sale. you have mentioned amounts of $4000 to make the car "right" (???) with only $2000 to make it (allegedly) roadworthy. whilst either amount would go far with a TRABANT I can assure you that you will not see, let alone feel, where such amounts are expended on a 20 plus year old S/Shadow. I have heard of SS11s being sold in the uk for 3000/4000 pnds stg and these are often imported , given a superficial "makeover" and then retailed for $30,000 or more. please let me know which state you reside in so that I can further advise you and direct you to reliable and honest R-R specialists who will perform DETAILED purchase inspections for aprox. $150. you may contact me on 03 9 589 1516. leave message if I am out. let me help your learn from the experiences of others before you so that you will not look back in anger. State consumer groups with whom I have direct contacts may be able to assist with recovery of your deposit. talk to me.
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Bradley Clinch (
Posted on Wednesday, 10 July, 2002 - 19:13:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Thank you for the advice.
I found it very interesting, informative and helpful to learn more from Robert Chapman's web-site and from various telephone conversations with both Robert and John Dare.
Thanks again.
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bob (
Posted on Monday, 22 July, 2002 - 01:49:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

This may be a late but here my two pennies worth.
For the car to be safe and legal (UK should be the same as down under) the car must be as the maker intended it. This appies to any make of car
6 pumps is not enough.
This no doubt caused by low nitrogen pressure.
Even though the brakes appear to work fine they will be even better once they are fixed.
And oh boy do those disks rust or what.
When I replaced mine the new were twice the weight.

My shadow 1 has over 90 pumps for both systems
Here in the UK a lot of MOT testers don't know this. MOT is a road worthy test in case you are unfamilar with UK legalities. Which means that the MOT test is not really proof of anything other than that I mechanic who may not have even seen a RR before reckons the car is safe. Which why I say the car must be as RR intended.

Your car needs at the very least a brake overhaul.
Shadows need this work every 4 years so if you buy a Shadow sooner or later you are going to get this expense.
I have had my Shad 1 for 13 years. I paid £8850 UK in 1989. I have done the brakes 4 times.
I don't think you will ever find a perfect Shadow
Even good cars seem to need money spent somwhere.
The newest Shadow is 22 years old so it is bound to have faults --some you can live with some you can't.
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Bradley Clinch (
Posted on Wednesday, 24 July, 2002 - 23:50:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Thank you Bob for your "two pennies worth"...

I have now purchased the vehicle in question, and am too now a proud RR owner.

For those particularly interested, the vehicle is a 1979 Silver Shadow Series II, VIN SRH38081.

Regarding the matter posted here...
The mechanic, who had checked the car and quoted for the roadworthy necessities, has since given the braking system a pressure test of both systems, which resulted in both accumulators and the corresponding control valves being overhauled. The remaining hydraulics was flushed through with RR363.
A compression test was also performed which returned a result of between 110 and 130. I have not yet a copy of the test results to enable me being too specific here.
The roadworthy was completed last Friday, 19th July, and I took delivery of the SSII on that evening.
Incidentally, the roadworthy totalled about AU$2500-.

As expected, there are some items to which I need attend... and I am hopeful that someone may be able to advise upon the following:

1/ The enunciator panel low fuel light is constantly illuminated whilst driving. I feel it possible that a previous owner may have kept the fuel quantity at a minimum, having possibly caused relay contacts to either corrode (or 'weld') or the associated mechanism to seize.
I have filled the fuel tank to the top twice since last Friday.

2/ The brake lamp warning light always illuminates with application of the brakes.
I did notice when I first inspected the car, that the LHS (upper) rear brake light was not functioning, which was rectified by the fitting of a new globe.
I suspect that the globe may have been blown for some time, as the last owner had told me that the lamp had always illuminated with brake application since he had owned the car.
Probably another faulty relay.
Where are the relays located for the warning lamps?

3/ The temperature gauge does not indicate.
At least in the meantime I know that the low coolant warning is serviceable, as the level had been a little low, which required topping the radiator coolant level about one inch. And hopefully, so is the over-heat warning.

4/ At low idle the engine has a vibration, which disappears as soon as the engine accelerates. I was told this vibration disappeared with leverage applied to one of the engine mounts whilst on the hoist. I've yet to talk to the mechanic further regarding this.

5/ When I first test-drove the car about 2 months ago, I noticed a very faint knock sound originating from the rear of the car after having driven it. Initially, from within the car it sounded to come from the boot.
This knock has since become more discerning each time I park the car. I've also once noticed it to happen a little when stopping at a set of traffic lights.
I believe that it would be related to the levelling system, and it appears to be the losing of pressure within the LH? hydraulic ram allowing the body to sink a little.
I would think this could be either a fault within the ram/s or the height control valve/s.
Physically preventing the sinking of the body, or momentarily accelerating it by applying a downward force stops the audible symptom.
Could this be internal seal damage from brake fluid contamination? Or just normal wear and tear which now requires repair? And can this cause damage to any other component in the meantime?

The evening I collected the car, I found upon alighting after having driven it, a burning smell which appeared to concentrate around the centre of the side of the car. This happened the first two times I drove it that evening, but I have not noticed it since. I thought it may have been brake fluid burning off the discs, but mention it here as it may be relevant.

I hope to talk with the mechanic tomorrow, as I also asked him to retain a sample of the brake fluid for analysis as kindly recommended by John Dare.

There are a few other very minor items requiring attention, such as the CD skipping!
And the upholstery requiring cleaning.
Other than these few items, the car is in very nice order.

Thank you.
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Bill Coburn (
Posted on Wednesday, 13 November, 2002 - 09:00:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Can we enjoy an update?