Forum Chat #53 – DB9 V12 Engine tick, when to repair

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Welcome to BamfordRose and it is forum chat time. Before we get started, if you like what we do on social media, please click us a like, subscribe to our channel, and let us know your comments. This week’s form chat I took from a comment on one of our own YouTube videos. And it asks if you have elongated liners on a DB9, so let’s call that the dreaded DB9 tick. Now whether that comes from a small end bush wear or whether that is piston slap. Because the liners of worn oval, it could be either one of those.

The question is, if you’ve got the dreaded DB9 tick, can you nurse the car along with that problem and wait for the most convenient time, often depicted by the financial situation to repair it. So quite a few people phone up and they’ve listened to some of our previous YouTube videos. They can identify the sound that their engine is making exactly with the sounds that I show on some of our previous videos.

I’ve listened to enough engines physically in the flesh to understand the sound that they’re making and then strip those engines and measure wherein either linear or small ambush. To be able to listen to an individual engine and determine what the root cause of the dreaded tick is. If the tick was just a small ambush and not anything to do with piston slap, because liners of worn oval. Worst case situation for the connecting rod, piston, and small ambush would be overrun from redline. I do not think that catastrophic mechanical damage would occur, prior to you listening to the engine and determining yourself that you have to repair it; (a) because the tick is embarrassing (b) because it just sounds wrong. By wrong, I mean a sound that even someone who isn’t mechanical, can listen to the magnitude, the volume and just realize that it’s not right and it needs fixing.

So, in the case of a small ambush tick then, yes, you can nurse the car along or be it having to put up with the ticking sound. If the liners have gone oval and you’re also experiencing piston slap and that is the tick after a period and this cannot really be measured. The liner will sink a little bit in the block. It will sink a little bit in the parent bore. Meaning that the head gasket leaks, and there is combustion pressure seeping outside of the liner, out through the firing of the gasket and typically into a coolant jacket. That will pressurize the water system and push an excess of water into the expansion bottle. Inevitably that will put your check coolant level warning light on.

The expansion bottle is in the near side passenger side wheel arch liner and if that was full and your coolant level was low, you top your coolant back up again after a period of time, it starts leaking out. Typically, you’ll then see that overflow in the expansion bottle and you’ll get a wet puddle around the passenger front wheel. That would be the time to repair. Because really it’s not feasible to use the car in that wounded state.

Just worth remembering that the dreaded DB9 tick yet to see that on a 470 BHP DB9 engine. Never seen it on a 510 V12 V or dbs. It only really relates to those early built DB9 engines. If you’re thinking about buying a car of that age then for sure other videos that we’ve done, we’ve suggested a test that you can do to run the engine up to full operating temperature. Then increase from idle to about three and a half thousand rpm, for about 3 or 4 minutes, drop it down to tick over. If it’s going to produce the dreaded DB9 tick, it’s going to do it at that point when you drop down to idle. Obviously if you already own the car and you’re unfortunate enough for this problem to develop in your ownership, then you can nurse it along until the point, it’s easier to fix the problem. And as I said before that would either be coolant overflow or if it was the small ambush, a point in time in which your own embarrassment, meant that you couldn’t drive the car. You had to fix it.

Becoming a bit of a problem for early DB9 now is the cost feasibility of repairing that whole activity. If it’s an 80k miles DB9 from O5 private sale, it’s going to be tough to get any more than 25k for that car, depending on the fix needed. If it was liners which need machining that’s going to be more expensive. If it’s just small end bushes from little end bush ticks then that’s going to be the cheapest. I can’t see the repair really coming in anything under 10k, probably stretching to 15k. Meaning that it’s quite a commitment to keep that car on the road. Obviously, it’s an Aston and it’s never going to be scrapped. It would just take someone who could do the work themselves, without incurring a big garage bill or big commitment to keep that car on the road. Hope you like that forum chat and we’ll see on the next one.

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