Forum Chat #69 – Italian tune up, Aston garage chat

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Welcome to Bamford Rose and it’s forum chat time. This week, I’ve taken a post off of a Facebook group which was talking about the emissions warning like. Anyone that puts enough miles on their Aston is going to know that that little emissions warning light is going to flick up every now. And again, and this was a question about what to do about it. In the post it says, my yellow emissions warning light came on today apparently this is common with Astons. But according to this article, it usually means nothing. The comments from fellow members on here suggest the advice in this article could lead to serious engine damage.

So, click through to that company’s website and it says, “Believe it or not, the first thing if you have your little emissions light come on is try and blast it on the dual carriageway Italian tune-up style. We’ve often found this is all that’s required to solve the problem. After a good long drive come to a hole, switch your engine off and back on again and quite often the light will disappear. So, if your emissions warning light does come on don’t be alarmed by it, it’s really anything serious for so long. As you keep your Aston service properly at the appropriate intervals, check water and oil levels are as they should be.

Make sure the air filters are clean and give the vehicle a good run now and then you don’t need to worry. We’ve never known anything bad happen when that light comes on, although we strongly advise getting the light checked out. In all our years, dealing with these beautiful cars we’ve never known anything bad happen when that light comes on. It’s natural to feel a pang of anxiety, but the truth is whilst there may be something that needs looking at. We’ve talked about ignition coil packs earlier in brackets. Your car won’t go into limp mode and the light should disappear on its own. Happy driving.”

The description that that company put out on its website informing people not to worry and just give the car an Italian tune up down the motorway if your emissions night comes on was met with much criticism on that Facebook group. Which is good, because it’s totally the wrong advice now I’ve picked this up not because I wish to pull apart that garage at all. I just picked this up because there is an interesting subtle divide between garages occurring here. Garages that are used to bashing off wheel spinners and looking at points and carburetors is a completely different mindset of technician. A completely different era of technician. A completely different set of tools. The laptop being the most important tool in the modern era and you know a mallet for bashing your wheel spinners off. It’s quite an important tool of the heritage era cars.

The Italian tuner might well work on heritage cars. You know that gets fuel air circulating in different pilot jets, main jets. Gets diaphragms working in carburetors, gets the distribution maybe after a bit of heat bit of vibration the advanced unit starts to fling itself out. Many reasons why Italian tuna actually works. But if you’ve got a misfire which you cannot detect as a driver and you get an emissions warning light come on. You plug your fault code reader in and you see that that’s a couple of cylinders that are unhappy, which immediately prompts you to stop driving or get to a garage as soon as you possibly can. If you didn’t plug it into the car to find out that it was a code of consequence or a code of inconsequence and it was a code of consequence and you gave it that Italian tune up down the motorway.

Then what could have been quite a minor repair bill could turn into something completely catastrophic. For example, if that fault code light came on instantly because it picked up a misfire you didn’t run the car any further, maybe got it picked up by a tow truck sent to a garage then your repair bill could be a few hundred quid. Because it’s just plugs coils and a few hours labor, if you did drive down the motorway giving it an Italian tune up. That misfire failed the catalyst that catalyst was ingested by the engine that could turn into a 20 grand rebuild if that engine is pretty much fundamentally un-rebuildable.

So, there’s the divide of bashing wheel spinners on and off carbs and distributors, then there’s the modern era stuff which is more laptop and precision based. There’s also another divide coming in which is the AMDS 2 cars. Now most independents have AMDS, some of them even know how to use it. AMDS 1 will cover DB7 Vanquish V8 DB9 all the way through to the Bosch engine management system cars. So, V12 VS Vanquish, Repeat, Repeat S. MDS 2 starts at DB11 DBs Super Jira and the new Merc Vantage. MDS one is a portable laptop system you can pretty much take it anywhere in the field, where AMD S2 is buying largely internet based.

I don’t know of any independent that has AMDS too, so there’s generic bits of kit out there in the marketplace that are going to connect to those cars’ independents can use. Read fault codes, reset certain things, reset service life. But programming any new modules needed for those cars or any more in-depth work. And even a dedicated independent astonishing specialist is not going to be able to work on those cars. The fluids and lubes those cars need are completely different from the outgoing Gen 1 gaming cars and the size of them. You know if you need to do any major work, you’re going to have to take the front end of the car. Where do you store that?

So, that subtle divide is that modern era current Gen Aston cars don’t really mix in a workshop with the Gen 1 Gaydon cars. Much as those laptop new technology cars don’t really mix in a workshop, with a workshop that is more used to bashing off wheel spinners working on carbs and distributors. Maybe that was a clever approach by the factory, because they’ve pretty much locked those cars in to having to go to the franchise dealer. Which is okay when those Gen 2 Gaydon cars are pretty new. But what happens in a few years’ time?

The independent network has offered a relief from eye-watering and dealership prices over the recent years. And just imagine today if there were no independent specialists out there and everyone was having to go to franchise dealers. Pretty much that’s what’s going to happen for the Gen 2 Gaydon car. So, the factory will probably need to manage that one house the bad press, which comes out of having to take your car to a franchise dealer and paying high watering prices probably isn’t going to read too well on forums in a few years’ time. The next few years in the Aston world are going to be very interesting to watch.

Pro Rata for Aston sales something like 20 franchise dealerships is far too many. But if that 20 were to shrink and the independent network didn’t grow significantly, then there would be far too many cars wanting to book into independent specialists. Fortunately, everyone that subscribes to this channel doesn’t need to be told by now that if you’ve got a fault like come on plug your fault code reader and check it out. Understand that it’s non-critical, then carry on driving or if it was deemed critical get the car looked at. Certainly, do not take it on an Italian tune up. Anyway, hope you like that forum chat. Really helps us, if you can like, comment and subscribe to our channel and we’ll see you on the next forum.

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