QOTW #46 – Astons Bulletproof Engines

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Hi, Partin’s Bamford Rose and another question of the week, right. This week, we’re going to call it Astons Bulletproof Engines. Because by and largely they are extremely bulletproof. If you compare them to other automakers of similar niches, then suddenly for VN DB9 because of the arduous test standards that Ford made Astons for. Means that by and largely these engines are Bulletproof. And both V8, 4.3, 4.7 and V12 in DB9 or the iterations of DB9 V12 V and DBS leading up to the 5.0, I’m not going to include the 5.2 Turbo in this. All of those power trains are bomb-proof.

As a workshop, we’re not rebuilding lots and lots and lots. Obviously, there are a few. You know an engine is a very complex mechanical component. It’s going to go wrong in a few cases and that means that workshops are going to have to rebuild a few engines. But it’s not widespread. There’s no Achilles heel that affects absolutely all of them. There are obviously problems that do affect some of them and DB9 engine tick will be one for the V12. So, that could be the small ambush or line aware and oval. Or on VA, it could be assumed that they’re spare in quite common to the regime.

There’s the odd beginning failure, which results in the catastrophic failure. You need a replacement engine but it’s extremely few and far between. So, I just wanted to talk about each engine, because some of the videos that we’ve done before have raised a lot of comments about, ‘How poor a luxury performance car brand looks if it’s product is showing the issues that we’ve reported?’ So, in fairness and imbalance, we really do need you to pragmatically rationalize the statement. And in the main, these engines are bomb-proof. The few failures that they do have, it’s important to know what they are and a point of purchase know that you’re not buying a car, this potentially got these problems.

Because at that point, you know you could be buying yourself into a big problem and it’s best to do some due diligence and avoid those. So, we do make videos about all the problems that there are, but that’s not to say that the brand is afflicted across the board with these problems. So, if we look at the 4.3 V8 and 4.7, the crank rods Pistons and valve train, this is all bulletproof. You know on a 4.7 that we tuned for the track and put our twin throttle in that manifold on it. We’re pumping out about 550 horsepower and okay because it’s a race we do put forged connecting rods in. But the sintered rod would run fine at that power. You know there’s not a weak spot.

So, all those fundamental components are pre done bulletproof. The V8 4.3, 4.8 yeah a few of them can develop ticking sounds which is the valve train, it’s a classic valve train tapping. And it needs a regime of the valves on the inlet side. It’s impossible to do that with the engine, in place you’ve got to take the engine out. On the exhaust side, you can measure the clearance between the cam and the bucket and then re-specify shim. And even if you were doing both sides of the engine from start to finish, it’s a day’s work. So, it’s not a big job to re-shim tapping on the V8.

Obviously, when you start up a v8 get it warm let it take over. If there was any valve train or you should be able to hear this distinct metallic tapping noise come from the top end and bonnet. You’d be able to hear that. Some of the early 4.7s have got this rattling sound and you can hear this from the underside of the car. And this is on some models put down to the scaffold, oil pump scavenges. So, pressure pump scavenge pump the chain system on that dry sump system. And it will make that sound forever. It’s just a bit harsh, it sounds a bit rectally a bit clunky. But if you did 24 hours of Nurburgring, it’s gonna sound exactly the same as the, at the end as it did at the start.

Oh, the rest of the V8 range, you know there no head gasket failures. There there’s no excessive oil burning issues. There’re no crank piston rod failures. Front cover yeah, that seal can leak and we’ve done a video on that which you can find that in the bio. But apart from that, 4.7 it’s really hardy. Now the V12, there are a few more problems with the V12 but it’s certainly not all of them. You’ll be aware that we’ve done DB9 engine tick, and this is really the early V12 I’m not sure exactly but this seems limited to what was the cost worth built-in V12 as opposed to the Polokwane, Aston engine plant factory built V12. Where the liners can wear oval get a little bit of piston slap. So, it needs a reborn new liner.

And definitely the small end Bush can wear resulting in a ticking sound. Which is resolved with a new LM Bush. If you’ve not seen that video, then search for that in the bio ‘DB9 Engine Tick’. We’ve got a series of videos on that, but that really is your 450 BHPDB9 engine, certainly not the 470 or any of the Vltava or DBS 510 PHP engines. They can have, the V12 engine can have a few problems with its Hydraulic Compact Justice and get a little bit of a ticking sound. But again, this is an institute job, very very easy. The breathing circuit can fail. Again, we’ve done a video on that please check that one in the bio.

What happens there is the breathing circuit valves fail. It allows oil to be pulled over into the inlet manifold from the breathing circuit. And if the oil level isn’t checked, oil level can drop down below the certain level, which if you took it on a motorway cruise it will basically see that the bot men, because there’s insufficient oil flow. The wider world, I’ve seen people do this and try to suggest that the Aston engine has got an oil starvation problem. But it actually hasn’t, there’s no issue with the oil circuit. This is a failure of another component, which as a symptom of that failure causes it oil consumption which then causes the failure.

But by-and-largely, you know there aren’t head gasket issues on a V12. The sump seal a front cover seal, they can leak like the V8 does but certainly not to the frequency the V8 leak is quite rare. So, in general, the V12 engine can be extremely strong. It can have coil related misfires of which then caused countless to break up. Which then caused the debris to be ingested and the engine failed, because of that. But again, that’s not a base engine issue this is a failure of another component which causes a symptom and it’s that symptom which then causes engine failure.

Again, like I said about V8, the point of knowing this information is a pre-purchase to make sure you’re not buying a problem. So, for the V12, it might be a bit over the top because I’m in the trailer I know. But I wouldn’t be buying a V12 that I didn’t screw a coolant chemical sniffer for combustion gas in the fluid. So, if it’s got a head gasket issue because the line is worn overall and because it’s then synced a little bit on the block, you’ll then get a little bit of coolant loss and the chemical sniffer. It’s a fluid solution that sits in a bottle that you screw on top of the coolant bowl. That will turn from one color into a different color indicating that there are combustion gases present in the coulomb.

So, you could obviously probably have to get professional to do that check. It’s not piece of equipment widely available. You’d be revving the engine up as I’ve suggested to do in another video to promote the tick, if it was going to happen and check they weren’t ticking. And you’d be looking underneath to check that there are no oil leaks. So, if you’ve checked all those things at point of purchase and none of those conditions are present, then you know that you’re not buying something there’s got problem. Likewise, it is very very easy to stick the Aston Martin Diagnostic (AMDs) laptop on the car and look at real-time misfire. If you then see that it’s got no misfire, then you know that it hasn’t been put at risk of say a correlated misfire, failing the catalyst which fails the engine.

So, I just want to clear that up and say that these engines bought largely in the V8 and V12 range of Aston are by and large bulletproof. Like any engine, it can have problems and, in a few cars, inevitably, it’s going to go wrong. But the whole brand shouldn’t be tarred with that same brush as it were. And if you’re unlucky enough to own the car it develops a problem, okay well you know needs fixing. And the other piece of information is to take all these care points away and go and check if you’re buying a car. You’re not gonna be or you’re not immediately going to be subjected to these failures. Help that was helpful. And as ever, if you can like, subscribe, comment below and hit the bell for notifications.

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