Normally you can get into your DB9, insert the key and touch the ‘Start’ button and the car immediately roars to life. It’s one of the sweet pleasures of owning an Aston Martin. But, what if you wanted to deliberately crank over the engine without it starting? “Steve – you’re crazy man – why would you ever want to do that?”
A reader of the Blog (Chris Piazza – thanks Chris!) brought up a good point recently. After an oil change or a long period of storage the engine is perhaps more ‘dry’ than usual. The oil having had time to drain down out of places that it might normally not have. Starting directly up in this condition (Dry Starting) might lead to a small amount of premature wear while the oil pressure builds up and finally starts to circulate.
In order to minimize this the idea is to crank the engine over for a while without starting by just using the starter. This is much slower than when the engine starts, and thus allow the oil pump to build up some pressure and circulate some oil prior to starting her up. Seems reasonable. Puts some extra wear on the starter and battery, but nothing significant if you don’t do it often.
The Aston Martin DB9 has a built in ‘Don’t Start’ mode. Get in to start the car as normal, but press the throttle entirely to the floor [like you normally drive it ;>)]. This tells the computer to NOT send fuel to the cylinders, but just crank over the motor. I wouldn’t do this for a long period (else you risk overheating the starter). Perhaps a five (5) second run of this should prime the oil pump and build up some oil pressure to start circulating it around. Without an oil pressure gauge its hard to say how long is long enough. I found that if you watch the Oil Pressure Warning light on the instrument cluster (the red Aladdin’s lamp) and crank until it goes out this should mean that oil pressure has built up and oil is circulated.
Release the start button, take your foot off the throttle, and press the start button again to normally fire her up. Vroooom!
[Updated December 2019] Should the skeptics out there think this is vodoo black magic and not endorsed by Aston Martin I offer this to convince you. Open your official Owners Manual (from the glove box) and turn to Section 12 on Storing your Vehicle. On the page describing taking it out of storage it covers this exact issue and this procedure as the solution. Check it out here.
One final thought. I figured I should be able to plug in my OBDII reader and ‘talk’ to the engine to get a read out of the actual oil pressure, and thus learn how long to crank was long enough. I could NOT find any live data reading on oil pressure. If you have had better luck, please leave me a comment down below so I can add to this article.
Check out the video below to see it in action and how long 5 seconds really seems while cranking.