When you’re working under the Aston just about every job seems to require you to remove the undertray or underpan. This is a large sheet of Aluminium approximately 1500mm long x 800mm wide. In itself it’s not heavy but due to its size it is very cumbersome to handle.
As those who have removed the undertray will know you seem to be undoing bolts for ages (about 36 in total, I kid you not !!!) before you can get it down/out. If you are doing an oil change there is a hole directly below the engine drain plug but I would defy anyone to get that plug out without the oil running all over the undertray. I don’t see the point of the hole as you have to remove the undertray to change the oil filter anyway, unless you do it from the top as Steve has done finding it almost impossible to remove the filter from below on a LHD Aston. I can confirm that on a RHD Aston it is relatively easy to change the oil filter from below.
When I first started removing and replacing the undertray I had to get my wife to hold the back end whilst I removed the final bolts then we could lower it together to the floor. Since just about every job under the car requires this taking off I decided I had to come up with another way of doing it and hence the “Third Hand” was created. When I stopped to think about it the answer was simple in the end … the best ideas are always the simplest.
The “Third Hand” couldn’t be simpler, a piece of strong nylon string and two pieces wood. As you lift up the front end of the undertray the rear hangs from the exhaust bolts allowing you to feed the front end of the undertray over the lip of the front valance and insert bolts to secure it in place.
With the undertray bolted in position at the front the next stage is to insert the central bolt through to the main cross-member. Once this is in place the “Third Hand” can be removed and the rest of the bolts fitted.
Here is a short video showing how this works in practice.
Mike (Aston 2209)