About

When I bought my 2005 DB9 back in November 2013 I was enthusiastic.  My intentions are to use it as my daily driver (to get the full pleasure of a car you need to drive it).   I have some mechanic skills, and as an engineer I looked forward to doing some of the fixes and service myself (it’s British after all, it’s gonna break).

There is so little published “How To” information for the DB9.  Just finding a copy of the official service manual took months (no Chilton’s guides for a DB9 I guess).  If you want to change an engine on a Honda Civic, YouTube has 10 video’s covering every step, but you can’t find a single DB9 video on something as simple as an oil change (which I’ve learned isn’t that simple – and now I’ve made one!).  The best resources I have found to offer some limited help are 6SpeedOnline and PistonHeads .   I wanted to add my voice to those discussions, but in a more verbose and complete format (video commentary along with photos and links).

The mission of this Blog is to chronicle what I learn so that others can benefit from it.

I am a car guy and a bit of a nerd, so I am blending those skills to produce this Blog.  With some help from my neighbor Rob, a GoPro camera, YouTube and WordPress, I hope to make something you can enjoy. [And some graphics help from my friend Ray – Thanks Ray!]

Thanks for reading!

Steve

[Why Aston 1936 and not Aston 2005?  It’s DB9 number 1936 and that’s what all the factory workers signed to all the Q/A stickers on the parts]

Vehicle Number 1936

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168 thoughts on “About

  1. Ken Shimizu

    Greetings Steve!
    Ray Mah informed me about your site several months ago (yes, I’m a wirebender) and I’m about to embark on the replacement of the coil packs and plugs on by ’05 DB9 with my daughter. She is quite handy and this might prevent me from swearing too much during the process!

    I had just tried to contact Rob at HWM and he just informed me that AML will no longer permit him to send parts outside of the EU! Very unfortunate since it seems that his outfit was quite a pleasure to work with. So now I’m in need of sourcing out the parts with another outfit. Do you have any recommendations either domestic or abroad?

    Thank you so much! Love your site and all of the information and confidence that you’ve given me!

    Like

    1. Hey Dr. Shimizu! Seems we share a similar passion. Yep, I heard that Aston has cracked down on the UK dealerships forcing them to stop selling to US customers. I think you’ll need to contact your local Aston dealer, probably Los Gatos. Give them an earful about the UK supply issue and lean on them to match the prices I had in the article if they will. I think this seemed to be about 20% below their retail price.

      Hope the project goes well with your Daughter. Definitely a project most anyone handy with tools and some patience can undertake. That rear most bolt on the right hand intake manifold is the largest challenge, but doable.

      Good luck!

      Like

  2. Greg Popovich

    I understand our cars (I have a 2005 DB9) are going to be recalled in Feb due to a problem with the passenger seat contacting the battery cables and starting a fire?

    Like

    1. Hi Greg. Thanks for the heads up. I did a quick Google and sure enough – http://autoweek.com/article/recalls/aston-martin-recall-over-5000-cars-us

      Two issues. Later model cars with the Transmission Pawl problem, and early model cars with a potential battery cable issue. I called the number for Aston Martin US in the article, but they deferred me to call my local Dealership for more information. I think its still too early for them to have their act together on the issue. The article states its expected to take effect about Feb 1, so I will probably call my local dealer around then.

      Like

      1. Greg Popovich

        Thanks Steve — I guess in the meantime it might be advisable to not put the passenger seat all the way back? Do you understand how the seat would come in contact with the battery cables in the first place — because the metal seat tracks do not move over the floor – to cut or contact anything?

        Anyway- Happy New Year everyone.

        Greg

        Like

      2. Ya, no real idea how these might get damaged. The cabin fuse box is under the passenger footwell, so I presume there is a cable set under the flooring. I don’t think reclining would do it, but if your passenger seat is always in generally the same position (like mine) I’m not too worried about it. If you hear more, please drop me a line.

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    2. Chris Piazza

      I just read the article and it states Driver’s seat not passenger. But I’m curious if this is why so many DB9’s have battery / electrical issues. If the cables are grounding out constant amperage fluctuations will wreak havoc on an ECU and will most definently drain the battery. Again Steve, this blog continues to be a fantastic source of info.

      Like

    3. Jonathan Dewar

      Hi Steve – I just wanted to thank you for your videos. I bought my DB9 last week, knowing that it needed a new battery. Having been quoted £450 ($600) by Aston to replace it, I thought I’d do it myself after watching your videos on the subject. They were fantastic. Everything was just as you’d explained and I easily changed it in under an hour, including recalibration of the seats, windows (Aston wanted to charge a Further £80 ($100) to do this. It took all of 1 minute to do this myself!). Getting up early on Saturday morning to do the misfire corrections on a quiet stretch of dual carriageway near me, then just need to re-tune the radio.

      Thanks again.

      Like

  3. Greg Popovich

    Have you ever heard or read any reports of our cars catching on fire? I sure haven’t. I wonder if the right hand drive cars in Europe are excluded from the recall?

    Like

  4. Greg Popovich

    Just found this………..

    The second issue concerns some 1,953 DBS and DB9 vehicles made between 2005 and 2009. In these cars, the battery supply cables can be damaged when the driver’s seat is positioned all the way back. NHTSA says that if the cable is damaged and then grounded, it can cause a short circuit that may result in a fire.

    “Aston Martin will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the battery supply cable for damage, and install a routing block to keep the battery supply cable from being compressed by the seat, free of charge,” NHTSA said in a statement.

    Both recalls are scheduled to begin on Feb. 1, 2018. Owners can contact Aston Martin customer service directly at 1-888-923-9988; use the code RA-07-0028 for the transmission issue and the code RA-18-0026 for the battery

    Read more: http://autoweek.com/article/recalls/aston-martin-recall-over-5000-cars-us#ixzz539esFpfC

    Like

    1. Hi Jordan. Yep, I’ve heard multiple reports of that now. Some new policy from Aston Martin (not HWM), forbidding the UK dealers to sell to the US. US Dealers are probably making a fuss. I do not have a US dealer to recommend yet. I would like to find one and strike up a relationship, this Blog drives a lot of business towards them ultimately. But, I want a good one with a helpful parts manager and willing to discount some. Stay tuned, I will likely have an article on it once resolved.

      Like

  5. Dave Collins

    Hi Steve –

    Like you I do a lot of my own car maintenance and am thrilled to find your site so I can do my homework before looking for a DB9 – thank you for providing information that is so helpful! As a question, for those things that I can’t do myself, I know a good mechanic can be critical – do you know of any good independent Aston shops in the Los Angeles area? I’ve hunted and there just doesn’t seem to be any options other than the dealer network. Thanks in advance!

    Dave

    Like

    1. Hi Dave. Glad there are others out there turning some wrenches. As far as an LA shop, I don’t really have a recommendation for you. Likely to be one, but finding the person with the knowledge is the challenge. I know of a huge Aston owner in LA, but his personal mechanic is up in Santa Cruz! Let me know if you find a specialist.
      Steve

      Like

  6. RT

    I wish I would have come across your blog before I bought my 2005 DB9 Volante. They are beautiful cars, and I was taken in by it. I first noticed how beautiful these were when I saw a DB7 on vacation in CA. Then my attention turned to the DB9’s. I am a car nut and I own a variety of sports cars. It was 2014 when I was on the hunt for another fun car. I narrowed it down to a BMW Z8 (still love these) and a DB9. Honestly, the DB9 seemed like a much better buy and the Z8’s were starting to run away in price.

    Mine was at a dealer in the midwest who had taken it in trade from West Palm Beach, FL. They supposedly had a “sterling reputation” and I relied too heavily on that. I’ve bought a couple other cars sight unseen, and done fine, but can’t recommend it. This 2005 DB9 only had 4500 miles on it. It had a spotless CarFax, which I never rely on any more. It turns out it had been in a rear end collision, but nothing structural. Just would have been nice to know.

    I kept it for two years and had some of the same maladies that you had. One that was really annoying was the dash was starting to fade (LED’S?) and that was going to cost a fortune to fix. In my second year I also had the notorious timing cover leak to the tune of $4600. Then my convertible top rear window started to come unglued, this was going to cost another $3000. Stuff kept stacking up in the second year of ownership and it really soured me on the car. Plus the value had gone from $70,000
    to about $45,000 in a little over two years…ouch.

    This car was midnight blue with camel interior and pretty much the same options as yours, truly a gorgeous car. I wish I hadn’t had quite so many expensive things go wrong, I’d probably still own it. It did pretty much cure me of owning an older British car. Same can be said of many used cars from other countries. I’m not really an exotic car buyer normally, but the DB9 sucked me in for a try. The only other car I own that could be called exotic is a 2005 Ford GT I’ve had for 11 years. Not much has gone wrong with it, but it is a Ford. I do admire your perseverance with the DB9.

    Like

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience! I wish you had ended up with a happier experience overall. I love that color combination. The Ford GT would be another I’d like to tinker with.

      I think your (and my) experiences are going to be indicative of what any 10 yr old DB9 is going through, and that’s why I started this site – to share my experience and solutions. I’d like to help others keep as many of these on the road as possible. I hope we see the depreciation level out now. Its getting very possible to have a $40K value DB9 that needs $40K of repair work if the owner(s) haven’t kept up with it. Might be an oppourtunity for those that can fix it themselves and then turn them over again (or keep and enjoy them!)

      Like

      1. Sean Dardis

        I’ve been reading Steve’s blogs, email that narrate his journey with his DB9. I’ve owned my DB9 for nearly a year now. I purchased it from a reputable exotic car deal and had him fix up a bunch of stuff before I picked it up including brake dics and pads all around. Some things slipped through though and I’ve been knocking each one off as the months go past.

        Steve’s information and videos are fantastic. So often I find that a problem with my car and then learn that Steve has previously fixed the issue which gives me a great head start.

        Recently I had the sagging headliner issue after a few days of intense heat here in Australia. I had moved the car out of the garage and then the next day I noticed that the headlining! Turns out that it was already sagging for a while and once I got it sorted it was much better.

        I’ve replaced both upper dash panels recently. The work has been well documented on Steve’s blog and channel. Took me a little longer because I noticed that some of the panels were not screwed in correctly in the first place – perhaps the previous owner was chasing some panel squeaks.

        I often speak to other exotic car owners and they chronicle similar stories of ownership. I think it comes with the territory.

        Like

  7. Roy Rajappan

    Hello Steve,
    Greetings from Canada,
    I am on the look out for a Rapide and is on the process of doing my pre-purchase research.
    I find your blog the most informative and authoritative source of information on the incredible DB9 outside of AMOC, or AML.
    I also think of myself as a do it your-self-er. But the ability to communicate that knowledge to others is a special skill.
    Coming from BMW’s, my choices for the next step are AM Rapide vs Maserati Granturismo.
    I am in the process of doing some binge reading to absorb as much knowledge as possible before arriving at a decision.
    Looking forward to feedback from other readers as well.
    Regards Roy.

    Like

    1. How’s it go’in eh! Fellow Canadian. Thanks for the kudo’s, hopefully sharing the information helps others. Not much of this blog is Rapide specific, but if AML wants to give me one I’d be happy to add some content :>)

      Like

    2. Brian Greene

      Hi Roy,
      As a DB9 owner for the past 4 years, all I can say as it has been an incredible experience and I’m as in love with the car today as the first time I set eyes on it. Where the US owners tend to baby them and keep the miles low for fear of maintenance issues, look into the blogs in the UK and you’ll find that they use them as daily drivers. That v12 engine is very reliable and if you know a local mechanic and can avoid a dealer, then it’s not all that costly to own compared to any other luxury car, it’s just sooooo much more fun!

      In regards to the Rapide, ask yourself why you would want one? If it’s because you need 4 seats, then my suggestion is to look elsewhere. Those seats are not comfortable to use very often and they sit back from the rear pillar, so you fall into the buckets, and then have trouble getting back out. The coupes are much better proportioned in regards to looks. Yes, it’s a cool design, but not very practical which really is the point of a 4 door car to begin with.

      There is a reason that there is a separation between sports cars and 4 door luxury cars, it’s difficult to successfully mix both elements. The closest car in my opinion that delivers both real back seat comfort and insane performance would be the Mercedes AMG S65. With 621 HP it’s a V12 rocketship. For a less money and a similar experience you can go with the S63.

      Do your research slowly, don’t be in a rush. Make sure you drive and try out the back seat several times and imagine if someone less limber was getting in and out of the car, could they? I collect classic cars and know others who do the same as investments. 4 door cars are never good investment cars, so make sure you buy one that you will actually enjoy. Don’t let “new car fever” overshadow common sense. When I went looking for my DB9, I spent 4 months researching and looking for just the right one. I found it and love it! So good luck and go enjoy your new ride when you find it.

      Like

  8. Roy Rajappan

    Steve, did’t realize you are Canadian. Any Toronto area Independents you can recommend? I will go for a pre purchase inspection when i find a suitable AML vehicle. The AML dealer near me is Grand touring in Toronto.
    Many thanks for your feedback Brian, Missus is pushing me towards practicality. Hence the slant towards a 4 door car. My son is over with child/booster seats but is still small enough to fit into the rest seats I hope.

    Like

  9. Roy Rajappan

    Hello Steve,
    During my pre-purchase research I am unable to find any information related to Transmissions used in AML vehicles, or the issues associated with transmissions.
    I always had Manual transmission vehicles, and is wary of autos. So trying to make an informed decision if and when i transition into automatics.
    All feed back is appreciated.
    Roy.

    Like

      1. Roy Rajappan

        Any chance you have information about the coolant temps and oil temps for the engine as well as transmission temps?
        All the BMWs I owned suffered from oil leaks and coolant leaks due to BMW’s high temp (up to 120 degree C) thermostat setting and the consequent need for pressurized coolant system.

        Like

  10. Jason Serbu

    Hi Steve,

    I hope the day finds you well.

    First, thank you very much for all the informative posts you have done on your DB9.

    I have a 2006 DB9 that I bought 9 months ago with 22,700 miles and I currently have 32,500 on it. I live in Colorado and drive it year round. I currently have Pirelli Sottozero winter tires on it and am looking to put summer tires on it.

    My question is, would you feel comfortable getting new tires installed at a tire shop rather than the dealer? If so, in your experience, do the tire shops know what to do to calibrate the wheel sensors? I know the dealer had a fit of a time getting them to calibrate when they installed the Sottozero tires (which I purchased from them as well.)

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Warm Regards,

    Jason Serbu
    Superior, CO

    Like

    1. Hi Jason. Great question. By calibrate the wheel sensors are you referring to the speedometer calibration based on the change in wheel diameter? I’d suspect that anything that requires changing a program setting in the cars computers are well beyond the local tire shops skill set. Let me know what you choose and how it goes!

      Like

  11. John

    Hi Steve,

    I enjoy reading your articles and have learn a lot. Have you ever dealt with removing the front plate number holder on a db9 before? It has one flat cylinder bolt . I tried using a flat head screwdriver and some other tools but it won’t budge. Hope you can help. Thanks
    John

    Like

  12. Hey Steve!

    Love the info you impart & I have a quick question – I too have a 2005 DB9 and recently I needed a new battery. Before replacing the battery my Nav Screen would only pop-up when I pressed the Nav Toggle Button, but now it pops-up every time I turn the car on.

    I’m assuming auto pop-up is the factory default, but since the Nav Screen use to only pop-up upon command I’m hoping there’s a setting for this – any advice?

    Thanks! Mark P.
    cinemshorts@mac.com

    Like

    1. Hi Mark

      I’m not sure about the Nav screen defaults. I did a quick check of the “Car Settings” and “Nav Settings” menus and don’t see anything explicitly about this. I’m not sure where to suggest looking other than putting in a call to your local dealer and ask them if this is adjustable. Let me know what you learn.

      Like

  13. Tim Talaat

    Hi Steve,

    This is Tim Talaat from Switzerland. First of all, thanks for the great information and very helpful DYI videos and articles.

    I own a DB9 Volante MY2011 and was somewhat annoyed by the lack of a backup camera and front camera as well as the limited ability of the old Volvo Navigation system. Additionally, I was in a bind as the FM Radio stations are scheduled to be phased-out successively starting in 2020 in favour of the much better DAB+ (Digital Radio Service). I did quite some research before I finally stumbled on a small 2-man outfit that offer all of these upgrades including (believe it or not mirroring a smartphone screen on the existing Navigation screen) – I use an iPhone X and iPhone 8, iPhone 6 and they all work. These guys can be found under astoninstallations.com – the chap to contact is James Hawkes-Reed. The very interesting thing about this is that they came to Switzerland to do my upgrade, and from what I understand they were on the east coast in the US in May and plan potentially to do the west coast later. Cost-wise they were very interesting as they did all of mine for an astonishing GBP 1’500 (approx. USD 2000) as compared to the backup camera retrofit alone costing Euro 2’100 (USD 2300) at the dealer!!!!
    They do Vantage V8 and all variants of the DB9!

    I am not affiliated with these guys in anyway, just think credit for a job well-done should be given.

    Hope this is interesting for any fellow Aston Martin “Knights” 😉

    Best regards from Zurich

    Tim

    Like

    1. Hi Tim. Thanks very much for sharing that information. I think they were out and did a ‘Tech Day’ sponsored by Richard who runs Redpants.lol. Was watching some of the posts on the Aston Martin Owners Group on Facebook.

      Do you have any contact information or a website for James?

      Like

  14. sesheffaolcom

    Hi, STEVE!

    We talked about various things as I have an ‘05 DB9 that I brought back from salvage. Just thought you might be interested to know that I was able to make a spare key for under $150.

    If you go to the Aston dealer, they charge $600 for one key!: First, you you have to buy the key for $290. It’s ordered from Aston Martin in the UK. They cut it by using the VIN. Then it’s shipped to the dealer where the chip is programmed for an extra $290.

    If you’re interested in details on how I had it done locally for under $150, I’m happy to share!

    Thanks,

    Steve 714-423-7113

    Like

  15. avbkol5

    Thanks stay for all your very informative information and videos. I have a 2006 DB9 Volante and have noticed just in the last week that I had a very similar issue with the vehicle running rough. I hooked up my Foxwell NT520 (510 not available) OBDII Reader and it indicated that my cylinder #2 was misfiring at an unacceptable rate. All other cylinders showed absolutely no misfiring. So, I won about the process of dismantling my vehicle after following the exceptional videos that you have provided. I have changed all the spark plugs and there was no significant abnormalities noted with the exception of some pitting on what I believe is the number 2 cylinder spark plug. I took all my ignition coils and fuel injectors to the dealer and had them run a test on all these to see if there were any specific problems with any of these items. The dealer informed me that all the ignition coils and fuel injectors tested out completely fine. Now, little nervous to go about putting the cylinder coil #2 back in the same slot, and in thinking of maybe just replacing that particular ignition coil.

    My question is: Which is the order of the cylinders on the vehicle. I have a left hand driving vehicle (USA) and when looking at the vehicle with a hood open starting at the bumper going back towards the windshield, I am wondering if cylinder #2 is the 2nd cylinder on the driver side or is it the 2nd cylinder on the passenger side?

    I appreciate your input on this as I am thinking of putting everything back together over the next couple of days.

    Like

    1. Hi. Thanks for sharing your story.

      Cylinders are number 1-6 front to back on the right hand bank (from driving position) and 7-12 on the left hand bank. So, cylinder 2 is the 2nd cylinder from the front on the right hand side of the car. Should be above the alternator.

      I’d replace all the coil packs. Honestly, after all the work you went to in order to get to them, its worth while for a 12 year old car. The problem may appear in a month on another cylinder. Was a chronic issue that happens to all the early DB9s. Change the O-rings on the injectors while you are at it.

      Fuel injectors are much easier to change later on if that turned out to be the issue.

      Hope your project ends well and my videos give you the courage to knock it out!

      Like

  16. Avbkol5

    Steve,

    Thanks again for your feedback. I have learned quite a bit about undertaking this project from you and truly appreciate all you have done for us garage mechanics who enjoy working on our machines . One thing I have learned with this is patience!

    Since I did not find it all that difficult to dismantle the entire top half of the car and then put it back together, I decided to first replace all the spark plugs and move the ignition coil that was defective to a new location, moving from cylinder two the cylinder five.

    Well sure enough, when I hooked everything up and got the car running again, cylinder five is now acting up. Surprise!

    As of today, I have decided to go ahead and order all new ignition coils. I will also probably follow the suggestion of changing all the O-rings in the fuel injectors.

    Finally, I also appreciate the information on fuse 22. One thing I have always enjoyed is the full acceleration effect of the vehicle, and I believe that adding this little element to bypass some of the exhaust system will add to the delight of driving.

    One final question regarding the Foxwell nt520: When you were relearning the misfire correction did you ever use your Foxwell and if so, was there a window that displays that the car has “learned” with this device? I have searched several of the Live Data windows with the Foxwell, but have not come across one that displayed so nicely as with your Autel MaxiDiag MD802 OBDII Code Reader.

    Thanks again, I’m glad I have some extra time on my hands as I redo this project.

    Like

  17. Chris Piazza

    Hi Steve, I recently had an issue with my DB9 and wanted your thoughts. After 5500 miles and 1 year of flawless operation my DB9 died yesterday. While out driving the engine suddenly started making a tapping noise and the emission service light came on. Fortunately we were on a drive with the dealer that sold us a car and they sent out a flatbed to pick it up. I have absolutely no idea what caused this. Oil and coolant are both good but i am at a loss as to what happened. Have you ever heard of something like this? I am hoping it’s either a fouled coil pack or a bad injector and not anything more serious. I’d appreciate your thoughts or anyone else’s that might be reading this. Thanks.

    Like

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