Changing the Hood Struts on an Aston Martin DB9

During my recent 1 year service I had the hood (bonnet) up while I was raising the car to get under her to drop the oil. There was a little wiggle/jiggle to the hood as the car went up. Then SLAM! The hood slammed shut unabated from full open. Holy crap – scared the jeebers out of me.

Other than raising my heart rate, this could have damaged a lot of things. The hood ‘stops’ are on the plastic front grill surround, it could easily have broken those off closing with such force. If I had left something sitting on the engine or slam panel (funnel, tools) it would have slammed hard against those and could have dented the hood (or my back!).

What’s going on here is that the two hydraulic gas struts that assist in lifting the hood, and keeping it open, are getting weak.  Eventually the seals begin to leak a bit and they no longer have the force they used to.  This is normal behavior as a car ages, and gets even worse as winter closes in. The good news is that replacing them is a fairly simple process and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Let me show you how. Continue reading “Changing the Hood Struts on an Aston Martin DB9”

Changing the Trunk Gas Struts in an Aston Martin DB9

SLAM! WTF?? The trunk (boot) lid on my 2005 DB9 was just hammering closed. It’s been like that somewhat from when I purchased it 7 years ago, but recently it wouldn’t even hold itself open any longer. At this point it changed from a nuisance to a hazard. Reaching in for something and the boot lid comes down on top of you. Continue reading “Changing the Trunk Gas Struts in an Aston Martin DB9”

A Chat with Steve – Interviewed by Bamford Rose

Mike from Bamford Rose

Recently I had a Chat with Mike from Bamford Rose.  Many Aston enthusiasts might already know Mike from his popular YouTube videos “Forum Chat”.   I did my best to learn some David Letterman interviewing skills and got to ask him about his background, his time at Aston, the origins of Bamford Rose, and what’s ahead for Mike.  You can find a link to that Interview here.

Mike wanted to turn the tables and have a chance at interviewing me.  In this video we’ll discuss a bit of my background, how I became a car guy, the origins of Aston1936, discuss a few projects, and learn a about a few of my favorite things Aston related. Continue reading “A Chat with Steve – Interviewed by Bamford Rose”

A Chat with Mike from Bamford Rose

Mike from Bamford Rose

Recently I had a great opportunity to have a Chat with Mike from Bamford Rose.

Many Aston enthusiasts might already know Mike from his popular YouTube videos “Forum Chat”. It was one of those videos that got me interested in what he had to share. I watched one, then two, and soon I was chain smoking them. They are a great source of Aston knowledge. Continue reading “A Chat with Mike from Bamford Rose”

Checking the Automatic Transmission Fluid Temperature in an Aston Martin DB9

Why the heck would you care what your Automatic Transmission Fluid temperature was in your DB9?   Most  DB9’s, DBS and Rapides between 2004 and 2014 were fitted with a 6-speed  ZF HP626 automatic transmission.  I’ve written an extensive article about the transmission here, and it also concludes that the transmission fluid should be changed at least every 8 years.   If you are going to change you transmission fluid (check out my video on how to do that here), or, merely want to check the level is correct (check this article), you need to do this when the fluid is between 30°C and 50°C with the engine running and idling.    Too cold or too hot, you’ll have an incorrect level.   Let me show you how you can check it properly. Continue reading “Checking the Automatic Transmission Fluid Temperature in an Aston Martin DB9”

Installing the Rear Subframe Crossmember in an Aston Martin DB9

The Aston Martin DB9 has a very cool drivetrain support system. At the front the engine and suspension system is all mounted to a subframe. At the rear the transmission, differential and suspension system is mounted to a rear subframe. Connecting the Front and Rear is the ‘Torque Tube’ that comes off the back of the engine and links to the front of the transmission. All together you can literally drop the entire power train out of the car by disconnecting the subframes. Why talk about this now?

At the rear of the car if you need to do some work on the transmission or suspension, it’s all mounted to that rear subframe. One component of the rear subframe is a lower crossmember that links the bottom right and left sides together making it more rigid, and also providing something to mount the rear plastic aerodynamic undertray to.  I had removed this cross member to perform a full transmission fluid, filter and seal service (check out my article on that here).  This article is about how to properly reinstall that crossmember after you’ve completed your other service work.

Continue reading “Installing the Rear Subframe Crossmember in an Aston Martin DB9”

Installing the Right Hand Rear Exhaust Heat Shield in an Aston Martin DB9

If you’ve been accessing some of the components on the right hand side of the 6-speed Touchtronic II automatic transmission fitted to most Aston Martin DB9s, DBS and Rapides between 2004 and 2014 you’ve probably had the right hand rear exhaust heat shield removed.  For me, I was working on changing the Transmission fluid, filter and seals (of which I’ve done a complete series of articles on that you can find here).  The exhaust pipe is very close, and Aston fitted a heat shield to protect the transmission.   Once you have your other work done, you can reinstall this heat shield.  Let me show you how to get it back installed properly with the least amount of cursing.

Continue reading “Installing the Right Hand Rear Exhaust Heat Shield in an Aston Martin DB9”

Checking the Automatic Transmission Fluid Level in an Aston Martin DB9

A majority of Aston Martin DB9’s, DBS and Rapides between 2004 and 2014 were fitted with an excellent Touchtronics II 6-speed automatic gearbox made for Aston Martin by German company ZF (I’ve written about this elsewhere if you are interested).

Aston Martin claims the transmission is ‘sealed for life’.  I think its foolish to just have blind faith and hope that the fluid level is correct. How would you know until the transmission begins to misbehave after an undetected leak, and at that point is there damage being done?  Do I think you need to check the Automatic Transmission Fluid every year?  No.  Would it be a good idea perhaps every 4 years?  Probably.   Should you check it if you see any signs of a weep or leak?  Absolutely (and fix the leaks)!

For me, I am just finishing off a full service of the transmission including changing the fluid, filter and seals.  I have put together a series of articles on the process (which you can find here). During the service I was able to drain 9.5 liters of fluid out. After putting it all back together the last major step is to properly refill the transmission fluid and set the final fluid level.  I’ve already done the initial bulk refilling of the fluid where I got about 9 liters back in (check out that process here), and now its time to do the final detailed level set.

Since Aston never intended to make this serviceable, its trickier than you might think. I this article I will show you how to tackle the steps and share some tips and tricks along the way. Continue reading “Checking the Automatic Transmission Fluid Level in an Aston Martin DB9”

Refilling the Automatic Transmission Fluid in an Aston Martin DB9

Most Aston Martin DB9’s, DBS and Rapides between 2004 and 2014 were fitted with an excellent Touchtronics II 6-speed automatic gearbox made for Aston Martin by German company ZF (I’ve written about this elsewhere if you are interested). While Aston Martin claims the transmission is ‘sealed for life’, ZF actually recommends that it be services every 8 years. My 2005 car is now 15 years old and long overdue for this. I set about changing the fluid, filter and seals and have put together a series of articles on the process (which you can find here). During the service I was able to drain 9.5 liters of fluid out. After putting it all back together the last major step is to properly refill the transmission fluid and set the final fluid level. Since Aston never intended to make this serviceable, its trickier than you might think. I this article I will show you how to tackle the next step which is to bulk refill the fluid. Let me share some tips with you. Continue reading “Refilling the Automatic Transmission Fluid in an Aston Martin DB9”

Installing the Thermostatic Valve in an Aston Martin DB9

The Thermostatic Valve is an integral part of the Automatic Transmission Fluid cooling system. It regulates the flow of fluid from the transmission at the rear of the car to the transmission oil cooler at the very front. You may have removed your Thermostatic Valve as part of doing a full transmission service including changing the fluid, filter and seals like I did (read all about that process here). Maybe you’ve had it out because it failed, or was leaking, or you had to change the fluid piping. Whatever the reason, reinstalling it isn’t that hard but there are a few tricks along the way. Let me share the process with you. Continue reading “Installing the Thermostatic Valve in an Aston Martin DB9”