Aston Martin DB9 Seatback Quick Release

Rear seat access is – umm – limited.

If the battery is dead in your Aston Martin DB9 – how to you move the right hand seat forward to access the battery that is UNDER the right rear seat squab?  If you’ve ever been in a DB9, the rear seat area is – ummm – very small.   Getting to that area is close to impossible unless you can tip the seatback forward.

Battery Disconnect Switch

A few readers have recently commented on this conundrum after they pushed the ‘Battery Disconnect’ button in the trunk/boot and then realized that disables the power to the seats.  Of course Aston didn’t put the ‘Battery REconnect’ button in the trunk/boot, they put that under the right rear seat squab – a small yellow button peering out through an access hole.  While this is inconvenient, at least there is a simple manual way to get the seatback to move out of the way.  Let me show you how. Continue reading “Aston Martin DB9 Seatback Quick Release”

Determine if your Aston Martin V12 has 2 pin or 3 pin Coil Packs

2-pin coil pack used on early V12’s

If you own a V12 Aston Martin like the DB9, V12 Vantage, DBS or Virage, you’ve likely heard about the common issue with lumpy idle that is attributed to a misfire condition involving the spark plugs and coil packs.   I’ve done an extensive series on determining the issue and how to replace them (check it out here).  Getting your parts together for that project has one complication – are the coil packs the original 2 wire or the updated 3 wire design?   Even contacting Aston Martin won’t resolve the question – they don’t know.   They will tell you they slip streamed the change sometime during production in 2006 ‘ish.  The only way to tell for sure it to be halfway through the project when you can finally see the tops of the coil packs and count the actual wires.   This is of course a tough time to stop and order the correct coil packs, leaving your car disassembled for weeks waiting on parts.  If you just play the odds and guess, you may end up with a dozen incorrect (and expensive) coil packs.  This misfortune has definitely happened to a few owners.  Let me show you how you can find out for sure BEFORE starting the project. Continue reading “Determine if your Aston Martin V12 has 2 pin or 3 pin Coil Packs”

Storing your Aston Martin

[Photo credit – Damien Morley]
Each year as winter approaches many owners look to put their precious Aston away for a few months of hibernation.   I’m fortunate enough to live in a climate where I can drive my DB9 all year round (I’m not bothered by her getting wet in the few days of California rain we have each year).  If you are going to put your Aston away for more than a month, there are definitely a bunch of steps you should take so that she’s all ready to hit the road in the spring.  [Article Updated for 2021] Continue reading “Storing your Aston Martin”

Adjusting the Windshield Washer Spray on an Aston Martin DB9

Not everything on an Aston Martin needs to be complicated. One of the simplest (and essential) tasks we can perform ourselves is to adjust the Windshield Washer Fluid Sprayers so they are properly aimed.   While often overlooked, this is a serious safety issue when you consider it.   Being able to wash off debris that splashes up and obscures your vision while driving  is a real necessity.  Checking this should be part of every annual maintenance event, but it can even be accomplished road side when you discover they aren’t working as needed on a trip.   Let me show you how. Continue reading “Adjusting the Windshield Washer Spray on an Aston Martin DB9”

Changing the Windscreen Washer Fluid Reservoir in an Aston Martin DB9

My DB9 would piddle washer fluid on my foot each time I’d top up the reservoir.   Kind of embarrassing [also reinforcing my Sweetie’s nick name for the car – Princess Piddles].  I knew she had the problem from the day I purchased her.  I saw the leak the first time I topped off the fluid, and in one of my earliest video’s I spotted a crack near the top of the plastic tank. As it turns out, a cracked tank is a very common issue with the DB9, Vantage and other Gaydon models. The leak was not catastrophic, it still held 90% of the fluid and certainly functioned, and I could have just left it this way indefinitely. But, you know me, I figured if it was a problem on my car, it might be a problem on yours, so covering how to change out the tank would help us all. Let me share a few of my tips as I show you how to tackle this yourself. Continue reading “Changing the Windscreen Washer Fluid Reservoir in an Aston Martin DB9”

Changing the Door Gas Struts in an Aston Martin DB9

I thought it was just another sign of getting older.  I was having a hard time getting out of my Aston Martin DB9.   I’d be seated in the car and it felt like I had to push the door open and hold it up while extricating myself from the car.  Turns out it wasn’t me, it was the Door Check Arm Gas Struts were getting weak.

The Swan Wing doors are one of the distinct features of the DB9.  The doors open ‘up’ at an angle of about 12 degrees, creating a Swan like look.  Unlike other road cars with normal horizontal doors, the DB9 requires Gas Struts to help open and hold open a door.

My car is 15 years old, and Gas Struts don’t perform well forever.  They have seals and begin to loose pressure very gradually (getting weaker).  You won’t notice it right away, but eventually the door may start to not hold itself open.  One day that Swan is going to bite you in the ass, and you’ll know its time to change them. Continue reading “Changing the Door Gas Struts in an Aston Martin DB9”

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”

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”