It's the Rolls-Royce of Bentley websites.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bentley Turbo R Service

Inspiration, motivation and self confidence can stem from a variety of places.

In my activity today it comes from support. Which happens to be local.

I'll give you some context.

I live in Canberra, Australia. The Nations Capital. The Bush Capital. Kangaroo country.

A random spot picked out of the blue somewhere between Sydney and Melbourne because no one could decide which city should be the Capital.

It's a Territory on an old farm.

There are no Rolls-Royce Motors or Bentley Service Centres here. There are no Crewe Genuine Parts shops. There's not even a dealership.

There are simply men in sheds very willing to share information and help other Rolls-Royce and Bentley owners and enthusiasts out.

Take Bill Coburn for example. He lives in Canberra. Since 2001 he has written 96 issues of the famous Tee-One Topics newsletter.

That's 1313 pages of technical information. Quite amazing. Available from

Then there is Richard Tracey. He's from Canberra. He is the custodian of The Rolls-Royce and Bentley Technical Library called

A resource where he managed to put together nearly 300 .pdfs and other files of technical information and guides on how to fix and maintain Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars.

Quite amazing also. There are even improvements and modifications he developed and tested himself. Quite a feet.

Then I'm also in Canberra. I have very limited technical knowledge and no skill. But hopefully I have kept you entertained with the now more than 1700 articles on Bentley Spotting.

So the three largest resources of Rolls-Royce and Bentley material publicly available all happen to come from Canberra.

It's a bit odd considering I hardly every see RR&B cars here! Oh well, nothing like self sufficiency.

So I've decided that I'm going to keep up the Canberra tradition of Rolls-Royce and Bentley owners, and do things myself.

In a shed, in a backyard, in the suburbs of the Australian Capital Territory.

But luckily for me, with some professional help in the form of my uncle, a mechanic of over 40 years.

I'm also fortunate that my Bentley Turbo R is used to this treatment.

The previous owner switched from Bentley Sydney services to Bill Coburn for the last 4 years of his ownership.

So there has't been any official main dealer service stamps in the book for a while, so I'm going to give it a formal non-genuine Rolls-Royce and Bentley Canberra Service.

A Rolls-Royce and Bentley Canberra Service, as in you do it yourself, in a backyard, with the help of fellow enthusiasts.

So here we go. Canberra Service 101.

First up was the wiper blades. I did not know if Crewe cars had 6.5mm or 8.5mm wide blades, but I managed to find a combo blade. An each way bet.

I deliberately went with the Aunger brand. It's because I quite like the kitsch factor of Aunger louvres. Remember those? They are so Australian.

I totally bought these blades from the 24hr K Mart. Often there is not much to do late at night in Canberra.

Wiper blades installation was a case of carefully pulling out the old ones.

Then sliding in the news ones, then cutting the blade to size. They fit fine. I gave the arms a bit of a squeeze to made sure the held.

However really, the arms are getting a bit dodgy and a cable tie is keeping things together. I should order new arms some time.

Then there was the air filter.

I initially bought a K&N 33-2526 hi flow air filter off ebay. Pretty much so I could get the sticker to put on the front quarter panel with my other sponsors.

But I was strongly advised by multiple people to stick to the standard paper filters.

Which I did, a Ryco A484 air filter was used. And where did I get this filter? Off Richard Treacy.

It was a matter of 6 clips on the air box, making sure I did not put too much pressure on any hoses with the lip, and that it fit snug.

The old air filter was a little dirty. But as expected in Canberra, like most Capitals, is full of political hot air and spin.

It got a little bit of a tear on the way out, but not to worry. It's waste.

Then come jacking up the Bentley Turbo R.

Nothing like consulting the RR&B Workshop Manual to see your jack positioning is correct.

There was chatter that the front trolley jack position was very close to the radiator if there was any slippage.

So we went with position number 2.

I of course selected that jack, because it matched the colour of the Bentley so well. Very matchy matchy.

Safety is still required for a Rolls-Royce and Bentley Canberra Service. Jack stands are a must.

Oh look, even the jack has yellow wheels.

Then it was time to replace the fuel filter. Here is where it lives, under the passenger side of a RHD car.

The technique was to open the fuel filler cap, so there was not as much pressure and leaking of fuel when the filter was removed. It worked quite well.

The old Bosch one was taken out and the clamp and rubber band used to attached it to the car underfloor was transferred to the new filter.

I used a Ryco Z311 fuel filter which I also got from Richard Treacy. Care has to be taken as to not strain the fuel line when removing and installing the filter.

It's not like I can nip to the shops and get a new Bentley fuel line in Canberra. You wound have to make one yourself.

Next up, removing the motor oil. It was in with the pan under the car.

Here to the sump plug we go.

Huston, I mean Canberra, we have a problem. None of the tools available would fit.

It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but that bolt head is not sticking out, but it's an innie. Like a prolapsed bolt. I thought it was a bit weird.

But not to worry. We are in Canberra and you do things yourself here. We will just make a tool.

So a bolt was found that fit the inverted sump plug. Then some nuts.

Then the welder was rolled out, and the nuts were welded to the bolt.

This meant that a socket could go around the now fixed in place nuts, and the bolt head could go into the sump plug and wallah, the oil came out!

Then it was time for the removal of the oil filter.

It lives somewhere up under here. I like this photo. It looks very voyeuristic. Yes, it's an up-skirt photo.

Oh look, after fondling around the nether regions, I finally found the mound.

It was then taken off.

And the new one installed. I used a crosland 343 oil filter, also from Richard Treacy.

The sump plug as put back in, then the engine ate 10L of Mobil 1 5W-50.

Off with the wheel!

And an inspection of the tyre. Yep, front left is worn on the outer rim.

I need a wheel alignment.

But I'll blame all the round-a-bouts in Canberra for the outer left wear. Nice Bentley flag in the background.

And some idiot has put yellow Plasti Dip on perfectly good wheels so you can see the brake dust better. Someone clean them!

Then it was an inspection of the brakes.

Let's just say my uncle was not very happy that I had not taken the car to him earlier. But I was busy!

The brake pads were not in good shape at all, and I needed new rotors.

We were to get new brake pads immediately.

So we went to the local brake shop to see if they had any. They were quite surprised, as they sold their only set that would fit a RR&B car about half an hour before we arrived!

All the other shops around did not have any either according to the customer who had just bought the last set. He no doubt was doing a Canberra Service as well.

But they had some across town that they could courier over in a couple of hours. So lunch was called.

After lunch it was back to pick up the brakes.

They are QFM brakes, as in Queensland Friction Materials "Proudly Australian Owned".

They fit, and have the same exterior backing dimensions as the Bentley pads, however they have a different shape pad, and do not have the whole for the sensor.

Actually they are for a HR Holden, and were also less than half the price of UK based RR&B parts sellers pads.

I've installed these as a stop gap until I get new rotors and bearings and probably new pads so I can reinstall the sensors that that time.

Here is a comparison between the old and new brake pads.

Just a little bit different!

So the new brake pads were installed, and the old rattle spring and brake slider bar thing were put back. That's after I gave them a bit of a clean.

Then it was off with the other side wheel for the same again.

The following right side calliper had seepage, so a brake calliper kit will be required next time.

I have also decided that I want red brake callipers. They will look cool.

Then it was a top up of the Castrol Hydraulic System Mineral Oil Plus, and everything back together.

It was certainly a fun day working on the Bentley! I did leave with a good sense of achievement, as well as a home-made tool to open my sump plug.

I really appreciate the knowledge sharing and efforts of Bill Coburn and Richard Tracey and for inspiring people to give it a go and open your own bonnet!

I now should speak to Richard Tracey about some more parts in the future.

PS - thanks uncle for helping, or more precisely doing it and letting me watch, hand over tools, make comments and clean up - I did enjoy it!


At 12:04 pm, Anonymous David said...

Im inspired by your article. There is so much mystique about these cars RR & B but when you look at it they are just fancy cars. No need to pay big money for parts when you can find them yourself. For years I have been reusing oil filters & air filters by reverse flushing. This is where you direct petrol in the reverse direction to normal oil flow and remove the trapped debris. With air filters blow air in reverse flow after running a few minutes in washing machine. The special coolant could prob be rejuvinated by an additive. Will investigate when I get my Bentley in a year or two.

At 9:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

how do you determine the correct brake fluid level?

At 10:34 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would you need to reuse oil and air filters for theses car!? I have a 83 RR Spur, and my local auto parts store stocks them cheap. They're not hard to find. In fact, the oil filter is the same as one used on International Harvester Tractors.

At 11:31 pm, Anonymous ian said...

sump plug is an allen key 17/32" difficult to get hold of, can buy from Bentley at a cost of £77, up to 1997 was part of the mini tool kit in the tray in the boot
i ground down (carefully) a 14mm allen key, works a treat, saved welding nuts together!
Ian. Bentley Brooklands R Muliner 1998 no: 50/100

At 3:45 pm, Anonymous welding in westminster md said...

What a great opportunity to get rid of infinite welding problems in just glimpses!! welding in westminster md is very responsive! I hope everyone gets to utilize it for their play grounds!

At 9:01 am, Blogger Unknown said...

That a great article. I am a new owner of a 1997 Bentley Turbo R. I have to replace my brake rotors, I happenned to notice that the ones sold by Flying spares are quite expensive. I must take advantage to ask you if any 340 mm rotor would make it given I make sure it has the same centre hole diameter as the original one. The truth is owning a Bentley is a joy but the parts are excessively expensive (out of reach). I must keep in touch with the "B" guys of Canbera.

Au revoir,



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