Conti R Subframe dampers - Rolls-Royce and Bentley Forums
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Conti R Subframe dampers

While trawling around in the corroded bowels of a showroom Conti R ( on the surface ), I discovered the rather cheap looking and tatty sub-fame dampers, which have clearly been leaking over the years and, having removed them, are now incapable of doing any damping.
I am surprised at how crappy these are and shocked that replacing them runs to £200 each.
Does anyone know if they can be rebuilt ? or whether an alternative is available at a sensible price ?
Frankly I am not convinced that they do anything significant in terms of usefulness apart from dampening the damage that could be caused by some idiot crashing through the gearbox from reverse to forward drive without due care and thus causing torsional grief on the sub-frame.
Maybe someone can therefore enlighten me as to why they were installed in the first place.


Many thanks
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 06:44 PM
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They seem to do some important job, and they are not that expensive considering that they last 30 years. And yes, they are flimsy.
I think that there is no substitute part for it, need to go with the Crewe one. Brian, please correct me!
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-01-2017, 02:15 AM
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I think they are quite important. I had mine replaced last year.

The obsession with total elimination of any noise vibration or harshness (NVH) by Crewe when developing this car was quite obsessive - like re designing the gearbox casing for example. The subframes are always capable of transmitting NVH and so I think quite a lot of thought went into how they attach to the shell.

If you phone Flying Spares and ask for the best possible price, they will probably discount the web price. You have to remember with FS that the prices on their site are "retail" prices and they have a trade price list too which their sales people can give to you at their discretion - ie. if you ask.

As with anything made in low volume - it's always going to be expensive. If those are made for FS as pattern parts, they are probably still having to buy quite a lot at any one time which is a load of cash sat on the shelf for probably a year or something - and they need a return on that. I know I would!!

But if they are knackered, I would definitely replace them.

1996 model year Continental R 53165
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-01-2017, 05:41 AM
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Mine were replaced last year and I was shocked at the price for them. But then, I was shocked at a lot of prices for parts for our cars (£124 for a 3 foot long piece of wire with a connector on either end! Plus VAT!). But, if they need changing there is no option as far as I know.

Learning to spend without fear...
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-01-2017, 06:14 AM
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FS is seling aftermarket ons, as others. So somebody is making them ...

I changed mine 3 years ago, with aftermarket and they are perfect and cheaper than Bentley and the same without the brand.

Question remain, who makes them ?

I agree with Singlemalt, try to get a better price from FS or Introcar or....

Jean

Continental R . 1997
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-01-2017, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Many thanks for the comments and advice - I confess to have run the car for a trip to Avignon and back last year without the sub-frame dampers on at all, as the old ones were useless. The vibration issues were probably present but I was struggling with more serious vibration which had been present for a year and for which Phantom Motors and Royce Service had given various diagnoses.
It was wheel to steering wheel vibration which kicked in at 60mph and became pretty dreadful the faster I travelled, so it was never tested beyond 85mph. Upon the various pieces of advice from the experts, I rebuilt the entire front suspension and steering , including rack and pinion box and ball-joints and steering column UJ coupling etc. Having removed and replaced the eccentric bolts, I then took the car to various specialists who claimed to be able to set up the geometry properly - I only felt this had been achieved after Royce did the work ( 3rd attempt ), although I am told that this is a very difficult exercise and not even convincing . However, the vibration continued and so I was advised to have the prop-shaft out and rebalanced amidst ghastly stories of how Crewe struggled to produce properly balanced prop-shafts etc. whether true or not I do not know ? I did not embark on this as it was a bridge too far for me while not being a convincing diagnosis.
The solution was brilliant to stumble across - I took the wheels to be balanced for the umpteenth time, being convinced that this was still the most likely cause, notwithstanding all the advice from others. This time I insisted that the chap balancing the wheels should take a reading before removing the weights - then balance the wheels and then de-mount and re-mount each wheel at least 90 degrees different from the first attempt - each time the wheel was massively out of balance on the second attempt. Upon very close examination it transpired that the cone being used on the wheel, to mount it on the balancing machine, very slightly impinged on the lug which houses the thread for the wheel centre covers. This was almost imperceptible until we discovered that we could slide a feeler gauge through the gap. I then ground off a chamfer from each lug so that the cone sat properly against the wheel and to my delight we found that we could obtain a 0 - 0 reading on each wheel even after turning the wheel on the machine.
Vibration has 99% disappeared and maybe the final contribution to achieve a smooth ride is to replace the sub-frame dampers, although I am told that the Conti R never aspired to be as silky smooth as previous models ??
Maybe this experience will assist anyone else who cannot get the wheels to stay in balance - I hope so, because any vibration ruins the joy of driving the car - maybe it should be the topic of a different thread. Anyway , I appreciate all the sincere advice given by others and will now speak to FS on Monday to negotiate a price to purchase their little dampers.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-01-2017, 06:42 PM
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I had a similar problem when I balanced rear tire after flat tire and repair.
Difficult to find a guy with an old machine with the right cone and able to treat such a big wheel.

What tires do you have ? Avon ? Michelin ? How old are they ?
Do not forget if the car is not used every month there is a flat which gives systematicaly vibrations at certain speed.

Interesting story, I am one of those who advice to go from the more simple to the most complicated, but specialist prefer the contrary, it brings more money immediately...

Change your subframe damper, engineeer sput them for a reason, do not leave the car without.
They work constantly on the road and cold be ok for about 15 to 20 years.
This is the kind of part which is supposed to be replaced when it leaks, without hesitation.

Jean

Continental R . 1997

Last edited by Jean7; 04-01-2017 at 06:45 PM.
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 02:40 AM
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I have had numerous issues getting the wheels balanced on my car. At the moment it is pretty good and has been for some months since having it done at Lodge Tyre in Birmingham - the guy who did it was of an age where I guess he had balanced many wheels over the last 30+ years - his opinion was that the Avons were never the easiest to balance and are quite old fashioned in this respect. He suggested that the only way to get a car like this perfect would be to balance the wheels ON the car - this is the old way of doing it, but the big advantage is you do not have the cone issues, and, you are also balancing the whole hub etc. But very few people have the equipment to do this these days.

However, even balancing on the car will not eliminate the issue of a 'flat' developing when the car is left for long periods of course! I notice there are some gadgets on the market which you park the car on - don't know if they work or not.

1996 model year Continental R 53165
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 04:59 PM
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I did not know you could balance the wheel being on the car.
I must admit it seems to be close to perfection

Jean

Continental R . 1997
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 04-02-2017, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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I was offered this service by Phantom Motors who apparently have invested in some serious equipment to do this... the cost of this balancing is not cheap either. I personally think we are looking at going into retrograde technology using this system and, having been involved with a company which designs and constructs modern day LMP cars and single seater racing cars I cannot imagine that such technology would go unheeded if indeed it had an advantage.
My understanding is that balancing on the car is hindered by the fact that turning the wheels in situ sets up friction drag in terms of brake pads and bearings and drive-shafts and the outcome does not give the ability to balance the inner and outer parts of the wheel rim as is done on a conventional balancing machine.
The simple fact is that, if the wheel is mounted properly on a balancing machine and if that machine has been properly calibrated within the correct time period then we will always achieve as good a balance solution as is necessary for high speed road use.
We all know that these wheels are prone to flat spotting after standing for long periods, which can necessitate re-balancing if it becomes extreme, so the last thing you need is to have to go through the head-ache of a re-balance on the car, when a quick trip to your local tyre shop will do the trick.
I always move my Conti once every 14 days, at the very least, in order to discourage the 'standing' flat spot and then ensure that the car is in a different position in the garage which has about 4 ft excess length to play with.
Over the winter ( Nov, Dec, Jan ) my car is on axel stands and, since discovering the joy of properly balanced wheels, I have had no deterioration in the balance to date ( 8 months ). I confess to not having Avons fitted, which, I am told, cause another litany of difficulties and which are ridiculously expensive - but this was due to the car being on very new Pirellis when I purchased it and those being nowhere near needing replacement.
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