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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
81k miles, solid but been sitting around for a few years. Owner says it will run good and I will confirm with a drive. Radio missing is only noticeable major issue. Any idea of value assuming runs fine?
 

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The engine may run but is it safe and roadworthy? Have you confirmed the brakes are in good shape and know how to properly check the pressure? I would become familiar with the system before any road miles.
 

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Under $10K. It's always worth looking at eBay Auto completed auctions for examples "roughly similar" to the one you're considering to get some idea of what people have been willing to pay recently. It is also instructive to have a look at the Finished Auctions for Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and Spur on Bring a Trailer. Pay attention not only to the sold prices (and the high ones are for excellent examples) but the "reserve not met" values, as this gives you an idea what people are willing to pay whether the seller was whether to accept it or not.

The fact is that a very great many Rolls-Royce owners, many of whom often find one foist upon them, have no idea of realistic valuation for these cars. And for the SY and SZ series, very, very good examples can be had for $30K, still.
 

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Any RR that has been parked for a long period of time has 1 or more majour issues _ walk away.
That's the reason it was parked, usually brakes and or engine has some catastrophic failure due to neglect and lack of maintenance.
Don't think you're getting a good deal for a RR for 10k or less, just because at one time it sold new for over 200k.
Ones like this are money pits.

Even cars that have been healthy and driven and then parked because someone passed away, will need brake over-hauls.
 

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That's the reason it was parked, usually brakes and or engine has some catastrophic failure due to neglect and lack of maintenance.
Actually, I have not found this to be the case. It tends to be as much because whoever it was who "was enthusiastic" about the car is no longer so or no longer of this world.

You're absolutely correct that any RR, in particular, that sits for any period of time is going to need some major effort to bring it back to roadworthiness, and that this will cost more than the car is worth unless you're capable of DIY, and even then it may drive one to despair.

I've also found that many have just been put away for seemingly no reason at all after having been treated as essentially a piece of barely rolling sculpture, rather than as a car, by their owners.

But true catastrophic failures have, in my experience, been the exception, not the rule.
 

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I will confirm with a drive.
Be VERY careful with the "drive".
#1 issue with these cars is the hydraulic system powering the brakes :
no hydraulic power = NO brakes.
Plan to change the 4 hydraulic spheres (not very expensive if you diy).
Next issue is, generally, a leaking steering rack.

Avoid, at any cost, a rusty example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all for the comments it helps tremendously! I’ll review more on the car systems before a test drive , and try to find comparable sales as noted.
Are most repairs on a car this age doable by a skilled DIYer? Are most parts available still?
 

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Parts are still available and DIY work is definitely possible for this era. It starts getting messier in the 1990s to some extent.

As far as driving the car, following the instructions for the Brake Pedal Test will give you a quick assessment as to whether the car can even be driven safely. I think I may have focused this on the SY series cars, but the brake pedal test is precisely the same for the SZs.

The Brake Pedal Test & Other Hydraulic System Diagnostics
 
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A barn find SZ is no bargain (if that's the motivation). I have an '88 Bentley that I bought after the Indianapolis dealer completed the deferred maintenance - NOT a car that had been sitting around for years. I paid $4,000 less than the sum of the invoices. If you want one of these, find a car that has been well maintained and driven.
 

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Daves. Any Rolls Royce parked for three years will need several things befor you buy. 1) a compression test. This will eliminate most lower and upper level problems such as rotation, rod knock, stuck valves, blown head gasket. These are all things that cars are often parked for in the first place. 2) examine the interior and exterior. It should be in generally be in good condition inside. As for outside it should be pretty good. Not perfect but fixable without a paint job. It can easily cost 10 k for a modest paint job on a Roller. 3) If the car runs do not assume the brakes work. This could be dangerous. Brakes on these cars are much more complex than a Chevy and don't work very well at all if the car is not running.
Now for the good news. These engines are tough and often just need a few tweaks to get them running right. And by the way, if you are not a darn good mechanic no older Roller should be on your aquazition list unless you have money to burn. If you are really good with your hands and you like to study cool stuff then theses cars can be very satisfying. It is often not practical to buy even a top rate example in this era of cars( say 1965 to 1996 Silver Shadow/ Silver Spur, Spirit) if you have to rely on professional mechanics. Even regular maintenance is expensive. While the "square bodied" cars often take a back seat to older models they are true Rolls Royce pedigree and ride and feel like their namesake. They also have great curb appeal. I have had four of these and people love them including me. The brakes are tied into the suspension system which gets bouncy if the gas spheres have gone bad. If the ride is low or bouncy these will need to be replaced. The good news is many D I Y mechanics have maintained these cars for decades and you can too if you are willing to put in the time. If everybody ran from a classic car that needs work most of the classic cars out there would be refrigerators by now. Good luck. Rollsroycerescue.
 

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One of the best things you can do is get it up on a lift and look underneath to find issues. If you do not know what you are looking at then a Rolls might not be your best choice for a car.
Just guessing as you didn't include your capabilities in your post.
How long does it take to put the brake pressure lights out after starting?
Brake accumulator check as mentioned above.
Then start looking for leaks by being underneath the car. Leaks are a big item on these cars.
If you find one you like make sure you have a few quarts of the "special" hydraulic system oil on hand (LHM)-
NOTHING else can be used in the hydraulic/brake system
All the service and shop manuals for that car are available on line for DIY

Moderator note: The specified hydraulic system fluids for the brake systems of 1980 - 2003 SZ models are HSMO+ and LHM+ although there are other mineral oil based fluids that can be used. Check substitute mineral oil data sheets for compatibility those fluids.
 

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Cliff,

While I absolutely agree with you that HSMO+/LHM+ should be used if available, it's my understanding that there have been recent supply issues, which is not shocking. There are two Pentosin CHF versions that can be used if absolutely necessary. I'll direct folks to the chart, Miscellaneous Hydraulic/Braking System Mineral Oil Based Fluids and Their Properties, in the RR & Bentley Parts, Repair, Restoration & Other Resources Compilation.

Note that even the reported specs for LHM+ and HSMO+, which are stated to be exactly the same thing in many sources, are slightly different. There is definitely a "within functional range" for these fluids. That's why the Pentosin options appear to be functionally congruent if you're in a real pinch. Again, you need to be in a real pinch, but those do occur, and these days more frequently than is usual.
 

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guysip- Thanks for the reference My commentary about LHM was just to emphasize for those not familiar with Rolls/Bentley hyd fluid requirements as there have been several instances of regular "brake fluid" (DOT) being put in the Rolls systems to the detriment of the entire car.

I have another thread somewhere annotating the dearth of LHM availability and looking for suitable substitutes.
I did look at a couple Pentosin fluids but the ones I looked at had a cautionary note on seal deterioration. I will relook at the ones you noted.

I have also looked at other petroleum based hyd fluids that have specifications very similar to LHM just having maybe some minor viscosity differences at different temperatures. Being as how they are petroleum based fluids I can't imagine that a couple of them wouldn't work just as well as LHM in our vehicles (in most environments).

I'm guessing that Rolls picked this fluid (LHM) so it would cover ALL environmental conditions (the extremes, hot and cold) that they would see in the delivery of their cars. And it was used in other manufacturers vehicles.

The only issue I see using another fluid that is close to the same specs is seal deterioration for the vast majority of cars in normal climes. Sure Kuwait and Iceland might be outliers. I'm sure I'll be able to find a substitute fluid that is perfectly adaptable for most operators in a while as I research the issue.

Again - seal deterioration is the only big issue I see in the way of a substitute fluid.
 

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Again - seal deterioration is the only big issue I see in the way of a substitute fluid.
And, personally, I don't. All of the fluids under discussion should be perfectly fine with the elastomer that's used for seals used with LHM. They're all in that same class of fluid and the seals should be compatible with any of them.

I can't for the life of me recall the elastomer that is used for the LHM cars, though I'm absolutely certain it's NOT EPDM, which is what is used with the DOT3 compliant RR363 brake fluid in the SY cars.
 
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