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Vantage convertible roof failure accompanied by oil leak

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  #1  
Old 10-22-2017, 08:21 PM
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Vantage convertible roof failure accompanied by oil leak

I am hoping someone can educate me about how the convertible roof system works and how I might diagnose and repair faulty components. Yesterday my wife drove the car - it was the third time this week so it hasn't been sat idle - and the roof would not go up. When she got it home I tried myself and the top made the usual whining noise as if it was trying to rise but there was no motion at all. I raised the tonneau section manually to take a peak inside and found oil residue on the passenger side (US car) in the area around the forward piston/actuator and latch, but no oil on the drivers side. That was my first clue to it being a hydolic issue. Then the next day there was a puddle of oil under the car in front and medial to the rear passenger wheel.

It's the end of the driving season here in Ohio so I have months to tear down and try to fix this myself but I don't really know where to start. I read one thread about a guy in Holland replacing a hose but I am waiting for shop repair manual from Australia so I don't even know where the hydronic hoses are at this point.

Any advise would be welcome.
 
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:01 AM
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DANGER WILL ROBINSON!

This sounds exactly like the start of my sad tale. I had a hydraulic leak, took it to the dealer who could not find the leaking spot. They refilled the reservoir and sent me on my way. It was the end of the topless season here in Connecticut.

The next spring the top operated well for about three weeks. It started groaning quietly and progressively louder. By the end of the summer I brought it back to the dealer who told me that my top motor was bad. I had them put in a new motor.

A year later same deal. Also the electronics on my car were going haywire. Turns out that now my roof control module was faulty. Had that replaced. Shortly afterwards the top started groaning again.

By this time I had bought a second home in Florida where I keep the car. Brought it to a local used car dealer that specializes in foreign high end cars. Shady character. Kept my car for a month and then told me he hadn't had time to look at it and would I mind if he sent it to another shop that does a lot of Bentley tops. I said fine. The next day the other shop called me and told me the rear window was broken (shady dude claimed it was the flatbed driver who somehow broke my window).

Because the glass is integrated into the top, I had to replace the entire canvas portion ($9,500). While they were replacing the canvas they noticed that the top frame had been bent (probably by the guy who broke my window and "never had time to look at my car") and also located a pinched hydraulic line which they replaced. Hydraulic line was about $1000.

By this time I had spent enough to replace the entire roof with a brand new one.

If the dealer had located the pinched hydraulic line two years prior I would have probably saved $15,000 and a lot of hassle.

I strongly recommend you bring your car to a dealer and pay them whatever they want. But tell them they need to take the canvas off the top and check the hydraulic lines.

Good luck.

By the way, the shop that finally fixed my roof was The Palm Beach Garage in West Palm. Very good guys, great communication.
 
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Old 10-23-2017, 09:12 AM
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Thanks SenatorBlutarsky, that certainly is a sad tale but it makes me want to try to fix this issue myself even more. I'm still hoping to find the leak and replace the faulty components. Changing the motor is a possibility too but I think that this is possibly a hose since it went from no problems to puddle on the floor in just a day. I'm fairly certain its not the computer module that caused the issue but if that ever does go bad I know I can fix that myself thanks to the new video by RedPants.
 
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Old 10-23-2017, 03:55 PM
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I believe that left unchecked, a hydraulic leak in one of the lines will cause the motor to fail. So definitely go after the leak.

I also think that the only way to chase down the hydraulic lines is to take the canvas top off of the car. I also have been tinkering with my car thanks to the Redpants vids. But taking the top off of the car looks like a very complicated job. Putting it back on is probably harder still.

Best of luck!!!
 
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Old 10-23-2017, 07:54 PM
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I think I have identified the leak and traced to a hydrolic hose that runs between two arms in the top mechanism. It looks like it has been crushed by the arms as the top came down, or maybe it just cracked and split open. If thats the case it MAY be reasonably simple fix. I came across the website http://www.cabriolethydraulics.com that shows you how to repair such hoses. The broken section appears to be accessible (although in a tight space) so I might be able to splice in a new hose. We'll see. I'll take a video of my exploratory surgery.

Since the oil leaked out very quickly I am hoping I haven't damaged the motor yet.
 
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Old 10-28-2017, 03:31 PM
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Here's a video showing the issue I have
 
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:32 PM
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I believe I have fixed the leaking hydrolic hose using a coupling. Anyone know how to replace the lost oil? I need to find the oil reservoir for the convertible top system.
Thanks
 
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Old 11-04-2017, 02:52 PM
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I seem to recall that I unscrewed a hex bolt at the end of the clear reservoir on the pump itself. I filled a little oil pump to pump the hydraulic fluid into the reservoir.

Kudos on finding and repairing the leak yourself! You saved yourself a ton of cash and headaches.
 
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Old 11-04-2017, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Senatorblutarsky View Post
I seem to recall that I unscrewed a hex bolt at the end of the clear reservoir on the pump itself. I filled a little oil pump to pump the hydraulic fluid into the reservoir.

Kudos on finding and repairing the leak yourself! You saved yourself a ton of cash and headaches.
Note: reservoir was not clear; it was translucent.
 
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:33 PM
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Here's the pump and reservoir after it has been removed. It took about an hour to get out of the car and sits above the passenger rear, wheel under tonneau well liner. Its in a foam covering but mine had obviously been removed before as the foam was torn to pieces. 6 hex nuts removes the place that releases all the hoses. Once out you can see how it fills. There is a bottle that can be removed and filled.
 
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Old 11-05-2017, 04:53 PM
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Here's the pump with all the hydrolic lines attached. It looks scary but each is numbered and there is a number on the plate to show you where it goes. I still took lots of pictures and labelled the lines just to make sure.
 
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Old 11-09-2017, 02:36 PM
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Any one know what type of oil is used in the convertible hydraulic system? I have the shop manual but it only only gives the useful hint, 'If the oil is low then add oil'. Brilliant! I have no idea what the correct amount of oil is in the reservoir as there is no obvious fill line (so I plan to fill it to to the brim) and I don't know what oil I should add. Maybe I'm supposed to go and club a few seals and use their oil? Maybe squeeze a few cod livers? I suspect its brake fluid as the puddle on the floor doesn't smell like tranny fluid and I'd read that these systems (not specific to AMs) use either brake or transmission fluid.
 
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Old 11-09-2017, 03:54 PM
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I had the same problem. Everyone knows that baby seal oil is the best. I went to a couple of auto stores and Harbor Freight to find the best hydraulic oil I could find. It ended up being a generic gallon jug of hydraulic fluid.

If you can't find any, maybe you can join the Aston Owners annual baby seal hunt this January.
 
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Old 11-09-2017, 09:16 PM
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Sign me up!
 
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Old 02-11-2018, 07:23 AM
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Here is the coupling I used to try to fix the leak. In theory the damaged hose section is cut out and this coupling joins the two ends together. The coupling seemed well constructed but it was exactly the right size and the hose could easy be pulled apart. It seems Aston doesn't use the 'common' hose diameter that this coupling was indented for.
 
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