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Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow FAQs
Check out real-world situations relating to the Rolls-Royce here, particularly what our experts have to say about them.
Why does the choke on my 1985 Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit stick?
Carburetted V8 engines in Rolls Royces of this era use a fairly simple choke system, based on a bi-metallic strip. When this strip is cold, it rotates the choke to the on position, thereby giving the engine a richer mixture (more fuel, less air). As the engine warms up, hot air plumbed from the exhaust system heats the bi-metallic strip, causing the choke flaps to revolve into their off position. There’s also a mechanical cam system operated via a linkage from the throttle pedal that sets the chokes on the first start-up and then maintains a fast idle once the chokes have begun to wind back into their off position.
The pipes that carry the hot air to the bi-metallic strip can crack or fracture over time (and heat cycles) and this can mean the strip won’t get hot enough to turn the chokes off. Sometimes the mechanical cam system can become sticky, causing the fast-idle condition to persist. Next time you notice the engine fast idling, try giving the throttle pedal a short, sharp stab to see if that brings the idle back to normal. If not, you may have to replace the hot-air pipes. Removing the choke flaps from the rest of the carburettor will also take the choke out of the equation, but you might find the car is difficult to start and won’t run smoothly in winter.Show more
What are the most common Rolls Royce Silver Spirit problems?
Because it’s a big, heavy, expensive, complex car, Rolls Royce Silver Spirit problems usually only come in one size. These really are second-hand cars for those who know precisely what they’re letting themselves in for, and even then, are not for the faint-hearted.
Start any inspection inside and pay attention to how the car looks overall. Often, cars like this lose retained value to the point at which a service costs more than the car itself is actually worth. When that happens, they get bought by speculators and go downhill fast. So make sure the interior isn’t tatty and check every single switch, button and lever (and there are lots of them) for correct operation. Just rebuilding the climate-control system in a Silver Spirit could cost more than a good hatchback is to buy.
Mechanically, there’s lots to watch out for too. Don’t forget, thee are older cars now, so the engine and driveline could easily be showing signs of wear. Any smoke from the exhaust or noises from under the bonnet are bad news. So is a car that won’t select gears quickly and smoothly. The Rolls Royce uses a convoluted (and, frankly, arcane) braking system that relies on hydraulic accumulators. If these are anything short of spot on, the car could be a death-trap.
Big heavy cars are also hard on tyres (and the Spirit is very sensitive to having the correct tyres fitted) and suspension components. Suspension bushes die early and the shock absorbers are expensive to replace (and require a special service tool to remove the front units). The bottom line is that this is a vehicle for the experts out there who will be able to deal with the problems when – and not if – they occur.Show more
Are Rolls Royce good and reliable cars?
If there are any common problems and complaints about Rolls Royce's reliability or faults, they'll likely show up on our Rolls Royce problems page. You can also calculate a car's projected resale value via our price and specs page.Show more