2011 update

January 2011: having spent Christmas and most of January at Fairweathers for the next tranche of bodywork - an outbreak of blistering at the base of the RH wing valance, where I have been suspicous of some underlying corrosion for some time - and a few days at SCSW, having new seals in its hydraulic pumps, Bentley is now back at home, where I have fitted its second new main-beam headlamp: it is now possible to release the headlamp surround as per the Owner's Manual. After a full clean and polish, the car should be ready for the coming season of BDC events.

During its sojourn at Fairweathers, I asked them to replace the window channel seal, which had become crushed, leading to a little wind noise. To save some time and expense, I stripped the door trim myself, taking the opportunity to photograph and document the process, which may assist other owners who need access to door internals.

The new hydraulic pump seals are the last (I hope) work needed finally to nail the LHM leakage issue that has bedevilled the car since I bought it. Having replaced all the other leaky components, the only remaining source has to be one of the pumps. Fortunately, these are duplicate and independent systems, each doing the job of either, so there was little danger of running out of either suspension or braking. Unfortunately, the pumps are buried in the engine and access to them involves lifting the inlet manifold. Given the time required to gain access, there is no point in replacing only one set of seals, so I had both pumps done to make the labour economic. Heigh ho - more expense to start the New Year!

In February, I decided to replace the bonnet's gas struts with new ones from SGS, who had re-gassed mine in 2008, but warned me that their condition was such that they would probably leak down again. They were right. Here is how to replace the struts with SGS ones, which have slightly different (and better, in my view) sockets from the original equipment.

In July, the passenger's belt presenter failed. I think it is now time to acquiesce in the considered opinion offered me by everyone who has struggled with these devices and admit defeat. Accordingly, I have disconnected the electrical connexion to the seat cushion and the drive cable from the right-angle gearbox. I have also removed the presenter arm on the passenger side and may do the same on the driver's side when I get around to it. If anyone reading this knows of a definitive solution for this bete noir of the early Conti-Rs, I shall be pleased to hear (email).

July: the service and inspection just completed at SCSW has revealed that the LHS rear spring has cracked at its bottom, an inch or so from its end; the corresponding spring hanger has also seen better days. Whilst this has been undetectable from the driver's viewpoint and presents no impending hazard, I think it needs attention, so I have booked the car in for September to have new rear springs and hangers fitted: there is no point in changing just one spring. This will also be an opportunity to renew the underbody treatment where it is wearing thin.

The good news is that the LHM leakage has stopped. Oops! Now read on.

It never pays to tempt fate! In October, an unexpected attack of incipient failure to proceed prompted another visit to SCSW. Meanwhile, green oil was once again sullying my drip-tray, so I had both issues diagnosed. The hesitations were traced to a loose air hose and the continued LHM leakage to the front accumulator: this had not been leaking previously, and I had overlooked the fact that it had not been changed during all the previous work. Now it has. I suppose the moral of the story is that, once LHM starts leaking, it is as well to renew everything and get it over with.

October 2011