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RoyaleDetailing

Original Poster:

349 posts

132 months

[news] 
Tuesday 19th June 2012 quote quote all
Greetings all

I have owned a number of luxury/performace cars in the past but never a Bentley. I have always fancied an Arnage or Turbo R and recently found myself bidding on a 94 Turbo R. Luckily i didnt win!

Anyway im looking to potentially purchase a Bentley and was wondering how the two cars compare. Price wise i will be at the lower end of the Arnage range, so only looking at the Green Label 4.4L cars.

How do the two cars compare in terms of driving, reliability, running costs, living with one? etc. I am probably looking to keep my car for a considerable amount of time, but how are these to live with? I'll probably be looking at doing about £5K miles a year.

bergxu

197 posts

43 months

[news] 
Tuesday 19th June 2012 quote quote all
I can't help you much with the Arnage experience, having only owned pre-Arnage Bentleys, however I can offer some insight on Turbo R ownership, considering I'm on my third Turbo R biggrin

I'll preface by saying that the Arnage will definitely be less upkeep than the Turbo R will, namely because you're dealing with old technology versus newer. That being said, maintaining an Arnage will certainly be more involved and costly than doing so on a Merc/BMW/Audi, etc...

Ok, here are some rules to live by if considering a Turbo R;

1. Provenance. If you ever want to re-sell the car, make sure it has a good service history from either a main dealer or a specialist. I went through the Hell of trying to sell a Bentley T1 several years ago with no history. That sh*t don't fly, as they say here in The Colonies wink but also you want to see that the car has been maintained in the past, as typically many owners of these cars can afford to buy them but not to run them, so maintenance gets deferred until the next 'sucker' comes along who, hopefully, can at least afford to fix everything that the prior owners have let go. This happened to me on my last Turbo R, a '96. I bought it for $20K USD but over the next year, put an additional $12K USD into it just catching it up on maintenance and also fixing things that prior owners neglected. When I sold it (for a monster loss) I bought my current car, a '90 model that came from the original owner and with $56K USD of maintenance records neatly kept in plastic sleeves in a three-ring binder. THAT is the type of fellow you want to buy your Bentley from.

2. Bodywork/interior condition. I stress this because the mechanicals are very robust in these cars and generally, not difficult to sort. The real expense comes in when you get a tatty interior or rusty coachwork. We don't really see rusty ones here in the US because (a.) it's not nearly as wet in this country as it is in Blighty and (b.) most owners, even when new, didn't use the cars as daily year-round drivers, so they have mostly been well preserved, but lord help you if you have to reupholster one. That will set you back the easy side of 5-10 grand.

3. Tires (sorry, tYres biggrin ): Depending on which generation of Turbo R you are looking into; your only option may be Avon Turbospeeds, which, at least here in the US, are $650/each, and I know this because I just fitted four of them to my own car about three months ago. You can certainly opt for different rims on the early cars so you get more of a choice in rubber, but I like keeping my chariots original so I just ante up when the time comes. The cars with 15" rims will only be able to run the Avons. 17" rims on later cars offer a *few* more options, but not many.

4. Spares costs: Remember, the car may cost 10 grand now but the prices of spares will reflect its original selling cost of 150 grand. I've found that it's mostly the suspension bits that are very expensive with ball joints being a few hundred each, sway bar links and subframe dampers likewise, not to mention a couple grand each for Active Ride shocks, although there is now supposedly a chap over there in the UK who can overhaul them for a fraction of the cost. But even control arm ("triangle lever" in RR parlance) bushes are quite pricey, and with the weight of the cars, those get eaten up fast--even if it spends a lot of time sitting. Front end work is time consuming, and if you need to replace the lower triangle lever bushes, this is a MASSIVE undertaking. Ask me how I know wink

5. Rear brakes: I single out the rear brakes because changing the discs requires specialist equipment and a couple days' worth of labor. Fronts are like any other car and can be done on your drive with normal hand tools. But make sure the rear discs are still plenty thick, else budget in a few grand to the price of the car...

6. Electrical: Just give a simple check of all of the electrical bits. Seats which are inoperative either completely or in one or a couple movements may be because the batteries in the seat memory ECUs have leaked acid and ruined the circuit boards. Windows will probably be slow on early (pre-50,000 series) cars, but that can be sorted with the addition of relays. Make sure the climate control system adjusts properly on both the upper and lower levels, as this is one of the niceties of Bentley ownership, and be sure the charging system is putting out a healthy 14.5 volts, as they're notorious for grounding (sorry, earthing wink ) problems.

There's really not a whole lot more to it. Just go into the purchase with your eyes open and remember this; These are hard cars to buy AND sell. That being said, there is nothing quite like piloting one of these leviathans down the motorway and feeling the endless wave of torque when you squeeze the business pedal. They're not 'fast' by today's standards, but the fact that such a large car can indeed move so quickly and effortlessly is amazing. If you join the ranks, you'll be one of the keepers of the flame, so to speak, and you'll be preserving THE car that was responsible for saving Bentley from redundancy smile

Cheers,
Aaron

graemel

5,019 posts

103 months

[news] 
Tuesday 19th June 2012 quote quote all
An excellent and very informative post Aaron

RoyaleDetailing

Original Poster:

349 posts

132 months

[news] 
Tuesday 19th June 2012 quote quote all
Aaron

Many thanks for your detailed and very informative post! Thats really given me a lot to think about. Clearly the Turbo R has much to offer if you are on No.3 but why did you choose to replace a 96 with a 90? If i go with the Turbo R i will probably be looking at a 94 onwards as i like the updates that have been made to the car over the earlier models. I also presume maintenance will be a little less heavy on the wallet.

If they are hard for you to sell in the US think about us Brits over here with Petrol prices as they are! I guess to a large extent its a buyers market then. I noticed from a lot of cars for sale that they all suffer from rust problems which for me was very surprising. The car I was looking at has rust bubbles round all four door handles. Like the T1 you mentioned it too had little or no history and the drivers seat was quite worn. Kind of glad that i didnt win the auction now as it probably needed a lot of money, but saying that it could have made a nice project car.

On the other end of the spectrum there is lovely Arnage for sale at the moment for £20k which has had £13k worth of work done from Bentley! Sounds like the kind of car to buy, but sadly its more than i am looking to spend. Good bargain for some else though.

You mentioned the rear brakes and im shocked! What were they thinking when they designed the car! Is that still a problem on the later Turbo R cars?

Thanks again for your response. If any other owners have gone from a Turbo R to an Arnage i'd love to hear from you!


sdmurray

451 posts

61 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
Hi, I had many years using a Turbo R as my everyday car and whilst I did not get the Arnage it is certainly my next purchase when I can get the money together. I did help a friend buy an Arnage. He got a green label one and, yes, I have driven it so can make the comparison.

My thoughts? Well, the Turbo R's can be very expensive to maintain and there is lots than can (and does) go wrong with them. The Arnage (especially the green label one with the BMW engine) is much more reliable. My main view on this is that the Arnage is the way I would go for two things:

1. The reliability already mentioned
2. They just look so pretty!!

I do believe that the squarer Turbo R bod is now looking rather dated and the Arnage has just enough curves to sex it up. They are both extremely comfortable luxury cars and both are extremely quiet. They are also both very powerful and fun to drive. Yes, I would give the Turbo R the edge in terms of power and "sportiness" but then again I am a great fan of the RR V8 engine (so I will probably go for a red label even though the weight is wrong in it as it was not designed for that engine).

Bottom line - Arnage.
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JOHN BOWLING

13 posts

30 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
The later turbo r's have modified front suspension and don't require total strip down for front triangle bushes
While the rear discs are a pain the trick is not to remove the brake caliper makes the job much quicker and all the turbo r's are on a spline shaft makes splitting the hub much easier than the earlier cars.
Another point to watch out for on them are rear road spring cup corrosion this leads to the cups having to be cut out and patten ones welded in.
later turbo r's suffer from head gasket problems and radiators blocking up, it doesnt seem to matter what service history these cars have the coolant doesn't get changed as it should leading to the radiator blocking, the temp gauge does not accurately reflect the engine temperature and this engine is prone to hot spots anyway my opinion based on none of my customers cars that we have serviced from nearly new having head gasket problems is the radiator and head gasket faults are linked.

Two faults with the early Arnarges are rampent corrosion underneath and poor quality leading to expensive problems the corrosion can be worst on the rear suspension especially pipework and the fron inner wheel arches and front subframe (last time i checked bentley motors have run out of front subframes due to demand for them and are not making any more)
One of the bigger problems due to cheap components is the rear door window regulators they are a modern type which is wire in a cable the plastic ends brake the cables then interfere with the interior door handle pulls and can lead to the doors opening when you put the window down, not to funny at 70 mph this was ment to be addressed with modified parts but was not a recall so there are plenty of early cars with this problem the window regulators were £600 last time i looked.

roygarth

1,634 posts

134 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
Great post Aaron.

Balmoral

30,048 posts

134 months

[news] 
Wednesday 20th June 2012 quote quote all
RoyaleDetailing said:
4.4L cars.
It's a nice enough engine, but it just doesn't have the charisma or "That Bloody Thump!" of the 6.75

I drove one for a day, and despite it being wrapped up in a Bentley Arnage, it may just as well have been any other mass produced luxury car. Or, how to make the Bentley experience nothing like the Bentley experience.

IIRC sales quadrupled when they put the old engine in the new car, so the licensing issues did them a great favour, though they would have done it anyway, such was the demand from dealers and customers.

The V12 in the Seraph was a different proposition altogether, that one really worked.

bergxu

197 posts

43 months

[news] 
Thursday 21st June 2012 quote quote all
Royale,

The reason I replaced my '96 with a '90 was this;

My first Turbo R was an '89 (20,000 series) which was a pre-Active Ride car. While it was in gorgeous condition (Tudor Red over Magnolia, piped Red), the handling was a bit too wafty for me, so I sold it on and went for the '96 (50,000 series). I found that it was very crashy over bumps and also that I personally didn't care for the re-designed aesthetics such as the center console, the Ferrari-esque door mirrors, the squat grille and the huge auto-dimming rear view mirror which looked as if it was plucked from a Lincoln Town Car (read: cheap), so I felt that the middle child, the 30,000 series cars, such as my present '90 model would combine the best of both worlds; Active Ride suspension but with the early 15" wheels and taller tires to make for sporty handling but with compliant ride, and I also liked the older looking aesthetics (door mirrors, smaller rear view mirror, taller grille, etc...) and so far it has met my expectations. Oh, and I also wanted away from the Zytek Engine Management system and wanted to go back to Bosch CIS, which is the exact same system used on Mercedes from the era, and is a system which I have much experience with as I was a mechanic for MB for 11 years. Also however, I understand Zytek isn't interested in supporting the older cars with their equipment on them, and on that note, when they dropped the BMW 4.4 in the Arnage, the changes they made to the EMS are proprietary and there has been some trouble I've heard from owners here in the US, getting those serviced. Ditto for the Red Label Arnage using the Zytek system. And yes, later 6.75 engines were known to have head gasket issues, so all that combined made me want to go back to the earlier car. Sure, the performance isn't all there, but I got walked by a Merc ML500 for Christ's sake when I had a friendly stoplight grand prix in my '96, so that was enough to drive home the point that unless I want to pony up for a Turbo RT400, none of them are hugely fast, at least off the line. Of course, on the highway is another story biggrin

And yeah, I don't envy you guys over there in the UK what with petrol prices being what they are. Hell, we complain about $4/gallon here so I couldn't imagine fueling a Bentley there!!

Cheers,
Aaron


Edited by bergxu on Thursday 21st June 03:17

bergxu

197 posts

43 months

[news] 
Thursday 21st June 2012 quote quote all
John;

Can you elaborate on the differences in front end design on the later cars? I had to do lower triangle lever bushes on my '96 and it was a huge job, as the subframe had to come down so I could get the lower arm bolts out of their "tunnels".

Cheers,
Aaron

RoyaleDetailing

Original Poster:

349 posts

132 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th July 2012 quote quote all
Been a while since i updated. Went to see a 1996 Bentley Turbo RL over the weekend and have to say they are epic on the inside. Much more of an occasion that the Arnage (or at least the early ones)! I'll try to upload pictures if i can (not mine so quality is not great).

Car Black with what i assume is silvestone interior. Condition was good on the inside, with a little wear on the drivers seat but otherwise ok. Has the rear picnic tables which is nice, as well as a few other extras. Interior was let down but a LCD TV above the glovebox on the dash! What was the previous owner thinking!!!

Exterior looked in poorish condition, no rust or scratches but not how i want it. Luckily i had a proper look at the car and all it needs is a proper detail. So if i get it i can get some of my guys to sort that out. Pretty sure it will look 9/10 when they are finished. Doesnt look like paint is needed anywhere which is good.

Personally i would prefer an Arnage just because it is more modern, but moneywise the Turbo R is probably more sensible.

RoyaleDetailing

Original Poster:

349 posts

132 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th July 2012 quote quote all
Cant upload images from work. Will upload later

bergxu

197 posts

43 months

[news] 
Thursday 19th July 2012 quote quote all
Hmmm...the TV in the dash doesn't sound good. Be careful before you pull the trigger on that car. It'll probably be a bear to move on later...

Some tt put video screens in the backs of the headrests on my '96 and I always loathed whomever did it....

POORCARDEALER

7,127 posts

127 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
A tv screwed to the dashboard???

RoyaleDetailing

Original Poster:

349 posts

132 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
I hate TVs in the back too. Unless I need it for business reasons i personally couldnt justify it. a lot of people say its for the kids nowadays, but what is wrong with kids reading a book. Seems to be a lost art.

Regarding the screen, no its not screwed but above the glove box on the Airbag cover, and angled towards the driver slightly! It looks like they have cut the wood (Yikes i know)and used the wood as the surround. Its probably hard to picture, so i will post a pic, but will have to be later today.

POORCARDEALER

7,127 posts

127 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
RoyaleDetailing said:
I hate TVs in the back too. Unless I need it for business reasons i personally couldnt justify it. a lot of people say its for the kids nowadays, but what is wrong with kids reading a book. Seems to be a lost art.

Regarding the screen, no its not screwed but above the glove box on the Airbag cover, and angled towards the driver slightly! It looks like they have cut the wood (Yikes i know)and used the wood as the surround. Its probably hard to picture, so i will post a pic, but will have to be later today.
Sounds bloody awful lol

RoyaleDetailing

Original Poster:

349 posts

132 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
POORCARDEALER said:
Sounds bloody awful lol
Lol I know! My problem is that this is or use in Dubai, and out here there is not a lot of choice. Currently i have 3 cars to choose from, and this is overall in good condition.

Actually on that, i started the car up but didnt get a chance to test drive it as i had a meeting to rush to. It started fine, but the brake light on the dash was on. I read somewhere today that this might be related to the hydrolics. Is this correct? Are there any other likely reasons for the brake warning light being on? Im assuming it needs a brake service.

Thanks

POORCARDEALER

7,127 posts

127 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
When first started the brake pressure needs to build and the light stays on for approx 60 seconds.

Once it goes out you can drive awsy

RoyaleDetailing

Original Poster:

349 posts

132 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
Great thanks. im back there next weekend so i'll be able to take it for a proper drive.

bergxu

197 posts

43 months

[news] 
Friday 20th July 2012 quote quote all
Really healthy and tight hydraulic system should extinguish the warning lamp(s) in 30 seconds, unless the car has sat for an age.

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