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Aston V12 Vanquish Buying Guide: Chassis

A fairly straightforward design that's easy to work on, but check the underside for rust

By Alisdairsuttie / Sunday, December 20, 2015

The bonded and riveted chassis is made up from extruded aluminium sections based around a carbon fibre core transmission tunnel. This makes the Vanquish the first Aston of the modern era and also very resilient to corrosion, as well as making it very safe in the event of a collision.

New bushes will markedly improve handling

New bushes will markedly improve handling

At the front is a double aluminium wishbone set-up with coil spring, damper and anti-roll bar. At the rear is much the same arrangement with a limited slip differential in the middle with a 3.69:1 ratio, which was changed for a 4.30:1 ratio on S models to achieve the 200mph top speed. Back at the front, the hydraulic power steering has variable assistance and 2.73 turns from lock to lock, which could be made 20 per cent quicker by choosing the optional Sport Dynamic Pack offered from May 2004. It also came with shorter and stiffer springs and dampers that lowered the ride height by 5mm. Tyres are 255/40 ZR19s at the front and 285/40 ZR19s for the rear.

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As well as this, the Sport Dynamic Pack increased the front vented brake disc size from the standard car's 355m to 378mm, while the rear brakes were 2mm thicker than the standard Vanquish's 330mm discs. The Sport Dynamic Pack can be identified by the elliptical grooves in the discs instead of the normal drilled holes. Also, Sport Dynamic Pack cars came with nine-spoke alloy wheels that are 30 per cent lighter than the normal 12-spoke items. From 2004, the standard Vanquish came with a new seven-spoke wheel design, but customers could opt for the original 12-spoke wheels at no extra cost and most did. The S has a unique 11-spoke design of wheel. During the same round of revisions in 2004, the Vanquish gained Pagid brake pads and grooved Brembo discs, along with Electronic Brake force Distribution.

The Vanquish's suspension is a straightforward design, which makes maintenance and replacement easier than you might expect. Some owners are even happy to tackle some of this work themselves, including replacing worn bushes.

New suspension bushes are easy to fit and restore the Vanquish's handling and response. The rear wishbone bushes leak and the lower ones wear due to the design of the bolt through the main upright. Also look for split rear track control arm gaiters. The good news is rebuilding the rear suspension can all be completed within a day.

Replacement dampers are c.£200 each

Replacement dampers are c.Β£200 each

Any knocks from the front suspension point to worn damper top mounts or ball joints. New dampers are Β£200 each and replacing the front lower wishbone is a specialist job as the camber and castor have to be reset accurately along with the tracking.

Rust on the underside of the chassis is not unheard of and is caused by trapped moisture between the steel subframe and undertray. The only way to check this is to remove the undertray, while remedial work is relatively straightforward for a specialist to clean and protect. The engine subframe can also corrode and needs to be powder-coated again. A new subframe is £5,000 and requires 16 hours of labour to remove the old one and fit the new, so be sure this area is checked pre-purchase.

There's a small steel bracket at the end of the sill on either side. It can rust and set up an electrolytic reaction with the aluminium tub, so make sure this is clean or replaced.


PHer's view:
"I've owned my Vanquish for several years now and it's had a full suspension rebuild. It brought the car back to how I first remembered it. It's a brilliant grand tourer. If you want a sports car, look at another Aston, but for my money this is the best all-rounder they've made."
Tom Bell


Buying Guide Contents:
Introduction
Powertrain

Rolling Chassis
Body
Interior

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