By this juncture, wise owners of vintage Rolls-Royce and Bentley have learned to take fluid leaks in stride. It’s part of the charm, to keep the garage floor lubricated. Folks who could not handle the leaks bought Toyotas instead.
But we assume the leaks won’t strand or disable our cars. We particularly assume the leaks won’t cause us to crash. That is what makes this particular story so distressing.
The 1997 car shown here arrived at our shop with some common complaints. The brakes were soft, and pulled to one side and the low fluid warning was coming o. It seemed routine – add some fluid and bleed the nitrogen bubbles out of the system. We encourage people to do this service every year, in the spring, because nitrogen gas leaks into the fluid slowly as the accumulators age.
But that didn’t solve this car’s problem. Bleeding did fix the pull, but only temporarily. A closer look revealed the problem. The ABS modulator was leaking, allowing fluid to escape (hence the low fluid warning) and allowing air to get into one of the front brake circuits (hence the pull to one side.)
The fix for that was obvious – a new modulator. That was when I had a rude surprise. I went to the heritage.bentleymotors website and entered the VIN. Then I typed “ABS modulator” into the search box. The part I was seeking came right up – the UR27685. As is often the case, the website said, “dealer to advise on cost and availability.” Unfortunately, the dealer found no cost, and no availability. The part was discontinued.
I was rather surprised that Crewe would simply drop an essential part that’s used in most 1990s sedans. But that seems to be the case. A search online revealed it’s out of stock at the aftermarket sites too. I hated to do it, but we went to the used parts people and got a “pre-owned” brake modulator. It leaked too.