For the first time in my life, I spent $2.99 on a jar of Grey Poupon. I don’t even like mustard — I but felt that my newly purchased 2005 Rolls Royce Phantom wasn’t complete without Grey Poupon in the glove box. Unfortunately, this was the first of many purchases needed to sort this Roller properly — and the process will probably end up costing me the equivalent of 3,000 more jars of fancy mustard.
I really can’t complain much about spending a ridiculous amount of money fixing this Phantom — even after spending a ridiculous amount of money purchasing it — since everybody warned me of the insane maintenance costs. I was also crazy enough to buy it, despite inspecting the car in person, and seeing all of the problems. Clearly, my brain is throwing just as many error codes as the Phantom’s engine computer — but it’s not all bad news.
Thankfully, none of the problems stopped the Rolls from making the 700-mile trek back from Chicago to Wichita — and, even more thankfully, I didn’t have any new problems that left me stranded. Shockingly, the 6.75-liter V12 propelling this near-19-foot land yacht home averaged nearly 19 mpg. This will be the last time I mention anything economical about this Rolls Royce — as it’s all downhill from here.
The most frightening mystery with the Phantom was also the first problem I noticed with it — an error message for the air ride suspension. It also throws an error for power window actuation, most likely because both front window regulators are making crunchy noises, which means they could fail at any moment. Both of these are common faults shared with BMW cars, along with the glitchy iDrive screen this Phantom has as well. Thankfully, the screen calms down after a few minutes of driving — so I’ll likely leave that one alone.
There’s no way I would have taken on this Phantom without a good, experienced mechanic, and my Car Wizard is certainly that. He has the proper tools to scan every single module of the car, and read out the numerous faults — even things as miniscule as one indirect air flap for the climate control not actuating properly. His scanner also solved the mystery of the suspension fault — well sort of. There’s only one error code with the suspension, but it’s a mouthful, stating "Accumulator pressure remains constant when accumulator filling is requested."
Despite the Car Wizard never seeing a Rolls Royce Phantom before, his vast experience with broken used Land Rovers makes him very familiar with German and British air suspension. He suspects my air pump is getting too weak too quickly pressurize the suspension air accumulator — which resembles a small oxygen tank. Thankfully, this part is readily available for purchase online — but it’s over $1000. It could be much worse — and actually it is, as those window regulators I was talking about earlier are dealer-only items, and they cost $1,300 each. Mercifully, the Wizard’s full inspection didn’t find any other serious issues — but there’s still more to deal with.
A good chunk of the commentary with my last Rolls Royce video consisted of people freaking out by the missing umbrellas, which mount inside the rear door. Unfortunately, mine are missing on both sides — and if, for some silly reason, I want to have the proper, teflon-coated Rolls Royce Phantom factory umbrellas, a used set will cost me $900.
As ridiculous as that price sounds, I’m relieved that I can even find them — as that’s not the case with the tires. Exclusive to the Phantom, Bugatti Veyron (and, strangely, the Honda Odyssey Touring), the Michelin PAX was, at the time, a new run-flat tire system that was supposed to be the future of tires. Its high price, and the need of a specialty machine to mount tires, made the system a major failure — and it seems Michelin has quit making them for my Phantom, as I can’t find any for sale. I could modify my existing wheels by removing the run flat system attached to them — but since all four tires are missing most of their chrome inserts, I’ll probably just upgrade to a newer Phantom wheel set without the PAX system. Unfortunately, the cheapest factory set I can find is $4,000.
None of the issues above bother me nearly as much as what was done to the hood — which has an aftermarket, brushed metal simulating vinyl wrap to make my Phantom newer. I actually like the idea, but the whole wrap may be ruined, as it appears one of the factory chrome hood trim pieces fell off, and was crudely glued back on. The nasty yellow glue residue makes my $80,000 purchase look like a total hooptie, and I’m not sure if this glue can be removed without ruining the wrap.
The chrome trim on the hood is also corroding in a few places, but I think I can affordably make these expensive bits look new again. Hopefully, the Car Wizard and I find a few other financial shortcuts to get this Phantom fully sorted again — if that’s even possible. I’m sure there will always be something wrong — but for me, that’s part of the fun.
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