My Rolls Royce Silver Shadow 2

I bought this 1980 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow 2 as a project,no service history,in poor condition with bodged repairs,I wanted to see if a DIY restoration was possible. I had no intention of simply throwing money at it.

These are expensive to repair,complex and rust prone,so it was hardly a sensible idea.Like the Rolls this page is unfinished,a work in progress.

Links to lots of other Rolls Royce sites and information are here. I've started a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow group on facebook.

Rolls Royce Silver Shadow 2 a few months aftexr arriving.

Click below for links to other sections and pages.  

.Bodywork. Brakes. Carburettors. Electrics. Engine clean. Interior. Specifications. Hubs.

Rusty floors needed repair. 

The underseal was intact but the floors were thin in places with a few holes to patch.

Rust in silver shadow foot well.


The rust was pretty localised ,needing a couple of plates in the front. I used galvanised steel sheet.

The rear floors were quite sound and cleaned up well with a wire brush. They were painted after priming rather than using underseal.

The carpets and soundproofing were sound apart from the driver carpet which had rotted.

The stainless steel cover panels on the sills were all removed.The fixings are 2BA.

 A few rust spots treated and the stainless panels,with a few dents knocked out,were replaced.

The engine was dirty with paint scraped off, surprising as it had been serviced by 'experts'.

No bad oil leaks but the dirt shows years of neglect.The big V8 deserves to look better than this,personally one of my pet hates is working on dirty engines,

The Rolls 6.75 litre V8 engine after cleaning and painting. All electrical connections were pulled apart,cleaned and put back together.The brake reservoir was painted with supposedly fluid resistant paint (it wasnt).

The handbrake and brake reservoir etc.

The tiny handbrake pads were renewed,they must be too small to act as emergency brakes.

Peculiar wedge shaped things,they are easy to replace.The handbrake linkage was seized solid.

The brake reservoir was drained and cleaned out.The dirt in the bottom is debris from the flexible brake pipes.The rags are to stop small bolts falling down into the engine V where they are impossible to retrieve.

The flexible pipes going to the pumps and returning to the reservoir were replaced with 3/8 inch ID EPDM material (The SAE number is J20R3 Class D2).  2 BA nuts and bolts are used on the reservoir lid

The plate on the bottom is removed to access the fine mesh filters,using a deep AF socket they can be unscrewed,when blocked they tend to collapse and tear, if they or the pipes are blocked the brake pumps can get noisy.Thsee filters were undamaged so cleaned and replaced.

The sight glass panel is removable but the screws holding it often break,so the area behind the sight glass was washed out with a syringe. Because the sight glasses were so dirty it was impossible to judge the level and as a result the reservoir was over full and leaking via the top gasket.

The Brake system Accumulator Spheres.

The dreaded brake spheres.Both the accumulators were removed and replaced with (expensive) new.

The ones pictured here are actually early Silver Shadow parts.The later ones (series 2) as per my car have the switches on the pipes not on the valves.

The electrics needed work, it was easier to remove some previous 'repairs' and start again.

The dashboard was removed to sort out poor repairs to wiring.The veneered front is unscrewed (BA fixings) and removed to gain access to the top roll fixings. The screws are again threaded BA, see conversion charts for explanation. Some of the instruments didn't work,the speedometer on these is impulse driven there is no cable as such.It was dismantled and the inner drive gear replaced.

This is how some so called 'specialist' thought you accessed wiring (by cutting bloody great holes in the door) the same bodger had got at another door and the boot in the same way. I welded some steel over the holes and replaced the missing bolts.

The wires to the gear box inhibitor switch had burnt out. The wiring runs down inside the steering column. to remove the steering wheel,feed some thin twine under the horn button,cross the two ends so the twin wraps round uder the push and then pull the two ends sharply towards you .The whole electrical system on these cars is complex with lots of relays often in hard to reach places.

The burnt out interior lights timer and relay were beyond repair,the original Lucas parts replaced with modern units. The missing door switches were replaced with modern miniature push switches

The broken rear door switches replaced,using the same units as fronts.

The wiring for the arm rest lights on the door panels had shorted and was replaced.

Both seats had non functioning motors,one was because of simply corroded connections, with this one the motor was full of grease. Rolling back the rubber cover enabled cleaning of the commutator and brushes. The control switches were cleaned out with contact cleaner and allowed to dry.

This small box,located under the top roll of the dashboard is the amplifier for the signal from the sender unit on top of the radiator. If the coolant level drops, the probe circuit is broken, cutting the supply to the amplifier which then feeds 12V to the warning light on the dasboard. This one was faulty and a second hand unit was fitted.
A similar unit is fitted to the washer bottle on some of the shadows.
This is the above unit dismantled,there are instructions online on the replacement of the transistors et. I have yet to try and repair the old unit.

Time to start on the bodywork. The car had been resprayed but there was the odd rust bubble.

A few rust bubbles hid a mound of body filler simply slapped over a gaping hole in the drivers side wing.

The filler was pulled off and the hole cut back to sound metal.

 Happily the metal behind the hole was still sound but it was treated with Eureka fluid film after derusting with Phosphoric acid.The scissors were to cut out a cardboard pattern,not to cut the hole.

Repair panels are around £300 for what in this case is a relatively easy shape to reproduce so a piece of 1.5mm steel was cut and beaten to shape. I used a thick,heavy sack filled with wet sand and a firm rubber mallet.The plate was joggled and welded to the wing and floor. The rot was probably caused by the drain tube from air intake exiting high up behind the wing instead of under the car.

The carburettors leaked fuel and the car refused to idle especially when hot.


The SU carburettors were removed,with manifold. The needle valves renewed and float levels set. The original makers, Burlen proved able to supply any parts needed.The inter connecting linkages adjusted.

The fuel weakener on the Rools Royce,designed to reduce fuel consumption when cruising.

This is the fuel weakener device fitted to the Silver Shadow2. The two solenoids behind control the fuel weakener and the anti dieseling valve.The weakener is designed to weaken the mixture when hot and at mid throttle and small load.


This is a home made manometer. Basically a plastic U tube containing some coloured water. One end is connected to the weakener with the capped fitting on the left side,under a cap on the top right is a screw with a lock nut. With the engine hot and idling the adjuster is turned to give a slight vacuum,the figure is in inches of water (ie) the difference in height of the two columns,given in the workshop manual.

These small and expensive fuel filters are fitted on the carb inlets in small housings sealed with O brings. Both were stamped 'Taiwan'. To remove,the top of the housing is pulled up after screwing a bolt into the threaded hole in the lid.


Under the car is a spung loaded one way valve. It enables petrol to escape if the carburettor bowls flood.The valve is opened by the weight of the fuel.This is all part of the fuel weakener system. Rolls brought out a minor modification (mentioned elsewhere on this page) to slope all pipework connecting the carburettor bowls to the valve so that fuel cant accumulate in any part of it.

The drain valve was dismantled and cleaned. If it is stuck it can cause problems by altering the fuel mixture.

The rear exhaust. The sections are held together with clamps and metal olives. These are much more expensinve than, for instance, Jaguar O rings which I found fitted perfectly

The interior.

The seats were undamaged and cleaned up well. To replace or repair would be a very expensive undertaking.

The door cards cleaned up well. They were removed,revealing large holes cut in the metal of the doors by some bodger to access the wiring in two of them.

Later I decided to freshen the colour with some dye from "Scratch Doctor" I was pleased with the result

The brake calipers needed a clean,the wheel bearings were adjusted.

This is the front hub of a silver shadow.

Two seperate calipers on the front,each the same caliper as a ford granada etc with a spacer as the ventilated disc is thicker.There are two seperate braking systems sharing a common, divided reservoir. The fluid used on these shadows is a DOT3 with added castor oil as a lubricant.

Removing the plug on top of the front swivels allows greasing.A ground down spanner holds the adjuster still to avoid it moving out of adjustment. 

I found this curiosity,an old repair notice on the back of the trim on the drivers side door.


Behind the passengers side front wing on my Shadow 2 is this large washer container with two pumps for the screen and wiper washers. On the reverse are connections for the low fluid warning light switch. To remove the container the plastic under wing shields held by self tapping screws are removed. 


These pictures above show some of the repairs etc carried out spread over a year of part time work,there is still more to do.I will update the next section as work progresses..






The headlamp wipers were an option on the Shadow 2.

I made headlamp wiper arms from stainless steel to replace the missing originals.

Links to various helpful sites are below. With thanks for the efforts their authors have made.

Return to home page ? Go there.

The Bentley/Rolls Royce Archives. Manuals,diagrams and part numbers etc. Go there.

The Australian Rolls Royce Forums. Lots of advice and information from other owners. Go there

Modifications and revisions by chassis number. Useful for identifying specifications. Go there.

Silver Shadow dashboard evolution. Pictures and description of how these changed. Go there

The Rolls Royce V8 engine. History and applications etc. Go there.

Wing,Floor,Sill and other repair panels. Patch panels for Shadows. Go there.

Large list of alternative parts and suppliers of services etc Go there.

Replacement and substitute parts. Save money on service items etc. Go there.

The luxury junk yard. A huge American Rolls Royce breakers yard. Go there.

Excellent Silver Shadow web site by Marinus Rijkers. Go there.

A U.K. supplier of stainless steel UNF nuts/bolts. Go there.

BA nuts and bolts etc in stainless steel,brass or steel. Go there.

 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow Specifications etc. 

Made..Silver Shadow 1. 1965 to 1976, Silver Shadow 2 1977 to 1980.

Engine size..1965 to 1970 6230cc from 1970 6750cc , both 90 degree V8.

Bore/Stroke. 6230cc 104.14 mm x 91.44, the 6750cc 104.14 x 99.06.

Valves.. OHV 2 per cylinder Hydraulic tappets.

Each carburettor feeds the outer cylinders on its own side and the inners on the opposite.

Twin SU carburettors . Fuel pump electric (double ended).

Ignition on Shadow 2 is Lucas electronic,earlier shadow has conventional points.

Gear box..Automatic 1965 to 1970 4 speed,from 1971 3 speed, GM 400.

Suspension.. All coil spring (independent rear). Rear height control.

Steering. Shadow 1 steering box, Shadow 2 rack and pinion. Power assisted.

Brakes.. Disc all round. Two seperate systems. Two calipers on each front wheel.

Rear Brakes.. One caliper on each wheel containing two seperate piston assemblies.

Hand brake. Tiny, seperate hand operated pads on an assembly under rear calipers.

Dimensions. Weight 4650 pounds (2.4 tons) (a rover p5 is 1.75 tons)

Length (Standard version) 203 inches with 119 inch wheel base.

Body. Made in four and two door versions, both are 60 inches tall.

Most threads on these are UNC or UNF with smaller fittings being 2BA.

My spanner size comparison site is available here

Braking System,Silver Shadow 2.

 Standing in front of car the left side is A bank,the right B. The front part of the reservoir feeds a pump at the front and the accumulator on the front of A bank,the rear feeds a back pump and an accumulator at the back of B bank.

The A system supplies the front calipers on the front wheels,the upper cylinder of the rear calipers and the hydraulic rams of the rear suspension.

The B system supplies the rear calipers on the front wheels and the lower cylinders of the rear calipers.

The ignition system.

I replaced the electronic ignition module with a Petronix version which was cheaper to import direct from the USA than to buy in the UK. The model number is Petronix LU281,it is virtually a straight swap.

The original (above) worked but electronics have moved on since it was made.

I found that the cheap pattern rotor arms (probably made in China) are prone to break down when hot and ended up with a genuine but old stock Lucas one. To fit the Patronix system, I removed the ballast resistor system and used a direct feed to a 3 Ohm coil. The ignition timing is awkward to set with a timing light but made easier by painting the marks with white paint and aiming the timing light from low down near the brake presure switch.

Spark plugs (on left looking at front) are easy to change,the front two need the hot air intake removed.On the right use long 3/8 drive extensions,a universal joint and a slim spark plug socket with a rubber insert. Access to the three rear ones is under the brake fluid reservoir. Replace plugs initially with fingers to avoid any chance of cross threading.

The vacuum advance unit can cost over £150 from some suppliers,on mine it is basically the same as an early Rover V8 (p5b) as is the distributor cap and rotor arm. These can be bought for aroun £30.

Carburettors and fuel system.


A later Factory modification to cure 'heat soak' starting difficulties was to slope the drain pipe from the weakener so that it isn't obstructed by fuel.(as above).

It is possible and quicker to remove a single carb leaving the intake and choke etc in place.

The petrol filter under the car is absurdly expensive, it also acs as a sediment and water trap. I found a modern filter from a generator that fitted using a spring to keep it in position. The tiny filters to the carb bowls are obtainable from one known supplier but only as unbranded,made in Taiwan copies.

The choke on a Shadow is a butterfly up stream of the carburettors operated by a coiled bimetallic spring which is heated with exhaust gas drawn from a manifold via an insulated pipe. The choke is activated when cold by pressing down on the accelerator pedal, it also opens the throttle to provide a fast idle. There is no accelerator pump,so 'pumping' the pedal does not squirt fuel into the inlet manifold. Despite internet opinions to the contrary turning the ignition on and off multiple times does not increase the fuel quantity in the carburettor bowls (unless the float valves are leaking).

The Cooling system.

The original very expensive (but failed) thermostat was replaced with a (Gates) BMW unit. The original unit is on the left,the replacement has a thin spacer fitted on top (a large O ring would also work) to stop it moving.

When changing the thermostat the original corroded studs broke off.

The remains of the studs were drilled out in situ,the threads in the housing re cut and new studs fitted.

I will add more to this page periodically.