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  #1  
Old 05-07-2012, 02:42 PM
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Clicking noise from alternator or belt

Maybe this has been discussed before but when I start my 1978 400 from cold I get a "clicking" noise which seems to come from either the alternator or the alternator belt.

The sound can be easily heard from outside the car but the battery charges fine and there are no problems other than the noise itself. It seems to stop after the engine warms up.

Is this normal or is something about to commit suicide ?
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:52 PM
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Generally that description means that the alternator belts are doing the clicking, presumably because they have taken a set from being in the same position too long from lack of use.

I don't think that it is any reason to worry as long as the belts themselves look sound.

Your car is telling you it needs to be driven more often.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:14 PM
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Thanks Ashman, you're confirming what I thought was the case. I assume that the belt softens when the engine warms up so the noise goes away till everything cools down again.

The noise has been there since I bought the car in December and hasn't got worse so I won't worry about it unless it gets worse or it annoys me too much.

The previous owner did very few miles in the last 2/3 years of ownership which fits in exactly with your comments but I've done around 1000 miles since December so she's getting plenty of use now.

Mind you, at over 7.00 a gallon (and only 8/9 miles per gallon) becoming a cocaine addict would probably be far cheaper than using her more than I already am!
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:42 AM
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Wink

When we start on our 400, 400i, below the noise at startup. Is it the same?
If this is the same we have located the cause, it is the flywheel which is in contact with the starter that made ​​that noise.


Theodore
http://www.f400club.com/forum/index.php
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  #5  
Old 05-08-2012, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by theobordeaux View Post
When we start on our 400, 400i, below the noise at startup. Is it the same?
If this is the same we have located the cause, it is the flywheel which is in contact with the starter that made ​​that noise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5DW5_UxbGc

Theodore
http://www.f400club.com/forum/index.php
Theodore

That is a different sound from the one that I was describing coming from the belts. The noise from the belts is a light, sharp rapid clicking sound and it goes away after the car warms up. I'll let Rustytractor chime in and let us know if your sound matches his or not.

When I bought my car, it had only been driven 4,000 miles in 10 years and the belts made that clicking noise. I drove it for quite a while with those belts before changing them when I had the water pump seal replaced and overhauled the cooling system. I think that, after driving the car frequently for several months, the startup clicking was gone or at least reduced, but I just don't remember for sure.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:26 PM
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The noise I get is more like a clicking sound, a bit like an irregular electrical shorting noise which is why I wondered if it was the alternator itself. It's not the same as the You Tube clip (i recognise this sound as the starter meshing with the ring gear) and I'm pretty sure mine is alternator or belt related.

As soon as I get time I'll record and upload it and get a few more opinions.

Last edited by rustytractor; 05-08-2012 at 05:44 PM.
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  #7  
Old 05-08-2012, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by rustytractor View Post
Maybe this has been discussed before but when I start my 1978 400 from cold I get a "clicking" noise which seems to come from either the alternator or the alternator belt.

The sound can be easily heard from outside the car but the battery charges fine and there are no problems other than the noise itself. It seems to stop after the engine warms up.

Is this normal or is something about to commit suicide ?
My 365 makes the same racket as your's,my mechanic tell's me not to worry.It's a cracking type sound,eh?
The only thing we could come up with is that the belts are facing the engine rather than facing the radiator(not that it has any bearing on the way it operates).
I had a similar situation with a Volvo P1800,that turned out to be a cracked pulley.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rustytractor View Post
The noise I get is more like a clicking sound, a bit like an irregular electrical shorting noise which is why I wondered if it was the alternator itself. It's not the same as the You Tube clip (i recognise this sound as the starter meshing with the ring gear) and I'm pretty sure mine is alternator or belt related.

As soon as I get time I'll record and upload it and get a few more opinions.
That's it, the clicking of the belts is almost electrical sounding, but it isn't.
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Old 05-08-2012, 09:54 PM
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My car made a clicking noise I swore was the alternator belts, I put new ones on. Still clicked, rebuilt alternators , same.
It was the timing chain tapping the chest, wore a pretty nice groves in the aluminum. That was at 52,000 miles and I drove it with the clicking which went away when warm, to 60,000 miles then rebuilt engine. Ferrari recommends new timing chain at 50,000 Kilometers.
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  #10  
Old 05-09-2012, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Ashman View Post
That's it, the clicking of the belts is almost electrical sounding, but it isn't.
Ashman, which of your belts were changed before the problem was resolved? I'd assumed you meant the alternator belt was the culprit but maybe my thinking is too straightforward here.
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  #11  
Old 05-09-2012, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Fritz Ficke View Post
My car made a clicking noise I swore was the alternator belts, I put new ones on. Still clicked, rebuilt alternators , same.
It was the timing chain tapping the chest, wore a pretty nice groves in the aluminum. That was at 52,000 miles and I drove it with the clicking which went away when warm, to 60,000 miles then rebuilt engine. Ferrari recommends new timing chain at 50,000 Kilometers.
Fritz, my car has done 36,700 miles in total so if you're correct about the recommended 50,000 km timing chain replacement schedule mine could well be overdue. I've encountered timing chain "slap" before but not for many years, the last time was on a very simple 327 Corvette engine which was easy to change whereas the 400 is anything but easy.

Before I'd consider doing this, like you I'd need to be 100% sure that it isn't something less complex so would need to explore all other possibilities first. The thing that puzzles my simple brain is if it's the chain, why would the sound go away when the chain was warm/hot as it would expand and therefore get more slack, not less and probably slap more.

I'm no mechanic so would appreciate it if members with better knowledge could comment as I need to know if I should stop using her to avoid risking an expensive failure and start saving.
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  #12  
Old 05-09-2012, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rustytractor View Post
Ashman, which of your belts were changed before the problem was resolved? I'd assumed you meant the alternator belt was the culprit but maybe my thinking is too straightforward here.
Actually I had both alternator belts plus the power steering belt changed since everything was apart to replace the oil seal on the water pump and the radiator was out.

The clicking of the alternator belts seems to be a very common issue with these cars and it seems to crop up on cars that experienced a significant period of inactivity.
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  #13  
Old 05-09-2012, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rustytractor View Post
Fritz, my car has done 36,700 miles in total so if you're correct about the recommended 50,000 km timing chain replacement schedule mine could well be overdue. I've encountered timing chain "slap" before but not for many years, the last time was on a very simple 327 Corvette engine which was easy to change whereas the 400 is anything but easy.

Before I'd consider doing this, like you I'd need to be 100% sure that it isn't something less complex so would need to explore all other possibilities first. The thing that puzzles my simple brain is if it's the chain, why would the sound go away when the chain was warm/hot as it would expand and therefore get more slack, not less and probably slap more.

I'm no mechanic so would appreciate it if members with better knowledge could comment as I need to know if I should stop using her to avoid risking an expensive failure and start saving.
There is an adjustment screw on the front of the engine to take up timing chain stretch and the best way to determine when it is time to replace the timing chain is when there is no more adjustment available. My owner's manual doesn't specify any mileage interval for replacing the timing chain but does specify checking the tension every 20,000 km or 12,500 miles. The workshop manual does say to replace the timing chain at 50,000 km or when there is no more adjustment left on the adjusting pushrod.

Recently there was someone on this forum who replaced his timing chain and IIRC there was no difference in the length of the old one and the new one. I forget the mileage on the old chain.

I'll leave it to the mechanical experts to explain why replacing a chain that hasn't stretched but based on mileage is warranted. My understanding is that the chain doesn't weaken with mileage or time like a rubber camshaft timing belt but I stand to be corrected on that.

The instructions in the WSM for adjusting the timing chain are as follows:

"Raise the vehicle on a lift and run engine at idle. Working from under the vehicle, loosen locknut 4 with a 24mm wrench.

Using a suitably shortened Allen wrench or with a punch in the hole, rotate screw 5 until the chain becomes noisy, then turn it back by a quarter of a turn and tighten locknut 4.

Accelerate and decelerate to check that the chain is not noisy.

After 50,000 km, or when the push rod is not long enough for correct tensioning, replace the chain."

Last edited by Ashman; 05-09-2012 at 08:03 AM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:39 AM
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The adjusting of the chain tensioner is loading a spring.
The length is an important measurement of wear, but of course not the only.
The 400 engine use one chain to drive four cams.
I changed my chain and that was the only thing that stopped the clicking and my chain guides were shot so maybe that was where a lot of the wear was.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Ashman View Post
There is an adjustment screw on the front of the engine to take up timing chain stretch and the best way to determine when it is time to replace the timing chain is when there is no more adjustment available. My owner's manual doesn't specify any mileage interval for replacing the timing chain but does specify checking the tension every 20,000 km or 12,500 miles. The workshop manual does say to replace the timing chain at 50,000 km or when there is no more adjustment left on the adjusting pushrod.

Recently there was someone on this forum who replaced his timing chain and IIRC there was no difference in the length of the old one and the new one. I forget the mileage on the old chain.

I'll leave it to the mechanical experts to explain why replacing a chain that hasn't stretched but based on mileage is warranted. My understanding is that the chain doesn't weaken with mileage or time like a rubber camshaft timing belt but I stand to be corrected on that.

The instructions in the WSM for adjusting the timing chain are as follows:

"Raise the vehicle on a lift and run engine at idle. Working from under the vehicle, loosen locknut 4 with a 24mm wrench.

Using a suitably shortened Allen wrench or with a punch in the hole, rotate screw 5 until the chain becomes noisy, then turn it back by a quarter of a turn and tighten locknut 4.

Accelerate and decelerate to check that the chain is not noisy.

After 50,000 km, or when the push rod is not long enough for correct tensioning, replace the chain."
The noise you listen for is the clicking sound when you adjust the chain.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustytractor View Post
Fritz, my car has done 36,700 miles in total so if you're correct about the recommended 50,000 km timing chain replacement schedule mine could well be overdue. I've encountered timing chain "slap" before but not for many years, the last time was on a very simple 327 Corvette engine which was easy to change whereas the 400 is anything but easy.

Before I'd consider doing this, like you I'd need to be 100% sure that it isn't something less complex so would need to explore all other possibilities first. The thing that puzzles my simple brain is if it's the chain, why would the sound go away when the chain was warm/hot as it would expand and therefore get more slack, not less and probably slap more.

I'm no mechanic so would appreciate it if members with better knowledge could comment as I need to know if I should stop using her to avoid risking an expensive failure and start saving.
I wondered that to, maybe the aluminum block and heads expand more than the steel chain?
I really do not know but mine had the same symptoms and I ran it a long time like that.
Try loosening and tightening the timing chain and if that changes the sound but you can not make it go away then you have your answer.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by rustytractor View Post
Fritz, my car has done 36,700 miles in total so if you're correct about the recommended 50,000 km timing chain replacement schedule mine could well be overdue. I've encountered timing chain "slap" before but not for many years, the last time was on a very simple 327 Corvette engine which was easy to change whereas the 400 is anything but easy.

Before I'd consider doing this, like you I'd need to be 100% sure that it isn't something less complex so would need to explore all other possibilities first. The thing that puzzles my simple brain is if it's the chain, why would the sound go away when the chain was warm/hot as it would expand and therefore get more slack, not less and probably slap more.

I'm no mechanic so would appreciate it if members with better knowledge could comment as I need to know if I should stop using her to avoid risking an expensive failure and start saving.
Keep driving, I had the same thing before its only belts related, start engine, spray WD40 on the belts alternator and the noise will dissapear.
It is not the timming chain, that is a whole different issue, the timming chain is bomb proof so it will be ok even after your whole car has dissintegrated around it! However on the chain, check tension. ferraris spec for tension is rediculousy vague to ease off with the engine running till you hear a rattling noise means waiting until the chain starts mashing up your timming case!!
Slightly less vague Ferrari spec is placing a weight of x kilos between the two cams on one bank and a deflection of one mm is good. (apologies havent the weight to hand its in the manual) You can check the chain easily by taking off one of the cam end covers. In reality the tension needs to be tight enough so you cant easily depress with your thumb, tight but not bar tought. Timming will obviously be affected if its too slack and wear if too tight.
Regards
Alastair
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:04 AM
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My car has the noisy alternator belt also, I find it very annoying. Is there a fix besides WD40? The noise will also go away when the belt is wet. There has got to be a cause and a solution. If I had to guess I think the "V" on the belt is slightly different than the "V" on the pulley. PS, the belt is not very easy to change.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:40 AM
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My car has the noisy alternator belt also, I find it very annoying. Is there a fix besides WD40? The noise will also go away when the belt is wet. There has got to be a cause and a solution. If I had to guess I think the "V" on the belt is slightly different than the "V" on the pulley. PS, the belt is not very easy to change.
The V channels may well be different due to wear, regarding a fix other than a temp fix with a drop of oil or water, ( I'm not firmiliar with this particular engine) does it have an idle pulley with a worn bearing, or suffered an over tightened belt and forced the V's off track (misaligned), by bent alternator brackets etc.

To the original poster the belt noise may be a few things like a slight kink in a pulley going off as the the belt warms up and becomes more pliable , also it could be splitting, belts are not made from one continuos piece, and have a join in them which maybe just starting to fray, instead of trying to the oil, or water trick.

One sure way to diagnose the fault to the belts or pulleys , or chain if the noise is still in this area, is to take the belt off altogether and start the engine when cold, if the noise persists you can rule out auxiliary belt and pulleys.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:59 AM
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PS, the belt is not very easy to change.
That's a fact. The top one actually is pretty easy, the lower one, it's a *****!
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