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Old 05-17-2007, 11:02 PM
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What is "special" about a V12 rebuild?

I've heard talk about $20,000 rebuilds on vintage V12 engines. Exactly what is it that makes a Ferrari V12 so expensive compared to a Chevy or Ford? A cylinder boring machine does not know what type of engine block it is boring, and a wrench does not know what type of bolt it is tightening. Can I assume that the expense comes from the actual Ferrari parts themselves, such as pistons, rings, bearings, gaskets, etc? Could any competant engine shop actually do the machine work on a V12 such as cylinder boring, line boring, cam bearings, etc? Just curious.
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Horsefly View Post
I've heard talk about $20,000 rebuilds on vintage V12 engines. Exactly what is it that makes a Ferrari V12 so expensive compared to a Chevy or Ford? A cylinder boring machine does not know what type of engine block it is boring, and a wrench does not know what type of bolt it is tightening. Can I assume that the expense comes from the actual Ferrari parts themselves, such as pistons, rings, bearings, gaskets, etc? Could any competant engine shop actually do the machine work on a V12 such as cylinder boring, line boring, cam bearings, etc? Just curious.
The same thing that makes my car's MAF cost $465 when a Chevy MAF costs like $50... Or why I paid $97 shipped for an oil pressure switch, but my friend with a Honda Accord paid $7.99 for his... Supply in demand is where it's at, if they can get the money out of you for parts or labor, they will. As for anyone being able to do it, an engine is an engine, they all have the same parts and work in the same way. If you know a guy who works at a machine shop and he's very competent in his work, it shouldn't be a huge difference working on a V12. It's still one and a half as much work and parts, so it will cost more regardless. If I were to buy a completely built motor for my car (3.0L V6, nothing special) I could put $15-20k into it for just a longblock and heads, that's before turbos... All because of the car it is, and the fact that they know they can get the money for it.

Last edited by Private_Joker; 05-17-2007 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:20 PM
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Each component on a Ferrari V-12 is made entirely by hand.

Have you ever tried to make a valve spring on a lathe? That alone takes many years of practice before one can replicate the required part with any consistency.

It also takes many years as an apprentice spending time at the beach learning how to sand cast components such as water pump housings and valve covers; many more years as a journeyman before you have the requisite expertise to craft pistons, cylinder heads and engine blocks.

A part of the expense is also derived from the cork plantations needed to supply the raw materials for the gaskets. Not every person can rear a cork plant that will be able to produce cork of sufficient quality to endure the rigours of automotive applications.

So, the expense of a Ferrari V-12 is roughly 90% labour, 5% materials and 5% luck or whatever looked good at the time.
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:28 PM
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:03 AM
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The question raised is the one I had before I did my first 12 cylinder.

After all engines are engines, right?

Well, sort of.

Parts are expensive, and often rare. Virtually nothing can be bought locally (for most of us).

Engine construction is a bit different than your small-block Chevy (light alloy, thin wet sleeves, overhead cams, multiple distributors, numerous complex sub-assemblies). Gasketed surfaces often meet at right angles or incorporate o-rings. If you are not meticulous it WILL LEAK.

Even something simple like a water pump that costs $20 for the Chevy all ready to go, is a little expensive bag of parts that you have to use to rebuild yours (a few hours work).

Machine work often requires special setups. Your local guy has probably never seen one before and isn't anxious to drop everything and try something new. Cylinder sleeves require special tooling to remove and install. They may need to make honing plates just for your job. Valve clearances are controlled by shims that are available in a relatively narrow thickness range. Installed valve height is critical, I've seen it screwed up by the machine shop.

It is a sure thing that you will need some special tools. You can start by building an engine stand for it (they don't just bolt-up like the Chevy).
I have drawers full of tools that I've bought or made (my lathe gets used more for tool making than anything else). You absolutely should not be using sockets and hammers to install seals and bearings.

As if all that wasn't enough, compared to an American V8 (or even a Japanese 4 popper) the available documentation is minimal. In many cases you are working from an exploded diagram and not all the parts are shown.
Some manuals are only Italian, some translations are WRONG. Torque specs are incomplete and sometimes WRONG. I might be working on one car, but I am looking at related sections in other books to compare information. A real broad based level of knowledge, and a careful methodical approach is necessary if your baby is going to live at 8000rpm and not leak fluids everywhere.

This all translates into lots of hours.

Last edited by 2NA; 05-18-2007 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:06 AM
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Not even worth responding to. Go make me some main bearings by hand.

Last edited by Private_Joker; 05-18-2007 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Korr View Post
Each component on a Ferrari V-12 is made entirely by hand.

Have you ever tried to make a valve spring on a lathe? That alone takes many years of practice before one can replicate the required part with any consistency.

It also takes many years as an apprentice spending time at the beach learning how to sand cast components such as water pump housings and valve covers; many more years as a journeyman before you have the requisite expertise to craft pistons, cylinder heads and engine blocks.

A part of the expense is also derived from the cork plantations needed to supply the raw materials for the gaskets. Not every person can rear a cork plant that will be able to produce cork of sufficient quality to endure the rigours of automotive applications.

So, the expense of a Ferrari V-12 is roughly 90% labour, 5% materials and 5% luck or whatever looked good at the time.
hahaha

I love the "valve spring on a lathe" bit
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Korr View Post
Each component on a Ferrari V-12 is made entirely by hand.

Have you ever tried to make a valve spring on a lathe?

ROFLMAO
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Old 05-18-2007, 03:27 AM
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By the time I get my other set of heads done, I will easily have over $6000 wrapped up in engine parts and machine shop work. The head gaskets were over $400, the pistons were over a $1000, boring the liners was $300, polished the crank and mag checked was over $100, gaskets (they dont come with head gaskets!) were, I dunno, $600? I think the engine bearings were like $5 or 600, And other stuff I cant recall off hand. Thats not counting any labor either. I really thought doing all this myself I would save a lot of money, and I have, but if I was paying a shop to do this level of work I am sure it would easily cost me over $15K. And thats not counting R&Ring the motor or any gearbox parts or labor, and its still not a total blue ribbon overhaul, its just a good solid rebuild. Its not hard to imagine that a V-12 wouldnt just be 50% more than a 308, it would double. And thats praying you have no major parts needing replacing, like a cracked head or a bad cam or something equally nasty...Ouch!
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Old 05-18-2007, 06:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horsefly View Post
I've heard talk about $20,000 rebuilds on vintage V12 engines. Exactly what is it that makes a Ferrari V12 so expensive compared to a Chevy or Ford? A cylinder boring machine does not know what type of engine block it is boring, and a wrench does not know what type of bolt it is tightening. Can I assume that the expense comes from the actual Ferrari parts themselves, such as pistons, rings, bearings, gaskets, etc? Could any competant engine shop actually do the machine work on a V12 such as cylinder boring, line boring, cam bearings, etc? Just curious.
In addition to what's already been mentioned there's also the willingness of the numerous unwitting owners to fork over said amounts. That inflates things too. But it's still a lot more involved than a run of the mill Chevy rebuild. But doing a race motor no matter what the brand is also expensive and Ferraris require that level of attention to detail. But ya dont need to go crazy about it either. Most owners aren't going to tackle an engine rebuild on any type of car and a Ferrari/Maserati/Lamborghini is way scary to most.

Bob S.
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:27 AM
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What would a Honda Accord engine rebuild cost? (Not that anyone does, outside of hopping it up). I think if anyone had a shop do one, it wouldn't be cheap. You're better off buying a new one.

So, what's a 1960's vintage 12 cylindar Ferrari engine in a crate cost IF you can find one? Hence the need to rebuild. And you need 12 or 24 of everything. 48 for a newer engine.

Hmmm...just how much "should" a rebuild cost? How many hours does it take to do a major rebuild? You think these guys charge $20 an hour??? And new Ferrari parts are expensive; where does one find 24 valves for a Daytona engine, Pep Boys??

Ken
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:35 AM
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Hmmm...just how much "should" a rebuild cost? How many hours does it take to do a major rebuild? You think these guys charge $20 an hour??? And new Ferrari parts are expensive; where does one find 24 valves for a Daytona engine, Pep Boys??Ken
Ken, you have forgotten the most important question. Will it be "Trail Rated" when you are done?
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:19 AM
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Keep in mind a Chevy small block sprint car or short track late model motor can be 30K+, and these guys are not being ripped off because they are "rich".
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:44 AM
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Plus seats, guides, pistons, rings and on and on. And remember, everything is X 12, assuming you can find everything. Carb rebuild is X 3. Starts to add up pretty quickly.
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Old 05-18-2007, 10:14 AM
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Please do not take this hard. The real problom when a question is asked like this is the person asking the question really does not know the diffrence between a Chevy and a Ferrari, and to answer the question you really need to go way back and explain these diffrences. Dry sump/ wet sump , Sodium filled valves, studs/ bolts, Aluminum/ cast iron, 12/8 cylinders, valve guides and seats that are not made of the same materail as the heads, cylinder liners so block boring is not really done etc. etc.
Chevy racing parts are rare handmade and big $$ but you doe not have to use them with a Chevy rebuild, with Ferrari's you always use the racing parts.
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Old 05-18-2007, 11:13 AM
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Anyone who has their v-12 rebuilt for $20k is getting a steal as far as I am concerned. I recall looking for main and rod bearings a few years back. I called Vandervell and was told that there a few places who have some laying around, but they will make a production run of them if they can made a minimum of 1000 halves. Magnetti Marelli is the same way. They will supply you, but you need to order a ton for them to make a run. The places that already had them wanted over $1k for a set of mains and $1k for rods. Machine work, pistons, balancing, etc, making sure it goes together correctly. The parts are what kills it I think. Too many variables, but definitely worth it in the end.
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:44 PM
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Vandervell gone...

From another forum by a 12 year employee of Federal Mogul/SpeedPro

"Ahhh - - those golden days of yesteryear......

The Vandervell lead indium bearing was "the stuff" back in the late eighties and early nineties. Then they got bought out by Clevite and just kinda went away...

The underlying lining material was not as strong as today's H or CH race bearings, so the old Vandervells probably would not cover top of the food chain power levels anymore - - but they'd still work on lesser builds. They had a great rep for quality in terms of dimensions, and the lead indium is good for not sticking to the crank when things go wrong.

Maybe the coolest part of the real Vanervell was the unique "K" flange multipiece thrust design. It let them use a stronger straight shell alloy against the crank and a slicker alloy on the thrust face. All existing single piece thrusts use a lesser compromise material and suffer from dimensional issues related to bending the bearing into shape. Someone still owns that patent..."

Another link with details http://www.aptfast.com/APT_Parts/Ase...a_Bearings.htm
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:54 PM
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Vandervell bearings are still being made, you just have to have a large run made. Last time I checked, Federal Mogul/Clevite had nothing on their books that would work in any of our engines. When I was rebuilding a Merak ss engine, I sent a rod bearing half and a main bearing half to a fellow who worked for Federal Mogul/Clevite, and he had nothing even close. I provided measurements for a couple Ferrari engines, and the turn out was the same. I thought we were stucking using Vandervell. If anyone has a link on another bearing that is cheaper and will work better in a 308, please let use know. I don't like the $500 price tag for a set of mains.
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Old 05-18-2007, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Fritz Ficke View Post
Please do not take this hard. The real problom when a question is asked like this is the person asking the question really does not know the diffrence between a Chevy and a Ferrari, and to answer the question you really need to go way back and explain these diffrences. Dry sump/ wet sump , Sodium filled valves, studs/ bolts, Aluminum/ cast iron, 12/8 cylinders, valve guides and seats that are not made of the same materail as the heads, cylinder liners so block boring is not really done etc. etc.
Chevy racing parts are rare handmade and big $$ but you doe not have to use them with a Chevy rebuild, with Ferrari's you always use the racing parts.
I can assure you that I know the difference between a Chevy and a Ferrari. In 1967, if I had wanted to see a Chevy, all I had to do was look in our driveway. When we wanted to see the Ferraris, Jags, and MGs, we went to the local hill climb. As for cylinder liners, the Chevy aluminum big blocks of the late 60s also used cylinder liners. The blocks were made from Reynolds Aluminum alloy. The Reynolds plant was about 10 miles south of my home town. They made a lot of pistons there. The foreman of the plant ordered a brand new 1957 Corvette. A friend of mine owns that car today.
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Old 05-18-2007, 06:35 PM
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You know Arlie, as one of those aging baby boomer's, it is probably time to change your primary caregiver from GP to Gerontologist. I would suggest an Alzheimer's Screening if you can remember. You should probably write it down right now and post it on the refrigerator before you forget. There was a thread that answered all your current questions. Being that it was 2 years ago, I suppose that it might be difficult for you to remember. Here it is: http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53708
A lot can change in 2 years. People come and go from the board and there is nothing wrong with bringing up a topic again. "OLD" answers might not have any bearing on "CURRENT" questions. Are you still driving around in your Ferrari trying to buy gas for $1.25 a gallon like you did 2 years ago???
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