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1999 and 2000 360 Modena CAM Timing Variator

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by 4i2fly, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    1,330
    SF, Bay Area
    I'm a new member to the forum and have read through many posts today. I have to admit; this is my kind of forum with lots of technical info and knowledgeable folks who share their expertise with others.
    I own a 2000 360 Modena and am concerned about its timing variators. I’ve had the car for almost three years now and the warranty is about to run out. Apparently, the earlier 1999 and 2000 which includes mine were fitted with a faulty timing variator (variator fractures w/o warning) and subsequently, Ferrari have sent out new variators for 360 Challenge cars but is not clear to me what their position is with replacing the defective part for the 360 road car (I read the thread referring to the “Variable Valve Timing” which included a post by ferrarifixer for this particular issue and the 360 Challenge). I know of three 360 road cars which have severely suffered from a failing timing variator. Has anyone run into this issue with his 360? Can you provide info as what has been the consequence? And if the car was under warranty and what the Ferrari’s position has been in dealing with the repairs?
     
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  3. ferrarifixer

    ferrarifixer F1 Veteran
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    Jul 22, 2003
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    I've not heard of any road car failures myself, so I think it is extremely rare. But if you do lots of high rpm/limiter work, I'd get them replaced.

    There have been two separate upgrades. The challenge car campaign time limit has expired and no free parts are offered any more, but I'd recommend getting the newest spec ones fitted even at your own expense......we had a race car fail at the last meeting that had only had the first upgrade parts fitted and was still waiting for the new final spec ones.

    Luckily, it only bent valves this time, previously it has smashed guides and pistons etc. Bouncing the car on the limiter is so very bad for them.

    The repair procedure from Ferrari involves locking the cam at the rear, and then unscrewing the variator from the front. This twists the cam so much it's not funny, so I remove the cams and clamp them close to the variator.

    My way takes about 12 hours, the Ferrari way takes about 4.
     
  4. Dale

    Dale F1 Veteran

    Oct 7, 2003
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    Dale Juan
    Phil ferrari say lock the cam at the rear and undoing the variator pulley at the other end,now from an engineering view of this method you and me lock the cams as up close to the cam pulley as possible,thats the only safe method,
    can imagine the torsional load stuck though the cam by locking at the rear has given the cam more of a hard time than it does in its service life,
    so the 12 hour method is the correct way to do it,

    cheers
    Dale.
     
  5. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002
    19,023
    socal
    FFixer,

    Why don't you do it the dumb billybob home mechanic way with the matchbook covers? That way you do not have to take cams out and you have 100% lock down of the cam with least force and minimal chance of damage to cam?
     
  6. ferrarifixer

    ferrarifixer F1 Veteran
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    Jul 22, 2003
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    err. I don't get what you're saying? What's a "matchbook" when it's home?

    Ha ha anyway!
     
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  8. Dale

    Dale F1 Veteran

    Oct 7, 2003
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    Dale Juan
    Think they remove a cam cap and put some cardboard under and tighten it down to lock the cam,sounds a bit could crack the cam cap,at least i think this is the idea,not sure id use that method,

    cheers
    Dale.
     
  9. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    1,330
    SF, Bay Area
    Extremely rare, I agree, nevertheless, it is occuring and I am wondering why Ferrari is not stepping up to plate and let the owners know. I talked to my mechanic and he quoted me 6 hours of labor + parts. If I don't get a resolution, I might as well replace them with my own expense.

    I am still looking to hear from owners who have had this issue with the car, and want to get details as what happend and how Ferrari dealt with them.

    Cheers,

    Matt
     
  10. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    1,330
    SF, Bay Area
    I read about this issue on one of Ferrari's bulletin. The Variator shank has been redesigned to be 2mm instead of 0.5mm. So materially the variators is the same it is just the way it handles the tortional forces is different. And since I drive my 360 at the limit 80% of the time I figure the variator is bound to break at some point and has definitely reduced my confidence in letting it go.

    Well, I had no idea what you guys were talking about until today. The shop foreman at FoSF suggested to replace the variators even if they are at my own expense. He also said the CAM or the Variator is torqued down so hard that he had had to replace CAMs in the process. I am hoping if I fork up the $ to replace the variators out my own pocket I don't induce something else!

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  11. davel

    davel Guest

    I personally met an owner at a show in Louisiana who had his cut loose while the car was in the shop for a clutch prob. The dealer obviously had to deal with it on the spot. He was not real happy with the car as well. That was 2 yrs ago.
    He also told me one other member of his club had the same thing happen to his car as well. Sounds like its worth getting fixed, hopefully via FNA.
     
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  13. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    1,330
    SF, Bay Area
    I've written them a letter and expect a response in writing. There is definately a flaw in the design of the shank and it causes the variator to break and cause more damage. But instead of sidlining my car, I will pay for its replacement and then take it up to Ferrari. May be Mr. Montezemolo himself needs to hear about this to get to the bottom of this issue.

    Cheers,

    Matt
     
  14. ferrarifixer

    ferrarifixer F1 Veteran
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    Jul 22, 2003
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    The other part of the mod is to torque up the new ones to only 160Nm with no loctite, instead of 200Nm.....and remember they are left handed thread.

    I've not had problems undoing them....but I can imagine someone "forgetting" they're left handed and tightening them more........

    Today, I had both the very latest "mark 3" spec and the previous "mark 2 spec" in my hand together. The parts are IDENTCAL, even the numbers, except the newest has a green spot painted on the end. The originals have a different number.

    The other advantage to removing the cams to do the job, is that the cam timing marks are exposed properly. Doing it the Ferrari way relies on the "hand engraved" scratches at the rear....which do seem to be accurate, just not very reassuring to look at.

    And before we go there yet again, the factory marks on the caps have been absolutely perfectly spot on when verified with a degree wheel, in every 360 engine I've checked....which is about 15 now.
     
  15. redhead

    redhead F1 Rookie
    Consultant

    Dec 26, 2001
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    ~Red~
    First things first.
    New design Variators were put on starting with engine # 60976. So, if your car is later then that, you have the redesigned variators.

    Seond thing, we have seen at least 3 car failures in the last 2 years. On the Tech Bulletin, it cleary states "In case of problems resulting from the fracture of this component, your are requsted to contact your Area Techincal Manager." Meaning, this is not a recall, but when they break, they will look at each car on a case by case basis. I have never heard of them NOT convering them.

    Good Luck.

    The engine number is located by the oil filter housing.
    TSB #923 Dated April 2001
     
  16. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    1,330
    SF, Bay Area
    Redhead,

    Thanks for your post and information. I have a copy of the technical info #923 and I have checked my engine number and unfortunately, it falls below the 60976. The issue is when they break; they usually cause other damages (i.e. pistons and valves). When talking with the service manager, he said the same thing. But, in case they break they will cause $20K+ worth of damage, which a significant portion of that is not covered.
    Don't you think if Ferrari believes (based on evidence) there is a problem with the shank depth and re-designs it to eliminate the fracture, they should step up to plate and prevent the problem from occurring in the hundreds of cars on the road with the faulty variators. This will keep the expenses down and ensures cars are not sidelined for long periods of time. It is going to be a public relation issue with Ferrari or lack of it.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  17. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
    Honorary Owner

    Oct 23, 2002
    32,118
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    Jim Glickenhaus
    REPLACE THEM! IF THEY GO IT'S 35k+ AND THEY DO GO.
     
  18. redhead

    redhead F1 Rookie
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    Dec 26, 2001
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    Matt-

    I understand what your saying 100%. What Ferrari does is what Ferrari does though. They make you live life at their pace. Does that make sense?

    Agree with Jim 100%
     
  19. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    1,330
    SF, Bay Area
    I am totally sold on the car and the company and the passion, etc... I get up 4:30 AM to watch them qualify and race during the F1 season and go support them on the track when ever I can! I love my car. I've had a few fast cars in my life and this one is something else. I guess what you're saying the car come with a baggage. I am going to replace them at my own expense because frankly I can not stand seeing my garage with the void and not being able to drive the car for extended period of time. Driving the beast is like a therapy for me.
    I will follow up with FNA as a principle and hope they honor their part of their bargain.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  20. redhead

    redhead F1 Rookie
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    Dec 26, 2001
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    Hey Matt--

    You were just here!! I am the parts guy at Silicon Valley Auto and I just showed you the variators that I had.

    I understand you statement in re: to Ferrari...and I am not saying they come with baggage, just some of their polices and how they handle issues are "unique". I have inquired on your behalf to my contacts to try and find more info on the paint.

    R
     
  21. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    1,330
    SF, Bay Area
    How about that? This is such a small world! Check out Ferrarifixers comments from earlier today:

    "Today, I had both the very latest "mark 3" spec and the previous "mark 2 spec" in my hand together. The parts are IDENTCAL, even the numbers, except the newest has a green spot painted on the end. The originals have a different number."

    The one you showed me didn't have any paint at the end, so I am wondering if that is the correct part? Thanks for your help. Tell Ben to get on this forum, it is the best I have discovered so far about Ferraris.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  22. Izza

    Izza Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    1,046
    London
    I have a early 2001 car and had the CAM timing variator break. The first I knew of any issue was the emissions warning light appear on the dashboard. I was in France at the time with no manuals, etc. with me.

    I drove at low revs (under 4000 rpm) for rest of trip with no issue. Until that is a 996 went past and a momentary lapse of judgement saw me floor the gas pedal. Two seconds later all my valves got bent, the cambelt eased away from the engine bock (burning a hole in the plastic housing) and all my guides needed re-boring. In simple terms, a complete engine rebuild, with niggling issues for following 12 months.

    If you can get it corrected under warranty - do so now!

    Izza
     
  23. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    1,330
    SF, Bay Area
    Thanks for the info. I corresponded with another gentleman in UK who had the same problem in his Modena and his variator broke off when he was doing about 40 MPH, suddenly he realized he had no power and pulled off the road with engine shut off. One variator (left bank) two pistons and a few valves (~$22,000). It's interesting story because two days ago while driving and coming to a stop my car started running a bit rough and the engine RPM went below 1000 and when I rolled off to 10 -15 MPH I started hearing a tapping noise which sounded like a valve. It didn't last very long but my check engine light came on. I called FoSF and they said something about air getting sucked in for the valve that's why I heard the noise and it should be a problem, especially since I had just gotten gas and the cap may have not been securely. Well, I checked the cap and it was O.K. They also told me if the engine light stays on solid it is o.k. to drive it, and so I am. I have one more month of my factory warranty left. If it is gonna go I hope it goes before the warranty runs out. I am all for getting a new overhauled engine.

    Cheers,

    Matt
     
  24. ferrarifixer

    ferrarifixer F1 Veteran
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    Jul 22, 2003
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    Just tell them you'll be doing lots of track days and that as long as the car is otherwise unmodified it is still covered under warranty. Tell them it may well be in their best interest to protect themselves against a warranty engine failure by helping towards the cost of a preventative variator failure.

    Check your warranty about track day usage and exemptions first though.

    Your post reminded me of another thing I forgot to point out........so far I know of about 4 race car failures and they've all been the left bank. Your post said the road car was left bank too...........there's weird harmonics in the engine as the left bank tensioner assist has rubber mounting yet the right is solid, so make sure your car has the tensioners fitted correctly, and that the newer spec challenge ones are fitted.......so many things to check!
     
  25. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob F1 World Champ
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    Aug 10, 2002
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    FF,

    Funny the left would be rubber. Rubber absorbs harmonic noises. Typical Ferrari going with the kluge as opposed to re-engineering it right. Sounds just like 348 flywheel systems. Some have said before that the 360 will be the 348 of the 21st century. It looks like late model 355's are the 328's.
     
  26. Izza

    Izza Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    1,046
    London
    The engine light with my problem kept coming back and staying on for about 10 - 15 trips. Then would go and then came back a random time later.

    In the manual it states that once you see it you should never accelerate sharply.

    Get it checked out under warranty and make sure they actually find the source problem rather than just 'clear' the light using the SD2.
     
  27. 4i2fly

    4i2fly Formula 3

    Apr 16, 2004
    1,330
    SF, Bay Area
    I drove the car yesterday and the light went out as the dealer had said. I am going to drive it as much as I can in the next few weeks just make sure. It may have been because the gas cap was not tight enough. This is a stupid question but do you drive yours hard, I do... all the time.

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  28. Izza

    Izza Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2003
    1,046
    London
    Have tracked it a few times - can't get any harder on UK roads with UK gatso cameras!!

    My light reappeared more often when the car was warm, turned off and turned on again within 60 seconds of shutdown. Other thing that appeared to cause light was leaving car in idel for over 3 minutes on start up or turning key fully round before seeing 'CHECK OK' on dashboard. Futhermore, once it appeared the time before next showing generally decreased until the SD2 was used to clear it.

    I would still say get it checked out by a dealer even if it doesn't show - the SD2 will still pick up the historic warning and at least then you can say to any dealer that the problem occurred during warranty period and that their previous attempts to solve it weren't good enough. Given I have had sporadic showings for 12 months it kept warranty going on that one issue well past the expiry date.

    Remember if it si a sporadic showing the last thing you want is its appearance when on a selling test drive!
     

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