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328 down, can't be fixed: try again

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by jarends, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. jarends

    jarends Formula Junior

    Jul 23, 2001
    567
    Princeton, NJ
    Full Name:
    John Arends
    The Kenster talked me into posting my problems for all to see, again. Sooooo

    After $7000 of repair work, I still don't have a running 328. Last summer it all started, one morning I got in the car and it started, but when given gas would not rev, missed like mad and backfired. After about a minute of this, suddenly the engine fired up and ran normally.

    This condition became worse as the summer went on until once it didn't straighten out and it wouldn't run.

    FIRST SHOP: took it in and said there was oil in one of the distributors and that the factory bulletin on this wasn't done (one only??). Anyway, two new caps and rotors, plus time and some other maintenance $2400. Picked it up and it ran very well. Took it to Atlantic City from Princeton and it ran fine. Met Bruce, Oscar, Matt and Ken in New Hope, PA. When I started it after lunch, right back to where we started from. Ran bad all the way to Flemington and there it was picked up by the second mechanic.

    SECOND SHOP: After a few days, call me up and said that he had found that the fuel filter was almost completely clogged. He replaced it, ran some cleaner through the engine and whatever more?? $2300. I picked it up with great expectation and it ran strong all the way home. Came out the NEXT morning and again, right back to where I started, felt like running on four cylinders, give it gas, the rev went down, engine almost stalling.

    SECOND SHOP: Second time: Picks it up at our house, said he found little pieces of metal in the filter, changed the filter (charged again) tested the fuel pump as said it was OK. Must have spent a lot of time adjusting it and call to say it was ready $2100??. It ran, but not as it use to. He said it was running lean and had to adjust to the limits to get enough gas??. Came home, parked it and the next time I started it, ran it around the block and it backfired and ran terrible although I could give it gas now. I called him up and said this was not so good and was to see him about it but never went back.

    This is the point where my wife was insisting that I sell the car (It's her car so I don't take it personally).

    THIRD SHOP: First time: Picked it up for free, had their best mechanic work on it, kept it for a week, started it every morning and delivered it back. (In beautiful condition, they detailed it like I never saw before). THEY TOLD ME THE LAST SHOP HAD PUT THE SPARK PLUG WIRES ON WRONG, CROSSING THEM???). I had noticed the wires didn't sit right in the wire guides, but never thought that a possibility. But DAMN if I didn't get into the car to start it a few days later and I was back to last summer, exactly the same conditions.

    They are scheduled to pickup the car this coming saturday.

    I'M LOST HERE: I personally think it is the fuel pump working and not working. What was the micro metal pieces in the filter? I don't believe it's ignition, I strongly feel it's fuel. I don't think that ignition would do the start and no rev thing. I'm starting to look into learning this car, I pull my Trans Ams apart and put them back together so I get them fixed and going. You can't time a 328 and it seems to have limited adjustments available.

    Well there it is, OK Ken lets see if we have an expert out there.

    Thanks Guys, you might keep us in the Ferrari group by your help. If I can't fix it, I'm going back to my Muscle cars only.

    Regards,
    John
     
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  3. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 16, 2003
    14,612
    Land of Slugs & Moss
    Full Name:
    Han Solo
    It is extremely difficult to diagnose a car online especially when it has an intermittant problem. Obviously there is a need to use a process of elimination to isolate the true cause which is what most shops do. Again, they thought they had it cornered but it cropped up again.

    So here is my 'wild ass guess';

    I think the fuel system is fine and I think the basic ignition is okay thanks to the other shops, being as those are the most obvious places to look.

    My thoughts are there is the possibility of corroded connectors between the computer and the engine causing the intermittant problem. When the car sits, corrosion starts, electrical information stops.

    I would unplug every connector from the computer to the engine and do the all of the accessory wiring while you are at it, sensor and indicators etc............ Clean all of the contacts, pins and spades with a good electronics cleaner and scotchbrite. Reassemble and coat with dielectric grease. Check all wire bundles for cuts, burns or shorted areas.

    Try and run it again.

    By the chronology you give it seems that the problem is aggravated by driving. The shop would fix it and it would run fine until after your last drive. Possibly a failed (or soon to fail) electronics control module?

    My last advice. Find FERRARI MECHANIC. They KNOW THESE CARS and know what to look for.

    Good Luck!

    Just another thought, a failed oxygen sensor can cause a car to run horribly. Notice any black smoke out the back?
    Did anybody put it on the scope to see what the fuel/air mixture was?
     
  4. 308GTS

    308GTS Formula 3

    Dec 27, 2001
    2,220
    TN
    I would like to see the fuel pressures myself. It could be many things. Ignition, FI system. IMO it is almost impossible to pin point what it could be. Could be a bad coil if it only does it when it warms up, etc. Please keep us posted.
     
  5. ShanB

    ShanB Formula Junior

    Jul 9, 2003
    547
    Tejas/Europe/Desert
    Full Name:
    shanb
    Another "WAG" here - have you checked to see if your cats are clogged?
     
  6. jarends

    jarends Formula Junior

    Jul 23, 2001
    567
    Princeton, NJ
    Full Name:
    John Arends
    Thanks guys,

    I should add, (age is hell, forget everything), that I have a test pipe on the car and it ran fine with it on for two years.

    Also, the Second shop had taken the panel out from the passenger side and cleaned the relays. The reason they did this was because (I forgot to mention) that before they picked it up the second time, there was a great deal of buzzing coming from the panel, look to be the fuel injector relay. That they cleaned and checked.

    They also said the fuel pressure was OK.

    Anyway Spasso, you could be right about some loose or corroded connection giving me trouble.

    Another point, I put in a heater for the winter, a gas heater without a vent. It kept the garage at 55 degrees during this coldest of winters, but it produces moisture. ?????? I was wondering about that as well. It didn't effect the three Trans Ams, they are all running fine and the 2002 is computer controled as well.

    John
     
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  8. Nationaltec

    Nationaltec Karting

    Dec 22, 2003
    157
    North County
    Full Name:
    Patrick
    John,

    I agree with Spasso as well. One other note though, regarding the previously cleaned relay panel. Make sure they didn't use any old "relay/electrical contact cleaner!! Most of these are Trik-based (trichlorofluoromethane) and although will work at first, it will eventually cause problems and always leave some type of residue. (can even melt certian plastic connectors several days later).

    The best product I use is "Deox-It" ( http://www.deoxit.com but avail in Fry's and good electronic stores). It's the best product I've ever used and I work with this stuff daily.. (the D5 red can, not the blue can)

    Spray the "deox-it" in each connector then use a dental pick and rough-up the connector pins and receptacles. Then add conductive gel as a moisture barrier.

    That is what I'd do before wasting any more money!

    I did it on my 328.
    Good luck
    Patrick
     
  9. jarends

    jarends Formula Junior

    Jul 23, 2001
    567
    Princeton, NJ
    Full Name:
    John Arends
    Thanks Pat, I spoke to Frank and he had the same suggestion. I'll try it on Saturday.

    John
     
  10. 308tr6

    308tr6 Formula Junior

    Dec 23, 2003
    466
    SDakota
    Full Name:
    Rico
    Get in your car and drive the hell out of New Jersey (or have it towed if necessary) and head west for a few hours until you run into a small town - say less than 5000 people. Find the dirtiest piece of crap shop you can find that is owned by some guy that is 50 or 60 that looks like he hasn't showered since the Reagan administration, and says he hasn't ever even heard of a Ferrari. He'll fix your car, and you'll have money left over to stay at the bed and breakfast.
     
  11. Barnone 308

    Barnone 308 Formula Junior

    Mar 22, 2004
    430
    canada

    HAHAHAHAHAHA,, thats a good one,, but it maybe the truth,,,
     
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  13. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 16, 2003
    14,612
    Land of Slugs & Moss
    Full Name:
    Han Solo
    I've heard that story more than once. Sometimes it is the "simplest of things".
     
  14. Barnone 308

    Barnone 308 Formula Junior

    Mar 22, 2004
    430
    canada
    Do you do your own maintenance, I just got my first ferrari 1978 308 gts like yours,, any advice you can give me regarding maintenance,,
     
  15. Mark 328

    Mark 328 Formula Junior

    Nov 6, 2003
    510
    Orange, Ca
    Full Name:
    Mark Foley
    I would be best to start by checking the fuel pressure; if possible leave the gauge hooked-up to see if the fuel pressure might be the culprit.
    If the fuel pressure is unsatisfactory your problem would be before the FI or ignition systems.
    You mentioned that you had the fuel filter changed, but you might want to check the fuel tank inlet screen in the L/H tank. A "cloging" inlet screen can cause this type of problem. If this is the case, you can usually hear the pump working extra hard.

    Mark
     
  16. Exoticbro

    Exoticbro Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    203
    St.Louis, MO
    Full Name:
    Chuck Ligon
    I have to say, it usually is something very simple but will take some time to locate.
    My 930 was not geting full power, I checked everything.
    Finall found 1 of the screws that hold the airflow sensor plate had backed out
    enough to prevent full movement(thankfully it could not back out all the way and go down the intake). Well it took a few hours and some loc-tite and the problem was solved.
    Usually the more aggravating the problem is the simpler it is.

    Is it possible the ignition switch is bad and completeing the full ignition circuit intermittently?
    Or a simple grounding problem? A relay?
    Intermittent problems are tough even for pro's
     
  17. 4re gt4

    4re gt4 Formula 3

    Apr 23, 2002
    2,279
    Roseburg, OR
    Full Name:
    Hans E. Hansen
    Actually, this describes many of the best Ferrari specialists. What you got charged for your past repairs is a total rip off. The (very competent) guy I use could damn near do a frame-off restoration for that amount.

    A friend bought a QV that had some sort of hot start issues that several shops couldn't seem to fix. He took it to my old-school specialist who spent maybe 15 minutes with the car. He's not had trouble since.
     
  18. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 16, 2003
    14,612
    Land of Slugs & Moss
    Full Name:
    Han Solo
    Most of the advice I have concerning Ferrari maintenance I have learned from this site and others like it. The rest is from the experience of owning 29 other cars, trucks and motorcycles and working on all of them.

    I try to do all of my own work. To me it is part of the relationship with the vehicle, that is, if you are really into being a part of it's care and maintenance.

    Ask and ye shall receive, send me a personal Email if you like.
     
  19. kdross

    kdross Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 10, 2002
    873
    NJ
    Full Name:
    Ken
    John:

    I had a similar problem when I purchased my 308QV two years ago. The car had very little power below 5K rpm and it had a miss. To make a very long story short, my mechanic found a bad ground for the fuel injection. Once the ground was cleaned and tightened, the car ran like a champ. I still cannot believe that a bad ground can cause a car to run so poorly, but that was my problem.

    I highly recommend that you open a service book for the 328 and locate all of the grounds. Then clean and tighten every single ground. While it is impossible to determine your problem over the Internet, your problem does appear to be electrical; especially since the car works sometimes. If you need a copy of the 328 service manual send me an email or PM and I will FedEx you a copy. I also have the service bulletin updates and recalls for the 328 if you want them.

    Before you spend another dollar on the car, please check the grounds. If the grounds check out I will be more than happy to recommend several really good Ferrari mechanics within an hour or less of Princeton, NJ. First on the list would be my mechanic who knows the 328 inside and out. I would also try to get my money back from the previous mechanics. Sounds as if they did the typical FNA dealer approach to servicing a car.

    Good luck.
    Ken
    308QV
     
  20. carlrose

    carlrose Formula Junior

    Nov 25, 2003
    300
    Hi Mr. Arends,

    This sounds incredibly similar to what I am experiencing with my 328 (1988.5) right now. Turning mixture "lean" leads to poor idle, exhaust popping, and intake backfires; turning slightly "rich" leads to poor starting. With gracious help of fellow Fc member Mr. Foley, have exhcnaged coils/microplex/jetronic ECUs without improvement.

    A few suggestions:

    1. If you have not already replaced your O-2 sensor "protection relay" drop me a line carlrosemd@hotmail.com and I'll send you my original to try. Replaced without making a difference so think it's good.

    2. A quick check of ignition circuit - remove the O-2 sensor conenction (under right rear deck adjacent to black airbox); this causes car to run "open-loop". If ignition problem - ECU/coil/module/cap/wires/rotor/extender/plugs would not expect to improve with change in fuel mixture. Although honestly have no data to back this up.

    3. Mr. Foley's suggestion to check fuel pressure is spot-on. Although I'd be a bit surprised if none of the shops had done this already. Have write-up on how to perform if will help.

    The grounds I know of: one each per rear compartment microplex & jetronic ECUs, one/two at coils...that's all I know of. Any others I should check?

    I am eagerly awaiting others' suggestions here. Very frustrated with mine also (not at point of selling yet!) but hang in there, you guys aren't alone.

    :) Carl

    PS also if you'd like an updated "diagnostics performed" for my car drop me an email.
     
  21. MarkG

    MarkG Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    369
    Colorado Springs
    Full Name:
    Mark
    '82 GTSi similar issues; turned out to be combo of faulty fuse box and thermo-time switch, causing aux-air box issues; backfired and low on power.

    p.s. I also have sunk more money into this car than it can EVER be worth; now I need to replace a timing cover bearing.......

    Take your wife's advice - I'm going to!
     
  22. snj5

    snj5 F1 World Champ

    Feb 22, 2003
    10,213
    San Antonio
    Full Name:
    Russ Turner
    I had similar niggly undiagnosable problems which is why I went to carbs and an American distributor for less than Ferrari repair costs. Reliable, not many parts and techology even I understand. I really know what you are going through - good luck.
    best
    rt
     
  23. Nationaltec

    Nationaltec Karting

    Dec 22, 2003
    157
    North County
    Full Name:
    Patrick
    John,

    Boy arent you lucky F-chat can offer unique opinions and suggestions at no cost! Damm that's cool..

    Please make sure you let us know the solution to your problem !!! Good luck bud.!

    Listen to Carl, he knows his stuff and was kind enough to help me out once before!!

    I think Rob should create a 328/308 forum also !
    Patrick
     
  24. kenster888

    kenster888 Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    436
    Massachusetts
    I've been thinking... And your problem sounds very much like the problem I had with my Miata a few years back (yea I know, they're different, but an engine is an engine right?....no need to answer).

    Anyway, several shops were unable to diagnose the problem (symptons are very similar to yours). Finally I got on miata.net and someone said change the ignition wires. Even though the wires looked practically new at the time I followed the $35 advice and replaced the wires. Have not had a problem since.

    My 2 cents.
     
  25. phrogs

    phrogs F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 13, 2004
    6,539
    Michigan sometimes out west chasing fires
    Full Name:
    Johnny
    I had a problem like this once on one of my old corvettes,
    Car lost power and when I hit the gas it would die, Ended up being a cloged catylitic converter this particular year had 3 cats in the system, anyway over time the cats break up this car was a 87 model with 35,000 miles..

    Thats just my mechanic side throwing that idea out there..

    I am looking into a 81 308 and I would like to do all my own maintenance paying $2200 so someone can hook up a gauge to check fuel pressure and changing a fuel filter is insaine!
     
  26. paul lopez

    paul lopez Rookie

    Nov 9, 2003
    5
    Ken: I would like to get a copy of the 328GTSI ( 1989) service manual. If you email me I can get you mailing address etc.
    Thanks
    Paul Lopez plopezloneoakp@aol.com or loneoakplopez@comcast.net

    Ciao
     
  27. jarends

    jarends Formula Junior

    Jul 23, 2001
    567
    Princeton, NJ
    Full Name:
    John Arends
    I can't believe the help here, noone will ever tell me we don't have friends on this board.

    I don't have the time to consentrate on all the information, just getting ready to leave the office, but will that's for sure. WWoC is picking up the car Saturday, but I'll have a chance to look at it in the morning for a few minutes.

    I would love to take advantage of some of the offers made, I to have some manuals and owner manuals on my harddrive. I'm willing to send them along as well.

    Back to you all later and thanks again.

    John
     
  28. ferrarifixer

    ferrarifixer F1 Veteran
    BANNED

    Jul 22, 2003
    8,520
    Melbourne
    Full Name:
    Phil Hughes
    Is it always a cold start problem, or does it sometimes happen on a hot start?

    The warm up/control pressure reg may have some problem. Sounds like a curly one though. I can't believe the spend involved. How the hell does a couple of dstributor caps and some extras cost $2500??

    Sounds like you're paying to educate your mechanics. While nobody is expected to go straight to the problem first go, a certain level of expectation exists....Is it fuel or is it ignition? That's pretty much straight forward to diagnose, so long as the car has it's fault at the time.

    Good luck, and don't sell it. (How could you when it runs like crap anyway) You'll end up bitter and twisted. Fix it and enjoy it as it will give you endless satisfaction when right.
     

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