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328: Hot starting problem:

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Gatorrari, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Feb 27, 2004
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    Jim Pernikoff
    Today I went on a drive in the mountains with 4 other Ferraris and several other cars. The drive went well (aside from the fact that the car handled the roads better than the driver!) with one noticeable exception.

    On two occasions we stopped to take a break. When trying to start the car after the breaks, it refused to crank. With the help of the other guys pushing the car I got it bump-started both times. Later, when we stopped for lunch (which took nearly an hour), the same problem recurred. It happened one more time, when I stopped at a food store shortly before arriving home. This time I had anticipated trouble and parked the car so I could push it myself on a slight downslope in the lot; sure enough, it would not start and I managed to bump-start it myself. (And I should point out that today was one of the hottest days here thus far this year.)

    When I put the car in the garage I opened the engine cover and let it cool off. Less than 2 hours later I took the car out to dinner and this time it started fine, both going and coming. It has generally never given trouble when first starting out or after short drives.

    It seems obvious to me that this has something to do with the heat the engine retains. I've noticed when I park the car and open the engine cover, there is an incredible amount of heat coming off the engine, and it takes quite some time to dissipate. But the water temperature gauge always reads quite reasonably and I was led to believe that 328 engines normally run quite warmly. Is this in fact so?

    I should point out that the battery is quite healthy and does not seem to be at fault at all. Does anyone have an inkling as to what's going on here?
     
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  3. 308GTS

    308GTS Formula 3

    Dec 27, 2001
    2,220
    TN
    Do you mean the car cranks but won't fire or the car won't crank as the starter isn't turning the engine?
    If the starter isn't turning the engine than it is getting heat soaked and it would be a good idea to rebuild it.

    If it cranks but won't light then fuel pressure leak down. Usually in the Bosch Accumulator or Check Valve. It could be leaky injectors too but it is usually in the other 2.
     
  4. Lawrence Coppari

    Lawrence Coppari Formula 3

    Apr 29, 2002
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    I assume the starter is not turning the engine over....

    See if your dome light goes off when you turn the switch to start (starter turns engine over). This would indicate a bad battery connection somewhere.

    Try cleaning the battery posts and the attaching clamp.

    In addition, there is a connector in the vicinity of the left headlight. It is a joint in one of the battery cables. About a year ago, my car began doing the same thing - intermittent no turn over with dome light going out or very dim when engine was being turned over. My plug was covered with oxide.

    I cleaned the terminals and this connector. No more problem.

    I have a 328.
     
  5. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
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    I think most of these types of problems tend to be fuel related but since yours tends to jump start ok, it sounds more like the starter, I seem to remember something in the archives on hot starters, I would also double check next time it happens that in fact you are not getting spark
     
  6. DGS

    DGS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    I had the same issue with my 328. The battery cable clamps expand differently than the battery posts. When the car was cold, the cable was tight. When the battery was warm, the cable was loose. The battery was fine, but the lamps would dim out when I turned the starter. At starter current levels, ohm's law does funny things.

    I cleaned the clamp (and trimmed a bit of material to let it clamp tighter), and then coated the whole thing with electrolyte gel, and no more problem.

    But a leaking check valve in the fuel pump is the textbook cause of cranks-but-won't-fire when warm syndrome.
     
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  8. KurtK328

    KurtK328 Formula Junior

    Mar 6, 2001
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    Sounds like the typical starter solenoid problem.
    They tend to deteriorate and when warm only works now and then, until they finally go totally south.
    The starter is easily pulled from the left side through the wheel well.
    In my case the solenoid was gone and could be replaced.
    I chose, however to replace the entire starter motor, which includes the solenoid. Easy DYI project.
     
  9. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Thanks for all the advice. One thing I may not have clarified is that when this problem occurs, it does not crank; all I hear is a buzzing noise which I'm guessing is the fuel pump. My dome light doesn't work at all (with the other interior lights at night I don't really need it) and the "idiot" lights dim very little if at all when i turn the key to "start".

    I'll check the battery connections, but I'm more inclined to believe the starter solenoid is a bit balky. The car, BTW, has just over 49,000 miles on it and was last serviced (before I acquired it) at 47,700, last December.

    Does anyone have any inkling what a starter (new or rebuilt) for a 328 should cost? Is the solenoid available separately, or shouldn't I bother?
     
  10. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson F1 World Champ
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    Do you hear the strong "clack" of the starter solenoid mechanism working and then the buzzing, or does it just buzz with no hard clack?
     
  11. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I would say just the buzzing; I don't recall any other noises.
     
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  13. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson F1 World Champ
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    I checked the 328 SPC at FerrariUK, and (the bad news for you is that) it shows the same starter PN as a TR (120967) -- and TRs have this disease ("nada when warm") in spades. Go to the old site and do a search on "TR solenoid starter" (and mode, whole words) and you should get the relevant background threads. Bottom line is there were 2 solutions:

    1. Adding another relay to put a strong +12V on the terminal 50 start command line of the solenoid (but not so great for the 328 starter location), or

    2. Getting a fresh solenoid.

    I opted for #2 (and it’s never missed a hot start since), but I can confirm that it also responded well to the #1 approach (using a screwdriver to short the +12V main line at the solenoid to the 50 terminal always got it to engage before I did the repair). No one ever posted a clear underlying reason why the problem happens, but I would guess that there’s a fracture in the magnet wire of the solenoid coil somewhere and that fracture gets pulled open when the coil pack gets warm and closes sufficiently to make contact when a bit cooler (but just speculation on my part, and not worth worrying about on a sub-$50 component). You can check your 328 solenoid for the stamped Bosch 10-digit PN to confirm that it matches the TR Bosch number given in those threads. Good luck with the fix (but, of course, please make your own diagnoses/decisions)…
     
  14. KurtK328

    KurtK328 Formula Junior

    Mar 6, 2001
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    Kurt Kjelgaard
    The starter is a Bosch starter - can be had from any Bosch outlet.
    Not at home, so I don't have the Bosch number here.
    I do believe, however, that the Bosch number is mentioned either in
    the Ferrri parts catalogue or the car manual.
    Search the old threads here and something will show up.
    This subject has been up frequently during the last couple of years.
     
  15. DGS

    DGS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    The buzzing probably isn't the fuel pump. 328s have a safety switch in the AFM; until the car starts sucking air, the fuel pump doesn't run. (Unless the switch is out of alignment or shorted.)

    Try turning on the headlights just before starting. If they go out completely (and the buzzing vanishes), then it's probably a bad connection.
    If they stay full bright, then you're not getting current to the starter (solenoid issue).
    If they dim (but don't go out), then your starter motor may be the issue.
     
  16. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I visited Ferrari of Atlanta today, and when I described my problem to the service advisors, they all agreed it sounded like a case of a heat-soaked starter which probably needs replacing. As I'm not willing to do the work myself, that will probably come close to $1000, parts and labor (and that's with a rebuilt starter).

    But Chris came up with a possible alternative which would cost about 1/4 of that: a "hot start relay kit" which sounds suspiciously what is described above. He said they've installed it on TRs with good results, and it might work just as well on my 328. It involves a Bosch relay, a socket, a wire bundle and about 2 hours labor. First, though, he said it would take about 1/2 hour of diagnosis to determine whether that is enough or whether the car still needs a new starter.

    Any comments on this "kit", please?

    P.S. When I went to leave the dealership, the problem recurred. I went inside to marshal help for a push-start, but when we got back to the car, this time it did start on its own! Curiouser and curiouser..............
     
  17. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    I have heard of the mod....I would be inclined to fix it right...which is to get a new solenoid on your starter...with the time and labor to get it out, you might as well have the starter completely rebuilt. Though the starter/solenoid may be shared with the TR, I have not heard of hot start issues being common to the 328 series, unlike the TR.

    Here's my rationale: You do the "remote solenoid" thing...it will work, I'm certain of that. A year or two later one of two things happen...your starter completely craps out, so now you are out another $1k anyway...or you decide to sell, and during the PPI, you have to explain all this extra wiring and crap that resides under the car....dunno....maybe I am all wrong (as "bigheaddennis" is inclined to say) :)
     
  18. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson F1 World Champ
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    I don't see why you'd want to add the unneeded relay+wiring complexity, spend ~$250, and still maybe have an iffy starter solenoid when a new ~$35 Ace Electric Accurate 7-851 solenoid (+ labor) would be a much cleaner and simplier solution (and less labor).

    The Ace Electric 7-851 starter solenoid is a direct replacement for the Bosch 0 331 303 032 starter solenoid used on your 328 (and my TR) starter.

    PS If your symptom is "no clack", getting a complete starter (solenoid + motor) is unnecessary. If your symptom was "the clack occurs, but no starter motor cranking", then the starter motor would be suspect. JMOs -- and good luck limiting the damage ;)...
     
  19. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    BTW SteveM, I'm saving that Ace part number for future reference...thanks!
    (I hope I don't need it though...) ;)

    Dave
     
  20. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    I found a couple of archived threads (via Google) that reported the same problem and the same solution: the Ace Electric replacement for the Bosch solenoid. There was also some talk about bad armatures in Bosch and rebuilt starters, and one user had to still add the relay as noted above. But the solenoid seems to be a cheap and (probably) certain solution in my case.

    However, Ace Electric's website seems to be down. Anyone know of a source to get this solenoid?
     
  21. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson F1 World Champ
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    If you call the Atlanta distributor listed here:

    http://www.aceelectric.com/Dist.htm

    I'm sure that they can hook you up with a local retailer/rebuilder who can get you one. If you had to, you could order one from my Denver area source:

    A-1 Auto Electric Company, Inc.
    303-287-3347

    Are you changing your plan? Isn't FoA going to do the work (and source the part)?
     
  22. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    The answer apparently was: none of the above!

    I took the car to Flashback Motorworks and Ron eventually diagnosed the culprit as: the Viper alarm! Even when it was disarmed, the ignition cutoff was still operating in hot conditions.

    As I haven't used the alarm much--it's been very touchy--I had Ron disconnect it. He "engineered" it so that the LED on the dash still blinks, thus still providing a small bit of deterrent. And all afternoon, no matter how hot it got, the car always started, quicker than ever.

    (My real deterrent is the excellent Hill Engineering shiftgate lock. A nice "piece of kit", as the British might say, that is elegant, easy to use, and visible enough. Every stick-shift Ferrari ought to have one.)
     
  23. roofguy

    roofguy Karting

    Dec 10, 2003
    71
    Alamo, CA
    You may want to hook up a temporary remote starter switch/button with 12 gauge wire or better connected to the hot lead of the starter and then to the solenoid. Then the next time you try driving the car and it happens, try the remote starter. If the car starts then the solenoid is not getting enough voltage to engage, a typical hot start problem for F-Cars. If it doesn't start, then replace the starter and solenoid.

    TR's, Mondials and other models have this problem. I believe that Ferrari even sells a wiring harness kit to provide a more constant source of power to the solenoid. The sell for about $350.00 and take about 2 hours to install.
     
  24. jester1

    jester1 Karting

    Jul 24, 2004
    68
    Toronto
    hi heres my two cents and just an opinion
    It sounds like a heat soaked solonoid, my race car has/had the same problem, and so do many others. My sujestion is to install a remote solonid like ford did on their firewall which dosent get heat soaked and will always for the most part work great. If thats somthing you wont concider then there is something else a starter heat blanket or shield on the market. However if you do go for the solonoid then purchase one from a ford dealer, their internals are more heavy duty so its worth the extra 10 dollars or so. the cheap one tend to fuse the contacts togther adn can cause a nasty fire/short everything happened to me.
     
  25. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Hey, guys, read my last post on the thread: it wasn't the solenoid or the starter; it was the alarm.

    I know it's so because before, even when the car would start without a problem, there was a slight hesitation between turning the key and the starter (and fuel pump) activating. Now, all hesitation is gone; I turn the key and it starts!

    But thanks for all the opinions; if I have further starting problems in the future, at least I have a better idea of what the possible causes are.
     
  26. Lumberman

    Lumberman Karting

    Jun 24, 2004
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    Will
    Jim:

    I still don't understand what the alarm had to do with the hot starting problem. How did the alarm directly affect the starting in hot temperatures?

    My 348 Spider is having the same problems starting after being parked for 20-30 minutes in direct sun. Thanks for any info.
     
  27. AMBII

    AMBII Rookie

    Jul 28, 2004
    4
    Sounds like problem i once had.
    Theres a red plastic connector on the left rear that connects the main positive battery lead to a lead to the starter. If cracked you get a poor conection.
     
  28. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    Lumberman,
    Check this:
    http://www.ferrariforum.net/tech/view.php?id=22

    Or, you may also have a starter solenoid issue....
     

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