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348 Clutch/Transmission question

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by ILuv4Res, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. ILuv4Res

    ILuv4Res F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Aug 8, 2002
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    Fred
    Hello,

    I was looking at a 348 spider this weekend and I noticed a shifting issue with the car. I was curious what is causing it:

    It is difficult to get the car into its gears. Additionally, when downshifting, sometimes you can't get it into gear at all and/or it will grind when doing so.

    Could this just be a worn out clutch or could it be something more significant?

    Any info would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. ernie

    ernie Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Nov 19, 2001
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    It is more than likely the shift cables needing adjustment. If they aren't adjusted properly it causes the problem you are talking about. I would have the seller fix the problem. The other thing is that, 348's are know to be a bit of a pain to get into 2nd gear until the fluid has warmed up.
     
  4. airbarton

    airbarton Formula 3

    Nov 11, 2002
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    Chuck Barton
    I too had this problem when I first got my 348. It turned out to be the shifter cable adjustment as Ernie has said. here is how you adjust it. Just below the shifter there is a cover plate which you will need to remove. this will require you to get the car up off the ground so you can get underneath. Once the plate is off you will be able to see the shifter linkage. It is just two cables that are threaded at the end with a thing that looks like a turnbuckle. As the car is driven these turnbuckle things get loose and the cable stretches and becomes slack. All you have to do is put the shifter in neutral and take out the slack by tightening the turnbuckles. While you are there grease the whole thing real good and do the same to the translator at the other end of the cables. If that is why you have this problem you will see a dramatic improvement in the way the car shifts. Mine use to be almost impossible to get into 1st gear but now it shifts like a dream.
     
  5. ILuv4Res

    ILuv4Res F1 Veteran
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    Thanks! It definitely was not from the fluid needing to be warmed up. I drove it long enough for everything to be in the proper temp. range. Additionally, it wasn't just 2nd gear. It seemed like it was every gear. That grinding sound when downshifting was eerie!!!

    Are there any other potential causes for this?
     
  6. airbarton

    airbarton Formula 3

    Nov 11, 2002
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    Sure, could be a number of things but I'll bet an adjustment will help!
     
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  8. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002
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    wrong gear oil
     
  9. Miltonian

    Miltonian F1 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2002
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    Jeff B.
    In my opinion, if you are getting GRINDING when you try to shift, then the clutch is not releasing fully, it's dragging. Two most likely possibilities:

    1) The disc(s) is oil saturated, either from leaky seals at the input shaft and/or slave cylinder, or from a leaking flywheel.

    2) The clutch hydraulic system needs to be bled and/or repaired.

    First thing I would check is the level of the fluid in the tank in the front trunk. Make sure it is full to the proper level. Second thing I would check is the little perforated cover on the bottom of the clutch housing - is there strong evidence of leaked fluid inside the housing?

    I'd also check the level of the transmission fluid according to the procedure in the handbook, but if the fluid level were dangerously low, I would think that you would be hearing noise from the transmission as well as experiencing the shifting problem. If it has the wrong gear oil as suggested above by someone with extensive experience (Billybob), then of course it should be drained and refilled ASAP. I believe I have read that some gear fluids can cause synchros to stick and drag if they are not the proper grade for the intended use.

    Good luck, and keep us posted!
     
  10. ILuv4Res

    ILuv4Res F1 Veteran
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    If it were in need of a clutch, would these symptoms be there? A few people have mentioned "it probably just needs a clutch".

    Also, more importantly, a few people have mentioned that if it's grinding, I should stay away from the car since that could have caused wear on the synchros that may cause the car to never shift properly, even with a new clutch.

    Comments????
     
  11. Miltonian

    Miltonian F1 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2002
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    If it were in need of a clutch, it would be slipping when you are shifting or applying power. A worn clutch should not cause grinding. To me, this still sounds like a dragging clutch, not a slipping clutch.

    Try this - with the engine off, put the shifter into gear, any gear. Then depress the clutch pedal and crank the engine over. The car should not move at all until you start to release the clutch.

    I don't think it's likely that the synchros are bad unless the tranny has been badly abused. How many miles on it?

    Wouldn't be too difficult to drain the tranny into a clean container and check for metal debris from gears or synchros.

    About gear lube, now that I think of it, I believe that what I read was that some fluids are too slippery for the synchros to operate properly. The handbook specifies Agip SP FE LS SAE 75W90, 4.0 liters. Are there any service records to indicate that the fluid has been changed?
     
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  13. ILuv4Res

    ILuv4Res F1 Veteran
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    No service records. The current owner indicated that he has only done oil changes for maitenence since he has owned it the past few years, except for fixing things that broke (ignition switch, gummy interior parts replaced, etc...). So, I don't think the transmission fluid is any different. (13k miles now)

    What's the difference between a 'dragging' clutch & a 'worn' clutch? I think I know about a worn clutch, when you press the gass pedal & the enginge revs higher without the car moving faster - slipping clutch. I'm not sure I understand what a dragging clutch is. Also, in the dragging clutch scenarios, are those expensive fixes or simple adjustments?

    I really like the car, but when I factor in the need for the major service & the little items I would like to fix, it places the price point on the bubble. A new clutch makes it an expensive alternative to continuing my search. (I could probably live with paying a small premium.) However, tranny problems would make this car a definite no deal.
     
  14. 308GTS

    308GTS Formula 3

    Dec 27, 2001
    2,220
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    I am curious to know what would cause this. Please keep us posted guys as when I drove my 308 the other day it was fine. Then I drove it again and it didn't want to go into gear easily but still would, it would feel crunchy though.
     
  15. Miltonian

    Miltonian F1 Veteran

    Dec 11, 2002
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    Fred:
    Square one. Please pardon me if this seems like a silly question, but from your profile, I can't tell if you are a Ferrari owner. I'm not trying to be a snot. The question is, have you driven Ferraris before? Have you driven other 348's? Does the owner of the car have the same shifting problem as you? Does the transmission grind when HE downshifts it? There exists at least a possibility that the car is fine, and that the problem lies with the driver not having the experience to operate the car smoothly. 348's are widely known to have shifters that require considerable effort. The salesman who took me for a test drive in my 348 was hopeless with it. There was nothing wrong it.

    To answer your questions. A "dragging" clutch can have plenty of friction material remaining on the disc, but it is not properly disengaging from the flywheel when the clutch pedal is depressed. It is continuing to spin with the flywheel, and giving the same effect as shifting without depressing the pedal. The cause of this is generally that the disc is soaked with gear oil or hydraulic fluid from the slave cylinder. The cure is to remove the clutch (not difficult on a 348, see previous posts on the subject), clean or replace the effected parts, repair the fluid leaks, and top up the fluid levels. There would be no adjustment involved, as the 348 has a hydraulic-operated clutch.

    A "worn" clutch has had the friction material reduced beyond the specified wear limit, and will give the slipping symptoms you describe. However, a worn clutch should NOT cause grinding of the gears on downshifts, unless the rivits are dragging on the flywheel, in which case the clutch would be so worn that the car wouldn't move.

    The other possibility I mentioned involved the clutch hydraulic system. If the fluid level is low, or if the system needs to be bled, then the slave cylinder will not operate the release bearing properly, and the clutch will not disengage all the way when the pedal is depressed. Then you get difficult shifting and grinding gears. How much free play is there on the clutch pedal?

    If you have the wrong gear oil, as suggested in Billybob's post, then the synchros do not operate properly, the gears don't mesh when shifting, and the gears grind. It's possible, but it doesn't seem likely to me unless the fluid has been changed recently to something totally wrong for the car.

    If the shift cables are out of adjustment, it will indeed cause difficult shifting, but it shouldn't cause grinding if the clutch is releasing properly.

    An experienced Ferrari mechanic should be able to diagnose this problem very quickly. If you are saying that the car has only 13,000 miles on it, the transmission SHOULD be fine unless it has been drastically abused.

    Good luck in your search for that special Ferrari!!
     
  16. ILuv4Res

    ILuv4Res F1 Veteran
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    Miltonian, no offense taken (plus, I really appreaciate all your help!). Yes & Yes. Although I can stand up and admit I have many problems, this is definitely not a case of a user problem (lol).

    :)
     
  17. Miltonian

    Miltonian F1 Veteran

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    If you're certain the problem does not lie with the driver, then my own personal bet, based on what you have told us about the symptoms, is that the clutch hydraulic system needs to be bled properly by someone who knows what he is doing, and the system needs to be checked for leakage. Since the clutch system uses the same fluid in the same tank as the brakes, the brakes should be checked as well. If the fluid level is low in the tank, that pretty obviously identifies the problem as being hydraulic in nature. But it COULD be several things at this point.

    Other opinions are welcome, who else wishes to speculate?
     
  18. airbarton

    airbarton Formula 3

    Nov 11, 2002
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    Based on your original post I still contend it is just the cable adjustment. The symptoms you describe are exactly to the letter what my car was doing when I first got it. I tried all of the things everyone is talking about here to no avail. It wasn't until I happen to stumble upon a thread on this site that was about this very problem, that I finally solved the problem. You may even be able to find the thread in the archives from the old site! One other thing I might add is if the clutch is worn out, so what. You will probably want to convert to the single disc clutch anyway as the dual is a serious pain in the ass to drive on the street. I converted mine myself in just a couple of hours. It was no big deal and the car is way better with the new clutch!
     
  19. ILuv4Res

    ILuv4Res F1 Veteran
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    Miltonian- I will check the brake fluid reserve tank. If this is the case of a hydraulic issuse, you're implying this may be low....this leads to another question:

    Airbarton, you mentioned you changed the clutch yourself. Are you a mechanic? I have the capabilities to do MINOR maintence (change tires, spark plugs, air filters, oil filters, oil change, etc...) and I am fairly handy, however, I have NEVER tried to do any major work myself. Does the transmission have to be taken off the car to do the clutch change and/or fix the hydraulic issue? How difficult is this procedure? I have seen many posts of people doing all sorts of things, even doing their own engine out services, claiming it was easy, but I wonder what their experience level is (easy to one person could be impossible to another). Plus, it looks extremely intimidating considering the financial costs of a screw up!!!

    Also, airbarton, can you please elaborate on the cable adjustment instructions. When you say take the cover plate off below the shifter- are you referring to the metal shift grate inside the car or is this plate under the car on the transmission, etc? When you mention under the car, are they on the driver's or pass. side or both? What is the 'translator' on the other end of the cables? Do you have any pics of this???

    Gosh, I wonder if the seller would let me lift up the car with a Jack & try & adjust the cables or if that would be a strange question to ask of someone?
     
  20. ILuv4Res

    ILuv4Res F1 Veteran
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    Airbarton, I found these pictures from a search in the archives. Are there cables inside the brass looking sleeves?
     

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