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355 Not Starting????? :-(

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by arezzo, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. arezzo

    arezzo Formula Junior

    Jul 29, 2003
    699
    Kuwait
    Full Name:
    SH
    Hi Guys,

    I have had my car (99 355 Spyder) fully serviced and looked at the right intervals and had everything cared for.

    It started with the car not starting on the first go of the switch. Usually it takes one go of the switch and the engine comes to life. But one evening it took 3 tries before she started up. Found that to be odd but I went for a drive anyway and she did fine. Then at night she gave up on me again. But this time it took 9 tries to start her up.

    The feeling you get is that the battery is fine and all the lights and windows are strong but when you turn the key the ignition is in some way not able to ignite the engine up.The ignition is strong and doesn't strain when you try several times. But no amount of pumping the gas or sort helps. Like something is missing.

    So you can imagine the next day she was on the flatbed to the Ferrari dealership (We have only one in Q8)

    The head mechanic at the dealership says that this is an electrical problem and its very common for the wiring on the older Ferraris to have glitches.

    There could be two problems in his opinion:

    1)He says the wire from the dash that goes to the ECU behind the passenger seat could have a problem (although he doubts it) and if thats the one the seats and dash have to come out (it'll kill me in labor charges)

    2) He says the most likely problem is where the ECU units wiring goes through the large hose into the engine that could be the place where there is a problem. He says thats the point at which he has experienced problems before on other cars. He then went onto explain to me how the wiring does to the fuel pump and another point in the engine (can't remember really) and so on and so forth.

    He's ordered 2 relays(???Don't even know what the relays do and their purpose in the electrical system) and says he hopes that by replacing them the problem is solved.

    Is this guy kosher??? Any opinions from the pro's here would be much appreciated.

    Thanks Guys and Love this Forum.
     
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  3. malibumk

    malibumk Karting

    May 14, 2002
    167
    Malibu, CA
    Full Name:
    Mike Klein
    This guy doesn't sound legitimate to me. If it will run, hard to start on not,then the wiring is ok. And, it's not "common" on these "older" ferraris at all. They all start and run fine....fuel, spark and compression are the key ingredients....not hard to check.

    The "relay" thing is far too general to mean anything on its own.

    Give us a little more to work with;
    Does it crank over?
    Does it eventually start?
    If so, any other running problems?
    What else can you add?

    MK
     
  4. rudy

    rudy Formula Junior

    Jan 13, 2004
    360
    Los Angeles California
    Full Name:
    Rudy Hassen
    I am far from an expert, but I can't imagine anyone calling this an "older" Ferrari. I had a 355 for years, a '95. Anytime I had trouble starting the car it was either the battery, even though it "seemed OK", or just needed tuning. As modern as they are, the still need looking after. My personal opinion only is to NOT just start randomly changing parts.
     
  5. arezzo

    arezzo Formula Junior

    Jul 29, 2003
    699
    Kuwait
    Full Name:
    SH
    MK it took me 3 tries to start it up the first time and when that happened I knew something was wrong. Ever since I owned the car it would take one twist of the key to get her going.

    Later on that same night it took me 9 tries to get her going. The engine runs fine after she starts up and when I'm trying to get her started there is no sound or crank over or anything. Just the ignition trying to ignite the engine up. But it did start up in the end after 9 tries.

    Besides that the car is in great shape and has no other problems. The manifolds were cracked (common 355 problem) which I had replaced, engine out time belt service 4500km ago, and otherwise mechanically the car has been solid.

    Hope you can tell me what could be the other potential problems with it.

    Thanks
     
  6. arezzo

    arezzo Formula Junior

    Jul 29, 2003
    699
    Kuwait
    Full Name:
    SH
    Rudy when you say you had your engine tuned when it wouldn't start like how was the engine tuned and what did your guy do so I can suggest my guy to check the same thing out.
     
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  8. rudy

    rudy Formula Junior

    Jan 13, 2004
    360
    Los Angeles California
    Full Name:
    Rudy Hassen
    Well, I can check and see if I have the docs. I believe it was a spark plug change, and they had updated some computer module that the EPA didn't like. I'm pretty sure the EPA box had nothing to do with it. I'll look and see if I have the docs from the service somewhere. This work was all done at Ferrari of Beverly Hills. The battery was the big surprise. The cranking and everything else seemed fine. Changing it restore the almost instantaneous starts I had come to expect from that car. The free advice I was trying to impart (and it's worth every penny!) was that the mechanics I deal with have never "shot-gunned" a repair on my car. If they did, they wouldn't be working on my car, and certainly wouldn't be paid for fixes that didn't fix the problem. If I find that service receipt, I'll post or email you the fixes/adjustments they did.
     
  9. arezzo

    arezzo Formula Junior

    Jul 29, 2003
    699
    Kuwait
    Full Name:
    SH
    Thanks Rudy, much appreciated.

    The worst thing is that my car has been at the Service Center for 8 days now and I'm waiting for these Relays to come in as they didn't have them in stock (www.al-zayani.com) I so want to complain to Ferrari about these guys. They're the official dealers yet they have to order ever single part and owners like myself have to wait for the parts to come in.

    And on top of all this I'm not confident on whether these Relays are going to solve the problem or not.
     
  10. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
    Professional Ferrari Technician Consultant

    Sep 18, 2002
    15,110
    The Cold North
    Full Name:
    Tom
    When you first started the car I'm assuming it was cold. Took three tries to start. The second time I assume the car was semi warm. Tokk nine tries to start.

    This sounds to me like a fuel problem. Possiable a bad check valve one of the fuel pumps or a bad fuel regulator. I would get them to run a pressure check first..running pressure and line pressure with the enigne off.
     
  11. Dr_ferrari

    Dr_ferrari Formula 3
    Professional Ferrari Technician Consultant

    Nov 2, 2003
    1,064
    Pocono Sportscar
    Full Name:
    Jim McGee
    I do understand what your tech is talking about.

    If it cranks but does not start or stalls:

    The wiring harness to the engine would break from the flexing and movement of the engine. The wire would break in the harness between the firewall and the engine.
    The condition was more prevlent on the 5.2 motronic systems and most of the time was associated with a worn motor mount. That could be the problem, but you can`t be sure without checking of the wires or a check with the SD2 and flex the wires to see if you lose any signals.

    You also have a crank sensor that could possibly be weak which could be checked with an occilloscope.

    The relays you speak of I would question. I do not know which relay he would replace that he would have to special order.

    Good luck and best regards, Jim
     
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  13. ernie

    ernie Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Nov 19, 2001
    22,022
    The Brickyard
    Full Name:
    The Bad Guy
    I'm with tbakowsky on this one. It sounds like a fuel problem. I was just with a friend and his 348 would not start up without using some starter fluid just about every time. Check to make sure that the fuel filters are clean. One of the chatters here had a similar problem with, I think, his 328. The mechanics he was taking it to changed out all kinds of stuff, and still the problem persisted. He finally went to another mechanic and it turned out to be the fuel filters were clogged. So he spent all that money for some things he didn't need. I'm not sure about the 355 but on my 348 there is a connection at the back of the intake cam, on bank 1 - 4, for the fuel timing. If that is loose or has a bad connection that could be part of your problem, because the computer isn't getting the information for proper fuel timing. As tbakowsky said have them check the fuel pressure. You could have a small leak somewere causing you to loose preasure in the fuel rail. When I took the fuel filters off of my 348, I forgot to let the fuel pumps pressurize the system first. As a result, I cranked the car a few times without it starting. But as soon as I realized that I didn't let the system pressurize, I stopped cranking and waited until the pumps fully pressurized the system. After the pumps stopped, I tried it again and it fired right up. So don't let them talk you into changing parts out right away. They have to diagnose the problem first, THEN when they know what it is change out the part. Other wise you will end up replacing a bunch of parts that never need replacing. If there is a leak it could be the connector on the end of the fuel rail. It is U-shaped and has aluminum fasteners. If those get over tightened they can crack, causing a leak, and some of the fuel fires you hear of in the 355's are because of this. So check that while your at it, but, DO NOT!!!! replace anything unless it is busted. Good luck let us know what it turns out to be.
     
  14. Ferrari_tech

    Ferrari_tech Formula 3

    Jul 28, 2003
    1,527
    UK
    Full Name:
    Malcolm W
    Get the dealer to test the ignition system with their SD2 and see if there are any faults stored in the memory of the ECU - I wouldn't be surprised to see a fault recorded with the crank sensor.

    MW
     
  15. pma1010

    pma1010 F1 Rookie

    Jul 21, 2002
    2,559
    Chicago
    Full Name:
    Philip
    I had a similar problem on a modern FI car (not a Ferrari). There's a (crank) sensor to tell the motor when it is at TDC to enable the ignition to be triggered. This sensor went bad with the exact symptoms you describe. Ferrari similar?
     
  16. malibumk

    malibumk Karting

    May 14, 2002
    167
    Malibu, CA
    Full Name:
    Mike Klein
    My gut tells me fuel too.
    And given what I think to be a "cold start" problem;
    My first suspicion has to do with the cold start circuit...could be electrical command to one of the components, but more likely one of the components itself....ie the temp sensor isn't telling the ECU that it is in fact cold, or there may be a cold start injector that isn't flowing fuel. You'll have to check the workshop manual to see how the cold start system is arranged.

    Since it runs fine after starting, I'd doubt fuel pump or regulation....but it might be worth checking. Simply changing parts is dumb.

    Pressing the gas pedal isn't normal proceedure for sure, and may not be helping it start. Normal proceedure is to turn the key only.

    If when it does start, if seems to be running lean....that might tell us one thing. If however, upon fire-up is smells of gas, that would say it's being flooded. Any recolections of these conditions?

    MK
     
  17. arezzo

    arezzo Formula Junior

    Jul 29, 2003
    699
    Kuwait
    Full Name:
    SH
    My plan is to print out this post and take it with me to the dealership and have the guy look at it. It might give him an idea or a different perspective on the problem at hand.

    As soon as I get an answer from him I'll give you guys an update on the situation.

    We might have a very interesting answer to all this. In the mean time I am seriously missing my car.

    Wish me Luck Guys
     
  18. Dale

    Dale F1 Veteran

    Oct 7, 2003
    5,211
    uk
    Full Name:
    Dale Juan
    Hi Malcolm i agree check the if any stored codes take a note of them then erase them,then try to start it,if it starts ok then shut it down re-check if the codes have come back,if they have or have not go to the sensors that gave the stored code,get the ferrari data out and the volt omhs meter and a test lamp is quite handy as long as its not poked into sensor wiring with ingnition on, start doing simple checks on the components,get the tech to get the fuel pressure and flow checked,its a ferrari dealer so id like to see a breakout box being used to, all the ferrari special tools are there,looking and listening goes a long way to
    and this helps more when one is standing next to the problem car,
    Dale.
     
  19. arezzo

    arezzo Formula Junior

    Jul 29, 2003
    699
    Kuwait
    Full Name:
    SH
    Well guys printed out all your feedback and went on down to the dealership and showed it the head tech there. He went through the print outs and I told him that I was just trying to learn more about my car and not question his expertise.

    Before I tell you what he said MK I checked if it smells of gas once it starts up but it doesn't. I tried pumping the gas pedal only once when I was stranded and it wouldn't start and it took me 9 tries to start her up that time (I got desperate)

    The tech says the first thing he did was to check the fault codes on the SD2 and everything was fine plus it can't be a cold start circuit or cold start injector problem as we have really mild winters down here in Q8. 12 to 17 C.

    He found the problem and it was the loose connection at the Fuel Injection System. Now about the Relays he changed and why.

    He changed the 2 Relays one for the Fuel Injection system and the other for the Fuel Pump. I am sure some of you know the relays are located in the front of the car. The logic behind replacing the Bosch Relays is that they go on and off and on and off so many times during the operational time of the car they are always likely to give trouble sooner or later and he felt it was better to replace them now for the fuel injector and the fuel pump. The current ones I have now on my car are fine. But he says in his professional judgement he felt it would be right to replace them.

    He was cool enough to open up a busted relay from another Ferrari he was working on and showed me the two points inside the Bosch Relay where one point is for cutting the electrical signal to whatever the Relay is for and the other point for providing the signal.

    So guys this was what they found out and I hope someone out there benefits from this. My Head Tech now knows about Ferrari Chat so keep a look out for him. He's quite experienced and a nice guy and I am sure he would not mind helping someone out.

    Thank You all for your help and it was much Appreciated.
     
  20. ernie

    ernie Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Nov 19, 2001
    22,022
    The Brickyard
    Full Name:
    The Bad Guy
    Glad to hear it got figured out Arezzo. Was the contector on your 355 in the same place as on my 348, at the back of the intake cam on bank 1-4? One other thing keep your old wiring loom, take it home with you.
     
  21. tidee

    tidee Rookie

    Mar 2, 2006
    9
    thats sad.........try showing your car a an expert and ask for her/his advice...............hope ur car gets well soon:)
     
  22. PAP 348

    PAP 348 Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Dec 10, 2005
    86,179
    Mount Isa, Australia
    Full Name:
    Pap

    Dont know how to tell you this man,but the car was fixed,a very long time ago. A loose plug on the fuel injection system?? Read the last 2 posts brother :)
     

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