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360 - Coolant / Gearbox issues - Please help me diagonose this issue?

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Wayne 962, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Nov 27, 2003
    448
    Hi everyone. Got an issue with my 2000 360 Modena (F1). A few weeks ago, the car started to overheat in traffic. I checked the coolant, and it was low. Added some more and said, "that's odd, that shouldn't be happening." Hoping that it would fix the problem, I kept a watch on it. Unfortunately, the coolant disappeared again. However, there was no leakage of coolant or anything like that, which I could observe (at the time) - the oil looked clean.

    Then one day, I pulled the car into the garage and smelled a terrible gearbox type smell. Looking down into the engine compartment, I could see milky oil and coolant mix in the bottom pan. Not good. Engine was still running okay, engine oil looked okay.

    I put the car up on the lift, and took off the bottom pan. There is a section right near the F1 actuator that appears to be leaking quite severely (see photo below). The rest of the engine looks clean, although parts of the engine have that tell-tale white residue on it which shows that at sometime in the past there was coolant floating around. The water pump looks dry.

    Previously (on two occasions) when driving the car, I experienced something unique to this car - a blow-off noise that came out of the engine. I could see "coolant" or something else (I originally thought it was A/C refrigerant, but now I'm not so sure, although shutting off the A/C did make it stop). I think it was blowing coolant out of the pressure relief valve. Why, I'm not really sure.

    Also, I've had problems with the gearbox "chattering" in the recent past. I added some LSD slip agent to the gearbox oil and that went away. But, now I think it may be possibly related to this problem.

    So, I'm wondering if the gearbox / coolant heat exchanger has failed, and the coolant is making its way into the gearbox. That would explain a few things - the chattering, the missing coolant, the gearbox fluid smell, and the coolant/oil residue. However, I'm still not sure where the fluid is leaking from, and why it would be leaking, unless the gearbox is just filling up with coolant, and then it's overflowing out of the gearbox vent. I've looked at the parts diagrams and photos of other 360 transmissions on Google, and it appears the vent is on that side just above where all of this fluid / leaks have occurred. However, the vent appears to be on the top of the transmission (where most of them are, and not really in the vicinity of the F1 actuator. If one looks down at the engine from above, there's not a leak or drop of oil or coolant anywhere.

    I suppose if the pressure was so high that it was blowing off steam, then that high pressure could have damaged or stressed the gearbox heat exchanger?

    Anyway, my questions are:

    - Does the gearbox heat exchanger seem like a likely culprit? I've typically heard of it leaking the other way (oil gets into the coolant, not coolant gets into the gearbox). I'm planning on dumping out the gearbox oil next time I'm at the shop to see what it looks like.

    - Why would it be leaking right above the F1 actuator? Is there another vent there, or did it pop a seal or something? The heat exchanger theory seems like a good one, but it doesn't necessarily explain the leak at the rear (unless it's just flowing out of the vent).

    Thanks in advance for the thoughts and suggestions!

    -Wayne


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  3. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
    Professional Ferrari Technician Consultant

    Sep 18, 2002
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    Your transmission heat exchanger has failed and has overfilled the gearbox with coolant. You will also have gear oil throughout the entire cooling system. A very time consuming and thorough flush is required. As well as replacment of the heat exchanger which is located under the intake manifold..
     
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  4. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Nov 27, 2003
    448
    Additionally, I also noticed something odd which may or may not be related. My main tensioner (the one that tensions the belt that drives the water pump), does not appear to be touching the belt (unless I'm looking at it incorrectly). See photos below. I haven't investigated this fully, but I noticed this just as I was leaving the shop, and it struck me as very odd. The belt has tension on it. This all stuck me as odd - the tensioner clearly has wear on it, so it has been working and touching the belt at one time. See the photos below?

    thx,

    Wayne
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  5. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    That should not be there. At all. It is the deflection dampener for the altermator/waterpump belt. It has for some reason fallen down. At this point, do not drive the car.

    Remove the panel behined the seats and inspect everything..
     
  6. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Nov 27, 2003
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    Yup, I am taking your advice - the car is on the lift and will stay there.

    The heat exchanger "thread" here: https://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/threads/360-heat-exchanger-leak-gearbox-coolant.355457/ seems to be an excellent reference. Some people say the path to redemption is to remove the manifold, and others get to it through the access panel, which appears to also be the procedure in the factory manual. Looks like that may be the preferred way to go, especially if I have to investigate this oddball tensioner issue?

    -Wayne
     
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  8. Motob

    Motob Formula 3
    Professional Ferrari Technician

    Nov 11, 2003
    2,182
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    Brian Brown
    Those bearings on the water-pump/alternator belt and the A/C are not supposed to touch the belts. There should be a 1-2mm gap between the belt and bearing, This keeps the belts from flapping around or coming off of the pulley. If there is constant tension on the bearing, it will wear out prematurely.
    That said, the bearing on your water-pump/alternator belt is positioned incorrectly, it should be near the belt at the top, just as the belt come off of the water-pump pulley (see your parts diagram), and it should have a much smaller gap.

    Pull the drain plug on your gearbox and see how much coolant comes out of it, hopefully it is ok.

    Regards,
    Brian Brown
    San Francisco Motorsports
     
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  9. wbt

    wbt Karting

    Nov 28, 2014
    146
    New Zealand
    Your coolant/transmission oil exchanger has almost certainly failed. Replacement is straightforward although fiddly for those with some mechanical skill (having skinny arms helps). I did mine via manifold removal technique which also allowed me to replace intake gaskets which are prone to hardening. Replacing the exchanger is fairly easy, flushing both systems out is time consuming. Use cheap fluids, run everything up to temp and flush out multiple times. For final fill put in the good stuff. Pray to baby jesus or whatever spiritual beings offer you guidance that the coolant hasn't damaged the transmission.
     
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  10. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Nov 27, 2003
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    Another quick question, the factory manual states: "The exchanger can be removed without having to remove the water pump, by working from the rear of the plenum chamber."

    That statement implies that one could remove it from the engine by sliding it out the rear. But that seems impossible. I guess that is a "translation error" from Italian to English?

    -Wayne
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  11. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    Pull the pump. So much easier.
     
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  13. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Update, emptied the tranny today, and it looked like it had eaten a whole bunch of bad foreign food the night before. Pretty much the nastiest thing I've encountered working on cars (well, maybe the poop valve on the RV is worse, if that actually counts).

    -Wayne
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  14. billy.gif

    billy.gif Karting

    Mar 9, 2017
    245
    Finland
    Did your F1 system perform flawlessly all this time? Even with full of coolant, no hickups, no misshifts, no delays between shifting, nothing weird?
     
  15. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Hmm, as flawless as one might think the F1 system should operate. It's wonky by design, as you probably know. Maybe sometime last year, it popped out of a gear twice and gave me a loud beep, but that was probably at least 1,000 miles ago. No recent issues on the transmission as far as I could tell. As I mentioned previously, I had some chatter in the gearbox a year or so ago when backing up. I put in some Redline friction enhancer and that went away (which was to be expected), and haven't had any issues since. I do have the transmission computer upgraded to the programmable model with the later-model CS transmission program flashed in it.

    Thanks,

    Wayne
     
  16. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 19, 2008
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    F1 system does not share fluid with the transmission.
     
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  17. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Yes, that's correct - the F1 system and the transmission do not share any fluids. The transmission for the F1 and the 3-pedal cars are actually exactly the same (same Ferrari part number, I believe). The F1 system might start acting wonky, though, if it tried to shift and the transmission didn't respond properly due to the fluid inside. I think that's what billy.gif was implying...

    -Wayne
     
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  18. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Good news - we emptied out all of the coolant from the two radiators and the two plugs on either side of the engine. Carefully inspecting the coolant revealed no traces of transmission fluid. It seems that the leak / transfer only went one way.

    We'll be installing the new exchanger tomorrow (through the access panel). We're also pre-emptively replacing the headers right now, as there was a slight rattle coming from the left-side exhaust upon acceleration (a smoke test didn't reveal anything.

    Thanks!

    -Wayne
     
  19. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    Be aware the exhaust rattle can sometimes be the muffler. That was the case with my F355 spider. Internal baffle was loose. I replaced the muffler
     
  20. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Nov 27, 2003
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    Thanks for that tip. Indeed, I was not able to isolate it definitely to the exhaust headers, but with so many issues with the headers (pre-cats and cracking), I decided to replace them while I had the car up on the lift. Not cheap, but I'd like to get this 360 as sorted as possible while we're in there!

    -Wayne
     
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  21. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Nov 27, 2003
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  22. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Nov 27, 2003
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    Got the Fabspeed headers as well today. Looks like it might be easier to install them than the stock ones, although they didn't come with installation instructions, so I'm not sure...

    -Wayne
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  23. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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  24. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    Fabspeed headers are easy to install. However, I will caution you on the heat blankets. The last set I installed disintegrated within a year..turned to dust basicly. Fabspeed did warranty them with a bit of a fight. Maybe they have updated them since not sure, but keep you eye on them.
     
  25. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Nov 27, 2003
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    Good to know, I will keep an eye on it. We bought quite a bit of stuff from Joe Fabiano (the owner) when I owned Pelican Parts, so I would think I wouldn't have an issue. He was always reasonable to deal with and a very good vendor overall.

    -Wayne
     
  26. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Nov 27, 2003
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    What a pain! Boy, everyone was right. I did the headers at the same time (see other thread). This job is a huge pain. I've now run it twice, emptying the coolant and the ATF in the transmission each time.

    I filled the transmission all the way to the top of the filler, in order to get the maximum amount of dilution. Then drove it around the block. Surprisingly enough, the transmission didn't seem to complain or feel weird at all with ATF stuffed inside.

    -Wayne
     

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  27. Reid

    Reid Karting

    May 18, 2018
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    Vancouver Canada
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    Reid Fox
    Make sure you clean out the filter it is that plastic piece near the rear of the transmission in your picture its a screen. One bolt holds it in it is sealed with an o-ring
     
  28. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
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    Yes indeed, cleaning that out each time I change out the fluid!

    -Wayne
     

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