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550 is back

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by tohubohu, May 8, 2009.

  1. tohubohu

    tohubohu Karting

    Jun 23, 2008
    85
    NY NY
    Full Name:
    John Ford
    Finally. I was hoping to get some pictures with its winter stablemates (Fantuzzi 250 GT Spider, Berlinetta Lusso, ragtop Boxer) but time didn't permit. No more sticky plastic, new shocks and alignment, red calipers to spec. My eternal gratitude to the boys at Possum Hollow Motorsports, to Tim McNair at Grand Prix Concours, and especially to Phil Tegtmeier, who won't read this but who has guided me with great care and wisdom through my first ownership--including putting me in the hands of these extremely competent individuals. Thanks, too, the to the Chat community for their advice. I had forgotten how beautiful the car was and what an amazing sensation it is to drive it. West of Philly to NYC in under two hours, and I was extremely sorry to leave the car.

    One question: does anybody besides me have trouble with upshifts from 1 to 2 (six speed, '97)? Unless I'm stamping on it, I get the yips, and I need second considering the traffic we get around here. It may be that I'm just lame--not at all unlikely--or else it really is difficult to get in smoothly (what she said), but I feel like I'm back in a Volvo 164. I hate to think what it sounds like through the Tubi. I'm not talking about balky synchro, but just trying to settle into second. Advice welcome. Pix to come, I hope. Thanks, everyone.
     
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  3. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002
    20,352
    socal
    2nd:

    Does it not go in or slow to engage or clutch slips or???????? Better hot vs cold??????
     
  4. PCH

    PCH F1 Rookie

    Apr 7, 2004
    2,977
    #3 PCH, May 8, 2009
    Last edited: May 8, 2009
    Typical issue, (especially when cold) with the 550 which uses dual cone synchro's. The 575 was upgraded to triple cone which eliminated this problem. I would recommend changing your gear oil annually with a quality synthetic which should help significantly provided everything else is in proper working order.
     
  5. tohubohu

    tohubohu Karting

    Jun 23, 2008
    85
    NY NY
    Full Name:
    John Ford
    Gear oil was just done. No problems with the clutch or synchro, no difference between hot and cold, although the shift is a little tight before warm-up. No, I just get a yah yah yah hesitation when I drop it in second, instead of a smooth transition.
     
  6. ferraridriver

    ferraridriver F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 8, 2002
    4,089
    Bay Area Calif.
    Full Name:
    Dave
    I get the same thing, that's why I almost never use 1st but normally start out in 2nd. Just for the fun of it I started from a dead stop on 6th once, pulled away just fine, LOL
     
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  8. bobafett

    bobafett F1 Veteran

    Sep 28, 2002
    9,193
    Agreed. I would regularly go 2-4-6 and skip the odd gears. I wouldn't recommend doing the 6th gear start with any regularity, but to try it, you're right - the car just keeps pulling.
     
  9. tohubohu

    tohubohu Karting

    Jun 23, 2008
    85
    NY NY
    Full Name:
    John Ford
    Good to hear. In cars with less heavy clutches, I used to rest my left heel on the floor and shift with my calf muscle, which somehow made the transition into second smoother. Won't work in the 550, obviously. Any problems with clutch wear starting in second?
     
  10. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Jul 19, 2008
    33,584
    Clarksville, Tennessee
    Full Name:
    Terry H Phillips
    John- One thing that will make a huge difference in shifting ease is switching to a synthetic gear oil. Some swear by Redline 75W-90 synthetic and I have had great luck with Valvoline fully synthetic 75W-90. Brian Crall (Rifledriver) also recommends changing out the transaxle oil every year for the 360 and 550/575M, all of which tend too be rough on gear oil. The factory recommended interval is two years, which in this case is too long based on the evidence seen by the pros. Brian says the factory petroleum-based Shell oil is really tough on the transaxles.

    If I started in 6th with my F1 shifter, I would be buying a new clutch and refacing my flywheel.

    Taz
    Terry Phillips
     
  11. bobafett

    bobafett F1 Veteran

    Sep 28, 2002
    9,193
    Terry's right - annual changes on gearbox juice w/ synthetic definitely makes a difference.

    I like that the car is a little hard, a little rough - makes you earn it but not nearly as much as the older cars. Still supple as supple can be.
     
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  13. Axecent

    Axecent Formula 3

    Oct 15, 2008
    1,112
    Central Texas
    Full Name:
    John
    My 550 is stubborn 1st to 2nd, worse when cold, better when warm but never 'good'. I tend to double clutch when I have to drive it cold. I am careful never to put any force on selector when starting to push clutch in as it appears that the undercuts? on the gears cause it to jump, which is really bad on gear/teeth. So I deploy clutch and then make shift in two distinct motions. Only really slow shift is first to second....and from the feel is a synchronizer issue and perhaps mine is worse as it had 16K miles from previous owners that may have been clueless on what they were doing wrong.

    I will try recommended gear oils and report back here....I am due for 1 yr service this month.
     
  14. mcw

    mcw Rookie

    Aug 10, 2008
    41
    The Redline synthetic mentioned above makes my 1950 Jaguar shift much smoother than standards gearbox oil.
     
  15. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002
    20,352
    socal
    I'm on my 4th ferrari and worked on many many friends ferraris and rebuilt at least a half dozen ferrari gearboxes. My 550 shifts perfectly hot or cold and shifts porsche smooth on mobil 1. 2 of my cars shifted perfectly like this. 1 needed about 1/2 mile warmup. 1 needed to be fully warm for 2nd to be like all other gears. Each car seems to have its own personality when shifting hot and cold. Personally I think shift quality should be part of the PPI and owners not techs should be driving cars to get the shift feel to see if it meets their style. The gearboxes vary when shifted lazily vs. spirited and some will not even downshift quickly when heel toed. That aside if you are stuck with a gearbox even if your car shifts nice it is a good idea to challenge yourself to get better shifting by trying all the gearbox fluid available until you find that magic juice. Also for some silly reason the magic oil you just found may loose its magic with time and I guess gearbox wear. I have worked on many of these cars and my best luck has been with mobil1 (always my first choice) and then the various redline synthetics. I have used royal purple and amsoil with success too but have a less ready supply of those and would turn to those if mobil or redline did not make me happy. IMO there is no reason Ferrari gearboxes should be this way but they are. I have never had any issues with other makers like P-bug or BMW or any of the J cars.
     
  16. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Jul 19, 2008
    33,584
    Clarksville, Tennessee
    Full Name:
    Terry H Phillips
    FBB- Have used Mobil-1 with good results on earlier cars and my Valvoline synthetic works at least as well. Have never heard a discordant sound from my 575M gearbox, even with cold 1-2 shifts at sub-freezing temperatures and the not-so-gentle ministrations of an F1 shifter. Admittedly, triple cone synchro rings for first and second help.

    The real trick is to use a good synthetic 75W-90 transaxle oil and change it annually. I do not think the brands are very different in performance if one of the three mentioned is used. Annual changes are a big deal and cheap insurance. No desire to break open my transaxle.

    Taz
    Terry Phillips
     
  17. ketel

    ketel Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 6, 2007
    1,232
    Sausalito, CA
    Any experience with Swepco 201 in the Maranello gearboxes? I've been running it in my Porsche race car for some time and like the results.

    ketel
     
  18. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Jul 19, 2008
    33,584
    Clarksville, Tennessee
    Full Name:
    Terry H Phillips
    ketel- Never tried it, but is an 80W-90 rather than a 75W-90. Whether that has any difference in cold shift performance, I do not know. It gets good reviews.

    Taz
    Terry Phillips
     
  19. bobafett

    bobafett F1 Veteran

    Sep 28, 2002
    9,193
    Swepco fluids are the best. If I were ever doing a new motor I would instantly swap over to Swepco to break it in. Swepco fuel additive is amazing.
     
  20. tohubohu

    tohubohu Karting

    Jun 23, 2008
    85
    NY NY
    Full Name:
    John Ford
    Thanks to everyone again--good advice. I think probably I'm babying the car into second even after it's warm, letting the revs drop too far as a result, and the car just balks when the clutch engages. If I can get into second more easily, that should be a fix. I'll have to check to see what the new oil is--I tend to stick to what the factory recommends, which from what everyone is saying may be a mistake. As I said, if I'm pushing hard along the way to third it's not as much of an issue--much more of a problem when I'm dropping into second in traffic to get the revs down. Strange in a car that has such impeccable manners otherwise, glides away in first, happy to be lugged along in sixth at 1000. I had the same problem in my 928, which was much peakier than the 550, never in the M3 or, for that matter, in a Fiat 124. I'm doing a major in the fall and I'll try out a synthetic.
     
  21. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002
    20,352
    socal
    Not sure what your problem really is. If you are driving gingerly and allow the rev to drop going from 1-2 then the car balks as you step on the gas because the rpm does not want to stay up giving you a second to make your shift...that is different problem from balky shifting from oil brand issues. If you have the former problem with rpm dropping too fast Unless you are "on it" I'd be looking at vacuum lines and whatever else helps to keep the revs up. Aside from general engine momentum I'm not sure what actually keeps the revs up. Really well made and well built engines do a very very quick return to idle with go pedal off and likewise do very very fast rev up with the go pedal on.
     

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