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550 :power loss and re-fuelling problems

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by Geoff, May 31, 2004.

  1. Geoff

    Geoff Rookie

    May 24, 2004
    13
    Japan
    Full Name:
    Garang Geoff
    On several occassions now, I have experienced a sudden loss in power when cornering slightly faster than one usually would in city driving. Once the car is straightened out, the power comes back on as if nothing had happened. This only seems to happen when my fuel tank shows about 1/3rd left (or less) in the tank. My suspicion is that it's got something to do with the fuel not being delivered to the engine effectively through the pipes as the fuel gets shoved to one side of the tank. Has anyone else had this problem and is there anything that can be done about it ?

    As for my problem with re-fuelling the car.....I find that after driving for at least 10km or more in a moderately spirited manner, removing the fuel cap at the gas station usually leads to a lot of hot gas being emitted, often with a fair bit of 'bubbling' via the flap at the top of the fuel tank. For the next 5 whole minutes, it is almost impossible to feed any fuel into the tank as the kickback pressure constantly leads to the fuel pump being stopped. As a result of this, I have now been reduced to driving my car when it's cold straight to the nearby petrol station to have it filled up. Question : is this normal and if so, should I avoid pumping fuel into the tank when the temperatures are running high ? (I live in Singapore where it's HOT all year round). If it's not normal, what's the solution ? This really becomes a problem when I take a drive up on the highway into Malaysia and I need to re-fuel the car somewhere along the way. I find myself having to wait a LONG time till the car has cooled down before attempting to re-fuel.
     
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  3. teachdna

    teachdna Formula Junior

    Sep 1, 2001
    374
    Cincinnati
    Full Name:
    Jeffrey Robbins
    This is NOT normal. When you first described it, I thought the ASR might be cutting on: that would lead to a sudden loss of power as the car tried to stop you from winding up ass-backwards. So you should check and see if the ASR momentarily flashes on when this happens-it might need adjusting.

    But the hot gas bubbling out is definitely not a good thing and you should take it in for service sooner rather than later as that's a bad thing waiting to happen!
     
  4. Bart

    Bart Formula 3

    Nov 1, 2003
    1,488
    Orange County, Calif
    Full Name:
    Bart
    Something is not right!
     
  5. davehelms

    davehelms F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2004
    4,629
    Full Name:
    Dave Helms
    Just worked on a 550 a week ago where the rubber fuel pump mount in the tank dissolved and plugged the fuel filter. Problem would occur when under heavy throttle. Rubber particles would totally block the pump pickup (one side) under this condition.
    Dave
     
  6. Geoff

    Geoff Rookie

    May 24, 2004
    13
    Japan
    Full Name:
    Garang Geoff
    thanks for the input guys. Obviously, there is something terribly wrong and I am having the car sent in tomorrow to inspect the problem.
     
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  8. bobafett

    bobafett F1 Veteran

    Sep 28, 2002
    9,193
    Dave: how hard is it to get to the tank? Did you notice a "sticky" fuel guage sender there as well? It seems that the sender unit is messed up, as the needle will drop to 1/8 and then almost 0 with 10-14 gallons left int he tank, and this seems to be common with 550s (I can't speak for the 575).

    --Dan
     
  9. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    44,510
    Texas!
    Well, I'll admit that at times it can be very hard to get my gas cap off. Then when I finally comes off, I have to make sure that no small animals are nearby cause it makes one heck of a sucking sound. But no bubbling though.

    Sometimes, it also gets real cranky about filing. The fuel stop keeps clicking off.

    Let us know what you find, DrTax
     
  10. davehelms

    davehelms F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2004
    4,629
    Full Name:
    Dave Helms
    Easily done, remove the forward vertical panel in the trunk. Tank is directly behind that.
    The sender units have been a problem since we first did the Pre delivery inspections at the dealership.
    I have parts on order for the pumps (nothing avail. in the states) and will be pulling both pumps. At this point I know the rubber disolved on the left pump, but suspect that it would have effected both pumps equally. With both pumps out I will be able to see the sender float unit easily and should be able to see more easily what is going on with that.
    As the 550's are now in need of majors and are getting fuel filters (manual suggests to do at 30K miles, do not wait, do them at 5yrs or 30K) we will start to see things like this. First showed up as lg. power loss. Found problem by removing the filter and draining it from the inlet side to inspect what came out. Tank bottom was clean, and the debris was contained in the pump surge can. Very strange! I will know more next week when the parts come in and the pumps are both removed. I will look closely at the sender at that time and see if there is a simple solution to that problem as well.
    Dave
     
  11. bobafett

    bobafett F1 Veteran

    Sep 28, 2002
    9,193
    Dave,

    Thanks much for the advice and help. I had my filters replaced with my major back in July '03. Should be good for a while...

    --Dan
     
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  13. GTB4NART

    GTB4NART Formula Junior

    Jan 17, 2004
    421
    I believe I have the same fuel filter blockage issue in my 456gt. Can you tell me any tips or tricks to cleaning the filters? Basically, I've changed filters in other cars as follows: Pull fuel pump relay, turn engine over and depressurize the system, use vice-grips to pinch rubber fuel supply hose, put oout cigarette, disassemble cannister, inspect and clean, reassemble. Any other tips or things to look out for?

    Thanks!

     
  14. hansw

    hansw Karting

    Mar 12, 2005
    58
    San Diego, CA
    Full Name:
    Hans J Weber
    I have observed the same fuel gauge behavior on my '97 550 since it was brand new. On a level road at steady state driving, e.g. steady 80 mph on a freeway, the fuel warning symbol will illuminate when there is still some roughly 10 -12 gallons left in the tank. This assumes that the tank capacity is truly 30.1 gallons, as listed in the manual. On one occasion I drove the car far enough after the warning light came on to be able to put 27 gallons into the tank. But one never knows with Ferrari about these "little things" like accurate tank capacity information, i.e. things that don't directly contribute to driving.

    Ferrari never offered an answer. They simply denied there was a problem. I learned to live with it. I do think I have an explanation, though, as follows: US cars have OBD (On Board Diagnostic) II engine monitoring for emission control purposes. This system will note and alert to any engine misfires - such as would occur if the engine is momentarily starved of fuel - and illuminate the check-engine light (also store a fault code in the computer). It turns out that this feature is automatically deactivated when the low-fuel warning light is on, thus preventing OBD II from alerting to igninition missing.

    By the way, I have never experienced any fuel pick up problems, even with only 8 gallons left in the tank while doing some spirited driving.
     
  15. Wyo550

    Wyo550 Karting
    BANNED

    Feb 9, 2005
    61
    Laramie
    Full Name:
    John
    As I've posted in a separate thread, my 550 cuts off (like an entire bank of six stops firing) when doing (mostly right hand) cornering. Reading these replies and suggestions, I am still wondering how and why a clogged filter in the gas tank could be causing cutoff in fuel during cornering-- and not all the time.

    One thing I have noticed from the original post of this thread: When I remove my gas cap in the summer, it's so pressurized from hot gasoline vapor, it's hard to get the cap unscrewed. I'm at a loss to understand how the cutoff and hot gas pressure could be related, if they are.
     
  16. Wyo550

    Wyo550 Karting
    BANNED

    Feb 9, 2005
    61
    Laramie
    Full Name:
    John
    Today, I took my 550 out for a spring time run. And sure enough, the loss of power became really noticeable whenever I was cornering, even on the wide interstate turns-- left and right-- which I'd never previously noticed (it was always right turning onramps that got my attention before).

    So, THANKS TO THIS FORUM, I took note of my fuel level (1/4 tank) and went straight to the gas station and filled it up. Then I went back to the exact same corners and speeds that I'd just had problems with loss of power... and she ran PERFECT!

    Like the gentleman in Singapore, when I removed the gas cap at the station, it was highly pressurized when I opened it. I'm assuming that this is normal- despite never seeing it in any other car (perhaps because the rear diferential is right next to the tank).

    I've taken note of Dave Helms warning of a need to replace fuel filters and fuel pumps as part of the maintenance. I'm in a 1997 with 17,000 miles on it (200 since I put it into storage in December! That's why my tank was down to 1/4)
     

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