Buying a 355, help. | FerrariChat

Buying a 355, help.

Discussion in '348/355' started by J.Seven, Nov 26, 2003.

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  1. J.Seven

    J.Seven Rookie

    Nov 18, 2003
    What are the things to look at on a used 355? I know the timming belt is very expensive to substitute as the engine as to come out, how much can it cost such job? Is the suspension prone to failures? What should I look for in order to prevent some headackes after buying it? Can you really feel the difference in confort from the several suspension settings it has?

    The 993TT could be another choice and it is known to be a better daily driver and more reliable than the 355, what do you Ferrari experts have to say about it? Sorry for all this questions, but I was really interested on buying a 993TT unttil I found a guy who has both and told me the 355 is far better in almost every way. The advantage of the 993TT is that it can be easily tuned to 500Hp or more, leaving the 355 on the dust, but the soul is named Ferrari.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Gregg Willhoit

    Nov 1, 2003
    Houston, Texas
    Full Name:
    Gregg Willhoit
    I aslo have both the 993, mine is a RUF turbo and the F355.
    Both are soft tops, the Porsche is silver/black, and the Ferrari is
    Rosso Barchetta/Tan. I believe that the F355 is the superior
    automobile in virtually every category, save one, and that is horsepower
    to weight ratio. The RUF produces over 500 hp/lbs torque, which
    is fun to play with, however, I feel much more comfortable at speed
    in the Ferrari, especially on the twisties.

    If I had to give one up, it would be the RUF, no questions asked.

  3. tonyh

    tonyh F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Dec 23, 2002
    S W London
    Full Name:
    Tony H
    I have a very good buyers' guide to 355 i can email if it helps.PM your email address if you want it.
  4. mondial86

    mondial86 Formula Junior

    Nov 1, 2003
    Full Name:
    David Holmes
    I have just finished about 6 months of looking for a great not good 355,yhr biggest problem i found was that cars were said to have service up to date,but none had had the major done .The major is 30,000 mi. or every 5 years,all the cars i looked at had arround 15,000 miles on them and were 5 to 7 to 8 years old .One car was so beet that i would not drive it.T he wone I bought was from a dealer has been certifed from Ferrari has all service done including the major done last winter . I payed full money for the car ,but in this case compaired to what I looked at and what I could of bought for less money I am ok paying a preium for a great car
  5. ernie

    ernie Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Nov 19, 2001
    The Brickyard
    Full Name:
    The Bad Guy

    The engine out major will cost you between $6,000 - $7,000 at the dealer, depending on were you go. So make sure that the one you get has had it done. Make sure you have documentation to prove it. If you find a 1995 year model, there was a valve guide update that need to be done on the cars. Have the clutch checked out also. The factory exhaust headers on the 355 have a tendancy to go bad. The power windows start to function slowly, but that is with alot of Ferrari's not just the 355. The power windows are an easy fix, it usually is just some bad connection. The coating on the door levers gets this gummy soft wax texture to it. What ever the factory puts on them doesn't hold up very well, but that can be fixxed with a scrub pad, soap, water, and some elbow grease. The tops on the GTS models tend to leak, due to poor seals. Just don't drive it in the rain. Alot of people advise getting the latest model you can because they normally have had all the factory updates. However if I were in the market for a 355 I would look for a '95 that has had all the updates done. The '95's make the most power, because they have two throtle bodies as compaired to one with the later models. Well thats all I can think of. Good luck.
  6. Simon

    Simon Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Aug 29, 2003
    Full Name:
    Check on the old board there are lots of threads on this I think.

    The main weak spots on the 355 where the exhaust manifolds which would crack. This would basically just lead to a loss of power but would also affect any emissions test you need to pass. New manifolds aren't cheap but most people will replace with tubi or something similar as the problem will just come back if you use original parts.

    Pre1998 cars had softer valve guides that wear quicker. I know someone who's had this problem. One of the exhaust valves wasn't sitting squarely anymore due to the wear. This caused a loss of compression on one cylinder. Unfortunately by the time he noticed anything wrong this inbalance had already caused one of his big end bearings to go. Nothing catastrophic but the head rebuilds and the bottom end bearings weren't cheap, about 8000Euros.

    Also, I've heard the earlier cars had two ECU's which apparently were less reliable than the later single ECU. But thats only on pre 96 cars

    BTW I'm talking about euro cars here...don't know if you're in the states.

  7. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    A complete set of service records and documentation.

    Minimum $5000, plus whatever they find that needs fixing

    No, however, shocks wear out at a typoical sports car rate (50K-70K)

    Have a competent mechanic give it a good looking over (figure $250)

  8. Robertb

    Robertb Formula 3

    Nov 19, 2003
    South Oxfordshire, U
    Full Name:
    The 993 is a better daily driver, no question; would you really want to leave a 355 parked on the street? You'd probably get away with it with the 993. The 355 has a more comfortable ride, and feels more special. The 355 will cost far more to maintain than a 993, and too many miles will affect its value far more than the 993. The 993 has rear seats which are surprisingly useful (small, but then the 355 has none!)

    I personally found the 355 a much more appealing car all round than the 993. But the 993 does somehow feel more robust, and is a sensationally quick and nimble car in all weathers.

    Decisions, decisions... see which one you like best. Or buy both!

    If you do go down the 355 route, look at the line where the rear buttresses join the rear wings as these often corrode.
  9. J.Seven

    J.Seven Rookie

    Nov 18, 2003
    Fantastic feed back from all of you WOW, thank you very much, it really helped to clear some doubts I had.
    Great board.


  10. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
    Owner Rossa Subscribed

    May 29, 2001
    From my own research on 355's:

    The valve guide problem potentially exists on all cars up to mid 98, as that was when they started using steel valve guides. Not all cars with the bronze guides have problems...but that may be just that they haven't put suffient miles on to see it....who know's? Someone posted the engine numbers when the switch took place in mid 98 on the old F-chat site.

    95's also are often times plagued with a twitchy throttle problem. Again, not all cars, but some, and though there are updates to the throttle cable and linkage, this does not always solve it, some suspect that there is a software/ecu issue....

    The shocks seem prone to premature failure...again, not all cars, but a good number I have looked at, had failures of either the fronts or rears (rarely both) between 15k and 20k miles.

    Exhaust manifold failures seem to occur through all years, and the replacements are no better, so they will continue to fail. Again, not all cars, as some never experience a problem....others have had multiple replacements....go figure.

    Cats also fail on quite a few cars. Strange, as you don't hear about that with other brands of cars.

    RobertB is correct to check the rear buttress, I have seen cracking in several cars I have examined...I would imagine corrosion would result eventually if left to the elements. I'm not sure what causes this; improper use of a lift, or that the chassis is not sufficiently rigid at this joint.

    I still intend to get a 355 in the next year or so...but will be careful in looking...
  11. Senna1994

    Senna1994 F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 11, 2003
    Orange County
    Full Name:
    Anthony T
    As a 355 owner DHanda's Post is excellent. I have a late 95 355 (Oct 95 build). I have 13k miles. I had the Exhaust Manifolds done under warranty and fuel rail lines under the recall. I recently had a leakdown and compression test after reading so much about Valve Guides on the Forum and luckily nothing was wrong. I had the 30k service with Belts done and the car feels strong. I do have a bit of a twitchy throttle but i know must 95 355s have this. Having owned an NSX I would not use my 355 as an everyday car. Just my 2cents.
  12. FL 355

    FL 355 Formula 3

    Nov 3, 2002
    Ft Laud
    Full Name:
    Frank Lipinski
    J. Seven - you have mail......
  13. ze_shark

    ze_shark Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2003
    Switzerland (NW)
    In addition to what was written above (exhaust manifolds in particular and valve guides), I would add:

    - check very carefully the base of the C pillar where it reaches the rear wings. Any hint of a paint imperfection is the sign that the joint is cracking. Can happen if the car was repeatedly driven hard on bumpy roads with the suspension in the sports setting.

    - have the rear axles seals (hose where they connect to the differential) checked, they eventually get cracked and then need replacement.

    Good luck :)
  14. 355f

    355f Formula Junior

    Nov 1, 2003
    Just wanted to clear up a misconception regarding rear buttress joins.

    After the body is spotwelded at the factory the whole item is electrophoretically dipped in primer.

    The problem is that this particular seam which is about 1 inch deep does not allow the primer to sink into the join. The result is unprotected metal.

    90% of cars are or will be effected and what happens is that condensation builds up inside this join (on top is a flexible sealer) and this starts rusting, the rust eventually pushes from underneath and shows itself as a cracked join or eruption on the topside.

    They are repaired but even a good job stops it for only say 2 years, then it needs doing again. many cars were done under warranty but Ferrrai only allow very limited time to fix it.

    the correct way is to dig out all the filler, sand blast it then start all over again, remove the archguards and clean the underside of the join and spray dinitrol .

    It is not about incorrect jacking, running in sports mode ect ect!!

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