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Cam-variator horror story, any input please!!!

Discussion in '360/430' started by E60 M5, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. E60 M5

    E60 M5 Moderator
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    Jan 2, 2006
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    Robert
    OK, so I bought my '99 360 back in March and at the time the car had been completly serviced by LakeForest Ferrari with a belt change in late '05. i asked them if the cam-variators had been fixed, answer: "not needed on that car.". I am like oh, ok. I read more on the Fchat and see that it should be done. So, I ask my SA at FOW, "no, its not coming up on the computer for your car", I'm like thats strange?! So, I finally call FNA this week and speak to Tino, very nice guy by the way, he says, "yea your car is supposed to get the service", great I think!
    Now heres the deal. FOW wants to charge me for the full belt service $2500 and FNA only wants to give them 1.5 hour labor!!!!!!!!!!!! What the heck!!! To replace the variators they have to go right by all the belts!!!!!!!! What does it matter what belt they put back on, new or old, one has to go back on the friggin car!!!! What gets me is FNA says I could wait until 9-08 when my belts are due, but won't guarentee they will pay for the work then, gee thanks!
    I am a little nervous to keep driving the car for the next year without replacing what could potential be a engine killer problem! I can't understand the bs around this whole issue. I am getting burned for work that FNA should be covering. I am not totally opposed to some compensation to the dealer either, but what the heck, they have to go right past the belts to get to the variators!!!!!!!!! They are killing me!!
    So, what would any of you do???? Wait, run the risk with the variators and FNA not paying for the job later or do it now and eat 1.5 year early belt change and swallow $2500 bucks!???????
    What did others experience with the cam-variator replacement???

    Thanks!!!

    Robert
     
  2. Ricambi America

    Ricambi America F1 World Champ
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    Spend the $2500 and get it done. It's better than $25K later.
     
  3. Senna1994

    Senna1994 F1 World Champ

    Nov 11, 2003
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    +1
     
  4. PCH

    PCH F1 Rookie

    Apr 7, 2004
    2,977
    I'm with Daniel and wouldn't wait until your next belt service. However, why not get a few more quotes from other reputable service facilities.
     
  5. carcommander

    carcommander Formula 3
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    Sep 28, 2006
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    Rifledriver, in a previous post, said do it now. 25k might not cover the downside. FNA is covering a problem on an 8 year old car.
     
  6. 720

    720 F1 Rookie

    Jul 14, 2003
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    maybe this is obvious, but is the variator the same thing as the "tensioner"? i'll assume for now that it is. although this is a potentially VERY EXPENSIVE problem if the part fails, from what i gather there have been very few actual failures. very few. i am not an expert, but again from what i've picked up on this topic is that the original tensioner was a poor design and was also made of the crappiest pot metal on the planet. okay. so ferrari redesigns the tensioner, but again it is the second poorest design ever and it is still made fromt he sdame crappy pot metal. i spoke to an experienced ferrari mechanic about this because i'm getting close to doing a belt service on both of my stradales. he told me that he would inspect the tensioners for any signs of failure (specifically he'll look for and cracks). if he sees any cracking then he'll replace the tensioners. if they look "okay" then he'll leave them alone.

    i wonder if you could ask ferrari to simply check to see if your tensioners are cracking? if they look okay then maybe it's reasonable to leave them alone? the modifed replacemernt tensioners are not much better than the original.
     
  7. jck

    jck Karting

    Sep 22, 2006
    181
    Santa Monica, CA
    Rick,

    I think I know who your "experienced Ferrari mechanic" is. I would go with anything he had to say as being 100% accurate.
     
  8. jck

    jck Karting

    Sep 22, 2006
    181
    Santa Monica, CA
    E _ G _ _ _ O
     
  9. 355dreamer

    355dreamer F1 Veteran
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    Apr 3, 2006
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    Rob,
    Sorry to hear about this. Until something breaks, I wouldn't quite call it a horror story. Have you tried to get FOW to explain why they want to charge you $2500.00 for this if they are removing the belts anyway? They seem to be pretty fair from what I have heard. Perhaps you should take to the service manager and see if he might be more reasonable. My $.02...
     
  10. Tipo815

    Tipo815 F1 Rookie

    Nov 1, 2003
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    Robert - I would go back to Lake Forest and voice your issue with them. ANY authorized dealer would have known that the variator campaign WAS/IS a warranty item when the belt service is done. IF they had indeed done a belt service then they would have done the variator service at the same time. My dealer took care of the entire variator-related issue when I did the belt service five months ago. It was also a 1999 car with only 7800 miles. My mechanic showed me the variator that came out of the car and explained the weak point. It showed signs of stress cracks at the weak point so I would say that you could possibly be on borrowed time. However you get it done ... get it done. From what I've heard variator failure can be catastrophic.
     
  11. ONEOFEW

    ONEOFEW Formula Junior

    Jan 19, 2006
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    #11 ONEOFEW, Jun 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  12. cig1

    cig1 F1 Rookie

    May 3, 2005
    2,869
    In front of you
    Variator or tensioner?
     
  13. RayJohns

    RayJohns F1 Veteran
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    May 21, 2006
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    I seem to remember reading/seeing something from FNA that said the variators were to be done at belt service if required. That might be why they are asking to involve the belt service in your case.

    I certainly wouldn't risk a failure in this area over $2500. When the valves contact the pistons, it is very nasty. Even if you rebuild the motor (which is a hassle), you will always worry whether the work was done right, etc.

    Ray
     
  14. cig1

    cig1 F1 Rookie

    May 3, 2005
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    Has any member of this message board experienced a variator failure ?

    G
     
  15. dsevo

    dsevo Formula Junior

    May 7, 2007
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    Dustin
    The fact that they told you that the variators didn't need to be changed when they were already in there makes me think that they should eat the time and do it for you. I would be extremely concerned if a supposed "professional" told you that they didn't need to be changed, and he is the same guy that's working on your car. However, either way it needs to be done and if you have to it's probably worth the $2,500.
     
  16. cig1

    cig1 F1 Rookie

    May 3, 2005
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    Is it possible they had already been done ... could be the reason the lookup showed he didn't need the update ???

    G
     
  17. bpu699

    bpu699 F1 Veteran
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    If the part were changed, LFSC would have listed it on the major/bill. If you don't have it, call them for a copy.
     
  18. RayJohns

    RayJohns F1 Veteran
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    #18 RayJohns, Jun 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017

    Robert,

    Here is a PDF file that I created from the original Ferrari campaign information (I deleted the procedure details in order to get it to fit ferrarichat's attachment size limits).

    Anyway, it may help you a little bit. It appears to detail that FNA will warranty 4.7 hours of labor done on a car that has already had the belts done perviously. Perhaps you can have your dealer pull up bulletin # 1232 for further information.

    Ray
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  19. E60 M5

    E60 M5 Moderator
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    Jan 2, 2006
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    More info! FOW actually contacted LakeForest on this issue already, so I am not going to call LF and ask what the heck, no point at this time.
    The cam-variator has nothing to do with the tensioners or pulleys, however, FNA is paying for the left hand tensioner at time of replacement because it is the left hand cams that are effected. You should never, ever, put a used belt back on a car, I don't care what car it is, thus the need for a new belt. No problem from my end with this, but why sock me with all the labor???

    Also, they are replacing the right hand tensioner and alll pulleys, this is required every 6 years on the 360. Something LF should have done at the last major. Again, I don't mind paying for this or the labor.

    Second, 355dreamer, I have been talking to Glenn and Josh at length on the service and they are in a pinch because FNA only wants to cover 1.5 hours of labor, leaving about 10 hours unpaid for or left with me to cover. I can't understand why FNA is not covering the full labor for the cam-variators!!??
    So, I will be calling them again, its just crazy!!!
    The work is scheduled for next Tuesday, I have a track day at the end of July and there is no way I would go on the track without this work.

    My question again, has anybody had the job done on their 360????? What did FNA pay to repair?????? Please this is what I need for ammo with FNA.

    Robert
     
  20. bwiele

    bwiele Formula Junior

    Mar 21, 2007
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    West Harrison, NY
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    Brian
    I bought a 2002 360 in March which had 700 miles on it. The fluids had been done a little over 2 years ago, so I knew they were overdue (although I wasn't panicked because the current fluids had like 100 miles on them). Additionally, the car being "in service" now for 4.5 years, it was technically 1.5 years past the belt service. But, the belts had 700 miles on them. How bad could they be? I fretted about the whole thing for a while, but decided to cough up the $$ to do everything (belts, fluids, plugs, plus replacing a bearing that they found was seized) and then have full confidence the car was perfect.

    It feels better this way.
     
  21. Ricambi America

    Ricambi America F1 World Champ
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    #21 Ricambi America, Jun 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Variator <> tensioner <> bearing.


    A = variator.
    B = tensioner bearing (rides on part C, tensioner)
    C = tensioner.

    3 ways to ruin your day:
    ---------------------------------------
    1. #C develops a crack and the tension on the belt goes slack.
    2. #B seizes and the belt slides itself into a smokey mess
    3. #A fails and it's location at the end of the camshaft wreaks havoc similar to Iraq on a bad day.
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  22. Maranello Racing Cars

    Maranello Racing Cars Formula Junior

    Jul 13, 2006
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    That is the tensioner
     
  23. RayJohns

    RayJohns F1 Veteran
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    FNA's document above (see my previous post) does outline reusing the belt in some cases (for example, when they just change the tensioner). It's just a belt.. it's not the space shuttle.

    Ray
     
  24. E60 M5

    E60 M5 Moderator
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    Jan 2, 2006
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    Ray,
    AWESOME!!!!!!!! Thanks!!!!! So, this does fall in line with what FOW is saying in that FNA will only pay for the 1.5 hours if they do the belts. But , if they only do the campaign 4.5 hours!!!! What the heck!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have to put a belt back on, what does it matter new or old!!!!!!!!! They just don't want to be paying for my supposed belt service, bottom line! But its not about the belts FNA!!!!!!! Geeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzz!!!

    Thanks again! I love this place!


    Robert




     
  25. Maranello Racing Cars

    Maranello Racing Cars Formula Junior

    Jul 13, 2006
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    #25 Maranello Racing Cars, Jun 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I personally did not have the issue, but one of our clients experienced the worst nightmare of having the variators brake, for not complying with Recall 97. He was having his daily drive in his car until he he heard a very loud bang in the engine and everything went stiff and the car did not turn on again. When we removed the heads, we found out that most of the valves were bent and guides needed to be replaced, plus the working of the heads itself. So imagine how much $$ he had to spend to fix his baby.

    Here are some pics, and sorry for the quality, but were taken by our tech in the shop.
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