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Dino DIY - Refreshing my 1973 246 GTS

Discussion in '206/246' started by synchro, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #1 synchro, Jun 9, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I've owned this 1973 246 GTS for a decade & a half and in the past few years I've noticed the front right brake caliper getting sticky, so its time to dig in and go through it. Well, you know how that goes - looking at this area reveals several things that need tending to; brakes, flex lines, suspension bushes don't look great either...the list grows and I'm jumping in. Has anyone else had that "while you're in there" experience? chuckle

    First, here's some historical stuff, a couple of old photos.
    - Top is the trusty Dino in 2004 on a Pacific Region Ferrari Club trip to Dave&Patty Rafanelli's grape ranch in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma. I had just blasted down from Seattle and there is blackened brake dust on the front, passenger's side wheel, see it? Note also my prized 1994 Monterey Meet FCA Rallye sticker on the center of the windshield, Car "54".
    - Bottom photo of myself with the car showing how well I can hold my breath/stomach...ahem!
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  3. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #2 synchro, Jun 9, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    When I originally bought the Dino and got it home, I noticed that the passenger's seat wobbled and found it was loose at the rear, inboard seat track mounting point. The allen bolt had become loose and jammed. When I pulled back the carpet and insulation padding to investigate I found this 1972 French 5 Centimes coin there. This was peculiar since my Dino is a USA version.

    A while later, I was ordering some parts from Algar in PA and was chatting with a very nice man in their Parts Dept, Livio "Li" Ramani. At one point in the conversation Li mentioned that he might be able to get my original delivery sheet. Apparently Algar had retained the records from Chinetti when they bought out his facility. This sounded great and a few weeks later, I received a pleasant surprize in the mail, the delivery sheet below. This was very cool, but when I looked closer at the delivery papers I noticed the original owner had taken delivery on the exact day of the same month as my 15th Birthday. In a way, the Dino and I have the same birthday!

    We continued talking and I relayed to him the experience with the seat track and finding the French coin in my USA car. Li had a simple explanation; that Chinetti often took delivery of Ferraris at the factory in Italy and drove them himself to the delivery port in France where they would be shipped to the USA. Luigi got a mini vacation and his business saved on trucking costs. Li conjectured that perhaps at some toll booth or when he had change in his trousers this coin had fallen out and gotten lost as it wedged itself under the insulation near the seat track.

    Oh my, could Luigi Chinetti really been the first driver of my Dino?
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  4. Crawler

    Crawler F1 Rookie

    Jul 2, 2006
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    That's a great story about the coin. The Chinetti connection is as plausible an explanation as any, I would say.

    I had a sticky caliper as well two years ago on my '73, though as I recall it was the left rear. Getting that fixed "led" to a complete suspension rebuild, new bushings, Konis, and powder-coating of all components. Not cheap, but the new suspension is fabulous.
     
  5. rynoshark

    rynoshark Formula Junior
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    Scott, hope you still have that coin! Very interesting story...and plausible. Particularly given the coin was minted the year earlier!
     
  6. jselevan

    jselevan Formula 3

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    When restoring 02832 in 1981 I found a 1971 Lire coin (100 Lire) under the carpet. Still have it. Only way it got there was at the factory during test drive.

    Jim S.
     
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  8. nerodino

    nerodino Formula 3
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    When i took the carpet up in my 74 a couple of years ago i also found a french coin! I think i kept it with the "miscellaneous" parts i will look.
    G P
     
  9. VIZSLA

    VIZSLA Four Time F1 World Champ
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    An alternative scenario. When I got my new car an Italian friend put a 50 cent piece in the ash tray for luck. Who knew?
     
  10. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #8 synchro, Jul 3, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    When I bought the Dino from Symbollic in San Diego, it came with no books (is anyone here surprized?) and in
    the early 1990's, those pre-internet days offered few options to find these; fellow club members, Ken at Ferrari Literature, and Fred Repass were the basic options. I found a nice set from Fred Repass who claimed it was the best set he had ever seen and he charged accordingly for it (not that far off from todays prices).

    As we were talking about it he mentioned that he would be seeing his old friend Luigi Chinetti at the end of the month and offered to have him autograph the owner's manual. I balked and said "No way, why have someone write in a book that expensive?" Fred retorted with full explanantion of the Chinetti importation of Ferraris into the US and I still declined not wanting to scar a pristine, original manual. He mentioned the offer a third time adding that "history of Ferraris in America are due to Chinetti".

    I thought about it and noted he had repeated the offer three times; obviously this was a man who had a far broader perspective of the Ferrari involvement than I and after re-thinking the offer I agreed. A few weeks later I received the pouch, contents and signed owner's manual you see in the photo.

    I was shocked and saddened just a few months later when I heard that Chenetti Sr. had passed on and I still have several Autoweek magazine articles about it.
    .
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  11. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    Perhaps you have a crystal ball...or like to read the last page of a book first (that was humor)
     
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  13. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #10 synchro, Jul 3, 2008
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    OK, I've been sandbagging this thread with old history of stuff and this is supposed to be a DIY showing you how easy it is (or how easy I imagine it is) to do your own work.

    I don't have a fancy lift so I start by doing the safety setup; jack the car, securely put stands under it with triple redundancy backup and when the wheels come off they go under the car in that area.

    Pull the wheel off and remove the splash panels to get at the area.

    Remove the brake line with a 12mm wrench and gently pull it away from the caliper for clearance.

    Then remove the calipers from their mounting using a 19mm wrench on the two cap bolts.

    A dirty and grimey job...so far I'm looking at the right caliper's pads and they sure look far more worn that the left pads.
    A full brake caliper rebuild and replacing lines is in order.

    ...but wait, there's more!
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  14. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #11 synchro, Jul 5, 2008
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    I'm commited to tackling the brakes; but once I pulled the splash panels and get a closer look at the contents of all 4 wheel arches it shows some needs. The bushings are split where you can see them, and they're probably worse where you can't see them. One ball joint has tears in the boot and the same is also seen on the steering rack boots. While the car has been a great driver for ~15 years, it is time to do something well deserved.


    I believe you are very "tuned in" to where this needs to go ...
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  15. Crawler

    Crawler F1 Rookie

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    #12 Crawler, Jul 6, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2008
    Yes, that looks very familiar. Do you notice any "nibbling" of the front end when you go over rough pavement in a turn? That, and some slight vagueness in the steering were the main things I noticed when my bushings were shot. It was like day and night once the rebuild was completed.

    Incidentally, this is where I sourced my bushings and ball joints. They had the best pricing that I found and shipped very quickly:

    http://www.maseratisource.com/servlet/StoreFront

    I got the Konis from T. Rutlands.
     
  16. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    Dang, are you reading my mind?
    </big chuckle>
    I had noticed the front end is "speed sensitive" and has dead zones.


    Yes, I've known Jacques at the Maserati source from 19 years of Maserati Bora ownership
     
  17. jselevan

    jselevan Formula 3

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    Scott - Before diving into this project, you might read the thread in the Boxer section, "If it ain't broke..."

    If your intent is restoration of the car, then by all means, have fun. However, if your motive is to improve handling performance, I offer that cracked rubber on the exposed aspect of the bushing speaks little about the condition of the working surfaces of the bushing. Upon restoring several Dinos, I found that the bushings were, indeed, in excellent condition despite the outward appearance. There was no play, and A-arm action was quite smooth. Upon pressing the bushings out of the arms, the OD and ID of the mating surfaces were perfect.

    Remember that most of these cars have few miles on them. Suspension bushings on almost any car will last 100K miles easily. Time is not a factor, other than ozone action on rubber that is exposed. The working rubber is not exposed, as it is effectively hermetically sealed between the inner and outer metal bushing.

    Removing the bushings is a pain in the rosey red rectum, requiring that you cut two spot welds, press them out, and then reweld the new ones.

    Finally, if performance is your goal, I suggest that you replace the tires. The symptoms DinoDan describes are as likely a result of tires grown hard from time. If you are going to replace the bushings, would you not replace the tires as well? If so, do the tires first, it may solve your handling performance issues.

    Finally, my comments are directed to the need to replace bushings, not to the hobbiest's desire to "refresh" or restore.

    Jim S.
     
  18. Crawler

    Crawler F1 Rookie

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    In my case, the tires were the same (brand new) ones before and after the suspension job, so that was clearly not a factor. Having said that, because the bushings were replaced at the same time as the dampers (shocks), it's entirely possible that the bushings were not the problem, and that everything was due to worn dampers. My own opinion is that while the "nibbling" understeer might have been caused by the Konis not adequately damping the harmonics in the suspension, the steering "vagueness" was likely caused by excessive play in the bushings. I will add that my car only had 30K miles on it when the suspension work was performed a little over a year ago. Of course, age is a factor as well as mileage, especially when it comes to organic material like rubber. I find it difficult to believe that being hermetically sealed from contamination completely prevents degradation of an organic material. But then, you have first hand experience of taking apart old bushings, and I do not.

    Interesting discussion.
     
  19. jselevan

    jselevan Formula 3

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    Dan - I have rebuilt three Dino suspensions...which makes me smart enough to be dangerous.

    All three were for restoration purposes. My most recent experience, and the one that makes me suspicious of old tires, was a suspension rebuild precipitated by unbelievably bad handling. In particular, the car wanted to dart from side to side, over steer dramatically, and just felt like there were dead spots in the mid-steering range. I would turn the wheel and at times it did not seem as though the car cared. It was like driving on ice. It was not understeer, as the few degrees of steering wheel turn was rather minimal. All of this despite proper alignment (checked alignment twice on modern laser equipment).

    I attributed all of this to suspension issues, and this was the catalyst that sent the snowball down hill. Once the suspension was on the floor, I found all of the bushings to have rather smooth movement, no play, and no slop. The rubber within the bushings was fine. The exposed rubber looked the same as the pictures in this thread...cracked and old looking. The rubber within the bushings looked fine.

    Flash forward. New tires, new everything, and the car feels like it runs on rails. I believe it was the tires that made the difference.

    Might try this first...although, as mentioned below, if restoration is the game, then go ahead and dive in.

    Jim S.
     
  20. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    Good advice, but too late. I've actually been sandbagging posts as I've been busy at work. Time to catch up (posting about projects while you do them more then doubles the effort).
     
  21. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #18 synchro, Aug 17, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Well, I'm commited, time to start removing things, first the steering/tie rods, the torsion bar.

    Unfasten the castle nut on the outer tie rod and separate from the control arm. I had to use a picklefork for this.

    Remove the 12mm nylock on the end of the torsion bar to free it from the link.
    NOTE: I found that this thread is M12x1.50 which is different from the other M12s in the suspension. In the rear the trailing torsion bar link uses an M12 at each end of teh link to fasten it BUT they have different thread pitch M12x1.25 vs M12x1.50. Do not mix them up or force any nut on any threaded surface as it can do harm.

    Remove the large retaining bolt on the lower A arm that holds the link
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  22. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #19 synchro, Aug 17, 2008
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  23. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #20 synchro, Aug 17, 2008
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  24. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #21 synchro, Aug 21, 2008
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    Using two 19mm wrench&sockets, remove the inboard bolt that retains the torsion bar link, shock mount and lower ball joint from the A-arm.

    Use two 17mm wrench&sockets to remove the outboard bolt that retains the ball joint mount. Tap lightly with a rubber mallet to free the lower ball joint from the A-arm and lower shock mount.

    *** pay attention to the EXACT position of the four suspension shims*** These will need to go back in the same order to give your alignment guy a good starting point.


    Notice the lovely shade of overspray that contrasts nicely with the wonderful yet subtle dirt highlights :)
    I know Corbani likes the tactile feel without them, but I feel gloves are a must.
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  25. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #22 synchro, Aug 21, 2008
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  26. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #23 synchro, Aug 21, 2008
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    With the ball joints, torsion bar, shock and tie rod free congtrol arm free the hub assembly can be removed from the car.

    Note that I have lightly re-attached the bolts and shims in their positions to preserve their location.
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  27. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #24 synchro, Aug 21, 2008
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  28. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    #25 synchro, Aug 21, 2008
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    Remove the shock/spring assembly to gain access to aft bushing's pinion bolt.

    To remove the aft, upper shock bushing's pinion bolt use a 19mm wrench on the back side with a 10mm allen wrench (I'm using an allen driver) on the front side. Access is gained through the suspension U-bracket holes.
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