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F355 Shock Acuators

Discussion in '348/355' started by 355rockit, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. 355rockit

    355rockit Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2010
    871
    San Marcos, CA
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    Vas
    I perused the forums and found a great deal of info on how to troubleshoot when the suspension error light appears and how to fix the F355 shock actuator. One thing I haven't found an answer to is what are the possible pitfalls of continuing to drive the F355 given an illuminated Suspension light until I have time to start digging in and troubleshooting.

    I read that when the suspension light goes on, it defaults to safe mode. In a 1995, the suspension switch brings the car into comfort mode (deafult is sport), but I hear that for 1996 - on, the suspension switch turns on sport mode (default is comfort). When the Suspension light goes on, for a 1995 F355, does the safe mode default to Sport mode or Comfort mode?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. F355steve

    F355steve Formula 3

    Apr 9, 2008
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    It reverts to a middle setting on the shocks. The shocks are then in that middle stifness setting until everything is fixed. Sport mode and comfort mode change how the actuators react to conditions the car is seeing (speed, gear, g-forces). Sport mode has more aggressive reactions than comfort. When the system is broken there are no reactions, it is in neither sport nor comfort mode.
     
  4. 355rockit

    355rockit Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2010
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    Vas
    Thanks for the info. It is really helpful. I guess I am no rush to fix it then, but does need to get fixed sooner than later.
     
  5. TheRossatron

    TheRossatron Karting

    Jul 23, 2005
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    Ross
    If the actuator gears are broken it may not be able to revert to any setting so worst case you may have unbalanced rebound rates on one (or maybe more) corners.
     
  6. rustybits

    rustybits F1 Rookie
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    Yep. You need to at least pull the actuators and check the shock-top gear isn't shot...
     
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  8. gothspeed

    gothspeed F1 World Champ

    May 26, 2006
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    If the little gear on top is broke, Ricambi sells replacements ....... and here is a post I copied from the 355 parts resource sticky thread:

     
  9. 355rockit

    355rockit Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2010
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    Currently it feels like the passenger side suspension is acting a bit too 'bouncy' compared to the drivers side. Not sure yet if it is front or back. I'll take a look this weekend. I am hoping it isn't the front since it looks a bit more difficult to access the shock actuators than the rear.
     
  10. 355rockit

    355rockit Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2010
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    #8 355rockit, Oct 13, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I pulled the passenger side shock actuator and low and behold it appears to be the culprit. The plastic gear is broken. I assume this is the part that I need to get from Ricambi. The actuator itself looks okay externally. I didn't start the car and check that it is turning since I saw the gear broken that is attached to the shock tower. Can I disconnect the actutaor's on both rear shocks until I fix the passenger side rear actuator gear or is this not a good idea.
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  11. bcwawright

    bcwawright F1 Veteran

    Jul 8, 2006
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    Yes.....you'll just live with the warning light until you fix.

    I would atleast make sure that all four shocks are set at the same dampening setting.
     
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  13. gothspeed

    gothspeed F1 World Champ

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    This is what you need:

    http://www.ricambiamerica.com/product_info.php?products_id=261324

    Once you correct these little gear issues, the actuators will each cycle and find the stops ...... then the will automatically sync up ......... :)
     
  14. 355rockit

    355rockit Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2010
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    I ordered the part from Ricambi. Thanks all for the help.
     
  15. 355rockit

    355rockit Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2010
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    #12 355rockit, Oct 20, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I took me a while, but I was able to get the retaining pin out from the gear/shaft. Now for some reason the gear just doesn't lift off the shaft. It seems like there is a lip on the top of the shaft preventing removal or is there something else I need to do to get the gear removed? Also what oil do you recommend to lube the gear prior to replacement? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
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  16. Extreme

    Extreme F1 Rookie

    May 26, 2010
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    Looks like yours has somehow developed a lip... Very strange.
    It looks like you could easily de burr it with a dremel tool or something similar.
     
  17. gothspeed

    gothspeed F1 World Champ

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    You might be able to get a small file or sand paper in there to remove the lip. You may need to break the old gear off to improve access to the lip.

    As for lube I just applied a light film of synthetic wheel bearing grease on the installed gear, because it resists moisture and weather better than other lubes out there.
     
  18. 355rockit

    355rockit Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2010
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    It took alot of patience and a small metal file, but I was able to deburr the top of the shaft and get the gear off. It then took me a whole heck of a time getting the pin back in. Finally using the needle trick, pliers and a hammer it finally went in.

    I ended up using synlube that is used for bike chains and is graphite based since I didn't have the bearing grease handy. It was light and seemed to do the trick.

    Tomorrow I will see if the suspension light goes out or if there is another pesky gear. Just finished detailing the car for the Del Mar Concour d'Elegance and being rainy, wanted to keep her purty for tomorrow's show.

    Thanks again for everyone's help.
     
  19. 355rockit

    355rockit Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2010
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    #16 355rockit, Nov 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Just a follow-up. It turned out that the left shock top gear was also broken which then broke the internal plastic gear. I sent both shock actuators to Captain Z CNC for rebuild. I mailed the parts out on Saturday and they received, inspected and rebuilt the units on Monday. They were then mailed out on Tuesday. That is fast service.

    I purchased a hobby hammer and calipers which made the almost 2 hour job last time to replace the shock top gear a <20 minute excercise. Below are pics of the rebuilt actuator, tools I used and it installed.

    The suspension light is no longer illuminated and the car rides much better. Not sure how both shock actuator gears ended up breaking at the same time a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully now that all gears are metal, the actuator will last many more years or at least until the actuator motor gives out.
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  20. Extreme

    Extreme F1 Rookie

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    I sent mine to Captain Z the turn around time is fantastic.
     
  21. gobble

    gobble Formula 3
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    When you guys re-install the new gear from Ricambi is there a specific spot in the rotation where it needs to be installed? For example, I could spin the little spindle 20 times in one direction right now (if I wanted to) with the gear broken. What happens if I install the new gear after spinning the shock top a bunch of times? Is the computer smart enough to sense where it is and adjust or do I need to install the new gear at a specific spot?
     
  22. 355rockit

    355rockit Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2010
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    There is no specific spot. It kind of 'knows' where to be after the gear is installed and the rebuilt or undamaged actuator is re-installed.
     
  23. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
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    Feb 20, 2015
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    Does anyone one know where I can get replacement black rubber grommets/seals for the shock actuator? Even CaptainZ said that he has to make them up by gluing rubber washers together.

    The shape of the grommet is so complex, I've even thought about creating a mold/mould to fabricate them.

    Thanks!
    Rgds
    Ian

    (EDIT: By the way, the grommet wasn't damaged.. it was completely missing when I first opened it up)
     
  24. F355steve

    F355steve Formula 3

    Apr 9, 2008
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    I will address this to give some clarity. The shock gears have 270 degrees of travel. Every time you turn the ignitio each one does a test cycle. It goes full left and full right and then knows where center is. If something is off with the test you get the suspension light. But this test means you can take them off and put them one and it doesn't matter where the gears are.
     
  25. gothspeed

    gothspeed F1 World Champ

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    +1 ... :)
     
  26. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
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    Does this 270 apply only because of the stops on the metal gear wheel on top of the shock? I read about situations where the spindle to which the gear wheel is attached might be jammed, so, with the broken metal gear removed, I rotated the shock spindle through a number of (360deg) turns in each direction.

    Might I have compromised the operation of the shock by turning it so much (or for that matter, through 180 degrees: I presume that the roll pin can be inserted in two positions)?

    Thanks
    Ian
     
  27. gobble

    gobble Formula 3
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    That's normal. When I was at captain CNC he showed me a shock taken apart and there's just a hole at the bottom of the shaft that lets oil through depending on how it's turned. You could spin it 100 times and it would still be the same.
     
  28. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
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    Thanks for the quick response, "gobble". :)

    I was trying to visualise how the 270 degree stops work with a spindle which could have two 180deg apart starting positions (due to roll pin insertion position) and gave myself a headache).

    I thought if I got the spindle 180 degrees out of phase, the valve might be closed when it should be open.

    Cheers
    Ian.
     

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