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430 F430 Exhaust Header/Manifold Cracks - EU vs. US theories

Discussion in '360/430' started by _TS, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. _TS

    _TS Rookie

    Jan 20, 2019
    35
    Germany
    Hi guys,

    I do not wish to annoy anyone by repeating common knowledge about the F430's fragile exhaust manifold/headers, but rather I would like to add a little twist here. I myself am based in Germany and own a 2006 F430 Manual Spider with ~20k km on the odometer, which recently experienced cracked OEM headers.

    I do not know if anybody else here or elsewhere has arrived at a similar conclusion like I have: while there is little doubt, the entire F430 owners' universe agrees upon the fact that the OEM headers crack like raw eggs, there are two more or less different theories about how to solve the misery with aftermarket parts out there. Please don't grill me for the "drawer theory" applied, but more or less this is how it presented itself to me.

    European owners:
    While the vast majority European forums and (offline) owners seem to have the opinion that the actual root cause is a too stiff and rigidly mounted exhaust system leading to a cracking of the weakest part in the entire system, i.e. the headers. The assumption is that the problem can be solved by using the Capristo exhaust mounts on the rear end to give the necessary relief to the headers to keep even the OEM headers healthy in the mid- to long-term.

    US owners:
    The common way to address the header cracks in US-biased forums (particularly FChat) is the installation of aftermarket headers. I have not found a consistent root cause analysis, but what seems obvious is that the OEM headers itself assumed to be a failed design (including the minor revision of the OEM part that Ferrari has introduced later). Specifically, I have not read much about whether the choice of material of the OEM headers or the different bending angles are assumed as the cause. Probably a combination of both. Generally, I am of the impression that any of the numerous aftermarket header manufacturers seem to be prone to cracking again from what the forums tell. Cannot remember a single fault reported with aftermarket headers during my quite extensive research.


    Why does this matter at all? Because I believe, my car gives at least some additional hint that it is questionable if the EU theory alone does solve everything in any case. I purchased it with ~15k km in December 2017 in very good overall condition. A proper full service and handover inspection was done at a large Ferrari dealer in Germany before I drove my first mile with it. Trying not to be too naive, I had the dealer check the headers (for noise) and, at the same time, had the Capristo exhaust mounts installed. Headers were fine back then.

    I put some ~4k additional km on the car last season with the Capristo mounts installed and then had it serviced at the same dealer in March 2019 again. Both headers were cracked. Had a detailed chat with Tony Capristo over the phone (who happens to be located in Germany, too), whose mounts I had installed to prevent the cracks in the first place. He said, never to have heard of a similar case before. In short, his theory is that my headers had microscopic cracks already on purchase, which just became larger until noticeable. Obviously, this is a possible and irrefutable theory. His recommendation was to have the original OEM headers welded and everything should be fine, because the root cause is still solved (flexible instead of rigid exhaust mounting).

    For myself, I will never find out if he was right or not, as I decided to order and install Tubistyle headers made from Inconel. Basically, for the comparably reasonable additional cost I wanted some little bit of peace of mind based on knowing to have an entirely different choice of material and bending characteristics of the pipes. My hope is that now, with both above theories put to practice, it will ultimately be reliable. We will see.

    Also, I was curious about the actual cracks themselves, as I have not found any other pictures anywhere on the Internet. I checked the pipes with my digital endoscope. Both headers (L+R) have cracks in the same pipes a few centimeters behind the bending (crack positions marked in red). On the pictures, the cracks have a white/blue reflection in some resulting from the endoscope's LED light reflected by bare metal. The remaining 6 pipes seem to be fine from visual inspection.

    Hope this gives some additional insight to those affected and curious.

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    Cheers,
    TS
     
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  2. whatheheck

    whatheheck F1 Rookie
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    Mar 27, 2006
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    Thanks for sharing info.

    You didn't provide your opinion on root cause.

    Do you think it's simply poor OE exhaust manifold design and workmanship?

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  3. _TS

    _TS Rookie

    Jan 20, 2019
    35
    Germany
    Actually, I mainly base my own opinion on probabilities having read dozens of threads and hundreds of posts about this. This may account for some reasonable distortion/bias.

    Probably there is some truth to both root cause theories. Otherwise the mostly positive results in both cases are not to be explained. Certainly, the Capristo brackets are the far cheaper and easier attempt at "fixing" it. There are more than enough success reports out there - many of them date back to earlier days though. Speaking from my personal experience (see above), for people who now have a car with ageing OEM headers and OEM exhaust brackets, the window of opportunity is probably closing - if it has not already closed. Ageing materials and hidden micro-cracks are probably eminent by now. In other words: the damage is likely done. So, I would say it is quite a bit of luck necessary, if you want to install the Capristo brackets proactively in order to prevent damage (like I intended). So, while I do not doubt that the brackets are a good thing in general, I doubt their usefulness in terms of "saving" older OEM headers proactively nowadays.

    The main question, that I still cannot answer is, whether you could better save the money for the Capristo brackets, drive until the OEM headers crack and get some aftermarket ones then, while keeping the original exhaust mounts. I.e. accepting that the headers are doomed to fail anyway. It would be interesting to know if there are some examples where aftermarket headers did actually crack after a few years (with or without Capristo brackets installed?). Maybe the aftermarket headers are _that much_ more durable/stable that the too rigid OEM exhaust mounts do not matter anymore? But maybe not. Who knows...

    Cheers,
    TS
     
  4. IMHO such a major and obvious design flaw should've caused a recall by Ferrari. Any other car manufacturer would've already done this.
    For the price point of these cars that should've been a no brainier and unacceptable for Ferrari owners. My understanding is the mark II exhaust that is on the 2008's still are prone to failure.



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  5. RedTaxi

    RedTaxi Formula 3
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    Ferrari refused to acknowledge anything was wrong. Yet the very next model, the 458, had a bellows expansion joint right after the header which solved the issue. I never liked the capristo mount idea. The exhaust should move with the engine. The capristo mounts are bolted to the chassis. The simple solution is just remove the rigid lower mounts. The upper bowspring is quite flexible and up to the task.
     
  6. I guess a class action lawsuit would've gotten their attention but that takes effort and someone to spearhead it

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  7. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    I suspect if everyone in the USA that had failed exhaust manifolds reports to the NHTSA, it could force a recall. Same with roll over valves and cracked fuel pumps. These are all safety issues.
    https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/VehicleComplaint/
     
  8. Jgivoo

    Jgivoo Formula Junior
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    Jan 22, 2016
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    I have the OEM sport exhaust (made by Tubi) installed. It allows the exhaust system to move in all axis allowing expansion with no restriction. This exhaust should have been factory installed on all F430's. I have not seen any posts where the headers crack with this setup.
     
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  9. _TS

    _TS Rookie

    Jan 20, 2019
    35
    Germany
    Is this “just” a changed end can, working with identical OEM headers or are also the headers different ones in this setup? Are the exhaust mounts any different?
     
  10. Is that this model number of 70003425?

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  11. Zed82

    Zed82 Formula Junior

    Sep 28, 2017
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  12. mwstewart

    mwstewart Formula 3
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    The manifolds are well made. They aren't the problem.
     
  13. Jgivoo

    Jgivoo Formula Junior
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  14. INTMD8

    INTMD8 F1 Veteran
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    The cracks you have pictured is the result of the tubes -not- being back purged with shielding gas during welding.

    This is incorrect for any grade stainless steel and results in hydrogen embrittlement/weakening of the weld.
     
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  15. whatheheck

    whatheheck F1 Rookie
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    My exhaust manifolds were discovered cracked during PPI.

    Theres simply better designed headers and mufflers out there so I replaced mine with Agency Power headers and Kline Exhaust. Works great, sounds great, issue solved.

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  16. RedTaxi

    RedTaxi Formula 3
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    I took the heat shield off my cracked header. Crack was obvious and repairable. I wouldn't say they were well made though. Some of the welds are pretty average. But as you say, the headers are not the actual problem.
     
  17. Themaven

    Themaven F1 Rookie
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    And is there a straight solution to the manifolds/headers issue? That people agree on? I have mk2 headers with no issues yet but would like to take evasive action. The sound of the stock 430 exhaust is just fine to me.
     
  18. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    My local dealer said that they had good luck with MK2 exhaust manifolds when used with the Capristo brackets. When I was shopping for an F430, they told me to make sure the car had the updated MK2 exhaust manifolds and to immediately install Capristo brackets if they were not already installed.
     
  19. Themaven

    Themaven F1 Rookie
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    Great, thank you. I have the Mk2 manifolds so that sounds like a good option. I can believe the manifolds problem is caused by vibration. My car has a zing vibration on its exhaust, which my dealer (not the supplying dealer) says is normal for the cars. Over time that must have an effect.
     
  20. RichardCH

    RichardCH F1 Rookie
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    The exhaust gearbox clamp fixing U brackets are probably the root cause in my opinion, everyone should remove these, they serve no purpose
     
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  21. Jgivoo

    Jgivoo Formula Junior
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    With the OEM sport system, I can measure growth in the X axis. After a Normal drive, the exhaust system expands (grows) 3/8 to 1/2 inch. As RichardCH concludes, the gear box clamp fixing U brackets are the problem. They prohibit this growth so the weak link in the exhaust system must withstand these forces of expansion and over time will fail. I'm sure the leaf spring doesn't help either.
     
  22. RichardCH

    RichardCH F1 Rookie
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    Even better the cracks at Fabspeed who are such experts in exhaust systems, with decades of experience, have even produced an even stronger gearbox U bracket as these can strangely fail due to heat expansion as well, it is too funny to be true but sadly it is https://www.fabspeed.com/ferrari-f430-oem-muffler-support-bracket-upgrade/ and illustrates how little Fabspeed know about anything regarding thermal dynamics...or they regard the majority of us as plain stupid.
     
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  23. RichardCH

    RichardCH F1 Rookie
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    I am now running the above Ferrari OEM Sport Tubi exhaust too that Zed82 has
     
  24. RichardCH

    RichardCH F1 Rookie
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    but anything works as long as you remove the gearbox brackets
     
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  25. whatheheck

    whatheheck F1 Rookie
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    Thanks for this great info Richard.

    Question please, in the absence of the OE gearbox U bracket exhaust support - if that is removed what supports the exhaust cans and will that be enough to support the weight of the exhaust cans and cats?

    Thanks in advance.

    Dan

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