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**F50 fuel bladder replacement**

Discussion in '288GTO/F40/F50/Enzo/LaFerrari' started by f40carlo, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. f40carlo

    f40carlo Formula Junior
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    Has anyone ever replaced these? They have a ten year life span according to Ferrari. I need to know if I should replace mine, or not bother. Any USA model is 15 years old, or 50% beyond the recommended replacement schedule. Has anybody had problems with the fuel cells?

    Thank you, in advance,
    Carlo
     
  2. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Yes you should replace them. Replacing fuel cells is no big deal. There are a number of companies that can make fuel cells to FIA standards. Modern Fuel is very hard on older cells.
     
  3. f40carlo

    f40carlo Formula Junior
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    Thank you for the reply. Would a Ferrari Dealership do the R&R? How do you get the specifications to these fuel cell makers? THere are only 50 USA model F50's so do they really have any experience? Would my Ferrari dealer remove the old ones, and send them out? Questions, questions?
     
  4. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Your Ferrari Dealer would handle everything. Several cars in the USA have had the fuel units changed by the official dealer network. As I recall pricing last year for one of my clients was $18,000 for the units plus labor, but check with Your Ferrari Dealer for current pricing...
     
  5. CornersWell

    CornersWell F1 Rookie

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    Certainly no expert on F50 fuel bladders, but in the race cars, we can now get them re-certified. MUCH less expensive than replacement. Explore...

    CW
     
  6. Dr_ferrari

    Dr_ferrari Formula 3
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    #6 Dr_ferrari, Oct 24, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2010
    Problem is, the f-50 being a street car the bladder would have to be DOT CERTIFIED. far as i know you cannot recertify for the street cars.

    Legally, you must replace with a new DOT certified replacement bladder. unfortunatly the only certified ones available are the factory OEM part.

    for sure a good option for a 360 challenge car or any other track only car.

    Regards, Jim
     
  7. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Jim: this is exactly what I have been told when it comes to the USA-spec F50s as it relates to using them on the road in the USA..
     
  8. 360C

    360C F1 World Champ
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    I replaced the fuel bladders and foam inserts before I sold my car earlier this year. The car was 1998, very late production, so the tanks were about 12 years old at the time.
    The old bladders looked ok visually; but the foam inserts looked like they may begin to break down in the near future. If this were to happen it would clog the fuel filters etc.
    You should take this into account if you decide not to replace the bladders.
     
  9. The Red Baron

    The Red Baron Formula Junior

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    There are a number of companies in the UK that make these fuel cells. They are the same as Ferrari supply at half or third of the price. And yes they should be changed as not only does the inner foam deteriorate, the cells do have a latent leakage which does get worse with age.
    If Ferrari has stipulated a useful life for these fuel cells then your insurance company will be the first to tell you about that fact if anything did go wrong.
     
  10. CornersWell

    CornersWell F1 Rookie

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    Dumb question...who's to know? I'm not advocating breaking the law, but I'm not sure the harm, either. I'm also not sure who would know. I've never known ANYONE other than a tech inspector to even THINK about checking the fuel bladder. Indeed, since virtually no street cars have bladders, it's not like they'd even know what they're looking at when an F50 drives in. Who from the DOT is checking on this? Sending it to ATL and having it copied must be a fraction of the price.

    I'm sure liability waivers and coverage issues (and denials, even) could result, but I'm also wagering that these cars are driven so infrequently that the exposure is minimal.

    Ferraris are always "knocked" for being too expensive to maintain, and this is a prime example. $18K every ten years for a fuel bladder is, well, kind of silly. If it were $3-4K I could get my hands around that. Otherwise, it's semi-offensive.

    CW
     
  11. rossocorsa13

    rossocorsa13 F1 Rookie

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    Supply and Demand, Friend. :)

    And besides--I wouldn't want to risk getting something minor just slightly wrong and then potentially burning the whole car to the ground. Your reference to the cars being driven very infrequently would probably accentuate this problem. Who knows how long one tank of gas sits in a given F50 and does who knows what to the bladder material? Quite a while I'd wager.

    Would you rather pay $18K for a fuel cell or burn a $900K car to the ground? Not saying that any qualified shop can't build a safe alternative bladder--but when you're dealing with almost a million bucks, what's $18K for simple security?
     
  12. CornersWell

    CornersWell F1 Rookie

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    Yes, I do understand all of this, of course. It's just that the money flows like water when it comes to Ferraris. Always has. Always will.

    CW
     
  13. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    It a legal liability issue. If the car were to be involved in an accident or catch fire, rest assured insurance companies and attorneys have some very good investigators who would quickly establish from the records and perhaps upon inspection that the car was driving around on USA roads using major component equipment that was not DOT certified nor approved by Ferrari North America.

    Take a chance if you like.. its a peace of mind issue, and I agree we all have different levels of risk tolerance.
     
  14. CornersWell

    CornersWell F1 Rookie

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    #14 CornersWell, Oct 26, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2010
    Agreed. But, let's also be honest...

    Technically, race-designed and built systems (such as fuel bladders) are engineered to a higher standard (probably MUCH higher than what DOT specs). There appears to be no issues with re-certifiying them for track use that we can determine, and that's where I think the bigger risk would lie. That's not to say there's no risk on the street, though. And, as you point out, it's your skin at risk.

    However, at what point will SpA cease supporting a 15-year-old car? At what point will the bladders no longer me available through SpA? Then what? I see the move to re-certification or duplicated bladders as an eventuality.

    CW
     
  15. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    I think that SpA wants to always support their older cars, and that was the idea behind the Classiche program (which is still a work in progress).
     
  16. CornersWell

    CornersWell F1 Rookie

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    Hmmm...Classiche. Okay, I can see how they could want to do that.

    Not surprisingly, my experiences with Classiche have all been asinine. And, Classiche isn't exactly known for being timely or reasonably priced. So, beyond all the politics, it's not even like you can bring your car into the dealer and expect prompt service.

    It figures!

    Also, the insurance companies have it within their power to grant approvals of substitute products, I should think.

    CW
     
  17. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Classiche is not perfect and its a work in progress. But it speaks volumes about Ferrari's intent to support its older cars. You should see what happens with the owners of older cars of other makes - they are completely on their own in many instances. Classiche will get better, more responsive etc, I think.

    Again, we are talking about Ferraris, not Toyotas, so a little patience always is expected, along with considerable expense.

    I'm not sure insurance companies will use discretion to recommend ANY substitute products when dealing with cars at the very top of their expense/liability list. I have seen insurance companies fork out amazing amounts of money in order to use the components that Ferrari recommends will allow the vehicle to be operated safely..
     
  18. CornersWell

    CornersWell F1 Rookie

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    We can all be optimistic that Classiche will iron out the issues. We'll see. So far, I'm not impressed.

    Funny thing is, just because it's DOT approved doesn't necessarily mean it's safer than something designed, tested and used in racing applications.

    But, I don't disagree with what you're saying. Just pointing out the absurdity of the situation.

    CW
     
  19. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Napolis gave you the correct answer....get fresh ones......
     
  20. joe sackey

    joe sackey Four Time F1 World Champ
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    I understand..
     
  21. synchro

    synchro F1 Veteran

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    Although ATL has had success in the past, I've heard recent claims in the racing community their QA is suspect and Eagle is now preferred. Check out either and get the bladders made of Nitrile not Eurethane. Costs less, improved materials, longer life, lower cost, the same as they certify with the FAA.
    http://www.eaglefuelcells.com/

    If FNA has the Eurethane bladders, how long do you think they've been sitting on the shelf (and the clock ticking...). Sometimes the dealer sells what is available, but isn't the optimum solution.
     
  22. 360C

    360C F1 World Champ
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    The bladders have date of manufacture stamped on them so it's easy to check how fresh they are.
     
  23. Mr. Francesco

    Mr. Francesco F1 Rookie

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    f50 is one of my dream cars, but I was somewhat shocked to see this costing 18,000$. I knew the upkeep and maintenance could be expensive in the long run, but jeez. This probably isn't even the tip of the iceberg for maintenance with the f50 :(
     
  24. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    No it's not, you break the car into two pieces for the engine service...not for the faint of heart..
     
  25. Mr. Francesco

    Mr. Francesco F1 Rookie

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    #25 Mr. Francesco, Oct 27, 2010
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
    I agree, I have seen pictures of this.
     

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