Ferrari Mechanics and Maintenance Procedures... | FerrariChat

Ferrari Mechanics and Maintenance Procedures...

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Wayne 962, Dec 5, 2003.

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  1. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 27, 2003
    I have a question for everyone here. I have been looking at cars for several months (indeed, have bought one), and I noticed that a lot of the paperwork that comes with well-documented cars seems to be populated with a lot of replacements of parts, and rebuilds of components.

    Are Ferrari mechanics / owners overly cautious people who feel that if they are not rebuilding, or refixing something, then there is something wrong? My car had all of the brakes redone, and the calipers rebuilt at about 45,000 miles. The Porsche 911s typically don't need brake system overhauls until well over 100K. Is this just someone being overly cautious, or do these cars really break all the time and need all of this work done.

    Another car I saw had the carbs rebuilt and the tank cleaned at 21K miles. Seems a little overkill to me...

    Another car had a $20K paint job and interior overhaul at 21,000 miles.

    I guess my question is, "is this caused by:

    - the owners being too overly anxious about their car?
    - the mechanics pushing them into replacing stuff that doesn't need to be replaced?
    - poor construction/quality that causes parts to wear out or break in very short time.

    This is obviously a question that can only be answered by someone who has been around these cars for a while (not me). Please let me know what you think, as I am curious...

  2. 308GTS

    308GTS Formula 3

    Dec 27, 2001
    Well think about it a 24 year old 308 with 21K miles and the carbs being rebuilt isn't off. That car sat a lot and passages get clogged etc. from fuel gumming up. Many Ferraris sit so we all know that brakes that sit don't do well, seals leak, etc. Plus many times it is while you are in there work. If someone is paying a shop to do some work and it may not need it but to pay them to get back in there to do it will be much more than rebuilding/replacing the part. On my 348 if the engine comes out for a 30K it makes good sense to rebuild the waterpump when it is out since you can't access with the engine back in. On my 308 since I do all of my own work I do what I feel is neccessary at the time and items I want to address. I am not going to pull the waterpump and rebuild it if it isn't leaking or damaged but I do my own work too.
  3. Lawrence Coppari

    Lawrence Coppari Formula 3

    Apr 29, 2002
    Kingsport, TN
    Full Name:
    Lawrence A. Coppari
    I bought my 328 in 1987 with about 4k miles on it. Tracked it probably 5X per year for 6 years. Here is what has been replaced.

    1. Engine main seal - bad luck
    2. AC pressure switch - put a non-Ferrari part in it
    3. 3 or 4 sets of brake pads
    4. Water pump - prevent maintenance - had a spare on hand
    5. New water hoses in pump area
    6. 3 sets of spark plugs
    7. Replaced all the spark plug wire holders that attach to valve covers
    8. Timing belts done 3 times, twice by me
    9. Tensioners replaced once.
    10. 3 Batteries
    11. Deck struts replaced once
    12. 1 throttle roller cam at plenum
    13. Valves adjusted twice
    14. Oil cooler replaced in 1992
    15. 1 radiator cap
    16. 1 oil pan gasket
    17. Passenger window switch cleaned
    18. AC blower switch cleaned
    19. Battery negative side cable union cleaned due to corrosion

    In my experience with vehicles, I have not had much troiuble with this car.
  4. 4re gt4

    4re gt4 Formula 3

    Apr 23, 2002
    Roseburg, OR
    Full Name:
    Hans E. Hansen
    Many of these cars need excessive repairs because they just sit. For example, the brakes are similar to some older Porsches. However, they tend to corrode severely from non-use, thus requiring an untimely repair as compared to your Porsche example. Engine seals will be shot after a couple of years of the engine sitting w/o being run. Etc.

    My car accumulated around 8K miles over a roughly 20 year period. When I got it, most of the rubber (seals, hoses) was toast.
  5. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    Porsches get driven daily. If Ferraris were driven daily/weekly they might need less maintanence too! But then you wouldn't find them with only 4K miles at 20 years of age.
  6. TOM B

    TOM B Formula 3

    Jul 24, 2003
    Orange County, NY
    Full Name:
    Thomas Buckley
    It's true. My '88 Mondial gets driven daily. About 20,000 -- 24,000 miles / year . It sat for about 8 months two years ago while I recovered from health issues but ever since it was back on the road there have been no issues.

  7. Cenzzo

    Cenzzo Rookie

    Nov 5, 2003
    I bought an 87 GTS with 42k on it, which had lots of service records, which I liked, because it showed that it had been tended to, but in looking at them, it was pretty much the normal sort of stuff that happens to any car. I've been into Porsches for the last 16 years, and people told me that THEY'd be expensive to maintain, but if you are able to take car of minor car stuff, meaning everything except engine and tranny rebuilds, a Ferrari shouldn't be a major drain on maintenance. Things will happen, but I've put 17k on it in the last two and a half years - I split the driving time with my 911 - and I've tracked it 5-6 times a year, and it's been a real trooper. Other than changing the oil, and recently replacing a switch on the receiver-dryer and recharging the A/C, I really haven't spent any money on it. As far as services, especially at a dealer, they will try to get a set fee, like $2500 for a minor service, but I found that that's "packed" and probably won't take all of that time, but for profitability's sake, they won't do T&M for services, because they can't bill enough hours against it. I do see a trend where if people "think" they have a problem, they try to find the most expensive, thorough way to repair it because "it's a Ferrari", but it can be well maintained without replacing all sorts of stuff every time it hiccups. If you find a good ferrari mechanic, and there are many who really are enthusiasts, and aren't just looking for people with American Express cards, they know what needs to be replaced and what doesn't, when you need service work. And, for parts, shopping around pays off. In general, though, I've found mine to be pretty bulletproof - doesn't leak in the rain, either! Drive it an enjoy it, and pay attention to the little things, just like any other car!
  8. Shamile

    Shamile F1 Veteran

    Dec 31, 2002
    Lakeland FL
    Full Name:
    Dear Ferraristi,

    Wayne, being a Porsche guy for many years ( Before the truck era ), I would would agree that a Porsche is such a better built car...but so is a Honda and not as exciting as a Ferrari. I do agree with the others that mainly do to sitting around undriven is the main cause of most problems. I myself am a one sports car person for that reason. When I had a few Porsches and the Ferrari at the same time, the free time was just split between them. The seals would dry out, electric motors would be intermittent etc, etc, etc.
  9. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 27, 2003
    You all make very good points. Most 911s I know are driven quite a bit (most 911SCs and Carreras have well over 100K on the clock). Driving the car regularly does help, and having it sit is bad.

    Still, I have to wonder. I saw a car listed the other day (1976 Fiberglass 308) that had a 'frame-off' paint job and restoration at 21K. Geez, what the heck happened to the car in 20K miles that it needed such a restoration? Or is this all inflated because it has the prancing horse on the front?

    Sitting in both worlds now, and looking at the service records from a bunch of these cars, I must admit, I think a lot of Ferrari owners are getting robbed big time by mechanics. Mechanics have never liked me to begin with because my books and website has empowered people to do their own maintenance - so I'm not worried about pissing any of them off. Either way, some of the service records I've seen on these cars seem to be somewhat outrageous - like the amount of time it would take to change the belts, is what most mechanics would charge to rebuild a 911 engine? Seems very much out of whack to me...

  10. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
    I'll bet on 25 years of sitting, not being driven, and very likely mild neglect of the paint. Resulting in deteriorated paint. Or else someone didn't like the mild orange peel & finish of the factory paint job & decided the paint was failing. Of course it could have been sitting in the sun a lot & somewhat neglected. The early 308s like this one had a lacquer finish that hasn't seemed to age well w/o lots & lots of TLC.
  11. Ingenere

    Ingenere F1 Veteran
    Owner Silver Subscribed

    Dec 11, 2001
    On the Limit
    Full Name:
    I have been around Fcars and Fcar owners for almost 20 years. I think the apparent over maintenance issues are due to several reasons.

    The cars tend to sit too much and we know what that does.

    Alot of owners are not very car wise and they are easy prey for the dealers to sell them service that they don't really need.

    There is also the factor of since this is apart....we may as well do that...I know when I have done majors on my's a big enough pain in the butt to get the motor you may as well do some other stuff while it's apart. For me...since it's a hobby...there is some pleasure in it.

    I know that the more I drive 'em...the less trouble they are!!

  12. MS250

    MS250 Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Dec 10, 2003
    Full Name:
    Hi Wayne,
    Been an owner for 8 yrs with the flat 12 and the little 8. Both cars are driven constant. A ferrari should be treated similar to your other cars...minus of course the snow, or very bad rainy weather.My cars run better than my BMW, they both have higher mileage but are very clean, straight and strong cars. I drive them briskly once they are warmed up to temp both in tranny and motor. Don't be scared of the marque, its an extremely strong car......Many people I talk to who are owners follow similar them, and drive hard...change your fuilds and keep your service and she should not break. Just remeber to take her out for dinner once in awhile.

    Any car that would sit for 10 yrs with only 5,000 miles on the dial would be coughing and piss out fluid of every hose, whether its a Toyota, or a Ferrari.
  13. ima2nr

    ima2nr Rookie

    Nov 2, 2003
    atlanta ga
    Full Name:
    kevin prickett
    Hey Wayne! I used to buy parts from you, and I've read every tech article on your site (pertaining to the 911) when I owned a Porsche. Tell us, which Ferrari did you buy?

    Please use you internet business to bring better knowledge and pricing to the Ferrari world with some great tech articles...I for one would gladly do business with you again.

    Kevin P.
  14. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 27, 2003
    I picked up a 1979 308. I'm not planning on getting into the Ferrari business, but perhaps I'll write up a few tech procedures as I do them. Right now I'm really busy with the book, "101 Projects for your BMW 3-Series." I really just want to drive the 308 now, and work on it later.

    Speaking of driving, I drove the heck out of it yesterday on one of the Porsche runs organized on our site. Kept up with the 911s pretty well, although I am a much better wrench than I am a driver. There were some good drivers / crazy people (difficult to tell the difference most of the time) on the run yesterday. Here are some pics if anyone cares:

  15. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 30, 2003
    WOW, thanks for sharing those with us on the board Wayne, nice shots of some great cars!
  16. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 27, 2003
    There's another run coming up on Jan 1st - I'll post details...

  17. John Miles

    John Miles Rookie

    Nov 4, 2003
    In the case of my car, the previous owner wanted to enter the car in a major national concours, and he didn't mind spending the bucks to make it look good.

    The thing you have to remember is, OEM paint on the 308s ranged from half-assed to downright crappy. To make an older Ferrari look its best, you need to plan on doing a better job than the factory did on the paintwork. There is a difference between a high-quality paint job and the typical Earl Scheib opus, and to tell the truth, the factory paint is closer to the latter than the former.

    Also, it is not cheap to paint a 308; a lot of hardware has to be removed to do the job right, and the curvaceous body panels really don't look good without a lot of hand-sanding. On steel-bodied cars, there is often a need for rust-removal work. In my (considerable) experience, the job cannot be done properly for less than $7K-$8K, and frankly, the work the previous owner received for his $20K was almost a bargain.

    You don't restore the Sistine Chapel's ceiling with a rag soaked in WD-40, and you don't bottom-fish when you're budgeting a Ferrari paint job. It's a controversial subject, but once you've seen it done right, you'll understand.

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