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458 Intermittent Brake Failure - Fixed.

Discussion in '458 Italia/488/F8' started by ilko, Apr 5, 2021.

  1. ilko

    ilko Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 20, 2008
    50
    I purchased a 2010 458 with 28K miles a few months ago from a Ferrari dealership. The day after the car was delivered I went out on a mountain drive to get familiar with it and at one point the power assist function in the brakes failed. The pedal was firm, the car was slowing but barely, not nearly at the rate you'd expect. Thankfully I was able to downshift several times and slow it down enough. The rest of the drive was uneventful but that episode made me feel uneasy, to say the least.

    I've also noticed that the brakes didn't work well immediately after a cold start in the garage and moving a few feet. When I pressed the brake pedal the car was hard to stop, even though it was barely moving.

    When I informed the dealership that there is a problem with the brakes they told me that Ferrari ceramic brakes feel different than other cars' brakes and I should just get used to them. I also own a 997 GT3RS w ceramic brakes and I know they don't perform to their fullest when cold, but the brakes on the Ferrari were just not up to par.

    The 458 brake system is pretty simple and a common automotive design. It uses vacuum pressure from the intake manifold to activate the brake servo (booster) which pushes the piston of the master cylinder delivering brake fluid at high pressure to the brakes. The hard lines from the intake have several check valves. Those are generally known to fail over time by not providing enough vacuum to the brake booster. The other failure point is the master cylinder. The seal can leak brake fluid into the brake booster, damaging the diaphragm inside.

    I didn't want to wait for months to receive parts one at a time, so I ordered the hoses with the integrated check valves along with a new booster and master cylinder.

    I first replaced the vacuum line, which had to be snaked behind the engine and around the alternator. Not exactly an easy task, but it was doable. That unfortunately didn't solve the problem. I then had to tear up the front end of the car to get to the booster. The cool part of working on the 458 is that it's very much like a race car in terms of how it's built. It's basically a space frame chassis with beams criss-crossing to make the tub. that makes removing pieces of the car a lot of fun.

    When I finally got to the booster I discovered that indeed, there was a small pool of brake fluid in it, leaked by a failed master cylinder seal. Once those parts were replaced and I got everything buttoned up I went for a test drive.

    Night and day difference in brake feel and stopping! It used to be jerky, either on or off, stiff pedal, now the pedal is softer, easier to modulate and feel the brakes. Now I can finally begin to properly enjoy the car.

    I'm posting this here because I hope it gives clarity to people who are experiencing the same symptoms.
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  3. matt lane

    matt lane Rookie

    Jul 17, 2007
    26
    Montreal
    Full Name:
    Matthew Lane
    Amazing work Ilko. I was feeling your pain - a 'new' ride, from a dealer, needs brakes LOL.

    Nice job sorting it out, now you can drive in confidence. Plus, you learned a lot too.

    We'll continue to share notes for sure.

    Cheers

    Matt
     
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  4. matt lane

    matt lane Rookie

    Jul 17, 2007
    26
    Montreal
    Full Name:
    Matthew Lane
    And great pics. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  5. Bad Boys 1

    Bad Boys 1 Karting

    Mar 22, 2020
    53
    Full Name:
    Michael M
    What was your final cost for repair?
     
  6. of2worlds

    of2worlds F1 World Champ
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    Apr 6, 2004
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    CH

    2008 is a long time here. Thanks for sharing this very useful diagnosis with pictures here! Should be a STICKY!!!
     
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  8. ilko

    ilko Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Aug 20, 2008
    50
    The vacuum hose was $175 and the booster/mc was $450. Not including tax and shipping. And I used two cans of brake fluid just to make sure the system is thoroughly flushed...
     
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  9. Il Co-Pilota

    Il Co-Pilota F1 Rookie

    May 29, 2019
    4,526
    Hopefully some place nice.
    Full Name:
    A.B
    Nice. Ypu should go back to the dealer and show them the failed parts, and then ask how they think that relates to how Ferrari ceramic brakes feel.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
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  10. craze

    craze Karting
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    Mar 5, 2021
    134
    Full Name:
    Michael
    Thanks for sharing
     
  11. FerrariCognoscenti

    FerrariCognoscenti Formula Junior

    Jan 19, 2021
    285
    Typical dealer games


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  13. FerrariCognoscenti

    FerrariCognoscenti Formula Junior

    Jan 19, 2021
    285
    Do your breaks squeak as well? Mine sound like a grayhound bus anytime I pull up to a stop light.


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  14. AlfistaPortoghese

    AlfistaPortoghese Moderator
    Lifetime Rossa

    Mar 18, 2014
    3,777
    Europe, but not by much.
    Full Name:
    Nuno
    Invaluable information to all 458 owners.

    Thank you very much for sharing.

    Kind regards,

    Nuno
     
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  15. dgunn365

    dgunn365 Karting

    Dec 15, 2006
    62
    New London NH
    Full Name:
    David Gunn
    Just fyi; I get a low level "sequel" from my brakes on the first stop from a cold start; no noise after that; and they work well.
     
  16. AvechuchoAxel

    AvechuchoAxel Rookie

    Dec 28, 2008
    19
    Yeah, my bet is just there... BRAKE BOOSTER leaking pressure ( not fluid) It will deplete pressure overnight or after few hours. That's why at cold start your brakes are irresponsible.
     

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