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Life expectancy for modern Ferraris?

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by DGS, Aug 12, 2019.

  1. DGS

    DGS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    One thing I always liked about classic Italian cars, especially Ferraris, is that you can maintain them roughly forever.
    (Or until they encounter a fast moving truck or a track barrier.)

    But I've found that modern ricers can become service problems once they hit the 10 year mark.

    With all the bells and whistles (and electronics) on modern Ferraris, do they ever become "too old"?
    Do they reach the point where maintaining them just is no longer worthwhile?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. 4_Eff_Sake

    4_Eff_Sake Formula Junior

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    What’s your definition of a “modern Ferrari”?
     
  3. TTR

    TTR Formula 3
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    Nothing new/modern(?), Ferrari or Italian car specific.
    Same concerns & principles have always applied to any and all cars ever produced, current and older, regardless of country of origin, make, model or YOM.
    I’m sure there’s been instances or times when most, even some enthusiastic owners of them, have considered 250 GTOs (= no bells, whistles or electronics) “too old” and/or not worthy of maintaining or owning.
     
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  4. energy88

    energy88 F1 Veteran
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    Personally, I worry about exploding air bags as time marches on which might cause the car to crash, destroy the dash, and involve parts that can't be replaced at that time. I can see a risk factor being attached to modern cars in the future except for ones that are "rollers."
     
  5. EastMemphis

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    This is a very good question. Personally, I loathe the modern computerized car for anything but a daily driver that will be dumped after the 10 year mark.

    Then there's the obvious problem of dwindling spares. Pretty much every spare part for these modern plastic miracles has been produced after the model year ends so they are by their very nature, endangered species. Most electronic boxes can't be repaired and can become scrap from a simple jump start or voltage spike from another failing electronic box. Once they are all used up, that's it. End of the line.

    With the analog cars, recycled autos could be a great source of parts for the running fleet but with these computerized electronic marvels, those electronics can so easily be damaged. Just removing them from the vehicle can wreck them and if the reason the car is junked is an accident, water damage or fire, the electronics are going to be fried, rendering them useless or have intermittent failures.

    I prefer the last generation of analog vehicles as "keepers". Maybe in the future, generic spares for these supernatural devices will be developed but I doubt it. An entire generation of 360trevs will be required to keep even the most modest electronic car running past the expiration date.
     
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  6. Wade

    Wade Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Modern Ferraris? Life expectancy (i.e. ownership period) is in this order:
    1. Till the end of their warranty
    2. Beyond #1, luck be with you... or the size and capacity of your wallet can help increase its longevity.
    Imho, of course. ;)
     
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  7. jjtjr

    jjtjr Formula Junior

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    Years ago, when fuel injection and electronic ignition became the new norm everyone thought that the shelf life of autos was finite. The fact is, there will be parts available as the need for them becomes more prevalent.
     
  8. DGS

    DGS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    #8 DGS, Aug 12, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
    Those with maintenance headaches:
    Electronic engine control, CAN bus, paddle shift gearbox, retractable hardtop.

    Another factor in "modern" cars is the increasing size of least-replaceable-units.
    I can completely adjust the four wheel alignment on my 328 with a set of shims.
    But I had to toss the factory McPherson struts and install aftermarket coil-overs to readjust the alignment on my Celica GT-Four.

    Sure, it's possible to replace "problematic" parts, even on a Ferrari, with aftermarket.
    (Lots of aftermarket stereo and exhaust "mods" for Ferraris.)
    But without replacing major components, when does a Ferrari reach the point where it can no longer be tuned right?

    Some older parts (e.g. turn signal switch on a 308) need to be reproduced by third parties, but are largely plug replaceable.


    Example comparison: Ferrari 328 vs Ferrari California.
    Obviously the California is going to be a higher maintenance car -- but how long can you keep it going?
    I had no qualms about buying a 10 year old 328. (And keeping it another 20 years.)
    But a 10 year old California?

    When does maintenance cost more than the car's worth?

    (Although a "modern problem" for older Ferraris are updating fuel lines to tolerate ethanol. :()
     
  9. EastMemphis

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    Analog fuel injection and electronic ignition are generic systems that have extremely limited computerized components and virtually no proprietary software.

    Look at the herculean effort that 360trev has done to decipher the ECU of the 360 and then take a look at the cars being produced today with dozens of proprietary hardware and software based systems. The future of those cars looks quite bleak. The auto manufacturers are not open sourcing their systems. They are all closed and unique to the vehicle or line of vehicles such that they can never be reproduced.

    Perhaps in the distant future, some team of brainiacs will develop an AI that can decipher and duplicate these complex, interacting systems and create some sort of black box with a generic adapter that can replace failed boxes but for low production vehicles like Ferrari, I seriously doubt it will ever happen.
     
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  10. Solid State

    Solid State F1 Rookie
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    The most modern Ferraris have digital dashboards with flat screen displays. Break a screen on a few year old laptop and they recommend trashing the whole unit. Aside from the mechanical parts unavailability, there's the on-board software and especially the factory diagnostics.

    Today Ferrari hooks up your car to the internet and the factory does the diagnostic and repair approval. If they stop supporting your model (like Window 7 coming Jan 2020) good luck knowing what gadget needs replacing even if there's no spare to replace it. That said, you can extend factory warranty coverage for 15 years now.
     
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  11. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    Planned obsolescence. Car companies, not matter who they are, need you to keep buying.
     
  12. BMW.SauberF1Team

    BMW.SauberF1Team F1 World Champ

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    I'm sure Ferrari will provide a part for a customer although the cost would prohibit many from going that route. Doesn't Mercedes offer any part for any car they've ever made? It's just pricey...
     
  13. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    Yes they do..and it is pricey. However, Benz did not build the parts for the fuel the injection systems of the late seventies early 90's cars. Bosch was the supplier. Hardly anything available now. Scrap yards and a very few rebuilders are your only hope. Same goes for the tr and 308/400/412/328 cars. Porsche etc, sad but true.
     
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  14. C50

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    it is a rather sad and unsurprising situation, this whole planned obsolescence and the appliance-ification of cars.
    after the pista, i'm done.
    the next and last car I buy will be analogue.
    (we'll see if i'm true to my word; new shiny things can be so tempting, as can robust A/C)
     
  15. Ingenere

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    The 360/CS community is running into these problems. ECUs are having challenges, but fortunately they are basically $200 units that are used in tens of thousands of Alfas and Fiats. The immobilizer system is junk and fails, causing a multitude of issues.

    However, the aftermarket will come through and we luckily have a great member (360Trev) that has reverse engineered the ECU's and has come up with the ability to turn cheap ECU's into $4K Ferrari items, deleted functions and crummy electronics to make the cars work better. The thing with Ferraris is that people love them and will keep them going.
     
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  16. Jaguar36

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    Most electronic boxes can be repaired, its just generally not cost effective to do so. This may change in the future as both those repair costs come down, and there be come less replacement parts available. Keep in mind that Ferrari is not spooling up custom silicon for these cars, its all generic stuff that they buy off the shelf and slap on their own boards (when they even go that far). The software can be cloned from existing cars and reverse engineered if needed. Worst case the electronics can be replaced with aftermarket ones completely.

    Fortunately we have an entire generation of folks like that growing up now who are learning the skills that will be needed to maintain these cars. Sure they won't be able to tune a carb, but they'll have no problem reflashing the software with a custom build on your 458.

    Its going to be like anything else before it, the more popular models will enjoy far reaching support bringing down the cost of repairs and having large aftermarket support for no longer available components. The limited edition models will be more difficult and with them you may need to find a specialist to make a custom computer just for you at great expense... just how it is today if you need a replacement radiator for your Bugatti Type 57.
     
  17. MalcQV

    MalcQV F1 Rookie
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    I recall similar being said in the mid 90's when we started getting ABS and such as standard. However it is now becoming more an more about connecting to a computer to diagnose faults. Biggest problem is never so much the system being monitored but rather the sensor doing the monitoring that fails.

    Indeed, I recall many saying in the 70's that car bodies could be protected better against the elements but then nobody would buy new if they did. Today you do not see many rusty cars with holes in the size of a brick, they don't rot anything like cars of yesteryear. That's all been replaced by electrickery :p
     
  18. jjtjr

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    If you want to see 3 yr old cars and trucks with huge rot holes, come to VT. The crap they treat the roads with in the winter is criminal.
     
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  19. DGS

    DGS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    That was one of the problems with the L-jet system in my '81 Alfa GTV-6.
    Bosch added so many sensors to the engine management "computer" system that there were always one or two sensors not working.
    By now, they've figured out that the onboard systems have to cross-check the sensors, in order to report a sensor failure.

    With the trend towards brake-by-wire and steering-by-wire, system reliability and monitoring will likely become an even bigger issue.
     
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  20. Solid State

    Solid State F1 Rookie
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    Some are believing its not a big deal to repair or replace automotive electronics a lifetime later. One has to remember that the OEM builds exactly zero electronics. The average car has over 100 ECUs in it and 100 million lines of code running. The engineering team and tools required to reverse engineer them in another 20 plus years will not happen IMO. Salvage parts will be the option for the vast majority of cars that survive and want to be driven.
     
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  21. vrsurgeon

    vrsurgeon F1 World Champ
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    I actually have no problem maintaining the "modern cars". They key is understanding that instead of a component failing and you "tinker" with it to get it working again, it is designed from day one to be replaced with an equivalent part. I'd rather have this, because as long as I know the inputs and outputs to that circuit board, I can find an equivalent used part or build a replacement that provides the same inputs and outputs to the board.

    In contrast, the 79' 928 that I had was the biggest pain in my analog ***. You guys like the 328 because it's so reliable right? Well, that CIS fuel injection system is going to get less reliable with time as well. I know because the 928 had the same fuel distributor, warm up regulator, cold start valve, etc. Parts right now by Bosch as tbakowsky has written are hard to come by. If any of you have tried to rebuild the fuel distributor (the thing with the 8 fuel lines coming out of it) you'll know that those micro channels in the metal get clogged very easily. The metal film/plate that separates the two halves and those small holes.. hard to keep clean. Using varnish to reseal the halves.. Oh that was fun. And only worked marginally. I found the system a PITA to keep running. Not many mechanics know it now and it's going to get worse. Right now rebuilt fuel distributors are rather pricey... I'll personally take the electronic systems ANY day. So much easier to keep running, especially with ODB2 diagnostics.
     
  22. AlfistaPortoghese

    AlfistaPortoghese Moderator
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    Great points made here and fascinating discussion indeed.

    From what I see, there are two distinct schools of thought regarding this matter:

    The vintage Ferrari crew (pre 360/F430), and the modern Ferrari crew (post California/458).

    The vintage Ferrari crew believes electronics, computers, etc are going to be absolutely unserviceable in a decade or so. They, for the most part, concede technology has its merits but high tech cars won’t have spare electronics parts and/or hardware/software available to attend to them when these cars get 20+ years old. They feel anything that doesn’t have a pedal, a cable, linkage, solenoid, etc, won’t be serviceable, because one cannot perform the work oneself, or assign an independent to service the car, once they’ll face the same problems. They feel simple mechanics and engineering will always be classic and serviceable, not computer science because it changes at such a fast pace, that it will render a car disposable.

    The modern Ferrari crew believes electronics actually makes life easier in terms of maintenance, helps to reduce service costs, time and complexity, and that it’s the wave of the future. They feel the market will ultimately adapt to outdated electronics, codes, ECUs and other software/hardware, because ALL cars are high tech cars, not just Ferraris, and the whole market in time will make adjustments. The classic car market is a multi-billion dollar industry that won’t stop providing alternatives when these modern high tech cars reach vintage status, because of demand, 3D printers, etc, and in their minds, what will be truly impossible to service are vintage cars, once no mechanics from the old school, who could fine-tune a carburetor or know the intricate operation of, lets say, solving a transmission problem on a manual car, will be still alive to perform this kind of service. They feel computer science and computer engineering are the answer, not simple mechanics, because in time there will be no one left to perform work on a complicated and extinct technology like a vintage car, with little demand, as opposed to the huge demand high tech cars have and will continue to have in the future. They believe it will be as hard and as expensive to fix a non electronic car, like finding an old swiss clock maker, who makes them by hand out of his garage like in the 18th and 19th centuries, and that modern cars through demand, the development of new tools and technology and new programs made to be compatible with older ones, will be the answer.

    It’s always impossible, although interesting, to guess what the future will bring. People in the 1950s would swear we’d all be driving cars that fly, Jetsons’ style, by the year 2000.

    As with most things in life, I think the truth may lie somewhere in between. BOTH vintage and modern cars will face significant maintenance hurdles in the future, for different reasons. Few people in a few years will know how to service a non-electronic Ferrari with their bare hands, like tuning a carburetor on a Dino, fixing the roof mechanism of a Mondial, or tune the valves on the notorious F355 engine and, in turn, modern cars are hostage to the goodwill of the factory for parts availability, and need to be very creative.

    There will always be car nuts and Ferrari nuts. There will always be demand from owners and I’m confident the market will adapt. It probably just won’t be as easy/fast as modern Ferrari enthusiasts may feel it should, and it probably also won’t be the “mission impossible”-like task vintage Ferrari enthusiasts think it will.

    I for one think hybrid, hydrogen, electric ate coming, despite my personal hatred and despite the fact I find them absolutely despicable with every bone in my body. And technology and complexity will continue to increase, as these new kinds of cars are even more high tech and electronic. In time, technology will create compatibility solutions, and 3D printers will make parts less scarce.

    In the end, this is just my humble 2 cents. Your guess is as good as mine. I just hope I manage to keep healthy and be around in a couple of decades, to come back to this thread and see how our predictions match reality :D

    Kindest regards to all,

    Nuno.
     
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  23. Y not

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    Really interesting thread with some great contributions.

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned it but the volume of production helps the modern cars in later life as there are a lot more available donor cars after incidents. Unfortunate circumstances but it does generate a healthy supply of parts.

    Computer Technologies have advanced in other fields, so we now know about virtualisation/encapsulation/emulation. That will be a big help in prolonging the life of code without the need to rely on a specific original solid state devices that will decay at a very similar rate (dry solder joints will always be the main cause of error in older electronic kit). Yes it’s is complex to encapsulate these control based software capabilities but not as difficult as it at first appears. It just needs someone to develop a suitable device and pay for the license of the code. Other car manufacturers have exactly the same issue, but the more expensive marques will be where development is likely to be targeted.

    The whole cycle of Electric cars replacing ICE will run for a very long time and never completely eliminate ICE . Supply of oil extends as demand reduces when electricity picks up more and more load. Thus oil price reduces. Yes exploration may reduce but we have become very efficient at reducing the cost to refine oil. So even at a smaller scale than today’s consumption, it will still be very lucrative to extract and supply fuels.

    Electricity generation capacity is one major limiting factor, but we all know legislation targeted at driving efficiency in appliances is also a mitigating factor. Something as simple as replacing incandescent lighting with LED across a whole city makes a massive difference in consumption. That would power a lot of cars.

    The simple fact is that population growth means power consumption requirements from all sources increases. Thus it is likely that the current hysteria about forcing a move to electric cars will eventually have to be mitigated with some form of ICE when we cannot make enough batteries or generation capacity constrains supply. Hopefully we won’t kill ICE completely before everyone realises this.......it means that small scale manufacture of performance petrol engines could continue, but it will need to be within manufacturers supplying the majority of their products with electric power in order demonstrate that their AVERAGE emissions from all cars manufactured is below target. That is unless someone turns legislation in the battery production processes direction!

    I think my key message for election would be “we need to build more v12 and v8 engines in order to safeguard energy supply and further mans’ efforts to roll out electric vehicles to the masses”... not sure it will get me voted in as it’s not as catchy as “None of the above”

    Just my 2p worth...
     
  24. JCR

    JCR F1 Veteran
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    Which is why 911 CIS owners have been converting to EFI.
     
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  25. DGS

    DGS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    For those convinced that electronics can be reverse engineered and maintained, I have one question:

    Who's still using Window XP? :D


    Even the diagnostic tools for computer cars will be killed off, when the operating system they run under falls off support.
     
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