Misadventures in fixing a ferrari ... (long)

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by bpu699, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. bpu699

    bpu699 F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Dec 9, 2003
    Full Name:
    Ok, I am sure I am not the only person here with experiences to share, but here goes. The following transpired today, with names changed to protect the inncocent...

    Well, I have been griping for a while about a fuel leak in my 87 testarossa...see my other thread ( Its been weeks since it started, but I don't have enough time to take a good shower much less work on my car. Finally, I decided today was the day to fix it!

    Do I have a free hour? Check!

    Do I have a buddy available? Check. In fact he is an ASE qualified mechanic...:) Pretty good at carpentry and demolition too....

    Wife is ok with this? Check. She has the flu, out like a rock...

    Kids are ok? Check. Video just started...

    Alright, lets fix this leak...

    We lift the car on the scissor lift (Which I LOVE, best 1300$ ever spent.) Hmm. No leak. Check fuel gauge - now empty. Buddy comments - "Gee, were done! Lets go watch tv..." NOOO!

    I look through the wonderful replies I got before on my fuel leak. And due to the wisdom of this board, I now knew how to jump the fuel pump relay, to run through that last bit of fuel :).

    Well, found the relays. I pull on go. I wiggle it, no go... I get a pair of pliers and yank on it (gently ;) ), and out she comes. I don't think that this relay was EVER out. Alright, 10 feet of wire to each relay, check it with the car on the ground. Works great - car leaks! Yipee. Raise car on lift...fuel pumps don't work. Lower car again - wire re-attached...fuel pumps work, again...

    At this point you should realize that this lift is going to get a hell of a workout today...

    Start lift again...lift doesn't work...HMMM...blew the house fuse...lets go find that...

    Alright, car on the lift. My buddy and I under the car, pondering what happens if the safety latch fails. We put some chucks in various places, where we assume they might actually help. The reality though, is if the safety fails...we will likely end up on the evening news: "Stupid local Doctor (*and friend) crushed by Ferrari...." I imagine helicopters hovering over my house...

    Alright. Back to the leak. The leak is coming from the drivers side rear, along the firewall, from a hose attached to the inner side of the fuel tank. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell where this fuel line goes. We raise and lower the car 3-4 times, and still can't figure it out. There are 3 similar hose on top of the motor, whereas there is only one on the bottom...

    Time to get a soda...and ponder life. You haven't lived until you are under a 3500 lb piece of metal, help up by a 1300$ lift likely assembled in china by 6 year old kids... And the hoses on the bottom of the car are a whole different issue. You can't see where the hell any thing goes... You can trace the hose back about 4 inches before it sneaks under something else. Its like trying to perform cardiac surgery through someone's anus: There is a whole lotta stuff in the way...

    Now, we start getting brave. We decide to cut the offending hose from the gastank, and then tug on the top hoses until it come up. Well, the hose on the bottom of the tank ain't easy to reach. You definitely can't get your hand next to it. Its at least 12 inches into the bowels of the motor...

    We try to reach up with a razor blade, then decide we aren't that brave...

    We then lower the car (anyone counting here... :) ) again. I am 99% sure which of the top three hoses it is. I think it the one going to the aluminum tee along the firewall - part of the evaporator system...I think...

    Another can't really reach any of the hoses on top either! Some funny italian decided to squeeze them between the firewall, intakes, micellaneous plumbing, belts, etc... How folks change the belts on this car with the engine in, I will never know...

    By using the dexterity of a 60 lb ballerina combined with the flexibility of super hero Mr. Stretch, I manage to undo A hose clamp. It only takes about 1/2 an hour...with me basically laying on top of the the fetal poistion...with my hands blindly thrust into the bowels of la bella machina...

    You would think the hose would just slide right off, no? HELLL NOOO!!! I don't know what they change in a 15,000$ major (done 1 year ago by the previous owner), but these hoses ain't included. They are as hard as a rock... And it feels like they have melded and become one with the aluminum...

    This is where it is essential to have a buddy, because they offer you advice you just cant live without: "Try wiggling it" "Use the pliers..." Hmmm.

    I grab my pliers and try to get them in there. It is somehwhat like trying to tie your shoes through a straw... I wiggle the hose...yeah its coming off!!!!

    OHHHH CR*P... The hose stayed on, but on the bright side the nipple brazed on the aluminum pipe came right off :). Now, that can't be a good thing... That aluminum Tee is really buried in there... DEEP. I believe that I just broke a very expensive, DEEP, ferrari part. Not good.

    We sit down, have more soda. Kids are getting bored now...checking in on us. "How you doing daddy?" "Well. Do you know how you sometimes break your toys? I just did the same...." "Do you want some tape daddy?"

    Alright, how do we fix this. We brain storm:

    1) We can pull the motor... Nah. Not today.
    2) We can tap it and screw in a brass nipple. This might work. If it leaks, whats the big deal? Worse case scenario gas fumes get shot onto a hot motor...whats the worst that can happen?
    3) We can JB weld it...Nah. I could never get that stuff to work... Best I can tell this is just silly-putty that turns rock hard - doesn't seem to have any adhesive properties...

    We decide to do the right thing and remove the d*mn aluminum Tee bar... Gee, to do this we have to cut 3 OTHER SIMILAR LINES to get it out. Oh well, no guts no glory. Remember, these are hard to reach. A hose cutter won't reach. A razor is too dangerous. So, wisdom dictates we try a hacksaw :) ...but it puts too much lateral pressure on the aluminum nipples, and we know we don't want to break ANYMORE of these. So, I go home and grab my wifes best serrated steak knife...

    "Everything going ok honey?"

    "Yeah. How is our budget, by the way?"

    Next, we have to take this tee thing out. Analogous to pulling a hockeystick out of a fishing net... I am really starting to think we have to drop the motor... My friend comes to the rescue, and somehow gets the thing out. Great!!! In the back of my mind, I am thinking that there is no way that is ever going back in...

    Now, let me get under the car, buddy on top. Me pulling on the leaking line, and lets see which one it was...

    "Ok, is it moving"

    "No...but this other line is.."

    Awwwwwww Cr*p. We just removed this evaporator emmissions thingy...cut through 4 lines...bruised 6 knuckles...and got the wrong line... Oh well. We both optimistically propose that these lines would be the next to go... :)

    We get back under the car after lifting it (still counting?)...and try yet again to loosen this leaking line. Eventually, after chiseling at it with a steak knife, it gives way... Turns out to be what appears to be a fuel return line, and shoots off into the manifold area somewhere...

    We lower the car...again. This line is relatively easily removed on top... God is smiling upon us. My son returns to the garage. "Do you need glue, daddy?"

    Now, we must put in a new fuel line... We get the right size at Pep Boys. Under the car we go. Now, you have to feed this line up, through a couple of hangers... Imagine laying on your back...holding a wet noodle... trying to thread a needle that is 1 foot out of your reach... After a while, we manage.

    Now, how do you pull the fuel line onto the gas tank nipple, through this 2 inch space, at a distance of 12 inches... I will let all of the physicists ponder this... We went to Sears and bought some forceps like pliers...

    Back under the car we go... This is till damn near impossible. The sun is setting. My wife awakes... "Honey, work starts in 20 minutes..."

    Awwww. I forgot I have to work.... And here I am :). The whole episode was actually fun, in a sick bonding-with-your-car kind of way. And the proffesional mechanics on this board should rest assured that you have significant job security..."

    So lets assess my progress...

    1) Broken nipple on fuel evaporator system...Check.
    2) Fuel hose still not on. Check.
    3) Love my lift. Check... :).

    As of tommorrow the cracked piece goes to the welder to have the nipple brazed back on. I will replace all of the hoses I can get to...and hopefully I will be done...

    Heck of a Sunday!!!

    If anyone has an easier way of changing these hoses PLEASE let me know!!! How does one get the hose of the aluminum nipple, when you can't reach it?! Tugging on it just breaks things... HELP!

    Anyone with similar tales to tell?

    I am shocked that these weren't changed during the major, given the amount of money spent...
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  3. garysp7

    garysp7 Formula Junior

    Mar 28, 2004
    Full Name:
    Well Bo:
    I don't know what to day other than I hope your medical skills are better than your ferrari fixing skills:) JUST KIDDING!
    Man it sounds like you had a frustating day with no results.
    I don't know about you, but I used to try stuff like that and after it was all said and done, I still had to send my cars in to the dealer or professionals.
    I can restore someones dentition to perfection but I can't fix my car to save my life. So now I save myself the frustration of trying and send it in right away and then use the time to do something more fun.
  4. richard_wallace

    richard_wallace Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Feb 6, 2004
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Full Name:
    Richard Wallace
    That was very fun to read - and well written!

    I always used to say when I had my vintage F-cars - the way you end up knowing them best is breaking them worse than they were when you started... I usually ended up making it better in the long run - but my thought was the same is yours - if I can't fix it - that is why there are ferrari mechanics... (of course a few times - when I had them towed to my guy to fix what I couldn't... He would be like "what were you doing - no no this was all wrong.." Nice boost in my confidence.

    PS. I am somewhat disturbed that you may be operating on me someday - please make sure you use the same tongs you did on the fcar ;) :) :)

    Great story!

  5. bpu699

    bpu699 F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Dec 9, 2003
    Full Name:
    Working on my cars is therapeutic... :). It all eventually works out. If it doesn't, then off to the mechanic it goes :).

    Getting these hoses back on is will just take some time... :)

    This is the most fun I had all week!

    One day, when the car is due for the major, I will likley go at it myself. I have had no problems fixing other cars, but then there is an aweful lot of room in most other cars!!!

    Ok, just learned even more by perusing the site...

    I already knew to take off the grill by the back window...but apparantly the bodycolored molding also comes off...HMMM I will try that next weekend... Might help a bit.

    But still, how the heck do you get to the fuel returns/vents on the gas tank (from underneath)??? I am sure you can get to it by removing parts, but I am trying to avoid that!
  6. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
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    Sep 30, 2003
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    great read!!! :)
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  8. teachdna

    teachdna Formula Junior

    Sep 1, 2001
    Full Name:
    Jeffrey Robbins
    Very entertaining and thanks for writing it. Many of us can probably relate to the story, particularly the kids coming out and reminding you that you were supposed to be finished some time ago!

    If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong-particularly during one of my car repairs.
  9. osuav8r

    osuav8r Karting

    Feb 16, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    It always turns out to be three times as hard as you think it will be. It's probably a little late and I'm not sure if you would have the access, but whenever you have a rubber hose that has welded itself to a metal part, ie. radiator hose to radiator or fuel hose to fuel line, you can take something pointy such as a screw driver or scratch awl and try to slide it between the hose and the metal part. Now spray wd 40 between the inside of the hose and the metal part. Then you work the screw driver , scratch awl around the inside of the hose/outside of the metal nipple to unstick the hose. The wd40 really helps loosen things up. Anytime you have rubber touching metal, wd 40 is of great help in getting stuff apart and putting it together. Hope it helps.
  10. 2000YELLOW360

    2000YELLOW360 F1 World Champ

    Jun 5, 2001
    Full Name:
    That is exactly why I don't try that sort of stuff myself. I've got the right tools, the manuals, etc., but I've been there before when you start to repair one thing, and break 10 others in the process. Generally cheaper to give it to the guy that broke that stuff a long time ago, and now knows better.

  11. Ken

    Ken F1 World Champ

    Oct 19, 2001
    Arlington Heights IL
    Full Name:
    Pity you had to go to work; beer works better than soda for figuring out how to put square pegs in round holes.

    Great read!!! I have a million similar stories but I doubt I could relate them as well.

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  13. carguy

    carguy F1 Rookie

    Oct 30, 2002
    Alabama (was Mich.)
    Full Name:
    Yep those cloth-wrapped fuel lines are a real bear to remove. I had to remove the right side fuel tank to get a tiny hole fixed. I tore the nipples off the tank getting the hoses off. Luckily since the tank had to come it was fairly easy to repair them. But during the great struggle to get the lines off I used every curse word I knew and even invented some new ones!

    This is why you replace ALL lines and hoses on a TR when the engine is out. At least do the ones that are not accessible with the motor in the car.

    Did you use just plain rubber hose or were able to get that weird cloth-covered stuff?
  14. ernie

    ernie Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Nov 19, 2001
    The Brickyard
    Full Name:
    The Bad Guy
    Great read and I feel your pain.

    Not my Ferrari but my daily driver. The engine was leaking oil big time. I saw it was coming from the cam cover. So I changed the cam cover gasket and a rear cam plug. Problem solved, nope. The oil pan was leaking. So I just waited until it was oil change time.

    Oil change time. The kids have to be at the dentist in 2 hours. I tell myself I can get it done in 90 minutes leaving 30 minutes to get to the dentist. Mistake.

    It took 10 minutes to drain the oil and change the filter. Time to change the gasket and I have 80 minutes left.

    The down pipe from the exhaust manifold needs to be removed. Then get the oil pan out. There is a support beam that is in the way but I can just slide the pan out sideways, right? WRONG! Remove all the nuts and bolts and start to lower the pan. But it won't come off. What the heck?! Turns out the cross beam doesn't allow the pan to lower enough to clear the bolts.

    Ahhhhh!!! I have to remove the cross beam. 60 minutes left.

    Cross beam gets removed, time to take the pan off. Pan dosen't come off. The whole front comes down but the back won't come off. Now what! There is a dust cover on the transmission that is keep the back from clearing the bolts. Oh that's just great. I have 45 minutes left and there are two support brackets attached to the bottom of the engine and the side of the transmission. Those must be removed in order to remove the dust cover.

    Okay support brackets off, dust cover off, and the oil pan OUT! 35 minutes left. But now I have to clean all the oily crap off every thing so that the gasket seals well.

    Everything gets cleaned up and the pan with the new pan gasket is going back on. CRAP! I have 20 minutes left!

    The pan gets quickly bolted back on, followed by the dust cover and support brackets. Now for the down pipe. DONE! 10 minutes left. All that is left is the cross beam, and I can have it done in five minutes. Leaving me 5 minutes to fill the oil and take the kids to the denstist. WRONG! One of the bolts doesn't not want to thread. What the.....! I keep trying it, keep trying, it threads. NOT! It got cross thread and started to strip. AHHHHH!!! I have 2 minutes left! Forget it, the beam will hold with out the bolt.

    Lower the car, and start filling it with oil. DING times up and I have to go, but I still have two quarts left to put in. DONE! 1 minute over into travel time to the dentist. But my hands are solid black from all the oil and dirt. I have to get cleaned up. Scrub, scrub, scrub, that's good enough. Besides I'm not gonna have my hands in the kids mouth the dentist is. 10 minutes over.

    Everyone piles in the car and off we go. Get their 5 minutes late and then have to wait another 20 minute.

    The next day I check the oil pan................. IT'S FLIPPIN LEAKING!!!!! All that rushing to get the job done, with a stripped bolt, just to get to the dentist, to have to wait 20 minutes, and the dang thing is still leaking! I over tightend the bolts on the pan gasket in the rush and crushed the gasket. Nice.

    Like I said I feel your pain.
  15. 350HPMondial

    350HPMondial F1 Rookie

    Feb 1, 2002
    18 mi from the surf.
    Full Name:
    #12 350HPMondial, Jan 30, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  16. PAP 348

    PAP 348 Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Dec 10, 2005
    Mount Isa, Australia
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    Looks like he is also welding the fuel tank! What a complete and utter dickhead! Hahahaha
  17. tvu

    tvu Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 13, 2004
    Southern California
    Full Name:

    I feel you pain & frustration at times. It seems everytime you try to get to that ONE piece you have to end up removing many other parts along the way. Inevitably - those things don't come out as easily as you would think. But when it's all said and done, you have the satisfaction of performing the work yourself.

    Good luck.
  18. imcarthur

    imcarthur Formula Junior

    Nov 15, 2004
    Full Name:
    Exactly. And it can work as an antiseptic in a pinch. Welcome to working on an older car. I can relate . . .

  19. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    Austin TX
    Full Name:
    Brian Crall
    Bo, old hardened hoses on aluminum nipples, slit with a nice new razor blade.
    It's a mistake made by almost every new Ferrari mechanic.

    Replace them all as time permits.

    It is SOP on my majors. Take the motor out, gather up all the hose in the shop. Throw it on the floor around the car and stand in the engine bay and replace all the rubber you can see, and some you can't.
  20. bpu699

    bpu699 F1 World Champ
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    Dec 9, 2003
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    Brian, is there a way to replace the vent tubes off the bottom of the gas tank while the motor is in situ??? Or is this pure folly. I think I can get a long razor (or steak knife :) ) nd slice them off, but how to get new tubing on???

    I think I have to pester my surgical buddies and look at their collection of clamps and forceps... ;)
  21. bpu699

    bpu699 F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Dec 9, 2003
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    As a follow up question. This aluminum Tube/bar that is part of the emmisions vapor system (you know, the one I broke) there any baffling in this thing???

    To me it looks like a 1 1/2 inch diameter 2 ft long tube, with 4 nipples coming out of it. Is it hollow? Baffled???

    The welder plans to place the nipple back on, but I want to make sure I don't damage anything internally???

    Anyone know?
  22. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
    Full Name:
    Sean F
    I spent forever and a day trying to remove the rear cam cover on my 308, only to finally remove the rags I'd stuffed into the spark plug holes to keep from losing stuff to find that two nuts were still holding it on.
  23. Sunracer

    Sunracer Formula Junior

    May 18, 2005
    Makati City
    Full Name:
    Pierre Beniston
    To help get new hoses on, I leave them in front of a halogen work light for a couple of minutes to soften the ends up so they will slide on more easily. WD 40 can be a help too, just get the clamps tight, and I wouldn't wd 40 new hoses on the high pressure lines for the FI. Beemer and VW places/shops usually have the cloth hose BTW. I spent the afternoon stuggling wiwth my GTV6...PB : )
  24. bpu699

    bpu699 F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Dec 9, 2003
    Full Name:
    All is now fixed...though it took a while. It was wonderful to be able to drive again :)...even though its 20 degrees outside...

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