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Need advice on where to look for weak spots on a 355 GTS

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Rizzo, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. Rizzo

    Rizzo Rookie

    Mar 31, 2004
    3
    Sweden
    Hiya all,
    This is my first post at this forum, and I signed up since I'm about to switch my present car to a F355 GTS

    Now, the object itself I've located but the problem is that I have no idea whatsoever where to look for weak spots. I'm going to testdrive the car soon and would really like to know what I should look for.

    Please give me advice on this!

    Cheers
    Rizzo

    I don't know if this makes you happier, but I'm switching from a Porsche...
     
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  3. murph7355

    murph7355 Formula 3

    Nov 30, 2002
    1,691
    SE England Yorkie
    Full Name:
    Andy
    Well as you're coming in from the cold :)

    Advice given to me by another forum member (thanks Mark) went along the lines of:

    "Earlier F355's (Changed around early1996 and have Bosch Motronic 2.7 ECU) are known to have problems with valve guides and bore wear..."

    Note that this could be addressed and should have been. Ask for evidence of this if the car's an older one.

    "...Cats are expensive they've stopped making the ceramic ones which lasted about 20k miles and replaced them with a Metallic one, All of them suffer from failed Exhaust Manifolds, £1,400 each new but can get rebuilt ones for £600, maybe worth looking one htat has new Manifolds and Cats."

    Not sure how you check whether the manifolds are cracked. They may be blowing but I seem to recall that the cracks can be internal? A good inspection may be your best bet.

    I believe if the insides of the exhaust tips are caked in white/light grey dust, it might indicate the cats have gone.

    If buying from a dealer, get them to certify them to note they'll cover both for a while as neither are covered by official warranties (certainly not in the UK).

    Other tips given:

    Look for bubbling paint where the 'c' pillars (lovely sweeping pillars from roof to engine bay) meet the body. 355s are known for issues here. Fixable, but a hassle.

    Service records should be thoroughly checked.

    Check the under tray of the car for cracks etc. Expensive to replace if it's broken.

    Ensure that the full toolkit is in the boot (three layers - fan belt; spanners and scree drivers; pliers, towing eye, bulbs and fuses).

    Check all the electrics work. EVERY button including fuel flap, windows, lights etc. Also, get the air con to blast out very hot air and then get it to make the cabin cold again. Check the "recirculate" and "stop" buttons work on the a/c panel too.

    Check the suspension switch works OK. If not an F1, with no light on the dash it is in "firm" mode and will feel quite stiff. With the switch on, and an orange light on in the dash, the ride will still feel quite firm but the car will roll a bit more and the steering will feel a bit lighter. If it's an F1, I think the lights/switch work in the opposite way.

    Check that the roof is water tight and try the car with it on and off. I believe they squeak a little (I have a GTB so don't know), but this can be sorted by lubing the seals (vaseline I think).

    Negotiating points will be items like the sill "kick plates". These black plates rust easily. Cosmetic problem, but a few hundred GBP to fix so worth knowing about. Also the rear perforated grill under the spoiler can look tatty quickly. Easy to fix, but can get money knocked off.

    Definitely, definitely get the car checkeed by a specialist prior to finalising your purchase. These are nice cars, and pretty reliable, but a bad one will cost you dear.
     
  4. Rizzo

    Rizzo Rookie

    Mar 31, 2004
    3
    Sweden
    Murph!

    Thank you for your advices!
    As moving from a Porsche to a Ferrari, it gives me two things to think about.

    The Ferrari is a more exotic car than the Porsche
    The building quality aint the same when you make so few cars compared.

    I'll look closely to the details you've given me!

    Best Regards
    Rizzo
     
  5. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    May 29, 2001
    17,090
    USA
    Full Name:
    Hugh G. Rection
    Murph,
    Nice job! I would only add the following:

    1) Check the dash leather for shrinkage and rattles/squeeks.

    2) Front spoiler for cracks, scraps and repairs. Basically, get the car up on a lift.

    3) Dash center console warpage on air con control panel.

    4) Pretty much any year could possibly have a valve guide issue (rare, but happens) so make sure that a worthy prospect is checked with a compression and leakdown test.
     
  6. murph7355

    murph7355 Formula 3

    Nov 30, 2002
    1,691
    SE England Yorkie
    Full Name:
    Andy
    Rizzo - most of the stuff mentioned is also cosmetic, but can be costly to fix. Use them as "tools" to get the price down, or if buying from a dealer get them to fix them.

    Another thing I just remembered, but MAKE SURE you get a red electronic fob for opening the doors as well as the usual black ones. These are the master keys, and without them you cannot get new spares. Which then means new electronics and keys etc at GREAT cost. Also worth making sure you get 2 ignition keys (I only got one with mine and have been waiting 18mths for a spare!) and glove box keys.


    In terms of build quality, I think it depends on which Porsche you had.

    The 964s and, especially, the 993s are VERY well made, if a little plastic feeling.

    996s aren't a patch on the earlier models build quality wise, and I'm sure you'll find a good 355 is equally well made (the doors are bloody heavy for a start!).

    Good luck in your search and let us know what you buy!
     
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  8. 308GTS

    308GTS Formula 3

    Dec 27, 2001
    2,220
    TN
    355s are known to crack headers too.
     
  9. Rizzo

    Rizzo Rookie

    Mar 31, 2004
    3
    Sweden
    Thank you again for all new advices.
    Everything is carefully noted, so I know what to say and look for next time I'm going to the dealer.

    The Ferrari is a -95 GTS.
    It has 35.000km (1.6km/mile, so about 22k miles)

    Yes, I had a 993 and the quality is very good on those cars, but of course it depends how you treat it...

    Thnx.
    Rassel
     
  10. Husker

    Husker F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 31, 2003
    8,043
    western hemisphere
    ALL Ferraris are weak spots in and of themselves. :)
     
  11. Ed355

    Ed355 Rookie

    Nov 20, 2003
    7

    I have a 1995 GTS and also had a 993 in the past. In addition to the mechanical items outlined above, watch out for leaks through the targa top, particularly if the rubber to the side of the top is more than a couple of years old.
     
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