New Owner-Getting Confusing Information From Dealers/Mechanics

Discussion in '360/430' started by ThunderHill, May 23, 2018.

  1. ThunderHill

    ThunderHill Rookie

    May 23, 2018
    Morris Plains, NJ
    Full Name:
    Toby Smith
    Hi, I'm days away from purchasing my first Ferrari, and have decided on a 2002+ 360. My preference would be for an F430 only for the timing chain, but I really want the stick shift, and I can't put forth the $170+K that I'd need to get a sorted stick F430. I am an extremely competent mechanic, and can also afford to cover any servicing costs on the 360, so I'm confident in my choice.This is also not my first exotic car, so I'm familiar with the higher servicing costs and more demanding servicing needs, though I know the Ferrari will be a step beyond what I've had before.

    I'm here to ask for a bit of help from the owners community. I don't mean to complain during my introduction, but something that's been very frustrating about this process is the conflicting stories and, I have to say it, general lack of professionalism from the official Ferrari dealerships and service professionals (one franchised dealer literally answered the phone by saying "Hey" then falling silent, no announcement of the dealership name, the person speaking, etc. I asked if it was a wrong number). I've had to call 3-4 times when I was promised a call-back about a PPI, and I cannot get a straight answer, or an answer that I find satisfying, about a number of issues related to Ferrari 360 service generally. I cannot question the responses I've been getting without seeming like I'm saying "I find that hard to believe" to veteran professionals without any corroborating evidence to support my case, so I've been stuck.

    Here are my questions:

    1. My prospective car is missing any service history from before 2012, and missing most of the service history from before 2013, when the present owner got it. After that, service has been regular, meticulous, and performed by an independent Ferrari shop. The owner of that shop is more than happy to produce all the service records for work they have done on the car. I asked if the 360's book had been stamped (even without a paper trail) from before the current owner got it, or if the shop had been stamping it as he serviced the car. The independent shop owner said, "no one stamps the books anymore." Is that true? That seems to contradict everything I've heard.

    2. I've called a franchised dealer where I am going to have the car serviced regularly after purchase to ask if they are able to access some sort of shared dealership records for cars based on VIN and at least see where/when the car had visited a franchised dealer for service (my Aston Martin dealer had this capability with their cars). They told me that they only have records for cars serviced there, that there is no shared service information between dealerships. Is that true?

    3. If a major service has not been performed in 5 years, but the car has only gone 2000 miles in that time, would you trust it on a normal/legal speed 250 mile drive home following a PPI, or would you have the service done in the far away city where it resides first? I understand that this is a bit like asking for stock picks or whether BitCoin is a good investment, but I'd still love to hear opinions.

    4. I am absolutely, positively not buying this car as an "investment," but I am a business owner and a dollar on a toy is a dollar not yielding a return. Am I going to completely grenade the value by working on it myself? Opinions on this subject seem to be all over the map, and of course I would never ask a dealer this question because I couldn't trust that they'd answer objectively.

    Thank you.
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  3. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 16, 2012
    Lk Stevens, WA
    Full Name:
    My $0.02

    1/ I've only had a couple occasions for service outside my garage, but yes, no stamps. Nor were there stamps from prior ownership maintenance on my F and P cars.
    2/ apart from warranty/campaign work I believe that is correct
    3/ I'd drive it. Does ppi include SD2 readout on timing?
    4/ Any value lost will be equaled by money not spent on service.

    I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Witness the number of people on these forums who do their own maintenance. They aren't rockets.

    Good luck with your purchase and ownership experience.
    arizonaitalian and Jaguar36 like this.
  4. Doctor Mark

    Doctor Mark Formula Junior

    Dec 15, 2005
    Full Name:
    Mark Gronsbell
    Agree no stamps. Dealer should be able to access records by VIN for service done at other Ferrari dealerships.
    No issues in driving it the 250 miles but would not be too aggressive with revs until you get or do the proper service.
  5. cgfen

    cgfen Formula Junior

    Jun 1, 2015
    vista ca
    Can't answer 1 or 2 since I don't know.
    #3? make your own decision once you get a chance to drive / inspect it. I think its unlikely a 250 mile drive will hurt the car as long as the fluids are topped off and air is in the tyres.
    #4? No doubt the majority of people interested in buying your car X years from now will whine about you doing the work. mainly because they have no concept of how easy much of the work actually is.

    have fun, get dirty

  6. Michael B

    Michael B F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Apr 28, 2004
    US of A
    Full Name:
    My shop stamps books. You cannot paint the whole mechanical industry with the same brush stroke. I am sure a lot of shops have no time to find the books, reach into a cabinet for a stamp, then fill out the data after every service that they do. But my shop still does.
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  8. ItalGerBrit

    ItalGerBrit Formula Junior

    Mar 15, 2016
    Agree with jcurry on all points. And do your own service. It is not hard to do with the experience you already have.
  9. Themaven

    Themaven F1 Rookie

    Nov 2, 2014
    Full Name:
    All my cars have fully stamped service books with invoices to match. Some independents, some franchised dealers, all stamped up. Maybe it's different in the States.

    Ok if you do the work yourself, no stamps, but if there are no records of anything at all before 2013, when the car was newer, I would wonder about maintenance and mileage.

    But if the price is right and the car checks out...

    KTMBROWN Rookie

    Jun 11, 2017
    No cal
    No stamps in my book.
    Due to privacy lawsuits many dealers are hesitant to supply past records as they would have to redact all prior owner info.
    Without records the PPI becomes very important. Get a good independant shop to do PPI and most of the warts will be evident if the car was abused or tracked heavily.
    I would drive it without hesitation as long as all of the fluids look OK.
    -compared to no records, your do-it-yourself records are fine. The money you will save will far exceed the deprec. With that said i rec. building a relationship with an independant shop to handle the heavy stuff. Once you find that mechanic, when you pick your car up bring them a bottle of ?, or other token of apprec. You are spending lots of money on maintenance, why skimp on the last 40 bucks for a bottle of ? that will get you remembered, and your car loved. If you are near Lake Tahoe let me know and I will provide you with my shop guys info. You never mentioned how many miles were on the car you are looking at. If it has 3000 miles you might consider worrying about deprec. If it has 12,000 miles drive it often and hard, the deprec, is already reflected. I rec one track day early on in your ownership to learn the car and squash any notion of driving really fast on public streets. It all pales in comparison to the track. Enjoy!
  11. GCalo

    GCalo F1 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2004
    Northern California
    Full Name:
    Greg Calo

    Here's my take on your questions.

    1) no one signs service books anymore
    2) dealers do not share info regularly
    3) have it trucked the 250 miles. You are too new to the vehicle to undertake a 250 mile trip. Save that for a time after you have become familiar with the vehicle and that you know it runs well. Five years is pushing a major service. Don't find out the hard way.
    4) As to your self-servicing, if you do not have advanced mechanical capabilities and automotive experience, be very careful what you do.You can create an expensive dilemma for yourself.

    And if you are not getting sufficient response from a seller, find another who cares
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  13. greyboxer

    greyboxer F1 World Champ

    Dec 8, 2004
    South East
    Full Name:
    In para 1 you say it has been looked after by an independent shop since 2013 but in 3 you say no major since 2013

    If this means no belt change including tensioners since five years you are getting to one of the most asked questions: how long will belts last - in your case as a new owner you cannot guarantee the tensioners have not been affected by the lack of use and therefore a local full belt service prior to collection would be my choice - it also gives a baseline for your future work

    Beyond that once you've got the car spend some time looking thro threads here as most issues will have been covered over the years to help with your self-maintenace
  14. ar4me

    ar4me F1 Rookie

    Apr 4, 2010
    Southern California
    Full Name:
    My take
    1. Common to not stamp service books - maybe different in different countries...
    2. I think they typically don't share much - not sure if records are electronically centralized by FNA, call them and ask
    3. I would drive it home
    4. Definitely a negative to a future buyer, but does it matter? Enjoy it whatever way you like, incl. working on it.
  15. billy.gif

    billy.gif Formula Junior

    Mar 9, 2017
    Sorry a bit OT, but I find really strange that its ... "common not to stamp service books"? I'd understand this with low value "daily drivers" but with exotics like F or L cars, not a single stamp on a service book since new or barely new, wow.

    Here in Europe the official stamped service books with constant, "back traceable" history of vehicle trough its entire life are maybe the most important thing to have with high value exotic car when it comes to its both resale value and "resale desirability". Its so easy to fake service invoices or turn back the odometer...

    My official service book is at its last page so I'll need to order new from Maranello by the end of the year and what I've heard it's quite the process:
  16. Carnut

    Carnut F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 3, 2003
    Gladwyne PA
    Full Name:
    Ferrari is a bit different from BMW, MB, Porsche, they type in VIN and can access anything that was done through dealer network not Ferrari. The only way to track down service records would be to find the previous owners. Many people save all receipts since it can add value to the car when selling. I used to do all my own work, but age and arthritis have made that harder these days, but I don't at this stage of the game think you will loose money because you changed your own oil, belt service that might be harder to convince a prospective buyer about if you say you did it yourself. Some of my books were stamped some were not. I have never owned a Ferrari that I was not either the first or second owner. If you have all the records for the last 5 years that is probably good enough since I doubt any major issues were left unsolved. You might want to search on here, there are threads about extending the time between the major services, and if you are good with a wrench you should be able to notice the condition of the belts, if they are okay I cannot see any reason to worry about a 250 miles drive. I live very close to my dealer (they joke about me clocking in I am there so often), have known them for over 20 years (bought a dozen cars from them in that time) and they have a pretty busy but good shop, it is hard enough for me to get them on the phone (when I need to talk I do it in person), so if possible go introduce yourself to that dealers service department, you might find you get a different response. Remember for the most part techs know about fixing things not about policy and some of them may not have even been techs when the 360 was a current model. Good luck.
  17. arizonaitalian

    arizonaitalian F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Oct 29, 2010
    Stamps - surprisingly rare on these cars. I’ve evaluated dozens of cars for purchase over the years and can’t recall seeing any. But then I don’t give a damn about a stamp. I want to see the actual detailed service invoice and reports.

    Ferrari Dealer getting records from other dealers - nope. (Only warranty work and recall campaigns). The truly mind boggling thing is that some owners of expensive cars either can’t be bothered to keep service records or worse cant find the money to do the service.

    Drive it before belt job? Your risk, your call.

    DIY - will eliminate some buyers, but not others. Heck many of these cars get bought and sold with no service history. (Like this car - by the way, even over the past 5 years it wasn’t serviced by the book if that matters to you)
  18. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 16, 2012
    Lk Stevens, WA
    Full Name:
    This, +1000. A book full of stamps without actual service invoices and reports is meaningless. A detailed history of owner DIY maintenance would mean more to me.
  19. ttforcefed

    ttforcefed F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Aug 22, 2002
    stamps are meaningless - never have cared or thought about them. service histories are nice but who cares. cares that have been serviced have things that go wrong. its really random at the end of they day. i over service my cars and its a wast of money given the miles driven. i wldnt hesitate to drive the car and sure you can try to do the work.

    sounds like you are over stressing - just relax and enjoy it. it wont bite too hard.
  20. vrsurgeon

    vrsurgeon F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 13, 2009
    Charleston, SC
    Full Name:
    I can only speak for my car.
    - Nobody will stamp any of the books. If you have receipts from your independent mechanic you'll be good (binder, scanned, etc)
    - Mine came with no records whatsoever. The dealerships that serviced it in the past would tell me on the phone what they did but that's it. Couldn't get written records.
    - Many places won't do a PPI because neurotic owners buy the car and find they "missed something" and then get sued for it. Not worth the $500. I can't say I'd do any different. If you get a good look at the car and an opinion from a pro that's regarded go for it. the PPI won't see everything. There's only so much you can do with a car that you don't own.
    - 5 years and 2000 miles? That's your decision. When I got mine it was in Miami. I'm glad I had it transported. The coils were toast on one side. It would have overheated the cat on the drive. It's not just belts!
    - Some people are sitcklers for documented factory work. The higher end examples will loose value but not a high mileage drivers. The concours models might hold value with a factory service, but drivers not so much. My adage is the integral things like belts, and clutches.. do those at a dealership for the paper trail. For other minor things like climate control, shock replacement, etc.. do those jobs yourself.
    Of note: nobody will do a repair to your car with the care and attention to perfection that you will. :)
    HH11 likes this.
  21. HH11

    HH11 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 4, 2010
    1) as mentioned by just about everyone outside of Europe, nobody puts any weight on service stamps. an invoice/receipt is the same thing.

    2) it would be hard to get past service records from anyone other than Ferrari. if it was serviced at an indy shop, it'll be a long search to obtain them (if at all possible)

    3) probably best to ship the car. 250 miles isn't far and shouldn't cost much. with meticulous service history or a recent belt change I'd probably give you the thumbs up.

    4) depending on what you service yourself it won't matter come resale time. these are fairly easy cars to work on. many owners are just as competent as professional techs.

    side note- if everything is up to date don't worry about not having records from before 2013. the condition will show neglect if present. if you own the car for a few years (lets just say 2023) then you'd have service records for the last 10 years.
  22. Need4Spd

    Need4Spd F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 24, 2007
    Silicon Valley
    Others have answered your questions well. I'll just add my opinion on a couple of things.

    Five years of service history is probably enough to see how well the car has been maintained (or not) to make a purchase decision. When I bought my car, from a dealer, I could not get records but did get a PPI. It didn't show any problems, so even knowing these inspections are never perfect, I went ahead. Everything was fine, though I did have a difficult to diagnose failing catalytic converter ECU that triggered a false "Slow Down" warning light. Once I figured that out, swapping in new ones cured the problem.

    I see from your post that records show the car not having a major service in 5 years. Because you have records since 2013 and if it shows no cam belt change since then, if it were my car, I'd have them changed before driving the car back home. Five years is beyond the recommended interval for changes, and to me, the risk of a timing belt failure or one jumping a tooth is not worth it. The valves will hit the pistons on this engine if the cam belts fail. Have the belt service done with Hill Engineering tensioners, and you'll have some peace of mind and a record of that going forward.

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