OK, so why is it that Ferarri's / other exotics are so troublesome??? | FerrariChat

OK, so why is it that Ferarri's / other exotics are so troublesome???

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by s2mikey, Nov 6, 2003.

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  1. s2mikey

    s2mikey Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    Upstate, New York
    Full Name:
    Mike B
    I have been pondering for quite some time why is it that the better the car looks, the worse it actually runs. This has driven me crazy for years. Many potential owners, myself at the top of the list, are being scared away from these dream machines due to the horror stories associated with an Italian or British sports car.

    Let's see some of the possible reasons and rebuttals:

    1. The cars are made for high performance and thus use high performance parts designed strictly fo performance...NOT reliability or longevity.

    OK, I get the point there...BUT... why build the motor that needs valve adjustments every 15K Miles? Since the building of most of these cars is cost-no-object, the drivetrains should be damned bulletproof. Use an all-roller assembly ( a hot rod thing ) or at least self adjusting valves?

    High performance parts don't need to be crap. I'm quite sure that it is possible to get horsepower without resorting to junk parts. This one doesn't make sense either. Oh well.

    2. The cars are mainly hand-built and this leads to errors in assembly.

    This is another one I don't get. I would think that a robot stamping machine would be more troublesome than a likely well compensated engine builder or master technician. I assume that when working on a car by hand the desire would be perfection in every build step. And, I would have assumed that extremely talented people like Enzo or Colin Chapman would never allow so many mishaps with their production cars. Perhaps neither one of them watched over the process that much.

    3. Low production numbers equal factories that lack technology.

    Again...why? Is it a cost issue? I can understand some cost restraints on a smaller outfit but... smaller operations should cost less. Less space, less employees, etc, etc.

    4. It is impossible to get world class performance AND a Toyota Camry service schedule out of the same car.

    This does have some merit. However, without patting Porsche on the back...they have somehow built absolute rockets and have also maintained a very reasonable service schedule combined with a good reliability history. Yes, I know.... older Porsches like the SC's have their fair share of niggling issues too, but nowhere near their European neighbors offerings.

    Hey, do NOT take this wrong way! I absolutely LOVE Ferrari cars and many British cars too. It's just frustrating sometimes when you think about how much better a lot of these cars could have been. Then, the cars would be better today and you wouldn't have heard all of the almost funny break-down stories! Yes, I understand that ANY 20 year old car will need stuff. It's just that these cars need stuff on top of more stuff...and then it needs servicing on top of that stuff. Wow... I'd better get a part-time job to pull this off! Either way, I'm going to find me a nice 308 / Mondial...you only live once!

  2. Lawrence Coppari

    Lawrence Coppari Formula 3

    Apr 29, 2002
    Kingsport, TN
    Full Name:
    Lawrence A. Coppari
    I've owned my 328 for 15 years with about 40 DE's on it. I have had no trouble with it except the following. The engine main seal leaked oil and had to be replaced. The AC leaked at pressure switch, the blower switch needed some cleaner squirted in it, and the passenger window switch needed some cleaner squirted as well.

    That is all that went wrong with it. It has not been tracked since 1997 as I have a car specifically for that now.

    As you can see, I have had few problems with it. I think that is a pretty good record. A main seal is just the luck of the draw. In my experience, I think some people are magnets for car trouble. I rarely have had trouble with any of my vehicles in the million or so miles I have driven them.
  3. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
    Full Name:
    Hmmm... 1985 Euro 308GTS QV and have done 7k miles in the past 8 months and so far only ONE problem. Typical headlight motor. Could have fixed for $2, yet decided to replace the entire motor for $200. That's it. Nothing else. Ok, decided to have the 60k major done a bit early, yet that is different than a "problem".

    (Knocking wood) Always starts hot or cold. Runs great, sounds great, and has a great smiles-per-miles ratio. Actually the highest "cost" has been tickets for alleged speeding. Interesting, have went to court for two of the three tickets and none have resulted in points nor fines (both dismissed).

    Perhaps it is luck, a great PPI'ed car, Zen, karma...???

    Enjoy the Drive ("That's Amore'" with a few writers embellishments right now),

    Steven R. Rochlin

    "(In Maranello where love is king
    When boy meets car here's what they say)

    When the car hits your eye like a big pizza pie
    That's amore
    When the Ferrari seems to shine like you've had too much wine
    That's amore
    The engine will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
    And you'll sing "Vita bella"
    Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
    Like a gay tarantella

    When the car make you drool just like a pasta ***iole
    That's amore
    When you drive down the street with a Ferrari at your feet
    You're in love
    When you're driving in a dream but you know you're not
    Dreaming signore
    Scuzza me, but you see, back in old Maranello
    That's amore..."
  4. mr. green

    mr. green Formula Junior

    Oct 31, 2003
    They are low production cars so they can't make it up on volume. The need to make there money by selling parts and service. If they make the cars bulletproof how are they going to make any money.
  5. Mark(study)

    Mark(study) F1 Veteran

    Oct 13, 2001
    Clearwater, FL
    Full Name:
    One of the old Ferrari stories I heard in the early 80's when asked why Ferrari had such a rust problem?.

    " We build toys for rich guys, and they don't have to last that long. Most of our target market gets bored and changes cars every 2-3 years"

    Even today, with better quality....the type of people that buy new Ferraris, tend to get rid of them before the warrenty expires. Keep trading up a model.

    Some ferraris never have a problem! And guys swear by them. But some do and then its expensive. As long as the fear is out there.... Ferrari has a problem.
  6. allanlambo

    allanlambo F1 Rookie

    Jun 9, 2002
    Full Name:

    Ive had many years of trouble free driving in both Fcars and Lambos. The Lotus is fine also.
  7. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    Simple IMHO.......

    Low volume.....4,000 or so sales a year of a rarely driven car (generally speaking) with shorter than normal warranties means an inability to correct product deficiencies due to accurate, timely and numerous feedback about product issues in the first place.
  8. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    The modern engines {348, 355, 360} do not use the same vavle train technology as the older cars. Basically, you are asking why a 20 year old car needs to be maintained like (say) a 20 year old car! The only real difference is that it still looks fresh and has reasonable performence--astonishing performance for a 20 year old car.

    Effectively, an F355 engine IS a 1980 F1 engine re-engineered to survive 100,000 miles with 3 major services, and have cold startability and compliant emissions throughout its life. Not bad actually. {the RPMs are down from 12,5000 RPM peak power to 8200 RPMs but the life is up from 220 miles between rebuilds to 100,000 miles.}

    A 5.7 litre american pushrod engine would have to deliver 635 HP to be in the same state of tune as the F355 engine. Best factory 5.7 engine out right now is 405 HP. The American factories don't make 600 HP 5.7 litre motors because (basically) they can't! Ferrari can {so can Toyota and so can Honda}.

    The first owner gets all this stuff taken care of. The modern cars have very little that needs taken care of.

    Exactly the opposite!

    P-cars have similar reliability and maintanance costs as F-cars. Ask an owner that takes one to the race track regularly. But Porsche only makes 10X the cars that Ferrari makes on a per/year basis.

    The real question: When you are lying on your death bed will you ask:

    "Should I have spend less on maintanence for my Ferrari"?

    or will you ask

    "Should I have spend more time driving my Ferrari"?

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

    Nov 1, 2003
    Victory Circle
    Full Name:
    You want something built by a Friggin ROBOT?!?!!? You think Michelangelo would ever let a robot sculpt David or the paint the Sistine chapel, You think Da Vinci would let a robot paint the Mona Lisa, You think Beethoven would allow a robot to compose music for him?!?!?!?!

    Ferraris are art, art is made by humans not friggin robots, you want something a robot built, go buy a refrigerator, toaster or a Camry, all appliances, Not Art

    As for the service schedules, Ferraris are as close as you can get to a race car for the street, Have you ever seen the maintenance schedule on a race car ? Rebuild engine, & trans & replace clutch after every race, replace tires during the race.

    Again you see, to want an appliance not a race car. You want a nice quality sportscar, theres a price to be paid
  10. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Rossa Subscribed

    Dec 6, 2002
    Houston, Texas
    Full Name:
    I dunno, why are exotic women more troublesome than average ones?

    Good death bed analogy. When folks ask me why I drive my Ferrari every day I say "Because life's too short not to!"
  11. Ron328

    Ron328 F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Mar 10, 2003
    Willamette Valley, Oregon
    Full Name:
    No complaints here, but what I don't understand (ok, my ignorance) is the use of rubber instead of steel (ie., chain) for the cam belt. At least if it were steel, cam belts don't have to be changed every 5 years.
  12. sjb509

    sjb509 Guest

    The belts do have steel or Kevlar bands inside it for stiffness. In theory a synchronous belt could have more accurate valve timing than a chain. Manufacturing tolerances and wear of the timing timing chain could vary cam timing due to slop between the pins and rollers, accumulated over the length of the chain between the crank and the cams.

    There are also advantages in some cases that the engine can be designed to be lighter and shorter with a belt. One set of bearings inside the engine for the crank and cams could also be eliminated compared to a central chain.

    With that said, I have to agree with you about the belts vs. chains for street cars. A chain is something that would probably never have to be changed over the life of the engine, and would provide 95+% of the engine output of belt drive. Even if the engine weighs 20 lbs more, is two inches longer, and has 10 less horsepower, is anyone going to care? Especially if the service bill is cut in half? The thing which would be changed during service would probably be the tensioner assembly.

    Some may argue that it is the rpm that they are capable of that prohibits chains, but motorcycles regularly turn over 15,000 rpm with chains with no problems. Perhaps a gear camdrive could satisfy everyone: accurate timing, low maintenance, engine design benefits of belts, racecar-inspired engineering, and probably a unique sound.
  13. Mojo

    Mojo Formula 3

    Sep 24, 2002
    Washington St.
    Full Name:
    Chevy can't build a 600 hp motor?
    Oh please.
    Im sure if they wanted to build a $150,000 dollar car it could make 600hp.
    but who would buy a $150,000 dollar chevy?, not many people.

    They can build a car that can compete with ferrari, for 1/3 the price
    Also don't forget they also can do all this and get 25MPG. oh ya. take that.

    P.S. they also have Torque :)
  14. DBR328&330

    DBR328&330 Formula Junior

    May 31, 2001
    Winchester, VA
    Full Name:
    Daniel Reese
    I think the reliability problem has alot to do with the lack of use in these cars. I use my 328 frequently and have very few problems.
  15. West777

    West777 Formula Junior

    Aug 28, 2003
    that makes sense
  16. Artherd

    Artherd F1 Veteran

    Jun 19, 2002
    Bay Area, CA
    Full Name:
    Ben Cannon
    sbj- it is much mroe than just the weight of the chain vs belt.

    Chain drive requires approximately HALF the entire capacity of an engine's oil circulation system output. Yep, fully half. The rest lubes the pistons/cams/crank/valves/etc. Everything.

    Would I care if Ferrari added on 5lbs here, 10lbs there, 25 lbs over here... YES! Because the car would end up 1,000lbs heavier, less nimble, and NO FUN! ;)

    To whomever suggested Chevy could build a 600hp 5.7l engine that went 100k miles withought ever being touched, you are on crack. (not that 405 out of a pushrod 5.7 isn't fairly impressive, it's also not as much FUN!)

  17. STEEDA30

    STEEDA30 Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
    Full Name:
    Rick Charles
    That Z06 is a fun car, and for more than half the price, it will run faster lap times on a road course and drag strip. But, in the end, it is NOT a Ferrari :)
  18. Lawrence Coppari

    Lawrence Coppari Formula 3

    Apr 29, 2002
    Kingsport, TN
    Full Name:
    Lawrence A. Coppari
    The frequent use comment makes a good point that I forgot to mention. Mine gets used at least once a week. I live in the south so it can be driven all winter.
  19. sjb509

    sjb509 Guest


    I wasn't necessarily advocating chains, but there is no way that chain cam drive would add more than 100 lbs or so to the car, even with a heavier chassis to handle the slightly heavier motor.

    Ferrari could do many things in other places to minimize that weight increase, and make the cars more desirable from the "race car for the street" perspective. Minimal sound deadening material, full titanium exhaust system, various carbon fiber bits. The price of the car may increase slightly, but there would be major savings when maintenance time comes.
  20. Mojo

    Mojo Formula 3

    Sep 24, 2002
    Washington St.
    Full Name:
    Artherd Who said any thing about going 100,000 miles without mantanance?

    Also how much fun an engine is, thats relative. I prefer torque.

    Ferrari could make changes that would lower mantanance, yes drive gears or chain for starters.
  21. Exotic_Car_Guy

    Exotic_Car_Guy Karting

    Apr 2, 2003
    California, Carmel
    Full Name:
    Gil Lucero
    My experience is that my 328GTS has been rock solid since I've owned it. I also agree with those of you that commented that our cars need to be used. I try to drive mine at least once a week, and it has worked well for me.
  22. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
    Honorary Owner

    Oct 23, 2002
    Full Name:
    Jim Glickenhaus
    My wife's twin turbo Cayenne has a nice 4.5 liter motor that has 20K oil changes and 100K engine services. It makes 450 HP. That puppy will run 24/7 at 165. The new Bentley coupe will have an engine that can run at 207MPH until it runs out of gas and much less required service than many F cars. It can be done and as the competition gets better F will have to respond. Esp. if they hope to sell the 4 seat 612 for 110K more than the Bentley coupe.

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