What are the MOST troublesome items on a TR?

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by silverf1modena, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. silverf1modena

    silverf1modena Formula Junior

    I was just wondering what the most troublesome items on a Testarossa I should be aware of and what years to avoid if any? ThanX!
  2. chaa

    chaa F1 Veteran

    Mar 21, 2003
    Only owned mine for 8 months, no problems at all apart from the air con belt flying of, but that was when the engine was taken over the red line.
  3. tr328

    tr328 Formula Junior

    Jun 19, 2003
    Pacifica, California
    Full Name:
    The first owner of my TR purchased a complete rebuilt transmission and had it installed. I purchased the car a couple of years later and had the transmission rebuilt for the second time. It is my understanding that there are some improvements with the newer transmission vs. the early year TR's. I have a 1985 TR with a updated transmission. I know two other people that have had their transmission rebuilt also. As you know, the major service is costly. No other problems with my TR, knock on wood! I have 44,000 miles on mine. It runs great!
  4. Eric308gtsiqv

    Eric308gtsiqv Formula 3

    Nov 26, 2001
    Orange Park, Florida
    Full Name:
    Eric Eiland
    Not sure if there are any particular "must avoid" model year TR's, and it's probably more of a preference issue whether it be in style, performance, of mechanical department. This can also be said about the other longer production run Ferrari's too -- i.e. the 308s, Mondials, etc.

    Once you have a good grasp of the differences / changes between particular model years, and what cost factors and maintenance issues are associated with them, then you should have a rather solid idea of what to look for and lookout for.

    Like has been mentioned previously (and in the other thread), several changes were made over the production run from '84 through the early 90's -- from wheel designs, suspension mods, chassis changes, engine design changes, exterior design mods, interior mods, etc. A good website that compares the early, mid, and later 512TR models is

    Early / mid TR's had an engine cradle design that allowed the whole engine/tranny/cradle unit to drop out the bottom for engine servicing. The later 512TR's have the engine out the top for service, IIRC.

    Things to take note mechanically might be clutch wear / condition, any seal leaks, AC / Heat operation, headlamp up/down operation, all interior / exterior lamps (including visible wire harness/connections), all gauges (including digital ones), hood and engine bonnet struts, cooling fan(s) operation, circuit board / fuses/ relays, door window glass motor operation, door / glass weatherstripping and dew wipes, wiper motor operation, side view remote mirror operation, etc. -- basically, things that a thorough PPI would indicate. Also things to consider might be brake wear and conditon of the struts -- as these aren't necessarily inexpensive off-the-shelf Pep Boys items compared to your average automobile.

    Like others have mentioned, the recommended engine-out MAJOR service interval for TR's (and other F-cars) is 30k miles (or 5 years), with a less extensive 15k minor service interval also. This is a must to consider due to the cambelts -- and you wouldn't want to risk one of these breaking unless you enjoy paying for engine rebuilds :).

    Keep in mind that there are also Euro imported TR's on the market, and these were converted at one point on import and should include all proper DOT / conversion papers in order to register and insure.

    Also, if possible, try to find a TR complete with the originally supplied tool pouch and tool roll containing all the tools, jack, etc. -- along with the owners manual, misc. manuals, and leather owners manual pouch. These can be costly to replace, and a pain to locate after the fact.

    TR's have their niggling problems from time-to-time with the Bosch Jetronic system also, and may need some sorting and balancing. The related items like warm up regulators, aux. air valves, and the like can add to the problem. Then, throw in mis-firing coil(s), fuel pump issues, etc. and it can really cause you to scratch your head. There are many resources online available to help understand and troubleshoot these systems...especially right here on F-Chat -- in fact, here's a typical thread that details troubleshooting one aspect of the TR's fuel system:

    Keep in mind that generally speaking parts are not "cheap" when it comes to TR's (just like any other F-car). On the TR, there are a lot of interior "extras and goodies" not found in say a 308. Digital display gauges, many interior / courtesy lamps, buttons, levers, and the like -- typical of a "GT" class car. Be prepared for a little "sticker shock" when it comes time to purchase replacements :)

    I've had mine for almost a year now, and it's been basically trouble free -- topped off the oil once. I replaced the rear engine bonnet struts, both distributor cap rubber boots, battery (Optima) and clamp, and the drivers seat latch mechanism. I did encounter a few odd glitches right off:

    1) after it's first detailing / engine cleaning, I kept hearing a buzzing / humming noise from the engine compartment at odd times. I took an air hose to the whole engine and blew out any "extra" water from all the nooks and crannies, and the buzzing eventually subsided.

    2) idle stuck high in cold weather conditions problem since.

    3) car went through a phase where it wanted to die out when coming to a stop...problem went away.

    A couple of good sites for buyer's guides would be:
  5. silverf1modena

    silverf1modena Formula Junior

    ThanX alot Eric! You are AwesomE! When did they discontinue the engine cradle design where you could drop the engine from the bottom(what years)? Wouldn't it be easier to service with that feature? And would it cost more to service the ones where you have the "engine out" from the top?
  6. Eric308gtsiqv

    Eric308gtsiqv Formula 3

    Nov 26, 2001
    Orange Park, Florida
    Full Name:
    Eric Eiland
    Glad to help :) With regards to chassis / cradle redesign: IIRC, this change was made with the intro of the newer 512TR model (around 1991 and onward). '90 and earlier TR's had the tube chassis design with drop out engine cradle. From what I've heard, it's a bit more time consuming and tedious a task to do an engine out service on the later 512TR/M models -- which I would assume would involve more labor / $$$. Perhaps some 512 owners could give better insight on this.

    Keep in mind that the 512's did have several advances over the earlier with HP increase, stiffer chassis, better handling, larger wheels, etc. -- so expect to pay a larger premium price over the '90 and earlier TR's. The rarer 512M commands the highest price of the bunch, especially due to the limited number produced and sold in the US.

    Many earlier model TR owners here on F-Chat (and elsewhere) have done their major engine out services by themselves in their own garages. The drop out cradle helps "simplify" this task.

    Here's another good website that explains the chassis features a bit further:

    Also, in case you haven't tried it yet, you might also want to browse the website, and check out GT Cars > Past Models > and select either the TR, 512TR, or 512M to view all the specs / pics of each model -- very informative and helpful.
  7. silverf1modena

    silverf1modena Formula Junior

    Man EriC!!! ThanX!!! You should work for a magazine^_^! All ur info is very valuable to me! Thanx again and God BleSS!!!

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