F355‎ > ‎


Web Changes

posted 17 Dec 2012, 22:32 by Robert Crane

This blog is now moving to http://blog.lovethe355.com (or http://lovethe355.blogger.com natively) so appreciate if you can update your feeds. All past and future posts will be located at http://blog.lovethe355.com. The reason for the change is that the Blogger platform allow more interaction (i.e. comments) as well as more functionality when it comes to design.

The address of this site will now be http://www.lovethe355.com. The content is still accessible via the old URLs but the new shorter focused domain will make thing easier going forward.

Finally, for those who want to get more involved check out the new Love the 355 community over on Google Plus, I hope to see you there.


posted 15 Dec 2012, 17:14 by Robert Crane

The car had it usual run up the freeway and back. No issues to report. The new tyres greatly improved the ride and service has made a major improvement to the performance of the vehicle. It just seems to go so much better now. Plenty of power and noise when given the boot which indicates that the exhaust by pass valve is working. Yeah. It just so much nicer when everything is working and way it should be. Ahhhh.... bliss.

The next item on the agenda is to give the leather work on the inside a good clean and wax. What has been recommended for this is Oakwood Automotive Leather Protection pack and of course plenty of elbow grease. The whole interior is going to take a few weeks to complete. Luckily the holiday season is fast approaching eh?

Ferrari 355 on Autobahn at 260+

posted 15 Dec 2012, 05:10 by Robert Crane   [ updated 15 Dec 2012, 05:12 ]

Here are some videos of a lucky 355 owner blasting along the unrestricted (i.e. no speed limit) autobahn.

YouTube Video

In the shop

posted 15 Dec 2012, 05:05 by Robert Crane

So very early Monday morning the car made the trip across town to the Racing Red workshop. Even at such an early hour it is amazing how much traffic there is. The car traveled without incident but was beginning to complain about having to wait in traffic queues towards the end of the journey.

The diagnosis was there were no major issues and that the exhaust bypass valve can be repaired quite easily. Even better than that, Sal had been able to reattached the hose to the pipe on the frame that had been previously broken off. This meant the arrangement in the engine bay was back to being standard which was a real bonus. The problem with the bypass valve turned out to be secondary air valves (part number 148494) highlighted above. These valves allow vacuum to pass from the manifold to the vacuum tank which is then used to operate the exhaust bypass valve at the right time. They are supposed to be one way valves but as it turns out they were allowing the air to return to the manifold which decreased the vacuum pressure and thus prevented the exhaust bypass valve from opening, as it relies on a vacuum to operate. These secondary air valves were the next components that I had on my list to replace while troubleshooting the issue but it is easier to get an expert to fix it. Apart from the exhaust valve repair the other major request I had was to remount the thermocouple ECU's back in their correct location under the Motronic controllers on either side of the car rather than remaining cable tied and flopping around. This was also completed as part of the service.

The other thing that the car needed was new tyres. Sal provided a few options but I settled on Bridgestone RE050A's all round. The Pirelli's were too expensive at this point in time. I was concerned that perhaps I was scrimping when it came to tyres but when I did some research on the 355 forums I found that plenty of people were happy with this tyre on their car. The only downside seems to be that it makes a bit more road noise than the Pirelli but it also has longer wear, which at this point in time is more important. A set of 4 Bridgestone RE050A's including a wheel alignment was worth about $1,900, which is quite reasonable.

Two days later I picked the car up in the middle to the day. Immediately upon starting the car I could feel that it idled smoother. I was really keen to see whether the repair to the exhaust bypass valve had made any difference to the noise the car made at high revs on the drive back. Unfortunately, in traffic there was little chance to open it up, even a little. Again, it is utterly amazing at how much traffic there is on the roads, even during the middle of the day. Maybe it is more noticeable in a car like this but progress felt painfully slow. This annual service cost about $900 which was far less than was expected and considerably less than the last major service for my day to day vehicle. A very happy chappy with the ROI for the service I must say!

The trip back was also uneventful but while sitting in traffic or travelling along at very low speeds (on what is supposed to be a motorway) I noticed the oil temperature start to  creep up. It immediately fell back down again once the car was travelling along at normal speeds but it is yet another indication that it doesn't like stop start traffic and operating a low speed. I'm confident that it would be fine if it had to do this but the car really gives you the feeling that it would rather be somewhere else than sitting in traffic. With that I must also sympathize.

With the car finally tucked away after the service the next item on the agenda was the third party insurance (i.e. green slip). After some research the choice was the NRMA because of other policies with them but also they ended being the cheapest by a significant amount.You obviously get more benefit from an insurer if you are already a policy holder, have other vehicle insurance with them and have been a member for over twenty years! It was interesting to compare the third party insurance of the 355 with that of my normal car (which is used for business rather than private and that does affect premiums). However, the comparison is that the 355 is about $100 cheaper (or 16% less) when it comes to third party insurance when compared to a normal hatch back. Interesting.

If you take that one step further and look at the registration cost you find that the 355 is about $145 cheaper (or 31% less) to register than a normal hatch back (again admittedly done for business). It therefore turns out that a car like the 355 is actually cheaper to register than a normal business vehicle, which is a nice surprise!

Next trip will be to hit the road to try the new rubber and repaired exhaust by pass valve. Can't wait.

Service time

posted 8 Dec 2012, 16:51 by Robert Crane   [ updated 8 Dec 2012, 16:56 ]

Tomorrow the car gets dropped for its first major service, rego check and new tyres. This means taking across town through the traffic which is something to be generally avoid if at all possible. Thus, that will happen at the crack of dawn in the hope of avoiding any major traffic snarls. Fingers crossed. The biggest hope is that, apart from all the things that HAVE to be done, there will be time during the service to address the issue with the exhaust bypass valve and to restore it to full working (noisy) order.

Even though the car will be out tomorrow it had the usual trip up the freeway and back. Happily, there again were no warning lights so it would seem that issue was to do with the ECU flopping around the engine bay. During the upcoming service I'll ask to get those secured in their correct place under the Motronic controller.

The next major project is to try and build a diagnostic computer for the Motronic. Doing so would not only allow the viewing of engine statistics but it would also allow the resetting of any error codes (like limp mode). It would certainly be impressive if you could get this into an app loaded on a tablet or mobile but that is probably getting a little bit ahead of the game. The first step is locating the interface information about the Motronic and how it communicates to the outside world. Some searching already reveals that this information may be somewhat hard to come by but the Internet knows all. It is just a matter of finding it.

Hopefully all goes well with the service and the new tyres provide some more confidence while driving. The only question is how will that confidence cost? Next week should reveal the answer.

The smell of gasoline

posted 1 Dec 2012, 15:03 by Robert Crane

On most trips early in the morning the biggest challenge on the road are the push bikes, that is why I have selected a route that normally requires going counter to their direction. However, you can't always be so lucky. Unfortunately, today another form of motorist who proved to be a challenge - boat owners.

There must have been some sort of event because the roads this morning were full of trailers and boats. Proceeding along the highway I pulled off into the usual service station to re-fuel. Problem was, the car in front also did the same. Further problem was all the pumps on the left hand side were occupied, with two bowsers being occupied by a boat and trailer. Given that my fuel cap is on the left of the car I didn't really want to try and refill from a right hand bowser. So I waited behind the boat and I waited and I waited.

As the number of cars behind me started to grow (they could have gone to the right bowsers themselves actually) I tossed up whether to simply drive away and pull in at another service station later. I would not be able to do so until after by freeway run. What the heck I'll go to the right bowsers. How hard can it be? (as they say on Top Gear)

So I pull up at the first bowser at the rear, acknowledge the boat people next door and grab the nozzle. Problem is the nozzle doesn't quite reach, so I turn it vertically to try and make it fit and a load of fuel from the previous filler gushes all over the inlet area. Damm. So much for checking for fuel spills I think (which is what I wanted to do after some concerns I had last week). I twist and turn the nozzle but it still comes up short and it only just makes the top of the intake pipe on the car. I try this anyway and only end up splashing more fuel around where I don't want it to be. Damm.

Needing to move the car closer to the pump I jump back in and drive it forward to the first bowser just in front. I make sure that the car is close enough to allow the nozzle to reach, however I now encounter a new problem. Being closer to the bowser means there is less room for the door to open and the doors in this car are much bigger than usual. Damm. So, re-position car (again) to allow exit but now forget to push the button to open the fuel intake on the car. This means getting back in, starting it up, pressing the button and getting out again. Oh, what a comic show for the crowd this morning.

The nozzle barely reaches but it does allow fuel to go into the car rather than elsewhere. After securing the fuel cap I go in search of some water to clear the fuel intake area. This means climbing over the boat, which is still straddled across the middle of the station. As I give the fuel intake a good flush I hope that there are not any leaks (as I was suspecting after last weeks run) that would allow the water to get into the fuel tank. Let's hope not.

Refueling done, the attendant behind the register (who has probably quite enjoyed the 'show') informs me that I need to pay for the few pennies I used at the first pump (when the nozzle didn't reach) and my second more successful attempt. Fine. No discount for being 'entertaining'? I think as I leave the register.

I hit the road and have to deal with more boats and cyclists until a little way up the freeway where things start to thin out. Phew. Breath. Breath.

I am happy to report however, apart from the refueling dramas (will remember to not try the right side again!), there was no repeat of the warning lights. Three weeks in a row. Woo-Hoo. That certainly makes up for any other issues experienced today (which were really my own stupidity anyway). At least I shouldn't have to refuel for a few more weeks now. The other good thing (somewhat surprisingly) is that upon parking the vehicle it didn't smell of fuel like it did last time.

The tank plug replacement also arrived this week so changed that over as well.

Here's the broken tank plug (above). The arm on the right fits into the centre of the cap on the left. If you look closely you can see that the 'teeth' at the bottom of the arm that sit inside the hole are missing. So it has totally loose the whole time.

With a new plug (like that above) the car is now just that little bit better. Still plenty to do and the car is confirmed for its first major service in a few weeks, so once that is all done (and it gets a new set of tyres) nirvana will be just that much closer. I however expect nirvana not to be cheap!

Clear run 2

posted 24 Nov 2012, 17:10 by Robert Crane

Took the same route and for the second week in a row (I think this maybe a record!) no warning lights appeared. Still not 100% convinced but it certainly appears to be more positive than it has been in a while. If the car gets through a third week in a row with no issues then I'll be a lot more confident. My gut feeling tells me that allowing the ECUs to bounce around the engine bay is the source of the last round of issues. If the next run is also good the aim will be to mount the ECU back where they are supposed to be under the Montronic controller on both sides.

I have noticed after parking the car from these trips a smell of fuel from the passengers side, especially if I stand right over the fuel cap. The smell disappears after the car has cooled down so the thought is that it is because of the forward/backward manoeuvres in a confined space to align the car in its parking spot. Some research is in order as well as a check of the fuel system on the passengers side of the car for obvious leaks next time the engine cover is off. 

There are still some interesting little points to be found with these models that even extensive research does seem to highlight. The latest discovery is that the 2.7 Motronic cars (like this one) are "better" than the new 5.2 versions. Why? Firstly, the seem to be more reliable. Talking to a few people who work on these car regularly for a living, they have always commented that the 2.7 is better. Secondly, the 2.7 has slightly more power because of new emission standards brought out just before the release of the 5.2 engine management. To comply with these new standards the 5.2 engine management had to be changed from the 2.7 and this resulted in a slight drop in power output. Not a huge amount (5-10 seems to be the figure) bu it was certainly less. However, the most beneficial thing of the 2.7 model over the 5.2 is the fact that it has separate warning lights for "engine check" and "slow down". At least knowing which of the two thermocouples was having a problem certainly made troubleshooting much easier. If there was only a single "slow down" light for the whole engine isolating the issue would have taken much longer. So glad that this one is a 2.7.

Hopefully with the thermocouple issue under control it is now time to fix a few of the other issues that were noted during the initial inspection.

At the top of the engine is tank for the radiator. With this there is a Tank Plug (Part Number 145030) that screws into the top. Out of the centre of this plug is a small connector to an overflow hose. The problem is that the connection from the plug to the hose is actually loose and simply sitting on top of the plug. It seems to have broken away from the main tank plug. This Tank Plug part appears to be common to a number of different models of Ferrari's, including the 360. There was a second hand one available at http://www.prosport-ferrari.co.uk/ so it has now been ordered and is on the way (takes about 10 or so days to arrive). Total cost? 9 UK pounds (second hand). All that "should" be required here is a change over and connection of the overflow pipe.

That will probably be the last "fix" before the car goes into for its major annual service. At that point it will also be getting new tyres so my Christmas wish to have it all back and working to enjoy during the festive season. That would really make it a jolly time of the year now wouldn't it?

Clear run

posted 17 Nov 2012, 16:47 by Robert Crane

After adjusting the air lines to the exhaust bypass valve after last week's drive the hope was that this would make a difference and stop the dreaded "1-4 Slow Down" light from appearing. A week of pondering had also surfaced the possibility of an electrical problem. Maybe an exposed wire or else something obvious? A close check on the wiring didn't reveal anything but re-seating the connections can't hurt while the covers are off.

The above image shows the connection from the Motronic engine management to the ECU (in the background) that then goes off to the thermocouple. This connection disappears pretty quickly into tubing as it heads off to the the Motronic so the only thing to really check was the end that plugs into the ECU and that all looked good upon close inspection.

As the above image also shows, the ECUs are still merely cable-tied in place (as was the case at purchase time), which means they can move around quite a bit as the car travels along. It made sense then to try and secure these in place a bit better. So with the cover off, took the opportunity to move the right ECU up closer to the Motronic to take advantage of a thicker and less flexible part of the cabling. This relocation combined with the cover sitting over the top will hopefully mean less moment (i.e. jiggling) of the ECU which maybe what is contributing to the issue (i.e. hit a bump with the stiff suspension and the wrong signal gets sent from ECU).

As luck would have it, exactly the same run with the car this week resulted in no warning lights on the dash which is a nice change. That results would seem to eliminate the cause of the issue being heat, because if heat was an issue you would expect the warning lights to commence at exactly the same location as last week. That therefore lends credence to the issue being electrical. Of course the other factor maybe changing the vacuum lines to the exhaust by pass valve. Whatever it was, it seems to have rectified things for this week at least.

When the car was given a blast over 4,000 rpm there didn't seem to be any noticeable change in exhaust noise (now that the lines are in the rights place and the exhaust bypass valve was tested as working) but that issue is merely cosmetic. It is much, much better NOT to have warning lights appearing. Maybe, having all the lines back to front as previously discovered has impacted the solenoids that control the vacuum to the valve. Anyway, something that can be tested later.

Although things went well today, there will need to be a few more trips without any warning lights to be re-assured that the problem has been rectified. However, willl certainly take this one and hope the next trip also leads to the results of no warning lights.


posted 10 Nov 2012, 16:27 by Robert Crane   [ updated 10 Nov 2012, 16:34 ]

I knew it was too good to last. After last week's trouble free run the problems of the "1-4 Slow Down" re-emerged.

The route this week was exactly the same as last week's trouble free run after swapping the thermocouple. However, about 30 minutes in I saw the "1-4 Slow Down" light flick for a micro-second and then the car went into 'limp mode' immediately. Pulled the car over, stopped and restarted. Limp mode disappeared but the car began to have the now familiar "1-4 Slow Down' light flashing as before. It seems to come in bursts of a few seconds (10-15) and then goes way for a while. Damm, what the hell can be the problem now?

While pondering the situation peering into the engine bay noticed that the air lead from the exhaust by pass valve was attached to the wrong solenoid. It is supposed to be connected to the left solenoid but it was on the right.

As you can see in the above diagram and trace through. The top connector from the left hand side solenoid should go to the exhaust by pass valve (in the middle of engine). Likewise, the connector at the top of right solenoid should go to the cut off valve (item 13). Basically, these connections were back to front. This would explain why the exhaust bypass valve still didn't appear to be functioning while driving. Also interestingly, after last week conclusion that 'some has had a good go in this area of the car', I noted that all of the air leads are not in the guide brackets like in this car:

More evidence that these things have been an issue with the car for a while and someone has tried (and apparently failed) to rectify them.

So the leads from the solenoids have now been swapped and are connected correctly according to the above diagram. Hope having them reversed didn't do any damage. On that I really don't know, but hopefully not since it is only air, but again you never know with a car like this.

The question is whether having these leads reversed could have made the "1-4 Slow Down" light come on? You would tend to think not but I couldn't say for sure. Seems like this continuing issue is fast becoming beyond me and I'll need some professional help.

The strange thing is why the light didn't happen last week after the thermocouple was replaced? The car went on an identical run and didn't display any issues. The other interesting thing when examining all of the "1-4 Slow Down" issues since the purchase of the car, they all sort of start out the same way. About 30 minutes into a drive the "1-4 Slow Down" light comes on but goes away. Over the next few weeks the issue progressively gets worse. Most curious.

Air Injection Device

posted 4 Nov 2012, 04:40 by Robert Crane

So here's the Air Injection System. The pipe that is broken is here (basically where 35 points to).

The solenoids valves (Part number 159177) are located in the lower right (items 8)

Here's what it looks like in the car

You'll notice in this picture (which I found on the Internet) the connection to the solenoid valve (Part number 159177) on the right (nearest the large drum) is light blue. Prior to yesterday's discovery the blue connector on my car was on the left. I am pretty confident that it is now in the correct location, however I need to find out where these connections to the solenoids actually go. That is a topic for another post.

However, here's something I found that describe show to troubleshoot the solenoid valve ((Part number 159177)):

Pull the wires off the solenoid and check they are ok. Look for breaks or seriously corroded terminals. Now start the car up, and with a electronic volt meter on the plug that goes to the solenoid still disconnected, measure the voltage that would be feed to the solenoid while someone revs the car over 4000 RPM. The ECU should provide 12 volts to operate the solenoid and this should read 12 volts on the meter at higher revs. You can also then connect the battery or 12 volts from something else to the solenoid to hear if it clicks as it engages and disengages when voltage is applied and removed. If that is all working then you then the next most likely issue  is a problems with a vacuum leak somewhere.

I think the next step is to find out where the other end of those leads goes that plug into the solenoid valve, i.e. where the other end of this highlighted connection goes:

as it is not displayed on the diagram. It would seem to go to another ECU somewhere judging by the above troubleshooting guide. I also wonder what the other solenoid valve on the right does?

1-10 of 26