New Year, same problems

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I hate to say it but my ‘ignition but no crank issues’ haven’t gone away. The car certain starts cleaner after the recent flush, but something still isn’t quite right.

Typically, I have gone for a drive, stopped the car, say to re-fuel, return and I get lights but no crank. I turn the key off and on and car starts.

It worries me that one day I won’t be able to get the car to start all. The most likely candidates for the issue seem to be:

1. Solenoid

2. Ignition relay

3. Alarm

The car does have an after market alarm as factory ones were not available back when the car was made. Perhaps the engine cut out relay in the alarm is failing after all this time? This is hard to troubleshoot without disabling the whole alarm. So my thinking is to get the mechanicals replaced (solenoid and ignition relay) first. Then, if the problem continues, it maybe time to consider getting a new alarm?

The car goes back to Racing Red shortly for a once over again and I’ll report back once that has been completed and if anything was found or replace.

Again, annoying but I need to have it sorted to have piece of mind.


Flushed

The 355 is back after a visit to Sal at Racing Red to try and solve the ‘spluttering’ problem. He went through the car but the main thing he did was clean the injectors.

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Using a device that he has, he cleaned and tested all the injectors, which has not been done since I have owned the car.

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He also went in and change all the spark plugs. My records indicate that these  haven’t been changed in over 8 years, so doing both should make a difference.

While the car was in it had its annual service and rego check, so when I picked it up it was good to go for another 12 months.

On the drive home I did notice a marked difference in performance, which was pleasing. However, while parking the car I did get a ‘lights but no crank’ issue on one restart. I’m kind of wondering whether that has anythign to do maybe with the alarm not fully disengaging? I’ll have to monitor that more closely. However, no ‘spluttering’ was present which is great. Fingers crossed that at least that issue has been resolved and I can enjoy the car over the holidays.

Trouble continues

Unfortunately its appears that the initial attempt at rectifying the ‘spluttering’ problem was unsuccessful. This means an extended stay with Sal to try and get to the bottom of things.

I’ve had to wait a while for Sal to be able to fit me but that will happen next week. Given it is also time for the cars annual service and rego we might be able to squeeze all that in during this visit I hope.

To prepare I took the car out to a local petrol station to get fuelled up and it performed faultlessly. It seems that I only get the ‘spluttering’ once the engine is up to temperature after a long drive. Starting and stopped then seems to cause the issue to arise.

So, it is off for a good check up this week and hopefully a solution to the issue which has been keeping me off the streets of late.

Phase senor replaced

The hunt for the intermittent throttled performance continues. I went out for a drive and all was good. I pulled in to get fuel after the drive and upon re-start the ‘chuggy’ issue returned, with the engine going into limp mode. I stopped and started the car on the spot, but no luck, it stayed in limp mode. Not being far from home, I headed off in limp mode to at least get the car back.

A few hundred metres down the road the fault cleared, and with a bit of a kick I was back to full power. I continued home with no further issues. The good thing was was that any error codes where now captured for analysis.

A few days later, I took the car to Sal so he could read the codes. The engine management was reporting a ‘Stroke error’.

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This sensor is on the right hand side of the engine near the cam cover, so it is easy to get to and replace. Cost of a new one was around $400.

The details of the part are:

Bosch 232103006 – Phase Sensor – 3165143101056

Ferrari part number = 150866 – Phase Sensor

I drove the car home again and stopped for fuel. Upon first ignition turn I had no engine crank, just all the dash lights. Oh-no! Off and on allowed me to restart and it’s been all good since then.

Still not 100% sure all the gremlins have been found. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come back!


The reason remain undetermined

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After a few weeks delay, Sal from Racing Red was able to come and look at the F355 and guess what? No fault found! Oh man, how annoying.

Maybe, because I had the battery isolated for a long period and the engine fully cooled down, that the problem went away (at least for now).

Given the symptoms, of going into limp mode, one would expect it to be an ECU ‘Slow down’ issue as I have experienced before. But Sal tells me that would generally mean the ‘Slow down’ light would appear on the dash rather than the ‘Check Engine’ light (which is what happened in this case).

If we assume that the ‘Slow down’ ECUs and probes are ok then the issue may lie with the airflow sensor. 

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The problem with this is that they no longer make this part new. That would mean sourcing a suitable used version. Finding that could prove tough, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it and know that is actually the problem.

With no fault found all I can do is leave the car turned on and take it for a long drive, stop to get fuel and see if the issue returns. If it does then at least I know I should be able to get it home, isolate the battery again for a period of time, get it working and over to Sal’s workshop so he can take a closer look.

Frustrating that the secret remains hidden as I would prefer not to have the issue arise again when I’m out on a run. Fingers crossed.

The ten year anniversary

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Here’s the summary of another year’s ownership of a F355. I have been remiss at not getting this out sooner as September was the actual anniversary date. You may want to catch up on previous episodes:

One Year Anniversary

Two Year Anniversary

Three Year Anniversary

Four Year Anniversary

Five Year Anniversary

Sixth year Anniversary

Seventh year Anniversary

Eighth year Anniversary

Ninth year Anniversary

The tenth year they say is tin or aluminium

It’s been another year of extended lockdowns and restrictions on movements so comparisons from previous years have gone out the window.

Costs

The normal running costs where about $8,500. This is smaller than average due to lockdowns and an extended time the car was off the road.

I did have a simple coolant repair to take care of.

Outside these, I also had to get the ‘stickies’ taken care of. As part of the process the interior was given a complete make over by Elliot Caras whom you can find at elliotcaras@gmail and @restored_by_elliot on Instagram. The results where AMAZING and worth every penny!

Travel

The car reached the 98,000 kms mark and is all set to break the 100,000 kms mark very soon. I only did a bit over 5,000kms in the car again due to lockdowns and tie off the road for repairs.

Low points

Unfortunately, the year did not end well with the car going into limp mode on a drive and not coming back out after a reset. Even though I have now had work done on the issue I seem to still have a related issue with the ignition that I am trying to get sorted.

I am still trying to get a replacement cog 3D printed to replace the one in the air conditioning timing actuator. Trying to find a business that is interested in actually delivering a product is hard. However, I am working on a solution that I hope will solve this in the not to distant future.

High points

Given the locks downs and issues with the car, there again haven’t been too many I can remember. It is always great to get in the car and go for a trouble free run, and there certainly was plenty of those over the year, but the low points have pushed these to back of my memory unfortunately.

Value

The value remains around the $300K I estimate. Inflation has also played a big part in this I feel.

Summary

Probably the best thing that has happened this year is that I have been able to relocate the car to a secure storage facility. This means that it is no longer in a shared car park. That did not reduce my insurance premium that much but it did reduce the excess from $10K to $1.5K! The car now lives in a dedicated, locked and alarmed facility that I have access to at any time. It also means I can fiddle with the car and do minor repairs such as my alarm light. It also allows me a place to completely detail my car out of the sun and inquisitive eyes.

I’ll be much happier though when I get this reliability issues with starting resolved. Problem is I think they might be a bit tough to troubleshoot. Time will tell.

Do I have any regrets after 10 years of ownership? Nope, not one. Every minute has been enjoyable, even the challenging ones and I can’t imagine what life would have been like if I hadn’t made the commitment and overcome my fears of buying the car all those years ago (it’d actually be pretty boring I’ll bet).

I look forward to another year’s ownership and hopefully more reliability. The issue have been more annoying than anything. Nothing really that was a show stopper, thank goodness. All things being equal, I should cross the 100K kms barrier in the car soon, which when you think about it isn’t bad. I have a feeling that it is probably the one of the highest kilometred Ferraris in the country me thinks.

Here’s to another 10 years of adventure.   


What a way to spoil a drive

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Unfortunately, it is time for the F355 to play up. This doesn’t happen very often BUT I am fully appreciative that it will happen as the car is now approaching 98,000 kilometres travelled. And today was the day.

I was out on a Club drive heading south along the coast. We had taken the freeway and stopped at the top of Bulli pass to grab a coffee. All good so far. After about 20 minutes I jumped back in the car, but when I started it I was greeted with ‘chugging’. The engine was spluttering and the ‘Check Engine 5-8’ light stayed on for longer than normal before extinguishing. I turned the car off and on but was greeted with the same result. Oh no!

Now this has happened before. Typically it has happened on a cold morning after I have filled up with fuel and returned to start my car. Generally, the car ‘chugs’ a bit and then is fine. It has happened two or three times over the life of the car and not recently.

Having seen these symptoms before, I continued along the freeway south hoping it would clear but it was obvious that the car had not fixed itself and was in fact now running in ‘limp mode’ (with only half the cylinders working). You can tell this because it simply has no guts to get up a hill. Along the flat or down a hill it is generally ok but on almost any incline it is a pig. I have experienced this before but not for many years.

With something clearly wrong with the car, I pull over again on the side of the freeway and did a battery isolation (i.e. disconnect and reconnect the battery via the switch in under the bonnet). The idea with doing this is to reset the engine management system and hopefully clear any errors.

Unfortunately, when I restarted the car I still had issues again. The return of ‘limp mode’. I knew it was time to abort the run and head for home. I turned right and headed across to the Hume Highway, M7 and M2 route home.

I pulled over again a few kilometres along, isolated the battery again, and waited a few minutes to see if that, perhaps, would clear things. Nope. Same problem. Damm! Off we go again.

I continued on my way, luckily at freeway speeds, avoiding traffic. I did debate whether to pull over again once the car got nice and warm to see if another reset would help, but decided against it. Let’s just get the car home asap I figured.

The last part, off the freeway, on suburban streets as a real challenge, especially going up any hill. To add salt to the wounds there was a huge bank up of traffic near the destination due to a car festival. Of all the days!

After crawling through the traffic I finally made it back. Even stopping and starting the car here still made no improvement, something is broken for sure. My guess is a sensor has decided that today was the day to go to God.

The positives are that I was able to get the car back home and hopefully I didn’t stress it too much running in limp mode. Next step is to see what needs to be done to get it fixed! I hope that can be done where it is and not having to take the car somewhere as it is a real pig to drive. But, let’s wait and see what the options are.

I’ll keep you posted on what happens next.

A place away from the crowds

I am now able to house the F355 in a space that isn’t open to others and has it’s own security. Although nothing ever happened to it where it was, I was always worried about it getting hit by others. Now no more! Yeah!

Having a space makes it much easier to work on the car when needed. This certainly came in handy after getting the car back after having the interior refurbished, because the alarm light wasn’t working.

When I removed the ashtray to have a look why, the actual LED completely broke away and fell down inside the car. I could see it down there, but honestly it wasn’t worth fishing it out. I pulled the wires that ran to the LED through the dash and taped them up temporarily. I then started a quest to get a replacement LED and mounting.

Initially, I found something that I thought would work but the challenge was getting it connected in place. I wasn’t particularly keen on having a soldering iron anywhere near the car, so I decided that a screw on connector would work best. I also wanted to have a system where I could plug and unplug the LED if needed. This become pretty obvious when you want to remove the ashtray for any reason.

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I bought the above audio connectors from Amazon. They are perhaps a little big but it does make it easy to connect and disconnect when needed.

The initial LED I bought I wired up and started testing. When I did, I saw it was drawing about 0.06 amps. I looked up some load tables and found that the battery would be more than able to cope with this and shouldn’t drain completely for about two weeks. However, given that I had the opportunity to reduce the load now I decided to do some more hunting.

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In the end I settled on a 12V mini chrome bezel from Jaycar. It was pretty small but I liked the fact that already came with a casing. Even better, when I tested it, the drain was only 0.03 amps. That is, half of the original one. So, LED secured. Check.

Next, I had to find a way to mount to the console. The exposed portion was straight forward, but securing it underneath proved a real challenge. In the end I managed to secure it with some foam packing and nylon washers. Not the cleanest job but it seemed to do the trick. Besides, it would be easy to remove if I ever had to.

I wasn’t 100% sure whether the LED was 12 or 5 volts but decided to assume it would be 12 volts and adjust if needed. I removed the ashtray (again – man I thought I done this enough times already!) and secured one of the plugs with screw terminals into place. Next, I mounted the LED from the external side of the console and secured as best I could using the nylon washers. I then screwed in the other connector. Now, deep breath, make the connection and voila! The LED started flashing in its familiar pattern. Success!

I carefully put everything back in place and finally screwed the ashtray back. Hopefully, It will be a long time before I need to go back in there but at least now, disconnecting the alarm LED should be straightforward.

It felt good to be able to do a minor repair in a environment where I could have both doors open, a set of tools lying on the ground and no one looking at you. I can also report that the following week the car started and ran as expected, so no unexpected shorts or unforeseen current drainage.

I’m approaching my tenth year of ownership and I’d do a write up on that milestone soon. Hopefully, with the car in a better location I’ll be able to write more articles! Let’s see. 

The parts are back

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The good news is that all the bits are back! They were sent to Carplastix in the Czech Republic.

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What an excellent job. Just take a look at the refurbished A/C console above. Bright and shiny logos and text as well as a great finish that ensures no more stickies!

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The man that has put in all the hard work to get the interior sparkling is Elliot Caras whom you can find at elliotcaras@gmail and @restored_by_elliot on Instagram. Elliot loves the 355 and I highly recommend you reaching out if you need some work done. I’ve booked my car in with him (although there is long wait he is so busy) to get the suspension and shocks done next. Maybe on day it’ll be concourse material?

All that said, I have not as yet seen the car in the flesh. That’ll be later this week. I’m afraid to get it dirty now! However, I think the desire to drive the car is going to beat that in the long run.

Go figure

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The F355 is getting closer to being returned with a complete refurbished interior, which is awesome. Interestingly, one of these steps was stripping the coating that had been applied to the centre console as you can see above. When I saw this I was dumb struck I will admit. Why the hell would anyone do this?

Seems the reason is that during resale, the quick way to ‘refurbish’ leather is to simply paint it with a coating that kind of looks like make up doesn’t it? It apparently requires a huge amount of work to remove unfortunately. I ‘sort of’ understand why it is done to help get the car ‘out the door’ but I still can’t understand why you’d do something like this that makes it really really hard to remove on a car like the F355. That’s perhaps why I’m not a car dealer. I just don’t get it.

The good news is that it has been removed and luckily is not also on the seats which would be a a major headache! So no long now until I’ll have the F355 back with a bright shiny interior. Can’t wait!