Clear run 2

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 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

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, will certainly take this one and hope the next trip also leads to the results of no warning lights.


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

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?

Things you find

One of the first things you need to have before you even consider an ‘exotic’ car is someone who works with cars for a living. You can certainly pay for someone but it is really gold if you have one as a friend. I am lucky to have just such a friend in ‘J’.

So J comes round and we change over the thermocouple which was relatively straight forward. We then turn our attention to examining the issues with the exhaust by pass valve which have been detailed previously. J is able to test that the actuator arm operates freely. He is then able to check the diaphragm inside the valve is working by sucking on the hose to the valve and see the actuator operate. So it seems all good back to the solenoids in the lower right of the car.

I then notice the small pipe just below the by pass valve that was hidden by the heat shield as shown above. This pipe runs along the bodywork to the right and ends near whether the thermocouple connects to the ECU and just above the solenoids that control the vacuum.

However, this end of the pipe, as shown above appears to be damaged in such a way that you can’t connect the rubber hose to it. Ah ha. Now I understand why there was rubber pipe running directly from the solenoids in the lower right of the car to the exhaust bypass valve. Now I understand why this rubber pipe is actually composed of two rubber pipes joined together. Clearly, as the default metal pipe on the bodywork has been damaged, they had joined the two previous pieces (the short piece from the valve to start of the metal pipe (first image above) and the longer piece from the end of the pipe to solenoid (second image above) together to bypass the valve together. Ah ha.

Given that the metal tube is unusable, it would seem we connect the rubber tube directly up from the solenoids to the exhaust bypass valve as it had actually been disconnected from when the car was purchased and merely flopping around the engine bay.

When J was connecting everything back up he noticed that the solenoid with blue connector (shown above on right) was actually connected to the left hand side. Examining the connection closer he discovered that there was a blue marking on the right hand connector. His feeling is that is a factory designation to indicate the blue connector goes on the side with the blues marking. Makes sense to me. Perhaps this has been the whole issue with the exhaust bypass valve? Someone had previously connected it up incorrectly? Hmmm…I’ll have to do some more research here as it seems like everything with the exhaust valve is in fact good and the problems lies with the vacuum process as these connectors.

As we started to reassemble the car J also noticed that a number of nuts where missing like the one from the middle of the above image. His comment is that ‘someone was having a good go’ on the right hand side of the car given all the things over time and what we discovered today. Interesting.

The replaced thermocouple (above) looks like the replacement so it would seem to be genuine. There is no obvious fault but it is clearly quite ‘aged’ and one would have to assume was the original that came with car.

The prayers to ‘Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration’ appear to have not been in vain as the car went for a blast down the the freeway and back without the dreaded ‘1-4 Slow Down’ warning appearing. This has happened before so we won’t claim victory just yet but it is certainly looking good. A huge amount of thanks to J giving up some time and spotting the problems.

Time for more research on the vacuum solenoids.


After about 10 days of placing the order the replacement thermocouple ordered from arrived in a discrete package in the mail. Inside was:

a shiny new thermocouple in a genuine Ferrari parts bag as expected. Opening this up revealed:

Now this still looked shorter than the required length, however perhaps I am just paranoid (and the more I think about it logically the more I think I am being just that). Hopefully, my initial impression is wrong. All the previous research points to it being the right part but we’ll see what happens tomorrow when it gets swapped in now won’t we?

Taking a closer look at the part we find the actual thermocouple at one end with the attaching bolt.

Connected to braided wire, with a short plastic shelve for clamping to the body.

That then leads another plastic shelve and finally to a connector that will plug into the ECU unit.


So if you measure the part you get approximately:

A = 70mm (from the tip to the end of the flange

B = 68mm (from flange to beginning of spring)

C = 55mm (spring)

D = 150mm (spring to first plastic covering)

E = 40mm (first plastic covering)

F = 345mm (between plastic coverings)

G = 93mm (second plastic covering and connector)

Overall = 682mm

So the connector on this lead will go into the ECU here

while the thermocouple will go into the catalytic converter here, secured by the nut

Co-incidentally, someone else I was chasing up the part with came back today with a quote of AU $357.50. Quite a bit more the AU $136 I paid! Just goes to show you that it pays to spend some time searching on the Internet and that places you find (like provide a really good and efficient service.

So tomorrow, the new part will be swapped in so and  we’ll see whether it is long enough. Fingers crossed.