A car in the crowd

When you drive a bright red sports car you stand out no matter where you are. When your drive a bright red Ferrari you stand out even more. So, what’s the only way not to stand out? Be part of a crowd of bright red Ferraris like below.

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Ferrari Club Australia (FCA) NSW division organized a drive morning from the old toll gates on the F3 to Mangrove Dam on the central coast.

About 25 Ferraris of all makes and models assembled for the drive up and back, starting along the old Pacific Highway.

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It was my first ‘drive day’ event with the club and I had a blast. The car performed flawlessly and the route made it really worthwhile. Probably the most enjoyable part was doing with a group of enthusiasts, who all love their cars just as much as I do. Finished off with a great brunch at the Corrugated Cafe, an excellent way to spend a Sunday morning.

I’ll have to add this trip to my list and do it again! Thanks FCA.

In da club

One of the things that other car enthusiasts told me to do was join the Ferrari Owners Club.

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I finally got around to do this. The fee is basically $250 per annum and after joining the first thing I received was a few previous editions of the club magazine. I sort of wondered whether this was all that I could expect. Turns out it wasn’t.

Over the past few weeks I have received a number of items shown above including:

– a membership card

– a membership certificate

– a membership badge

– a key ring

– a gold medallion

– some additional magazine

What I really joined the club for was to attend the events (especially drive and track days) so I was looking forward to hearing about these. Turns out that the club is organized at a national and state level, so when the state magazine turned up it was full of upcoming events. Yeah!

I’m in the process of working out exactly which events to attend and I’ll post more about these as they approach, however the other night I did manage to attend my first ‘official’ club event.

It was an open day at Belinda Bodyworks in Leichhardt.

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There were some nice cars there to drool over, including a yellow 348tb parked in the entrance.

An interesting night to see how cars are repaired and the technology that is now in use. It was a well put together event with some nice takeaways from the crew at Belinda Bodyworks. It would have been nice to have actually known some others but hey that’s what happens when you are new boy in town.

Not just a simple reset

In the last post I mentioned how the airbag warning light had come on and simply restarting the car failed to clear it. After speak with Sal from Racing Red he decided that he’d need to see what the car’s computer says before he could diagnose further.

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The connection for the airbag ECU is in a panel in the passengers foot well. You pull off the panel to reveal the fuse box and the connector.

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The computer revealed that the ECU believed that the car had ‘crashed’, thereby deploying both airbags. When you drill into this ‘crash data’ you see:

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The most common cause of the airbag warning light is low battery voltage and you can see that is an error recorded before the “crash”. The car has no problems starting and gets a run every week so you would tend to think that the issue is not related to the battery voltage.

Using the computer Sal was unable to reset the airbag warning light and believes that the issue is a faulty ECU unit, given that the failure happened while driving rather than when first starting.

So the next step seems to be to procure the replacement airbag ECU and then look at changing it over. Doing so may also require changing the wiring from the ECU (which lives under the centre console near the gear stick) to each airbag. That will mean disassembling the dashboard.

If the dashboard is going to need any disassembly it is probably a good opportunity to get some other issues with the upholstery taken car of (the passengers airbag is fraying and it coming away slightly from under the windscreen, right in the middle of the dash). 

Sal says that he can take car of both and would need about a week to complete everything. Next step now is to find a replacement airbag ECU.

A warning light is back

The news is, unfortunately, that car has again thrown up a warning light, although this time it is something new.

I was travelling along on a recent drive, when all of a sudden the airbag warning light came on. The performance and operation of the car wasn’t affected at all (apart from the big warning light on the dash, which I know all about anyway). I continued on and parked the car in the hope that it may reset after the engine had been turned off.

Unfortunately, taking the car out again proved that the airbag warning light needs more attention that simply turning the engine off. The car’s performance is no way affected but that red warning light on the dash is annoying.

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As you can see from the above diagram the car has two airbags, driver and passenger. The ECU (item 1) that controls the airbag is located under the front console.

Reading the F355 workshop manual on airbag issues you see:

Being a safety system, the airbag individual components cannot be repaired. To detect the faulty component, use the SD-1 system and then replace it.

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From what I tell you need to hook up the diagnostic (SD-1) to connector A shown above.

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That connector in the passengers foot well along with the fuses as shown above. There seems to be a procedure in which you can short pin 1 of the diagnostics connector for 1 – 5 seconds and the following sequence will show on the air bag warning lamp on the dash, depending on the issue:

Lamp check : Fault

1: None (the lamp switches on for about 4 seconds, when ignition key is put in position”II”)

2: Faulty sensor

3: Airbag starting circuit short-circuited towards battery +

4: Airbag starting circuit short-circuited towards ground +

5: Wrong driver’s side airbag resistance

6: Wrong passenger’s side airbag resistance

7: Low battery voltage

8: Faulty light or circuits

9 Stored crash data

After the last fault, the first one is shown again.

The faults can be cancelled (apart from no. 9) by short circuiting the pin no. 1 of the diagnostics socket connector towards earth for a time between 5 and 10 seconds.

If the fault no 2. (ECU inner failure) disappears, the sensor resets.

So it looks like I could attempt to determine what the fault is and then attempt to reset this by simply grounding one of the connectors. However, I think the first thing I need to do is talk to someone a with more knowledge about these things before I try anything and see what they recommend. I really don’t want to be mucking about with the airbag system, without knowing what I’m doing, just in case I set it off or something. So I need to make a few calls before I go much further.

Now the ECU unit that controls the airbag is located under the console between the seats. I was wondering how you would get to it if you needed, and once again YouTube to the rescue with these videos:

I am not saying that the ECU is the problem but at least now I know how to get access to it if needed.

I’ll keep you posted on what happens with the airbag issue once I have talked to a few people to see what they recommend.