Every year around this time the F355 has to go in for its regular annual service and registration. Over the past few years I have a number of issue taken care of at this time as well. Last year it was the CV boots which you can read about here:
This year was going to be different because it is now time for the belts to be changed for the first time under my ownership.
Every 3 years or 15,0000 kms it is strongly recommended that the timing belts be changes on the F355. This is not so much to do with belt wear but more to do with the fact that they stretch. When this becomes extreme the belts can slip a cog which could mean the timing valves (running off the belts) get out of whack which is very bad for the engine.
Here’s the view looking at the engine from the seats back. Wheels 1 and 5 are for the inlet valves and 2 and 6 are for the exhaust valves. Both of these run off a separate belt as you can see.
So there are three belts that need to be changed along with generally wheels 4 (idler) which provide tension on the belts. These idler wheels tend to wear over time and should also be replaced as part of the service.
You now need to remember that the above view is looking at the engine from the cabin. This means the belts are effectively right behind the seats. Thus, the only way to change these components is to drop the whole engine out of the car.
Most people are horrified when you tell them that the service requires this, and it can be a nasty surprise to a new owners who doesn’t know but luckily I was well aware of this fact. Dropping the whole engine out does have plenty of benefits in that it allows to examine and access every area of the engine quite easily. Given that basically with a Ferrari you a paying for an engine and getting a car thrown in, it makes perfect sense.
So, it was off to Racing Red to let Sal work his magic on the car. However, before the engine could be removed I also wanted to shock absorbers reconditioned.
if you look at the photos taken during the pre-purchase inspection you will see that the shock absorber was leaking at the top. This was evident on the right rear and luckily had not deteriorated further but now was the time to get it sorted. This meant the shocks needed to be removed and repaired first.
With that done, up on the hoist went the F355 and out came the engine. Well, there was a lot more to it than that but it really didn’t take Sal that long to free the engine (with me as an interested spectator).
Engine from left rear.
Engine from right rear
Right side of engine.
The good news is after removing the covers and inspecting the engine everything was good and in fact quite clean. There are few extra minor things that need to done such as remove an unused hose clip and fixing the handbrake bracket (which had been reversed) but all in all nothing untoward which is a relief.
The only surprise turned out to be the insides of the airboxes where the paint had bubbled away from the surface and simply flaked off. That would mean cleaning as much off as possible, priming and respraying the inside of the airboxes prior to re-assembly. Not a big deal but now is the best time to take care of this.
When I last left the car the engine was still out waiting to returned to the car. Once that is complete all the fluid need to be replenished as well as everything reconnected and checked. There are also a number of smaller hoses that Sal changes because after a number of years they perish and having them do so as you are driving home is no fun. Better to change these before they become an issue!
I plan to pick up the car early next week when there less traffic. Yes, this service will be expensive but normal standards but changing the belts every three years is required to keep the car running optimally, prevent premature failure and above all maintain its value. I therefore have no issues with having this service carried out every three years as required.
So with re-conditioned shocks and a full serviced engine I am looking forward to the drive improvements and I’ll post all the details when I know shortly.