What a way to spoil a drive


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.