The goal posts have moved

image

What started out as a simply a project to remove the vent ‘stickies’ has typically become a whole lot more. Given that the car is currently off the road for a while, I have taken the recommended option of giving the whole interior a ‘refresh’. You can see the current state above. Compare the carpet colour there to what it was originally:

image

It has gone from a pinkish crimson to a deep red just with steam clean! Nice eh? Probably the first one since the car was originally delivered over 25 years ago!

Another thing that has been done is the removal of the vinyl cavallino shields from the front guards.

image 

and now, hey presto

image

much better!

I’ve always thought that they really didn’t suit the car and were a tad ‘tacky’, however I’d always been hesitant to remove them for fear of stripping the paint. Anyway, that is now another job that has been completed from my overall long term check list.

The car is going to look pretty amazing when it is done, inside and out! Can’t wait till it’s all done.

An interior refresh

IMG_1432

After recently discovering the ‘stickies’, I reached out to a few owners to see what they suggested as the best course of action. The recommendations varied from applying a coating to cleaning with solvent. All of these would have involved a major effort on my part and also ran the risk of damaging other parts of the car, especially the leather on the dash. I also figured that once things start becoming ‘stickie’ it is only a matter of time until it all becomes ‘stickie’. Thus, if I’m going to fix things, I should get it done properly.

Luckily, another contact has extensive experience with this and suggested a interior cabin refresh, including refurbishing all the trim pieces. This would also include laser etching the graphics back onto the trim, which I had also been considering as some of my switches were becoming worn and faded.

Downside is that the car needs to be away for a couple of weeks to have all the trim pieces removed, sent away to be reconditioned and then re-installed. During the same time it was suggested to do a full interior detail, which I agreed with. It makes sense to do this while the trim pieces are off and the car is in pieces. It was something I have been meaning to do myself but just never had a location in which I could do this.

IMG_1405

One of the areas where the wear and tear is most obvious is on the door handle, buttons and grip. Part of the refreshment process will be to also tidy these up which will be great as these had been areas that were starting to annoy me.

There are far cheaper ways to remove the ‘stickies’ but I’d rather get it done properly and completely so I don’t have to worry. Also getting the interior detailed and tidied up during the same time also makes sense and was something I was going to do. Given that the inside is where you spend the most time with the car it makes a lot of sense to get this done and time away from the car is a small price to pay for this. Also, doing this will add to the value of the car and let’s be honest, after 25+ years of use it could do with a once over!

I’ll have more to share as this process progresses so stay tuned.

The stickies have arrived

image

I was adjusting one of the vents in the middle of the dashboard and discovered that it is suffering from the well known Ferrari ‘stickies’ that plague many older cars. Basically, the coating on the plastic begins to separate from the actual plastic moulding leaving a nasty black sticky residue.

Luckily for me, this is really the only place I have found it. Not doubt it has been caused by sun exposure over the years, given the position of the vent on the dash. The question now is how to fix it? The challenge is that there are so many remedies out there, finding the best one is the next step. It’ll also be a little tricky to get right into the vents and I’ll no doubt need to clean the complete surface and lot of reside is going to come off I reckon.

The problem would be far worse if it was on the buttons for the A/C in the centre console. Finger crossed that it doesn’t start appearing there as well. Being on the vent in the dash means that I don’t to worry about it too much but I’ll need to start working on a solution because the reside does make quite a mess and will only continue to deteriorate.

In good news the 3D printed cog for the A/C controller that deteriorated appears to do the job when inserted in the controller. The next step will be to get the 3D people to make me a few copies that I can make available to people if they want. No idea on a prices as yet because I need to work out how many to make and what the actual, rather than test, costs are going to be. I’ll certainly post an update when I have that sorted, hopefully in the next few weeks.

The next 3D challenge will be to copy the F355 ashtray body, which I had lots of drama with back in the day.

[WP_20150104_001%255B4%255D.jpg]

Hopefully, being a bigger item it will be easier to 3D print this and perhaps make it out of stronger material to prevent the arms from snapping as you see above.

As always, once one projects ends another appears. Let’s see what witchcraft people recommend to get rid of the ‘stickies’.

A great phone mount

One of the great challenges with an old, ahem, I mean classic car is the need for somewhere to mount your mobile. Even though I don’t like using a phone at all when I’m driving the F355, I find it indispensable to have access to things like Waze to show me my route and any hazards along the way.

One of the challenges I’ve always had when using a phone in the F355 is mounting it. I’ve tried various locations (door side and mid mounted) as well as various mounts and can’t say that I’ve really been happy with any of them.

The problem with mounting the phone on the door side of the wheel is that firstly, there is not a lot of space there to install the mount and then to insert the phone into the holder. The other challenge with the mount in that location is that it is a long way from the lighter for power, meaning you need to have a long cord to reach the charging point. That makes the cabin messy and leaves wires dangling when you remove the phone if you get out of the car. Having the phone here also blocks the small air vent.

A similar problem with blocking the air vents occurs if you place the mount in the middle of the in line with the centre console. However, here it blocks at least one of the two larger vents in the centre of the console. During hot Australian summers you need as much directed cool air as you can get inside the cabin of the F355 at times. I will however admit that I rarely wind up the windows and rely solely on the air conditioning, but still a phone in this location does block the direct air flow to your face.

The other issue that annoys me with using a centre mounted phone is having the power connections dangling across the gear stick. Not only is it messy it can potentially interfere with your driving. The problem can be rectified with the correct length power cable from the lighter. One that is not too long and one that is not too short. You want one that is just right right, and finding that is a pain.

Having lived with a clip style mount on the door side of the steering wheel and having to wedge an ever growing iPhone size into this I have been in the market for a better option for a while now. The good news is that I reckon I have found one! I will say here that I have not received anything to endorse this product but here is a referral link of mind that will give you a ‘standard’ 10% off:

http://quadlock.refr.cc/directorcia

You can find the Quad Lock YouTube channel here:

QUAD LOCK – YouTube

Here is the video on the car mount;

Quad Lock – Car Mount – YouTube

I went with a kit that included the mount, wireless charging head and screen protector (as I needed a new one anyway) for around AUD$150. You can probably get cheaper but I liked the look of the ‘twist-style’ locking mechanism and having the wireless charging head meant I didn’t need to be pulling a cable out of the phone every time I needed it outside the car. Likewise, when you get back in the car, you twist it back onto the mount and you are good to go. That is really what appealed to me when I saw the ad pop up on my YouTube feed.

It all arrived in a few short days (tick) and what impressed me the most when I got hands on was the simplicity and quality of the mount (tick).

image

It is a smooth arm with a large locking mechanism as well as an adjustable lock for the head connection to the phone (tick). I changed out the standard head for the wireless charging head and then mounted in the centre of the windscreen in the F355. The locking mechanism for the mount is extremely strong (tick) and all you need to do is turn it 90 degrees and you are done. Make sure you remove the plastic cover from the base of the screen locking area first or it won’t really ‘stick’ to your windscreen.

With the base now positioned in the middle of the screen I locked my phone into the head, which does take a little doing to align the mounting point on the phone case with the head but the more I used it the better I found it. I then adjusted the head to the face more toward me (tick) and locked that in place with the head lock. I also connected the wireless charging head to the lighter with the cable provided. As always, this leaves an exposed cable running across the gear stick, but there is no real way to avoid this unless you hard wire that power connection in. However, it wasn’t too bad. Certainly better than other phone charging solutions I’ve tried over the years.

Getting the best position of the mount with the phone in your car is always the challenge. As I said previously, I’d prefer not to cover my vents and I certainly don’t want to obstruct my vision while driving but having it mounted in the centre of the windscreen using the Quad Lock has worked well so far. That’s why I thought I’d share my experiences with this product as you’ll find lots of review out there, good and bad. It does cover the direct flow of the vent to my face still but the phone is a distance away from the vent at least allowing cool air into the cabin if needed.

In summary, I’d give the Quad Lock car mount two thumbs up. It does what it says. It has a quality look and feel. It is well designed and allows for adjustments on the viewing angle, which I found really nice. The mount onto the windshield is very strong and getting the phone on and off the mount is pretty easy after some initial practice.

If you are keen to also give this a try don’t forget to grab my discount link for 10% off:

http://quadlock.refr.cc/directorcia

and head over to:

Car – Quad Lock® Australia – Official Store (quadlockcase.com.au)

to select the mount for your phone.

Like I said, I didn’t get anything special for this review and I only get 5% of any purchase that uses my link to be totally transparent. However, I’d still recommend it even without that as it has proved to be exactly what I’ve been looking for to manage my phone easily in the F355.

We maybe getting somewhere

image

It seems that we may be one step closer to getting a 3D print of the cog that is part of the timing actuator for the air conditioning that failed on me.. Someone has finally been able to render the part into a file that can then be used to actually create the cog!

Now that the part is on file it should be straight forward to print it. I’m not holding my breath as this tiny component has pushed many people to breaking point, including me. However, fingers crossed, the end result should not be too far away now. Then it needs to be tested to see whether it actually does the job.

All rego’ed up

As the year draws to a close, the car has completed its annual service and registration. The only outstanding item is the small cog for the air conditioning, which seems, for some reason, much to hard to get 3D printed! Thus, the solution maybe to look at getting it injection moulded. But that too will have to wait until the new year. Man, what a drama that little part has been. I’ll get it sorted, but wow, who’d thought?

The next item on the agenda is now a car hoist to make storage easier. At this stage my thinking is around a four post hoist like:

from somewhere like Tufflift.

although a simpler one like this:

image

May do the job just as well and be a fair bit cheaper. I’m in the process of research across a number of different suppliers and I’ll start getting more serious about this in the New Year. For now, it is time to site back and enjoy driving.

Singin’ in the rain

Even though it was a wet and rainy day things couldn’t be better because the F355 is back and fully operational!

SNAGHTML270de0b9

The failed hose ended up being Part Number 161609 (pipe from tank to radiators delivery pipe).

image

image

Which has now been replaced. The split appears to be right at the point when it bends up from the transverse pipes as shown above.

At the same time, the re-conditioned cats were re-installed as well as the suspension warning light being rectified. All that now needs to be done is to replace the broken gear in the air conditioning unit. At the moment I do have a replacement gear for that but I’m having a number of copies made, just in case!

The car will need to go back to Sal in about a month’s time for its annual service and registration. Hopefully, by that time I’ll also have the replacement gear, which can finally be fixed, and that should be it!

It looks like it is going to take about a year, mainly thanks for COVID, to get the car fully operational without ANY residual issues! However, in the meantime, even though it was quite wet today, it was a joy to take the car out for an extended drive. It’ll be even better to do likewise when the sun is shiny, but that is for another day. I’m stoked that the cats are back, there is no warning lights on the dash and no green liquid under the car.

Next project is to get the 3D print of the broken gear sorted. Updates on that when it happens. Stay tuned.

Green, green go away

image

After a month’s wait for the opportunity to be repaired, I decided that the safer bet was to trailer the F355 over to Sal for a diagnosis of the coolant leak. Watching the temperature gauge constantly while driving on the freeway and potentially having to pull over is not my idea of fun.

Loading onto a tilt tray is always a nerve racking experience and this time was no expectation. Inching along, holding the car by the clutch is not what these cars are designed for. However, being manual, it is probably much easier that using a F1 gearbox. The worst part is simply not being able to see where to align the wheels and relying on someone else’s hand signals, again, is not fun. But, we got there and up on the trailer she went.

image

Even on such a short trip onto the trailer, the car was still losing coolant as you can see.

image

The puddle created, when stationary, is about mid-vehicle. This means the leak is somewhere between the engine and firewall.

I waved the car farewell and awaited word.

image

The diagnosis is that the top hose to the header tank (driver’s side) had a small hole resulting in coolant being sprayed upwards into the engine bay. Luckily, not a major job after all.

Hopefully, I can also get the cats refitted and the suspension warning light resolved.

image

I am still in the process of getting the cog for the A/C control 3D printed, so I have a backup of this rare part. The replacement of this cog will have to wait till next time it seems. Next time, in fact, won’t be too far away as it will soon be time for the annual service and registration.

At the moment, the car remains at the doctors having the coolant leak, exhaust and suspension repaired. That hopefully won’t take too long and we’ll be back on the road again after many weeks.

Green is not my favourite colour

image

After a long hiatus, the F355 was about to go out for a longer run in the spring sunshine. It was also an opportunity to wash the grim off as well. During this process, I notices some coolant leaks (spray) near the firewall, just behind the driver. It had sprayed onto the underside of the engine cover and across the middle of the engine, near the braided connectors as you can see above.I cleaned off the area but upon arriving I notice it had returned.

Ok, this is a current issue that’ll need to be addressed. The amount leaking doesn’t appear to be huge, and I topped up the coolant tank, so the car should be drivable if needed.

After letting the car stand for about an hour upon my return, I check underneath the car and found a steady drop, drop, drop of coolant leaking from right in the middle of the engine. Again, nothing tremendous but enough to have me worried about getting it fixed asap so it doesn’t get worse.   

The nine year anniversary

image

Here’s the summary of another year’s ownership of a F355. 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

The ninth year they say is pottery

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

Costs

Total costs for the previous year were actually a little higher at around $11,000 due mainly to insurance (as always) and the annual engine out service and clutch replacement. No doubt the costs would have been much higher without health restrictions.

There are still a few repairs that the car requires, but I am not expecting any major additional costs in the coming year (fingers crossed).

Travel

The car has passed the 92,000 kms mark and, provided restrictions don’t return, I would expect it to go very close to crossing the 100,000 kms mark in the next twelve months. In the last year, the car has only done about 5,000 kms, about 25% less than what it would normally do simply because of the health restrictions.

Low points

Unfortunately, the refurbishment of the cats wasn’t completed until after the annual engine out maintenance was complete. That means they have been laying around for almost twelve months now.

Another hang over from the annual service was the suspension warning light,

image

which is more annoying that anything as it is on every time you drive the car. The idea was to get this fixed be replacing an actuator when the cats were replaced. Alas, restrictions have delayed that also.

The final annoying repair this year, that is currently also still in limbo, is the small gear in the air conditioning timing actuator,

clip_image001

which has perished. I’ve managed to locate a replacement part (which wasn’t easy), and get it shipped to me. However, before I get it put back into my car I’ve sent it off to get some 3D printed copies made so I have spares. Unfortunately, once again, health restrictions have delayed this process significantly.

Apart from these minor annoying repairs that need to be fixed, and they will be, the health restrictions have meant I have been restricted in the driving I’ve been able to do. Luckily, the F355 has a battery isolation switch that prevents the battery going flat.

To keep the car ‘maintained’ I have taken it out every couple of weeks for a few laps around the block. The main aim is simply to get it up to operating temperature and have all the fluids flowing through the pipes to prevent aging.

Fingers crossed that our restrictions will end shortly and I can get back to regular drives as both the F355 and I have missed them.

High points

I can’t really point to many this year unfortunately due to restrictions, However, the car continues to start and drive when asked. The new clutch has also made it a much easier car to drive as well. All in all, the car has endured hibernation remarkably well.

Value

The value has perhaps bumped up a little in the last twelve months, possibly due to asset inflation. I see similar good quality examples like mine being offered from around the $300K mark. As noted last year, rosso corso is certainly not the most common colour on offer these days!

Summary

We live in extraordinary times as they say. I count myself blessed that I have been able to maintain my ownership of the F355 over the past twelve months, even if there have been major restrictions in my enjoyment of doing this. I look forward to shortly getting all the remaining repairs completed and the banishment of warning lights from the dashboard so I can truly enjoy the F355.

As always, I’ll keep you posted of updates about the car as they transpire. These have been limited of late simply because the F355 has spend the majority of its time lately in hibernation, awaiting the opportunity again to roam free on the roads. That day isn’t too far away now!