Gear of misfortune



So the issue with the 63307100 Timing Actuator I’m having issues with turn out to be with the gear inside as shown above.

Given the teeth are all broken the easiest option seems to be to replace these but new and second hands are hard to come by. Seems like 3D printing might be the best option for a replacement.

Let me see what I can find and report back.

Almost everything is fixed

The good news is that the car is back from its service. The annoying news is that there is still a few more things that need to be done.


Here’s the replaced clutch plate, which appears to be original (i.e. the only one the car has had after all this time). Can’t complain, about 25 years in age and around 90,000 kilometres in travel.


You can see that it is worn by looking at the ridges and noting that the many are missing as you go around the plate. These missing ridges indicate that clutch material has been worn down. You’ll also notice that the plate tends to wear on the outside. This is expected as the plate grabs on the outside first.


The other interesting thing is that the plate isn’t worn evenly. As you see above, in some places it is badly worn (left) and in others (right) it isn’t! I’ll have to work out why that might happen, however, all in all the old plate was pretty knackered, which you expect after all these years.



Above is the old clutch release bearing that was also replaced. The replacement is an older OEM style release bearing mainly due to it’s reduced price and availability compared to the upgraded model. The upgraded version is over twice the cost currently of the OEM version, without a lot of difference so I’m told. Main point is, I needed a new bearing and now I have one.


The inner ring is the actual bearing that spins and makes contact with the clutch springs when the the clutch pedal is depressed as shown above. Again, being the original bearing, it has had a good life and is beginning to wear and not move as freely as it did initially. Unfortunately, the bearing itself can’t se serviced so a new one is in order.

One of things that I struggled to understand was how the clutch release bearing was actually pushed onto the clutch springs. This can be done either using a mechanical arm or the modern approach is to use hydraulics.


What I worked out initially was that with the F355 it was hydraulic. You can see the two hydraulic lines for the clutch at the top of the housing as shown above, one of which goes off to a bleed valve. What stumped me for quite a while was how it got from here to moving the actual clutch release bearing.


It turns out that those lines that go into the housing go through to the mounting frame as shown above.


The support flange (part number 168589), shown above, has two matching holes. that align with those on the casing.



You’ll see that the support flange is stepped and at the top of that step are two more holes where the hydraulic fluid can flow as shown above.

Onto this flange will fit the clutch release bearing, which has a number of seals to keep the hydraulic fluid from leaking out during operation. It is important that all these seals are good, otherwise you’ll get fluid leaks and increased wear.

I found these three videos to be a handy reference for the whole change over process:


The passenger’s rear hyperblock (part number 114812) or chock absorber mount, as you can see above, also needed to be changed. It should look like:


and is found here:


Apart from this, it seems that there is also a problem with the shock absorber actuator (part number 158732) which sits at the top of the assembly.


Unfortunately, that part is not available, so it will be ordered in for my next visit to Racing Red.


This fault actuator also results in a yellow suspension warning light to be displayed on the right hand side of the dash as shown above (the red light above it is just the seat belt warning light telling me to buckle up), which is on now all the time. I must admit that this is annoying, as I can’t fully relax while driving with a warning light on the dashboard. However, it isn’t a show stopper and will be fixed, so I’ll just have to deal with it for now! Still annoying though.

So Liverpool Exhaust still have the cats to be re-cored. They said ‘maybe’ before Christmas, otherwise, in the New Year. Again, annoying but I appreciate this time of year is busy and I’d rather have them done right than rushed. For now, Sal was replaced the missing cats with some temporary straight pipes to tide me over. Lucky that he had some he could ‘lend’ me.


You can see some other parts that were changed above.


Two cam belt tensioners as shown above (part number 167464), one on either side for each cylinder bank.


Two timing belts as shown above (part number 184986). Again, one on either side for each cylinder bank.


Two inside boot covers (part number 70006021/A) as shown above. These were actually replaced back in 2013. You can read about that here:


There is also a full ‘boot kit’ you can use (part number 7006021 – Gaiter Replacement kit) here:


The reason the boots fail is because of the heat generated by the engine over time. This is supposed to be mitigated by the heat shields:


which are not really long enough to fully protect the in board boots. Sal has now extended these heat shields out further to try and prevent this happening again, however seven years isn’t too bad for the boots considering how hot the engine does get.


If you haven’t been following along with the whole story, back in May 2014 I reversed the car into a pole in the middle of the street:

that cracked the bumper and also snapped part of the diffuser under the car off. I had the bumper repaired a while back but the diffuser remained broken, which annoyed me every time I looked under the rear of the car.


Luckily, Sal had some replacement diffusers (part numbers 64841000 [left], 64840900 [right]) which are now installed.

Unfortunately, it seems the suspension springs can’t be effectively re-conditioned because if you do they will sag again but faster. That means, that at some point down the track, when they get really bad, I’ll have to replace them. For now, they are fine so I’ll leave that for another day.

Finally, some of the directional components of the air conditioning are not working. This restricts where the flow or air can be directed in the car. It doesn’t prevent the air conditioning from operating, just where the flow can be directed using the vents. To rectify that, more parts will need to be ordered and replaced during the next visit.

So, what still needs to be done?

1. Re-installed re-cored cats.

2. Actuator for passenger rear shock absorber.

3. Air conditioning directional vents.

Hopefully all these can be sorted in the New Year and I’ll be fully operational again (without that annoying dash warning light). However, it is good to have the car back again and I can tell you that the new clutch makes a HUGE difference. The car is so much lighter and easier to drive. Changing gears requires almost no effort now! It is always good to notice a positive change after investing all this money and time to get it fixed.

So another annual service is pretty much complete. Only a few items to finish up, hopefully in the New Year. Thanks again to Sal from Racing Red for sourcing all the parts, lending me some spare cats and getting the job done so quickly. Look out 2021, here we come!

Parts in waiting

I followed up with Liverpool Exhaust about getting cats re-cored but no news on how much or when they can be done it seems. Hopefully, I’ll find out on Monday whether these can be done.

Unfortunately, I received news that the clutch release bearing is worn out. Even worse, it turns out that a replacement may prove hard to source.

Here’s what a clutch release bearing does:

Image from Ricambi



The original part number appears to be 168594 but has now been superseded with an upgraded version which is CRB355MS.

Image from Hills Engineering

Unfortunately, it appears that neither the upgraded version or an original replacement is easily sourced. That means I’ll have to wait and see how long it takes to get either in.

Who let the cats out?


I once again dropped the F355 off with Sal for it’s annual service. It is going to be a big one this time with:

– the belts to be changed

– springs to be re-conditioned

– clutch change

– cats to be re-conditioned

– registration

– engine service

plus whatever else.

As it turns out, one ‘other else’ is going to be the CV boots which have ruptured due to the heat of the engine:


These were last changed back at the annual services in 2012:

Annual service (2012)

so they haven’t done too bad considering that’s 8 years of driving.


Also, one of the rear shock absorbers has a leak from the top of the mount, which will need looking at.

I’ve taken the cats away to Liverpool Exhaust to get them re-cored, per a recommendation. Problem is that they are pretty busy and guy who normally does the job is away at the moment. I’ve left the cats there and I’m awaiting an update on any progress and whether they can do the job. Fingers crossed they can as it would be a pain to go all the way back there simply to pick up the cats and take them somewhere else. We’ll see.

So that’s the status right now. The car is with Sal for the annual service. The engine is out, the cats removed and away for re-coring. I’ll post more when I know more.

Something worth checking

I found this interesting video:

F355 causes of fire

Basically the fuel hoses get worn by a clamp nut over time, especially after an engine out service, if they are not orientated in the correct way. Over time the nut rubs through the fuel line and you end up with fuel spaying into the engine bay. Not good at all! If you have a F355, make sure you check this, especially after and engine out.

The video also details how a water hose that runs between the fuel lines can get worn through by the braided fuel lines themselves and may rupture. Again, something to add to your check list, I suggest.

All serviced and good to go

The F355 has returned from it’s annual service, all raring to go. With four new tyres, grip shouldn’t be an issue for a while. A broken water tank cap was also replaced along with some touch up for minor paint chips on the nose were also completed during it’s time away. News is that it’ll soon be needing a new clutch, which has been deferred until next year’s service, given that it is easier to access then when the engine is out. Hopefully, the current clutch will last another twelve months with careful driving.

So next year’s service is going to be a large one with an engine out, re-conditioned springs and a new clutch for starters. Time to start saving the pennies! All of these are not a surprise, given the age of the car and are simply components that require work over time. Doing them all when the engine is out makes the most sense as it makes them all easier to get to as well.

With the service complete I also took the opportunity to give the car a good wash and polish as I typically do around this time of the year. Doing so ensures that the paint and finish remain good for twelve months and any dirt normally just hoses off. Given the current summer heat, it is quite an arduous task to give the car a complete once over but in the end there is nothing more stratifying than to have a fully serviced and clean car now parked away.

Phew. So that is 2019 done and dusted. Roll on 2020.

Annoying paint chips


An annoying item I noted on the front of the car recently was a paint chip, just where the bonnet meets the bumper. It wasn’t really a chip, more like a flake that had broken off exposing the metal. Really annoying.


After a good clean I was able to dab some paint over the offending mark to at least protect it before taking the car for it’s normal repair. However, almost immediately after patching the original spot, another another appeared in the same area, just a few centimetres away. Annoying. Easy enough to cover up with paint on the next wash but it kind of seems like the whole area on the front there needs to be taken off and resprayed.

For now, I’m adding that to the list of items to attend to during the nest major service.

Annual service time

It is the time of the year when the F355 needs to go off to Sal at Racing Red for its annual service and registration check.

Luckily there wasn’t a huge amount that I could think of that needed attention. However, as always there were a few things.

The first issue was the oil pressure readings. A while back they had started to bounce around, sometimes getting up to the maximum of 10 which is always cause for concern. Normally, this is an indication that the actual connection to the gauge is loose. However, after checking no fault was found.

Next up was the decision to change the battery. Having owned the F355 now going on six and half years it was probably a good opportunity to get a new battery. Even though the current battery had never failed to do it’s job, generally best practice is to change the battery every three years. So, now the F355 has a new battery and wow! Does it start quickly now.

There is still an issue with the ride height on the right side. It is more evident on the front drivers side than at the rear. The car still drives fine but it is definitely lower on that side of the car. This is more than likely because I’m the only one riding in it! The sagging issue can only really be fixed by getting the suspension springs ‘re-conditioned’. The best time to address that is probably at the next engine out.

During the last engine out, last year, it was noted that the catalytic converter linings are cracking and will start to dislodge. This will cause the exhaust to ‘rattle’ and indicate that new converters will be required. Having not happened as yet, that will be left until the ‘rattling’ starts to occur.

The most annoying thing that wasn’t working was the intermittent windscreen wiper. I honestly, thought that it was something that I was not doing but as it turned out Part #153095 Windshield wiper motor intermitter had failed. It happens on a 20+ year old car.





This part is located on a panel, right in front drivers nose of the car. A bit of a pain to get to. A brand new version of this would cost around $600 but I got a re-conditioned module for significantly less.

So that was everything I wanted looked at it, however while the car was on the hoist the following was discovered:


Basically, the left hand front sway drop link had come loose from the suspension fork. You can see it here:


The fitting just screws into the lower fork and now a spring washer was also fitted to prevent the same thing happening again in the future. Having this loose affected the ride of the car, with it tending to roll in corners more than it should. Can’t say that I really noticed it but now that I think about it didn’t seem quite as flat during some recent runs.

To fix all of that only took Sal just over a day and I was able to pick the car up with the complete cost being around $1,600 for the lot. A bargain!

As always, there will be things that needs doing down the track but they are not urgent. The most noticeable change now means that the car starts in a blink of an eye now it has a new battery and new starter motor after a previous replacement.

Once again, big thanks to Sal from Racing Red for keeping the car in such good nick. It is very comforting to have such an experience hand to look after stuff that I can’t do.

Looking forward to another year of driving.