Twelve Really Cool Ashtrays!

9/8/00 Twelve Really Cool Ashtrays!

François took my pistons to his machine shop to get an estimate for the extra machine work to fit the oil rings I mentioned last week. The job would have been labor intensive because each piston has to be carefully set up in the lathe to cut the oil rings precisely. The estimate was over $1000 bucks, so François decided to find an alternative. Remembering a recent engine rebuild on a 330 GTC, François called the owner to see if he still had the “standard” set of pistons that were left over from the rebuild. The owner had fitted oversized pistons in his engine, so the standard pistons were of no use to him. We purchased these used pistons for my car. As I arrived at François’ shop today, he told me the good news, and said I could hang my old pistons on the wall in my house. I’m choosing to make them into ashtrays. Anybody want a Ferrari Ashtray? Does anybody smoke anymore?

The engine is looking great! It’s very exciting to see everything cleaned up, and going back together. It was also extremely interesting watching François time the cams on the engine. As much as I’ve read about this procedure, it makes so much more sense when I actually got to see it happen. What’s interesting is François doesn’t use a dial indicator to measure the cam lift, but finds it by feel. When I asked him why he prefers this method, and if he thought it was accurate, he told me that was how they taught him at the Ferrari factory in the sixties, and having timed hundreds of Ferrari engines in his lifetime, he’s pretty confident of his accuracy. In fact, he once had a very meticulous customer that demanded François use a dial indicator to time his cams. François obliged by using the dial only to check his work AFTER he timed the engine by hand. The dial indicator only affirmed François’ accuracy. It kind of makes sense because feeler gauges rely on our sense of touch to measure in the thousandths, why would it be any different with finding the top of a cam lobe? Experience, however, is the key!

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