Bad News about my 330 America

Bad News on my 330 America


I went to work earlier this week to find out a big problem with my car. There was a bad coolant leak from my engine, and I would have to remove the heads again to fix it!! It looks like I was so worried about leaks from the head gaskets on this engine, that I didn’t pay enough attention to sealing two o-rings between the heads and the timing case. François chided me in not checking for these leaks before assembling the rest of the engine, and found the leaks when he filled the radiator with coolant. I noticed he was letting me work on my own car largely unsupervised, perhaps to let me loose on my own abilities, but I guess I still need a little more supervision! I also guess the best way to learn is from my own mistakes, and this mistake was a valuable one to learn, unfortunately with the expense of my own time and another pair of head gaskets!
timing case o-rings

To illustrate my mistake, I’ll use Art’s engine, 7919, to show where the leaks are. This picture shows the engine block with the timing case installed, just as mine was with my engine still in the car. After the head gasket is installed, the head is slid down on the head studs into place.

There are two grooves where the o-rings sit to seal each head to the water passages in the timing case. With 250 and 330 Ferrari engines, these o-rings seal only by the force of the timing case pressed against the heads. When these engines were new, the freshly machined parts fit together perfectly without sealant, but after years of service, a little (maybe a lot) of silicone sealant is needed on these o-rings to help with the sealing. The other trick is to keep the o-ring in place as the heads are lowered into place with a thin piece of shim stock. Evidently, I did something wrong, and the leaks are emanating from this juncture.

Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed with myself, especially since I was looking at about 20 hours of work to fix the problem and I would probably NOT be taking the 330 America to Radcliffe/ Spring Party. With working on other jobs at the shop, and the party looming in a week, there just wouldn’t be enough time to get the car ready. I’ve had worse set backs, but I’m pretty bummed!

MARK THE DATE: Saturday, May 2nd 2009
The Radcliffe Motorcars Spring Event
12340 Owings Mills Boulevard
Reisterstown, Maryland 21136
Read about last year’s event.
Information on this year’s event.

Just a reminder, I’m looking for a new Vintage Ferrari Project. If you have, or know of a restoration project, please let me know. It would be great to restore another car on this website! My E-mail.

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