Valve Trains, Wheels, and a Send Off

Valve Trains, Wheels, and a Send Off


I sent a set of wheels out to get refinished and they came back looking great. The shop specializes in wheel refinishing and is very familiar with the problems with Campagnolo wheels. Magnesium is more porous than aluminum and can absorb moisture within its matrix. When it time to paint these wheels, the proper prep with heat is necessary to force the water out of the wheel before applying new paint.
wheel before

The previous shop that painted these wheels obviously did something wrong because the surface was pimpled with imperfections.
powder coat

When I picked up the wheels the paint shop showed me the old powder coat that peeled off in sheets. 
old paint

They told me the previous shop used the wrong powder coat and it obviously had no adhesion to the wheel. We should not have these issues anymore!
knock offs

Although I’m still waiting for the trim rings from my plater, the newly purchased knock offs came in from Boranni America. My options were to either have the original ones rechromed, or simply buy new ones. These concave knock offs are being made by Borrani eliminate the trouble of fixing the dings, and making sure the engraving on the faces don’t get buffed out when the original ones get refinished.

The knock offs from Borrani looked great, but are not PERFECT. There are machine marks on the surface of the steel underneath the chrome plating. On top level restorations, our chrome plater removes these machine marks so the surface is mirror smooth. The question is what’s correct. American restorations tend to over restore Ferraris, but fierce competition tends to raise the bar. I guess ultimately, the national level Ferrari judges will decide.

On this car, which way to spend the money on the knock off was an easy decision. Although capable of one day competing at a National level show, the focus on this car is to create a very nice SII 330GT 2+2 driver. Rechroming the originals would have cost $125-$150 each without spending money on re engraving the lettering. Any engraving would have been extra. New knock offs cost $250 each. To 95% of the world the new knock offs will look great, and we’re not too concerned with the 5%,… yet.
bare heads

The heads for the 275GTS we’re restoring came back from the machine shop with new seats and guides installed. There was some minor machine work that was needed so the work took a little longer, but we’re right on schedule with getting this engine back together.
Ferrari Heads

After fitting all the new valves, I installed the valve springs and rocker arms. Each step of the way, we checked and double checked the “feel” of the moving parts for binding or over tightness.

On one head, I asked Francois to feel if there there was something binding the the valve train. As he turned the cam with the special tool that engaged the camshaft, he agreed there was something wrong. On closer inspection, we found a valve spring hanging up on a casting irregularity, causing the spring to sit improperly. A simple adjustment in the position of the spring allowed the spring to move through its full motion, giving the valve its full travel, eliminating the problem.

I often spend weeks working at the shop doing the same repairs on Vintage Ferraris with little variation, but every once in a while we’ll run into a problem that Francois spots because of his years of experience. These lessons are invaluable to my learning from someone who can “feel” the problems. I’m lucky to have this opportunity.

The Survivor GTE 2259 was loaded onto a truck this week bound for the owner’s home. I spent a couple of days sweating the logistics of shipping the car across the country to make the Palo Alto Concours where the car was entered. Trans-American truckers are legally allowed to drive so far in a given amount of time, and a trip across the country can be done in about 7-10 days. I tried very hard to get this car completed in time, but it always seems to go right up to the last minute. As I talked to our shipper, and the possibility of missing my deadline, I considered renting a truck myself and driving the car across on a trailer! I figured I could make it in 5 days, and find someone to join me for the adventure, but in the end I went with our trucking company. Let’s just hope everything works out and the car makes it safe, sound, and on time! If you see this car at the Palo Alto Concours next week, congratulate the owner on getting his car to the show!

We had a “new” car at the shop in for an oil change. We have many customers that own new Ferraris as well as Vintage Ferraris, and they often ask if we’ll work on their newer cars because they feel comfortable with our shop. We try our best to steer them to other shops that we trust, but sometimes we have to concede.

I really like Maranellos, and having this nice example at the shop gave me a chance to really admire the car. It’s basically Ferrari’s modern version of the Daytona, and the lines on this car are beautiful. It’s about the “manliest” looking car out there without a lot of areo wings and flying buttresses found on the even newer Ferraris. Prices for these cars have come down over the years ranging from $65-85K, and I think that’s a lot of car for the money. These cars still came with a manual shifter and steel brakes, so the cost of repairs will not be as complicated or expensive when diagnosing F1 transmissions, or replacing carbon fiber rotors. I think these are the sleepers of the market today.


Reminder: If you have a Ferrari related project, car, or idea you’d like to explore, I’d love to talk to you. I can also help if you’re thinking of buying or selling. This website represents what I love to do, and now it’s how I make a living, so if you’d like to do something together, let me know. It all begins with an e-mail!

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