Small End of Year Projects
The end of the year was fast approaching, and I wanted to take a couple days off for my family and friends, but there is always work to be done even with time off! I had a steering wheel that needed refinishing for a 365GT 2+2 I had at the shop several weeks ago. I sent the car home with a spare steering wheel so I could take my time to strip and refinish the wheel in my home workshop. I refinish a few steering wheels a year, and it takes over a month to complete with ten minutes of work at a time spread out over the course of weeks. Sanding, varnishing, and curing takes time, and rushing the process will only affect the finished product. How many coats of varnish will also depend on how the last coat looks. I only know when it’s done when it’s done!
I also have a 330GT that was recently purchased that needed a side view mirror installed on the driver’s side. I’ve seen several cars without side view mirrors because their owners claim “it spoils the line of the car,” but I find it too disconcerting to drive a car without a side view mirror for the sake of design! The new owner agreed with my view on safety, so I purchased a period correct mirror and prepared for installation. I could simply get some sheet metal screws and secure it to the door of the car, but Francois and I feel over time, this method will work itself loose, so Francois showed me a trick to secure a mirror in a door with proper machine screws by fabricating a bracket that fits inside the door with nuts welded to hold the mirror in place.
The space inside the door where the mirror attaches is very tight, and unless nuts are welded to the door before it’s painted, there wasn’t an easy way to hold the nuts in place for the bolts on the mirror. There are things called Riv-nuts that are nuts that can be pop riveted in place and can work for this application, but large holes have to be drilled, and our solution uses parts readily available at the shop.
Holding nuts behind the holes for the mirror is nearly impossible within the tight confines of the door. Francois showed me his trick for making this bracket out of sheet metal that has a handle to hold in place inside the door as the mirror is attached with machine screws on the outside of the door. The nuts are welded to this bracket and makes for a very secure and strong connection for the mirror. The bracket stays in place inside the door, but make sure it’s not hitting, rattling, or interfering with anything inside.
I was also looking after Sam’s 365GTC/4 this winter (It’s for sale if anyone is interested), but I noticed this car was not pulling as hard as she should be. Having driven several GTC/4s and this one in particular for many many miles, I felt something wasn’t right. All Ferraris are fast, and to the uninitiated, one can miss the subtitles of a fully sorted V-12 engine. There was a slight miss at about 4K and this car just didn’t seem to pull as hard as I remembered. Test drives are hard to do do at that RPM because you’ll easily reach speeds over the legal limits trying to find where the power is, but I managed to confirm my suspicions despite the local police!
My gut told me it felt like the problem was in the ignition system. The engine felt like it wasn’t advancing, and on occasion would miss a little. I dreaded pulling the distributors on this C/4 because the distributors on this car are not the easiest things to access. I still have scars on the backs of my hands from working on the ignition of one of these cars!
I did a visual inspection of the engine to make sure there wasn’t a loose wire, or something simple. I always follow the motto of “Easy things first” when trying to diagnose a problem in a Ferrari. Not only does it save money and time, but saves me from doing unnecessary (and painful) work! I took a peek under one of the distributor caps and discovered there were a set of Pertronix triggers installed. These systems either work or don’t, so I eliminated the problem with point gap that could have been with conventional points. There still could have been a problem with distributor advance, but I wanted to take a look at the plugs first.
Most of the plugs looked pretty good with a light brown deposit on the insulator and clean electrodes (right plug), but a couple of them were darker than normal (left plugs), possibly fouled. Plugs can foul from a number of factors from stop and go traffic, to a poorly tuned carburetor. I decided it was cheap and easy to throw a new set of plugs in this engine before doing anything else.
I was so happy to take the car out after installing new plugs to find all the power back in this 365GTC/4. Now I really have to look out for the cops!
Annual Tomyang.net Pledge Drive
I want to thank everyone in advance for spending a few moments to contribute to this year’s pledge drive. If you haven’t contributed yet, there’s only one week left. I only ask for contributions one time a year, but your donations go towards supporting this website and the Vintage Ferrari community that we have in this little corner of the Internet. I’ve resisted running a lot of advertising on this site, and charging for its use because I believe it’s the free sharing of information that strengthens the hobby and enjoyment of these cars. Your donations support this ideal for everyone! Thank you.