End of the Year Push
The end of the year has us pushing to finish up work and get more stuff in. I sent the SI 330 home and we’re in the middle of getting this 275GTS finished for Cavallino.
The time is getting close to the show in Florida in January, but the car is getting there too. The car was making one final trip to the upholsterer so they could finish their work.
The passenger door panel was tweaked for a better fit, but it required our fixing a door latch first. The interior is looking pretty nice, and I can’t wait to see it in a few days when everything is finished-finished!
As these cars were sent out, it is my job to keep cars coming in. Francois and I have different ideas of scheduling, and it’s sometimes a conflict when I’m always trying to push for more, and he’s probably trying to slow down. Somewhere there is a balance, and I try my best to accommodate everyone. This 365GTC/4 was referred to me from a friend, and I was looking forward to sorting the car out. The owner said there was a strange noise coming from the front timing chain, and wanted us to take a look at it.
C/4s have a very long timing chain that drives the four camshafts on this large V-12 engine, and can be tricky to access. Normal wear can cause the chain to stretch beyond its adjustment causing a very expensive engine-out service. There is a possibility a chain guide was worn, and making noise, but we would have to see.
The car arrived not running, so the first thing was to get her started! Luckily, we suspected a couple of clogged up carburetors were the problem, and after some coaxing, she started and ran.
Francois and I took the car out for a quick test drive to get the fluids warm, and carburetors exercised. The more we drove, the more the carbs cleared out. I always compare an old carburetor car like a middle aged man in the morning, with its aches, pains, and stiffness, but after some limbering up, and some throat clearing, things get better!
There was no significant noise from the valve train when the car was cold, but on our return, we began to hear the noise. Francois tried to isolate the exact noise with a stethoscope, but only managed to hear it coming from under the right chain cover. We’ll have to look a little closer in the next several days.
On the other side of the shop, we began the process of removing the transmission on a 365GT 2+2. We’ve been taking care of this car for many years through a few owners, and one issue we’ve coaxed through the years has been the transmission. Second gear synchronizer on many Ferraris are lazy and require an slight beat between gears when up shifting. I hate telling people “they all do that” but I have found Maranellos with the same problem! Careful shifting, can nurse a transmission on for decades, but eventually, third gear will start behaving the same way. We have found the use of synthetic gear oil a temporary remedy to help 2nd gear engage better when the gearbox is cold, but inevitably, the owner has to make the decision on a transmission rebuild.
I can say that on my personal car, a fresh transmission rebuild with new synchros, dogs, and bearings, makes for a nice shifting transmission! 2nd gear engages without complaint, and although I still exercise heel-and-toe downshifts whenever I can, downshifts are smooth without grinding.
I think bearing whine pushed this car into a transmission rebuild. We get this car in every year for service, and inspect how she’s getting along. We compare notes on what we saw last year and see how things are this year. It’s very much like an annual physical you have at your doctor’s office. With the same doctor, you can see change over time according to your records, and we can sometimes spot problems as they get worse over time. We’ve been noticing a slight bearing noise coming from the torque tube center bearing, and this year it wasn’t getting any better, and if anything, getting louder.
Removing the torque tube requires disconnecting the half shafts and sliding the rear differential back far enough to disconnect the torque tube. With this much work to replace the bearing, we questioned if it was time to address the transmission rebuild. 2nd gear was as cantankerous as ever, and third was following in that direction, so the owner decided it was time.
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