The Story of Two Dinos

I have two Dinos at my shop and it’s helped me compare the two when working on them.

Even though the blue one is a European Spec car, and the gold car (officially Hazelnut) one is a USA Spec car, they have a lot in common.

The replacement water pipe came in for the gold Dino, so I was able to continue work on the cooling system.

I noticed this car behaved differently than the blue Dino when driving it in hot weather. The coolant temperature seemed to rise very quickly and didn’t seem to recover as quickly when the electric fans turned on. The radiator core on this car had been replaced with an incorrect core and I wondered if it was the problem. When I tried to take it out, I noticed it was really stuck in the car. The one in the blue Dino came out without any clearance issues, but when I finally got the radiator out of the gold Dino, I noticed not only was the wrong core ordered, it was slightly longer than the original core. Just a 1/4 inch difference made this radiator fit really tightly to the body opening.

This gold Dino is a super low mileage original car and it was a shame to have the wrong core installed. I also suspected this incorrect core may have had something to do with it’s cooling issues, so a new core was installed. What a difference! The core slipped into place, fit as it was meant to be, and kept the temperatures in check.

I see this all the time. Radiator shops are getting more and more rare, and the ones that do exist either don’t care, or don’t have the skill to fix radiators correctly. The Ferrari radiator cores are “continuous fin” cores, but your local radiator shop has to have the skills and desire to measure and refurbish the radiator correctly. With aluminum radiators made overseas replacing all the old brass radiators it’s getting harder to survive in the business of radiator repair. The ones that are left are either doing niche work, or cheapening their service. Beware!

The are a bunch of differences between USA and European Spec Dinos from body work to accessories in the engine compartment. Where you order parts can make a big difference in if you get the right one in your hand! This is a common problem with ordering parts with any car. Not all parts guys are knowledgeable, and there is nothing worse than going up to a parts counter and asking for a special part only to have the counter person insisting he can’t do anything without a part number!

This particular USA Spec Dino came with a 7mm poly belt that is found on a lot of Ferraris of this vintage. Normally, I would check the number on the belt and make sure the one ordered is the same, but the numbers on the old belt were gone. The Euro Dino I have has a conventional v-belt, but when I placed an order with one of the usual Ferrari parts suppliers, I was sent the wrong belt. I specified it was for a US spec car, but the parts guy at this supplier was new, and I didn’t want to sound like an angry old man, so I called him back and asked for the 7mm belt. He looked it up in his computer and sent out another belt. WRONG AGAIN! The second belt was a “7M875” meaning a 7mm x875 mm long belt and was too short to fit the pulleys. I finally gave up and called another supplier that I also use, but has many years of experience. He responded off the top of his head, “Sure, it’s a 7M900 Gates belt. In stock. I’ll get it in the mail today!”

If you’re wondering why I don’t just stick to one supplier, not all the suppliers have all the parts, and the more I use, the more I can advise others who and where to get their parts. I order parts nearly every day and that gives me experience that I can share with owners that order parts maybe once every several months. I can’t emphasize, however, how important parts guys are to the business of repairing cars. Their parts keeps my business moving and when wrong parts are delivered, cars waiting to be fixed sit at my shop taking up space not making me any money. I want the new guys in the parts business to learn from the old guys, but getting someone to stick around long enough to learn is the trick. Without this knowledge, delays and frustration will abound!

Looking at the details of the gold Dino, I could see the trunk gasket was missing on the blue car. I ordered some from a Ferrari parts supplier and installed it on the car.

Another piece that was missing was the foam seal between the hood and the radiator which directs the air flow through the radiator. It’s just a simple piece of dark grey open cell foam, but it’s available from the parts suppliers for $90 bucks! I cringed when I heard how expensive this piece was, but the alternative was to source some cheaper foam in the same density, order it in the right dimensions, cut it to fit, and hope it looks like the correct stuff. Would my hourly rate save any money by finding cheaper foam? Sometimes, you just have to pay the Ferrari Tax!