By: Gary Bobileff The Life Blood of Your Ferrari is its fluids. It is mandatory to change your fluids at least once a year. Why? Because Ferrari said so, and that’s the way God intended it.
Fluids are hydroscopic, meaning that they will absorb moisture. When your motor is heated to operating temperature and then shut down, a cooling process begins and condensation begins inside your motor. Most motors are closed to the atmosphere and can’t vent themselves. Humidity increases as temperatures cool and ultimately causes a rain storm inside your motor. Even if your car is rarely driven, the water present can cause rust, corrosion, and improper lubrication of critical parts. Dry sump cars (remote oil hiding tanks) such as Daytonas, 275/4 cams, 348s, Boxers and TRs are a prime target because of an extra air space to condense inside the holding tank as well as the motor.
Transmissions and Differentials are not immune to moisture either. Heat develops because of friction internally. Drain and refill them with proper fluid.
Brake and clutch fluid is an area most people ignore. All Ferraris are equipped to remove the reservoir bottle for cleaning. First, and most importantly, protect the surrounding work area with towels or absorbent material. Brake fluid is highly corrosive and loves to eat paint for lunch. Second, obtain a turkey baster or syringe and evacuate the reservoir. Place the fluid in a glass contained (preferably). Thirdly, depending on your particular model, either the reservoir is attached to the master cylinder via a force fit into rubber grommets or it’s remotely mounted with a hose clamp arrangement on the lower extremity. Carefully remove the plastic reservoir from it’s attachment point. On units mounted to the master, a firm upward tug is necessary. Thoroughly clean the inside with solvent, spray carb cleaner, small brushes, followed with compressed air to blow out all the dirt. Absolutely no moisture of any kind should remain. Reinstall the reservoir and fill it with a high quality brake fluid (as a rule, no synthetics).
Place the car on jack stands, remove the wheels, obtain a glass bottle and a two foot clear small diameter hose. Locate the bleeder screw (sometimes 3 per caliper). Place one end of the hose on the bleeder (snug fit) and the other hose end at the bottom of the glass bottle (see the figure on page 3). Have an assistant depress the pedal to the floor slowly after the bleeder is opened. Close the bleeder. Repeat the process. Observe any air bubbles and dirty fluid. Top when the fluid turns clear and there is no more air present. Take note: do not run out of fluid, check the level often. Prior to driving, check the pedal pressure for a normal feel. On ABS equipped cars the procedure is different. Call me for directions.
Power steering fluid is another often neglected area. Evacuate the fluid from the reservoir, remove a clip and spring and then the bottom steel disc which has holes drilled in it. Remove and replace the filter with a filter from Mercedes Benz. This filter is not available from Ferrari.
Reassemble the reservoir and remove the other hoses that interconnect the steering pump, box, and reservoir. Drain all the old fluid out, re-attach all hoses and fill the reservoir with proper fluid, re-attach all hoses and fill the reservoir with proper fluid. Start the motor and turn the wheels full lock several times to purge the system of air. Recheck and top up the fluid level several times. On most models, there is also a bleeder on top of the steering box which will also have to be bled when motor is running. Do not reuse any old fluid and dispose of in accordance with local laws.
Prolong the useful life of your Ferrari. Enjoy it, and keep up with the simple maintenance. If you don’t, expect rebuilds to be a reality and a costly oversight in the near future.
About the author: Located in San Diego, Gary Bobileff has been a Ferrari addict since 1970, servicing and restoring them exclusively. If you have any technical questions, feel free to call him at (619) 622-1600.
For a complete look at Sempre Ferrari, you may want to check out the
rest of the articles from
Volume 1, Issue 4 - September 1994