Ferrari Club of America - Southwest Region

Buying an Older Ferrari - Part 7

By: Chris Kantarjiev

Thursday. Junior starts setting the valves; I provide the motive power to push the car and turn the engine over. During breaks, I change the engine and differential oil, and top up the tranny. Pat and I flush and bleed the brakes, but we decide to leave the clutch alone for now - Junior suggests we don?t want to chance blowing the slave cylinder seal just before the trip.

Pat continues to work on the leather and chrome (Nev?r-Dull, cotton wadding impregnated with white spirits, is also great stuff). She also gets pressed into the role of go-fer, making countless trips to the Hi-Lo for this or that.

The owner comes by with a few goodies that he found in his garage - extra bits and pieces, jack hole plugs, oil filters and a tin of touch up paint that date from the purchase of the car. He sits down and points out some of the controls (the owner?s manual doesn?t actually cover the Series II dash layout). He warns that I probably shouldn?t try to use the AC when going less than 60mph or it?ll just overheat the engine and frost up the condenser.

Fill with oil and coolant and crank to check out the valves. Everything seems fine. In watching, he seems to have set them a little tight; I ask and he says that?s to keep them quiet and take up any dish there may be in the valve stem ends. We get one cam cover on and call it a night. (Somewhere in here, Junior looked up at me and said "Don?t you ever get tired?" I think we had been working him longer days than he was used to.)

The power steering pump seal has not arrived. "Tomorrow, I promise!"

Friday. Put the other cam cover on, start putting things back together. The seal arrives, Pat fetches it, Junior installs it. It?s a modern rubber-coated seal, rather than bare metal, so it?s a little oversized. No problem, grind away a little of the rubber. While re-installing the plugs, I notice that they?re "stock" Champion N6Y, but the ones that got pulled/replaced during the checkout at Sam?s were N9Y (much hotter). "Hmmm, following that old book again", Junior says. "N6Ys were fine if you were over in Europe driving on the Autostrada at more than 100 mph all the time, but they tend to soot up in US traffic. Keep the N9Ys, they look OK and only had a few hundred miles on them, you could put them back in when you get home."

Spend a while getting the timing and carbs right. There?s some smoke at warm idle. Then we notice that the power steering pump shaft seal is leaking - right from the point where the grinder had been. Sigh. We won?t be able to get another, since it was not in stock and tomorrow is Saturday and the supplier is closed. Besides, it?s now 5pm and they?re probably closed now. What to do? "Hmmm, I?m pretty sure that this pump was the same as used on GM cars. Go up to the HiLo and see if they?ve got a rebuild kit that has this seal in it. Meanwhile I?ll charge the AC."

Well, not really. They have a rebuild kit for a GM pump, but the picture isn?t quite the same, and the seal doesn?t seem the same (too big). But I buy it anyway. There?s another kit for another pump, but they?re out of stock.

Sure enough, it?s the wrong kit. Now what? Number 1 RTV, of course. We pull the pump again, extract the seal, goop it up, install. Decide that the prudent course is to let it harden overnight before driving on it. Return the rebuild kit.

Saturday. Start the car up, no leak. Hooray! We go for a quick spin around the block, pack the car, and get ready to settle up. Except that I can?t find my checkbook! Search the bags, search the rental car. Damn, I?m sure I packed it. Junior doesn?t take plastic. Araugh! So we find an ATM and withdraw our cash limits. Not enough, even with the extra cash I?d brought along. The only bank that we can find that?s open on Saturday morning won?t do a cash advance on my MasterCard, and says there?s no way to do a transfer or override my daily limits. Stupid bank

For a complete look at Sempre Ferrari, you may want to check out the rest of the articles from Volume 3, Issue 4 - June/July 1996