Ferrari 250GT Lusso Job

This magnificent Lusso came in for some work a year ago after a very nice restoration. The owner has had the car forever and had it restored to a high standard. He asked us for some help sorting the car after the restoration so I happily accepted. I really like these jobs because all the difficult body and cosmetic work was done and its up to us to get things working as they should.

The rear axle wasn’t assembled properly so we did a full overhaul with our tapered bearing conversion. We changed the ratio from 7-32 to 8-34 to make the car more user friendly on bigger American roads.  We have a few little tricks to make sure these axles are dead quiet when going down the road and this one is silent. You can see in this photo how the front of the pinion teeth were grinding against the bearing. Also note the bearing race was crudely ground to remove it from the pinion.

Ferrari Lusso Pinion Gear

Pinion Gear for Ferrrari Lusso

Ferrari rear axle gear ratio chart

Rear axle gear ratio Ferrari

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Once we got the car on the road after the axle job, we found the engine to be running poorly and had strange oil pressure so we broke it down to find improperly installed main bearings, rough looking cams and some strange ignition “updates” which really never seem to work as well as the original set up.

Type 168 Ferrari 250 Engine

250GT Lusso Engine type 168

When we finally got the car on the road, the brakes pulled hard to the right because caliper jump line was crushed for some strange reason. After replacing a few front end components, we aligned the suspension and started driving the car for weeks to correct all of the little details that rear their ugly head in the worst possible situations! I drove it home on cool nights to make sure the heat and defrost worked. I filled it with gas to make sure it didn’t leak when full. It takes a team to shake down these cars. After I put 200 miles on the car, Nate drives it and finds that the cooling fan isn’t working properly. I was so happy with how this car came out.

Brake Caliper Jump Line Ferrari 250GT Dunlop

Brake System Ferrari 250 GT

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Ferrari Steering Gearboxes

Earlier this year, a good customer drove to the shop in his 1967 Ferrari 330GTC for some service work and asked me to critique the way his car handles. We went for a spin and I immediately understood what he was talking about, when entering a curve it took lots of “input” in order navigate a corner and even go straight down the road. I use the word “navigate” because it handles like a boat.

We have had the suspension aligned and he had it aligned at his local shop a few times in an attempt to remedy this problem but it still steers super slowl. We compared it to a few other cars that day which validated our feelings, there was something wrong with his car.

Ferrari used ZF steering boxes in all of the cars from the mid 50′s through to the Daytona in the early 70′s.  A 1:20 ratio was chosen for the 330GTC but the 275GTB of the same year used a faster 1:17 ratio. My solution was to buy a brand new 1:17 worm gear to replace the 1:20 and see how it goes down the road.

The handling was transformed and it finally felt like a sports car. The 1:17 ratio was the perfect match for the car, even the steering effort at parking speed wasn’t compromised. I really don’t understand why the 330 got the slower steering but I have since changed the ratio in three other GTC’s. If you have a 330GTC or even a 330 GT 2+2, you’ve got to install this faster ratio steering box, you will love the transformation

Ferrari 330 Steering Box

330GTC Steering Gear Box

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Brake Fluid Reservior for 250 GTE/SWB/Lusso

So often we try to repair old parts to maintain originality or because new stuff isn’t available and if I tallied up the hours spent patching the often rusted and mangled brake fluid reservoirs for Ferrari 250′s I’d get really depressed. I found a few of these New Old Stock reservoirs with the correct caps and quickly bought them all! Since I have a few more than I need, I’ll sell a few.

Brake Fluid Reservoir 250 Ferrari

Ferrari 250 Brake Fluid Bottle

Brake Fluid Can Lusso, GTE

GTE/Lusso/SWB/PF brake fluid bottle

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Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Engine is Finished

Assembling a 250 engine

Ferrari 250 engine Assembly

Ferrari engine, 250 completed

Test run and complete

 

The Lusso engine is finished and running well. Nate did a nice job detailing it and once we take it off the stand we’ll do some more work to make it look super sharp. Mickey refinished the fuel rail that was mixed in with a huge order of 330 GTC and Maserati Ghibli parts and forgotten about for months but its all together now, making steam

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Bench Testing a Brake Master Cylinder

We often pick on people who say “all you gotta do is”, because there’s no such thing as “all you gotta do is”…. Anyone who says “all you gotta do is” either has never done it before or is trying to beat you up on an estimate. AKA, a looser

Most of the cars we work on have brand new brake components available to purchase which allow us to slam ‘em in and ship it. Unfortunately, we have to rebuild brake components on Ferrari’s which really sucks.  All you gotta do is…  Ugh. A guy sent me a totally blown out Master cylinder for a 330 GTC, rusted and stuck, terrible, horrible, so I sent steel fittings off to be cadmium plated, sent the cylinder to have a new sleeve installed in the bore, ordered an overhaul kit and when everything returned, I put it all back together. After assembling it the I noticed that the pistons were sticking in the cylinder so I took it all apart and the wrenches scratched the fresh plating and watched as the brake fluid stripped the black paint. I honed the bore and got the pistons to move freely, assembled it again and set it up to be tested on my high tech device that you can observe in the photo below. Now I am finding that the sleeve wasn’t drilled correctly and fluid couldn’t  into the forward chamber (that goes to the rear brakes) so I had to start all over again, scratching, chipping. Now, the cylinder is all back together and working perfectly after 7 hours of labor! “All you gotta do is”! Did I mention that the rebuild kit didn’t come with the correct first seal, there was a 30mm seal included when I needed a 25mm seal so after buying 3 kits, I resorted to making my own seal.

Ferrari GTC Brake Master Cylinder

Ferrari GTC Brake Master Cylinder

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Another Jig for Stainless Steel Water Pipes

If I were making a production run of something, this isn’t how I would do it. Ferrari made thousands of “250″ series cars all with these goofy water pipes for the cooling system which vary drastically throughout the 10 year production run.  They are so complex and hard to duplicate that re-making them nearly impossible. This “J” shaped pipe has a compound curve with barbs that have to be welded on in exactly the right location even though they appear to be stitched on at random locations. If they are off one millimeter, they will hit the oil filter or run into the fan.

These pipes are for the Lusso/GTE series of 250, but I can make a number of other styles from 166 up through the 275 cars utilizing my incredible and growing stockpile of bends and flared ends. Right now I am making a short run of the water pipe that connects the thermostat housing to the engine on a 275 GTB/GTS Two-Cam engine.

Water pipe for Ferrari

Water pipe for Ferrari

Water pipe copied for Ferrari

Water pipe copied for Ferrari

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Transmission Numbers on Ferraris

I don’t offer much helpful information on this blog but want to share some photos of the font and progression of transmission, engine, and axle number stampings on Ferrari castings. From now on, i’m going to photograph stamps on Ferrari castings as I have the ability, the transmission stamps are hard to photograph because the interior has to come out for access. These are all photographs of Transmissions from 250’s and 330’s.  As things progress, I will post photos of Engines, axles and trans-axles.

Numbers from early 330 with Overdrive

Numbers from early 330 with Overdrive

Series II PF Cab, late production

Series II PF Cab, late production

Early production GTE Ferrari

Early production GTE Ferrari

Transmission Ferrari Lusso 250

Transmission Ferrari Lusso 2505-speed 2 mount engine

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Photos of the Lusso and 340 body

Lusso Ferrari Scaglietti

Lusso Ferrari Scaglietti

166, Lusso, 340, Ferrari,

166, Lusso, 340, Ferrari,

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One of my Favorite Conversions Solutions Revisions

We rarely have to repair rear axles and usually just clean and inspect the bearings and install new oil seals. Be it a Jaguar, Chevrolet or Alfa Romeo, it is rare that we see a ring and pinion that is damaged or bearings that are worn out. I hate to disturb the factory relationship between the ring and pinion gears so if the bearings check out ok, I keep the thing together.

Additionally, most car companies have figured out how to make the final drive robust and problem free because they are aware of the forces involved with the ring and pinion bevel gears – except for Ferrari. They used a deep groove ball bearing and sliding inner race roller bearing that cannot handle the axial loads on the pinion shaft. Other companies used tapered roller bearings that can handle a tremendous amount of this fore-and-aft thrust while spinning with ease but the Ferrari style comes apart and destroys the gears.

My solution is to replace the sliding inner race roller bearing and the deep groove ball bearing with a pair of tapered roller bearings. This photo is a 250 GT Lusso center section with the “chicklet” style limited slip differential. On some axles I’ve install tapered roller bearings to support the differential but on the later axles there isn’t much room to install this type of bearing and I have found the original ball bearing set up to be adequate. I have done this conversion to many cars that have gone many thousands of miles with no issues.

Final drive Ferrari

Final drive Ferrari

GT Ferrari 250 Axle Center section

GT Ferrari 250 Axle Center section

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Ferrari 250 Transmission

After overhauling dozens and dozens of Ferrari transmissions I have a good idea on what to expect when the case is opened up and shafts are broken down. Whether it’s a 250 GTE 4 speed, a 246 GT Dino trans-axle or a 330 GTC/Daytona style 5 speed trans-axle,  synchronisers on Ferrari’s do not last many miles however, the rest of the components are over built and hold up well.. The bearings and gears are over built and the machined parts like flanges and shafts are impeccably machined using incredibly hard steel. The transmissions have oil pumps that pressurize the main and lay shafts to keep everything thoroughly lubricated so the bearings that the gears turn on are flooded in a pillow of oil.

This transmission out of this 250 shifted well but had the typical severely worn synchronisers so I was prepared to perform the “normal” repair of cleaning, inspecting and replacing the end bearings and synchros. This trans had been run without oil for a long time and the bearings in the photo were so wiped out that there was about .020″ clearance between the gear and bearing where there should only be about .005″. How did this thing work at all?

250 GT transmission overhaul

250 GT transmission overhaul

Transmission overhaul bearings

Transmission overhaul bearings

Bearings Ferrari transmission

Bearings Ferrari transmission

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