Archive for drivetrain

Maserati Ghibli Project #2

Hi Jack, to answer your question, the car came to us as you see it and was transported by our creative and hard working friend Tom Munier from Exotic Car Transport in Orlando Florida. He and his driver are Saints for dealing with this move which as you can see is bulky and cumbersome with two 4″ by 8″ by 4″ tall crates and one slightly smaller crate. The car was on the “rotisserie” which seems like a well made unit but is the most awkward and impossible thing I have ever tried to move. Tom’s Car Transportation Company is one of the best in the business and I recommend everyone call him if you need a car moved (after you call me first).

We have to repair some things on the body and address every little part that bolts to this car. One of the guys spent the week categorizing many worn and broken parts and it seems that we have nearly everything especially the hard to find stuff like castings and interior trim. Some of the exterior trim is a little trashed but overall, we are starting from a complete deck of cards.

I have always liked the appearance of Maserati Castings because they looked like they were inspired by the human skeletal system. We had a Maserati A6GCS at the shop awhile ago and the rear axle center section casting looked like head protection for a man in armor. The A/C compressor bracket is a light and amazingly strong aluminum piece of beauty with rib like reinforcements and an odd use of negative space to keep things interesting.

Engine Block Casting Maserati V-8

Maserati V8 engine block

Sleeves for 4.9 Ghibli Spyder

Ghibli Spyder sleeves and crankshafts

Engine Parts for Maserati Ghibli 4.9 SS Spyder

Ghibli SS engine parts

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Laycock DeNormanville Overdrive Unit

We used to send these Overdrive Units off to a specialist to be rebuilt but something always went wrong on the first test drive. Come to think of it, sometimes they were leaking so badly that we had to take them apart and re-seal them before knuckle busting installation into the chassis.  Considering all the time to properly package the part, the cost to ship the 40lb crate as well as the weeks it takes to get it back, Nate decided to overhaul this Austin Healey 3000 Laycock deNormanville unit on his own. All the parts are available so once they arrive, he’ll slam it back together and test it by spinning it up on the lathe so he can be confident things are right before the installation.

Moss Gearbox

Moss Gearbox

Overdrive Repair and rebuild

Overdrive Repair and rebuild

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I just don’t get it

This is a subject that I write about frequently because I just don’t understand why Ferrari Transmissions are bigger than the engine in front of it. We just had a transmission out of a 1955 Ford Pickup that was the size of a shoe box and a 5 speed ZF transmission out of a Maserati is tiny compared to the 5 speed out of this 330 GT 2+2. If I seem frustrated it’s because getting this Parthenon out of the car is a job that only Zeus can handle.

This transmission works well but the synchronizers are worn to to point of having a chrome plated polished look instead of the required rough cast finish but all the bearings and gears are perfect. We used to replace the operating sleeves on these transmissions but they take so long to “wear in” that I feel they are doing more damage than good especially considering how well they shift with the original parts re-installed.

5-speed 330 Transmisison

5-speed 330 Transmisison

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Old World Wool Seal Making

Wool felt front wheel seal

Wool felt front wheel seal

Today Peter created new bearing seals for the 1934 Lagonda M45 Rapide. The seals of the day did much the same job as today’s plastic over steel equivalent. The main sealing surface is wool felt that, soaked in oil, does a good job holding most of the oil and grease in place. The tools of the trade are pretty simple ones: a spoon, a ball-peen hammer, scissors and a razor blade. The thick wool felt is traced and cut via razor blade.

To make the wool a bit “proud” – to stick out like the chin of a duke – paper gasket material can be cut and built up behind the wool. A spoon and a ball-peen hammer are all that is needed to make an imprint to cut out.

This twenties automotive seal technology was used in agricultural equipment for decades such as wheel seals on an Oliver or Cockshut tractor.

Using the ball-peen hammer to trace the inner lip on the gasket

Using the ball-peen hammer to trace the inner lip on the gasket

A spoon has a nice radius for tracing the outer edge of the seal

A spoon has a nice radius for tracing the outer edge of the seal

Lagonda M45 Rapide front brake shoes and axle with hub removed

Lagonda M45 Rapide front brake shoes and axle with hub removed

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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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Terrible day

It can be so demoralizing to work on old cars, even worse working on Ferraris! After overhauling the engine on the blue 330 2+2 and addressing a bunch of other issues, we drove the car and experienced a major vibration that is present under high speed. Whether the car is coasting in neutral or in gear, anytime you go above 50 mph the feeling is there. We suspected that the original Ferrari driveshaft with the rubber flex joint was the problem even though everything looked good so I sent it to be balanced and checked for run-out. The vibration was still there so I checked the transmission and rear axle flanges for run-out, both of which were perfect so after experiencing problems with numerous Ferrari driveshafts, I opted to make adapters to convert the shaft to a Spicer-Hardy U-Joint style. Nate installed the new shaft and guess what, still a vibration (although much less). Could it be a bent pinion shaft or bent main shaft in the transmission?

I assembled a Ferrari 250 engine and got to the cam timing today only to realize that the valve height was not set correctly, so all apart again!

A car deal blew up in my face as well, only because of a minor miss-communication no less.. I could really have used that deal to keep my quota up to maintain my dealer license. It is so hard to broker car deals and so rewarding to sell something that either we own or have at the shop. When the car is gone, there is so little control.

What else…. We have a low mileage 512BBI all apart for a major service which is becoming a major engine bay clean up, not such a big deal but how does a legitimate low miles car look so ratty? It won’t take much, a little paint here and there will tidy up things immensely.

Here is a photo of the BBI engine out and apart to replace the lower timing belt drive pulleys as well as a major service which includes valve lash and new cam belts.

Oh yeah, the brake shoes that we sent to be re-lined for the Monza are way to thick and the newly re-sleeved drums don’t fit over them! Ahhh!

BBI belt service

BBI belt service

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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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911 Porsche Transmission Buttoned Up

I got the transmission all buttoned up. It is in the car and I will get it on the road tomorrow AM. It shifts well from my little test on the lift, hope it feels as good on the road!

915, 911 transmission

915, 911 transmission

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915 transmission for Porsche 911

When I first drove this 1983 Porsche 911, I found the shifting to be difficult and it was grinding gears badly. My suggestion to the owner was to get in and replace the synchronizer bands before something breaks.

After taking it apart I couldn’t see much wrong and the synchros seemed used but not totally worn out. Like many other car manufacturers, the synchro for 2nd and 3rd gear is different than of the other gears and maybe someone put the incorrect part on the gears.

It wasn’t until re-assembly that I noticed that the dog teeth on first gear were chipped and remembered that the slider (operating sleeve, shift sleeve) for 1st gear has asymmetrical internal teeth to meet up with the corresponding dog teeth on 1st gear. The operating sleeve can be reversed  so the side that should engage 1st gear is incorrectly jamming into 2nd which makes engaging into either of these gears while under motion nearly impossible.

Lucky for the owner, I located a shop who can replace just the dog teeth (engagement teeth) for short money without having to spend the $2000 that Porsche quoted to get the parts. We sent 2nd gear  from a 901 transmission to the same guy for repair and cannot wait to see how they look and more importantly how they perform.

Transmission repair Porsche 911, 915, 901

Transmission repair Porsche 911, 915, 901

901, 915, G60 transmission for Porsche repair

901, 915, G60 transmission for Porsche repair

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