Advice on oil leak (550 Maranello) - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
 
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Advice on oil leak (550 Maranello)

Hello all, I own a 2001 Ferrari 550 Maranello. Back in the summer of 2014 the local authorized Ferrari dealer identified a very small oil leak. In fact I was very surprised because there was nothing on the floor in my garage under my car Given that my plans were to have the major service (Belts etc.) done a few months later during the winter storage of 2014-2015 they told me that the leak was too small and that I was ok for the summer. The plan was to identify the source and deal with it later on in the year while we did the major service. I picked up my car in the spring of 2015 after the major service was completed and there was no more oil leak. I assumed that it was repaired. A few weeks ago I noticed a leak in my garage so I took it back to the authorized Ferrari dealer to determine the source and they are now telling me that the oil leak is coming from the front cover gasket. My question is the following. During the major service do they not normally remove the front crankcase cover and front crankcase gasket in order to change the belts and if this is the case should they not have identified and repaired the issue back then? I guess I don't understand how this problem can occur 18 months after a major service. My car only has 15,000 miles and I put on about 2000 miles a year. What am I missing? Thank you for your feedback.
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 11:11 AM
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The large front timing cover doesn't normally come off for a major, unless the shop is replacing the oil pump drive chain or plastic guide for the chain. Or possibly the inner or outer bearings for the timing gear shafts.

Having said that, it would be useful to identify whether the leak is coming from around the large cover (Item 17 in the diagram below), or the smaller inspection cover (Item 2 below). The small cover is quite easy to take off, replace the gasket & reseal, however the larger one is a bit more difficult......

FWIW, these front covers are known leakers



'99 550, Rosso Corsa / Nero, S/N:114654, Assy: 31836, Engine: 52084

High mileage, low compression, and missing on a few cylinders.....just like my cars.

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post #3 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for responding so quickly. As guess you're saying that this is not necessarily something that would be easily identified during a major service. I will go back and take a closer look at what they did more specifically during the major service. Is this a common mechanical issue with 550s?
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-26-2016, 01:36 PM
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It's fairly common. My 550 had it when I bought it, as did 3 of my friends' 550's and 456's.

Don't know if it's because of poor quality gasket material, or poor installation technique.

Two of the cars leaked at the same spot - where the internal tube of the front cover transfers oil from the oil pump up to the oil gallery. So this was probably due to a high pressure "blowout" of the gasket. My 550 simply had a weep at the bottom of the cover, and I'm not sure what the problem was with the 4th car.

Attached is a pic showing my block with the large cover off, and the circled hole at the top of the pic is where the gasket "blew" out in the aforementioned 2 cars.
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'99 550, Rosso Corsa / Nero, S/N:114654, Assy: 31836, Engine: 52084

High mileage, low compression, and missing on a few cylinders.....just like my cars.

Maranello Skunkworks Team Member
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-27-2016, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you very much. You are obviously very knowledgeable about the mechanics of 550s. When you repaired your car did you have to change just the front cover gasket or both the gasket and the front crankcase cover? In your estimation how many man hours would it normally take to complete a repair job of this nature and what would be total cost?
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-27-2016, 09:48 AM
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Nick, I'm not a pro, so I wouldn't want to guess what it would take to do this job, because some front covers come off fairly easily, while others seem to be "frozen".

And to get it off is going to require taking off the cam belts and then putting new ones on, so it's going to be the better part of another "major" service, cost wise.

I know that's not what you want to hear, but if you tell your shop that a DIY'er on a forum estimated it would only take 30 manhours, for the job, when they might estimate 50 to do it, you'll be laughed right out of their shop. In fact, most good shops won't quote a flat rate or manhours to do a job, but will give you their hourly rate, and may give you an estimate only for the job, but the final price could be well over the estimate because of some of the things I mentioned above. Ferrari's are a challenge to work on, even for the pro's and sometimes things don't go as well as they should.

The best advice I can give you is to make sure you bring it to a knowledgeable shop, and develop a good rapport with them so you can trust them to do the right thing for you.

'99 550, Rosso Corsa / Nero, S/N:114654, Assy: 31836, Engine: 52084

High mileage, low compression, and missing on a few cylinders.....just like my cars.

Maranello Skunkworks Team Member
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-27-2016, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you again and your great advice is very much appreciated. One last question if you don't mind. When you had this same issue repaired on your 550 did you have to change both the gasket and the front cover or just the gasket?
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-27-2016, 01:56 PM
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Nick, it's just the gasket that gets changed.

I'm pretty sure the front cover has been match machined with the block, so it should never be changed independently.

'99 550, Rosso Corsa / Nero, S/N:114654, Assy: 31836, Engine: 52084

High mileage, low compression, and missing on a few cylinders.....just like my cars.

Maranello Skunkworks Team Member
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