F430 F430 Owner Diary - Ferrari Life
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:44 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
F430 Owner's Diary

Hello Ferrari Life. I've used the UK forum 'PistonHeads' for a few years and have only recently started to frequent FL more often. The following thread is a copy and paste from my PH thread to date, which going forward will be updated here.

I hope I am in the correct sub-forum for such a theread.

Last edited by excursion; 10-13-2014 at 05:00 AM.
excursion is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Sunday 22nd June, 2014

Those who have read my M3 thread will know I was hunting for a Rosso (red) Spider with tan interior, but in the end I decided I would be happier in something slightly more toned down. I put a deposit on this Grigio Silverstone Spider last week and will be collecting it at the beginning of August. The dealer is being very helpful in that respect by waiting for me to complete and move house; apparently a lot of his customers are collectors and don't tend to collect for anything up to six months - interesting!

The car is flawless and I really can't wait to collect it.

The spec is as follows:
27k Miles
Full Ferrari Service History
6 Speed Manual
Grigio Silverstone Exterior
Rosso Leather Interior
Carbon Fibre Driving Zone Trim
Ferrari Navigation and telephone module

The Dealer photos:

This thread won't be updated frequently like my others as I'm not planning to modify it in any way

Famous last words..
excursion is offline  
post #3 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:48 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Wednesday 13th August, 2014

I said I wouldn't modify it, but...

I'm having the steering wheel trimmed to my own design by Jack at Royal Steering wheels.

He's starting on it when back from holiday on 4th September

I also found a photo online of another Grigio Silverstone car but with a red roof (I got the colour wrong in my original post; it's Silverstone not Titanio). I'm currently getting quotes for a roof re-trim.
excursion is offline  
post #4 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:49 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Wednesday 27th August, 2014

I was initially very disappointed with the car, primairly I think because the build quality came as a shock after the kind of performance cars I've owned, and still do (M3). I wasn't quite prepared for what is considered 'normal' within the realms of supercar ownership! I would place the general trim/interior/bodywork fastening quality on par with a Mk4 Fiesta, but with a fabric roof. Don't get me wrong, it isn't terrible, but there is a gulf between it and for example my E46 M3, which let's face it is an old car now. I feel magazines and internet reviews serve to create a kind of romance and aura around these cars that in my opinion isn't fully justified.

I am perhaps being critical because I like well-made things and my expectations were off, but essentially a Ferrari is a great chassis and engine with some - very - nicely designed parts screwed on afterwards in a way only the Italians can. I've had a nosey around some of the trim and fastenings etc. and the best way to sum it up would be: good concepts but sometimes the execution is poor I will be improving some of the trim in due course.

Handling wise it is very good but I need at least another month with it before I've raised my driving to the point where I can explot its limits. On the legal side of a ton my modified m3 is a sharper handling car, and if there wasn't a power difference between the two there would be little in it on a twisty road, however the mid engine balance of the Ferrari can be felt at all times and in fairness as a car it doesn't begin to shine until well into prison-sentance territory. This is where the gap between the two cars opens up.

As other reviews have covered the F430 can pootle along quite happily if it needs to, though I have noticed that after 30 minutes or so of heavy stop/start traffic the clutch can judder so that's something that is best avoided. With the Manettino set to 'wet/slippery' the suspension becomes very pliable, comfortable in fact, though with eight ball joints linking wheels to chassis any transition in road surface is always immediately felt despite the comfortable damping.

The engine is as expected: a masterpiece. I thought the CSL airbox was glorious until I heard the F430; it has such vocal talent and such a wide range of sounds that one can almost play it like an instrument! Between 7k and 8.5k it's simply awesome and it's the first car I've owned that I would call fast. I think any more power than this would just frustate me on the public roads.

Back to the theme of the first paragraph, something has already gone wrong. I dropped off the car this morning to Graypaul in Nottingham as a section of the magnesium roof frame has cracked. I had the sense to buy an extended warranty but this part is being covered under the supplying dealers warranty. I've asked Ferrari to check over the roof to ensure there are no alignment issues or anything else - for example snapped elastic under the fabric - that will cause the issue to reoccur. I had to take a photo as I ended up parked next to a 458 also finished in Grigio Silverstone.

I did find last week that the car has Capristo brackets fitted to the rear silencer which is a sure sign the previous owner knew about the OEM manifold issue and F430 ownership in general, so that's good. In spite of the brackets I have just ordered a pair of stainless tubular manifolds as I couldn't shake the feeling that I was driving around in a grenade with the OEM manifolds still fitted.

I expect to update in a months time and by then have fallen in love with the car - it has happenend before
excursion is offline  
post #5 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:51 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Monday 1st September, 2014

Scuderia Shield copies. These are gel badges and I've since decided to go for a replica enamel badge version produced by Jim 'Denver308' here on Ferrari Life.

My replacement manifolds have arrived. They are mande by 'Top Speed' Top Speed Auto Accessories, Inc. and cost an incredible 655 including delivery for the pair. They are a 4-1 design which optimises power in the top end of the rev range. I chose them after looking at the alternatives;

Fabspeed/Agency power - Quality of construiction appears identical to Top Speed except for the flange, which is cast and of better quality. 1,600 ish
Capristo - As above excpet these are a 4-2-1 design which optimises mid-range torque rather than top end. 3,676.45.
Supersprint - Of the manifolds I have seen these are clearly the best design and quality. 3338.23
Why am I replacing the manifolds? The OEM Ferrari manifolds contain a pre-car and are prone to cracking, and due to the route the primaries take around the chassis, debris can collect close to the exhaust ports and enter the engine on the over-run. The manifolds were revised in 2008 and called 'Mk2', but even these fail. I'm not interested in additional power but this is a welcome side effect due to the removal of the pre-cats in all of the after market manifolds.
Why have I chosen Top Speed? I don't like how certain components attract a premium just because of the target vehcile or market, for example the often disproportionate cost of powder coating/refurbishing alloy wheels just because they are a car fashion accessory, or the price of certain components for premium or exotic cars. I chose the Top Speed manifolds because they are exceptionally well-priced and appeared in photos to be procuded to a standard which meant they comfortably out-lasted the OEM manifolds. I beleive they are new to market hence I was happy to treat them as an evaluation.

What are they like?
The manifolds have been TIG welded. It's not artwork quality but perfectly functional and decent quality. Material is T304.

Welding, O2 sensor, and cat flange detail.

The flange has been welded externally and internally. Internal welds are neat and have been dressed where required.

The manifolds have been constructed so that the steps from overlapped sections face away from exhaust flow, which is ideal.

This next photo shows the worst part for me: the joint and resulting radius of the rearmost cylinders could be smoother.

Mating face tolderance was circa 1mm. This is within spec for the composite gaskets supplied by Top Speed, but is boderline for a multi-layter-steel (MLS) gasket used on the OEM manifolds.

Composite gaskets supplied:

I perfer the MLS gasket so I decided to have the manifolds linished to suitable tolerances i.e. within ~0.25mm.

Ferrari gaskets ordered from Eurospares.

I will report back regarding fitment once I have the car back from Graypaul.

Something else I want to mention is another enthusiast, Aldous Voice, who has an excellent blog: Aldous Voice | Ferrari Expertise Aldous has been very helpful to date in answering various questions I've had about the car.
excursion is offline  
post #6 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Thursday 4th September, 2014

The car is back from Graypaul and now sports a replacement section of the magensium convertible roof frame. The underlying cause was identified as a broken pin. The roof had an adjustment and alignment check as part of the work and was given a clean bill of health, which I'm really pleased about as the roof mechanism can and will cause issues if out of spec. It's something useful for the history file.

I'm not impressed with the customer service from Graypaul however; I had to call them for updates and when I did it felt like I was causing them trouble. In comparison I have the Golf booked in on Friday for a 99 service and I've already had a courtesy call to confirm and remind me! I will look elsewhere next time even if it means a long trip.
excursion is offline  
post #7 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Saturday 6th September, 2014

I'm in the process of replacing the OEM exhaust manifolds with the stainless tubular versions covered in my previous post, and whilst doing so I'm cleaning behind the various guards and trim pieces and replacing any corroded fasteners with stainless versions. It seemed like a good opportunity for a quick photo study of the parts that aren't usually seen.

O/S/R wheel arch with liners removed and stock manifold visible through the aperture. Suspension is coil over with double wishbone and a tie rod, which is adjustable for toe. Camber adjustment is made by shimming the wishbone mounts.

Close up of stock manifolds.

There are two aluminium fuel tanks; one in front of each rear wheel. I suspect they are baffled.

I found this signature at the top of the O/S/R arch - possibly a worker at Alcoa where the chassis is made.

Hydraulic manifold for the Spider roof mechanism is visible at the rear of the O/S/R wheel arch.

The air inlets atop the rear quarters feed air along in to the airbox. This photo shows the ducting linking the two.

Rear diffuser removed revealing transaxle.

Airbox lids and engine bay access panels removed.

Flat under tray removed showing the rear of the Alcoa chassis. It's a mixture of box section, pressed, and extruded sections welded together.

Front of the engine showing how the services run around the periphery of the engine bay and converge in a neat run to the front of the car.

The engine is dry sumped, and the sump is structural. The main cap studs are through-bolted here to increase stiffness of the bottom end.

Here are the stock manifolds removed. The job took around five hours and can only be described as a pain! My car had replacement Mk2 manifolds fitted by Ferrari in 2009 and the nuts must have been tightened by a Gorilla; given there is access to turn some of the nuts 1/8th of a turn at best, one more than one occasion I seriously thought I may end up stuck.
excursion is offline  
post #8 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Monday 8th September, 2014

Originally Posted by excursion
Hydraulic manifold for the Spider roof mechanism is visible at the rear of the O/S/R wheel arch.
Minor correction to the above: the manifold is in actual fact for the E-Diff, not the roof.

I now have the replica Scuderia Shields fitted to the front wings. I used the Ferrari measurements to position them.

Mk2 exhaust manifold failiure
I mentioned previously that my exhaust manifolds were the Mk2 version fitted by Ferrari in 2009 after the original Mk1 versions failed. I had a blow from my exhaust which prompted me to buy the stainless versions as soon as possible, and given that the stock manifolds were scrap I took an angle grinder to them in order to remove the heat shields and confirm a definite failiure.

Here are both of the manifolds with the shields and heat insulating material removed.

The right bank manifold was OK.

Strengthening gussets added by Ferrari.

Here's the left bank manifold. There is a 50mm crack right around the primary of cylinder eight.

excursion is offline  
post #9 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Thursday 11th September, 2014

Rear Tie Rods

The Hill Engineering rear tie rod ends arrived. They are stainless steel ball joints encased within a billet aluminium end. The original Ferrari ends are plated ball joints in a forged alloy end. Ferrari fitted the arms in 2011 as a complete assembly and they hadn't used any anti-sieze compond which I always find vital when dealing with alloy threads. I had to cut off one of the original ends as it wouldn't budge even with heat applied. I've also bought new bolts to secure the end plates.

Assembly fitted.

I removed the A/C compressor to gain better access to the N/S exhaust nuts, and one of the three securing bolts snapped off in the block. Thank God it was the lower bolt (see arrow) which is easy to access otherwise it could have been a huge amount of work to rectify! It turns out that Ferrari use a grade 12.9 bolt for one of the three, with the others being 8.8! Combine that grade of bolt with an alloy thread in a hot engine block without any anti-sieze and you have a potential recipie for disaster. I decided to Helicoil the mount to make it better than original. I also replaced the bolts with new ones this time all in grade 12.9.

Manifolds fitted
Manifolds coated, and new studs from Ferrari. They are only 71p each so it makes sense to replace them. The nuts were from VW as it happenend; most manufacturers now use M8 exhaust studs with the smaller 12mm hex head.

It took me twenty minutes to fit the new manifolds which is in stark contrast to the four hours it took to remove the stock manifolds! The replacements fit well - a little tight around the studs compared to OEM, but that's no bad thing - so at this point they are looking to be a complete bargain. Let's see how they hold up to regular use.

Hill Engineering Foot Rest
I ordered this at the same time as the ball joints. The standard Ferrari foot rest is just a black rubber peice stuck onto an aluminium back plate. The Hill piece matches the rest of the pedals.

Standard rest:

Hill Engineering were brilliant to deal with and the service was great, and fast. The products are excellent quality so I certainly recommend them.
excursion is offline  
post #10 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:56 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Friday 12th September, 2014

I finished off the manifolds this evening and gave them a quick test: no leaks. I replaced all of the undertray and wheelarch fastenings with stainless versions - there are a lot of them.

There is a recess and nice pair of tan leather straps in the glove box to mount a Ferrari Maglite. My car was missing this so whether it is an optional extra or previous owners just keep them for a memento, I don't know, but they are probably the most expensive Maglite mini there is

I think its a nice touch.
excursion is offline  
post #11 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Sunday 14th September, 2014

I went out for the afternoon/evening yesterday to various places and noticed that throughout the time we were out the gearchanges were getting a lot more physical, and second to third particularly required a special nack. The change has never been what you'd call silky but this was something else! It got progressively wrose and held out until we'd finished a meal, left and set off for home. It then crapped out alltgoether: no clutch actuation whatsoever. We were in the middle of the countryside and the roads were pretty much deserted, so I managed to get us home by starting the car in first - it's a powerful starter motor - and easing into second when the speed was right. I went to bed seriously fed up with the car.

I woke this morning with a clear head and started to check the obvious:
- Fluid level fine;
- No visible leaks from the clutch master cylinder;
- No visible leaks from the bottom of the gearbox (there's a large inspection opening that would let and fluid out from the bell housing).

I started with the simple option of bleeding the clutch and what came out of the bleeder was pretty shocking: fluid that was many years past its sell by date. It was grey/water saturated! I flushed the system through and bled it and took the car for a good run. I now have a gear change smoother than it ever was.

I decided to check elsewhere on the car, and the pollen and air filters have not been changed for a while. It had a service at Ferrari only two months ago, and in fact the car has full Ferrari history - both annual and mileage based. It's basically lived at Ferrari all its life and this was something I confirmed as genuine prior to purchase by phoning all the dealers in the service book, who confirmed all the stamps/services.

I had planned to keep up the full Ferrari history but I’ve now got to give that some serious consideration.

On a more positive note I had one of the best drives of my life in it tonight: beautiful evening, decent roads, massive smile on my face.
excursion is offline  
post #12 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:58 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Thursday 18th September, 2014

Some photos from today:

I've now covered approximately 600 miles since the manifolds went on and they are performing faultlessly. The sound on full chat is rawer than stock and quite simply incredible.

I'm still getting used to arriving back at the car to find people looking around it or taking photos, the biggest surprise so far finding a wedding party having their pictures taken. The attention thus far has all been genuine and quite pleasant, which is good as it's not something I really seek out, though I've been happy to oblige the photo taking.
excursion is offline  
post #13 of 51 Old 10-13-2014, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Saturday 4th October, 2014

Some routine and preventative maintenance this afternoon.

My car had the 'early type' wheel centres so I ordered a set of the 'new type', which are a darker yellow that is essentially Giallo Moderna, which is a better match for my rev counter and Ferrari bdages.


Whilst renewing the brake fluid I wanted to address another potential problem area which is the distribution block for the clutch slave cylinder. The OEM part can suffer hairline cracks which are usually caused by over tightening of the bleed union, but sometimes they can appear on their own. I had also read online that the OEM part was plastic.

To pre-empt any potential problems I bought a Hill Engineering uprated version, which is billet aluminium part, anodised black. Hill were great as usual and worked with me to pin down a postal service that ensured it was with me today - I onlt ordered yesterday, late morning. Thanks Diane!

With a duvet protecting the rear of the car, I leaned over and managed to replace the part from above with the engine bay lid open. It took around 25 minutes to do. The securing hex on the rearmost union was slightly rounded suggesting that the part may have been replaced before, so I may replace that line in due course.

Here's the original part: it's alloy, albeit of a lower grade than the Hill part, and it can be noted that for some reason the bleed union has been milled short which obviously will contribute to a weakness should the bleed nipple be over-tightened.

On to renewing the brake/clutch fluid. I use a pressure bleeder as it makes the operation so much simpler.

Calipers are fairly common-or-garden Brembo items with a bleed nipple for each side.

All done. The old fluid in the calipers was very clean so in fairness to Ferrari the fluid had been changed at some point, and it was just the clutch aspect which was overlooked.
excursion is offline  
post #14 of 51 Old 10-18-2014, 12:49 PM
Join Date: Aug 2014
Ferrari Life Posts: 3
Mark: You obviously put as much precision into your writing as you do your car's refinements. For me, it is absolutely gripping. Thank you for these insights and I look forward to future chapters.
GeorgeSSSS is offline  
post #15 of 51 Old 10-19-2014, 05:38 AM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Bradenton, FL
Ferrari Life Posts: 80
Wow! Impressive and I hope you continue to post.


2006 F430 Spyder, 2011 Carrera S & 2006 BMW M3
Member FCA Florida, Suncoast PCA & BMWCCA
RCBFL is offline  
post #16 of 51 Old 10-19-2014, 06:32 AM
Italian Lover's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Far end of the P pond
Ferrari Life Posts: 6,738
Mark, welcome to FL and enjoying the anatomy 101. Very impressive.

w/ smiles
Italian Lover is offline  
post #17 of 51 Old 10-19-2014, 03:22 PM
Gary R.'s Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2014
Ferrari Life Posts: 28
Great write up and pictures mark, thank you and welcome!
Gary R. is offline  
post #18 of 51 Old 10-20-2014, 04:24 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
Thank you all for the welcome and your comments. I look forward contributing more to the forums
excursion is offline  
post #19 of 51 Old 10-26-2014, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: London
Ferrari Life Posts: 68
I've done some quick temperature tests in the engine bay following fitment of the aftermarket manifolds/headers, and despite them being coated, temps are in places 50 degrees higher than with the stock manifolds in place. It's not a huge issue, but I'm not happy with it so over winter I will remove the manifolds and send them to be triple coated. I will use Camcoat's Ceramic Exhaust Coatings - Racespec for the work; they offer a 'RaceSpec' version which is a triple exterior coat and single internal coat - which is tried and tested in Le Mans cars - but I'm cautious of introducing any possible failure modes within the exhaust primaries, which is of course the very reason for removing the stock manifolds in the first place, so in view of that I will stick to a triple exterior coat. This should bring bay temps lower than with the very well insulated stock manifolds in place.

I did mention in a previous post that I would at some point revisit the engine bay clutch line which was knurled at the clutch distribution block end, which is the likely result of a previous clutch block change. Whilst making the line I decided to address another potential problem area: the steel hardline on manual gearbox F430's takes a rather tortuous route which exposes it to the heat of the manifold primaries without the benefit of any heat insulation whatsoever. The orange lines in the following photo illustrate this:

In view of the above my replacement line will be of a different construction and take a different route. Thankfully the master cylinder to slave cylinder line that runs the length of the car is composed of multiple pieces, and the section I want to replace is joined at a very accessible location at the front of the engine:

The hose of choice is -4 Aeroquip PTFE inner/stainless braid covering. I'm using a Banjo fitting at the clutch block end to allow the hose to pass directly downwards from the block.

I have some 'extreme' hear barrier (bottom) that is a snug fit over the -4 hose, and for maximum protection some fire sleeve (top) on top.

Here's the OEM clutch line removed (top) and my replacement (bottom).

Replacement line in situ, showing the new route. Green arrows indicate hose connections and the smaller blue arrows indicate the stainless fixings I used to secure the new line to the gear change cables.

The clutch was bled through and test. Fluid of choice is Motul RBF600

Whilst working on the clutch hydraulic system I wanted to provide some protection for the distribution block. Regardless of what type of manifolds are fitted, the block is within 50mm of the neck of the stock catalytic converter, which obviously is not coated - none of the stock system is - and also falls outside the reach of the stock heat shield. I had noticed that the clutch block can be hot to the touch after a run, which obviously isn't ideal, so my plan was to create a heat shield in a similar vein to the stock part protecting the CV boots.

'Nimbus' was my material of choice, but rather than buy the branded product I located a heat shield on eBay from a mass produced car. It's the same stuff, but brand new only cost a small amount. The part I used was from a Citroen!

A few cardboard mock-ups later I had a pattern that would work. I also fabricated a bracket from 2mm aluminium that would mount to the clutch block and utilise its mounting bolt.

Close up of bracket and shield. The shield looks a little messy here because I designed it with overlapping sections that will be held together by the sheet metal screws used to affix the assembly. I also designed the shield so that overlap join sections face away from the heat source.

Bracket in situ. Clutch bleed block still easily accessible from above, below, and directly in front.

Shield in place. This photos show how it looks much neater once clamped down to the bracket.

Engine bay view. The photo shows how the shield follows the contours of the gearbox, and also just how close the clutch block is to the cat.

Last edited by excursion; 10-26-2014 at 05:29 AM.
excursion is offline  
post #20 of 51 Old 10-26-2014, 11:24 PM
JazzyO's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: The Netherlands
Ferrari Life Posts: 6,392
Nice 'blog'. Keep it up, and keep enjoying the F430.


Never pay again for live sex! | Hot girls doing naughty stuff for free! | Chat for free!

Future: No idea
Present: 458 Italia, 550 Maranello
Past: 365BB x 2,
JazzyO is offline  

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
Copyright 2012 ONE Media, Inc.
FerrariLife is independently run with no affiliation with Ferrari SpA
Ferrari for Sale | Maserati for Sale