Help,about to buy a 355 - Ferrari Life
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post #1 of 25 Old 10-23-2010, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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Help,about to buy a 355

Hi guys. im about to buy a six speed 97 355 spyder. Im a little scared because of potential huge repair bills. Can anyone tell me what im looking at for typical repairs; such as a clutch, water pump, alternator ..etc...My mechanic told me they cost about the same as a 944 porsche to own. He steered me away from a used testerossa because of very high repair costs. Also Do you think 97 355 are still deprecating or has it stoped by now. Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 25 Old 10-24-2010, 01:07 AM
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post #3 of 25 Old 10-24-2010, 07:18 AM
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The cost of ownership is not the same as a 944 - why would anyone suggest that? First of all, the 944 was built in orders of magnitude higher, so parts are much more readily available. Particularly because a lot of cars are no longer on the road. Then the performance is very different, and so consumables are very different in cost. Then a mid-engine car is always more expensive to maintain than the front-engine one. Then the value of the car is higher so insurance cost is higher.

In short - a 944 has nothing whatsoever to do with owning a 355.

In general Ferraris, and certainly the F355, are reliable and can be reasonable in cost if you compare it, say, to a new 3 series BMW if you include depreciation (which is minimal on the F355 now as I mentioned in your other thread).

But you should be prepared for a big unexpected bill every couple of years, it happens reasonably often on Ferraris.

Hope this helps.


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post #4 of 25 Old 10-24-2010, 09:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Vino1 View Post
Hi guys. im about to buy a six speed 97 355 spyder. Im a little scared because of potential huge repair bills. Can anyone tell me what im looking at for typical repairs; such as a clutch, water pump, alternator ..etc...My mechanic told me they cost about the same as a 944 porsche to own. He steered me away from a used testerossa because of very high repair costs. Also Do you think 97 355 are still deprecating or has it stoped by now. Thanks for the help.
Your maintenance repair bills will be quite a bit higher than any 944. I've had two 944's over the years - a 944S and an '89 turbo which to this day I still regret selling the turbo.

Fairly familiar with the F355 and 355 F1 models, looked at many before a great opportunity on an F360 came my way. Clutch and water pump are areas to watch out for, especially on anyone selling a 355 Challenge, which is essentially an upgrade race kit Ferrari supplied to dealers. These will have been used as track day cars, and unlesss religiously maintained, they could have huge repair bills in their future. If you can find an F355 or 355 F1 with accurate maintenance records and logical mileage tracking, you'll likely be fine, but do your homework and ask the hard questions. The 355 Challenge kit upgrades out there are not necessarily original Ferrari pieces. Many tried to jump on the bandwagon by building their own, and thusly screwed up some very nice 355's.

Good luck, this is exciting.
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post #5 of 25 Old 10-24-2010, 12:37 PM
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355's can be expensive. no doubt about it. I have seen 25k+ repair bills on them. specially the spyders. If you are not a gambler, you may reconsider and get a 328, 348 or better yet 360.



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post #6 of 25 Old 10-24-2010, 04:09 PM
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355's can be expensive. no doubt about it. I have seen 25k+ repair bills on them. specially the spyders. If you are not a gambler, you may reconsider and get a 328, 348 or better yet 360.
Let's see: $8k major service+ $7k tubi headers+$8k valve job+odds and ends....yep, $25k. Of course once everything has been corrected, it's a hell of a car....but . of course no one is selling the well-sorted ones! Lot's of ones cheap that need all those things. Once headers and valves fixed, only have fairly low yearly maintenance and once every five year major ( so about an average of $2k a year to budget).

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post #7 of 25 Old 10-24-2010, 06:38 PM
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Interesting article by Mike Sheehan in the lastest issue of FORZA. He discussed the unexpected service on a 360 spider that a dealer had recently purchased at auction. It ended up needing over $20K in work to put it right. One of the issues in fixing it was the lack of availability for key parts like lifters. He noted that with total production of the 5 valve motor being somewhere around 25,000 that this will become an issue in the next few years. 355s and 360s use the same lifters... My point being a 360 is in many ways an evolution of the 355. They are generally more reliable but no less costly if they break

The 355 is a beautiful car but go into it with eyes wide open.

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Last edited by barcheta; 10-24-2010 at 06:44 PM.
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post #8 of 25 Old 10-25-2010, 12:03 AM
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....but . of course no one is selling the well-sorted ones!
In Europe you can find a good one with a little bit of patience, in fact I know some for sale that just won't shift. Market's tough out there and now is a good time to buy.


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post #9 of 25 Old 10-25-2010, 11:26 AM
 
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PPI. (repeat until you get the picture.) If you don't. Well, maybe I don't PTF. There's enough precedent set.

Compression and Leakdown test is pretty important from what I've heard although the 355 heads are bulletproof...

Each one of these will be expensive, but the one to buy is the one you like the best. If you like the Testarossa, get one. If you prefer the 355 buy a 355. Spend some time meeting people and driving the examples. Don't wait until your first drive to find out that you aren't comfortable in the thing.

The mechanic comparing a 944 to a 355 is a nutball and I HOPE he's not the one who will be working on your Ferrari.
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post #10 of 25 Old 10-25-2010, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
In Europe you can find a good one with a little bit of patience, in fact I know some for sale that just won't shift. Market's tough out there and now is a good time to buy.


Onno

I haven't seen any in the States for sale that have had all of the necessary upgrades. (headers, guides etc...)

I guess those folks are keeping theirs!
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post #11 of 25 Old 10-25-2010, 10:15 PM
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I haven't seen any in the States for sale that have had all of the necessary upgrades. (headers, guides etc...)

I guess those folks are keeping theirs!
Only about 20% of all 355's produced needed the valve guide upgrade and any problems would have shown up in the first 2 years of ownership. So you don't need to worry about that anymore, it is highly unlikely you will find a 355 that is going to show problems in this regard (see the FL buying guide for more info).

Not sure what you mean by the header upgrade, I haven't heard of that before.


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post #12 of 25 Old 10-25-2010, 10:21 PM
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Not sure what you mean by the header upgrade, I haven't heard of that before.
Onno
The issue is with the headers/manifolds. Almost all crack at some point and need to be replaced. It is not an inexpensive exercise.
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post #13 of 25 Old 10-25-2010, 10:56 PM
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Is the interior sticky on the car your looking at? If so, I have a cure!!
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post #14 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 12:19 AM
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The issue is with the headers/manifolds. Almost all crack at some point and need to be replaced. It is not an inexpensive exercise.
Ah, OK. Thanks for the explanation.

Personally, I think there comes a point where cars are getting to an age where you should buy the best you can find, but in your mind already budget for serious work to be done because most will need it. It seems to me the F355 is rapidly approaching that point, if not already past it. You are starting to see it on 550's too, good ones are getting hard to find and even good ones like mine have the occasional big bill ($4k last month for that clutch bearing problem).


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post #15 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 03:52 AM
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There's a very clean '97 355 GTS on the FCA site that I nearly purchased last week. 27K on the clock, Rosso/Nero colors, and it's just coming out of a major where all exhaust guides were replaced, as well as the headers.

The price is high but not unreasonable, and the seller is the 2nd owner. Had my 550 deal not gone through, I probably would have bought this car. As it was, I was one step away from pulling the plug on the 550, and ordering a PPI on this car. http://www.ferrariclubofamerica.org/classifieds.cfm and look about halfway down the list of Ferraris for Sale.

Seller seems to be a very straight guy and answered all my questions without hesitation.

Vino, if you or anyone else here is in the market for a nice, sorted 355, you really should check out this car.

(p.s. thanks again to Barcheta for reminding me to check the FCA site!)

'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 #16 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 04:49 AM
 
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Only about 20% of all 355's produced needed the valve guide upgrade and any problems would have shown up in the first 2 years of ownership. So you don't need to worry about that anymore, it is highly unlikely you will find a 355 that is going to show problems in this regard (see the FL buying guide for more info).
OMG no (not sure if you are joking...)

This would be true if anyone actually drove the cars within the first years of ownership. If you buy a 355 now and don't have (solid) proof of any head, valve, valve guide, or manifold replacement you should to assume the worst and be prepared for a 10-20K add-on from the start.

Now... It would have been covered under warranty, but again. No one put enough miles on the cars when they were new to have experienced the inherent failures.
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post #17 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
Only about 20% of all 355's produced needed the valve guide upgrade and any problems would have shown up in the first 2 years of ownership. So you don't need to worry about that anymore, it is highly unlikely you will find a 355 that is going to show problems in this regard (see the FL buying guide for more info).

Not sure what you mean by the header upgrade, I haven't heard of that before.


Onno

Not sure where you got your percentages, but unless you have cold hard facts, I wouldn't post numbers like that.
I still have 355's coming in that need new valve guides.....
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post #18 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 05:31 PM
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They are not my numbers, see the FL buying guide. If things were so bad as you guys are talking about, I'm amazed these cars are even on the road. Just ignore everything I said, I'm now convinced 355's are money pits that have never been driven and will fall apart any second now.


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post #19 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 06:50 PM
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They are not my numbers, see the FL buying guide. If things were so bad as you guys are talking about, I'm amazed these cars are even on the road. Just ignore everything I said, I'm now convinced 355's are money pits that have never been driven and will fall apart any second now.


Onno

Well,
Thats a little extreme... I would say however, this thread continues to support my theory.

There are 2 types of 355s for sale... Those on ebay for 45k, and those that have been serviced like the one mentioned in the FCA classifieds for 69k. The price difference is worth it.
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post #20 of 25 Old 10-26-2010, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
Only about 20% of all 355's produced needed the valve guide upgrade and any problems would have shown up in the first 2 years of ownership. So you don't need to worry about that anymore, it is highly unlikely you will find a 355 that is going to show problems in this regard (see the FL buying guide for more info).

Not sure what you mean by the header upgrade, I haven't heard of that before.


Onno
As far as I can tell, ALL 355's, ALL years, are at risk for the valve guide issue. The percentages listed are rubbish, as many of the nicer 355's have low mileage and are just now getting the problems. My 1995 had it's ceramic cats go bad and literally disintegrate at 12 years old and 7000 miles. The 13000 mile 15 year major service failed the leakdown and required new valves. I planned to replace the headers at the major to try to prevent future valve troubles, but I apparently was just unlucky. Competizione says that they never saw a low mileage 1995 need valves......now they don't say that any more! And of course, now that the car has been corrected, I have no interest in selling it! I think many are bailing from the big services because they don't want to put the money in if they aren't planning on keeping the car. If you plan on keeping the car long term, by all means put up the money and make it right! My car runs better than the day it was new, but it was costly!

ALL 355 headers are going to eventually go bad. The stainless is too thin and weakens with time.
OEM replacements are costly and will go bad too. They are expensive , but the TUBI 4 into 1 with heatshields are the best replacements. The other aftermarket ones have some controversy as to whether their heatshielding will not kill the alternator and other vital parts.

Just to depress everyone else, the 360's are starting to get header problems where the precats go bad and suck crap into the engine requiring megabuck repairs! I will plan on TUBI headers for our 360 at it's major coming up next year......SIGH!

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Last edited by bst1; 10-26-2010 at 08:20 PM.
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