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Discussion Starter #1
My upper P/S hose has been weeping at the reservoir, and since I'm now finished with the projects in China and Algeria, and am working in my company’s headquarters, 10 minutes from my house, I decided to sort this pesky hose myself, and "while I was in there" go ahead and do the "major" plus a "few" other things:

• Change the P/S reservoir to one which has a 3rd connection for the front lift kit

• Repaint/powder coat the intake manifolds and cam covers

• Put a smaller drive pulley on the alternator to prepare it for increased electrical load

• Replace radiator fans with higher output versions and a new/better shroud

• Replace the radiator with a new higher capacity unit

• Reroute the A/C lines so they're not serving as skid plates for the car. Other 550 owners who have been under their cars and seen the A/C line routing will know what I mean :)

• Experiment with some different gasketing material and fasteners (as some of you know, my 550 and Ferraridriver's are the guinea pigs for the products that we develop as Maranello Skunkworks, so a "major" service is a perfect opportunity to dig in and see what else can be improved.)

Up ‘till now I've simply been taking things off the car/engine, and I've removed the P/S pump, reservoir & hoses, radiator & fans, intake manifold, cam covers, water pump, water manifolds & hoses, and the A/C compressor, hoses & condenser. (I think it's definitely time to stop taking things off, and actually begin the major 'cause I'm running out of space to stack stuff that has come out of the engine bay!)



I’m not really intending to do a step by step photo journal here, but will post pics and updates of interesting points as I encounter them.

Here's one of the throttle bodies after stripping the paint off, next to the other throttle body which is still painted. I've always liked the look of natural aluminum, so I'm thinking to keep the natural finish on these. The only downside of the natural finish is its tendency to oxidise over time, so perhaps a clear coat might not be a bad idea as long as it doesn’t yellow:



And here’s one of the underside of the manifold with paint still on it:



And after stripping:



I think the natural finish is a winner?

Unfortunately the top of the manifold and the cam covers haven’t stripped as cleanly as other pieces, so they’ll bear some more attention, and/or may require to be soda blasted before they’re recoated:





I also have a vexing little problem with the engine harness and am trying to come up with some ideas for it. The OEM wiring is sheathed in a high temperature fiberglass sleeving, which has a neoprene, silicone or other flexible outer covering. With heat & age, this outer covering is flaking off and looks unsightly. I initially thought of that Plasti Dip outfit and dabbing some of their product on it, but it’s only good for 200 degrees. Now I’ve located some silicone dip/paint and may give it a try:

 

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John- Looking forward to learning from this thread.

Josh- With all the new stuff he is doing, it may generate some more work for you. Most guys cannot do this kind of stuff themselves. Or like me, do not want to do it any more.
 

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Terry, many owners haven't had the fortune of being explained what it can take to really make these cars nice again. They are fed only what guys are willing to take the time to do, in the name of profit.

The bill that I would write for a servicing of this caliber, is not for the faint hearted. Unfortunately, some of these cars may only see this level of care when performed by someone with the balls to DIY.

I hope it comes out nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Dayco Belt Decoder

I'm sure everyone knows how to decode the production dates and batch numbers on Dayco's timing & serp belts, but JUST IN CASE, I'll run through it here.

First, why would you want to know the production & batch codes?

Answer: Belts being rubber based, (natural or synthetic), have a finite life, whether they've been sitting on a shelf or installed on a car. According to Dayco, their belts have a 5 year shelf life, so if you buy a set of their timing belts, make sure they were produced in the last couple of years, and aren't somebody's NOS from 10 years ago.

Then there's the batch code - and what difference does that make?

Answer: Timing belts start life as one very wide belt, and are "sliced" to the proper width for the application. As production tolerances can vary from run to run, it's considered important to source a pair of timing belts from the same run, and if possible, from the middle of the run (batch numbers either side of 100)

So here's a real world example - these are the Dayco timing belts I recently received for my 550:



Notice the numbers in white that begin with "11306xxx" These first five digits are the date of production, and they decode to "YYWWD", or in this case, 2011, Week 30 (July 25 to July 31) and on Day 6 of that week, which is either Friday or Saturday, depending which standard you follow. So both of these belts were produced on the same day, either Friday, July 29 or Saturday, July 30, 2011.

Now the batch code is the last three digits, which for this example, run from 097 to 118. Apparently these numbers run sequentially in the batch from 0 to around 200, so to get belts from the center of the batch would mean numbers either side of 100.

So in summary, when you buy timing belts, try to ensure they're "fresh" (less than a couple years old), and were produced on the same date, same batch, and near the center.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
John- Looking forward to learning from this thread.
Taz, me too!

Terry, many owners haven't had the fortune of being explained what it can take to really make these cars nice again. They are fed only what guys are willing to take the time to do, in the name of profit.

The bill that I would write for a servicing of this caliber, is not for the faint hearted. Unfortunately, some of these cars may only see this level of care when performed by someone with the balls to DIY.

I hope it comes out nicely.
Josh, thanks (I think :)) Rest assured if you had your shop here in Houston, you'd probably be doing this, not me! Still might ask you to come down and help me read the degree wheel. I either need a bigger wheel or a younger pair of eyes :)

BTW, am I sizing the pics too big? It seems every post I make with pics is much wider than with only text. Let me know if it's hard to see or follow, as I'm currently using 1024x768 for the pic size, but I can go to 800x600 if it's better for everyone.....
 

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Haha, I'm certain that would be the case John. Doesn't stop me from enjoying throwing a couple light elbows around though. :thumbsup:

I haven't taken a trip to Texas in a while, and I still owe you a lunch date with some proper TexMex...

The pic sized don't offend me. They make the boxes for the post displays bulge slightly.
 

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BTW, am I sizing the pics too big? It seems every post I make with pics is much wider than with only text. Let me know if it's hard to see or follow, as I'm currently using 1024x768 for the pic size, but I can go to 800x600 if it's better for everyone.....
Interesting work! Thanks for sharing.

Ya the forum can't handle the pics properly, need scrolling even if you make the window wider. Try 800x600, maybe that works better. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Interesting work! Thanks for sharing.

Ya the forum can't handle the pics properly, need scrolling even if you make the window wider. Try 800x600, maybe that works better. :thumbsup:
800x600 wasn't enough apparently - tried it on the belt pic and it was still too wide. Reduced it to 640x480 and it looks OK now. I'll go back and reduce the others soon.
 

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Engine Paint

I got tired of the grungy look of the intake on my car - the wrinkle paint seems to hold the dirt in a way that it always looks dirty and the grey has an annoying greenish tint.

Same with the cam covers - I painted them wrinkle red and they lasted 3 years before needing a touchup. Problem is, it holds the oils in a way that makes a recoat impossible without stripping them.

I figured enough of this - I stripped everything from the covers, to the manifold, to the throttle bodies - looks much better IMO...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Very nice looking 456 engine there Kamf. I think you made an excellent choice with your stripping & color scheme. I've been considering something similar (and/or possibly in black) after my buddy & Skunkworks collaborator put the idea in my head. Have to say from a purely aesthetic point of view I much prefer the design of the 456 intake manifold over the 550/575. I think the cross-ram casting is a beautiful piece of work, and deserves to be exposed. For sure the variable length feature on our 550/575 manifold is a very functional idea, but it's a pity it covers up some very attractive engine art.

Under the OEM paint, several of my covers have a brighter finish than I'd like to see, and on 1-2 it appears someone (at the factory?) roughed up this finish with a wire wheel, presumably for better paint adhesion? This would have to be roughed up differently, either with glass beading or possibly even sandblasting before I'd feel comfortable exposing it to the world.

Did you shoot your bare aluminum with a clearcoat to protect it from oxidation/corrosion? As I'm sure you know, the downside of having truly bare aluminum is the dreaded white fuzzies. Here's an intake manifold with an advanced case that came off a motor I rebuilt years ago. The whole engine looked as though it had been sitting on the bottom of a river for a few years and it needed lots of TLC:
 

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A couple of test pieces just came back from the soda blaster and they look fantastic. The result reminds me of plastic bead blasting, where the surface has a very smooth finish. Machined surfaces no longer have the shiny machined appearance, however, so if that's required, they need to be protected.

Pics tomorrow as both pieces are in the dishwasher (shhh! Wifey is out for the evening) as a preemptive measure to ensure all the soda is gone.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Here are the before & after pics of the soda blasting work

This is the P/S reservoir after it had been powder coated (poorly) by a local shop. His work had no adhesion due to poor surface preparation (he simply prepped the surface with a solvent and shot the powder on) and it scratched off very easily. When I hit it with the stripper, it bubbled up within 10 seconds and fell off - I really didn't even need to hit it with the high pressure car wash wand. Same glossy surface as the upper rim was under the powder coat.



Here's the same piece after soda blasting:



And here's that pic of the top of the plenum on the intake manifold with the patches of OEM paint still hanging on after 2-3 applications of stripper and high pressure washing:



And after soda blasting (note only the top plenum cover has been blasted - the rest of the manifold not yet)

 

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Looking good John, enjoying watching the progression.
Would the soda blasting alone remove the paint eliminating the need for chemical stripper?
Thanks for your post.
Bill
FL
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Thanks Bill, yes the soda blasting certainly would have taken all the paint off, but I used the chemical stripper initially for a couple of reasons:

1. I had been unable to find anyone in our local Houston area that actually did soda blasting for small jobs. Many advertised that they did, but when pressed, admitted that they only sandblasted or glass bead blasted. It was only after I'd already chemically stripped my parts that I located this job shop soda blaster.

2. One of the well respected guys on the other forum had advised against the soda - feeling that it might cause a corrosion issue with the aluminum down the road if it wasn't neutralised and/or completely flushed out following the blasting. He felt glass or plastic beads were safer. I really like the results from glass/plastic beads, and have used this method to clean several Japanese engines in the past, however I didn't want to worry about the bead cleanup, and the possibility (however remote) that beads had managed to lodge themselves in the aluminum, and would come out in the future. It's one thing to ruin a Japanese engine, which can be easily and fairly cheaply replaced but quite another to ruin a Ferrari engine. (Having said that, I've had no issues with any of the engines I've cleaned over the last 10 years with glass/plastic beads)

Soda is a new method for me and on paper it makes a lot of sense, so I wanted to give it a try. If I could have found a dry ice blaster I probably would have tried that technology, but finding anyone that actually does that is even more difficult than finding a soda blaster.

On another subject, I received my cleaned & tested injectors back yesterday from Witchhunter Performance and they look great. Everyone has their favorite injector cleaner, and Witchhunter are a bit more expensive than some, but I believe they go an extra step or two that add extra value (for me) to their service.

Besides the usual steps of cleaning and static testing, they do a pulsed test of the injectors with a PWM signal that simulates their actual operation. This checks the consistency of the injector's response against the others and presumably if a pintle were dragging or a spring were weak, it would show up. They also do leak checks of the injectors at 3 different pressures, and they change the internal filters, pintle caps and o-rings. They also strip any paint that may have been applied to the body of the injector by previous cleaners, and thoroughly clean the body, which is a step I appreciate, as I've seen other injector cleaners simply paint over a heavily rusted body.

Below is a copy of their report for six of my injectors, which shows some important points:

1. The static variance in flows of my injectors before cleaning was 2.4% and the pulsed variance was 3.3%. After cleaning these same figures were 0.6% and 1.9%. My injectors were apparently in pretty good shape when I sent them in, as Josh Hill had had them cleaned when he did the after sale prep work on my car 2.5 years ago.

2. The static flow of these injectors is 255 cc/min @ 43.5 psi (3 bar). This is a useful figure for anyone who is curious about the ratings of these injectors.
 

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John- It should be easy to neutralize any soda from the process with a really mild acid bath.

What does injector cleaning run per injector from Witchhunter?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Taz, Witchhunter charges $22 per injector.

Another popular provider is Mr. Injector and they're $16 per injector, but I don't think they do quite as much as Witchhunter.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Reassembled the intake manifold and protected all the flanges in preparation for the soda blaster:





And here it is after blasting:







Still undecided on a color scheme - kinda wish I could keep it looking as pristine as this, but unfortunately in this state it's a magnet for dirt, oil & corrosion, plus I think it needs "some" color to set off all that silver.

Maybe the ribs & horse in red, and then get all the hardware zinc chromated?

Other suggestions are welcome!
 
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