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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I have a 550 from 2001 with 27,000 kilometers or 17,000 miles. My belts are due and so I brought it to my Ferrari dealer for a major service. Their inspection revealed that in addition to the belts the valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket need to be replaced. Is it normal for both the valve cover and oil pan cover gaskets to need to be replaced given the relatively low mileage? In terms of labor involved how many man hours should it take to replace both the valve cover gasket and the oil pan gasket as well as the belts?

Thanks
 

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Hello,

I have a 550 from 2001 with 27,000 kilometers or 17,000 miles. My belts are due and so I brought it to my Ferrari dealer for a major service. Their inspection revealed that in addition to the belts the valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket need to be replaced. Is it normal for both the valve cover and oil pan cover gaskets to need to be replaced given the relatively low mileage? In terms of labor involved how many man hours should it take to replace both the valve cover gasket and the oil pan gasket as well as the belts?

Thanks
I bought a 1999 550 two years ago. I added a Rostra curise-control unit before putting 7,000 miles on the car; otherwise, you'll need several right-legs to keep the pedal pressed. I love the 550. It's very comfortable and I've made several 1,000 mile trip legs only stopping for fuel.
The previous owner drove the car only 300 miles in 6 years, so the car was pretty much asleep. After the car was delivered, I immediately had it serviced.
I understand that the 550 intake gaskets do fail and they were revised for the 575s; so the 575 intake gaskets should be used.
Have the spark plugs changed while the intake is apart and inspect the spark plug wires for wear (also check the wire connections at the coil - I found several wires with corrosion). I don't believe that the spark plug cables are available from Ferrari, but the Ferrari dealership in the Washington, DC area can obtain a (somewhat pricey) after-market set.
Don't just have the timing belts replaced - There is a kit that includes tensioners, etc. Have the service belts changed as well while the covers are off.
Have all the fluids changed: engine oil/filters, coolant, brake/clutch, power steering, transmission/diff (these should be flushed/replaced every year or 2 depending on the fluid.
CHECK THE END OF THE USER MANUAL FOR SERVICING INTERVALS.
I believe that the HVAC system has to be serviced every 2 years.
I also had the fuel filters changed and found rubber debris, so the fuel pumps were pulled and the rubber vibration insulators had disintegrated due to age and probably ethanol . The pump assemblies were rebuilt and the fuel tank/lines were flushed.
The only other significant issue I've had is that the Electronic Control Units (ECUs) that monitor catalytic converter temperature failed and had to be replaced. These are mounted in the engine bay on each side under the lower hood-strut mount location.. They are a plastic box (approx. 3"x1.5"x1.5") with two connectors facing inward. The inward surface tends to crack and allows moisture to corrode the inside electronics. If one of these ECUs fail, you'll loose that bank of 6 cylinders and run on the remaining 6-cylinder bank. If you loose both the engine will stop running. These ECUs are about $600US each.
Now for the answer to your question:
I found a service facility with Ferrari-trained/certified mechanics and use them. Here's what I paid in US$ two years ago:
[table]
[TR]
[TD]Replace Cam Timing Belts (limit = 5 years or 30,000 miles)[/TD]
[TD]
2186.00​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Replace Leaking Intake Manifold Gasket[/TD]
[TD]
1560.00​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Replace Spark Plugs (parts only - labor n/c)[/TD]
[TD]
228.00​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]A/C Service[/TD]
[TD]
153.00​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Fuel Pump Service (isolators/filters/plate vibration)[/TD]
[TD]
1044.00​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Flush/replace Fluids - Brake, Pwr Steer, Coolant[/TD]
[TD]
339.00​
[/TD]
[/TR]
[/table]
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you very much. This is very helpful. Do you know how many hours of labor were involved with these repairs?
 

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Thank you very much. This is very helpful. Do you know how many hours of labor were involved with these repairs?
OK - I've attached 2 invoices in one file:
1) pages 1 & 2 for changing the belts (forgot that the cams were leaking so that was corrected), fluids changed, fuel pump correction, HVAC servicing, intake gaskets, spark plugs. The invoices don't show the number of hours, but looks like $130/hr is the magic number, so you can do the math to calculate the hours. The summary block shows "Sublet" of $105.89 - this is for fuel (to test the tank connections after the fuel pump correction) and for expedited parts shipping.

2) page 3 for replacing the thermo couplers and ECUs
 

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Hello,

I have a 550 from 2001 with 27,000 kilometers or 17,000 miles. My belts are due and so I brought it to my Ferrari dealer for a major service. Their inspection revealed that in addition to the belts the valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket need to be replaced. Is it normal for both the valve cover and oil pan cover gaskets to need to be replaced given the relatively low mileage? In terms of labor involved how many man hours should it take to replace both the valve cover gasket and the oil pan gasket as well as the belts?

Thanks
As far as the oil pan goes, I suggest 1 hour would be needed to drain the oil, remove the side pipe, remove the bottom pan with 16 or so bolts, remove the old gasket, clean the mating surfaces, install the new gasket, reconnect the side pipe, reinstall the drain plug, replace the oil filters and fill the dry sump reservoir with 12 or so quarts (don't overfill the oil - the level is checked hot immediately after you shut-off the engine and always replace any copper compression-ring gaskets)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Your help is very much appreciated. By the way, how many miles did your 550 have when you bought it?
 

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Your help is very much appreciated. By the way, how many miles did your 550 have when you bought it?
It's a 1999 model. I am the 4th owner. I bought the car at the end of February 2019 with 35,000 miles from an independent dealer in the Los Angeles, CA area representing an estate sale. I had the car transported and then straight in for servicing (about a month before I started driving it - but smart considering how few miles it had been driven in the last 6 years). The car now has 43,000 miles. From what I've been able to find, it's 1 of 9 cars painted Azzurro California out of the 1,018 550s (3,083 total world-wide) manufactured for the North American market. Most fellow travelers don't recognize it as a Ferrari until they notice the SF shields. I've driven the car from the Washington, DC area to Florida and back and then to Michigan and back. Installing cruise-control was one of the best additions I've made. I'm sure it saved my right-leg as well as kept me from traffic tickets - the car really wants to go. From what I've read, the engines don't really get broken in until about 50,000 miles? You might learn addition information from the 550 review posted on Harry's Garage (Harry Metcalf) YouTube channel. You'll find many more exotic reviews from the last 6 years -- Harry is a proper UK gentleman.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Azzurro California is indeed a rare and very beautiful color. I have had mine for just over ten years now and I still love my 550. I get the same reaction from non-Ferrari enthusiasts. Unless they notice the fender shields they want to know what make the car is and if they do notice the fender shields they tell me that they never saw a Ferrari like mine. In my opinion the 550 is one of the best built Ferraris and one of the best Ferraris that you can drive. Even by todays standards. Despite it's timeless elegance it's somewhat understated and as a result not very well known and appreciated by non-petrol heads.
 
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