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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone! I have been looking into getting a Testarossa, but I had a couple of questions. First, how much does maintenance, etc, really cost for these cars? I have never owned a Ferrari (have always dreamed though) and I've heard some horror stories about servicing them. Also, what problems, if any, should I be on the lookout for (and how reliable are they)? Also, why do some Testarossas have body colored rocker panels and chin spoilers while most of them have the flat black? You guys have a great forum here and some damn beautiful cars!! :D 8) Thanks for any help!!
 

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Welcome here and keep us updated on your purchase
I got the following info from a Testarossa owner:

-A big service is around Euro: 10.000,- / 14.000,-
-Gear box repair...usual around 50.000km is also around €uro: 10.000,-
-all testarossa`s has ben delivered with a black spoiler lip and black rocker panels. Most owners (also at my car) painted it RED for a better look.

If you have any more questions, just ask them, he was willing to answer them

Greets

Bob Hagendijk
 

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Also watch for fuse panel problems like melted connectors and relays, this is a common issue. Look for signs of rust on the bottom of the doors. Testarossa bodies are aluminum except for the roof and doors, so check it out. An engine-out full service is maybe $4,000 to $8,000 depending on who does the work and how thorough they are, and where they get the parts from. If your mechanically inclined you can do it yourself...that's what I did last fall on my Testarossa. You just have to be organized and have a shop manual, take notes and pictures, label everything. It's a bit intimidating but it can be done. Another common problem is dash leather shrinking and pulling away from the edges. Early TRs had the single lug wheels, while 88.5 model year and later had normal 5-lug wheels. The single lug type are limited if you want aftermarket wheels. My car is an '87 and I have grown to love the single lugs, I think they look better than the later style. If a TR does not have documented service history it may still be a great car, but deduct from the price accordingly. Also if the jack kit, spare wheel, tool kit, or owner's books are missing knock some bucks off for those items as they a bit pricey to replace. Overall TRs are very undervalued right now, there may never be a better time to get a nice 12 cylinder Ferrari. They are very good strong cars and mine has been very reliable once I sorted out all the little things that needed fixing. And they definately stop traffic and get the looks. I bought my TR with a storied past because the price was in my range. I have fixed just about everything on the car, even though I have never worked on a Ferrari or any foreign car before. They aren't too complicated. I have never regretted getting my TR for a minute, awesome to drive. If you have any other questions please post away and we'll try and answer them.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the help guys! I just thought of a couple other questions... What kind of oil does the car take, and is it difficult to change it? I'm pretty sure they have a dry sump system, but I don't really know anything about those. I just want to make sure that if I can't do it myself, it's not going to cost a fortune to get it done. I plan on driving the car, not just letting it sit in storage, so I'm sure it'll get it's fair share of oil changes. :D

Carguy--I had originally wanted an 88.5 or later, but like you, I've grown to like the look of the single lug. However, what size is the lug (it looks like it would be rather large)? Is it a common size that an average shop will be able to take off for tire rotation/changing? What tools come in the supplied kit? Also, just out of curiosity, what octane gas are you running in your car? I assume that since the compression ratio is rather low (8.x correct?) that you don't need premium? That doesn't matter to me really, I was just curious. Sorry for all the questions, but thanks again for everyone's help!!

PS: Has anyone ever dynoed or seen a dyno sheet from a Testarossa? I know they're rated at 380hp for the US car, but I was curious as to what they actually put down to the rear wheels. I don't ordinarily trust magazine times for cars and just want to get a guesstimate for how quick they really are. Also, what is the correct weight of the car? I've seen different numbers ranging from ~3400lbs to ~3600lbs. Thanks again!
 

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The oil TRs use is specified in the owner's manual as 10W50. The total oil capacity is just over 16 quarts...yes...that's a lot of oil. You can change the oil yourself, just have the proper container or containers to drain the oil into. The oil plugs are large so you get a real gush of oil so be ready. I run synthetic oil in my TR so it's a bit more cost-wise than your average car to change. There are 2 plugs to remove, one for the oil tank and one for the engine. And the oil filter is quite large too, kinda the size that big rig trucks take. You'll probably have to buy your oil filters from a dealer as I don't think there is an aftermarket supplier for them.

As for the single lug wheels, the nut is an 8-sided (octagonal) that is 75mm across the flats. The factory jack kit has a spanner wrench and lead hammer for removing/tightening the bolts. You can buy a socket and big torque wrench to do the job too. I made my own socket and used a large breaker bar at first. But I prefere the factory method better. If your car is in a shop for repair, either remove the wheels yourself or instruct the mechanic on how to do it. It's actaully easy and quick to do. But swinging a lead hammer near the bodywork is risky so you must be careful.

The factory tool kit has various wrenches, screw drivers, and pliers in it. The jack kit has the jack and other tools needed to remove the wheels, and a container with fuses, bulbs, etc. Tool kits are on ebay all the time, but jack kits are harder to find and fairly expensive.

As for octane I run premium usually "just because". But yeah, the compression is only something like 8.7 to 1 so no problems with pre-ignition or knocking. It's amazing the amount of power the engine makes considering the low compression, and only 301 cubic inches in size. I have seen dyno results on two Testarossas and the rear wheel horsepower was 322 on one car and 326 on another. So the factory rating is about right. TRs accelerate quite good considering the final drive ratio is only 3.21. If it were around 4.10 the car would be an animal. I'm quite happy with mine. I had a modified Corvette ZR-1 that was a terror with around 400 horsepower at the wheels and that car was scary fast. But my TR isn't too far off that mark surprisingly. In fact a few months ago I was working on a friends 68 Charger with a 440 six-pack motor. As I was leaving his house in the country....me in the TR, him in the Charger, well you know boys will be boys! We raced from a 10mph roll and he got me at first but as I was reving up in 2nd gear I actually passed him and beat him in the quarter mile by about 2 car lengths! He frantically motioned for me to turn around and go back to his house so we could shoot the sh#t. He just couldn't believe that my Non-Drag-Racer Ferrari beat his 440-6 Charger (neither could I honestly). I was so proud of the ole girl! And the other muscle car guys there were obviously impressed as their mouths were just hanging open.

As far as the weight, TRs tip the scales around 3660 to 3700 pounds. A very heavy car for a sports car, it's really more of a GT car though. But you gotta love 'em! I know I do.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks again for the info!! Yeah, I'm not really too concerned about the weight or anything, I was just trying to get a gist of what kind of performance to expect. I would guess that with that hp and weight it should be maybe a mid-13 second car (maybe a high 13 sec)? I'm kind of a muscle car guy myself, so that number means more to me than 0-60 or anything... I think you can get a better judge of speed that way anyway. Not that I would take it to the strip anyway! :lol: Not that I would be to inclined to mod the Ferrari (that's what my other car is for 8) ), but is there even an aftermarket for these cars? I agree that a car like this probably could benefit from rear gears (like 4.10s). But it doesn't really matter to me anyway--I'm totally sold on the car! And I probably would be even with a lot less power! :lol: I just want to know as much as possible to help me make the best decision when purchasing. And the better I have a feel for how the car should pull, the better decision I'll be able to make. Again, thanks for all the help! And Carguy, do you have any pics of your car here on the site?
 

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Yes....my car is the Nero Black Metallic TR in the "Garage" section. I too grew up on muscle cars, owned many different ones from GMs to Mopars. Testarossas in the quarter are mid-13s or so, not bad considering they aren't designed for it. One thing about the TR's acceleration, the torque band is very wide. It just seems to pull and pull forever. My car runs good, but it has a little quirk that I'm trying to figure out. When I've been driving for a bit and everything is warmed up, mash the pedal and it picks up nicely. Say I stop for gas, and the car sits for maybe 2 or 3 minutes, and then I start up and pull away...I have about 30 seconds where the car will run like a banshee! It's the wierdest thing and I can't understand what's causing it. But the acceleration is VERY good for a few seconds after fill up and then drops off to just "good". So some engine control, probably temp/time sensitive, is changing a parameter in the management system. I don't know if it's spark timing or the fuel ratio.

Bottom line is the Testarossa is faster than it seems...by that I mean as your rowing through the gears and feel the car pulling it doesn't seem earth-shattering, but one look at the speedometer and your already doing over 110mph in 3rd gear without breaking a sweat, tells you the car is quicker than it feels. So it's easy to speed in these cars. It sounds like you need to go for a test drive if possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Carguy--just checked out your car...BEAUTIFUL!! Man, I CAN'T WAIT to get one... :work:

Yeah, I would like to test drive one, but I'm not too awful concerned with the acceleration. I just wanted to get a sense of it since I haven't driven one yet. Key word there being "yet..." :green: My other car is probably a 12 second car (haven't taken it to the strip), so I always have that to mod and go real fast in. I don't really care about having the fastest car in town (there's always someone faster anyway...). I've just always loved Ferraris, and the Testarossa in particular. It's just such a gorgeous car... And to have a 12 cylinder screaming behind you has just got to be an experience! Again, beautiful car and thanks for the help!
 

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Sorry, I just thought of a couple more quick questions... I assume that Testarossas did not ever come with airbags, correct? Also, did they ever have ABS (and if so, what years?)? Thanks again for the help. I tried to find the answers on the web, but was unsuccessful. So I decided to come here to the experts! :D
 

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Supernova said:
I assume that Testarossas did not ever come with airbags, correct? Also, did they ever have ABS (and if so, what years?)?
No Testarossa is fitted with airbags or ABS. If you wanted ABS you'd have to go for a 512TR built after 10/93 or an F512M.
 

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carguy,

You do obviously love your car to death (& what a beauty she is!). After reading all your tales I WANT ONE TOO, DAMMIT! :roll:

Hearing about you doing the 12-cyl engine work yourself has made my day, as I'd really hoped to be able to work on my own car (when I can find one :evil: ) but thought that doing this on models after about the mid-80's was probably not-on. I would love tweaking quad-carbs but they have gone the way of the hand-crank! :cry:

Two questions (hopefully still on-topic) ...

1. Does doing the work yourself save much $$, or are parts a large chunk of the cost? (Not that money is everything - I think I would do it anyway :green: )

2. How do you address the "serviced by dealer" vs "serviced at home" issue re resale of your car, esp a Ferrari. Is this likely to deter many buyers?
 

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4kids3fish: Those are two excellent questions...I'll answer them to the best of my ability.

The total costs for parts for a full service on a TR will be $1,500 to $2,000 if your doing the work yourself, and shop around for the best deals. The majority of the price for a dealer service is in the labor. A good independant mechanic will be a bit less. And if you find a good mechanic who you can trust....treat him like gold because that's what he is. Parts can be had cheaper than from a dealer, but you do have to be resourceful. For instance, I put in all new fuel injectors in my car. The dealer costs were $128.00 each, yet I found that the same injector was used on some Volkswagens and I bought the EXACT part for $24 each. Same for the tensioner bearings, I found a pair of SKF bearings (the best ones) from a Maserati dealer for about half the cost of a Ferrari dealer.

How will "owner performed service" versus "dealer service" affect the resale.....I don't really know. Up until recently the cars were always dealer serviced. But now that prices are low true enthusiasts are now getting these cars, not wealthy guys but factory-worker types like me. I don't think that many cars have hit the market yet where the owner did the service work. I documented everything I did, have all receipts for parts, and took notes of things like valve clearances, and took many pictures. One thing...doing the work on your own car, you will usually take more time and be more thorough than a dealer will. You will use more care and patience assembling everything. If an owner has serviced the car and it has been driven a few thousand miles without problems, I would feel pretty confident that the work was done correctly. This is really a good topic for discussion and deserves it's own thread.
 
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