Ferrari Life Forum banner

New member with long-shot project

3850 Views 24 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Harry
Greetings from a newbie. Here is my situation: I have been put in contact with a gentlemen from my church who owns a 1981 308, I'm pretty sure it's a GTSi, the two-valve model. How exactly he came to be in possession of this car I'm not sure. At this time the car has been garaged for about the last nine months, it lost compression and began knocking awhile back, he took it to one of the local high-end service places and they started talking about an engine rebuild, he is in a state of career transition so it's just been a garage queen ever since. Supposedly the service shop found some metal in the oil filter, which I have to assume was aluminum. :(

We are assembling a group of gear-heads from the church to try and get this car running again, but with a tight budget, none of us has a lot of money to donate to the cause, we just have our time, tools, expertise, ingenuity, and can-do attitudes. :wink:

The upside is that, since the car is not a daily driver, and is currently a non-running garage queen, we really have nothing to lose, and pretty much unlimited time to spread out both the work and the cost. Right now we are at the very start of this project, we haven't turned a wrench yet. Actually I haven't even seen the car yet, I'm just doing some information-gathering, but I thought I'd introduce myself and our situation here since I may be popping up with various questions in the future.

One of my first questions is, does anyone know a good source in the U.S. for an oil filter for this car? The service shop dissassembled the one that was on there, so that will have to be replaced before we can even crank it and try and diagnose the problem.
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Welcome to the site. Baldwin makes a really good filter and you can get it here on our site.

I hope this helps.
That does help, thanks for the reply. I'm sure the car's owner will be glad to have at least one question answered.
Sounds like you guys are going to be rebuilding the engine! :eek:

Here you go:

It'll give you an idea what you're in for... :green:

You can call Norwood yourself and I'm sure they'll help guide you with,
"Rebuild kits for the enthusiast rebuilding at home. Our kits come with build sheets, assembly lubes and all the parts necessary for your specific application. We have the special tools needed for rebuilds available for sale or rental with deposit if you are purchasing the parts from us."
The first thing I would do is pull the plugs a run a camprion test. It sounds like it lost a timing belt or at least jumped timing on one of the cams. This can be done with out the oil fliter. just have a bucket to catch the oil that comes out. Good luck, John
You can also bolt on a Ford 302 filter if you guys are eager to get up & running right away. Motorcraft FL1A, etc. Cheap and available, not recommened normally on the basis that it doesn't have the standpipe used in the Baldwin and UFI filters that helps you get oil sooner on startup, but more than adequate for your needs!
Thanks for the info and the great links, guys. My friend, the car's owner, ordered one of the Baldwin filters yesterday right after I sent him the link. I'm going over to his place this evening to take a look at the car, I'll let you know my thoughts after that.
Welcome to the site. Feel free to post any question you may have. Someone here is bound to know the answer.

There is one catch though. We want to see pictures.
OK, I went last night to check out the car. The body is perfect, looks like it just rollled off the line. The odo reads 98K miles, but the speedo has been out of commission for awhile (supposedly it needs a new impulse gear?), so it's actually higher.

The car is a 1981 308 GTSi, which I understand is a two-valve, but with the timing belts easily visible it's obvious that this is a DOHC engine. So either Ferrari put 4 cams in a two valve engine for some inexplicable reason, or one of the previous owners swapped a quattrovalvole into this thing. This is a possibility, since at one time this was a track car, it's had a bit of lightening done to it (A/C, spare tire and washer reservoir removed, lighter bumpers). It's also had the electronic ignition upgrade.

What happened was the owner was driving and it suddenly lost power, lost oil pressure, and started making knocking noises, which at first sounded like they were coming from the top end. He had it towed to a local high-end service shop, they diagnosed it, and he towed it home and it's sat in his garage ever since.

I have the paperwork from the last time it was in the shop after it died. They found a "significant amount" of metal in the oil filter, I have to call and see if I can talk to the tech who worked on it, and try and find out what kind of metal it was. The shop's diagnosis was, "Probable engine bearing damage causing the piston to hit the head"

So odds are this motor is gonna have to come out. I have a neighbor who is a diesel mechanic and has a heavy-duty work truck with a crane on the back, so that's covered, we'll just have to get an engine stand. We have a full two-car garage to work in, and as I said earlier, limited funds, but unlimited time. If it takes two years to get this thing running so what, it's still better off than it is now.

Has anybody on this board pulled the engine on a 308 before? Is it more feasible to crane it out from above or lift the car and lower it out?

Also, might the problem be a cam bearing, rather than a crank bearing? As I was looking at it I thought that, if it turned out that the problem was a cam bearing on the rear bank, I might be able to get the rear head off with the engine in the car. But I think that's a long shot. And if there's that much metal in the oil, the engine should come apart anyway.

Also it seems that when the car was running, one bank would run very rich. The result was that in order to pass the annual state emissions inspection, the tailpipe sample would have to be taken from the right-side exhaust outlet, if it was taken on the left it would fail.

Last, and least, the ventilation controls in the center console, the ones that open the vents, don't work. Supposedly you have to take out the plastic panel around the spare tire well and move some control arm to the center to get fresh air into the interior. (Or even better, just take off the targa roof :wink: )

So in short this appears to be one sick 308. But it's so gorgeous and generally cool, I'm determined to resurrect it if at all possible.
See less See more

Welcome to the site!

You mention that the engine is a 4 cam ... I believe that all 308's have 4 cams, even the two valve engine.

Ferrari uses a seperate cam on each bank for the exhaust and intake valves.

Just a recommendation for your upcoming work would be to properly identify the engine and then secure a workshop manual and parts manual for that engine.

The workshop manual is useful to an extent, but presupposes that you may already understand most of the steps to many of the proceedures that you will encounter. The parts manuals are most useful to guide you through the "take apart and put back together" phases.

Best wishes
See less See more
There are several ways to find out if is a 2-valve or 4. The easy way is just to check the serial number. If the number on the chasis matches the one on the engine, which it should, you have a 2-valve. Also, all Quatrovalves have Quatrovalve in raised letters on the top of the intake plenum.

If the serial number on the engine is different than the body look up the number to see when the serial number would have been issued. If the engine has a QV number then it should be a QV.
Well if it's true that even two-valve motors use four cams, then I have no reason to believe that it's a QV.
And it does not have Quattrovalvole on the intake plenum, I looked for it, and then thought that perhaps the plenums were interchangeable and they could have used the original if there was a swap done, but that seems unlikely.
Take a look at the VIN of the car. If the 6th and 7th digit are:
01 308 GTBi
02 308 GTSi
03 308 GTB
04 308 GTS
12 308 GTB QV
13 308 GTS QV
19 328 GTB
20 328 GTS

In PDF format I have:
308 QV Owners Manual
308 GTB/GTS spare parts catalogue USA 1978
308 QV and 328 workshop manual

I can send them if you want them
See less See more
I'm nearly positive you're looking at a 2 valve car, unless someone really did quite a bit of modifications. I don't want to scare you away from your noble project but if there is metal in the oil and the diagnosis of valves hitting the head is correct you have a lot of time, work, and money ahead of you. All said and done Ferrari engines are still simple internal combustion engines, but they have tighter tolerences, lighter parts, and some rather advanced engineerinng in them compared to your average Ford, Chevy and the like, and of course this will drive the costs up. However they are not magic, and can be worked on by "average joe's", but be prepared for some unexpected findings. Belt tensioner bearings that are over $100 each, $300 fuel pumps, special tools, etc. I'd really be weary of the valve/head issue, this can get expensive and complicated very quickly. And I guess my last bit of advice is DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Get as much info gathered as possible, manuals, books, forums like this it will make the job go much easier and faster, and possibly even cheaper. Good luck and have fun!
See less See more
My recommendation is to first decide where you want to end up (ie "What is the GOAL of this fun exercise").

If it is to just get the car running again then that is what must be kept in mind AT ALL TIMES, as it could otherwise get very ugly! I guess this will involve diagnosing what the key problem was, appraise what "collatoral damage" may have occurred, and just replace / refurb what has broken.

If it is to get the car back to long-term reliable condition again, then I see no choice but to strip down the top & bottom ends and examine it all, eg crank journals, rods, cams, oil pump, for signs of damage and take it slow, fixing everything as required. More $$ & time required! :eek:

It depends on the group's final goal - best to agree on this now while you're all still friends !! :green:

ps: Who gets to drive it afterwards (need to decide that too!) ??
Hi cls12vg30 welcome to the forum.

There is one very important thing you need to do as soon as possible ... take some photos of the car and post them here for us to see!

Good luck with the engine rebuild.

One common cause of engine failure with these engines in particular is timing belt failure. This can be caused by seized idler pulleys resulting in the teeth being stripped off the belts or the belt actually breaking. The belts can also become slack and skip teeth on the cam pulleys. The result is PISTONS HITTING VALVES. There is no cheap fix for this.

I would seriously recommend you contact T. Rutlands in Georgia. They are one of the best providers of new and used parts as well as rebuilt engines for 308 Ferraris. A rebuilt 308 engine (with heads) costs around 7500.00. They also provide pretty good deals on rebuild kits for same. The prices are quite reasonable compared to the more traditional sources.

These guys are also in your backyard!

These engines are not cheap to rebuild properly. It can be done cheaply, but not properly.

I spoke with the technician who was the last to work on the 308. He is almost positive that the metal he found in the oil filter was bearing material, probably a connecting rod bearing, which would also cause the knocking sound that Randy heard when it died. So my first step is to get up underneath, drop the oil pan, and inspect the crankshaft and the conn. rod bearings. I suspect on at least one of the bearings I'll find metal debris and heat scarring.
Once I've confirmed this, we're going to pull the motor, remove the crank, have that machined, replace at least the one bearing, possibly have the others machined depending on what we find, and of course tear the heads down and inspect those as well, then determine the level of rebuild/replace we want to do on the rest of the engine.

Sound like a good plan?

P.S. We have access to a crane to pull the motor, we just have to get our hands on an engine stand.

The following site may provide you with some information regarding pulling a 308 engine.

Not sure when the Ferrari engine was designed to "drop out the bottom," in the mid-engined cars, but the earlier 308's I believe come out the top. I hope members with your particular model will direct you in the proper method.

I think that you can use a standard type engine stand to mount and work on the Ferrari 308 engine. One that allows you to rotate the block while working might be the better type to use as it simple makes some of the work more convienent.

If there is metal in the oil filter and there was a knocking noise, I think I would just go ahead and remove the engine rather than trying to diagnose the problem through the bottom of the engine. Not really a safe place to be tugging and pulling on things unless you have a steady lift on which to raise the vehicle.

You need to use caution when jacking the vehicle and placing any stands under the vehicle. Make sure that you are supporting the vehicle in an appropriate location so as to not bend or brake something you may need!

One of the methods for lifting the 308 with a floor jack is to use the Ferrari jack that came with the car to lift one side of the car as if changing a tire then place the floor jack.

Keep us posted

Best wishes
See less See more
The 308 has a solid frame underneath so you will have to take the engine out through the top. The engine bay opening is too small to lift the engine out straight up and level. You will have to lift the forward side of the engine first and let the aft side dangle to reduce the cross section enough to pull it out through the top. I have seen pictures of owners using large nylon straps around the engine to reduce damage.

(The new Fcars have a removable subframe that allows the entire engine and drivetrain to drop in one piece.)

Get the largest engine stand you can. Preferably the type with 4 wheels. The three legged ones are accidents waiting to happen.

Another caution; DO NOT jack the rear of the car with a single hydraulic jack under the crossmember that is located just aft of the engine. It WILL bend and tweek the frame causing alignment problems.

I use one jack under each main frame rail at a point near the attach points for the lower suspension control arms.
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.