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Anyone convert their 355 convertible to manual? I'm done with this BS!

Discussion in '348/355' started by TTG, Feb 3, 2021.

  1. TTG

    TTG Formula 3

    Jun 11, 2002
    1,551
    East Hanover, NJ
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    Todd Gieger
    Hello everyone - I tried to search this topic but wasn't having much luck for some reason - So I am making the move to rid that whole horsesh!t sequence nonsense we have to go through to lower and raise the top - I literally cannot wait to just be able to unlatch the center clip and throw it back - it's literally insanity to continue to go on the way it was designed new. Years ago I taught my son and daughter to drive a stick on miata convertible and loved how you can just unlatch the top and drop it back within 2 seconds - so so so much better!!

    Curious if anyone else has done this and if they had any words of wisdom to share - My mechanic is doing it but was wondering who has done and their feedback.

    Thanks!

    TTG
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  3. MAD828

    MAD828 Formula 3
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    Oct 8, 2011
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  4. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
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    Video here:

     
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  5. TTG

    TTG Formula 3

    Jun 11, 2002
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    Todd Gieger
    Thanks fellas - always so grateful for this forum!!!

    Btw, have any of you guys ever bought a replacement boot cover for your 355? Did you buy from Ferrari or does someone else make a better one?
     
  6. johnk...

    johnk... F1 Veteran
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    Jun 11, 2004
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  8. ClydeM

    ClydeM F1 Veteran
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    Nov 4, 2003
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    Post who you go with. Mine is looking a little tired too.
     
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  9. bjwhite

    bjwhite F1 Rookie

    Mar 17, 2006
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    I've always heard 355 Spider owners who finally get sick of their automatic top BS just convert to a 348 Spider manual top and all is well with the world.
     
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  10. wilhit10

    wilhit10 Rookie

    Feb 18, 2004
    31
    It looks like I need to align mine, so I am probably going to convert it soon.
     
  11. TTG

    TTG Formula 3

    Jun 11, 2002
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    Todd Gieger
    Thanks guys - I am going to see what Ferrari charges for the Convertible Top Boot Cover b/c Tops Online doesn't offer my color (Dark Gray)...shame!
     
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  13. taz355

    taz355 F1 Veteran
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    Feb 18, 2008
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    Grant
    Reach out to Kennyd he’s the local expert from what I have talked with based on the subject
     
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  14. PhilB

    PhilB Formula 3
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    Feb 17, 2004
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    I'm not getting what the fuss is all about.

    You unlatch the top, the windows drop, you push and hold the button, the top goes down. Yeah the seats move up, then back. Ok.

    If you remove all the factory automation parts, you still need to unlatch the top, the windows still need to drop - not sure if that happens automatically after all the system guts are removed, if not you need to hold two buttons down to drop the windows, then instead of pushing the top button, you need to push each seat button to move them up enough so you can manually fold the top back, then hold both seat buttons again to move the seats back to their prior position. Or, like the video above shows instead of moving both seats electrically, you could get out of the car, release the driver's side seat back so it folds forward, walk around the car, release the passenger side seat back so it folds forward, then manually move the spider top back. Then put the passenger seat back upright, then walk around the car and put the driver's seat back upright, then reinsert yourself into the car.

    Not seeing the benefit of the latter.
     
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  15. taz355

    taz355 F1 Veteran
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    Feb 18, 2008
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    Forget my post kennyd is the expert on f1 to manual conversion not the top
    Sorry for the confusion
     
  16. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
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    Feb 20, 2015
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    I guess it depends on how much wiring you remove. The micro switch at the top of the windshield (LHS) controls the 2” window drop. The windows then freeze until the roof is all the way down (as sensed by the microswitch at the bottom of the LH primary ram guide). That’s why the video says you have to disconnect that micro switch (if you leave the electronics in place). However, disconnecting that microswitch permanently may interfere with the window drop (?).

    If you remove the Roof ECU, you will have to figure out an alternative way of controlling normal seat operation. It’s probably a whole lot easier to leave the electronics in place. At least the next owners of your car will be able to get things running again relatively easy.
     
  17. krazykarguy

    krazykarguy Formula Junior

    Apr 17, 2014
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    Having fought one of these roof systems for several days just to get it to work, I get what all the fuss is about.

    Our particular car has had a lifetime of Spider roof woes and has even a full hydraulic cylinder rebuild ($$$$) under it's service belt, and it still didn't work right the first time we tried to use it.

    To this day, you still need a 'helper' outside of the car on the passenger side to gently 'guide' the fork into place on the pin through the open passenger window (with the door closed!) while the driver operates the top switch when closing. The top frame is bent somewhere, but I can't find where. We disconnected the rams to see if it would fold down manually, but the bend is also making the top want to close unevenly, so we decided to leave the system as-is (i.e. not convert to manual).

    As with nearly everything else on this car the Spider top mechanism degrades simply by not being cycled regularly. I personally think that these tops wouldn't be nearly the talking point they are except that they are so finicky.

    While I'm not sure that a 348 top would bolt in directly, that's not exactly a cheap proposal. I'd actually love to get my hands on a cheap 348 Spider top frame (like from a burnt car) and fabricate a simplified manual frame for our car out of it and fit both it and a new roof skin to our 355.
     
  18. treedee3d

    treedee3d F1 Rookie

    Apr 1, 2011
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    Fab
    What I'm wondering is this: If you decide to rip out all the hydraulics and make the top 100% fully manual in the 355 will that screw up the seat mechanism, windows, handbrake electronics? Are they all linked? They must be if you need all those things in a certain position for the top to operate right?

    Ideally I would love to rip out all that pertains to the top but not screw up the windows, ability for the seats to move and obviously not end up with christmas lights turning on in the instrument cluster.

    Does Anyone know?
     
  19. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
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    #16 Qavion, Feb 18, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
    As I said in post #13, everything depends on how much you remove. The more you remove, the more modifications you'll have to make. Since one of the weak points is the Roof ECU circuit board, you may want to remove that, but that means you'll have to install relays for the seats. The spider seats normally use relays inside the Roof ECU.

    Simple things like unplugging the microswitch at the bottom of the left main hydraulic ram slider will keep your windows operating (as the video shows).

    If you don't want your roof buzzer to activate, disconnect it or remove it.

    Yes. Just tell us how much you want to remove. Of course, you'll have to make a decision based on your technical skills.
     
  20. johnk...

    johnk... F1 Veteran
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    Jun 11, 2004
    8,637
    New England/FL
    I would have to disagree with that statement. For the last 7 years my top goes down in the spring and up in the fall. Other than that it went up once mid summer last year when I was caught in a shower. The first year I had the car I used to put it up when we stopped for lunch. But I stopped doing that because of the need to get in and out of the car to remove or install the tonneau cover. It has always work fine. The cycle is just a little slow.
     
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  21. WATSON

    WATSON F1 World Champ
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    Sep 9, 2010
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    One last time....... Why rip it it all out?

    I got tired of repairing the seat potentiometers.

    I use the emergency switch to raise and lower the top now.

    That switch ignores every other sensor, potentiometer, switch in the system and just runs the pump.

    I pulled wires to a low profile toggle switch I installed in the open hole on the center console by the ashtray.

    Position windows (or crack open the doors), set the seats and then....
    ...Push and hold the switch forward and the top goes up.
    ...Push and hold the switch backward and the top goes down.

    Done.

    Someone else wants to bring it back to OEM? Fine. It'll be easy to do as all the items and the hydraulics are in place. Mine just needs the seat pots done again....and I am tired of putzing with them.

    Been this way for 8 years now.
     
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  22. treedee3d

    treedee3d F1 Rookie

    Apr 1, 2011
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    You’re absolutely right but for me it’s an OCD thing.

    Knowing that the system is there but that it’s disconnected just does something to me.
     
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  23. WATSON

    WATSON F1 World Champ
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  24. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
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    But how far do you want to go to remove all the evidence of the roof hydraulics and electrics? e.g. Will you be removing the wiring going up the A pillar to the windshield top frame switch?

    There will be some wiring buried in harnesses 5cm thick.

    OCD goes both ways. Wanting OEM or wanting no evidence of OEM. You would certainly have to do rewiring with non-OEM colours and components.
     
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  25. treedee3d

    treedee3d F1 Rookie

    Apr 1, 2011
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    Wiring doesn't bother me that much, especially if it's buried. I would be more excited from all the space gained by removing the hydraulic tank between the seat and sort of "redesigning" that portion of the car. Would make a great spot for the wife's purse on long drives or perhaps a nice comfy armrest.
     
  26. treedee3d

    treedee3d F1 Rookie

    Apr 1, 2011
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    Someone posted this video in the other thread, they got rid of everything (2 min mark) but then put it all back as-is when it comes to the interior parts. It's in Portuguese but has english captions.

     
  27. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
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    So the roof ECU (#14) would have to be repositioned or deleted as it's mounted to the pump assembly.

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    If you decided to keep the ECU for seat control, I guess the existing wiring and fuses could be used and you could mount the ECU flat against the bulkhead.
     
  28. Qavion

    Qavion F1 Veteran
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    I noticed in the video that the Brazillian guy was using some of my (older) custom wiring diagrams.
     
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