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My 1978 308 GTS Was Just Fine Until.....

Discussion in '308/328' started by Mcorrallo, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Mcorrallo

    Mcorrallo Karting
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    Jan 28, 2014
    99
    I have been driving my 1978 308 GTS for six years without any issues, albeit not a lot. About 500 miles per year. A couple months ago, I started it up and it had a coolant leak of some sorts. Perhaps a hose, perhaps a water pump, perhaps something else. After six weeks in the shop, I've now been told by my (non-Ferrari) mechanic that my 308 has low compression in one cylinder, has some oil leaks and now the carbs are leaking gas. The timing belt was changed six years and 3,000 miles ago.

    His opinion is that I should rebuild the engine instead of throwing money into various repairs. I trust this guy but he may be in over his head on this car. The problem is that I know of no decent Ferrari mechanics near Walnut Creek,CA or the rest of the Bay Area for that matter. So I'm wondering if I should sell it as a project to someone with the ability to do the work themselves or try to seek out a second opinion.

    It's devastating news. I go through cars like women go through shoes and I've had this car SIX YEARS! That's a lifetime for me.

    Advice?
     

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    Rosey likes this.
  2. eyeman1234

    eyeman1234 Formula 3
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    Dec 25, 2006
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    Boca Raton, FL
    I would get it to a highly-regarded independent Ferrari Master Technician- it will be worth the costs incurred in the long run.
     
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  3. Pero

    Pero Formula Junior
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    Apr 22, 2011
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    You have a really good looking car! Love the colour. Coolant leak does not need to be expensive. The question is where it is leaking. Cam belt change would be a good idea to do. Carbs, If leaking fuel they need to be checked/renovated. What is his definition of low compression and what are the other cylinders showing?

    Your car, but I would really try to keep it!

    /Peter
     
  4. MerlinTech

    MerlinTech Formula Junior
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    Mar 5, 2010
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    Georgia
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    Wade Williams
    Ship it to Georgia and make it a happy car. If it does need head work from a loss of compression, it is all done here in house. I started my career building race engines before becoming a Ferrari tech and I have many years experience with Ferrari cylinder heads and engine rebuilds. Coolant leaks are common on these old cars as the aluminum corrodes and the hoses just crumble.
    You may not need a rebuild or head work, it may just need to be repaired. The shipping cost is well worth having the right shop work on your car. If it is not me, please find a shop that really knows about your car and can help you make the right decisions.
     
    Thomas Magnum likes this.
  5. 19633500GT

    19633500GT F1 Veteran
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    Nov 9, 2010
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    Patrick in Berkeley too (disregard the wedding venue places, lol, Google)

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  6. derekw

    derekw Formula 3

    Sep 7, 2010
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    Derek W
    Keep it!! How many miles total? If under 50k I would get the heads done and the cam drive bearings while the belts are changed. The front head can be removed in situ, loosen the mounts and lift/tilt backwards. If the clutch is nearly finished or the shifter rod leaking you may as well pull the engine/gearbox and change diff seals, shift rod seal, clutch, all hoses... I have valves ($12.50), viton stem seals, and air injector blanking plugs if you need them. Don’t fit new guides, have the old ones sleeved, because the guide holes are not concentric with the seats
     
  7. jferrante

    jferrante Formula Junior
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    Jul 9, 2016
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    Bring it to Roselli

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
     
  8. Mcorrallo

    Mcorrallo Karting
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    Jan 28, 2014
    99
    I've had this car at Roselli twice and was not happy with the overall result.

    If one cylinder really is low compression, then why didn't Roselli discover it? It's been driven less than 1,000 miles since they last had it. Something doesn't seem right.

    Has anyone had experience with MerlinTech, good or bad? Feel free to PM me.
     
  9. built2grind

    built2grind Karting
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    Oct 16, 2016
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    The Peninsula
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    ANDREW
    Try Steve Fremgen owner of Coppa Bella Motors in Monterey.

    He was the head mechanic at Monterey Ferrari when these 308’s were NEW. Was later at Los Gatos Ferrari as mechanic then later as Service Manager before opening his own private business. An independent Ferrari specialist.

    I have nothing but great things to say about Steve’s work. Give him a call it couldn’t hurt.
     
  10. miketuason

    miketuason F1 World Champ
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    Feb 24, 2006
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    The nearest Ferrari specialist from you is Eugenio in Glendora, I can also recommend two excellent Ferrari technician in Orange County.
     
  11. mike996

    mike996 F1 Veteran

    Jun 14, 2008
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    Rebuilding an engine for what you described and the minimal testing done is an extreme recommendation - at least at this stage. Everything other than "low" compression is essentially "normal maintenance."

    As suggested, it would be good to know the compression PSI for each cylinder, specifically looking for the difference between the cylinders. Compression test methods can vary quite a bit but the most important thing is that the method used is identical for each cylinder - same engine temperature, same number of compression strokes per cylinder, throttle fully open for each cylinder, etc.

    If a revisit of the compression numbers (or retest) indicate a possible problem, I'd suggest a Leakdown test as the next next step in the diagnostics.
     
    derekw and Pero like this.
  12. Irishman

    Irishman F1 Rookie

    Oct 13, 2005
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    I have a '78 and can attest to coolant and oil leaks being common. Advice given is very good. No reason to throw out the baby with the bath water.
     
  13. Mcorrallo

    Mcorrallo Karting
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    Jan 28, 2014
    99
    So I have more info.

    Dry compression is around 150 on seven cylinders and 90 on the eighth. Wet compression is 130 on the eighth. Leak-down/smoke test reveals a leak on eight at the intake manifold. Lots of carbon buildup on the plugs and rings. One carb leaking gas. Oil leak from cam seal. Coolant leak has been fixed.

    I have driven this car for six years and have not sensed any loss of power. The car has basically sat for six months. I have a feeling the eighth ring will re-seat upon regular use. But it seems a valve adjustment will be necessary. And I doubt I can get it through California smog in June.

    So who wants a minor 308 GTS project?
     
  14. Craig Munschy

    Craig Munschy Rookie

    Jan 20, 2020
    8
    Pismo Beach, Ca
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    Craig Munschy
    You might Want to contact Hoover Chan at Turbohoses Inc. in Livermore...he does some very exotic stuff although not particularly on Ferrari's. BUT I am pretty sure he will know a qualified shop & technician. Tell him that Craig Munschy refered you ( Craig with the red Noble
    M-400). Good luck ! Hoover's shop will amaze you !
     
  15. BrockBenson

    BrockBenson Karting

    Oct 18, 2018
    106
    Australia
    You seem committed to selling the car rather than fixing the issues? Old cars, no matter the brand need time and money to keep them going ... and more importantly need to be driven (probably more then 500 miles a year). Its a very nice looking car, don't make any rushed decisions you might regret down the track. Finding a replacement '78 will cost you more and you still have the un-knows. Better the devil you know :) If it was me, as long as its not leaving a smoke screen behind you, I'd fix the water / carb / oil leaks and drive it as much as possible. If you are going to rebuild the engine anyway or sell it as a project needing a rebuild I feel you have nothing to loose. Especially if as you say it still pulls fine and drives well!
     
  16. jim rosenthal

    jim rosenthal Karting
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    Sep 10, 2006
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    21409
    Why do you want to sell it? Spend some money, get it fixed and drive it more often than you have been. 500 miles a year is nothing. If you sell it, you'll be sorry. You'll wish you had not.
     
  17. Mcorrallo

    Mcorrallo Karting
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    Jan 28, 2014
    99
    I do love this car as my six years of ownership will attest but one of the reason it gets driven so infrequently is that I have a collection of about 15 classics/exotics and NONE of them get the attention they deserve. I really should get down to 8 or 9 cars. That does not mean I am not considering having this one fixed and keeping it. I'm just sharing my situation so you will understand why the selling it "as is" is a legitimate option.
     
  18. BrockBenson

    BrockBenson Karting

    Oct 18, 2018
    106
    Australia
    Fair call. Maybe 15 classics is a little too many ..... but that is not to say i wouldn't do the same if I have the space and cash to do so :)
     
  19. MerlinTech

    MerlinTech Formula Junior
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    Mar 5, 2010
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    Wade Williams
    I find it interesting how many times I have had a client that was told the guide holes are not concentric. That is completely false in my experience. There was a thread on here about a 348 head that had guide holes that were not concentric in the head from the factory. The client ended up shipping them to me and I installed new guides and performed a valve job. I did have to replace one seat that was ground beyond use by the previous shop after they installed guides that did not go in properly. I have years of experience with engine machine work and yes I have installed them non concentrically but I was able to figure out why. I am not going to give up my trade knowledge on how it is done properly but believe me, Ferrari did not machine the guide holes non concentric.
     
  20. derekw

    derekw Formula 3

    Sep 7, 2010
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    Derek W
    This is a 1978 2V. Perhaps their head machining changed for the later engines. Two very experienced people told me this was an issue so I sleeved my guides. Two people I know changed guides and had to cut the seats a lot to get them to match (sinking the valves into the head and then no shims were thin enough so they had to replace the seats.)
     
  21. Mcorrallo

    Mcorrallo Karting
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    Jan 28, 2014
    99
    I'm going to have the oil and water leaks repaired and then drive it to one of the Ferrari mechanics mentioned to have an expert evaluate what it needs. But I do need to be open to selling it if someone what's to step into my shoes.
     
  22. Brian Harper

    Brian Harper F1 Rookie
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    Feb 17, 2006
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    Brian Harper
    Funny you don't know of any Ferrari shops near Walnut Creek. There are probably more than a dozen Ferrari specialist shops in the Bay Area.

    Juan at Grand Prix in Campbell isn't exactly close to you, but certainly closer than Monterey. He does good work and seems very honest.

    I unfortunately agree about Roselli. They are really good people who need to learn to say "no" more often. I cringe when I see how many cars are piled up over there.
     

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