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Thread: 360 Camshaft Variators - anyone else replacing as a precaution ?

  1. #1
    Arron is offline Only useful for school runs - The Ferrari 308GT4 Club Member
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    Default 360 Camshaft Variators - anyone else replacing as a precaution ?

    Just wondering what the consensus and thoughts on this subject are ?

    I have had my 360 for a little over a month now and it needed belts next year however, as the belt job is quite simple on a 360 I thought I would get it done whilst I was on holiday as the car has quite low mileage and I am forever cautious about rubber/plastic items that are left unused for any length of time.

    The car went in to KHPC for this work and I asked Roger about failed variators - of course the early problematic units have mostly been replaced under Ferrari's campaigns however Roger reported that he has seen 3 instances of the problem in recent months. I did not go into detail with him as to whether these were modified units that had failed but it seems sensible that they would have been given that pretty much every 360 owner should be aware of the issue and should have had them changed FOC in the past.

    As a precaution, I asked Roger to change mine despite that they would have been the new design from factory with my car being 'safe' due to the build date. The cost of the unit is not expensive at the moment at around 68 each +VAT from Eurospares, fitting is around 3-4 hours per side labour plus a few consumables so not cheap in that respect but a whole lot cheaper than an engine rebuild if one fails.

    Interested to hear what other people think about this issue.

    Cheers

    Arron.

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    I bought my year model 2000 Ferrari 360 in the Spring of 2013 here in Italy. The variators had not been done, for some reason. Actually, the dealer could not prove that they had been changed and they weren't reported to Ferrari plus the engine didn't have the stamp which is often (but not always) made after the variators are changed. For me, that's the same thing.

    The fix, at least for Italian cars living in Italy, is supposed to be recorded in the Ferrari factory data base and there was no record there. So I insisted that my dealer send the car to an authorized Ferrari dealership before I took delivery. They did the belts at the same time since they were almost due.

    Bottom line: Even at this late date, apparently not all early model 360's have had the variator fix.

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    Arron is offline Only useful for school runs - The Ferrari 308GT4 Club Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mozella View Post
    Bottom line: Even at this late date, apparently not all early model 360's have had the variator fix.
    OK, so from what you say, the 3 cars Roger has seen lately with variator failure may have had the original units in - but what are the chances that all 3 cars are pre 2002 (I think that was about the time of the switch) and all had been missed for the campaign ?

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    Mike01606 is offline Kid's bed - The Ferrari F50 Club Member
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    Arron,

    When I was looking at 360"s, concerns about variator failures was nearly the reason I didn't buy (ask Tim!).

    My view after looking into this is the following;

    Apart from the mod to the part to try and prevent the threaded part cracking and failing, Ferrari changed the installation method to try and prevent overtorquing the threads by reducing the torque and speccing no thread lock.

    So the fix was part design and part installation.

    Bad installation could affect either part so if the updated procedure has been followed then it should be ok. If not, either part could possibly fail.

    The part itself....How can you be sure you aren't replacing a good one with a bad one? A crack could propagate from a flaw in the material or manufacturing process as well as the design. They just rounded the groove in front of the threads to take the angle away.

    I also understand they are really difficult to remove so my decision was leave well alone unless the wisdom moves towards changing them after significant aged related fatigue failures.

    I'd be interested if the failures are increasing and related to new design variators. I'd also be interested in the typical repair cost after failure. Only the pro's can answer that.

    The guy I use has looked after about a 100 360's and never seen a failure other than the early challenge cars that triggered the recall.

    If you search you can only really find one case of failure from a guy in oz. I think if it was really common, you'd see more reports.

    M

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    Hmmmm, not sure if its been done to my cars...

    Does anyone have pics of these parts? pics of the install?

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    Arron is offline Only useful for school runs - The Ferrari 308GT4 Club Member
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    Mike : I will ask KHPC about the procedure they use to fit these parts to ensure that has been done correctly - I am pretty certain though that they follow standard Ferrari maintenance guidelines so, if Ferrari say lower the torque and don't use threadlock, then that is what they will have done.

    As far as the logic regarding fitting a new unit that may have a fault - well yes there is a small chance that this could happen but in my mind, the chances of an older unit having fatigued over the course of its life to the point of fracture is far higher.

    993 : These are units that fit on the end of each exhaust camshaft and are operated by a solenoid buried in the cylinder head to allow variable valve timing on the exhaust valves. They are what allow the 360 engine to develop far more low rpm torque than say a 355 engine. In early cars, the design of the unit was questionable and some instances of them breaking were encountered which led to catastrophic engine failure (cylinders hitting valves etc). The variator was uprated and redesigned to be stronger from around late 2001 cars onwards, Ferrari ran a campaign to change older variators to avoid the problem. Most should have been changed but there are some instances recently of failures of the newer units which is what has prompted me to undertake this preventative maintenance.

    Replacement of the part can be slightly costly, it involves a new variator at around 70+vat plus fitting which is probably 3-4 hours per side so at least another 300 per side in labour. It's a lengthy job as the best way to do it is to remove the exhaust cam shaft completely to allow it to be properly gripped to undo and refit the variator. Ferrari did produce some sort of tool to allow this job to be done in situ but apparently it sucks somewhat and most prefer to remove the cam shaft.

    To me, even at a cost of say 700 undertaken every other belt service, it is money well spent when compared to the 5-6k repair bill if one fails.

    Arron

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    Thanks for the info. I will do the job myself, no issues. Does anyone have pics of the exhaust camshafts out and the variators in question?


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    It's not a DIY job. Unless you have the special fixture that bolts onto the rear of the cams, they need to be removed from the engine to unscrew the variator. There is also a special tool to remove the variator from the cam, and you have to have an SD2 to set them up.

    As for the frequency of failure regarding the newer Variators, yes there have been quite a few. It is a not known if this is down to poor fitment or a part issue. I have my suspicions that it is caused by the later....
    Last edited by Total Performance; 16-09-2013 at 10:26 AM.

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    Hi

    I read this thread with interest as we've recently bought a 2000 360 Modena. I took a trip to our local main dealer (Maranello, Egham) and they were able to quickly stick the VIN into their computer to see if there's anything outstanding in terms of recalls etc. I'd heard that updated cars have the letters VD stamped into the cylinder heads and although ours doesn't, the car didn't flag up any outstanding issues. If you can, it may be worth a phone call before you splash out, just a thought.

    Hope this helps, Mark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Total Performance View Post
    It's not a DIY job. Unless you have the special fixture that bolts onto the rear of the cams, they need to be removed from the engine to unscrew the variator. There is also a special tool to remove the variator from the cam, and you have to have an SD2 to set them up.

    As for the frequency of failure regarding the newer Variators, yes there have been quite a few. It is a not known if this is down to poor fitment or a part issue. I have my suspicions that it is caused by the later....
    Cheers for the input. I do have access to SD...

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