Monday, November 26, 2012

Ferrari Service and Repair Bay Area - Ferrari 348 Pre-Purchase Inspection Guide - San Francisco Motorsports San Rafael

Ferrari 348 Pre-Purchase Inspection Guide

Ferrari 348

Prelude - you want a clean title and a professional pre-purchase inspection that includes a "leak down" test (in which **you** personally listen along with your mechanic for any sounds of leaks during the test).
Things to look for:
1. Does she start instantly 

2. Does the engine knock

3. Does she rattle or shake when driving above 60mph

4. Does the transmission have a major grinding sound when shifting up
through the gears (don't try a hard downshift, that's a different story)

5. Do all of the headlights, blinkers, brake-lights, fog-lights, parking
lights work and does the horn honk

6. Do both of the power windows and door locks work

7. Any vibrations in the steering wheel while driving, or secondly, is the steering wheel loose or tight?

8. Are the tips of the exhaust pipes coated black or gray (any visible holes
in exhaust pipes)

9. Any obvious paint burns/fade, rust, or clearly bent frame

10. Can the car turn in a slow-speed circle, with the steering wheel turned
all the way to max left, then another circle with the steering wheel max
right, without hearing tire scraping, loud knocks, or having bad steering
wheel vibrations

11. Air conditioning blows cold

12. Anti-lock brakes prevent the tires from locking in a quick stop (say,
from 25 mph to 0)

13. Top goes up and doesn't leak (canvas goes **outside** of black metal bars on sides)

14. Top goes down and the "boot" snaps correctly into place over it

15. Passenger and driver doors open and close tightly, with no squeaks,
rattles, or hesitation. With doors open, do you see any obvious breaks or burns in the wiring harness that runs from the car into the doors?

16. Front trunk opens and closes normally (simply drop it with no added pressure besides its own weight), and applying water to the outside when it's closed doesn't cause leaks inside

17. Rear engine vent cover opens and closes easily

18. Car tracks reasonably straight when you remove hands from steering wheel

19. Car goes into reverse with only minor effort (you may have to push down on the gearshift lever, that's by design)

20. Emergency brake holds car when parked and gear-shift is in neutral

21. Car idles below 1100 rpm, and idles reasonably smoothly (revs easily, puts smile on face)

22. no obvious signs of oil leaks below the engine on the pavement or in the engine compartment

23. no overpowering aroma of fire inside the cockpit

24. no noticeable smell of gasoline

25. radio and speakers function without large-scale hisses or pops

26. no visible smoke beneath the car or in the engine compartment when idling

27. is there a functioning car alarm (is it factory or aftermarket)
28. VIN plate in door-jamb and engine compartment is visible and unscratched and matches the number advertised
29. Front windshield is uncracked and seals appear tight around it

30. power mirrors adjust as expected

31. heater works as expected

32. Any loans against the title, any "duplicate" title history via, any stolen/salvage title history, is the car currently registered and tagged with a correct license plate in its current state/province
33. Open up the radiator and look for corrosion just inside the overfill tank. Sludge in the radiator tank can be a sign of a blown headgasket. Have a quickstop oil change place show you the transmission plug so that you can see if it has many metal fragments on it (i.e. disintegrating tranny or not). See if you have a Ferrari Purflex or high-end Wix oil filter with the date of installation/oil change written on it, or if the prior owner was a cheapskate (e.g. a Fram paper filter). Did the prior owner use a thick oil such as a 20-w50 to hide oil leaks, or do you have a decent synthetic (e.g. 5w-40) in the car?

34. When you first turn the ignition key to "run" (not "Start"), do you temporarily see both Check Engine (non-Euro cars) and both Slow Down lights? This is important, because if those bulbs have been removed or replaced with dead bulbs, engine trouble computer codes are probably being hidden from you. Do you see the ABS light and the BRAKE light? Do these lights turn off within 1 minute of starting the car?
35. Go drive the car. Brake slowly. Do you feel any vibrations? Does the car pull left or right while braking? Repeat this step (to warm up the brakes).

36. Can you shift smoothly into 2nd gear without grinding or clunking?

37. Is the acceleration smooth? Now brake hard. Vibrations? Pulling? ABS engaged? 

38. Has the oil temp risen to the 1/4 mark during this drive? When it gets there, kill the engine (did you hear a loud "box of rocks" metallic clanking noise when you turned the engine off). You want to wait about 10 minutes to see if it will start up again when hot, so kill time by checking the exterior of the car, under the front and rear hoods, etc. OK, time has passed. Does it now start right up again when hot? This is important. Did you hear a loud "box of rocks" metallic clanking noise when starting the hot engine (this is an early sign of the flywheel needing to be repacked with grease...not terribly expensive to do, can even be done yourself, but good to know)?

39. Go idle the car or drive in traffic for 20 minutes. Do the oil and water temperatures both stay at or below their 1/2 way marks, or does the car overheat?

40. After all of the above, will she start up *again* easily, or is the battery "dead"
41. Now look under the rear engine deck at the catalytic converters. Are either of them glowing red?
42. Are all of the rubber CV boots (near wheels, on axles) intact, or do they have a split, crack, or hole? When driving slowly next to a wall, do you hear metallic bearing noises from your wheels?
43. Does the car have a reasonable paper trail for its documented service history?
44. Does the seller have all 3 original Factory keys (black, fold in half)?
45. Examine the shock/suspension set up (most 348 shocks need rebuilding for around $400 or all new shocks for $1,600).
46. Examine the doors/rockers for rust (typically on the bolts).
47. The car should have all service records *after* the last "Major Service." If it hasn't had a cam belt change in over 5 years or 30K miles then budget $4-6KUSD short term because you'll have to have the cam belt changed.

48. Try the climate control buttons; it's $2k and up if they don't work (Freon conversion alone is $300 once it's opened).

49. Look at the front airdam from underneath (Corners especially) for holes, bondo, skidplates and the like. Look under the side rails as well for hard bottoming out. Thanks, SeaBayR

50. The Clutch should be mid throw; at the top it's thin, and watch out for a grabby clutch (may be breaking pressure plate fingers internally).

51. Check for oil leaks near the 1 timing belt (355 has 2) and listen for squeaks from the belt idler pulley, rightside exhaust rattles, as well as warped front rotors causing loud noise upon braking.
Be skeptical. Make the car prove itself to you before you spend your money.


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