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Should I buy a Ferrari 400

Should I buy a Ferrari 400

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Bazza 2174

Original Poster:

174 posts

139 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
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I would like some advice about possibly buying a Ferrari 400 that's for sale privately. I own a couple of old lotuses and am aware that with these things its not usually the buying but the running of them that really hurts. The car seems a bargain as the owner (genuinely) is going abroad and needs to sell. What is the market like for these cars in seemingly good condition?

What should I ask about (other than has it been regularly serviced)? Is there anything that is specific to a 400?

In addion are there any mobile Ferrari experts you'd recommend in London who could inspect the car ?

Sorry to ask so many questions but I could really do with help to aviod buying an expensive pup.

Bazza

wicked1

146 posts

140 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
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Ferrari 400's are expnsive to own and run, it is not a particulary loved ferrari. You would knned to more specific with the model, I.e. 412, 400 auto, etc. Common problems are: electrics,paint spliting around front lights and corrosion generally, oil cooler seals fail mixing oil and water, oil leaks,Power steering pumps,noisey diff's, wheel bearings, steering joints fail, engine mounts collaspe, exhausts disintergrate, metal pipes coroding like fuel and self levelling suspension pipes, self levelling fails - can be replaced with conventional dampers to solve problems and parts availability. Find a good one is a bit of a mission but i would strongly advise getting it checked over before seperating with any money.

danhay

6,652 posts

175 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
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Exhausts are particularly expensive, I would want a potential purchase to have a stainless steel one.

rubystone

10,924 posts

178 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
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These cars can look so cheap - I've seen cosmetically tidy ones for as little as £5k. Given the complexity of them, not least in terms of the mix of elements in their build (steel, aluminium and fibreglass) and given the complexity of their V12 based running gear, I'd definitely want someone to look at the car. Imagine the cost of a set of carbs (assuming your 400 isn't an "i" ) or of a manual gearbox...or a suspension rebuild...

For the sheer variety of cars that they look after, I'd recommend a call to Karl Verdi (a PH sponsor) or Elias at Racing Technologies (0208 874 8927). I don't actually know of anyone who is known to be a 400 expert though - does anyone else?



>> Edited by rubystone on Wednesday 7th December 16:09

Twin Turbo

5,544 posts

185 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
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There was a buyers guide in last months Auto Italia magazine
Advertisement

simonrockman

5,382 posts

174 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
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Didn't you see Top Gear on Sunday? An Italian V12? Hmm

Bazza 2174

Original Poster:

174 posts

139 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
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Thanks chaps - some very good advise

Simon - Did see Top Gear but believe in taking most things JC says with a block of salt - they're making a programme after all....

nevpugh308

3,982 posts

188 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
quotequote all
www.fugazi.co.uk/308/400i.htm

Out of interest, have a look at my mate's 400i which he's just rebuilt to concours standard, for inspiration. I'm just adding the interior rebuild shots, so you'll have to revisit to see them another day. This car is for sale btw, but you will NOT want to pay what he's asking

Bazza, you do right about taking TG with a pinch of salt. At the end of the day, you could take three bottom end of the price range, unloved, uncared for, cheap piles of old rubbish from ANY make and they would break down and misbehave ...

rubystone

10,924 posts

178 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
quotequote all
Nev o/t but I need a wiper stalk assembly for a 308 GTS QV - 1983 (i.e. black stalks) any idea where I might get one from?

nevpugh308

3,982 posts

188 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
quotequote all
rubystone said:
Nev o/t but I need a wiper stalk assembly for a 308 GTS QV - 1983 (i.e. black stalks) any idea where I might get one from?

Just trawl round the usual suspects really ...

www.owners.ferrari.com
www.superformance.co.uk (nothing listed on their site but worth an email)
www.racecar.com/paulbaber/index.htm
www.eurospares.co.uk

rubystone

10,924 posts

178 months

Wednesday 7th December 2005
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Cheers - already tried Eurospares

nigelo

293 posts

152 months

Thursday 8th December 2005
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rubystone said:
Imagine the cost of a set of carbs (assuming your 400 isn't an "i" ) or of a manual gearbox...or a suspension rebuild...

Whilst I agree with some of your comments, why on earth would you want to replace the carbs? There's no magic about them, they are Webers after all and as good as they get. Seals, gaskets and diaphragms are all that's usually required and at moderate cost though supply can sometimes be difficult. Worst case is play in the butterfly spindles needing new spindles and bearings.

Don't be put off by setting up the carbs either - About 4 hours work in competent hands including the essential checking / resetting of float levels. Once properly set, they are very reliable. Quick test is pulling a GENTLY opened full throttle from 1,000 rpm in 5th. No misfiring or hesitation is what you are looking for. If not then budget accordingly.

Have driven both a 400 (carb) and the earlier and much rarer 365 saloon with basically the same body. Both handled like lorries unfortunately and definitely not my cup of tea but different strokes for different folks I guess.

Bazza 2174

Original Poster:

174 posts

139 months

Thursday 8th December 2005
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The car in question is a 400i automatic. I'm not sure if injection or carbs is deemed better - any thoughts?

scampbellb

29 posts

175 months

Thursday 8th December 2005
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I have a 400 that I have owned for 8 years and done a lot of work on. I'm currently in the process of rebuilding the cylinder heads. Have a look at www.400register.com and look at 21557 in the The Register section. The various work I have carried out over the years is detailed there, along with a lot of photos. If you need any specific advice do ask but I have copied in below something I wrote about buying a 400:

"Is this your first Ferrari? I would suggest that you get a specialist to look over anything you buy, this can be a good investment. Service history is more important than mileage, Ferraris that have sat around for a long time develop faults and can be expensive to put right, cars that are used are usually better buys.

As for problems as a daily driver, I can only think of normal running costs and petrol. Parts aren't too bad in price (as long as you are used to the prices of parts for high performance cars) but remember that you need twelve plugs, 18 litres of oil, two oil filters etc. plus labour can be expensive simply because some jobs take a long time. I hesitate to even mention the cost of a set of points (£40 each set with two sets required), rotor arm (£20) or distributor cap (£143). Petrol will be around 10-12mpg unless you boot it around and then you can expect single figures - this is for a 400 carburetor but a 400i/412 ought to be better.

Main points to watch are the exhaust (£2,500 in a specialist in stainless steel, £4,000+ in steel from Ferrari), tyres can be hard to find if they the car is still metric wheels (supply has become easier recently though), rust on the body especially around the front and rear screens (the channels were left unpainted by the factory and are prone to rust - the only way to repair this rust is to cut it out and weld in new metal, which means removing the bonded screens which is a risky business), door bottoms, the boot floor/rear wheel arch area and the front chassis outriggers. Some parts are almost impossible to find and there are very few 'spares' cars around and those that are usually have the same problems as the one you are trying to repair anyway. Trim work can be expensive (and it is hard to find good trimmers), The engine, auto gearbox and back axles are pretty bomb proof. Brakes, wheel bearings etc are pretty much as you would expect. The 400GT is a 5-speed and is a rare car and as far as I am aware has no real gearbox problems but a slipping clutch could prove expensive to replace (I'd guess at £1500-£2000).

There are some tricks on these cars.

1) If there are any problems starting the car, when hot, where the starter just clicks this is without doubt a fault starter solenoid. Do not listen to people who say it is a faulty ignition switch, suspect relays, bad earth leads and so on. It is the starter solenoid/starter. If left this fault will even happen randomly when cold. To remove the starter is quite a large job involving removing the carburettors and then the exhaust manifold on the driver's side (on a RHD car) - by the time you have done this (3-4 hours) it is a pointless economy not to replace the whole starter. A new solenoid is almost 75% of the cost of a warranted reconditioned starter from Eurospares (www.eurospares.com) which costs around £300 exchange.

2) If the battery keeps going flat the firstly check it is really flat and not just a faulty starter (see above). To do this turn the headlights on and see if they dim when you turn the ignition key. Sometimes the alternator fails but there is a little quirky feature on Ferraris of this era whereby the alternator senses the battery condition through the ammeter warning light - this mean s that if the light fails the alternator will stop charging, I kid you not. Just check the ammeter warning light is working when the ignition is turned on but the engine is not running.

3) If the gearbox is reluctant to change up this may be due to a faulty vacuum pipe. There is a vacuum pump on the front of the engine driven off of the front of the driver’s side cam-shaft (on a RHD car) that provides extra vacuum to the brake servo. There is a vacuum take off that is used actuate a gear change switch on the gearbox. This take off consists of a cloth covered rubber hose that runs from the front of the engine to about half way along the car. As this pipe runs parallel with the exhaust manifolds, and generally in a very hostile environment, they often fail an d the result is that gearbox becomes reluctant to change up.

4) a similar cloth covered hose is use d extensively on the engine and it is worth checking these hoses for leaks and damage. This hose is available from various suppliers and at autojumbles.

5) The plug leads deteriorate and this has a huge effect on the smoothness of the engine. Ferrari UK sell new leads but these are not the 'correct' original-look leads. Eurospares sell the correct white rubber covered leads at around £150 for a complete set which are superb, come with all mounting brackets and look original.

6) Clean out the air bypass system - the black canister in the middle of the engine - on a regular basis. This not only accumulates sludge but also can rust quite badly from the inside.

7) Electrical problems will come and go. One day the horn will work, then it won't, then it will again. My advice is don't worry about these gremlins unless they become permanent over a month or two.

8) The Koni shock absorbers have a rubber sleeve between the shock absorber body and the road spring. Water gets between the shock absorber and this sleeve and the body can rust through. New shock absorbers are available again. However, a word of warning, at the rear there are two Koni shock absorbers and two Koni self levelling units - these units on a 400 are no longer available although Koni do say they will be making a new batch or, alternatively, a guy in Texas can rebuild them at $2,000 a time. The 400i and 412i have a more sophisticated system but replacement self-levellers are available.

9) As mentioned above, the metric tyres for the 400i and 412i have been hard to fins, although the manufacturers are now making these again. The tyres for the 400 are a little easier but the original Michelin XWX's are expensive. Fitting a new set of Pirelli 4000 tyres to my 400 made a huge difference in the ride and handling of the car, probably due to the fact that the old tyres had become really hard.

10) When pulling away from a junction you may feel a judder from the rear axle. This is the limited-slip clutches working but can be a bit unnerving. By changing the rear axle oil to with Mobil 1 SHC 75W-90 synthetic this juddering is usually eliminated.

You didn't say where you are. Is your car a manual or an auto? I realise the GT is the manual version but many owners call there cars 400GT even if they are auto.

Have a look at www.400register.com/register/21557/21557-default.asp and read the restoration and notes and see the pictures of my restoration. My car was a pretty standard condition 400 so I would expect your car to have the problems."

rubystone

10,924 posts

178 months

Friday 9th December 2005
quotequote all
nigelo said:
rubystone said:
Imagine the cost of a set of carbs (assuming your 400 isn't an "i" ) or of a manual gearbox...or a suspension rebuild...

Whilst I agree with some of your comments, why on earth would you want to replace the carbs? There's no magic about them, they are Webers after all and as good as they get. Seals, gaskets and diaphragms are all that's usually required and at moderate cost though supply can sometimes be difficult. Worst case is play in the butterfly spindles needing new spindles and bearings.



Yes, I agree it's a bit extreme, but if some fool overtightens the idle screws this can pierce the body of a carb...and then it's effectively scrap.

Marki

15,763 posts

189 months

Friday 9th December 2005
quotequote all
wicked1 said:
Ferrari 400's are expnsive to own and run, it is not a particulary loved ferrari. You would knned to more specific with the model, I.e. 412, 400 auto, etc. Common problems are: electrics,paint spliting around front lights and corrosion generally, oil cooler seals fail mixing oil and water, oil leaks,Power steering pumps,noisey diff's, wheel bearings, steering joints fail, engine mounts collaspe, exhausts disintergrate, metal pipes coroding like fuel and self levelling suspension pipes, self levelling fails - can be replaced with conventional dampers to solve problems and parts availability. Find a good one is a bit of a mission but i would strongly advise getting it checked over before seperating with any money.


But apart from that they are fine i supose

Nigelo

293 posts

152 months

Friday 9th December 2005
quotequote all
rubystone said:
Yes, I agree it's a bit extreme, but if some fool overtightens the idle screws this can pierce the body of a carb...and then it's effectively scrap.

Well that's the first I have ever heard of that one - Excessive tightening of an "idle" screw will simply increase idle speed to a silly 2/3,000 RPM and cannot cause damage as its external.

However, I'm sure you mean the mixture (or possibly air bleed) screws but I have never seen such stupidity on any engine I've worked on and do not even know if its possible without using king size stilsons to deliberately cause damage.

hth

redwedge5

583 posts

180 months

Friday 9th December 2005
quotequote all
These Ferrari specialists are all selling Ferrari 400/412s. You might want to check them out first for price and quality before making a purchase decision on such a car:

www.verdiferrari.biz/
www.rardleymotors.com
www.avromotorcars.co.uk
www.nickcartwright.com

I've been tempted myself, but scared off by nagging doubts it could all end up very epensive. I like the look of the 400 at avromotorcars, especially the underbody shot of 6 weber carbs

rubystone

10,924 posts

178 months

Saturday 10th December 2005
quotequote all
Nigelo said:
rubystone said:
Yes, I agree it's a bit extreme, but if some fool overtightens the idle screws this can pierce the body of a carb...and then it's effectively scrap.

Well that's the first I have ever heard of that one - Excessive tightening of an "idle" screw will simply increase idle speed to a silly 2/3,000 RPM and cannot cause damage as its external.

However, I'm sure you mean the mixture (or possibly air bleed) screws but I have never seen such stupidity on any engine I've worked on and do not even know if its possible without using king size stilsons to deliberately cause damage.

hth


OK, so I got my terminology wrong and thanks for putting that right. But I did sell two 45s on ebay for that very reason a couple of months ago