I get a phone call from my buddy Tim.
Tim: “Hey, I found a Ferrari 348 I’m thinking of buying. It’s pretty cheap and it needs a major.”
Me: “How much is it?”
Tim: “I think I can get it for $44k”
Me: “DO IT!”
Meg: “TIM, BUY IT!!”
So after convincing Tim to spend his money on a 1992 Ferrari 348 that had not had an engine out major in 10 years, we hatched a plan. Step 1: Adam to agree to come with us on a 1,000 mile each way road trip to Kentucky to pick up the 348 and trailer it home.
Once the 348 was home, we convinced Josh to help us do the major in his shop. We wanted to do it in my garage, but having the car take up the entire garage for an undetermined amount of time did not settle well. Plus to be honest, the idea of having access to a 2 post lift was very appealing. And finally, having an actual Ferrari Tech there to help us with the gotchas proved to be invaluable as none of us had done something quite like this.
The final piece to seal the deal was my incredibly generous sponsor Ricambi America. They provided most of the parts we ended up using and saved Tim a TON of money. And with all of this arranged, we began our 3 month weekend/evening adventure pulling the engine out on this 348, and making it kick some ass again!
The best thing you can do when producing videos is immediately piss off everyone. To accomplish that, I simply stated that we were saving $20k on a major. All of the “experts” on the internet (I’m looking at you F-Chat) were adamant that it was unheard of for a major to cost that much, and I was personally ruining the Ferrari brand and the value of the 348. LOL!
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With only 9 hours of work over 3 nights, we had the engine out! This went pretty smooth and other than a few oil/coolant baths, no significant issues came up.
The engine tear down took a bit more effort than expected, and we ended up breaking an expensive shift linkage stud. That was an unfortunate extra cost. At this point I think people began to realize this was not a typical major.
Lots of use of the hammer.
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When in doubt, use fire and hammers. The “swinging press” was expertly used to press bearings into place along with some seals.
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We wanted to make as much horsepower as we can out of the stock engine, so we “hot-rodded” it by adjusting the timing to be 1 degree advanced on the exhaust simulating the factory spec on the European cars (with no emissions controls) all while keeping the US spec intake timing. This gave us the best of both configurations.
After a very long and frustrating day trying to perfect the timing, we accidentally advanced the intake cam too far and the valves touched the pistons. It’s highly probable that nothing was damaged, but out of an abundance of caution, we determined we should replace the valves.
After pulling the head and replacing the intake valves, we got the head back on, and set the timing. Finally making progress.
While putting the engine back together, we could see the signs of previous mechanics doing a poor job putting the lip seals on the cams. This is where you can often find oil leaking on the 348 and it’s a common cause of the belts failing early if oil leaks onto the belt.
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Well the engine is FINALLY in the car, and we get it started, but it runs like crap! We run out of time and aren’t able to diagnose the problem, but it’s at least running.
VICTORY! We get the 348 running to perfection after determining that the fuel pump was not working correctly (probably needs to be replaced). We even got it to spit fire once warmed up! The smile on Tim’s face says it all. Mission accomplished.