rebirth of a Ferrari

tale of a thirty three year old 308GTB

Copyright © 2013 by Ron Smith. All rights reserved. Rebloging and personal use is however encouraged.

Previous projects

The car is back at the painter for a few touch ups.  We had planned to do this when I picked up the car back in March and Larry says I’ll have it back in a few days.  While it is gone, I’ll share two projects I did not long after I got the car.  One is maintenance, the other is preventative maintenance. 

A few months after I got the car, the water pump stared to weep out of the vent hole . Ferrari uses a ceramic seal that you typically find on high pressure industrial pumps.  Apparently that does not keep them from going bad. 




When the pump leaks, the bearings usually need to be replaced, and there is a lot of info on upgrading the bearings on early 308 water pumps.  Often, I think the problem with the bearings is caused by to too much tension on the v-belt.  The Ferrari workshop manual has a detailed specification for getting the right tension using a “tensiometer.”   Turns out this is a lot like a fish scale.  You pull on the center of the long span of the belt and when you get “x” kg for “x” deflection- the tension is right.  Easy. 



You can see from the section view, that if water is coming out the weep hole in the bottom of the pump nose, it had to go through the bearing also.  I was not sure if the bearing went bad first or the seal, but I renewed everything and have never had any more problems after maintaining the correct tension on the belts.  


This is the pump housing and impeller.  You can see the thermostat housing is part of this casting.

The seal is two parts. The black ring around the shaft and the other half is on the impeller.



The pump all refurbished with new seals, bearings, and gaskets.

The pump reinstalled on the car.  I changed all of the hoses to silicone high temp race hoses (blue) at this time also.


The preventative maintenance job was on the electrical system. 

Almost every European car from the ‘70’s used these type of fuses.

I had them in every Fiat I owned and more than a few German cars.  They are a well known weak link in the 308 electrical system, and many common problems usually get traced back to the fuse block.  The fuse itself is not the real trouble as much as the design of the holder. The fuse is held by spring tension by the ends and only makes a thin contact ring on the cone end of the fuse.  When the contacts corrode even a little over time (and they will), some resistance to current is formed, and heat builds up.  It seems that the heat weakens the spring tension, and the connection becomes even worse… resulting in more heat.  You see where this is going.   Owners have reported fuse block meltdowns from the heat build up.

The fix is genius, and came to me by way of Ferrari Chat.  “Birdman,” a member of this Ferrari community, developed an easy way to convert to glass style fuses, and with minimum disruption to the wiring and location, replacing the fuse block and fuses with modern reliable solution.  No more random electrical problems from lack of power in the circuits. 

He now sells a kit, but described his conversion in full for those who want to build it.  It is a recommended change for anyone who drives their car, and many have been converted.  

A duplicate of the Ferrari block is made from easily available fuse holders mounted to an aluminum strip.  Piggyback spade connectors are used to provide enough connections and a few jumper wires are required.  You build them up, swap out the blocks and wiring, and you are done.  I kept all the takeoff parts, so it could be reverted back to factory spec and unreliable electrics. 


The glass style replacement fuse block 


Halfway through the conversion. The new block is on the left. 




The completed trunk with original vinyl cover and new rubber seal.

All of the carpet and trunk interior was removed before going to the painter.  The carpet was in excellent shape, so I’m keeping the original.  The white insulation was very loose cotton (?) batting that shreds when you remove it.  The silver stuff is more robust dense fiber covered with a foil; same as used in the passenger compartment. Like the door panels, fiberglass is used to make all the decorative covers, except for the trunk floor.  That is Masonite and wood strips.  It had warped and was coming unglued and had to be repaired.

This wood part goes in the floor of the trunk.  It may be to help with the heat from the muffler that is right below.  The wood strips make an air gap. 

These cover the tail lights. Snaps let you remove the carpet to change bulbs.

All back together.  The rubber strap holds the tool kit and jack.  I have all of the original tools. 

The silver cylinder is an Accusump.  It is a racing add-on that holds three quarts of oil in reserve in case of oil loss.  If there is a drop in oil pressure, it automatically feeds oil to the system to save bearings.  I also pre-oils everything when you start the engine. 

The original trunk cover is in perfect condition.  I put on a new rubber trunk seal, and the cover fits like a drum now.   You can see the rear bumper in on now also.  I’ll have another post on the bumpers sometime - that was a major project all on it’s own.

The original trunk cover is in perfect condition.  I put on a new rubber trunk seal, and the cover fits like a drum now.   You can see the rear bumper in on now also.  I’ll have another post on the bumpers sometime - that was a major project all on it’s own.

What you can’t see

There are areas on a car that just don’t come to mind when you think of maintenance.  Sure we check on the parts that are suppose to wear out like, brake pads, spark plugs, timing belts, and with some miles, clutches, synchronizers, and valves.  Who thinks to check out the gas pedal or the gear selector?  Well if your car is thirty years old, it is a good idea to give them a look.  It was not on my list, until I had so much of the interior out, that it would have been foolish not to check these out while I was there. They were calling me.

For Ferrari, it seems that some typical over-engineering went into these parts. The throttle pedal has over twenty parts, including four needle bearings, two heim joints and a cast aluminum frame.  Fortunately it was only grimy and in needed fresh grease.

The smaller aluminum cover to the right is just under the accelerator. This access plate is very helpful. This car is sometimes easy to work on. Below you can now see 30 years of dirt.

I decided not to paint the pedal.  I like that in some places, you can see that the car is actually driven.


This gear selector design, with minor revisions,  has been used on many Ferrari’s from the GT4 series and all the 308, 328’s, and including history making super cars, the 288 GTO and F40.  

The grease was gooey. A major issue is that the main case can wear out, but mine is in good shape.  I did find a part that was worn enough to require replacement.  It is a cup that forces the gear lever into the middle of neutral.  I found a good used one, and after scrubbing out years of crud,  I reassembled the whole unit with red lithium grease and my “new” parts.  It does feel like new now.

All-in-all, time well spent on two out-of-site areas to bring the car back to a like-new driving experience. 


You can see the worn area on the left.  I have a perfect one on the car now.


Greased and reinstalled