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Ferrari Tear Down For Denver Emissions Issues

Hi there. I’m Saul Reisman here at Autotek in Denver, Colorado.

Today we’re going to talk a little bit about Ferrari luxury and exotic service.

Now, a lot of the time if you own a luxury or exotic automobile, you’ve been told that you can only go to the dealership for service, that independent repair facilities cannot handle your needs, and that that is the only solution to your problems. Well, in the case of this 2004 Ferrari 360 Spider, the owner brought it to us because it failed an emissions test. When he called the local dealership to get in for service, they told them it would be four to six weeks before they would look at the vehicle, and it would cost $750 to perform an inspection on the vehicle so that they could inform him of what was actually going on with the vehicle and what repairs are necessary.

Here at Saul’s, we take a little bit of pride in what we do. As a result, we do not charge one penny for an inspection or diagnostic fee of any kind, ever.

We want you to exercise the fact that knowledge is power and be able to make an executive informed decision about your motor vehicle without spending a penny so that you don’t feel pressured or incentivized in any way.

In the case of this Ferrari that we’re working on today, the reason that it failed in the emissions test was that the check engine light was illuminated in the vehicle.

However, the state of Colorado dictates that a vehicle more than 12 years old can pass emissions if a check engine light is on as long as that check engine light is not illuminated for an emissions compliance device. Now, when we communicated with his vehicle using our in-house factory Ferrari communication tools, we found out that the only codes of any kind making that check engine light illuminate were for the clutch position depth sensor. What that sensor does is give the owner an approximate reading of how much clutch life is left. If you own a BMW vehicle or other German counterpart, you might have an indicator on the dashboard of your vehicle that says your oil life has 20% left. Well, if you buy a Ferrari, it tells you how much clutch life the vehicle has left so that you are never unprepared and that you can plan for repairs and maintenance on a consistent basis.

However, it fails an emissions test for having that light on should never have happened. The fact of the matter is the folks at Air Care Colorado don’t have Ferrari factory communication tools, so all they were able to see is the check engine light’s on. They can’t determine why it’s on, so they failed the vehicle for the test. The owner opted to bring it here to Saul’s Autotek so that we could take a look and figure out what’s really going on.

Let’s take a look. Now, when we inspected this vehicle, the only codes of any kind were indicating that this sensor inside the clutch bell housing had an inaccurate reading of the clutch depth. We went ahead and removed the transmission from the vehicle, removed the throwout bearing that actuates the clutch, and inspected the clutch surfaces. On the surfaces of the clutch disc itself, we can actually see the thickness of the disc, we can also see the grain marks across it, and we can see little bits of copper coloring in that surface. This clutch disc actually is not in terrible shape. However, if we look closely, we can see a perimeter ring starting to build on this side around the edges where the clutch is beginning to wear unevenly. Additionally, if we look right down into this little spot, we can see this blue discoloration. That blue discoloration and this scratches along the surface that we see is a result of the clutch getting too hot too quickly.

Now the reason that this would make that clutch sensor illuminate is because the clutch itself, even though it still has plenty of material left, just like a brake pad, it still has lots of thickness to that pad left, it, like a brake rotor getting too hot and warping, the clutch disc got too hot and warped that disc. As a result, where that clutch sensor reads the depth of how thick that clutch is because the clutch is oscillating instead of moving perfectly true, the sensor gets an inaccurate reading. As a result, the check engine light is illuminated, and the vehicle fails the emissions test. So, rather than spending a tremendous amount of money to repair the vehicle, the clutch kit, and other unnecessary componentry, we disassembled it, we’re going to replace that one sensor inside, do a relearn on the clutch depth, and we’ll be able to get this vehicle back out on the road.

Fortunately, the clutch disc can actually be repaired and rebuilt. While most vehicles we would opt to just replace, due to the inherent additional expense of that, we want to provide our owner the best, most cost-effective solution every time. We let them choose whether they wanted to replace that clutch or rebuild the factory componentry. We’re going to be rebuilding the factory componentry, getting this together, and getting it back out on the road.

Stay tuned for the test drive. We’ll talk to you soon, here at Autotek in Denver, Colorado, seven days a week.

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About the Author

Picture of Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman has been helping the residents of the Centennial State with their automotive needs for over ten years now. He finished his Associate Degree in Physics at the Community College of Denver. Saul is an active member of the Specialty Equipment Market Association and a board member of the Young Executives Network. He undergoes constant educational training through GMC, MOPAR, Ford, Snap-On, Borg-Warner, and Ozark Automotive, with an emphasis on diagnosis, repair, and improvement.

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