Friday, March 27, 2009

A March Update

I did not drive at the Alfa track day. One of the kids had the flu and I did not feel it was prudent to spend the day at the track while Barb spent the day tending for a sick kid. I did get the Ferrari out for a drive and could not think of a better place to go than PIR. There was a nice collection of older Alfa, both race cars and street cars, and a strong showing of Porsche GT3s. I believe there were five GT3s at the event. I watched for about an hour then drove home. The hour was enough time to make me really want to get back on the track. I will have to start planning my track day schedule for the summer.

The time in the car convinced me that I need to replace the last sticky bit, the AC module. Originally I had planned on replacing this part as one of my first maintenance tasks for the car. If you are unfamiliar with this piece of the 355 it sits just behind the shifter in the center column and houses the air conditioning and heater controls. The AC module is home to the infamous “STOP” button which in addition to causing me much concern when I was new to my Ferrari resulted in several very cold drives in the winter. The “STOP” button stops and starts the air conditioner.

As near as I can tell Ferrari did not cover the AC module with the same sticky stuff they used on the other interior parts. They used a decal over a translucent plastic box with which is lit from inside. Unfortunately the decal and the glue that holds it to the box are even less resilient than the finish applied to the other parts of the car. My AC module is in relatively good shape when compared to most other 355s I have seen. It reminds me of blacktop roads in Missouri. When I was a kid I would spend summers with my grandmother in rural Missouri. Roads which were not dirt were covered with blacktop which was very rich in tar. In the summer the tar would become smooth, shiny, and form bubbles. My friends and I would ride our bikes over the bubbles and pop them.

I have considered popping the bubbles on the AC module but figure it is best to replace the decal. Ferrari will sell the module but like many Ferrari things it is prohibitively expensive, around $1,400. Ricambi provides a replacement decal for $80. I ordered the decal today.


Billy D said...

Amazing blog... Just recently became obsessed with Ferrari's (especially the 355) and I read your entire story over the past few days. I can't wait to read your book.

Your blog did however make me stop in my tracks several times and question the sanity of trying to spend 50-60k on a car and then spend an extra 10-15k every year or so on repairs and maintenance.

You may have talked me out of it. But I really did enjoy reading your journey.



David said...


Thanks for the comment. Based on conversations with other owners I think my maintenance experience, while not unusual, was more intense than would be expected. I beleive this is due to me not performing adequate due dilligence on the car. Had I known only 1/2 the valves had been done I may have passed on the car or sought a lower price.
I have been driving the car the past few days and really enjoyed it. Hope I did not talk you out of purchasing one.