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Loving The Testarossa
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Posts: 5Registered: Nov 2003
Ferrari Guitarist
Junior Member


Saturday, December 06, 2003 12:15 AM

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Well, after thinking long and hard on what Ferraris I would like to own, I've come to the conclusion that the Testarossa is a good way to start. I like the one's with the passenger side mirror delete. Only drivers side mirror. Is that the italian version or something because it seems like I always see the US Testarossas with the usual dual mirrors. Plus, they're "affordable" compared to a 456 GTA. So for any Testarossa owners here, tell me about this whole 89-90 model thing I've overheard. It sounds like the 84-88 models aren't so hot. Plus, I'm searching for a repairable 355 F1 Spyder as car #2.




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Posts: 2From: ChappaquaRegistered: Nov 2003
Renoir
Junior Member


Saturday, December 06, 2003 8:51 AM

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I love TRs too, but I can't afford to maitain one. I have heard the motor must be removed to service it. Is this true?




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Posts: 1202Registered: Dec 2001
BillBadurski
FCA Technical Chairman


Saturday, December 06, 2003 9:40 AM

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The original design used a single, long-stem mirror. This was later changed to dual, short-stem mirrors. Also, original design had center-lock wheels, changed to 5-lug. All cars are basically the same, but as with any model production changes did occur. Yes, the engine must come out with the entire drivetrain on a subframe to service some items, including timing belt replacement.

-------------------------
William V. Badurski
FCA Technical Chairman


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Posts: 72Registered: Aug 2002
eltyfive
Member


Saturday, December 06, 2003 3:00 PM

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I used to think that removing the engine was overkill, but since I've done the full service to my TR myself...it is really a slick system. If you've ever pulled a motor from a typical car, leaving the tranny in the car, and then fought and struggled trying to line everything back up....you can appreciate the TR method of doing it. The maintenance really isn't that bad with a TR, but lots of shoddy cars and skimpy owners out there have sort of created a "myth" that TRs are nightmares. My car was full of stories when I bought it, but after fixing most of them it has been totally reliable. And if you use the best parts like hoses and stuff, the only service work will be cam belts and tensioner bearings every 5 or 6 years. Since I've done my service, without a hoist or power tools, and by myself....I feel I'm in a position to say if your mechanical you can do the work yourself. Be organized, label everything, and take your time and you'll be fine. The more I drive my TR the better I get at driving it, like shifting smoothly, etc. And I'm finally getting used to stopping traffic! The car goes get attention that's for sure. And prices are low, and I've seen some very good cars out there for what I'd call cheap. If you have any specific questions please ask and we'll answer them as best we can. It's always great to have another TR owner out there.




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Posts: 5Registered: Oct 2003
ksm328
Junior Member


Tuesday, December 09, 2003 1:32 PM

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Dear eltyfive,

Heh...regarding the TR. I have a 328 right now, hence the user name, and was wondering about the costs of the TR. I would not be doing any of the work myself. I do have a great independent shop I go to. The maintenance costs on the 328 gets near the top of my comfort level but getting a taste of a 12 cylinder Ferrari would be quite the experience. The Forza magazine buyer guide for the TR called it "expensive to maintain even by Ferrari standards". I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
ksm328


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Posts: 72Registered: Aug 2002
eltyfive
Member


Tuesday, December 09, 2003 2:50 PM

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TR service prices seem all over the map....I've seen prices ranging from $4,500 to maybe $7,000. With me doing all the work myself the parts cost for my major service was just under $2,000. Then there will be labor on top of that, and it also depends on how deep the mechanic is going. It is hard to know when to stop....you can replace simply cam belts, adjust valves, and change out coolant hoses. Or...you can replace all filters, air valves, rebuild or upgrade the waterpump, thermostats, change fuel lines, the list can go on and on. I also feel that there are some people out there who seem to relish the idea of "scaring" an owner into replacing more than is necessary. If you have a good trusty mechanic....treat him like gold because he is! He can inspect parts with his well trained eyes and experience, and change only what is needed and keep a lid on the costs. I would imagine (just a guess here) that a good independant can do a thorough full service for under $5k. And if you drive the car regularly and treat it right, you can go 5 to 7 years or 30k miles before the next major service. And using top quality parts like Gates green-stripe coolant hoses means you change them ONCE...and they will last for probably as long as you'll own the car. So there are many ways to skin this cat. I have driven the crap out of my TR since my major and it has been totally reliable....not a single problem!! I will grant that 12 cylinder cars can be a bit more to maintain, but the myth of stratospheric costs I feel was created from owners who were taken advantage of by unscrupulous mechanics, and from cars needing tons of work due to mistreatment or lack of use. Ask any TR owner who has sorted out their car and they will tell you once you tweak them in they are very good cars. All of my rantings here are of course only my opinion...so I welcome comments from others too. Currently the TR seems to get a lot of bad press, has fallen out of favor, and this has resulted in values being as low as they may ever be. But as an owner I must say I LOVE the TESTAROSSA and will certainly get another one when I can. This car does not get the respect it deserves in my view. Well, I better stop here as I tend to get emotional about it. This reaction alone says a lot...I wouldn't feel this way if all the bad things they say were true.




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Posts: 5Registered: Oct 2003
ksm328
Junior Member


Tuesday, December 09, 2003 3:24 PM

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Dear eltyfive,

Thank you for your insights. The idea of owning a two seat 12 cylinder Ferrari has a lot of pull and I am trying to get the most well rounded picture of the car as possible. The TR has a lot of charms.

I was glad to see your answer get a bit emotional!! It is testament to the greatness of the marque.

Thanks again.

Sincerely,
ksm328


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Posts: 1202Registered: Dec 2001
BillBadurski
FCA Technical Chairman


Wednesday, December 10, 2003 4:27 AM

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As eltyfive accurately states, this job is intimidating until you get into it. And by the way, congrats to eltyfive for doing his own. The service costs in Chicago area are in the $7500 range, but that may go higher if extras are required while the engine is out. Actually, the labor cost accounts for about 75% of this fee, so if doing it yourself, or working with a shop with low labor rates is an option, the cost can be significantly reduced. The TR is a fantastic car, and worth the effort if you can get one.

-------------------------
William V. Badurski
FCA Technical Chairman


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Posts: 22Registered: Nov 2003
Mr. Agave
Member


Sunday, December 14, 2003 2:02 PM

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To Ferrari Guitarist, if you would like please email me at ronandvicki@rockisland.com. I can share some info with you that may give you more insight on your tr purchase. best regards ron warden




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Posts: 6From: CincinnatiRegistered: Apr 2008
T
Junior Member


Tuesday, April 15, 2008 4:09 PM

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I have recently purchased a 91 Testarossa. I have other cars that I work on and I am interested in finding out more about doing my own service on my TR. Can you recommend a source for a comprehensive service manual? Thank You.
Tony

-------------------------
Tony Guanciale
Cincinnati, Ohio
guanciaf@uc.edu


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Posts: 1Registered: Nov 2008
Cheese
Junior Member


Friday, November 07, 2008 3:55 PM

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I heard it is true that a TR needs to warm up for 20 minutes before it is driven every time because of the dry sump system. Is this right?




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Posts: 2From: CaledonRegistered: Oct 2004
marioz
Junior Member


Saturday, December 13, 2008 5:35 PM

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I never did that.




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Posts: 3From: WoodstockRegistered: Feb 2006
bob86846
Junior Member


Sunday, December 14, 2008 11:39 AM

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Let me chip in a few comments about TR ownership. I have owned a 91 for 3 years. I do most mechanical items myself. The absolute best information source is the service and parts manual available on CD in PDF format from vendors on e-bay. My copy covers step by step service procedures and a full parts break down. Planning ahead, taking your time and inquiring on this forum will make make most jobs go smoothly. I am due for engine out service is a year and will probably do it in my shop (and put the cost saving into a 2 post hoist).
Battery, tires, oil changes and struts for the front hood have all been quite routine and not costly. To date it has not leaked a drop of vital fluid on the garage floor.
There are some character building issues that just need to be experienced...there is a lot of oil in that dry sump and it comes fast when you pull that big drain plug!!! (remember 'plan ahead' above)
I did check that the radio worked when I got the car, but not since... I prefer listening to the TUBI exhaust note. The driving experience is the greatest and worth all the effort in spite of a couple of incidents with lights and sirens.
Enjoy the TR, best regards /Bob86846.





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