Friday, 28 January 2011

F355: First problem! Suspension warning light

I'd only had the car for a few days, mostly taking friends and family out, as everyone was keen to see the car. I was feeling rather smug and boasting about how faultlessly the car had performed.

I was taking my friend Stu for a spin and as I pulled away I noticed a warning light had not gone out on the dash. It's a little picture of a car with arrows pointing upwards towards the wheels, the suspension warning light.

The F355 has active suspension and was pretty ahead of it's time. There are two accelerometers that measure acceleration, forwards and laterally. Using these the Ferrari can stiffen up  the rear dampers when accelerating hard or stiffen up one side of the car when cornering hard, reducing body roll.

It does this by turning a little valve on top of each damper with an actuator reducing or increasing the volume the oil compresses in, in the damper. When the ignition key is turned, the 4 actuators perform a calibration, if this is unsuccessful the warning light stays on.

After some research on FerrariChat.com it seems the most common cause of this, is the little gear that turns the valve can break. Removing the actuator from two of my shocks revealed two broken little gears.

Two were ordered up from Hill Engineering. These things are about 2cm across and seem expensive at £17 each! However when you compare it to the price of a new shock: £745 from Eurospares it doesn't seem so bad. (Ferrari don't sell this gear part seperately).

The gears were promptly fitted and a turn of the ignition key saw the light going out! Back to a fault free Ferrari. Let's hope it stays that way...



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