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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I washed and waxed my 355 yest

I washed and waxed my 355 yesterday. Last night I went to drive it and immediately when I cranked it the "slow down" light began flashing. I noticed a lot of steam coming out of the engine bay. It appeared to be mostly coming out of my left side manifold(which was just replace 2 weeks ago). Any ideas anyone?
 
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
There are a number of issues t

There are a number of issues that result in "Slow Down" lights being illuminated.

1) the gas cap can be insufficiently tight
2) the Cats are going south
3) the oxygen sensors have crapped out
4) the thermoucouples have crapped out
5) the exhaust computer has crapped out
6) the ECU has crapped out

What year F355? How many miles? How long have you owned it? There are differences between the 1995, and the 1996-1999 engine systems.

Does it ever amaze anyone that a "Slow Down" light can come on when the car is already not moving? The slow down light is there in order to protect the $5000 Cats from thermal destruction when the engine management computer cannot find a reasonable mixture for engine operation. Unfortunately, many times it only serves to warn that the warning system itself has crapped out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My 1997 F355 has been lightly

My 1997 F355 has been lightly used (26K kms) and has been my pride and joy for nearly three years.The "slow down" light has started blinking (constantly). This happens as soon as I start the engine from cold. I have read all the reports of similar happenings in the Technical and Discusssion Sections but I am still confused as to where I should start to cure this problem. The car appears to operate normally apart from the flashing slow down light. I will not use the car in anger until the problem is resolved and I would be very grateful for a list of checks that I should perform. I am reasonably competent mechanically (at least, I am with "other" cars).
Incidentally, I would like to record my delight at having the opportunity to use this forum - this is my first query but I have profited much from the expertise of the main contributors to Ferrari talk.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
Sincerely,
Ron Brown
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Unfortunately, I have not rece

Unfortunately, I have not received any advice; maybe my questions were too vague (or probably just stupid). I'll try once more.
With the symptons given in my previous thread, is there a way of narrowing the field of possible faults given in Mitch's contribution (cats, oxygen sensors, thermocouples, exhaust computer or ECU? Or is it just too complex to diagnose and the only solution is a trip to the Ferrari centre.
Ron Brown - ronniebro[email protected]
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ronrob,

I would go to an au


Ronrob,

I would go to an automotive store that has code readers and ask to try them out to see if they work on the car. Maybe it is just a simple problem like an O2 sensor or temperature sensor causing the computer to turn on the light. I know little about fixing cars, but if the code reader points me in the correct direction I can usually replace inexpensive parts myself


Also if you have a local independent shop they may be willing to connect an SD computer to pull the codes.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tony,

Thanks for getting ba


Tony,

Thanks for getting back to me. I am afraid that I am such a dummy that I do not know what a code reader is and where I might obtain one (or connect it). I understand your reference to the SD computer as I see references to it in the manual and it is used on the diagnostic socket on the Motronic ECU. The nearest Ferrari dealer is a long way off (in Nice). Automotive Electrical shops are very rare here.
The light blinks on start up, with or without the thermocouples connected - I do not know if bad O2 sensors on a cold engine can also switch on the light. Seems like the "slow down" signal is frozen into the system somehow. I suppose that there could be a multitude of causes and the only thing for sure is that it will be "simple" when I have found it!
In any case, thanks Tony for taking the time and the trouble to reply - a problem shared is a problem halved!
Ronrob
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ronrob,
I was referring to an


Ronrob,
I was referring to an OBDII scanner. I think the 355's built from 1996 to 1999 have the OBDII system. If your car is a 1996 or older, there is a connection point under the dash on the driver's side. If you find a reader that works, you basically connect it to the car, turn the key to on and then press the read button. Then it comes back with a code or description of a problem(s) .. if it finds something.

I loved the 355 while I had it, occasional lights turned on, I always turned them off with the OBDII scanner. Never had a real problem, I had to replace a fuse a few times. I figured if the light came back I would take the car to the shop otherwise it was just bad signal.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tonyc

Thanks again. Mine is


Tonyc

Thanks again. Mine is mid 1997 and I will investigate this. It would be great to have a scanner for diagnostic work (I plan to keep the car for a long time).
I live in France but I would very much appreciate being given the contact details of outlet(s) in the US where I can buy a scanner which would work with my 1997 F355 Berlinetta.
Best regards Tonyc,
Ronrob
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi Ronrob,

goto amazon.com


Hi Ronrob,

goto amazon.com and search for OBD II
You will find many!
--tony
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Tonyc,

Looks like the eu


Hi Tonyc,

Looks like the euro F355 1997 model is not blessed with the under dash connector so no on board diagnostics for me. I would be happy if you or anyone else could tell me whether the slow down light can ONLY be activated by a signal suggesting high converter temperature. It would be good to eliminate the oxygen sensors from the equation - malfunction of these (or bad processing) would, according to the manual, cause the "check engine" light to illuminate (which is not the case.
It's beginning to look like a long and expensive trip to the Ferrari Service people in Cannes is going to be the outcome!
I thank you for your good grace and your patience
- I have had quite a few older classics and it is clear that I am on a steep learning curve with my first Ferrari! It's all part of the fun.....
Best regards,
Ronrob
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Best of luck with it Ronrob. I

Best of luck with it Ronrob. I wish I knew more about fixing or diagnosing cars. It could be a cat, a cat ECU, sensors, etc...

One thing I would do is try the old microsoft trick. Reboot the car. You should have a switch under the front hood. Turn the car off (disconnects the battery) for a while and see if the light goes away when you turn it back on. I was told by a Ferrari tech that after you turn it back on you should leave it running for two cycles of the cooling fan.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Tonyc,

Well, it's go


Hi Tonyc,

Well, it's good news from me! I cleaned the connectors between the T/C's and the ECU blocks and did the same thing with the earth strap between the chassis and the clutch housing (all this I learned from looking at the threads) I had tried rebooting before without success, but this time, after a couple of cooling fan cycles as you suggested, OUT WENT THE LIGHT. Went for a spirited and very happy drive and everything works finr. So no expensive trip to the SD1 diagnostic and I learned more about my car. A perfect example of the power of these forums.
I hope you realise how much this knowledge you and others like you impart to rookies like me is so valuable.
Thanks a million,
Ronrob
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Glad it worked out for you! I

Glad it worked out for you! I found the 355 to be a fantsatic car. it was a lot of fun and enough power to enjoy on the open roads. When I first drove my 355 it was too "nervous" for me, the back end swung around a few times, another f-talk member, Mitch Alsup, really help me out with the suspension setup. After that I really enjoyed the 355.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have, of course, read all th

I have, of course, read all the threads and Mitch is obviously right up there with the top advisors. I would not normally think of changing the standard configuration of the 355, BUT I provoked a small tail slide coming out of a roundabout recently. OK, it was bad driving (too much right foot to soon with a bit of lock on) and it served to remind me of the power. I will look at Mitch's contibution again, but above all, I should (as I read elsewhere) go learn how to drive the car properly. I have had a license for 30 years with no accidents - it is not the time to be stupid. There is no great camaraderie between Ferrari owners here, but there is a track nearby.
PS I have leather problems and I read your contribution on the subject with great interest!
Cheers and thanks again.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ferrari F355s do not like to b

Ferrari F355s do not like to be provoked, just like beautiful women don't like to be provoked.

However (grins asside) the F355 is an easy chassis to get setup if you have the tools (corner weights mainly) to get the job done. To a first order, you can easily change the oversteer/understeer relationship by raising (more oversteer) or lowering (more understeer) the rear ride height. No need to change springs, shocks, anti-roll bars; just get out the spanner wrench and have at it.

If you are a sensitive driver and want the car just so, 3 turns on the rear ride height adjusters (spring perches) can change an understeering pig into an oversteering pig. So the first issue is getting the car into the right ball park (and I recommend the factory ride heights as such a point). If you are not so adept behind the wheel, it might take 5 turns to go from a os pig into a us pig.

There is an issue with front ride height. If this gets set too low, then any kind of deceleration of seriously super legal speeds will compress the nose and set up an oversteering issue just when you do not want one. The problem is the underbody aerodynamics. When the front is too low wrt the back and brakes are applied, the center of aero pressure moves forward and accentuates front traction at the expense of rear traction. Raising the front to factory specs cures this problem. I should mention that challenge cars can lower the front due to two reasons, A) the rear is lowered even more than the front aleviating the aero issue, b) the springs are enough stiffer to partially avoid the issue also.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for that - I have all y

Thanks for that - I have all your other threads on setting up chassis in a file; this most recent reply is encouraging for a rookie. Making such adjustments requires a good understanding of how the 355 handles at speed before any alterations to standard - I still have to aquire this and that is what I will do this summer.
Since this thread was initiated by a slow down light issue, I will post any queries I have on a more appropriate thread.
 
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