Trying to put my previous month of automotive failures in the rear view mirror is tough — especially since my pair of dead heaps formerly-known-as operable cars still haunt me. Since my mechanic, the Car Wizard, and I were curious what exactly caused my 1995 Ferrari F355 to spontaneously combust and my LS-swapped Porsche to kill its unkillable Chevy V8 engine, we decided to investigate — and our conclusions were totally unexpected.
After getting insurance settled on my Ferrari, which involved more hoops than usual since another YouTuber wanted the charred remains as a new project, I had it shipped back to Kansas. My first viewing of the car in California was fairly quick and emotionally shocking, so I really didn’t get a chance to investigate much. Turns out, the Wizard was even more disturbed at the sight of it than I was — and as you’ll see in the video above, things got a little weird when we put together a funeral.
Since the flambé Ferrari has been parked at the Wizard’s shop for over a week now, he’s spent a lot of time staring at it, and he thinks the cause of the fire was completely different than what we thought. Instead of power steering, he suspects the fuel delivery line began leaking, as the power steering reservoir itself appears to be intact with the cap (albeit completely melted together).
This is a very common 355 fire-starter that was actually recalled by Ferrari — but my recall was never done by the two previous owners. The recall involves moving the lines away from anything that can rub a hole in them, but this was something the Wizard and I had checked in our first round of repairs. Since shipping the car off to a Ferrari dealer would cost more than the cost of doing the recall here, I didn’t elect to have it done. It was something we planned to do later this year during the engine out major service — and since the lines weren’t rubbing on anything, it didn’t seem urgent. Obviously I’m kicking myself now for putting this off, and I’m sure all the “Captain Hindsight” types of the internet will point out how stupid I was — but the car managed to survive for nearly a decade without the recall being done. I didn’t think waiting a few months was a big deal — especially since I didn’t see any signs of rubbing beforehand.
At least with my Porsche 911, we found the engine failure of the LS2 Chevy V8 could not have been prevented. Some suspected the issue may have been with the engine mounted backwards and that the oil pan set to counter G-forces in the opposite direction starved a rod bearing. Turns out, this wasn’t the case, as it was obvious after the Wizard dropped the oil pan that the engine just randomly decided to shred one of the middle rod bearings. There’s no way this area would have been starved for oil because of the engine orientation.
Apparently this is a common problem with the LS2, and since I bought my engine used out of a wrecked Corvette to save a few dollars this has obviously come back to bite me. Honestly, I’ve lost interest in this car, and I’m not interested in fixing it again — so I’ll probably end up selling it as-is for a massive loss.
Clearly, the fire hasn’t cured me of my old Ferrari addiction, since I bought a Testarossa to replace it — and I also already bought something to replace the Porsche 911. The only thing I’m probably going to avoid for a while is track days, at least for my own personal cars. Clearly the only “touch” I have out there is the touch of death.