Ferrari 348 Pre-Purchase Inspection Template
Prelude - you want a clean title and a professional pre-purchase inspection that includes a "leak down" test (in which **you** personally listen along with your mechanic for any sounds of leaks during the test). Also, keep in mind that in many states you will be held responsible for any unpaid license fees (so make certain that the 348 has a current in-state license plate in the state in which it is being sold) as well as any unpaid sales taxes of any prior owners (so make certain that the 348 is correctly titled in the state in which it is being sold).
Keep in mind that several scams exist such as offering to pay MORE than your asking price when you are selling your car (they then ask for the extra to be refunded...they get your refund check and it turns out later that their check was bad)...passing off a high mileage car as a low mileage version (disconnected odometers are common on leased cars with strict mileage limits, then reconnected prior to turning back in to the leasing company)...using a Duplicate Title to hide a salvaged vehicle...rolling back the mileage, etc.
Things to look for:
1. Does she start instantly
2. Does the engine knock
3. Does she rattle or shake when driving above 60mph
4. Does the transmission have a major grinding sound when shifting up
through the gears (don't try a hard downshift, that's a different story)
5. Do all of the headlights, blinkers, brake-lights, fog-lights, parking
lights work and does the horn honk
6. Do both of the power windows and door locks work
7. Any vibrations in the steering wheel while driving, or secondly, is the steering wheel loose or tight?
8. Are the tips of the exhaust pipes coated black or gray (any visible holes
in exhaust pipes)
9. Any obvious paint burns/fade, rust, or clearly bent frame
10. Can the car turn in a slow-speed circle, with the steering wheel turned
all the way to max left, then another circle with the steering wheel max
right, without hearing tire scraping, loud knocks, or having bad steering
11. Air conditioning blows cold
12. Anti-lock brakes prevent the tires from locking in a quick stop (say,
from 25 mph to 0)
13. Top goes up and doesn't leak (canvas goes **outside** of black metal bars on sides)
14. Top goes down and the "boot" snaps correctly into place over it
15. Passenger and driver doors open and close tightly, with no squeaks,
rattles, or hesitation. With doors open, do you see any obvious breaks or burns in the wiring harness that runs from the car into the doors?
16. Front trunk opens and closes normally (simply drop it with no added pressure besides its own weight), and applying water to the outside when it's closed doesn't cause leaks inside
17. Rear engine vent cover opens and closes easily
18. Car tracks reasonably straight when you remove hands from steering wheel
19. Car goes into reverse with only minor effort (you may have to push down on the gearshift lever, that's by design)
20. Emergency brake holds car when parked and gear-shift is in neutral
21. Car idles below 1100 rpm, and idles reasonably smoothly (revs easily, puts smile on face)
22. no obvious signs of oil leaks below the engine on the pavement or in the engine compartment
23. no overpowering aroma of fire inside the cockpit
24. no noticeable smell of gasoline
25. radio and speakers function without large-scale hisses or pops
26. no visible smoke beneath the car or in the engine compartment when idling
27. is there a functioning car alarm (is it factory or aftermarket)
28. VIN plate in door-jamb and engine compartment is visible and unscratched and matches the number advertised
29. Front windshield is uncracked and seals appear tight around it
30. power mirrors adjust as expected
31. heater works as expected
32. Any loans against the title, any "duplicate" title history via autocheck.com, any stolen/salvage title history, is the car currently registered and tagged with a correct license plate in its current state/province
33. Open up the radiator and look for corrosion just inside the overfill tank. Sludge in the radiator tank can be a sign of a blown headgasket. Have a quickstop oil change place show you the transmission plug so that you can see if it has many metal fragments on it (i.e. disintegrating tranny or not). See if you have a Ferrari Purflex or high-end Wix oil filter with the date of installation/oil change written on it, or if the prior owner was a cheapskate (e.g. a Fram paper filter). Did the prior owner use a thick oil such as a 20-w50 to hide oil leaks, or do you have a decent synthetic (e.g. 5w-40) in the car?
34. When you first turn the ignition key to "run" (not "Start"), do you temporarily see both Check Engine (non-Euro cars) and both Slow Down lights? This is important, because if those bulbs have been removed or replaced with dead bulbs, engine trouble computer codes are probably being hidden from you. Do you see the ABS light and the BRAKE light? Do these lights turn off within 1 minute of starting the car?
35. Go drive the car. Brake slowly. Do you feel any vibrations? Does the car pull left or right while braking? Repeat this step (to warm up the brakes).
36. Can you shift smoothly into 2nd gear without grinding or clunking?
37. Is the acceleration smooth? Now brake hard. Vibrations? Pulling? ABS engaged?
38. Has the oil temp risen to the 1/4 mark during this drive? When it gets there, kill the engine (did you hear a loud "box of rocks" metallic clanking noise when you turned the engine off). You want to wait about 10 minutes to see if it will start up again when hot, so kill time by checking the exterior of the car, under the front and rear hoods, etc. OK, time has passed. Does it now start right up again when hot? This is important. Did you hear a loud "box of rocks" metallic clanking noise when starting the hot engine (this is an early sign of the flywheel needing to be repacked with grease...not terribly expensive to do, can even be done yourself, but good to know)?
39. Go idle the car or drive in traffic for 20 minutes. Do the oil and water temperatures both stay at or below their 1/2 way marks, or does the car overheat?
40. After all of the above, will she start up *again* easily, or is the battery "dead"
41. Now look under the rear engine deck at the catalytic converters. Are either of them glowing red?
42. Are all of the rubber CV boots (near wheels, on axles) intact, or do they have a split, crack, or hole? When driving slowly next to a wall, do you hear metallic bearing noises from your wheels?
43. Does the car have a reasonable paper trail for its documented service history?
44. Does the seller have all 3 original Factory keys (black, fold in half)?
45. Examine the shock/suspension set up (most 348 shocks need rebuilding for around $400 or all new shocks for $1,600).
46. Examine the doors/rockers for rust (typically on the bolts).
47. The car should have all service records *after* the last "Major Service." If it hasn't had a cam belt change in over 5 years or 30K miles then budget $4-6KUSD short term because you'll have to have the cam belt changed.
48. Try the climate control buttons; it's $2k and up if they don't work (Freon conversion alone is $300 once it's opened).
49. Look at the front airdam from underneath (Corners especially) for holes, bondo, skidplates and the like. Look under the side rails as well for hard bottoming out. Thanks, SeaBayR
50. The Clutch should be mid throw; at the top it's thin, and watch out for a grabby clutch (may be breaking pressure plate fingers internally).
51. Check for oil leaks near the 1 timing belt (355 has 2) and listen for squeaks from the belt idler pulley, rightside exhaust rattles, as well as warped front rotors causing loud noise upon braking.
Be skeptical. Make the car prove itself to you before you spend your money.
Return To 348 Primer
A Ferrari 348 Pre-Purchase Inspection Conversation
Originally Posted by jvbjr 1995 Spider, 20,500 miles
Recalls apply to the car, not the owner. That recall came out in 1998, when the car was already out of production and probably on its 3rd owner, anyway. Yes, the recall still applies.
That being said, most 348's simply have the mad mouse motors unplugged. There are two boxes under the center console in front of the gear shift. Each box controls one seat belt. Unplug them and the dash lights for the seats will come on, but the seat motors won't work. If you have seat lights on the dash that don't turn off even when you are buckled up, then your boxes are probably just unplugged.
Originally Posted by jvbjr 2. All four tires need replacement
Good. Compare the date and mileage on the receipt for those worn tires so that you can get an idea if you are being scammed with a car that has been rolled back. Likewise, run an autocheck.com test to verify no rollbacks, good title (not "duplicate" or "salvage"), and that the car has been properly registered/licensed/tagged each year. In my state, **you** the new buyer are liable for unpaid sales taxes and unpaid tag fees of earlier owners.
Originally Posted by jvbjr 3. All four wheel caps cracked
Yawn. Wheel caps are $25 on-line at ricambi, an fchat sponsor.
Originally Posted by jvbjr 4. Engine lid does not stay up, shocks need replacement
Pull them off and mount them upside down. Conversely, check that the leather top cover isn't blocking the engine from raising. If so, simply push it down in the back gap as you raise the engine decklid.
Originally Posted by jvbjr 5. Plastic piece by passenger mirror broken off
Originally Posted by jvbjr 6. Driver's seat leather quite worn at side, maybe can be restored with dye kit?
You can swap the driver and passenger seats by undoing a mere four bolts on each side (plus the black bolster on the shoulder). 15 minute job and it evens out the wear of your seats. Add Leatherique after the swap.
Originally Posted by jvbjr As a point of reference, another 1995 sold on ebay last night for $56,855 near me with only 12,000 miles and not in need of tires. This car has not had its major yet, but I've gotten quotes of $3,000 from guys that do Ferrari work but are not AUTHORIZED Ferrari dealers.
$3k for labor is in the ballpark (on the low side, but not out of the question). You'll also need to spend a minimum of $1,100 for the parts (again, get Ricambi's major service kit).
This is actually a good thing, as you can be there to verify that your work is done, and you can coat your electrics with Stabilant 22a when the engine is pulled, greatly lowering your electronic maintenance in the future. You can do this on quite a few electrical connections even with the engine still in the car. This is always a good idea for Italian vehicles.
Open up the radiator and look for corrosion just inside the overfill tank. Have a quickstop oil change place show you your transmission plug so that you can see if it has any metal fragments on it (i.e. disintegrating tranny or not). See if you have a Ferrari oil filter with the date of installation/oil change written on it, or if the prior owner was a cheapskate. Did the prior owner use a thick oil such as a 20-w50 to hide oil leaks, or do you have a decent synthetic (e.g. 5w-40) in the car?
When you first turn the ignition key to "run" (not "Start"), do you see both Check Engine (non-Euro cars) and both Slow Down lights? This is important, because if those bulbs have been removed or replaced with dead bulbs, engine trouble computer codes are probably being hidden from you. Do you see the ABS light and the BRAKE light?
When you start the 348, does it start within the first 10 seconds of turning the key when cold? OK, good. Now, does it idle at 1,000 RPM? Is the idle rock steady? Do you hear or feel any "misses" or burbs or God-Forbid backfires? Does the oil pressure show up at the first 1/4 mark? How long did it take to get there? When you rev up to 3,000 RPMs, does the oil pressure go up to the 1/2 way mark? Now does your idle return to 1,000 rock-steady RPMs?
Notice that your oil pressure gauge is dead center in the middle of your dashboard. There is a reason for that. That's your early warning of any potential oil problem (such as: you ain't got any left flowing).
Turn on your A/C. Does it blow cold? Is your clock working or flashing 0.00? Your clock is an early warning of electrical or grounding problems.
By now, has your oil temperature needle moved even the slightest bit?
Go drive the car. Brake slowly. Do you feel any vibrations? Does the car pull left or right while braking? Repeat this step (to warm up the brakes).
Can you shift into 2nd gear without grinding or clunking?
Is the acceleration smooth? Now brake hard. Vibrations? Pulling? ABS engaged?
Has the oil temp risen to the 1/4 mark by now? When it gets there, kill the engine. You want to wait about 10 minutes to see if it will start up when hot, so kill time by checking the exterior of the car, under the front and rear hoods, etc. OK, time has passed. Does it start right up when hot? This is important.
Now go idle the car or drive in traffic for 20 minutes. Do the oil and water temperatures both stay at or below their 1/2 way marks, or does the car overheat?
At this point, you'll know if you have to have this magnificent machine or if you want to lose the lemon.
*for reference, the red/tan 348 Spider in the above conversation sold the next week (in 2005) at auction for $61,000 plus auction fees.
Return To 348 Primer