Upgrading a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS: Cooling System Part 3

April 25, 2013 Comments (2)

Improved Cooling – Hoses & Fans

In 1995 I bought a 1978 308 GTS Euro spec Ferrari with a rebuilt engine and 13K miles on the long non-functioning odometer. It had had a serious accident on the right front corner. This is the tenth in a series of short articles about how we repaired and updated it.

A Hose! A Hose! My Kingdom for a Hose!

When last we left you we had installed a new radiator at the front of our WASRED 308 and a new water pump at the back. Now to connect them.

There are 10 hoses and six formed aluminum tubes carrying coolant between the radiator and the engine. Only two hoses are easily visible and, other than the top radiator hose, none are easily accessible. I should point out here that a very long (24”) blade screwdriver is indispensible. My engine was rebuilt by IFS 11 years ago and at the time the best coolant hose available was a Gates Green Stripe. Coolant hoses are sold in either preformed bent shapes of single or multiple bends, flexible hoses of varying lengths, or straight stiff hoses in various lengths called “sticks”. All ten hoses but one, the 90 degree hose from the top of the radiator, are straight and short. Most auto parts stores have their hoses hanging from a rack on the wall. I took my old hose, which was fine, and found a hose on the wall that was the right length after the bend, paid about $12 cut it to size and also bought a stick of Gates Green Stripe for not much more. I was set. Getting to the hoses was something else.

The “hot” one, carrying coolant from the engine back to the top left of the radiator runs nearest the driver. The hoses are routed under the center of the car between the floor pan and the floor of the cabin. That accounts for the cozy cabin temperatures in the winter and the sauna like temperatures in the summer. I raised the car about eighteen inches off the floor in the front and a little higher in the back so that the engine coolant would drain and got to it. Most of the hoses are accessible, though not easily, but the few that aren’t… simply are not and take longer.

I used the same gasket sealant I used on the water pump and it served as a lubricant to ease the hoses over flared tubing ends. It wasn’t easy, but it was finally done when I learned about the Gates “Gold Stripe” hose! A new, higher quality hose. It really bothered me that the car was sitting there with second level hoses. It didn’t bother me for long. I ordered a fresh stick of Gates “Gold Stripe” and took the system apart before the gasket goo had even set. I didn’t change the 90 degree hose from the top of the radiator. I got it all finished and felt much better.

Then I learned that racers were using silicone hoses.

Upper Rad hose

Once again, I was bothered that a more reliable product was available and since I had the time, I ordered a stick of the silicone hose and a 90 degree hose and started all over again. The images shown here are of the silicon hose installed. The Ford Engine Blue color doesn’t go with my car but it matches the floor of my garage. The whole package cost about $100 from Racer Parts Wholesale.

Rad hoses

A couple of other things to share. First, the original hose clamps are what are called “Norma” style clamps. They are elegant (3/8 inch wide) and I am certain that they are also excellent. In my ham handed exuberance, I stripped two of them and then switched to the beefier Tridon unit (9/16” inch wide) from the local NAPA store. Once you have put these things on three times, “pretty” loses its appeal.

Norma on right

Second, the two formed aluminum coolant tubes from the radiator converge in the center of the car. Access to the hoses that connect these tubes to the straight tubes that run the length of the car is through a panel secured to the underside by four bolts. The two hoses are about four inches long and not particularly difficult to change. Left to their own devices, these tubes may rattle about down there, or, worse still, rub against each other and create a problem which would be difficult to solve on a roadside. Your challenge is the same one faced by the man who designed the Maidenform bra. You must somehow firmly secure and separate the two entities. I chose that word carefully. And the answer to the unasked question is: through the judicious use of two tiewraps or zip-ties or cable-ties. The first circles both tubes and brings them comfortably, but not tightly, close together. The second goes around the first tiewrap only, between the tubes and parallel to them. By tightening down the second tiewrap you tighten the first and at the same time separate the two tubes. Ingenious!

Third, tools. Conventional rad hoses can be cut with a saw. Silicone responds better to a knife. Sears offers a hose cutting scissor knife, for short money that works wonderfully. I have enclosed an image of the sealant I used. Great stuff, just don’t get it on your clothes.

Magic Goo

After all this, the question has to be, did he cheat? And the answer is, absolutely! The hose behind the thermostat housing goes between the carburetors in the intake manifold and you must take the housing off to get at it. Even then it is a bitch to do. Having done it twice, I wasn’t going to do it again. Besides, it is hidden. There is a lesson in all this somewhere.

Cheating

A week after completing this task, I was working on the Goods and Services Directory when I ran across Scuderia Rampante of Boulder Co. The owner/operator, Dave Helms, specializes in the repairs and restoration of Ferraris and is an online Ferrari Guru. For purists, SR offers black 100% silicone hoses in various lengths up to 12 feet. Scuderia Rampante offers a complete kit for 308s that includes clamps.

Addendum:

As I was finishing this story I received an answer to an enquiry I sent Dave Helms about his products.

Peter

I designed both our silicone coolant and silicone fuel hoses from scratch with the help of a team of defense contractor design engineers... nothing better has ever been built on either hose application. On the fuel hose (supply hose) we designed for 2.5 PSI and they quit testing when 100 PSI was exceeded, no finer can be found, Period. We have International Patents pending as it is an entirely new design.

All of our hoses are made specifically for Ferrari applications, not some SAE hose stretched to fit. I wanted it done right, done once and never have to do it again. The engineers thought I had snapped with no resale expectation but... I hate hoses and only did this because there are NO other legitimate alternatives.

Dave

Dave Helms represents what the MMR Goods and Services Directory is really all about. People who, in the vernacular of another time, “get it”. They understand that good enough isn’t good enough and the best requires extra effort but is worth it.

I’m certain we will be following up on this in the coming issues.

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Comments (2)

  1. David Feinberg:
    Apr 26, 2013 at 06:45 AM

    We've been using the SRI hoses on all of our customer cars for the last six years. There simply isn't a better product. Our Ferrari customers expect and demand the best from us...

  2. Peter:
    Apr 26, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    David owns Ferrari Service of Bedford. His shop did development testing for SRI products. Thank you for your valuable input. I received an email suggesting that over time tiewraps could damage the aluminum tubes. Any thoughts on that? or about the best hose clamps to use?
    Peter


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