MMR Blog

Upgrading a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS: Engine Lubrication System

Posted on February 20, 2013 Comments (0)

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 second in a series of short articles about how we repaired and updated it.

Auxiliary Oil Accumulator System

Two weeks after I had taken possession of the WASRED 308, I had coffee with a veteran 308 owner. I mentioned that I thought the wiper system was rather weak. “Wasn’t really designed for use in the rain” he replied in a manner that implied my expectations were rather high. Pressing on, I mentioned that the oil light comes on when I drive around a sharp corner. Don’t worry about it, he said, they all do that.

But I do worry about flashing red lights above the word “Olio” on my dashboard. John Tirrell, of Independent Ferrari Service in Easton, MA, again came to my rescue. The problem is indeed common to all older 308s and peace of mind comes from the installation of an additional three quart oil container from a company called Accusump.

The Accusump Company of North Brantford, CT, manufactures pressurized oil accumulators for performance engines. Accusumps are oil reservoirs that connect to the engine's oiling system. They are designed to collect pressurized oil from your engine and store it so it may be discharged when oil pressure is low. Accusump Oil Accumulators deliver oil before starting, to eliminate dry start scuffing (pre-oiling), and discharge oil during low oil pressure surges.

WASRED oil lines

This is not an installation I could do myself so John had the hoses made up and fitted the Accusump to the trunk compartment of my car. A single hose goes from the accumulator to the base of the oil filter mount. It is a fairly clear path from a couple of angles. There really is no excellent location for the unit and the trunk is as good as any. I have seen pumps fitted to the wall of the trunk area above the headers and I have considered that change.

WASRED accusump

So, as you can see from the pictures it is a clean fit but it does have drawbacks. For one thing, the heat generated by carrying along an extra three quarts of hot engine oil means things get toasty in the luggage compartment. Then again, with a set of headers abutting it and an exhaust system under it, it was never intended to store milk and butter.

In Chapter #3 we will talk about exhaust headers and sound.


Upgrading a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS: Brakes

Posted on February 7, 2013 Comments (0)

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 first in a series of short articles about how we repaired it and updated it.

The goal is simple: Improved performance and reliability, at a reasonable cost.

Brakes

The original Ferrari brakes are fine. For simply driving on the street, I never would touch the brakes. When I bought the car, my friends were doing FCA club track days and I joined them. I came to realize that the newer model cars were quicker on the straights but not necessarily quicker through the turns. The only way to keep from being run over under braking was to upgrade the brake system.

The easiest option was to install a new brake system of larger calipers and rotors on the front of the car. Brembo offers such a system and at the time it was priced between $2500 and $3000. But my rotors were fine and I didn’t want to spend that kind of money. John Tirrell, owner of Independent Ferrari Service (IFS) in Easton MA, was tracking a very quick 308 GT4. He discovered that the Ferrari Club members in England were using ATE front calipers, standard on Audi S4s of the eighties that bolted right up.

We bought a set of newly rebuilt calipers and performance pads. John attached really neat Porsche air ducts and tubing to the lower A arms, put in new brake lines and, for far less than $500 in parts, we eliminated brake fade and improved braking performance dramatically.

Below are images of the original pads and the replacements, and the S4’s ATE Girling calipers. You can see that the brake swept area is almost double. After 15 years, because they were the lowest part on the car, the wear and tear on the Porsche 911 air duct pickups and tubing necessitated I remove them. If I was to do track again, I would put on another set.

Brake Pads

Calipers

This is not meant to imply that this system is the equivalent of the Brembo or anyone else’s product; but, at the time, it satisfied a need at a reasonable price and, although I still have the original parts in a box somewhere, I would never put them back on. NB: The 1978 Ferrari doesn’t have an anti-lock brake system. It is possible to lock up the wheels, particularly under panic braking or in the wet. But I got used to a sensitive pedal and in over ten years of use, I have never had an issue.