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The 2004 Ferrari Spider 360 Repair Emissions Issue In Denver

Hi there. I’m Saul, here at Saul’s Autotek, and today we’re going to talk a little bit about the fact that we service all makes and models. While we’ll fix your average, plain-Jane vehicles that you drive to work every day, we can take care of your Jeeps and your trucks and your off-road toys, we can also take care of the luxury, exotic, antique, and collectibles as well.

In the case of this 2004 Ferrari 360 Spider, the vehicle actually came to us with a very minor request. It failed an emissions test. When he went to the local dealership to ask their opinion, their answer was very expensive, involved a very long list of things that they wanted to repair, just so they could get started and determine what was really wrong with the car.

Well, we took it in here at Saul’s Autotek. We performed our diagnostic on it, and we actually found that there were zero mechanical problems with the car in any way, shape, or form.

When you take it to an emissions test in the state of Colorado, you’re supposed to be able to have a vehicle up to 12 years old, no check engine light. 12 to 15 years old can have an illuminated check engine light as long as that light isn’t asking for a code that’s emissions-related, like a catalytic converter or an exhaust gas relief valve. Additionally, it can have that light on, it just can’t be related to any of those emissions components unless it’s past that year marker.

Well, this car is a 2004, so it’s over 12 years old. It has no check engine light on. However, when the owner took it for an emissions test, the folks at emissions said there’s a code in it and, therefore, it fails. The reality is they couldn’t actually communicate with it well enough to determine what that code was, to know if it was an emissions-related failure or not.

The owner opted to bring it here to Saul’s Autotek, and when we investigated, we found that the vehicle itself had had somebody reprogram one of the computers in it. Of the multiple computers that are inside the vehicle, one specifically monitors all of the sensors on the transmission.

Inside the transmission, which is a clutch-type design as most manuals are, in most modern manual transmissions, the clutch itself has a wear sensor. So, as the clutch wears down, a sensor will indicate how much life is left on the clutch. If you drive a modern BMW vehicle, your vehicle’s equipped with the exact same sensor technology for all of the brake pads on the vehicle for the same reason, so that you’ll get an illumination on the dash, telling you that you have 20% brake life left when that sensor gets to a certain mark so that you can get the vehicle into service.

The same applies to this vehicle. However, in an attempt to sell the vehicle and better represent the condition, somebody fraudulently used a computer and lied to the car and told it that it had a new clutch installed. As a result, the clutch wear sensor says that the clutch is only 4% worn down. However, the clutch is actually 86% worn down, and we were able to prove this with the numbers that we were getting out with an oscilloscope out of that actual sensor itself with the vehicle running.

Now, the only code stored in the vehicle says that the sensor range for that clutch engagement depth isn’t reading accurately. There’s no check engine light on the dash. However, when the folks at emissions tried to communicate with it, they don’t have the Ferrari software to be able to communicate to it. As a result, they saw there was a code and they immediately failed it, not knowing if it was emissions-related or not. They were trying to err on the side of caution. However, they simply don’t have the right technology and equipment.

When we were able to determine that that sensor itself was causing the problem, we spoke with the Denver Ferrari owner, because the reality is the clutch in this vehicle only has 14% life left on it, and it needs to be replaced, and that sensor is triggering that code because it knows something improper is going on. So, we’re going to replace that clutch and replace that wear sensor in it, and that’ll get it through the emissions test.

If you’ve got concerns about yours, if you’ve had issues getting your luxury or exotic vehicle through emissions, you don’t necessarily need to just go to the dealer and go broke fixing all of the things to try and get it to pass the government’s test. We, here at Saul’s Autotek, guarantee emissions pass and fail rate on these motor vehicles. If you bring it to us with a concern that it won’t pass emissions, we won’t deliver it back until we can hand you a passing emissions certificate with the vehicle.

If you’ve got concerns about yours, come and see us here at Autotek, seven days a week, 303-919-7769, and we’ll help take care of your luxury or exotic automobile.

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About the Author

Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman has been helping the residents of the Centennial State with their automotive needs for over ten years now. He finished his Associate Degree in Physics at the Community College of Denver. Saul is an active member of the Specialty Equipment Market Association and a board member of the Young Executives Network. He undergoes constant educational training through GMC, MOPAR, Ford, Snap-On, Borg-Warner, and Ozark Automotive, with an emphasis on diagnosis, repair, and improvement.

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