View Full Version : 1999 456M GTA - Recommission and Restoration

29-06-2015, 12:11 AM
On 4th Jan 2014 I became the proud owner of my 4th Ferrari, a 1999 456M GTA. This was definitely one of those how long is your bargepole kinda cars. No History, other than the MOTs, No idea when the last major was done, driven 50 miles or so in the past 12 months. Lucky for me the ebay auction ended low and being a no reserve auction I ended up as the lucky owner.

I decided to do as much of the work myself and luckily had an independent Ferrari mechanic to let me a hand. Iíve made a series of videos. Hopefully some of you might find it useful.


mon the fish
29-06-2015, 06:25 AM
Lovely colour spec at least [emoji106]

29-06-2015, 11:54 AM
Agreed :thumbsup:

I can't see the videos......

29-06-2015, 03:31 PM
Very Nice car. I always liked the shape of the 456, so much better than the 612.

Fortune always favours the brave !

Would have liked a 456 but stories about window seals and wind noise put me off. Bet it's not as bad as they say.

29-06-2015, 04:30 PM
Thanks for posting. Look forward to seeing what has been done :thumbsup:

29-06-2015, 05:32 PM
Nice to see you back here pal, long time. I still remember your yellow 456.

I think I may have seen your latest acquisition last week as it happens on my travels, how ironic :tongue3:

29-06-2015, 10:36 PM
Hi Guys. Sorry not posted the videos yet. I have 21 short videos I made as we were working on the car. Just sorting it and will post hopefully tomorow!

30-06-2015, 08:06 AM
Ideal - I like these threads. :thumbsup:

30-06-2015, 01:39 PM
Would have liked a 456 but stories about window seals and wind noise put me off. Bet it's not as bad as they say.

Neither have been an issue in my two and a half years of ownership.

30-06-2015, 02:14 PM
Look forward to the vids.:thumbsup:

30-06-2015, 11:00 PM
Sorry guys didnt mean to keep you waiting. Technical difficulties!

Phase 1 of the Recommission started in April 2014 and involved a major service, changing all belts oils and filters. The car was a bit neglected and I had no clear indication on some of these items. I wanted to create a baseline.

Shopping list included:
Engine oil
Oil filters
Air filters
Spark plugs
Fuel filters
cambelt tensioners
Alternator/AC belt
Water pump/steering belt
Brake fluid

I also purchased a full toolkit which as I went along I realised wasnt full enough!
To start with this included:
Clarkes 329 piece tool kit with chest
Snap On rachet Axle stands
Low entry Sealey 3 tonne jack
Oil pan
Other bits and bobs. More parts were purchased later and I'll add later in the thread.

30-06-2015, 11:06 PM
Struggling with the videos again. I cant seem to upload them.

Is there a set of instructions somewhere?

01-07-2015, 05:28 AM
Struggling with the videos again. I cant seem to upload them.

Is there a set of instructions somewhere?

Yep, Youtube them is the easiest way :)

You can then just copy the code bit (ie the numbers and letters after the "v=" in the youtube title) highlight it and hit the youtube button in the edit panel (bottom righthand button with a Yt on). It should then embed the vid in your post. :thumbsup:

01-07-2015, 08:36 PM
Ok Here goes.

Vid 1 - Intro


01-07-2015, 08:37 PM
Vid 2 - Engine Strip


01-07-2015, 08:38 PM
Vid 3 - Air Filters Out


01-07-2015, 08:39 PM
Ok Here goes.

Vid 1 - Intro

Well, it worked :thumbsup:

I await further vids with bated breath :)

01-07-2015, 08:40 PM
Vid 4 - Radiators out


01-07-2015, 08:41 PM
Well, it worked :thumbsup:

I await further vids with bated breath :)

Yes thanks for the tip! Managed to figure it out thanks to your help

01-07-2015, 08:42 PM
Vid 5 - Belts and Covers


01-07-2015, 08:43 PM
Vid - Summary so far


01-07-2015, 08:44 PM
Vid 7 - Day Two intro


01-07-2015, 08:46 PM
Vid 8 - Belts and Bearings


01-07-2015, 08:47 PM
Vid 9 - All stripped


01-07-2015, 08:48 PM
Vid 10 - How to get TDC


01-07-2015, 08:49 PM
First 10 uploaded! More hopefully tomorrow.

01-07-2015, 10:06 PM
Hope you ate well matey, long time no speak :thumbsup:

02-07-2015, 08:11 PM
Hope you ate well matey, long time no speak :thumbsup:

All good!

30-07-2015, 10:11 PM
Vid 11 - Sparkplugs

30-07-2015, 10:13 PM
Vid 12 - Cambelt Change


30-07-2015, 10:15 PM
Vid 13 - Spark plugs and status


30-07-2015, 10:16 PM
Vid 14 - Mistakes, Lessons Learned and Next Steps


30-07-2015, 10:19 PM
Vid 15 - Oil and Fuel Filter Change


30-07-2015, 10:21 PM
Vid 16 - Spraying and Undertray


30-07-2015, 10:22 PM
Vid 17 - Starting the Car!


30-07-2015, 10:23 PM
Vid 18 - Floating 456M


30-07-2015, 10:25 PM
Vid 19 - Stripping the Engine


30-07-2015, 10:27 PM
Vid 20 - Inspecting the shock absorbers


30-07-2015, 10:30 PM
Vid 21 - Replacing the Coolant hoses and Thermostat


30-07-2015, 10:38 PM
All those videos were from last year. The next set of posts are activities from this year that I posted on Ferrari Chat. They progressively update.

havent driven the car too much as the overheating problems continued. It turned out to be an issue with one of the fans, and this is now resolved.

However I now have a three week deadline to get the car ready due to a Maranello bound road trip in July. I cant wait to head back there again.

Anyway here is a list of the jobs we need to get through in the next two weeks. Luckily I have the help of my expert friend Abbey to help me along the way.

To Do List
1. Cooling system - drain and replace coolant. Fit cover to engine.
2. AC - fit condenser. Replace receiver/ dryer/ filter. Check piping ready for regas. Clear heat exchange drainage under the car (by exhaust). Regas.
3. Gearbox service - see what filters are available and change whatever is. Drain oil and replace.
4. Handbrake - replace handbrake cable and handbrake shoes
5. Waterproof Lining - Change waterproof lining on both doors. Clear drainage
6. Rear number plate lights - not working
7. Rear demister - not working
8. Investigate passenger window fault - It comes up even if the door is open
9. Investigate drivers door lock - from the inside it does not lock the doors
10. MOT - Carry out new MOT (annual inspection)
11. Fit Tubi back box - new ones on their way!
12. Hill Engineering Pedals - fit new drilled aluminium pedal set
13. Brake service (fluids)
14. Change accelerator cable
15. Fix LCD displays on instrument cluster

Abbey will be doing most of the work but to assist I spent yesterday and plan to spend the next two Saturdays at his garage to get it done. Yesterday I stripped the door cards and removed the existing waterproof lining. As expected someone had been in there previously and it was all taped together. They really needed a replacement.

The Tubi boxes are really an indulgence. I was thinking of selling the car this year but decided now to keep it and probably never sell. As a result over the next few years I will be carrying out a full restoration. More on that later. I have always found the Ferrari exhaust too quiet and so really looking forward to the Tubi. Only question is do I stop there or do I also fit resonator delete straight pipes too! One step at a time I think.

The Gearbox service is a bit annoying. The 456M GTA has three filters but not all three are available from Ferrari. As a result I think I will only be able to change 1 or 2. Has anyone else had this problem and found a solution?

Here is something I may need guidance on. No.8 Investigate passenger window fault - It comes up even if the door is open Ė What seems to happen is when you open the door the window drops. However after 10 or so seconds it automatically rises again. Has anyone else had this problem? I tried to reset the windows but that didnít seem to work. Not sure if I done it incorrectly but tried it twice.

30-07-2015, 10:39 PM
Update on the coolant.

I spoke to my Ferrari dealer and they informed me the correct coolant for older cars is Petronas Paraflu. It's blue in colour and is used by Fiat and Alfa Romeo too.

I managed to find a supplier who sells it and picked up 13L for £70.

30-07-2015, 10:39 PM
Last week was an expensive week! I needed to order all my parts for the jobs mentioned in post 87 above and picked up a few extras on the way.

The first of note is as well as the Tubi boxes I also ordered Bradan resonator delete pipes. I thought what the hell go the whole hog! The 456 in standard setup is too quiet and for too long has bugged me. I've read and heard many opinions saying that the 456 is a gentlemanly GT so being loud will not suit but I think the FF has changed this. It's loud from stock.

Also I welcome the additional bhp that comes with it so as JC said more horsepower is always a good thing. One thing I will be doing is though is fitting the Tubi first and then the pipes. So I will record the before, during and after results.

2nd item of note is I purchased a Ferrari handling pack steering ECU from Ferrari. Many will be aware that the FHP pack was originally available on the 575 and then as an upgrade option on the 550 (feel free to correct me), but was never an option for the 456m. One area I've always thought the 456M could be improved is by having sharper handling so looking to fit that.

Incidentally the FHP ECU will not work on the earlier 456, only in the 456m.

30-07-2015, 10:40 PM
Managed to spend sometime on the weekend to work on the car and made some progress. I'll post pics when I get home.

Previously I had stripped the door cards so that I could change the waterproof liners on both doors. I figured while they are out let me clean them with Zymol leather cleaner. I will be doing the whole interior. The difference was immediately noticeable and probably had never previously been done.

Sunday I returned to the workshop with Abbey to do more. I replaced the weather shields and did door cards on both sides. It's is a bit tricky if you haven't done it before but once I did one side the other was easy.

We also changed the AC compressor and and replaced the AC dryer bottle. I was a little bit nervous as the AC had never worked on my car so I was concerned that another fault would pop up. However we connected it to the AC machine and the vacuum held for 15 mins. Test passed!

All good so far. Next was to regas it and unfortunately the gas needed topping up in the machine so we were only able to half full the AC system in the car. However even with that the system was blowing cold. Really pleased that it all came together and the only problem was not Ferrari related!

Next was to pressure test the coolant system. I had had a series of cooling problems over the past 12 months and was worried there was a problem lurking. Pressure held fine so we drained the coolant ready for the new correct coolant to go in.

However it was not all good news and today is going to be interesting to say the least.

The first problem has been known for a short while and is a leak in the rear left and front right shocks. Worst case scenario is that four shocks will need changing and at the same time I will also change all bushes.

The real problem is the cost. My first preference was to sent my shocks to Delta Vee Motorsports in the U.S. and have them built to FHP spec. Sadly they currently have an 8 week lead time so my only real option is to buy new ones. That means total cost of parts is well over £4,500! Parts only.

The second problem is an oil leak and if worst case scenario plays out, we will need a we will need to remove the cambelts to get to the seal. I only did the cambelts last year. Likelyhood is that I will need to get this done, it's just a question of when.

Abbey is going to inspect both and let me know today what's recommended. I'm expecting both jobs need to be done. I've warned my wallet!

30-07-2015, 10:41 PM
Didn't get to speak to my mechanic friend yesterday. Hopefully will catch up with him today. But I've been thinking and put this out to the forum.

Given that my steering will now be upgraded to FHP, should I also update the damper spec to either standard 550/575 or go further to FHP spec? Currently I find the suspension too soft for my liking in sport mode and never drive in normal mode.

It's worth knowing that the FHP also includes lower springs but not sure if I would do that.

Earlier I was looking for what actually makes up the Fiorano Handling Pack. I managed to find this and thought I would post it:

One example is the Fiorano handling package which, in the particular case of Michael Schumacher's personal 550 Maranello, consists of lowered (10 mm at the front, 15 mm at the back) and stiffened suspension using 25% stiffer springs and a bigger 21 mm rear anti-sway bar. That's fairly straightforward-where the Ferrari handling package differs from a normal tuner's repertoire is in the shock absorber settings. In a classical handling set-up, you'd jack the existing dampers for new ones. But as the 550 employs trick electronically-governed hydraulics to achieve its marvelously serene ride and sure-footed handling, Ferrari has turned to Bilstein to "chip" the dampers. That way you retain the switchable sport and comfort settings which adjust the damping logic on the basis of the type of compression being exerted as well as vehicle speed, steering angle, throttle opening, and brake pressure, but the response time of the new dampers is even faster, which gives it an even flatter ride.
The same goes for the ZF Servotronic speed-sensitive steering, which has been modified to give a meatier feel in the speed range up to 55 mph.
And who was the perpetrator of all these improvements? Michael Schumacher himself, who signed off the handling package after a series of tests around the Fiorano track.

30-07-2015, 10:42 PM
Update on my trip and car.

As mentioned before I was crazily trying to get my car finished for a trip to the Ferrari factory towards the end of July. Someone posted on another thread that the Factory production line is currently closed for maintenance. I checked with my dealer today and sure enough it will not be fully open until after the August holiday period. as a result I am delaying my visit until September now.

In many ways its a blessing in diguise as it means that I can send my four shocks to Delta Vee to rebuild my suspension and also strip the engine to resolve the oil leak. This on top of the list I was already in the middle of. Obviously the cost was unexpected but Im being positive in thinking that my car will be much better for the trip and general driving as a result.

30-07-2015, 10:43 PM
Managed to speak to Rob (Delta Vee) yesterday and discussed the shock rebuild with him. Decided to up to 550 standard spec as this will be more in line with what I am looking to achieve. Rob mentioned that he had done this for clients in the past and they were happy with the results.

We also discussed the possibility of changing the springs to take it one stage further but decided to fit the shocks first and see how I like it. I'm sure the handling will be transformed anyway.

Incidentally the cost of the change to 550 spec (using 456 shocks) is $50 extra per shock. Mention that just in case you wanted to do the same.

30-07-2015, 10:43 PM
In general progress has been a little slow. We managed to strip the suspension and send the shocks off to Delta Vee in the U.S. At the same time will be changing all the bushes in the suspension.

Decided to sort out two engine leaks to make the job more complex. Cam gaskets are leaking so changing the front seal and cam gaskets. Also will be changing the cambelts even though they were only changed last year. In addition the Rear main seal is leaking slightly so that will change too.