Ferrari 308 GTS
Information Site


This page will contain any words of wisdom (and "dont make the same mistake as I did ...." tidbits) on the maintenance of any of the 3 litre V8 engined cars, but more specifically aimed at the 308GTS (carb model).   I will NOT cover here things that are already adequately covered on the other very good 308 sites, which can be found on the links page .... so you will not find information about servicing or setting tappets .... instead you'll find some of the more obscure stuff, like ....


Instrument Panel Removal

Unless you know a couple of secrets, it's harder than you think.  First, I'd disconnect the battery (to be on the safe side ... when you pull the panel forward, there's a very good chance of pulling miscellaneous wires and connectors off !).  On the silver panel where all the instruments are mounted, you've got 4 warning lights (two at the top, one bottom left, one bottom right).  Ease these bulb holders forward and out of the panel GENTLY (you can probably get to the bottom two by feeling up under the dash, but the top two will have to be tickled out from the front). They are held in with two little tabs either side of each bulb holder, but these get broken quickly (all 4 of mine were broken already), however if you do break one (or come across one already broken) then you can increase the diameter of the bulb holder using electricians tape (or similar) upon reassembly, until it's a nice friction fit into the hole in the dash, which is a good temporary fix.   When you've got all 4 bulb holders out (and dangling) then if you get a torch and look through the holes you should see 4 screws about 4 to 5 inches back.  On my car, the top two (smaller) screws were philips crossheaded screws, and the bottom two were larger, slotted screws.   Remove all four ... the bottom two are easier, and less lethal if you drop one (odds on they'll just fall on the carpet) .... for the top two it helps to have a magnetic screw driver or a big dollop of underseal or similar, to stop the screws from disappearing into goodness knows where as soon as you've undone them.  The dash panel should then pull out easily, though be careful not to pull out any cables from the back of any of the instruments (one BIG advantage at this point is the fact that the tacho and speedo are both electronic, so you dont have to fight with a big, thick, inflexible techo/speed cable as on other vehicles).   Reassembly is reverse of above, but be careful not to trap any wires between the edge of the instrument panel and the binacle, and that magnetic screwdriver / dollop of underseal will come in useful again for those top screws, which are a bit tricky.

Handbrake (Emergency Brake) Adjustment (the Ric Rainbolt method)

1) Jack the car up and place it on jack stands.

2) Remove both rear wheels and release the parking brake.

3) On US-spec cars and some others, you have to remove a flat metal underpanel to gain complete access to the parking brake cable. This panel is held on by four 10mm bolts.

4) Find the cable that runs between the callipers. We'll call this cable "A". It should route through low friction "eyes" (or cable guides on early 308's), mounted on each side of the car, on it's way to the callipers. The eyes are either nylon or brass, depending on production at the time (or in some cars, a simple metal tube). Refer to the parts book if uncertain.

5) Note that in the middle of the undercarriage, cable A runs through a two-wheeled lever mechanism. It's quite common for the cable to jump off a wheel and/or become severely frayed at this point. Clean this assembly VERY thoroughly and lubricate with a cable lube or synthetic grease. I usually remove the assembly so I can check the operation of the wheels.

6) Locate the buckle on cable A. It should be between the two-wheeled lever and the right side calliper. Two open end wrenches are required to operate the buckle (10mm?? I forget). Loosen the stop nut and the cable adjustment is made by turning the long part of the buckle.

7) At this point, loosen the buckle until it begins to "slack up". That is, until the calliper levers quit pulling, but not so much that the cable falls off the callipers!

8) Inspect the condition of all four rear brake pads. If necessary, remove the pads from the callipers. You'll get the best parking brake effect from a new set of pads. Also, make sure the rotors are not warped.

9) With the pads installed in the callipers, it is necessary to set the take-up adjustment within the calliper. This is accomplished by removing the two covers over the adjusting ports. On the outside of the calliper, normally, there is a plastic cap covering an adjuster. On the inside, there is a cap head plug, just under the parking brake lever along with a copper gasket. If it's the original ATE plug, it can be a ***** to get out. What I've done to get the inner cap off is actually use a punch to "drift" the cap in the counter clockwise direction. I use a stainless steel cap to replace it when done. If a significant amount of fluid is released when the inner cap is removed, the callipers need to be rebuilt.

10) The outer adjustment is kind of tricky. You must loosen the locking nut (12 or 13mm, I think) to turn the adjustment (4mm hex wrench). Place a .004 inch (0.1mm) feeler gauge between the pad and the rotor and adjust the take-up until the feeler just slips out. It should not drag significantly. Check that the feeler feels about the same at the top and bottom of the pad area. If its drastically different, either the pads are tapered, the rotor is warped, or the calliper is not true.

11) Once the outer pad spacing is set, tighten the locking nut. The problem here, however, is that tightening the locking nut has the effect of altering the adjustment. You have to play with it a little bit to figure out what's going on. After a bit you'll develop a feel for it and you should be able to lock it right at the right point (.004 inch clearance).
After everything is tight, double check with the feeler.

12) The inner adjustment is easier because there is only an allen head adjuster (up inside the hole that the cap plug covered, 4mm I think). Using this adjuster, set the inner pad to the same spacing as the outer (again, .004 inch). If the adjuster feels "crusty", shoot some WD40 up in there and turn it back and forth to break loose any corrosion or dried lubricant.

13) After setting the adjustment, replace the inner cap and copper gasket.

14) Tighten the buckle on Cable A until the levers on the calliper *just begin to move*. Any more than this can cause the brake pads to drag, causing premature pad and/or rotor failure (not to mention stinky smoke!). If in doubt, check the pad clearance afterwards and re-adjust.

15) Check the lever "feel" in the car. It should only click 3-4 times before becoming fully firm. If not, have someone help you while you observe the 2-wheeled lever under the car. The 2-wheeled lever should begin to pivot just as the parking brake handle is pulled. If not, there's excess slack in the cable that runs from the handle to the lever. The slack can be adjusted in the cockpit by opening the zipper on the leather shroud. Looking in with a flashlight, to the right side (passenger side on US cars) of the lever there's a nut that can be turned to adjust cable slack.

16) Reassemble the car (underpanel, wheels, etc.).