Door lock spring

Recently I discovered an issue with my driver's side door lock. I almost never use it, because I usualy do not have the targa top on, and so thier is no point on locking the door - anyone can just reach in over the window and pull up on the door locking knob. 

Anyway, while repairing the slow window issue on the passenger side (required restringing the entire window) I decided to lubricate the lock, and so when I replaced the door edge lamp on the driver's side I figured I should do the same. At this point I noticed that the driver's side lock does not return to center when turning the key - this means that you have to fiddle with the key to get the lock to stay down, and be able to remove the key. 

Anyway, I decided that this would drive me nuts, so I removed the door card (yet again!) and then unbolted the door lock (below picture of passenger side, forgot to take driver side photo)

IMG 0557

When I removed the lock I found the issue. There is a return spring that wraps around the lock assembly, and the ends of the spring stick through the shell into the plug. When the plug is rotated from center, either one side or the other of the return spring gets engadged, trying to pull it back to center. One arm of the return sptring had sheared off, right at the bend.

To repair it I first cleaned off all the old, accumulated grease with brake cleaner and then slid the return spring out of the slot and off the end of the barrel. I then bent a new arm (of about 5.5mm) in the spring right where it had sheared. I then slid it back over the barell, and engadged each end of the spring. Beacuse the spring is very slightly shorter (around 10mm) it is probably very slightly harder to turn, but this is not in any way noticialbe (and the spring has probably lost some of it's tension over time, so this cancels out :-))

I then sprayed the keyway with dry lube, and the whole body with spray lithium. A small bit of RTV silocone goes on the head / barrel nut to try keep it all waterproof, and done!


Some photos of the repaired lock:

IMG 0585IMG 0586

IMG 0587

Ferrari 308 Projects


I recently got a 1980 Ferrari 308GTSi, primarily as a restoration and project car.
I first fell in love with Ferraris from watching Magnum P.I, and this is the Magnum car, so...

I've put up some photos of the car here and some of the work photos here

I'm planning on making sub-pages with details on some of the repairs for others.

I've been trying to keep a list of what all I've done to it. I've managed to forget many of the things (many of them are a "while I'm in here I might as well just..." type events). Here is an initial list, from April 2014 to August 2014:

Changed drivers's rear outside brake caliper.
Bled brakes (drivers rear only, purchaced caliper adjuster covers)
Installed Edelbrock/Russell Speed Bleeders on rear calibers
Removed handbrake pully mechanism, disassembled, cleaned and lubed
Painted rear emblems.
Removed driver's door panel, lubricated the window motor / mechanism, cleaned window switch contacts.
Cleaned signal / headlight contacts.
Removed driver's seat, fixed seat rails (slider mechanism / bearing worn, removed bearings)
Removed and clean shift knob, removed and polished shift gate.
Removed tail lights, disassembled and cleaned
Installed JVC KD-NX5000 Single DIN NAV system
Installed replacement powered radio antenna
Removed and cleaned battery connectors, grounds in front trunk, repaied battery cutoff switch.
Made new spare wheel tie down (McMaster Carr)
Installed Dynamat in trunk, cleaned and repaied sound insulation / heat stuff
Reglued trunk carpets (rear, light covers, etc)
Redid the trunk weather stripping (replace sometime?)
Painted exhaust / cat cover
Removed and painted pedals
Disconnected cold start air valve
Cleaned contacts on Magneti Marelli MED 801A Digiplex (ECUs)
Cleaned contacts on ignition coils
Installed new fuel accumulator. Discovered frayed fuel hose.
Installed new LED headlights
Installed new braided steel tank to pump fuel line
Replaced clock.
Removed and painted plenum
Removed and cleaned throttle body
Replaced fuel lines from fuel distributor to the injectors on bank 1
Replaced all fuel injectors - reused injector seals
Replaced the oil sender unit.
Replaced oil filter / oil / crush washer
Replaced fuel lines from fuel distributor to the injectors on bank 2
Drove Bluemont to Dulles
Drove Father's Day carshow.
Fixed fiberglass in passender door card (so card stays on better)
Installed Dynamat in passenger door card
Restrung and relubricated the passenger side window. Now closes fully!
Installed new door edge warning lights
Adjusted passenger door lock / locking mechanism
Installed stainless steel braided brake lines, bled brakes.
Installed new front and rear brake pads
Painted and reinstalled undertray
Adjusted handbrake cable
Replaced fuel filler hose (Gates 23976), cleaned up filler neck, cap, vent tubes
Cleaned and painted passenger fron suspension arms
Created battery tie down plate, bolted down battery.
Installed new battery cut-off switch
Adjusted clutch cable, took up slack and lubricated cable (now doesn't have odd detent!)
Installed new duct to airbox boot.
Installed Verell's shifter bushing
Repaired driver's door lock spring.




Lamborghini Murciélago e-gear issues

I recently started having really weird e-gear issues in my Murciélago Roadster.

The first sign of problems was when I stopped in a parking lot, left it in 1st and went into a grocery store. When I came out, it refused to start, or come out of gear. I called Josh at ECS and we tried hooking it up to a Leonardo, which showed correct hydraulic pressure, but it simply refused to change gear. I ended up having to put it on a flatbed, but, because it was stuck in gear (and is all wheel drive) this was difficult. We ended up having to raise it on wheel jacks and winch it onto the flatbed.

When it got to the shop it misbehaved for a while - we added some hydraulic fluid, and bled the system, and then suddenly it started working. While doing this, Josh also adjusted the P.I.S (Point of Initial Slippage) - this made the shifts much much smoother.

A few weeks later I was just turning back into my driveway, and it started behaving oddly again - she didn't really seem to want to change gears, but grudgingly agreed to after a few pulls on the paddles... but it all felt "weird". I put it in the garage and called Josh.

He made a house call and we spent some time with the computer, exercising the E-gear actuator. It kept working properly, which was very frustrating - I didn't want to be driving the vehicle not knowing what the issue was, or when it might happen again... and then, suddenly, it all stopped. Instructing it to change gears, either through the paddles, or through the computer resulted in her simply ignoring us.

We then noticed that she had just logged a brake switch error...

When I first purchased the Murciélago I spent a bunch of time reading up on known issues. The main one that people were mentioning was the fact that the brake switch was a known weak point, and would suddenly die and leave the owner stranded. I purchased a spare brake switch, "just in case" and kept it in the trunk (this was the one and only emergency spare part I got). We tested that this was a problem by watching the brake sensor output in the computer - sometimes it would believe that the brake pedal was pushed when it wasn't, sometimes it would believe that the pedal was not pushed when it was.

Removing the old brake switch is easy - you climb into the driver's footwell, the brake switch is mounted on a bracket facing the brake lever. You remove the electrical connector, and then rotate the switch to remove it. 

IMG 0530 IMG 0531IMG 0532

Replacing the switch is significantly harder, at least until you know the tricks. The problem is that the front of the switch needs to go through the keyway in the bracket, and then rotate to lock in into place. There is an interlock that prevents the switch from rotating until the plunger is pressed and held in. After removing the  old switch, you might want to play with it to see how it locks, and how it turns.

Installing it is made tricky by the fact that you are lying on your back in the footwell, and need one hand to press in the brake pedal to move it out of the way. You need your other hand to press the switch in, and then your third hand to press the plunger. If you happen to not have been born with only two hands, you are kind of stuck at this point. The trick which I finally figured out was to start the engine. This provides vacuum assist, and allows you to move the pedal with your hand (or by resting your head on the pedal) and install the switch with only 2 hands  

This completely fixed the issue - we tested it on the Leonardo for a while, and I've taken her out for a number of great drives, all with perfect, crisp shifts.

I ended up disassembling the old switch to see how it worked, and more importantly, how it failed.

IMG 0533 IMG 0536 IMG 0539 IMG 0538


These show the disassembled brake switch. The pedal lever presses on the pin, which makes the blue plunger slide back. This slides over some cams, opening the contacts. It seems that, over time, the plunger wears down the plastic cams on the switch, leading to the contacts not fully opening / becoming intermittent. There are two sets of contacts, it sems that one is actually for detecting when the switch is pressed, and the second is a self test / monitoring pair. This all seems way over engineered.

Replacement switches are really cheap (around $12.00USD), and, in my opinion, worth keeping one in the car, just in case it fails while you are out on the road.

They are an Audi part (3B0945511C, these superceed 3B0945511B), and are used in various cars, including Lamborghini Murciélago, Gallardo Spyders, Superleggera, Audi A4, A5, A6 and VW Golf mk5.

Ricambi America has them here and BullStuff has them here.


Ferrari battery tender / charger cable

A number of people have shown interst in making their own Ferrari battery tender / CTEK charge apapter cables (or just buying one - contact me for details if you'd like -, and so I've decided to update this old post.

I recently replaced my F430 with a Ferrari 599GTB. I'd included the CTEK charger and adapter when I sold the 430, and so had to make a new cable.

Unsuprisingly it uses the same pinout, and shows the charger connected icon on the LCD.

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I ended up also making a few cables for some friends with Ferrari 458, here is a picture:


Seeing as I have now made a fair number of these cables, I figured it was worth making a test harness. I have now have access to a laser cutter / etcher and so made a pretty enclosure:

Charger cable test harnessFerrari charger connector test unitLaser etchers are fun!

More images:


Orginal page:

Ferraris don't much enjoy going out in the snow, and draw a fair amount when powered off. Low voltage conditions lead to all sorts of bizarre electronic gremlins including banks shutting down, weird ECU issues, corruption of the radio presents, check engine lights, etc. This means that keeping them connected to a battery tender when they will be sitting for a few weeks is a really good idea.

The Ferrari F430 comes with a special connector in the passenger footwell, specifically for connecting a tender. This is useful because it light up a "Charger Connected" icon on the dashboard, and prevents starting the vehicle with the charger connected. Unfortunately the new Ferrari chargers (actually rebranded CTEK ones) do not come with the special connector, and the pinout is not documented anyway. 

Initially I simply connected a charing pigtail directly to the battery, bypassing the builtin tender connector, but this lead to two issues:

  • I'd sometimes forget that the charger was connected, and start reversing with it still plugged in.
  • The fact that there was some functionality that I couldn't access made me annoyed!

So, eventually I decided that I had to figure out how to activate the charger connected lockout.

After some time figuring out and tracing the Ferrari wiring diagrams in the F430 workshop manual I was able to determine that the connector in the footwell really was a tender connection. Of course, it used some odd connector that I'd never seen before, and so I had to remove it to try and figure out both the connector, and, more importantly, the pinout.

The connector is made by Burndy (now part of Souriau) but finding exactly which one of the thousands of connectors that they make took a fair bit of time -- eventually found that it is part of the BANTAMATE II 5000 series, MBG4R1 for the female and MBG4P1 for the male. It uses the Souriau "Trim-Trio" contacts.

After a bit of tracing cables and fiddling with a multimeter I was fairly sure that Pin 2 has to be raised to +12V to activate the charger connected lockout. I built a cable with a few resistors (in case I was wrong I didn't want to draw too much current and kill the ECU) and a switch. I plugged it in, and flipped the switch. There was a reasonably loud click and the charger connected icon came on on the instrument cluster


I then took another CTEK cable, cut off the (crocodile clip) ends and crimped on the Trim-Trio contacts.

The Pinout is as follows:

  • PIN_1: +12V (charge)
  • PIN_2: +12V (sense)
  • PIN_3: Ground
  • PIN_4: Not connected.

Unfortunately the strain relief boots (MBG4S1) were backordered at Allied, Mouser and DigiKey and so the cable is not as pretty as it could be (eventually they came back in stock, but I couldn't be bothered to remove the pins to install it!).

Some photos of the completed cabe:

More photos in an album, here:




Murcielago Push Button Start

Adding push button start to a Lamborghini Murcielago.

The Murcielgo uses the same center console switch unit as the Gallardo, but only two of the three buttons do anything - the third simply sits there, taunting me. I really wanted the center switch to do something... anything... So, while she was put way for the winter, I decided to make the unused center button into an Engine Start / Stop button.


This is some info on the project.

IMG 0187IMG 0185
Center switches.

Having a big "?" on the center switch helped with the annoyance somewhat. For a while I considered replacing the (hand painted) "?" with "Ejector Seat", but wanted it to actually do something, so...

 IMG 0188IMG 0189

Center switch unit

IMG 0190IMG 0191

IMG 0192Marked up center switch
Disassembled center switch unit. Marked up with components.


As you can see from the final picture, the center switch unit is missing the center switch itself. I was hoping to be able to read the manufacturer and part number off one of the other switches without removing them from the baord, but no such luck, so I unsoldered the rightmost one, and... was still not able to find a manufacturer... After spending a large amount of time looking through online catalogs at DigiKey and Mouser and similar I finally found the correct switch at Jameco Electronics.
They are Omron B3E-1100-GREEN (or B3E-1100-RED), Jameco part number 2076287, available here. The board is also missing a surface mount green LEDs and two 470Ω SMT resistors for illumination. I had a bunch of LEDs around, but had run low on SMT resistors so I ordered some more as well. When I went to install them I discovered that the LEDs I had were 0603 package (and not 1206), but with a bit of careful soldering was able to make them reach.

IMG 0201IMG 0202
Soldered on switch, LEDs.

I was originally planning on having the middle button only perform the "crank" function (engage the starter motor); this would have been really simple, just hook the switch up to a relay and run wires to the back of the keylock unit... But, once I'd gotten this far into the project I decided I might as well go all the way and have the single button perform all the actions.

As there is only one button I had to get a bit creative with the interface. The first press of the button turns on Accessory (ACC) mode. The next press turns on Ignition (IGN). A third press turns everything off again. While Ignition is on, pressing and holding the button for more than one second cranks the motor. To keep things simple (and make it easier if anyone else wants to do this) I decided to do this with an Arduino.

IMG 0207IMG 0205
Prototype Arduino (extra LEDs for debugging) and relay board

I did the prototyping on a breadboard with a Boarduino (Arduino compatible) Kit w/ATmega328 from one of my favorite online places, Adafruit Indutries. There is no way that the Arduino will be able to switch the required current, so I built a little relay board with two relays, each with a snubber diode and a transistor to switch it. The only relays I had in stock were either quite small (like above) or really large, and needing 48v for the coil. I settled on the small ones, but their contacts are only rated for 2A @ 30V. After wasting an hour or so with this I looked online and found Amazon selling SainSmart 4-Channel Relay Modules for <$14 Prime. These have 4 relays rated at AC250V 10A, DC30V 10A, opto-isolators, indicator LEDs, etc and are designed to be driven by a microcontroller. I decided to just order these (and a bunch more for keeping in stock :-)) and play with the code instead.


[ MORE TO COME, Including Arduino source, relay info, STL for the buttons themselves, steering switch lock, etc. ]