With the assembled and painted frame and the engine parts perfectly prepared, it is now time for the mechanical part. At the engine assembly we meet men who seem to be building models, which in our case are on a scale of 1:1.
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Now all the components are ready, it is time put them together to create the heart of our Ferrari: the engine. Visiting this part of the factory is like visiting a clockmaker in Geneva. There is a line that produces the eight-cylinder engines, towards which we are headed, and another for the 12-cylinder engines. From this moment, every productive detail of the vehicle is monitored. The engine is identified with a barcode and every operation is recorded electronically on an identity-type card.
Having mounted the engine block on an automatic support that will carry it up to final assembly, the lubrication oil jets and the crankshaft are fitted. Then, with the aid of a sleeve, the pistons. There are manual operations that enable us to feel the excitement of contributing personally. piece by piece the engine takes shape.
The quality system, with the electronic support reading off the engine card,assists the operators. Since the engines mounted on the line are different, if the selected component – for instance a valve spring – is wrong a red light and an alarm immediately signal the error.
One of the most delicate operations of the engine assembly is setting the valve timing. With the timing adjusters loose the camshafts are positioned correctly. A further manual check is carried out on the 458 engine with the manual comparator.
Plugs, coils (one per cylinder, as in Formula One), expansion chambers and cabling are fitted and the engine goes to the test bench. After a running-in phase, when we enter the great hall of the bodyshop, designed by award-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the sensation is like being in a cathedral the torque and power curve up to 5000rpm is carried out. If any anomalies are encountered (the percentage of cases is 2 in 1000), it is returned to assembly to check for the cause. Once the checks are completed, the engine is attached to the gearbox and differential unit and sent for final assembly. Tomorrow morning we will find it where it should be on the line.
To be continued…