Forensics

I knew when I bought my car something unusual had happened to the rear suspension. While inspecting the car before purchase down in Maryland, I could see the rear left suspension mount had been repaired.

When I showed the repair to a Ferrari independent mechanic I sometimes use, he said he’d seen this repair before on 308s. He was pretty sure we’d find a crack on the underside of the shock mount. Sure enough, there was a crack that had been repaired. If the rear shocks see a large enough upward force, he said, they crack the top mount. Often this happens when the shock absorbers need replacing as the Konis can beomce quite hard and rigid at the end of their life. The car is straight and the rear geometry is fine so I noted it as a cosmetic issue that I’d address sometime down the road. I did not think too much about it again until now.

This week I was rooting around in the stash of old parts that came with car and I found a of severely mangled bracket. It was one of the brackets that holds the rear anti-roll bar to the chassis. It’s hard to see from the brackets current shape but it was originally semi-circular as shown below:

Ferrari 308 anti roll bar brackets
Good and bad anti-roll bar brackets

There were two damaged brackets: one bent a little like it had been flattened a little (presumably from the right side) and the one above that looks like it’s been hit with a sledgehammer… repeatedly (presumably from the left side). I think I found another clue to my suspension’s checkered past.

Damaged Ferrari 308 anti roll bar brackets
Damaged anti-roll bar brackets

Now while the front anti-roll bar is above the chassis floor and actually inside the bodywork of the car, the rear one is underneath the chassis… hung out back… pretty vulnerable if the wheels we pushed up really far!

Ferrari 308 anti roll bar mount
Ferrari 308 rear anti-roll bar mount (highlighted)

I think these brackets were damaged at the same time as the rear suspension mount cracked. Furthermore, under the ust and black paint, I can see a definite impact mark on the drivers side bracket where it hit a something hard and actually removed some of the metal of the bracket.

Impact damage on Ferrari 308 anti-roll bar
Impact damage on the anti-roll bar bracket

There does not appear to be any other damage to the (original) rear control arms or the chassis rails on that corner so I think the car was driven over something solid, around 6″ high that deflected the left rear wheel far enough up to crack the shock mount. The obstruction, presumably a rock or a curb, then went on to clout out the rear anti roll bar mount behind.

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