I have been a subscriber since I bought my 612 Scaglietti in 2013. Jesse [Westlake] is quite knowledgeable, so I am writing today to get his help. The button for the electric mirrors does not work. Is there any specialist that you know who can fix the part? The Ferrari dealer asks $2,000 for it! Any other options would be good to know. This reader brings up a very common issue on both the 612 Scaglietti and the 599 GTB?Fiorano. The mirror switch is commonly found broken, barely hanging on, and/or needing replacement. Normally, an interior plastic piece breaking isn’t a huge issue, but, as stated, Ferrari asks a mint for these switches. The reason is that Ferrari took the standard mirror switch used by former in-house stablemate Maserati and added a gorgeous, knurled-aluminum knob in place of the original black plastic one. The problem is that, while Maserati’s plastic knob weighs next to nothing, Ferrari’s machined billet version weighs too much for the tiny plastic joystick that supports it. The switch is nearly hidden behind the steering wheel, and the forces applied when the driver twists the knob to select the left or right mirror then pushes the joystick in the desired directions means they simply don’t last long in the real world. While it’s a common problem, there are few options to resolve it. The first is simply to buy a pricey replacement from Ferrari. The second is to head to your local Maserati dealer and purchase a mirror switch for one of its 2005-12 models. This switch is a direct replacement, but comes with that black plastic knob instead of the machined metal one. The third option involves a bit of extra work. After purchasing the Maserati switch, you will have to gently break/cut the knob away from the joystick, making sure to keep the latter intact. Next, transfer your car’s original metal knob over to the new switch and secure with glue. This is a very delicate process that is not guaranteed to work the first time, and it will eventually fail just like the original did—but in the meantime, you’ll have the correct factory look at a much lower price. Generally speaking, the 612 and 599 are getting to the age where their cockpits may need some freshening up. The infamous “sticky”?issue is common but straightforward, while other problems are more difficult to resolve.
Leather shrinkage/delamination is another very common issue. This happens most often at the front of the dashboard and around the third brake light trim on the rear parcel shelf, thanks to a combination of heat and sunlight through the glass and the difficulty of applying leather conditioner to the last four inches of the dash below the windshield. Watching the dashboard’s leather slowly peel away is a sad sight, and it’s important to know that the process can damage other items, including the solar sensor, alarm LED, and defroster vents. (I have seen defroster grilles break and become so far dislodged that they leave gooey marks on the windshield, which are nearly impossible to clean away.) These repairs get expensive, as we at San Francisco Motorsports have to remove the entire dash and send it out for leather restretching or replacement, send out all the sticky interior pieces for reconditioning, and replace any damaged upper-dash components. On the 599, if the rear area is peeling, parcel-shelf strips are sticky, or if the headliner is sagging, now is the time to take care of it all. In either car, I think the completed project is well worth the cost—it’s such a beautiful reward!
There are two other items of regular concern:?the steering wheel’s RPM lights and the 599’s radio cover. The RPM lights, an option on most modern Ferraris, are an embedded LED strip in the 12 o’clock position on a carbon-fiber steering-wheel rim. The LEDs start illuminating near the redline, right in the driver’s line of sight, so he or she can keep their eyes on the road and not have to look down at the tachometer to avoid over-revving. The lens that covers the LEDs tends to crack, and sometimes fall out, over time. Replacement LEDs are available, but it wasn’t too long ago that the only repair was to replace the steering wheel, which was as expensive as you’d expect. The 599 radio cover is neat, carbon-fiber piece with the Scuderia’s flags that presses closed over the radio. The cover itself is sturdy enough for the job, but one of its plastic gears, called a dumper, isn’t. While the dumper costs only around $15, replacing it requires multiple hours of labor, as you have to remove the center console, locate hidden bolts, and so on. While these problems sound potentially significant, I’m actually a huge fan of 599 and 612 interiors. While it can take a bit of a budget and some time, once refreshed they are truly stunning and timeless.
By Jesse Westlake
Owner, San Francisco Motorsports