dealer. They put the guts of an LP640 Roadster on display and explained the inner working of the E-gear transmission to a small group of enthusiasts. Tom, the car’s owner and the organizer of Exotics @ Redmond Town Center, had noticed a very minor oil leak coming from the back half of his car.Nothing serious, just a few drips per month, but enough to spur the dealer into action. They received the go ahead from the home office to pull the engine and transmission to find the cause before it developed into a bigger, more expensive problem. Fortunately Tom is one of those exotic car owners who likes to share with others, so he organized the tech session and spread the word on a couple of local forums.
The leak was ultimately traced to two unrelated issues: a very slight
weeping from the rear main seal, and a more serious leak in the hydraulic clutch release bearing. The latter is part of the E-gear transmission and is the component that controls the engagement/disengagement of the clutch. It looks like a slightly larger version of the concentric setup I run on the Westfield, but uses a reference sensor affixed to the back of the block to monitor how much the release bearing has moved. A computer controls the hydraulics and determines the engagement/release point and speed based on various parameters including estimated clutch thickness, which is calculated using a wear rate algorithm. The latter uses clutch temperature cycles (duration and actual temperature) and apparently is quite accurate. This also means you can determine clutch life by simply plugging into the computer. Very slick.
My friends and I have an inside joke regarding Porsche maintenance.
Rather than cite the dollars spent on a specific repair, we refer to the cost in
Porsche Units (PU), where 1 PU equals $1000.I suppose a psychologist would call this a coping mechanism for the high prices, but I prefer to think of it as simply living in denial – a highly underrated place to live. While speaking with the Lamborghini tech we quickly concluded that one Lamborghini Unit equals at least 5 PU. For example the clutch release bearing is…$3800. The E-gear ECU is also $3800, and the clutch pack is almost a bargain at $6500. Shop time to remove and replace the engine/trans is 25 hours…and no, I don’t know what they charge per hour.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for all of us was the Lambo’s build quality. The areas normally visible to the casual observer looked great, but with the engine out, it was a different story. The LP640 uses superleggera construction, which is a fancy Italian way of saying it shares the same type of square tubing framework for its suspension and engine mounting points as you find in a Westfield. The difference though was in the aesthetic
quality of the welds. I’m sure they are very strong, but my God were they ugly and inconsistent. They truly looked like they were done by someone in an introductory welding class. It was also kind of odd to look at the suspension arms and again see something similar to the Westfield. They are welded up from oval and tubular stock, which given the low production, makes sense, but it doesn’t look like something I would expect to see on a $400k car. Again, the bottom line is how the parts work and I have no doubt they work together very, very well, but it was quite different from what you see when tearing apart a Porsche.Or dare I say, even a Westfield.
Anyway fascinating event and the Lamborghini dealership really must be commended for their part. They were very friendly, and even held a raffle towards the end that ensured nearly everyone in attendance took something home. One of my friends nabbed a radio controlled Murcielago (which he later discovered has electrical problems..just like the real thing?), another took home a wool hat branded Lamborghini, and I on a Lamborghini T-shirt. My other friend who attended didn’t bother to enter the raffle, so they gave him a Lamborghini branded ID/key neck strap as a parting gift. Everyone, including the other Lamborghini owners, was so nice that now I really want to buy a Lamborghini of my own. Of course want and able are two different things. ;-)