Ferrari 360 Spider Roof Problems

I was at Total Performance the other other day talking to the proprietor Ed and one of the topics that came up was the roof fitted to the 360 spider.  Ed was telling me how he had been to the factory in Maranello to train on the repairing the roof when the spider first came out.  By all accounts replacing the fabric cover is not for the faint hearted!

There are two common failures with the roof – the first is the wire cables stretching (I will cover this topic in another post).  The second is a pair of small innocuous pieces of elastic fitted between the canvas cover and the headlining.  These pieces of elastic keep the roof fabric and centre bar tensioned whilst the roof is being operated.  Over the years the elastic stretches and allows the centre bar to foul as the roof is opened and closed.  This usually manifests itself as difficulty in folding into the cover – human assistance can be used to complete the operation.  If the elastic fails to a greater extent then the roof will foul on itself – at best this will knock the micro switches out and at worst snap one of the expensive magnesium frame components.

Here’s a picture showingthe one side of the elastic (highlighted in red) and the centre bar (arrowed).  The picture is taken from the workshop manual (available on my data disc) and is shown with the canvas cover removed.


The good news is that it is incredibly easy and cheap to replace this piece of elastic.  As it happened, shortly after talking to Ed about the roof I was contacted by a gentleman with this exact same problem – his roof would only close if the cover was pushed down by hand.  I relayed the above information to him and told him access could be gained by stopping the roof mid-cycle.  A couple of days later he emailed me to say he had replaced the elastic and it was now working perfectly.  The old elastic was snipped off and new pieces sewn in.

Here’s a picture he sent me of the roof partly open showing the access to the elastic. He also replaced another band on each side that is about 6″ behind this band in the picture (it is too far in to get a picture). This was more challenging but reachable with some tugging and positioning of the roof.

Roof Access

Here’s the elastic he bought – 1″ wide from a local fabric store:


And here’s a gratuitous picture of his very nice spider…


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11 thoughts on “Ferrari 360 Spider Roof Problems

  1. Do you have any details pertaining to the disassembly/assembly of the canvas top in order to access and repair the elastic fabric strips?

    1. Hi John,

      You don’t need to take the roof apart. Stop the roof part the way through the cycle and you will be able to access them. Please remember to take the keys out of the ignition before putting your hands in the roof – that way there’s no chance of the roof moving and trapping you.



  2. Hi There,

    Thanks for your help the other day with the cylinder numbering. Bizarrely the leads to the Coil packs are numbered but have a different numbering to that which is posted online. EG they go:

    8 1
    7 2
    6 3
    5 4

    I was wondering if you are able to suggest the correct length of elastic for the roof? I think I need to replace or add to the existing as the roof is not quite opening right without help. I presume the one in place is stretched and therefore too long but if I put a new one in that is too short I will be adding too much tension.



    1. I’ve never replaced the elastic myself so really couldn’t say – sorry.

      This whole topic needs more info so if anyone out there has done this job please get in touch!

  3. Hi, thank you for all your informative information! I have a 2003 360 Spider with the broken or stretched out cables that will not allow the canvas 45 degree “wings” to pull tight and water can easily enter from rear area of the top. I have been quoted $2K USD to fix and wanted to know if you have ever fixed these before? Thank you for your reply.


    1. Hi Mark,

      There are quite a few cables in the roof – which ones are you referring to? If you give me the part number I can tell you how long it should take and how the procedure goes.



    1. Hi Mark,

      If it is part number 66375800 (number 9 in the diagram below) then the book time is 1.3 hours per side. That is for someone who has done the job before and sadly techs that are experienced and/or factory trained on the 360 roof are few and far between.

      Ferrari 360 Roof

      I don't really like to get involved with repairing the convertible top as it is best left to those who know what they are doing!


  4. Aldous,

    You are the Man! Thank you for your info. I looked at those cables with the top partially retracted and see that it goes through the canvas on both sides like in the diagram. I was told 12 hours to replace them by a Ferrari dealer in S. Florida. I guess they are not familiar with replacing them either hence the markup! With this diagram you sent me, I will see if I can find a convertible top repair shop that might be able to replace the cables for me.



    1. Hi Mark,

      I think your best bet is to get a convertible top specialist (as you say). Sadly, many franchised dealers are only staffed with techs trained on the current models so trouble shooting less common problems can become expensive for both parties.

      Please keep us updated on how you get on.


      1. Hi Aldous,

        After finding a 430 spider top service manual, I was able to investigate and find where the upper fin tension cables where located and how to access them. I was very lucky to find that only the ring terminal connected to the spring on both sides pulled apart and separated. I was able to drill a small 5/64 (2mm) hole on the remaining stud portion of the ring terminals and clip back to the springs. What a nice sight to see those fins pull tight again! Thanks for your help and saving me $2k in the process!



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