8th September 2005 - From Miguel in Portugal
After a long (very long) time out, here am I sending you my greetings.
Almost two years since I wrote last time. Due to business I had to go to South Africa for some time (13 months!!).
Then I started a business, near Lisbon, a sales/showroom just for exotic Italian cars. So, my time is shorter now. But my experience with the Maseratis still goes "well".
I'm sure you remember that I own a 2.24v, wHich I love. Since I wrote last time a lot of things happened. One of them was really bad. I will not fully explain now, what happened, because it is a very long issue, but I beg you to give this advice to all Biturbo owners on your pages, that 2-litre engines up to 01/92, cannot, must not, use unleaded fuel.
Worst still if you use 100 octane fuel. Bad if use other level of octane. Maserati never explained or cared about this issue, and people like me who drive there cars, I still do 30,000 kms per year, end up suffering the consequences.
Even if you use additives the problem will happen!! When I used Shell V-Power 98 ron with Shell Millenium additive, the problem was there but it only showed after 40,000 kms or so. I know this because I did almost 220,000 kms with my 4.24v, and started to use unleaded fuel in the last 20,000 kms or so, then I sold the car.
Around 20,000 kms with the new owner, and the problems started.Cylinder heads out and broken exhaust valves. At first I thought, that the new owner did something very wrong. The car was not mine anymore how could I tell??
Now back to my 2.24v. At around 69,900 I started to use BP 100 Ultimate 100 ron, before I used Shell V-Power. The engine felt great with this new fuel.
Attention!! BP says that for older engines you just have to use an additive to use this fuel, I never missed one time.
And, this time I began using valvemaster (Castrol/BP). I'm sure BP didn't make all the studies and experiences with all the makes, and I'm also sure that the Maserati Biturbo engines were not amongst those tested.
At around 79,900 kms, I started to feel that my great engine lacked power.The the worst happened, number four cylinder was dead. Engine out, heads out and 2 badly broken exhaust valves, and 10 more almost broken.
After having spent EURO 5,000 and with the help of Carrozzeria Campana and my Maserati mechanic, the engine was again as new and I had all my power back. My mechanic, said that, he thought the problem was caused by the new BP fuel, and I replied that that couldn't be the case, because I always felt power and a very good engine. I know what a good engine, the Maserati engine is!! I preferred to think that during its first years, in Italy, some bad work had been carried out, maybe bad distribution (timing belt) or something else... causing the failure of the valves some kilometres later.
I didn't now the full history of my car, since I bought it with 39,900 kms on the clock, in Italy, with the correct papers and documents verifying the autenticity of mileage and and the work done.
For this wrong reason I still kept using BP Ultimate (100 ron). After 10,000 kms (89,900 kms), four months later, problems again. At first I didn't think it could possibly be a serious problem, so we carried out the usual checks the plugs, distributor, rotor arm, cables etc... A compression test was done, and the 5th cylinder was, you guessed it, dead!!
Engine out, 3 broken exhaust valves, 9 more to go, and this time the cylinder heads were cracked. All the spaces between the valve seats had microscopic cracks...
I found, two almost new heads for unleaded fuel, at David Askew's shop, great guy, I'm just waiting for BP latest statement on my case. Yes, after a long fight over several some months, they accepted my complaint. I had
gathered all the information needed and put my damaged engine at their disposal.
They didn't have a way to tell me that the fuel was not, what caused the problem. Also, they prefer to help me instead of seeing large photos of damaged heads and some writing explaining what happened, on one of Lisbon's great 'Aavenidas'.
This is just a "short" explanation of this issue. If you or any of your site visitors would like further explanation I'll be glad to give them.
Remember, that this BP Ultimate fuel is not a bad fuel, just not suited to our engines, and BP never advised that!!
Also, it is important to remember that my car is always in pristine condition, having never missed any maintenance work.
Finally, I'm at your disposal to help some owners with my experiences. For example, I think I can give good information to your Dutch visitor, Sal, that will help him to solve his fuse (I'm sure) problem, or any other
So, Enrico, feel free to give my e-mail or my mobile phone number to any desperate owner.
I know that you had some serious health problems, I hope everything is fine now.
Thanks a lot,
P.S. Here are some pictures of the first and last interventions. David Askew, now knows, why so many 2-litre engine owners in the UK, need new cylinder heads."