'Maserati Thoughts' from Miguel in Portugal
"Carissimi Amici Maseratisti,
I've been a regular 24v engine "runner", for the last 4 years. A lot of things happened, a lot of different noises, different performances and you bet, different car moods!!
From my experience, more than 250.000 kms, I retain one idea, this are near perfect engines.
Yes, they need special care and attention. Remember, special engines allways need special treatment!
For what I learn, I absolutelly recommend a daily watch at the engine bay. It is allways a pleasure to look at. Check the different liquid levels, hoses connections... most important all the relay's contacts.
Most engine malfuctions happen because of poor electrics, dirt, corrosion etc... Remember, you can cure cancer by anticipating its signs. i'm sorry for the shocking example, but it suits perfectly.
If something happened and you think it is not normal, don't do anything you are not sure to work perfectly!! These cars as for all Maseratis, are for people who know high performance cars, how they work and how they should perform by original status.
You have internet sites, like Enrico's, that can help you with important tips.
Always look for professional help, Maserati dealers in first place. Nothing is cheap here, you should know that. But if you are one of those, who are counting the euros or pounds (you English!!??...) at the end of the month, to pay the boat dock at the local marina, don't buy a Maserati, please! I think you got the picture. Those who are, don't get me wrong, but please don't buy!!
One of major factors to look at, is the quality of the oil you use. This is, perhaps, a controversial matter, but from my experience, I would recommend only the Agip Sint 2000, no, they didn't pay me. You know, it's like that "suit that was made for you",... just for you. the twin IHI turbos will thank you.
When first starting the cold engine, always wait 4 or 5 minutes to let it flow, the oil of course. As the water temperature rises to 70°, you can go smoothly, never take it above the 3000 rpm. when it is on top of the 85° or 90° you can goooo!!! and enjoy that wonderful sound and grip.
If you use a ZF gearbox (dog leg), it takes a little bit more time to work perfectly, but once up to temperature, it is great. The Getrag is a bit noisy but wonderful anyway. Always press the clutch pedal to the floor.
I' m the proud owner of a 1990 4.24v and a last series 91 2.24v. The 4.24v still is with the original clutch, 180.000 kms!! Yet no signs of damage. The 2.24v has only 40.000 kms.
Use the cars, worst that badly used is not use them at all. Operate the windows frequently, press the air conditioning buttons, even in the winter, operate the seats mechanism, front, back, up, down, operate the sun roof, if you have one...
never neglect the intervention intervals.
Most important is to change the oils, spark plugs, air and oil filters, basic isn't it? Always look for corrosion around the battery and poor connections to earth, as well as dirt in the alternator surroundings. Poor running can occure because of wrong voltage.
The pointer in the voltimeter should always be on the 15 volts with the car going. From my experience, most wrong boost causes have the voltage principle - wrong voltage means bad calculator (ECU) information, therefore mis-fires can occure - so check the battery and all the connected cables.
Clean your car frequently and always dry it. It is important to care what you see but it is more important to care what you don't see. All the rubbers and bushes... wheels and brakes...
Never change the wheels alligment, castor and camber angles. It is perfect, for perfect handling in the way it comes from the factory.
This is my daily care as owner and daily user of Maserati, they are in my blood, I could tell you of intense pleasure will driving them, hours and hours... respect them and they wiil respect you, like your dog, parrot what else...
Finally, I'm informing you that next year I will marry... the honeymoon will be around Europe driving the 2.24v and a visit to the Maserati factory will be the highlight.
Following up on my previous e-mail, just a note, to inform you of something that happened a few days ago, while driving my 2.24v.
While driving I noticed that the indicator, on the selector of the suspension mode, was red.
By the way, as you probably know, with the red light on, you donīt "have suspension at all", i.e., it works, you can handle it, but in very soft dumping. For a non Maseratisti, I'm sure it was the end of the world, but for you that have care and attention, try to think and act softly.
In my case, with just 41.000kms, and always carefully driven, I suspected that the shock absorbers were not the problem.
But, anyway, I stopped and did a first test. I opened the "bonnet" and disconnected the left shock absorber cable, gently, the red light was still on, if it was the problem, once disconnected, the light should be off. Then the right one, the same thing happened.
This system, is made by Koni, and it self-eliminate the problem once you discover the cause, i.e., in this case I disconnected the four shock absorbers, one after the other, and the light was still on. For the rear shocks, you must take out the back seat completely. By the way this is an easy job.
At this time, I can inform you, that this system is all easy located. It is just behind the central air conducts, you can reach the electronic processor, removing the glove box. It is a black box with a white sticker saying "inspected", and it is fixed by two screws. From this box you have 6 connections, four are for the shock absorbers, another one is for positive and negative connections, red and black, i.e., power. The final is a "female" connector that goes to a "male" connector, that goes to the tactil selector near the gear shift. Of course, if you disconnect the power, the light goes out, i.e., everything is off!!
So, by excluding the parts, I was getting the cause. With the glove box removed, I reached the fuse box and took the related fuse out, the light was off, but once the fuse in place, the light was red again, so the problem was not the fuse box. I finally reached the cause/s of the problem/s, it was the processor or the female/male connector. With care I took the processor out, I opened it and saw, to my surprise, that it is a very easy to fix electronic system. Attention!! This is a job that must be done with "love", and you must have some electric/electronic background... if you don't have, don't touch it. Simply don't do anything!! Find someone with skills in this field.
Of course by know, I was at home, the only thing I did when stopped on the highway parking, was to disconnect the front shocks. Then I drove back home and started the work.
Back to the processor. With a strong light and the appropriate tools, I reinforced all the contacts with a soldering iron, very carfully, being sure not to damage anything, leaving no trace, at all. To my surprise, when installing the box
in it's place, with the all the connections complete, the light became... you guessed it, redddd!!
Now, I was bored. But then... I looked to that beautiful red Maserati, and forgave "her" everything. All those hours of intense pleasure... nah!
there remained one final thing to look for and the impossible happened, remember the female/male connection? it is the stronger of them all, at least it looks like it is, but it is not!!
I noticed that the contacts are poor inside the connectors. The "males" don't fit the "females" correctly. The problem here is that you cannot do much, but I did! With a needle I, very slightly, opened the male contacts, with the female contacts you can't do anything, therefore a stronger connection was achieved. Finaly, I immobilized the connected connector, with
a plastic brace in a very solid way under the dashboard and I solved the problem!!
This is the typical, frequent, "problem", in the Maserati family. but as you see, 3 hours later, no problem at all.
So for you Maseratisti, don't stress, be patient, this time the fault was not of the "poor" Italians, it was the Dutch!!
As a final note, I would like to tell you that, these Koni shock absorbers are great, they don't forgive bad treatment, but probably, nor your woman or girlfriend do... but in my personal case, with my other 180,000kms, 1990, 4.24v, I still have the originals!!! With only a, Lisbon, Koni technician intervention at around 112,000kms, just to put new rings and oil. Yes these
shocks are for life!!!
If cared, just like everything in your, do it yourself, almost, everything, Maserati.
I hope this experience, helps some desperate minds...