My Merak isn't feeling very well.
Can you help? Please!
 

Any owner having a problem with their Maserati can send me details and I will publish these, together with any subsequent advice I receive, on this page.

Just drop me a line at maserati123@btopenworld.com

 
 

Harry in Canada writes:

"Hi Enrico,

Have been working on my Merak since I bought it last month. It is running well but I have a great deal of heat in the inside the car. It feels as if the heater is on all the time. I have removed the valve that shut off the water to the heater core and cleaned it up and inspected it and it is working fine. The last owner had the engine out and I was thinking it may be possible to switch the hoses by mistake. The air conditioning does not work at this time, it needs to be recharged. Also when I had the console off I noticed there is a opening direct to the engine bay at the back of the transmission tunnel. Do you have any ideas on this problem?

Thanks Harry."

 
 

Reply from Andy:

Re: Merak's thermal warming!


"The heater valve may work OK out of the car but they can bleed hot coolant through them. Only way to check if this is the problem is to clamp off the heater hoses and see if the problem persists. The opening to the rear of the trans tunnel is correct. Each aperture along the top of that tunnel into the cabin should however, be properly insulated.

Hope this helps,

Andy."

 
 
 
 

John in the UK writes:

"Hello again Enrico,

I intend to renew two rigid brake pipes on my Merak. Can I just disconnect the pipes as you would in a conventional braking system, or is there more to it than this? Does the system have to be de-pressurized and if so how do I do it? Andy described in great detail in a previous reply the procedure for bleeding the braking system, so I'm happy with that. What I don't fancy is a hydraulic shower bath!

All the best,

John."

 
 

Reply from Andy:

Re: Merak brake pipes!


"The hydraulic system only retains pressure through the accumulators. If they are in good condition then they may need a little de-pressurizing before you begin work. This is very simply achieved by sitting in the car and pumping the brake pedal with the engine switched off. Normally, thirty pumps will be enough and to speed things up, you can raise and lower the headlights at the same time. If your accumulators are not so good, or if the car has been left for a few days before you start work, then the chances are the system has de-pressurized itself anyway.

One slight word of warning about brake pipes. Not all the pipes are conventional sizes or flares and therefore you just need to pay special attention when dismantling to check what you have!

Hope this helps,

Andy."

 
 
 
 

Harry in Canada writes:

"Hi Enrico,

Sorry to bother you again. I did a compression test on my car today. It reads as follows.

142 plug has carbon.

143 plug has carbon.

152 plug is oily.

135 plug has carbon.

142 plug is a little oily.

137 plug a little oily.

The following was done with a teaspoon of oil in each cyl.

145.

150.

155.

145.

152.

??? lost oil funnel down behind engine lost patience.

I have a leak down tester and plan to use this also but I can't figure out how to get TDC on each piston, this car has electronic ignition and I am only familiar with the old points style.

Also to rotate the engine by hand I was going to jack up the rear end and put it in gear and turn the wheels by hand. Is this a acceptable method?

Any help on this will be appreciated.

Thanks Harry."

 
 

Reply from Andy:

Re: Smoking Merak!!


"The compressions you have don't sound too bad - you would expect them to be like this on a rebuild before running in and in 1000miles to have risen to around 160. If you have oily plugs though, then you do have a problem. What about the contents of the air box?????

To check further, do your cylinder leakage test. Easiest way to get TDC is to turn by hand (method you suggest is fine) and put your thumb over empty spark plug hole. If you feel a bit of pressure, you know you're in the right cycle. Then, put a welding rod down there or such like to obtain TDC.

Hope this helps,

Andy."

 
 
 
 

Harry in Canada writes:

"Hope you can help me.

I just bought a 1979 Merak SS. The engine has been rebuilt and has approx. 150 miles on it. It runs well and starts well, but it is putting out a fair amount of smoke. It starts fairly clean and gets worse as it heats up.

This engine may have sat for a while after its rebuild. I have not yet done a compression test but that will be done shortly. Is it possible that the crankcase venting into the intake runners have anything to do with this if it was reassembled incorrectly?

Some people say it may only need to be broken in but I think the oil consumption is far greater than that.

Any help you can give me would be great. The car is a US import.

Thanks Harry."

 
 

Reply from Andy:

Re: Smoking Merak!!


"The first thing I would do is lift the air box lid. If there is oil swilling around in there then the engine is breathing heavily. This would suggest broken piston rings. If however, all is clean, carry out a cylinder leakage test rather than compressions as this will give you a more accurate picture. The engine breather is located on the front of the block (not easy to get to) but is unlikely to be the cause of the problem.

It may be that the engine just needs some miles, but if the rebuild was good in the first place, it should not smoke!

Hope this helps,

Andy."

 
 
 
 

John in the UK writes:

"Hi Enrico,

Can you ask Phil where he bought his rotor arm for 35, as I was quoted 45 the other day?

Regards and thanks,

John."

 
 

Reply from Phil:

"Hi Enrico,

I have rung up and got another quote today, and I am happy to say that I was quoted &29.30 + VAT for a 2.8 rotor arm from Meriden Modena Ltd.

Phone 0044 (0)2380 283404

Kind regards,

Phil."

 
 
 
 

Julian in the UK writes:

"Dear Enrico,

Thanks for your help. Could you please tell me which model Volvo the Merak shares its distributor cap with please?

Julian."

 
 

Reply from Andy:

"I'm sorry, I've no idea which Volvo shares its distributor cap with a Merak (or words to that effect!).

Andy."

PS from Enrico: Andy has, however, offered the shirt off his back as an alternative!

 
 
 
 

Steve in the UK writes:

"Dear Enrico,

I have a problem I have been trying to solve for a while. I have snapped off the stalk that turns the lights on and off! I have a right hand drive car and the stalk is on the same side as the indicators. I believe it is a Vitaloni 745 (but not sure, just read this somewhere!) I can still raise and lower the lights with the main switch but cannot turn them on.

I believe that the switch has three settings on, main beam and off and clicks up and down to make the connections. It also has a push at the the end of the stalk which used to do the horn, but now does the widscreen wash (I think, never used it!) I have tried glueing it with resin, but it did not hold.

I have been quoted well over 1000 for a new switch. Is their any thing else I could use? Could I wire in another switch and if so what switch and where can I get it from? I am in the UK.

Sorry for the number of questions, but the MOT has run out and this problem is driving me crazy!!

Best wishes,

Steve."

 
 

Reply from Andy:

"You have three options.

1. to buy a new column stalk assembly at as you say, around 1000. Pretty but expensive.

2. To carry out a repair of current one. Possible but requiring enormous patience.

3. Fit a toggle switch under the dash and use this instead - cheap and a bodge. Normally, I'd go for two, especially if you can do it yourself.

Andy."

 
 
 
 

John in the UK writes:

"Hello again Enrico and Andy,

Thanks for your prompt reply. As soon as I received your explanation of the vacuum system for the air control flaps I went outside and altered the plumbing on the car. I started the engine and bingo! it worked, the flaps opened and closed.

Now the final question in this saga.

I have found three vacuum operated flaps. One in the tunnel that opens into the drivers footwell, one in the bulkhead at the extreme top rear portion of the n/s inner wing, and one let into the scuttle adjacent to the heater motor.

When the dashboard switch( valve ) is tipped to the right the footwell flap and the flap at the top of the n/s inner wing open. The one under the scuttle doesn't do anything Should this flap open with the other two?

Assuming that the central position for the dashboard switch is off, what is supposed to happen when the switch is tipped to the left? On my car nothing appears to happen at all. The aircon is not operational yet if it's somehow linked to that.

I bought my car last August through ********** of ***********. ********** has been very helpful in the time that I've owned the car. However, in spite of the fact fact that we both gave the car a thorough going over, both on and off the ramp, a fortnight after I got the car home I found a small hole in the n/s rear floor. Like Pinocchio's nose it grew and I have spent the last eight months making and fitting a complete new n/s floor and sills. Also a goodly portion of both front and rear inner wheel arches and the fuel tank bin. The bin incidentally I have made removable. What a job! This next winter I intend to remove the engine for a top overhaul at least. When it is accelerated hard, if I lift off the throttle and then open it again lots of blue smoke pours out of the back end, so I think the inlet guides are worn. Removing the engine will give me the opportunity to replace some of the tubular steel subframe, which looks a little suspect in places. Then I will have to repeat the floor saga on the drivers side!

And it will go on and on. But I should have a nice car in the end. So thank you both once again, without your help life with the Maser would be so much more difficult.

Best wishes,

John."

 
 

Reply from Andy:

"OK, you've finally got me - I don't know which flaps work with which switch position! I could work it out but would have to look at a car for that. I'll get round to it but it may take a while.

The structural work you describe is par for the course with Meraks - and also the valve guide wear!

No one said it was going to be easy...

Andy."

 
 
 
 
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