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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there a visual inspection method that will confirm if the cam variators have been updated? From all that I have read - there isn't, but I would like confirmation of this....thank you gang.
 

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Hi 12.
No unfortunately you have to remove the cam covers or speak to your local dealer to check through the Maserati network.
Regards


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No way to tell visually but a repair that big should be in the dealer system or with the paperwork with the car (My dealer didn't report anything to carfax though). Although its very non scientific, you should be able to see evidence of a job that big looking at the engine. You can tell when a bolt has been removed or parts came out. Clamps dont line up, panels are out of place, you can see paint scored where the bolts were initially, etc...

Also keep in mind that Variators do not affect all cars, its a common issue but its not every single one has the problem. There are many factors that can cause it and no one knows the exact sequence to cause or prevent it as far as I know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks FerMaMasterTech and Twintrbo for your feedback. In my QP search, I am still wavering between duoselect and auto. From what I've read, the auto cars seem to have a higher rate of variator issues. Since the costs of the variator repair is more than a clutch job - this pushed me more towards duoselect cars. However if I can determine the variator repair has been performed, then an automatic car may be best for my daily driver needs.
 

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Being that the valve cover gaskets and alternators are frequent maintenance items on these cars, unless you're closely inspecting the front cover bolts (behind the belt system), there's no real indicator that the service has been done. However, I'd be suspect of any car that has had a $8K-$10K service done and the previous owner failed to keep a record of it! If there's one receipt you're going to keep, it's that one.

I suspect that the concern is if you'll need it done during your ownership and if there's no startup noise, then I wouldn't sweat it.

Keep in mind that, at least for the daily drivers, replacement of the variators and re-machining the caps doesn't solve the problem forever on the wet sump cars. I know a lot of daily drivers now and I have seen the issue reappear even after dealer servicing, which included the one-way valves. You'll generally get 30K-50K miles on a set in my experience. Most people and techs will disagree but that's generally because very few owners will own their cars long enough to see that second service.

Another issue is with improper diagnosis. I have seen cars been diagnosed with bad variators due to a lifter tick! If you have a variator noise, YOU'LL KNOW IT.

Again, if it doesn't exhibit the noise, just relax and enjoy the car. Many people think the clutches and variators are the achilles heels of Maserati. I think it's the worrying about the potential problems that kills the experience.
 

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Personally I feel the auto drives much better.
I agree with TURBOs comments however I have completed a number of front cover oil leaks. This requires a very similar strip down to replace the variators.
Most of the replacements were carried out under warranty so dealers should have that information.
As I'm sure you're aware. Check for rattles from cold start.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Is it an absolute certainty that the wet sump cars will have variator issues at some point? Or are there some cars out there that have never had the issue? Sort of a roll of the dice...?
 

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From what I've read, the auto cars seem to have a higher rate of variator issues.
The reason for this is that the dry sump, DS cars have the check valve already installed that "fixes" the problem. I believe that changing the oil yearly(or whatever mileage is appropriate), driving it regularly, using the correct weight oil and revving the engine high enough to get good oil pressure while driving will help to keep problems away.

In looking at these cars for sale over the course of 3 years now, I notice a common thread/problem with them. They often fall out of capable hands and potentially suffer harmful neglect. For example, multiple owners in a few short years, being sold at dealer auctions, sitting on dealer lots for extended time periods. All of these conspire to cause problems in my opinion. So lets say owner #2 had it serviced and sold it. Owner #3 has it for 18 mo and only did 6K mi, he sells it off and it sits at a dealer for 4 months until they send it to auction. The purchasing dealer takes the car, a salesman uses it to run around and test drives are given. It finally sells after 6 more months and owner #4 gets it. At this point its driven about 7K mi and the oil hasn't been changed in way over 2 years! Now, either the dealer lies and says it was just changed or the new owner who buys it for $25K scoffs at a $400 change and decides it can wait a little bit longer. And so on and so forth......... Again these are just my opinions but it doesn't seem to far fetched does it?

As far as DS vs Auto, it really depends on how you will drive the car. I'm in NYC so I'm dealing with bumper to bumper traffic as well as parallel parking and maneuvering back and forth into my tight driveway and garage. It would absolutely 100% DESTROY the clutch on a DS car and is a poor match for how I'm going to use it. Ultimately, thats what it comes down to in making the decision. The DS is the back road choice and the Auto is the City Slicker, which suits your usage the best?
 

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Is it an absolute certainty that the wet sump cars will have variator issues at some point? Or are there some cars out there that have never had the issue? Sort of a roll of the dice...?
Yes, there are many cars which never suffered the problem and there are also some very well-maintained cars with ONE OWNER which suffered multiple issues.

One thing to keep in mind is that the dry sump variators are of a completely different style than the wet sump units. Both of these styles, when used in other vehicles, have had issues with roughly the same statistics. For example, the wet sump Maseratis share a similar VVT system design to the Ford F150 4.6s and 5.4s. Both have known issues, but not all of them do. The dry sump Maseratis share the same configuration as the F430s and older Alfa Romeos. The Alfas are notorious for their failure; the F430s never have the issue, although they actually share the same part number as on the dry sump QP!!

I have spent quite a bit of time trying to isolate and identify the underlying culprit to no avail. In other words, trying to figure out what can be done to prevent it. We all have our theories but the reality is that it's a difficult thing to predict and prevent.
 
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You can remove the oil filler cap on WS and check..The newer unit has a large clock spring on the front...Looks kinda like the inside of a Rolex...Jason
 

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JASON:
"You can remove the oil filler cap on WS and check..The newer unit has a large clock spring on the front...Looks kinda like the inside of a Rolex...Jason "

Wait what? Sorry I am lacking the context. Is this to determine if the engine has been updated which falls within the range of engine numbers that are affected? WS? I am not sure of the acronym. If I read your comment correctly you're saying that an updated engine (or an engine that has had the issue and was properly serviced to repair) will have some different oil cap? I am assuming the user serviceable cap on the engine/valve cover?

Thanks in advance.
 

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WS = wet sump. Wet sump cars include all Automatica's and include all GranTurismo's in the USA, whether automatic... or the sole year of available F1 trans...2009 Gran Turismo S MC Shift.
 

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There is no change of oil fill cap. Just removal of same + use of a flashlight will reveal a "clockspring" on the upgraded cars, at the front of the intake camshaft. There is also a model year, beyond which the "fix" was factory-done.
 

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Is there a visual inspection method that will confirm if the cam variators have been updated? From all that I have read - there isn't, but I would like confirmation of this....thank you gang.
If you run Mobil 1 full synthetic European car formula oil every year or 6k miles then the problem will stay away! My car has been great with no issues 2007 QP5 WS engine
 
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If you run Mobil 1 full synthetic European car formula oil every year or 6k miles then the problem will stay away! My car has been great with no issues 2007 QP5 WS engine
Oh Ok...lol...So your sample size of your extensive research is one car?
 
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