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Well, I've been lurking here for years and have enjoyed everyone's advice and tips. The free solutions are SO much better than the 10k solutions! And I loved breaking out a calculator to look for the square root of 3 to two decimal places while conducting searches. Anyway, I've reached a stumbling block and decided to dive in and ask for help. Here's the deal:

First, history. I bought Betty, a 2004, in 2007 from Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo in Portland, OR. She had 24k miles and was in great shape. I know that's more than some, but she was a lease that was traded in for a Quattroporté and still had some warranty left, so I raped the dealer on the price and got what I wanted. I'd been researching these cars for about a year from Iraq, and knew what I was possibly getting into in terms of maintenance, but had a good feeling about this one. She had a few repairs while under warranty: airflow meter, coolant temp sensor, evaporator pump. She sat in my mom's garage while I finished the rest of my 15 months down range, and then I left for Germany and had her sent over to be with me.

She was a BEAST on the autobahn!!! Mercs and Beamers are like Fords and Chevys over there, and there was nothing more satisfying than blowing their doors off from the left lane. Of course, I got mine blown off by an F430 once, but such a thing is to be expected. Maserati owners go for power and comfort. Ferrari owners go for power and that horse. Autohaus Gohm, a Maserati and Ferrari dealership and service center was near me, so it was the prime location. They had little to do but a set of Pilot Sport IIs, a battery, handbrake adjustments, some Shell Helix Ultra 10W-60 every now and then (at 24.95 Euro per liter/labor 99 Euro per hour), brake pads, driver's window regulator, an air filter, and periodic scheduled service. Diagnostic report from 2009 said her clutch was still at 45%. Betty lived in the garage over the winter as German snow/salt are no joke, and there she began leaking 10W-60 on the ground like a true paesan. At the dawning of spring, I took her in and found she needed a new head gasket. 1.5K Euro seemed like chump change considering that there was no actual problem to cause the head gasket fault (no cylinder issues, etc.) I went back to the states, Virginia this time, in April of this year, and Betty joined me in May.

Now for the present: Betty misses the autobahn, but has been behaving like a champ, until recently. She's been having fun blowing the hoods off of raggedy-ass M3s who think they're something on I-95 and start acting like they want to race, and generally smoking everyone at any light who cares to look over and rev their engine. Acceleration is off the hook! Anyway, she turned 50k last week, and with no wood to knock on, I had to settle for aluminum. This may have been my downfall. Now at 50,100 she's scaring me. I drove her about 45 mins to take a look at a Land Rover (like I said, I have to have something else for the winter) and she was just fine. On Monday, a friend and I hopped in to pick up the Land Rover. He was anxious to see what she could do. Driving down a state road, I ran her through 1st and 2nd letting the engine roar as only a Mas can do- angry, yet still elegant. When I hit the paddle for 3rd (I STAY in SPORT and I NEVER use auto- that button is off limits), she started bogging down, reved up to around 3-3.5k, and then dropped into 5th, requiring a massive throttle stomp to keep up momentum. She did this the entire way down, sat for 30mins while I did the paperwork, and did it the whole way back. When I got her home, she wouldn't grab R. Stopped with brake depressed, I hold the T-handle back and hear cycling and clicking from the CC at .75 second intervals about 3-4 times as though it's trying to engage, but then says "screw it" and goes to N. I did a U-turn and parked her nose-in and waited for morning and read this forum.

What I've done: I tried the battery reset, and might try again. Nothing changed, except somehow she managed to find reverse after a slight struggle, so I got her into her spot the proper way. That was the last time she's seen reverse since. The F1 pump cycles as it should for the length it should during unlocking and when opening the driver's door. I found the CC manual online to find where the F1 relays are located, but not being very experienced in proctology, I haven't reached far enough into her ass yet to pull it out and have a look. The CC light is not on, nor is any other fault. The CC light bulb is good as it's come on periodically before as others have described, mainly on hot days on the Autobahn where racing is suddenly turned to an hour of stop/go, but always turned itself off. It came on briefly a couple weeks ago on an especially hot day at a stop light, but turned off before the light changed.

So what do y'all think? Is it time to finally drop that 5k on a clutch? Is there something I can try in the meanwhile? I'm certainly not in a hurry to drop 5k unless I absolutely have to. I'm going to try the F1 relay a bit later- what am I looking for? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Thanks Travis and William! Betty Potter, anyone?

I forgot to mention that after reaching 5th and gunning it to keep from being rear-ended by the close-following jerks of the DC area, it is entirely possible to double click down to third, then choose between 3, 4, 5, and 6 both up and down without issue. However, if I have to go down to 2nd, the only upshift it will do is into 5th. In the Fatherland I made it a habit to skip one gear (6-4 or 5-3) for some quick passing, squeezing through gaps, etc. but never imagined a situation where skipping 2 on the way up would be a good idea.
 

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Enjoyed your first post and glad you are back safe from Iraq. Sounds like a great experience with Betty on the autobahn. I don't have the knowledge of many of the forum members here, but certainly sounds like it's time for a new clutch. If you got 50k out of the original clutch you did better than most.
 

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Thanks Travis and William! Betty Potter, anyone?

I forgot to mention that after reaching 5th and gunning it to keep from being rear-ended by the close-following jerks of the DC area, it is entirely possible to double click down to third, then choose between 3, 4, 5, and 6 both up and down without issue. However, if I have to go down to 2nd, the only upshift it will do is into 5th. In the Fatherland I made it a habit to skip one gear (6-4 or 5-3) for some quick passing, squeezing through gaps, etc. but never imagined a situation where skipping 2 on the way up would be a good idea.
Two gears down takes you past most cars on the road..... do it all the time.

Read the post about the test drive where the salesman threw the car into reverse at 90mph to prove the transmission had a brain and was 'idiot proof'.

He did it again into 1st at some high speed.......... nothing.... the car just does what it does.

I wish I could find that post.....
 

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.......Read the post about the test drive where the salesman threw the car into reverse at 90mph to prove the transmission had a brain and was 'idiot proof'.

He did it again into 1st at some high speed.......... nothing.... the car just does what it does.

I wish I could find that post.....
Man, its mandatory u find that post :bearhug:
 

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Great post!!! I've enjoy every word of it besides the fact that your car needs a new clutch... Ouch... but with 50 K and it looks like it is the original, you were more than lucky.
BTW, welcome aboard.
 

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Great post. I agree with others that your problem is very likely your clutch. Sounds like you got a lot of enjoyment out of this one!
 

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Two gears down takes you past most cars on the road..... do it all the time.

Read the post about the test drive where the salesman threw the car into reverse at 90mph to prove the transmission had a brain and was 'idiot proof'.

He did it again into 1st at some high speed.......... nothing.... the car just does what it does.

I wish I could find that post.....

Does anybody else remeber that post?
And might be able to help me find it?
 

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Thanks for the welcomes and feedback everyone! I did indeed get a lot of enjoyment out of that clutch, and count myself among the lucky that it lasted so long! Even if it had been changed before I bought the car, I got more miles out of it than some. If it hadn't, I certainly did! Like others here, I always use manual and I always have it in sport. I hate the way auto tries to keep the RPMs so low. 5th gear is a little extreme for 35-40mph in my book. I'd rather have the RPMs a bit higher so I know there will be an instant response if I have to hit the gas.

That post sounds really interesting! My dealer explained something similar about the brain, but stopped short of grabbing the t-handle. I believed him after witnessing a couple of automatic shifts though I was in manual mode.

Anyway, good luck to me and my new clutch. This forum prepared me so I won't feel shocked when I ask for quotes from the NoVA Maserati shops...
 

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Be sure to check with Josh at ECSof Virginia. He works with the cars of many on this Forum. He is a sponsor and located in Sterling Va.
 
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