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Discussion Starter #1
New to this forum, thought I have good information to share.

So, I have this nice and beautiful 2008 QP Automatica with 60k miles.

Suddently, it started having this ugly engine rattle ALL THE TIME, it was NOT only when starting, it was most of the time, when you rev it up it would make the rattle when the revs come down to idle. Driving on highway speeds? Rattle is there for you to enjoy.

Also, flashing Check Engine Light, misfire, jerkiness, etc. A complete mess.

Took the car to Ferrari Maserati of Central Florida, they said the obvious "Needs a cam variators job", I walked out of the dealer with a heavy piece of paper saying I should pay them at least $7.600 to have my car back in good shape. I say at least because they said that if the cam has suffered damage, then they would also need replacement.

The dealer also said that if my Check engine light is flashing, most likely means that there's damage to the intake valves... All of this on Christmas Eve, great right?!

Drove the car home, and started thinking and reading online, my symptoms are not exactly as everyone else's and I don't believe that I have valve damage since the car sometimes idles perfect and revs up perfect. Valve damage is something that will be permanent. I grabbed a nice Autel scanner and read the codes, I got Misfire on Cylinders 1, 2, 3, 4 and code P1013 "Intake Camshaft and RH Main Bearing Camshaft Correlation Signal (No signal). This led me to believe the problem was only on the passenger side engine head (Cylinders 1, 2, 3, 4 according to Ferrari F430 Firing Order).

I know I read somewhere that you can disconnect the solenoid and the car will use default values to manage the variator, so I did, and guess what? Every single symptom is completely gone, my car is back to life, now that's a Christmas gift.

I'll order the solenoids, part number 296016 from Maserati this week and install them myself, I'll be replacing both anyway.

This doesn't mean I wont face the variator issue in the future, but as of now, I'm happy its not that and I will change the oil every 5k miles to try to prevent that to happen.

So don't always say Amen to what the dealer says. Forums are a fantastic source of information also.
 

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All these stories of very poor (maybe even intentional) diagnostics from the dealerships must really hurt their business. Good thinking on your part not to blindly believe their story!

David
 

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So glad you found a quick fix and especially on X-mas!!

That's really unfortunate about that dealer experience. The guy I bought my 07 from when through a similar experience with Kerbeck Maserati in NJ. They told him he needed an alternator/battery. Took it to Main Line Maserati who found a loose connection at the fuse panel.

I never mind high price as long as it comes with outstanding service and expertise. You should send a letter/email to the owner. As a business owner myself and provided he/she isn't a total thief, they would probably like to be informed about incompetence to that extent.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So glad you found a quick fix and especially on X-mas!!

That's really unfortunate about that dealer experience. The guy I bought my 07 from when through a similar experience with Kerbeck Maserati in NJ. They told him he needed an alternator/battery. Took it to Main Line Maserati who found a loose connection at the fuse panel.

I never mind high price as long as it comes with outstanding service and expertise. You should send a letter/email to the owner. As a business owner myself and provided he/she isn't a total thief, they would probably like to be informed about incompetence to that extent.


Yes, I will be sending them an email and will also give them a call tomorrow. I believe they should do an extra effort in the diagnosis of such an expensive repair. Specially for the 180$ paid for the diagnosis. (Yes, they refund that if you do the job with them)

But the sad thing is that it doesn't end there, I called Maserati of Fort Lauderdale and after a brief explanation of the symptoms the service advisor shouted on the phone "It is 100% in need of a variators replacement", their quote? $8.760 and 3 weeks lead time. Absurd.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Quick update, been driving the entire day (About 250 miles) with the right solenoid disconnected and the car behaves flawlessly. No issues whatsoever.
 
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Guys, let me give you another perspective of looking at this and I`m not defending the dealer in the least...The dealer puts just the solenoids in the car and 45 days later the variators start making noise..Then they have to go back and forth with the customer and may end up having to do them for free...Were as we already know the cars have problems with the variators and replacing them includes the solenoids as well so now you know the car isn`t coming back...The dealer is quite aware of their liability when repairing stuff and your generally gonna get everything there...regards....Jason
 

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That is true, however the dealership always have the option of clearly in writing to explain that this issue may be temporary fixed by doing x and x work but we recommend doing the full x repair as we believe this will be needed in nearest future anyway.
 

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Guys, let me give you another perspective of looking at this and I`m not defending the dealer in the least...The dealer puts just the solenoids in the car and 45 days later the variators start making noise..Then they have to go back and forth with the customer and may end up having to do them for free...Were as we already know the cars have problems with the variators and replacing them includes the solenoids as well so now you know the car isn`t coming back...The dealer is quite aware of their liability when repairing stuff and your generally gonna get everything there...regards....Jason

Guys, let me give you another perspective of looking at this and I`m not defending the dealer in the least...The dealer puts just the solenoids in the car and 45 days later the variators start making noise..Then they have to go back and forth with the customer and may end up having to do them for free...Were as we already know the cars have problems with the variators and replacing them includes the solenoids as well so now you know the car isn`t coming back...The dealer is quite aware of their liability when repairing stuff and your generally gonna get everything there...regards....Jason

Or the dealer may also explain to the customer beforehand what may happen in the future, because reading on a italian forum, found a few people that replaced the solenoids only and were good for the car's lifetime on the variators.

I also own a car repair shop in Orlando, but I only work with Mercedes and BMW, totally different animals and special timing tools can almost be bought at walmart. When I have a similar situation on these vehicles I clearly explain the customer what may happen later, because cheating the customer into a problem that he doesn't currently have in order to prevent a hassle in the future sounds unethical to me.
 
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Like I said it was a different perspective and not exactly how I would do it...As a small shop I have a large degree of flexibility that a dealership may not...I simply threw it out there to maybe explain their thought process on it...I have replaced several solenoids for the problems you describe....Jason
 

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Hold on. Don't celebrate yet. Disconnecting the solenoid is not an accurate way of verifying the problem. If you have a bad variator, disconnecting the solenoid will eliminate the noise in many cases anyway. This is because the solenoid only tells the variator when to advance. If, at the programmed RPM, the solenoid forces oil into a variator that is bad and can no longer hold pressure, you'll get the rattle because the variator doesn't move fully into position. That problem can reside on the solenoid or the variator side. Disconnecting the solenoid will simply leave the variator in it's de-advanced stage during the entire power curve. That's why it doesn't rattle.

This is the easy way to explain it. Technically, on startup and during pre-3k RPM (roughly) is actually the advanced stage, which is why it rattles on startup and during falling RPMs. Disconnecting the solenoid keeps it in its natural "de-advanced" position, which it should hold, regardless of oil pressure, however running it this way will rob you of lots of low-end torque.

One interesting trick though is to replace the small brass variator oil filters located between the camshafts on each bank. I have spoken to techs who replaced the $10 parts with new and the variators perform as new following replacement!

***important note - I am not sure if the wet-sump units have the filters, but I am sure the dry sumps do.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hold on. Don't celebrate yet. Disconnecting the solenoid is not an accurate way of verifying the problem. If you have a bad variator, disconnecting the solenoid will eliminate the noise in many cases anyway. This is because the solenoid only tells the variator when to advance. If, at the programmed RPM, the solenoid forces oil into a variator that is bad and can no longer hold pressure, you'll get the rattle because the variator doesn't move fully into position. That problem can reside on the solenoid or the variator side. Disconnecting the solenoid will simply leave the variator in it's de-advanced stage during the entire power curve. That's why it doesn't rattle.

This is the easy way to explain it. Technically, on startup and during pre-3k RPM (roughly) is actually the advanced stage, which is why it rattles on startup and during falling RPMs. Disconnecting the solenoid keeps it in its natural "de-advanced" position, which it should hold, regardless of oil pressure, however running it this way will rob you of lots of low-end torque.

One interesting trick though is to replace the small brass variator oil filters located between the camshafts on each bank. I have spoken to techs who replaced the $10 parts with new and the variators perform as new following replacement!

***important note - I am not sure if the wet-sump units have the filters, but I am sure the dry sumps do.

I guess I'll tell later when I replace the solenoids. or I won't, because I'm actually planning on replacing the variators once I'm there anyway, I probably won't send the caps to get the check valve (still undecided, pending on a call back from Maserati to check the cost). The thing is, I've seen several images from these timing chains and I don't really think it would be too complicated to replace only the variators without losing the timing on the engine.

At this point, if replacing the variators takes me the 'guessed by me' 18 hours of labor, this is something I could do every 50k miles without a problem, it probably takes me a lot less the second time. The car has now 60k miles
 

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I guess I'll tell later when I replace the solenoids. or I won't, because I'm actually planning on replacing the variators once I'm there anyway, I probably won't send the caps to get the check valve (still undecided, pending on a call back from Maserati to check the cost). The thing is, I've seen several images from these timing chains and I don't really think it would be too complicated to replace only the variators without losing the timing on the engine.

At this point, if replacing the variators takes me the 'guessed by me' 18 hours of labor, this is something I could do every 50k miles without a problem, it probably takes me a lot less the second time. The car has now 60k miles
I would definitely have the machining done, if it hasn't been done already. It doesn't solve the problem, but it may extend the time between failures. The machining service is available from a few places but I hear only one is authorized by Maserati and it's only a few hundred dollars.

As for re-timing, I have heard mixed responses on this subject. One dealer said there is no re-timing necessary if you mark and lock your cams, sprockets and chain. Another told me "the whole thing needs re-timed."

Also, you are lucky that you have a wet-sump car, if you're doing this yourself. The parts are much less expensive than the dry-sumps.

Regardless, keep us posted on your repair progress. This topic has been discussed at length for a while on this forum and has been known as the achilles heel of these otherwise wonderful machines.
 

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Furthermore, I am very disappointed in Maserati CF for suggesting that your valves are damaged. Who told you that? The service adviser?

I do, however recommend ordering your parts from MCF, since they are the least expensive of the dealers. The markup varies considerably depending on where you go and they don't gouge. Plus, the distributing center is in Orlando for all SE dealers so they can get parts same-day. Talk to Norm over there - he will help you out.
 
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Your gonna want to have the check valves installed to the job properly...TEMperformance.com...cost is 400.00....Once you install the updated parts and check valves it will be fixed for good..

I know I posted this before, but the wet sump and dry sump cars use totally different variators as well as other components...They both have issues with the wet sump cars being more problematic...Wet sump cars do not have filter screens and I doubt cleaning the filter screen is gonna fix a dry sump car...I didn`t hear any of that and have done several sets on both dry and wet sump cars.....Jason
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Furthermore, I am very disappointed in Maserati CF for suggesting that your valves are damaged. Who told you that? The service adviser?

I do, however recommend ordering your parts from MCF, since they are the least expensive of the dealers. The markup varies considerably depending on where you go and they don't gouge. Plus, the distributing center is in Orlando for all SE dealers so they can get parts same-day. Talk to Norm over there - he will help you out.
Yes, Service advisor said that if the car misfires, valves are bent... I didn't pay much attention to that though, I kinda laugh at him. But anyway, yes, I'll be sending the cams for machining, spoke to the dealer and they will do it for 650$. Which is not too bad.

I just purchased all the parts from Maserati of San Diego, a complete kit for this job for 1350$ shipped, cannot be better. I don't really think I'll need to redo the timing, I'll fabricate a special tool to hold the cams and crankshaft and be extra careful marking everything and all over the places, if something doesn't match, I'll just do it again until it does. I've done engine timing before on Audis using 3D animated youtube videos from the manufacturers, I think engine timing is kind of scary but not extremely difficult to achieve, specially if the crankshaft and camshaft won't move a single millimeter during the replacement process.

I've been looking at photos of these engines and I'm pretty sure that removing the chain tensioner would give me enough clearance to replace the variator and then tight it again.

Either way I go, I'll for sure do a very comprehensive DIY on this task, probably the first one shown online.
 

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This is the parts list needed for this task.

Aside from this, you need to get oil, filter, coolant and I'll do the spark plugs at the same time. Replacing the belts will also be a good idea (specially the stretch belt)
 

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