Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's official... the Ghibli is a classic

It feels like I've been neglecting the Ghibli of late, since I've not spent much time or effort on it recently. So in an attempt to make amends, I've spent most of the weekend giving the car a good clean an a thorough polish and to prove it I took some pictures!
Jonny's Polished Maserati Ghibli

While in the process, I had several neighbours and passers by comment on the car and pass on positive comments regarding the car and the condition, which is always nice to hear and a real charm of owning the car. Two of the passers by commented that the car is a collectors item and a rare classic... so there you have it! It's official... you can't argue with the word on the street!

Anyway, apologies for being so quiet... despite there having been plenty of stuff going on in my life recently, non of it has really revolved around the car, other than the Spax lowering springs that I ordered from the UK have arrived, which I'll get Jorrit to fit next time I take the car to Nordwijkerhout (probably in a month or so).


monoi said...

Hi Jonny,

Beautiful car indeed ! How much lower will you go with the new springs ?

I like the installation of the laminova, and I have been thinking about it for my biturbo, although at the moment I have placed the oil filter at the rear, with the aim of fitting a conventional air cooler. However, the car is just coming back from Bil Mc Grath and they frowned on the installation, saying that it is not good for the oil pressure at idle. Then again, they do not like many of my mods (big brakes, wheels), although they have not said anything about the battery relocation in place of the spare wheel, and the direct air intake in the turbos !

What I do not understand in your installation is why the cooler is horizontal, and I can't quite see how the water hoses run ?


Jonny said...

Hi there Pascal

The springs will take it 40 mm lower, so there will be no space between the tire and the side of the wheel arch. It should look pretty aggressive, but I will probably have to reduce the tire wall thickness on the front from the current 40 to probably 35 or maybe 30. But thanks for the nice comment on the car!

Actually, the Mutany Ghibli has the Spax springs fitted. Ignore the rear of the car (I think they modified the rear arch), but you can get an idea from the front arch of this car as to how it will look, since this also has 18" wheels fitted. They're actually quite friendly there and have responded to a couple of questions that I asked about the car. I don't like the styling of the car, but they have done some interesting stuff to it.

Regarding the oil cooler, there's a bit less clearance on the biturbo since the engine bay is a bit shorter, but it should still fit OK. I assume you mean rear of the engine bay for the filter and not the rear of the car? A conventional air/oil cooler will work fine, but you'll need to install a thermostat. Also, you won't necessarily get cooling when you're stationary with the air/oil cooler unless the water radiator fan draws sufficient air across it, so make sure you fit it snug against the radiator.

I'm not quite sure where Bill McGrath are coming from with the comment about the pressure at idle? The pressure drop across the water/oil cooler will be less than across an air/oil cooler because it is smaller, so given that Maserati fitted the air/oil cooler as standard on the later Ghiblis it implies to me this is not a problem. Also, the oil flow at idle is pretty low so the pressure shouldn't be too high. Also... the water/oil cooler actually warms up the oil in normal operation, reducing the viscosity of the oil and therefore reducing the oil pressure, so it should actually be better for the engine long term. The oil hoses I've used are also pretty large diameter so again, at low engine speed the pressure drop should be pretty negligible since the flow rate is so low. So I'd ask them to put a bit of science behind their comment and justify it a little... I'd be interested to hear what they say for my own education! They do have a good reputation with these cars, so they could have a valid point.

Come to think of it... a high pressure drop on the cooling circuit would actually reduce the oil pressure inside the engine. So what you'd see is that the engine has to idle a bit firmer to compensate because the load at idle is a bit higher. Actually, this could well be the case, since my car feels like it needs a bit more fuel at idle now since it's a bit easier to stall (when parking etc). It should be simple enough to modify the throttle setting at idle to compensate for this.

If it's really an issue, then a different oil grade can be used... I already run 10W-60, so can't see there being an issue. I think on biturbos Maserati recommended 20W-50? Switching to 10W-60 should help cold idle oil pressure if it's an issue.

I think Bill McGrath just like to see original Maserati cars, which is fair enough. I'm an engineer though and so I have an inherent desire to mess with things and make them "better". But a lot of my mods are driven by function. The bigger wheels are to combat the ground clearance and the bigger brakes because I needed new ones anyway and the original ones are well known to fade when used hard.

Relocating the battery to the back is a good idea and that's why Maserati did it on the Ghibli to try and even out the weight. It's the first thing you do when you prepare a track car (unless you remove it completely). As long as you run a thick gauge wire to the front it shouldn't cause any problems and if you've located yours in place of the spare wheel then it's nice and low, which is good!

Not sure what you mean with the turbos. Have you placed the filters on the inlet to the turbo?

I'll make a drawing of the water hoses for you so that you can see it more clearly. Feasibly, the cooler can run in any orientation, but horizontal fits nicely behind and beneath the water radiator and lines up well with the hose routing. Also, when full of oil it weighs a few kilos so good to have the weight low, plus I wanted it low in the oil circuit so that it doesn't starve of oil and so air doesn't get trapped and accumulate in the cooler. What do you see as the down side of running it horizontal?

Thanks for the feedback... I appreciate it!

Cheers... Jonny.

24razor said...

Hi Jonny,
I'm a huge fan of the Ghibli, and have come very close 3 times in buying one. It's only the potential wrath of the wife (and the fact I would have to borrow the money) that has prevented me up to now.
Your site is fantastic, very thorough, well presented, and very informative. The mods to your car including the wheel change are just perfect. Of course I have added this page to my favourites.
- Paul

Jonny said...


I'm very flattered! Thank you.

Regarding the wife, I'm lucky in that respect as mine seems to appreciate that this is my hobby and in return I turn a blind eye to her shoe collecting.

Cheers... Jonny.

monoi said...

Hi Johnny,

I have not been back on your site for a while, so I had not seen your response.

I do mean that I installed hoses with a take off plate instead of the filter, and I have installed the filter at the back of the car, next to the battery! That is because there really is no easy solution I can see to install a air oil cooler in the engine bay. It is so cramped in there, and it gets so hot already that the calories taken off the oil would just get back in the bay anyway. I had read about someone having had a cooler installed at the rear on a forum some time ago, which is where I got the idea. I have not yet installed the cooler because of time pressure, but it will be done. I have the thermostat/take off plate already.

Mc Grath do object to that, but driving around recently in the heat, the oil pressure does not go much lower than 2.5/3 bars at idle, so I am not so worried. I will study the laminova solution, but from what I remember, it would require a fair amount of rerouting of water hoses, and there is the space issue. A small fan or two on the cooler at the rear to help cope when the car is idle is easy enough to install. In any case, there are none to start with, so it should be better anyway!

I got rid of the airbox which sat at the rear of the engine, as well as all the plumbing going to it, and from it to the turbos. Instead I have 2 air filters plumbed to the turbos inlet, like I saw on a Ghibli cup (actually, the reason for the battery relocation started from there, because one filter takes its place). I just need to fabricate some heat shields so that they do not get too hot. That said, your recent comment about air inlet temperature reassured me since I can't touch the manifold either when its hot.

The suspensions are next, because bump stops are worn out, the springs/shocks just do not do the job any more, and I'm sure a few bushes would benefit from being replaced.

Keep up the good work.

Maurizio said...

The car looks great man, well done!