Transmission Issue: Stalling & Limp mode - Maserati Ghibli Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-21-2014, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Transmission Issue: Stalling & Limp mode

Hey Guys,

I picked up my new SQ4 a few weeks ago with 70 miles on it. It now has a 1000 miles on it. Unfortunately, I seem to have a serious problem with car.

It happens intermittently when I floor the car, the RPM rises all the way to 7000 RPM but the transmission does not switch to next gear or it switches extremely violently.

If it does not switch, I lift my foot off of the gas and one of these things happen:
1- The car drives fine and switches fine as long as I don't floor it again (even if I go 90% of the way there)
2- The car goes into limp mode (limits the RPM to 3000)
3- The car starts bucking and eventually stalls

A power reset usually does the job so I think it is a sensor/computer problem.

Debug History:
A couple of weeks ago when I first noticed the problem, I took the car to the dealer and he said that there was nothing wrong with the car and that system didn't have any errors in it. However, the mechanic pointed out that I should wait for BOTH the transmission and the engine temperatures to rise to operational mode (Half way on the dial) before I floor the car.

Followed his advice but a day later still faced the same problem. This time the service engine sign came on when the car stalled. I took it back to the dealership and they read the faults:
1- Knock sensor as the car redlined with the transmission didn't switch gears
2- Implausible data from the transmission: The dealer explained that this means that the combination of: speed, gear, and gas pedal location didn't make sense to the transmission

The dealer filed a case with Meserati and they suggested that we reset the learned values in the adaptive transmission and drive the car gently for the next 200 miles to establish a new baseline. The dealer did that.

I took the car back and tested it again, same problem! This time it even did it one time at highway speed. Floor it and it won't switch gears, 90% of the way down and it does.

The dealer basically told me to wait until I hit 1K miles and check again.

Unfortunately, I can't replicate the problem on demand so I can't show it to the dealer. Having said that, the problem seems to happen much more often when I just start the car (even if it is still hot from a previous trip)

Has anyone seen this problem or does anyone have any suggestion on how to further debug this issue?

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-21-2014, 04:14 PM
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Different car, but common parts, Ferraris behave in a similar way if there are engine control issues. The car will protect itself by limiting to 3000 RPM (it doesn't show the stall symptom however). Drives absolutely fine when cruising, but there's no power there when you floor it.

An engine control issue is caused by air flow solenoids gone bad, o2 sensors failing or getting muck on them. A nightmare to diagnose. It usually shows up with a dash warning light though. I'm wonder if your car has one of these problems but the engine control malfunction light isn't lighting up the diagnostics.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks StickBreitling for the pointers. My problem feels like a computer issue. The computer is not forcing the transmission to switch at 6K or 7K. It is letting the car rev all the way. Perhaps it is asking the transmission to switch gears but the transmission is not doing it!

So yesterday I drove the car and it drove just fine until the evening where I was at highway speed, floored the car and it reached 7K RPM and didn't shift. It almost felt like it down shifted and then up shifted again. Finally, it made it through to the next gear.

I took the car off of the highway, turned it off and back on again. This time I tried off of the line and it did exactly the same thing except that the check engine sign came on at the same time.

Took it today to the dealer, the check engine is for a misfire.

The explanation the dealer gave me (I don't totally buy it) is that the transmission is adapting to my driving habits and because I let it redline (not by choice) a couple of times, now it is confused and thinks that it is okay to redline. They recommended that I drive it for a couple of more weeks without letting it redline:
- Don't floor it in automatic
- If I want to floor it then put it in manual mode and make sure it doesn't exceed 6K

They checked the spark plugs and those seem okay.

I feel totally frustrated, Is it too much to ask to be able to floor a maserati and have the transmission work properly?

I am thinking of getting it checked by another dealer and/or calling Maserati NA

p.s the car is build on 11/13
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-24-2014, 03:27 PM
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Maybe I am reading this the wrong way, but I kind of agree w/ the dealer. And again, maybe I am misunderstanding you, but from what I am reading I believe your car is working properly.

When you start the car first thing in the AM, or 1st time that day, the engine is cold and it must be brought up to operating temps before you can "floor it" otherwise the engine and turbos are cold and it will "buck" for about 5 seconds or so until it warms up..

Now onto the "flooring it" issue... If you drive the car normally and do not floor it, the car should shift at its normal RPM's, prob somewhere around 3-4k RPMs is the optimum shift range for fuel efficiency. From reading your post, it appears your car behaves normally when driven normally... Yes? Correct?

However when you "floor it" the car is not suppose to still shift at 3-4k RPM range, that does not happen, nor is it suppose to happen. When you floor the car and keep it floored, the car will shift at redline in every gear, this is normal and the car is doing what its suppose to do. If your pedal is to the floor, you are essentially telling the car you want to drive fast, and the quickest way to increase speed is to redline shift.

You cant put the pedal on the floor, have the ECU telling the car "I WANT TO GO FAST" and then still have the car shift at the "economy / fuel efficient" RPM range. It does not work that way. If you go half throttle, the ECU shifts the car in the moderate RPM range. If you floor the car, the ECU tells the car to shift in the "high RPM range" because the quickest way to increase speed is to redline shift.

If I go jump in my car right now and floor the gas pedal, I can guarantee that the car will automatically redline shift in every single gear. This is normal behavior for any car. You cant tell the car to "go fast" yet still shift in economy mode. That is why the dealer told you the car was behaving properly when analyzing pedal location, speed, and RPM's..

Unless I missed something or took something the wrong way, your car is fine. And the dealer is correct, the tranny will adapt to your driving style bc the ECU records your activity and adapts.

If you want it to shift in the 3-4k RPM range, stop pinning the pedal to the floor..

Last edited by mrpa1999; 07-24-2014 at 04:09 PM.
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-24-2014, 04:55 PM
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I agree with what MRPR1999 said, but there is one thing he missed. Alhalabi said the transmission did not shift at 7K RPM, it shifts only when he let go and the RPM goes down to the 2K-3K RPM range.

I have experienced similar situation (but no exactly) before. I would floor/step on the pedal and quickly let go. The transmission would go up to redline and stay there for a second or two before it comes down to 3-4K and shifts gear. I think that happened because I let go off the gas and did not give the transmission to shift in redline?
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 07-24-2014, 07:33 PM
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is the vehicle in sport mode or normal?
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-10-2014, 11:55 PM
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Did you solve problem? Mine had 300 miles and after a jam traffic, I floor and car doesn't change gear from 1 gear, and can pass from 4000 rpm and 40 km/hr. After a few km, Stop the car, power off, then start car again and check engine light came up in Amber. Now rpm seems normal because now can go up to 7000 rpm. Go againg to the road. Now car didn't change gear, either with paddles. Sport mode can be activated. Manual mode can't engage, ice mode can not be enabled.
Call dealer and now wait for diagnosing
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for the replies and thanks yxc145 for making the clarification to mrpa1999. My problem is not in switching at high RPM. It is in "NOT" up-shifting even though it reached very high RPM or that if it switches it does it very aggressively and after hesitating once or twice..

I am pretty sure that this is not normal as I test drive 4 Ghibli's none of which exhibited this behavior.

So here is an update:

I took the car to Maserati of D.C. on 7/25. Brian, got the car looked at and confirmed that the spark plugs were not torqued properly so he replaced all of them. He thinks this should fix the mis-firing problem.

Picked up the car from the dealership this morning and today as I was heading back home from work (All temperatures in the operating range), I was at a stop sign and attempted to merge into a fast street so I pushed the car without flooring it and it go to 6K on first gear, bucked a couple of times then switched to second gear violently and then bucked again as it switched to third gear. The car was "not" in sport mode.

I have about 1200 miles on the car now, over half of which are spent debugging the issue I am about to give up on the car.

I am going to contact Brian again to see what he has to say and then on to Maserati of NA.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 08:03 PM
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Have they done all software up grades? They should at least due trans/ecu upgrade and reset adaptive to new and see what happens.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-11-2014, 09:44 PM
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I spoke with my service advisor today to switch my Wednesday appointment. He told me that he will need the car for an additional day to do "safety updates" that have been issued from Maserati. Not sure what all it will include, but I am assuming this and the violent downshift from 2nd to 1st will be included (at least I'm hoping these issues will be solved).

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