3200GT - Error Light on MFD

skyestuart

Junior Member
Messages
95
My 3200GT has the electronic suspension fitted. Its an automatic. When i put it in Sport mode I cant really detect any difference in the suspension behaviour at all, occasionally I see the ERROR message appearing on the multi function display. So I suspect an issue with system. Is this a common fault and is there a "low cost" solution?
 

dickygrace

www.richardgracecars.co.uk
Messages
5,515
Most likely the failure of one of the Bilstein actuators, they’re not too dear used, about £350, about £1000 new. Part no. 158732.
 

skyestuart

Junior Member
Messages
95
Thanks for the information, I wonder how much difference to the handling this feature makes? Is it noticeable? I might just live without it for the moment. The error light comes on when I'm travelling over bumpy road surface (which is not unusual on Skye) so maybe its a loose wiring connector.

Cheers

Stuart
 

allandwf

Centenary Club
Messages
8,976
The error light is usually more common at start up, when the car runs a check on them by running them up and down,that is normally an actuator or cog issue. You should be able to see the actuators, red things, on the top. As yours tends to be over bumps, then possibly wiring, but may be nothing at all.
 

davy83

Member
Messages
2,307
I would agree that its likely to be the actuators although if the shocks are original these also get seized and this causes the same problem, the shocks can be refurbed bilstein do them and David Askew also does them. As to whether its noticable and is it worth it, I would say yes and yes. I reckon with a lot of cars the difference between normal and sport is often not that much but the 3200 is not on of those. The suspension definetely feels stiffer and it does handle a little more agressively, and the engine character is quite different. I would get it fixed!!
 

CT3200GT

Junior Member
Messages
78
I would agree that its likely to be the actuators although if the shocks are original these also get seized and this causes the same problem, the shocks can be refurbed bilstein do them and David Askew also does them. As to whether its noticable and is it worth it, I would say yes and yes. I reckon with a lot of cars the difference between normal and sport is often not that much but the 3200 is not on of those. The suspension definetely feels stiffer and it does handle a little more agressively, and the engine character is quite different. I would get it fixed!!
I agree, it is different car in Sport mode..
 

77GR

Junior Member
Messages
67
The way these work is that each of the 4 shock absorber adjusters ("red things on top") are connected to a suspension ECU box in the boot (black box with Bilstein written it). The ECU is continually adjusting each shock absorber according to road speed, acceleration, braking and lateral forces (some of these from accelerometers) - 17 different adjustments according to the manual. The adjusters contain a stepper motor and some gears (there's some potential for breakage and wear/tear!), in addition to reveiving signals to make adjustments, each adjuster sends feedback to the ECU to confirm the adjustment so if the adjuster is sticking, the shock absorber itself is refusing to budge or there is an electrical connection issue then the ECU knows there is a problem, the light appears and all shocks are adjusted (or the ones that can be adjusted) to a fixed, fairly stiff setting.

When the ignition is first turned on, all 4 adjusters spin from one extreme of the adjustment to the other to confirm movement which is exactly why allandwf rightly suggested most errors appear at startup - that's when all 17 adjustment positions are used on all 4 shock absorbers. Once an error has been detected and the light appears, it stays on until the ignition is turned off and the whole process starts again with the full adjustment test once the ignition is switched on again. This is why, with an intermitting problem (e.g. slightly sticking) the light can be sometimes cleared by switching the ignition off and on again. The good news can be that even if the light does go out on a restart, the error is stored in the ECU and a good independant specialist or a dealer can interrogate the ECU via SD2 and immediately identify the offending corner even if the light is out when they get to see the car - this goes a long way to speeding up finding the issue, it's a quarter of the work immediately.

When Sport mode is selected, a different "map" is used in the ECU which leans towards stiffer settings. However, the difference when going down a straight, smooth road is prettly well undetectable, the harder you push the car around corners, the more discernable the difference becomes with significantly more grip. It can be a somewhat strange feeling at first if you are used to a car with a fixed mechanical suspension, once you get used to the "fixed" car as you corner hard, you can start to predict when oversteer will begin, with the electronic suspension the mental prediction you make becomes worthless because the ECU automatically makes adjustments changing the suspension characteristics to increase the grip - it's like "I can't believe the car managed to maintain grip there, I expected it to start to slide!" and of coursed the impressive traction control in the 3200GT compounds the whole sensation. The caveat though is that it is not recommended to use Sport mode on wet or icy roads where the resulting stiffness will start to work against you - in all fairness, the manual does warn you about this effect.

The shock absorber adjusters are labelled as Ferrari parts (with associated Ferrari pricing) because I believe they are the same as Ferrari 355, the adjustable suspension mechanism having been lifted from the 355 when the 3200GT was launched.

I hope this helps.
 

skyestuart

Junior Member
Messages
95
Graham

That certainly does help ! thanks for a very detailed explanation, my car has only done 30,000 miles previous owners averaged 1500 maybe less per year ,,, so its unlikely the shocks would be worn, but I guess sticking may be an issue due to lack of use. The error light doesnt come on at start up at all only occasionally flashing when driving on bumpy road. I do usually have the sport button on but I've never driven the car anywhere near its limits There is no Maserati dealer within 6 hours drive on my house so no real opportunity to get it diagnosed. Hopefully the guys building the diagnostic system will come up with a reasonable alternative. Meanwhile Ill have a look at the wiring and see if anything looks dodgy.

Cheers

Stuart
 

77GR

Junior Member
Messages
67
Stuart,

You mention "flashing" - this is very significant. If the problem relates to an adjuster or its related wiring the warning light will invariably stay on until the ignition is switched off and then on again.

If the light goes off without recycling the ignition then it is almost certainly not related to the adjusters. I experienced this a few years ago (again related to bumpy roads) where the light came on and went off again. This problem was caused by the sensor in the brake circuit that tells the ECU that you are trying to brake being faulty (this is a different switch to the main brake light switch). Thus if the light is going on and off in the same ignition cycle there is a suspicion that your problem could be related to this brake light or one of the accelerometer sensors (nearside front wing I believe).

Cheers
 

babel 101

Junior Member
Messages
221
In my case, and not always, when it is a car it has been working for some time and the engine has a temperature .... I stop the engine and start it again and the "error light" goes out .
I think it is the left front shock
 

skyestuart

Junior Member
Messages
95
OK ... Finally getting round to look at this issue. The Error light is now staying on permanently. MOT is looming at the end of this month so it needs resolving. So today I have taken off the 4 actuators and tested them to see if the little plastic cogs actually turn. They all work fine and the gears all look in good condition (as new) My car has only done 34000 miles. I've managed to turn the male fitting on top of the shocks by hand about a quarter turn on all of them and they feel smooth. I guess they actuators turn them a lot more than a quarter turn. Also have disconnected the Suspension Control Unit in the boot from the wiring by remove the connectors from the box. Still the error light remains on. So could the issue be the accelerometer sensor if so where are they located and what do they look like?

Any advice guys ?
 

SteveM

Centenary Club
Messages
457
If the accelerometer has failed then a brass block falls off inside the box and shorts out fuse 16. If you still have rear lights working that also take feed from fuse 16 then suspect not the accelerometer located under near side head light. I did a write up some years back under fuse 16. By the way I don’t believe having the error light is a mot failure - the shocks are still working?
 

skyestuart

Junior Member
Messages
95
If the accelerometer has failed then a brass block falls off inside the box and shorts out fuse 16. If you still have rear lights working that also take feed from fuse 16 then suspect not the accelerometer located under near side head light. I did a write up some years back under fuse 16. By the way I don’t believe having the error light is a mot failure - the shocks are still working?
Where is the fuse 16 located? I'm suspecting this part as I used to get an intermittent Error light flashing on when I was driving over rough roads which there are many on Skye.
 

davy83

Member
Messages
2,307
its under the passenger carpet in the footwell. And watch fuse 16 is in parallel with another fuse, check the owners book for fuse functions, you might need to replace both.
 

MRichards

Member
Messages
209
BTW,the actuators on the dampers were originally made by GM for the Corvette and are still available at reasonable price. Also,there is a repair service in the USA which replaces the plastic bits with metal so there's no more failures.
 

Rex B

Member
Messages
594
The actuator on top of the shock absorber only turns a quarter of a turn so as long as you can turn them with your fingers they should be ok. Disconnecting items will not get ride of the error light you need a working system. I had a similar problem to you traced to a cracked actuator gear, the one on top of the shock absorber. These are easy to check at the front but you can only check these with the shocks off at the rear.
Best of luck
Rex B