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Biturbo fire hazard

Paul Syrysko wrote yesterday:

>>These two bits of advice were originally taken from a page about
buying a
>>Biturbo on George Perfect's excellent Maserati site at
>> but don't seem to be there any

The site certainly is still there but its correct address is (and was!) and has been expanded greatly in recent
times. Hope to see you back soon, Paul!

Paul got the answer just about full on ... I have an 85 Biturbo and have
never suffered a fire - I know of only one such incident and that was
due to poor maintenance which can happen on any car. This rumour seems
to have started when a Biturbo was loaned to a car magazine here in
England as a long term loaner and one of the (very inexperienced IMHO)
journos interpreted the popping and banging that an over rich carb fed
car exhibits as an indication that the engine was about to catch fire
and wrote a report to that effect. The car never actually caught fire
but (just as Lancia was killed as a brand in the UK by press reports of
dire rust) this seems to have stuck.

Cam box leaks occur when owners or mechanics fail to replace the cam box
gaskets *each time* the boxes are removed. The Biturbo's oil system runs
at least 5kg/cm2 pressure at all times and easily blows the gaskets when
the car is used energetically. Some people reduce the pressure by
shimming the oil pressure relief valve - the factory itself has done
this mod on the latest cars and it's probably OK but not something I'd
recommend as (unless you know the car well enough to keep an eye on oil
supply to the cams or are *SURE* that the brass filters buried in the
heads have been removed) reduced pressure can lead to premature cam wear
or even cam seizure.

The electrical system in the Biturbo is as robust as any contemporary
car with the exception of the fuse box which is poorly designed and
occasionally fractures leading to all manner of intermittent electrical
faults. I've never heard of a car catching fire from this cause.

Who was it said, "Don't believe everything you read in the papers" ??

George Perfect

1974 Lancia Fulvia 1.3S
1976 Maserati Khamsin
1985 Maserati Biturbo
1997 Alfa Spider 2.0 TwinSpark

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