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  #1  
Old 08-30-2011, 05:59 PM
The Swede's Avatar
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Porsche 944 Turbo

A former biz associate/friend is selling his new bride's 944 'turb. I think it's an '88, not an "S".

iirc it has around 115k miles. No stories. She had about $5k in recent work done - near cost she has connections with the dealer. Lots of service records.

All the typical 944 stuff fix he said.

Only thing it needs is front tires. Wants $9k. If it was trouble, he wouldn't have mentioned the sale to me.

I was looking at rennlist and it looks as though people drives these in the winter with winter tires. 50/50 weight dist.

I understand they are not cheap to maintain, but can't be any worse than an old Merc, right???

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  #2  
Old 08-30-2011, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Swede View Post
A former biz associate/friend is selling his new bride's 944 'turb. I think it's an '88, not an "S".

iirc it has around 115k miles. No stories. She had about $5k in recent work done - near cost she has connections with the dealer. Lots of service records.

All the typical 944 stuff fix he said.

Only thing it needs is front tires. Wants $9k. If it was trouble, he wouldn't have mentioned the sale to me.

I was looking at rennlist and it looks as though people drives these in the winter with winter tires. 50/50 weight dist.

I understand they are not cheap to maintain, but can't be any worse than an old Merc, right???
...he says with an earnest hope for concurrence...

What are the headache areas in this car? Doesn't clutch replacement require a lot of disassembly? Ditto timing chain/water pump? I don't recall the bodyshell to be unusually rust-prone. Cripes, if the weight of the hood is any indication, it has enough metal to make three Subaru hoods.

Is the turbo water-cooled?

In regard to winter driving - not a lot of ground clearance, which will trump weight distribution.
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  #3  
Old 08-30-2011, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC View Post
...he says with an earnest hope for concurrence...

What are the headache areas in this car? Doesn't clutch replacement require a lot of disassembly? Ditto timing chain/water pump? I don't recall the bodyshell to be unusually rust-prone. Cripes, if the weight of the hood is any indication, it has enough metal to make three Subaru hoods.

Is the turbo water-cooled?

In regard to winter driving - not a lot of ground clearance, which will trump weight distribution.
Cosmetically this car is a 9/10. I know the tbelt and pump were done. I think the clutch was done too. I've perused the net and they have weak areas.


What should you look out for? 944′s are relatively robust cars, but like anything old and European, they have problem areas that can be pricey to fix. Here are some things to look out for.

- Oil leaks. If itís small, donít sweat it. However, these cars tend to leak at the front main seal, which is a relatively easy fix, and at the rear O-ring on the upper or lower balance shaft, which isnít. Avoid cars with a leak around the oil pan, as this is labor-intensive and quite expensive to repair.

-Clutch. Check the maintenance records, as the clutch will eventually wear out, and you should budget $1200-$1500 for parts and labor to replace it. Itís an eventuality.

-Trans Concerns: on 968′s, check maintenance records for a transmission overhaul, as it probably needs one. Pinion bearings are a rapid wear item with this six speed. Also, when the trans service was done, was the flywheel replaced? The 968 has a fancy dual-mass flywheel which costs over $1000 just for parts. On all cars, make sure the drain and fill plugs arenít stripped, as this can be a MAJOR pain in your rear.

-Water Pump: lasts between 50,000 and 100,000 miles. Pain in the butt to replace, but make sure itís been done or youíll be quite sorry.

-Timing belt: Ok, this is critical. Having your timing belt (8v models) replaced only costs about $300 with labor, and a new head can cost about $2000 with labor. Which sounds better to you? Replace every 30,000 miles or so, check maintenance records for history of this. Also, the belt needs to be re-tensioned every 15,000 miles or so -- which costs about $100. Just do it.

-16 valve models (944S, S2, 968): Chain tensioners. Check the maintenance records (because the car youíre looking at has them, right?) to see when this was serviced. Just like a VW VR6, chain tensioners can go bad, which can cause the timing chain to slip off, which can cause you to need a new head. Believe me, replacing the tensioners is cheaper and much less painful.

-968′s: also check the cam sprockets/pulleys, as they tend to sheer teeth and throw your timing off, which is no bueno.

-Turbo models: howís the turbo? All turbos die eventually, even with the best of care. Does the car shoot white or blue smoke under high boost? Does the turbo make a very loud whistling noise? You could be in for a replacement soon. Thankfully, K26′s arenít all that hard to find. Or you could be a man about it and put on a T3/T04E.

Once all these things check out, you should be good to go. A 944 or 968 can provide years of driving pleasure and Porsche snobbery for a relatively bargain price; you just have to find a good one. And if those 911 nerds throw your nose up at you, remind them that back in the 80′s, your 944 Turbo would walk on their 911 Carrera. Thatíll make them feel better.
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  #4  
Old 08-30-2011, 06:23 PM
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Ouch

5 years ago I paid $7,500 for a 944 Turbo with excellent mechanicals. Since then, I have spent over $15,000 in _maintenance_ alone. Not emergency repairs, not fixing things that broke, not repairing bodywork, not insurance, just routine maintenance. If I factor in insurance, I have easily spent over $20,000 on the car in the last 5 years, _not including_ the $7,500 I spent to buy it in the first place. Previous owners kept all the receipts and so do I; I have a 3" binder filled to overflowing with maintenance records for the car. It's the single thickest book I own. Just so you know what you're getting into.

Granted, over the 5 years and change that I've owned the car, all that money comes out to only around $450/month (including insurance and purchase price), which isn't all that different from what payments would be for someone who was financing a similarly high-end modern sportscar, but your average 16 year old can't afford to buy one of those either. What I've written for the standard 944 in other questions applies to the 944 turbo as well (except that all labor times for the turbo are higher as the parts are often more difficult to reach since the engine bay is crammed full of turbo plumbing).

Some common problem areas:

DME Relay: This is the main relay that provides power to the ECU and the EFI system. If it goes bad, the car will not start or run. This is a relatively inexpensive part (~$50 US) and it is easily replaced. Many 944 owners (myself included) carry a spare relay in the glove compartment just in case. I have never needed to use mine, but it's a good idea to have it.

Clutch: Changing the clutch on a 944 Turbo is a significant job; the shop time for a 944 Turbo clutch change is around 24 hours. You will want to have it done by a shop that knows 944s; you cannot just take it to the neighborhood Jiffy Lube.

Timing Belt: The engine is an interference design. This means that if the timing belt breaks the pistons _will_ hit the valves and you will need to rebuild the heads. Allowing the timing belt to break is a $2,000 mistake in most cases. The timing belt interval is that it must be changed every 30,000 miles (50,000 km) or every 3 years, whichever comes FIRST. Even if you only put 500 miles on the car in three years, you will still need to change the belts again. The timing belt is also manually tensioned, so you will need to re-tension the timing belt 1,500 miles (2,500 km) after replacing it to account for the initial stretch as well as again 15,000 miles (25,000 km) later to ensure that it is maintaining proper tension. If the car does not have proof that the belts have been changed, you should _NOT_ start it but should have it towed to a mechanic's to have the belts changed immediately upon purchase. As with the clutch, this typically requires a dedicated Porsche mechanic, preferably one that works on a lot of 944s, you should not just take it to the local mechanic.

Water Pump: The water pump is driven off of the back side of the timing belt. If the water pump seizes, it will take out the timing belt (see above for why this is a Very Bad Thing). The water pump needs to be replaced with every other timing belt change (every 60,000 miles or 100,000 km).

Those are the biggies. Other things to know:

944s came from the factory fully galvanized. They do not rust. Any rust on the car is a strong indicator of accident damage and later repair.

Interior pieces are getting harder to find and can be expensive in some cases.

The air conditioning was not particularly powerful to begin with and has often been allowed to fail without repair. Proper repair can be over $2,000 (US) to bring back the A/C.

The 944 can be a reliable car, but it demands maintenance and that maintenance must be on-time and must use quality (read: expensive) parts. A 944 as a first car is a recipe for someone to end up spending all their money on the car and never being able to afford anything else.

At 16, a 944 Turbo is not the greatest idea in the world, no car its age is. It will have little problems (like aging seals causing leaks when it rains, or rattles from things being loose, or a fuel gauge that doesn't always work) and it will have big problems (leaky steering racks, etc) simply because it's old, even with relatively low mileage. It's really not a good option for a first car because you'll end up either spending every last penny you have on it, or you'll end up with the car deteriorating around you because you can't afford to fix it.
Source(s):
Personal experience with several 944 series cars and current owner of a 944 Turbo.
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  #5  
Old 08-30-2011, 11:18 PM
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944 is one of the best bang for the buck cars out there.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:27 PM
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Cripes, isn't it usually wifey's job to sell anything fun belonging to her husband, not the other way round?
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:31 PM
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944 is one of the best bang for the buck cars out there.
Until anything goes wrong
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by The Swede View Post
I understand they are not cheap to maintain, but can't be any worse than an old Merc, right???
Depends on which old Merc. Think 109 or 116 with an M100, not 123 with a 61x.

From my brief experience (7 weeks) working at a high-end shop: Porsches are generally good cars in that they don't break down much as long as you maintain them and can last a very long time. However, they are generally expensive to buy and you will spend more for maintenance and repair parts than for many other brands.

IMO, the air-cooled ones are the easiest/cheapest to keep on the road, but you will pay a lot to purchase a good example (or even a bad example) unless you go with a 914, and the newest ones of those are pushing 40 years old.
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2011, 07:45 AM
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Maybe a Camaro would be a better idea.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:11 AM
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A Coworker used to have one....and he is the type that takes great care of things....said it cost him an arm and a leg to keep up. Forget which model of the 944, he already left for the day so I can't ask until the morning if I remember.

Porsche and cheap....can't be used in the same conversation. Its a great car....but its a club that has a greater cost of membership.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:36 AM
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get a 924 Turbo. quick enough and a non interfence engine, still pricy to buy parts buy a 924 Turbo is a bargain car
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  #12  
Old 08-31-2011, 10:14 AM
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Maybe a Camaro would be a better idea.
Never, ever.
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  #13  
Old 08-31-2011, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by The Swede View Post
Never, ever.
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Old 08-31-2011, 11:19 AM
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Never ever, ever!!!!

Maybe a '69 RagTop, but not a jacked up off-roader.

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  #15  
Old 08-31-2011, 11:28 AM
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Sorry for hijacking the thread, but that red Camaro reminds me of the Camaro a friend had back in the late 70s. Four of us (3 big guys and a girl) were headed to a Redskins game. We shoe-horned our way into the Camaro, but couldn't go anywhere because the "extra" weight caused the tires to rub the inside of the fender wells. We abandoned the Camaro in favor of my 1971 Dodge Colt (made in Japan by Mitsubishi) and rode to the game in comfort. It was a sad commentary on the state of American cars back then. The really sad part is that my Colt probably would have beat that Camaro in a race if the road was twisty enough.

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