The Story Begins - My 911 Story

Permalink 09:09:52 pm, Categories: Porsche  

This is my first post to the Pelican parts BBS… Enjoy!

This story will need a few introductions:
Al - Me, Wannabe Porsche owner.
Rob - 911 co-worker
Shawn - 951 co-worker
Ken - 911 seller
Jaime - Radio Friend

I work with two Porsche guys Rob and Shawn. Somehow, although I told Rob “Look, I always wanted a 911, I know you have one, don’t make me buy one.” I was pushed over the edge and made the move.

The Story:

I finally purchased the car I have been wanting since I was a kid. The story begins when I was 4, (1984) my cousin had a wonderful blue 911 with a 930 body and a worked 3.0L engine. This sparked my interest in the legendary 911.

Around the same time I saw a movie called “No Man’s Land.” Although a horrible movie, it was about stealing 911s in the early 80s so it became one of my favorites. I bought a VHS tape when I was younger and later a DVD. I must have seen this movie over 6 times throughout my life. It never gets old, It has some of the finest 930 chase scenes ever.

Part 1: It Was My Destiny:

It all started on a gloomy Wednesday as me and a co-worker (Rob) were talking about 911s at the local Wendy’s of all places. I expressed my love for the late 911/911 and mentioned my desire to own one with the G50 trans.

To my surprise, just as I put my car in reverse and we where leaving, I see those familiar round headlights and integrated fog lights of a 911 Carrera come purring down the driveway. To my further surprise, the lovely red noisemaker pulls in right next to me, and Rob says to me, “Oh, that’s Ken.” We exchange a few words and some how he blurted out something to the tune of “You want it? I’m looking to sell.”

Wow that was weird. Maybe it was the release of the new star wars film, or maybe it was just my own madness, but I decided that red car was destined to be mine. Hell, I it found me!

Part 2: The Purchasing Saga

So, I went back to the office with some temptation. I made the mistake of firing off an e-mail to Ken stating I was interested, but in no hurry to buy his car. I blame Rob for this, he knew the sickness spreads fast and did nothing to stop this “I can wait” hogwash. The second day after seeing the car came and the itch got a bit more intense. By the end of the week, I was loosing concentration. I needed it bad.

I was jumping out of my skull, I wanted it so terribly bad! I called Ken frequently to try to set up a test drive. Another two weeks passed before things worked out with Ken’s schedule. The day finally came when Ken showed up with the car. It was a rainy day unfortunately, but that really didn’t stop me. Rob helped me as best he could. He tried to explain to me how these cars shifted and like to be run etc. I shifted poorly the first time, at around 3K. I said something to the tune of “This is not that fast.” I was quickly reprimanded for that, and Rob took over the driver’s position. He explained the engine is happiest over 4K and showed me the proper shifting technique. The lovely red car went from a purrr to a nice mellow scream (although hesitating badly) and came to life. It was a horrible test drive for it was raining but that was enough, I was sold.

Now, I needed to go back and resist my temptation to just tell Ken I wanted it. Maybe I should play a game, like I was really not interested? This way I will get a better deal. Yes. Fine Idea. That’s the ticket. So prepared for this game of negotiation, I went up to Ken and said “OK Ken, Lets cut the crap, I want the car.” Hummm. Well that didn’t go as expected. So much for planning. Did I mention I was loosing concentration?

Ken was really worried about the Hesitation problem and wanted to get it fixed before he sold it. Ken thought it was best to wait till he had the car at least diagnosed. We decided the car would be diagnosed some time next week then he would have a clear conscience when selling the car.

It sounded like a good idea at the time. 5 minutes later I came to my senses and had a conference with my co workers. We decided it would be best to have this car yesterday and I would call Ken and see if we could expedite the process. Rob helped me out a bit more on the negotiation, side of things. I took some notes and made the call to Ken on my way home.

The call went well although I was nervous. I didn’t want this car to slip away, it was the color combo I was looking for, and although I always wanted a coupe, the idea of the open top was getting more and more irresistible. We decided to take 1K off the price for the lack of diagnosis and make the transaction ASAP.

The deal was verbally sealed at the time, but I was very nervous about the entire process. Feelings of guilt filled my brain. Those where quickly dismissed. Then came an undeniable need for this lovely red car. It was one week and two days before I met Ken to pick up the car. This was a very difficult time. Ken gave me all sorts of excuses as to why It was impossible to pick the car up right away. I was not pushy about it, so I tried to calm myself as best I could. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I decided to order up some parts to keep my spirits up. From the little I remembered about the car a few key points that needed immediate attention was the ignition system and the floor mats and the Radio. I purchased tan mats to replace the original black ones and ordered up a cap, rotor, wires and spark plugs. The radio was to be handled by my friend Jaime who works for Becker of North America, a Porsche OEM Supplier.

Part 3: The Car

Stepping into your own 911 for the first time is quite a glorious event. Vivid images of my cousins 911, uncles 928 and brother friends 911 filled my mind as I absorbed my own cars features. I took in every detail of weird Germanness ( I make up words sometimes) I could. Practical, minimal yet excellent build quality. A few things looked extremely strange like the red ejector seat handles. Better not touch those. As the 911 fired to life with of flick of my left hand, the wonderful engine noise instantly put a gigantic shit eating grin on my face.

The car is by no means perfect, but is none the less extremely presentable and void of rust. The engine needed immediate attention, for it was hesitating and sputtering very badly. I installed a new distributor cap and rotor as well as new OE wires. The wires where a mistake, they where $288, so I expected them to come with all the clips and fan insulation installed. They did not, I received a bag of plain Jane wires. It takes hours to set this up properly so it looks original. After doing the right side of the engine I decided the collection of clips was unnecessary and too time consuming. I threw the left side on in record time after removing all the clips. I will need to order up some split loom wiring wrap too keep them insulated and neat looking. After an Italian tune up, there was an immediate improvement in smoothness.

While in the engine compartment I somehow noticed the car was not getting full throttle. It was a good .5 to .75” from opening completely. I found the linkage under the car and adjusted it in a few turns. Now it goes to the stop. Power went up quite a bit.

A few days later a set of bosch copper spark plugs arrived, and after a little *****ing and complaining about my terrible spark plug socket I managed to get all 6 replaced with a fresh set of bosch coppers. The old plugs where pretty worn. The gaps where over 0.045” on all of them. The manual calls for 0.028.

I fired the car up and when for a few high speed runs. It is pretty smooth now and has excellent power. I’d say the engine is running at 90% now. It is running a bit rich but nearly all hesitation is gone. I think it might be either a bad sensor, bad mixture setting or may poor fuel injectors. I think I might send the fuel injectors out to RC engineering to be cleaned, flow tested and balanced, just to make sure. The car has 125K miles on it, so im guessing they cant be flowing evenly. Plug 4 was read it was running a bit lean, and plug 5 was definitely rich.

UPDATE - I re-inspected plugs 4 and 5. 4 was extremely fouled and 5 was slightly brown, so I replaced both injectors. Now the car runs silky smooth! Its so easy to drive at the lower RPMs its silly! What an improvement! This is how it should be! I’m super happy now.

The left door stay is broken. So that will need to be fixed. There are also some seals Id like to change including the targa bar seal.

One of my biggest peeves about the car is the radio. It looks horrible! It’s an old school Sony and it just had to go ASAP. I went to my friends house (Jaime) to declared a radio emergency. Jaime presented me with a Becker Monza and a Becker Traffic Pro he had in his basement. I decided to install the Moza because it is capable of MP3s and I did not want the hassle of hooking up the GPS receiver and wheel speed sensors.

I installed the Becker and removed the Sony and Low quality amp that was under the seat. In the process I removed the Clifford alarm including every switch, sensor cable and relay. This was no easy task there where wires and relays everywhere! Here is a picture of the spare parts removed from the car. 1 Alarm ,1 Radio, 1 amplifier, 1000 Miles of wires.

If you don’t know what Becker radios look like, they come on newer Porsches and virtually blend into the dash. They where literally made for each other! The quality is phenomenal. I find them the best radios on the market. Unfortunately most of the aftermarket DIN radios are not available in the US, and most people have very basic Beckers in their cars.

Caution: Rant Bellow-
If you do have one that is not working Becker of North American in upper saddle river can fix them very cheaply. Sometimes they get a bad rap from owners of Mercedes and other luxury 80s cars and I don’t know why. They usually claimed their radio stopped working after 15 years of use. At the time these radios where cutting edge, now they are still better than most aftermarket units but will need some maintenance. You can always send it to BNA and have it fixed for a minimal cost. Alpines and Sonys - they just end up in the junk yard. Excuse the venting, I hate ghetto fabulous looking radios. Beckers are very good looking (black with black buttons and white type) and virtually blend into the dash. If you do want one, you can get them on ebay.de. The good part is service and parts/wiring harnesses are available right here in NJ!
End Rant

It rides well and with little body noise. I am very impressed with the cars suspension and body. I was assuming it would have that classic convertible chassis noise and door sag. It’s a quality car and the ride shows it. It’s amazing how well such a tiny car can ride with decent suspension. It is a bit floaty on the highway so there will be new bilstiens in the near future.

The leather was extremely dirty. I applied 3 good coatings of leatherique to the car over a two day period. It sucked all the rejuvenatory oil dry and there was a nice thick crust of bad stuff on top when I came back. I cleaned all this grime off with soapy water and applied pristine clean. It still needs another good cleaning but it worlds better. One day I’ll take the interior out and really give it and the seats a good scrub down.

I put around 1000 hard miles on the car so far, and every one of them was super enjoyable. So in short, I love the car, its super quirky and has plenty of character! Although not the fastest car on the road, its not slow and sure handles better than most things out there! What lovely noises it makes!

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