Mid 1980s Porsche 944 - Miata Turbo Forum - Boost cars, acquire cats.

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Old 01-16-2012, 01:49 PM   #1
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Default Mid 1980s Porsche 944

Lots of them seem to be coming up in my area. 100k miles, but reasonably rust free, as most were stored winters.

We're talking a grand, maybe 2. Every one of them seems to need a clutch, but is otherwise in reasonable shape.

Anybody have one? Would you get one as a "beat the hell out of it" toy?
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:56 PM   #2
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I've got an S2, great car if you're able to do all the work on them yourself. When looking to purchase one, I recommend finding one that's in perfect mechanical condition, otherwise be prepared to spend a lot of time and cash to get it into good condition. They are simple cars to work on, but everything is labor intensive (check out the labor hours for a clutch job). There's a few buyer guides posted around the different forums that will give you a good idea about specific problem areas.

Last edited by JayL; 01-16-2012 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:58 PM   #3
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Perfect for an LS swap.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:40 PM   #4
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It's a great track car. When I got my Miata the 944 was my other choice.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:41 PM   #5
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The turbos are worth owning, NA's, probably not worth the hassle. I've seen turbos up to ~400 hp without too much work.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:17 PM   #6
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I'm dying to get one, but I need another project like I need a hole in the head.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:25 PM   #7
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If I were to ever w2w, it'd be in a 944 or a E30 series... tempting, ain't it?
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:37 PM   #8
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I've worked on quite a few over the years, but never owned one.
They are pretty expensive to maintain. Parts are pretty pricey, but readily available. Check Paragon-products.com Pelican parts or 944 ecology.
Maintenance is a bitch, especially the clutch. You have to remove almost the entire drivetrain to remove the clutch. I think the book hours to change the clutch is around 18 hours.
The engine is a nightmare of finicky seals. The oil cooler is an oil to water unit that bolts to the block but it requires a special tool to align the housing to the block. It is very difficult to do and a slight misalignment will result in oil and coolant mixing. I screwed it up once, it wasn't pretty. The cam and balance shaft end seals are thin mylar and are easy to damage when installing.
The oil pump drive gear is a friction fit, if the crank pulley isn't properly tightened the oil pump will slip during operation and result in low or now oil pressure.
Aside from that they are decent cars.
I think the better course of action is to pick up a cheap one, throw the Porsche engine away and stick in a LSx engine. Rengade hybrids makes a swap kit.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:55 PM   #9
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^Great insight.

I really like the idea of an LSx in one of those.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:00 PM   #10
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Funny you mentioned the oil pump. the one I looked at tonight was decent, if slightly worn. But, he wouldn't start it, said it had no oil pressure. Told me he'd start it if I made a decent offer. I declined.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:07 PM   #11
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LSx swap or no.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:08 PM   #12
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The seatbelt engineer I bought my Miata from had one before the Miata and got tired of the repair bills when tracking them. The only reason he sold the Miata was to make room for more Karts for he and his son.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fidgitk View Post
(Long list of moronic German engineering issues . . .) Aside from that they are decent cars.


You know, we are all darn lucky that German engineers are what they are.

Thank goodness Japanese engineers didn't really come into their own until after we kicked their ***.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:54 AM   #14
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There's a couple LSx 944s in NASATX which are awesome and the only reliable Porsches at the track.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:08 AM   #15
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If I had 8-10 grand for an LSx swap, I wouldn't be looking at $1500 cars in the first place.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:06 AM   #16
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In that case, better skip it. They are like airplanes, boats or horses. It's not the acquisition cost that kills you.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:02 PM   #17
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My old roommate restored a 951 (944 turbo), true labor and $$$ intensive. The clutch job is listed as a 24 hour job! Got to drop trany in rear and bell housing on front....its a bit of work. Parts are a premium price, he paid $1500 for carpet....Porsche carpet but carpet. Over all after the restoration, he has been daily driving it and it has proven to be reliable for the past few years. I know he as a website somewhere with pics I'll see if I can find it.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:30 PM   #18
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Had one. 1985.5. Parts wasn't what killed it for me. It was labor. Some of the part costs are retarded. Others are less than what you would expect them to be. It was a fun car to drive. But very German. I'd suggest a mid 1985 and up. Early 85 and earlier, I'd say not worth it. I can't remember all the reasons though.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:57 PM   #19
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Found it. Enjoy, there is prob not a better restored daily driver in the country.

http://gallery.me.com/curt.phillips#...lack&view=grid
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:18 AM   #20
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That looks really nice, but the whole thing is way more work than I'd ever want to do again. I did two frame-off restos with my dad in high school, and it's too big a project.

I'm still considering one I found, sounds like it has bad coil packs and owner (kid) doesn't know why it won't start. If I could get it running, I could easily make my money back after thrashing it for a while.
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