Bill’s Porsche 944 Maintenence and Driver Tips

26 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Bill’s Porsche 944 Maintenence and Driver Tips
Porsche 944

Buying a 944: a highly desirable out-of-production car.

If you have $4 – $15K to spend on a real fun machine, I have some standard let’s go looking advice. Lower cost cars are older, high-milers, and/or mechanic specials. Higher cost cars are often later years (say, ’88 onward) and are low mileage cars, or a 944S, S2 or turbo model.

I n general, late 944’s cost more than early models; turbo (the Porsche 951) and S models cost even more, and the cost of maintenance are higher.

Shop the newspaper, the internet, of find somebody with a Porsche Club of America membership and get their used listings from Panorama magazine. Examine maintenance records carefully. See when the timing belt was last replaced, and find out if the owner ever had to replace a water pump. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did. If the records are not available, incomplete, or suspect, take the car to somebody that knows 944’s and have it checked.

In fact, do this anyway. The cost of this can help you save on possible big repair bills later. Of course, if you:

Like to gamble

Are a mechanic or have the knowledge, tools workplace and time and motivation to fix things

Or you’re just looking for a project car

. Then never mind about the car’s history.

Factory Options: There were a few notable, major options to keep in mind and note: Sunroof (although most 944’s came with this option), factory radio (Blaupunkt), five-spoke alloy Fuchs wheels, leather interior (partial or full), full power-adjusted seats, metallic paint, and a limited slip differential.

Visual Lookover: Look at the coolant overflow tank for swelling and white cracks — crazing — that might indicate the motor had been overheated once. Bad. Of course, remember that it might have been replaced once. Does it look really new, no grundge? Also look for oil leaks under the car, and around the oil cooler assy (to left of motor as viewed from front; behind/below oil filter.) The cooler can blow out seals, which will allow water and coolant to mix if seals fail for any reason.

This is very bad. If this happens, the oil on the dipstick will be a chocolate color, much like a milkshake. You might also see a brown sludge like color in the coolant overflow tank.

Body: Look for body damage that might indicate the car was in an accident. If something is bent up front in the suspension, like a tie rod, you’ll never get a good alignment and things will vibrate and be weird. You will not get 100% of the 944’s legendary handling. Plus you’ll burn through tires more quickly. A tip: look at the plastic wheel well shrouds inside the front fenders.

If it’s cracked (or gone!) the front end took a hit someplace along the line.

For any vehicle over 150K miles, expect to replace front engine seals, front wheel bearings, rear carrier bearings, all rotors pads, shocks/struts, and maybe CV joints, if these items have not been serviced already. Also a very, very good idea is to replace the motor mounts with the latest, 944 turbo mounts. This, and more, is what I did to an ’84 944 with a blown motor and 150K miles on it.

Turbo or 951 Cars: I’m not the turbo expert, having only driven but never owned one. On a turbo car, after 150K miles, it will probably also need a turbo rebuild to make it fresh again. Look for, and ask about, PO (Previous Owner) modifications.

After You Bought It: Once you have the car, the cost of maintenance can vary. On a previously owned, well-maintained car, you need only do tune-ups and change the timing belt every 30K miles, and pay attention to the usual stuff like brakes, fluids, tires and filters. Replacement parts are the most expensive if you buy them from a Porsche dealer, so don’t do that unless you absolutely cannot find a part any other way.

Porsche 944

The above is pretty much a getting-started procedure. Lots of patience and legwork in checking cars out will pay off in the longer run.

Check out the 944 FAQ document. It has lots of great info on model years, changes, and other stuff. Another place of great help to the present or prospective 944 owner can be found by joining Rennlist, THE online discussion forum for all Porsche cars. To join, go to

944 Dashboards

I now have a page online which shows the two different 944 dashboards. including a description of all the controls. This area of the car changed significantly in the mid-1985 model year. The late ’85 and subsequent 944 got a nicer-looking and much-improved dashboard. The new layout is not only better organized, but the efficiency of the air vents was greatly improved. On this latter point, believe me; I’ve owned both and there’s almost no comparison.

The late ’85 dash is much better in terms of functionality, and, I believe, in general aesthetics.

944 Fuse Panels

I also have a page online which shows the two different 944 fuse panels. This area of the car also changed in the mid-1985 model year. Early 944’s fusepanels are located inside the car, to the left of the driver’s feet, under the dash. Fuses are the glass BUSS type, which are cylindrical in shape.

The Late 944 fusepanel is located under the hood, driver’s side, at the rear. It is under a black plastic cover which is gasketed to seal moisture out. The cover is firmly held in place with 2 wire clips.

Fuses are the newer, small plastic type with two spade terminals.

You are visitor since this page was originally posted on 13 February 1999.

Porsche 944
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Porsche 944
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