You can get a feel for prices in a couple different places. Check with local Porsche dealerships, see whether they have any cars you're interested in. Check your local paper. In North America, pick up a copy of Excellence, or in the UK a copy of 911 and Porsche World. Both of these independent Porsche magazines carry classifieds. If you can get in touch with your local Porsche club, or find a good, local independent Porsche service shop, they can be an excellent source of referrals and information.
Should you go the extra length of looking in southern states for your car? You can find good, clean 924/944/968 cars just about anywhere. Because of their construction with galvanized metal, they don't rust. Many owners store them in winters, anyway.
Complete maintenance records. Correcting one or two problems that the previous owner skipped can easily surpass any cost savings you may have received by buying a car that was not maintained regularly.
Find a nice car. If the car looks good and is well taken care of, the odds are the rest of the mechanical bits were well taken care of as well. Some models are rarer then others, but generally there are a great deal of water coolers out there. Take your time, and find a great one.
Pre-sale inspection. Unless you're a Porsche mechanic, you should invest the $75-100 to take your prospective car to one and have them look at it. This will give you an excellent idea of what sort of costs you will be incurring over the next year or so, or even if the car is worth buying at all.
There are several common failure points on the 924/944/968's. To begin with visually inspect the car for obvious signs of accident damage. Accidents can lead to costly repairs on items that are not immediately visible. Check to make sure that all body panels line up correctly and that there is a consistent spacing between all panels. Look for signs of overspray on the underside of the car or in the engine bay. Look for differing texture ("orange peel") in the paint surface.
These cars also have many problems with leaks in the hatch area, around the sunroof, and in the passenger footwell. Check around for water stains and rusting of metal parts.
Drive the car, and pay attention to how the engine idles, the amount of engine vibration present, and the amount of backlash present in the drivetrain in manual cars. These problems will be explained in detail in section 5.6.
The 944 underwent a fairly major change in the middle of model year 1985 (MY85). You will frequently see cars made later in the year referred to as "eight-five and a half" models. Cars made through the first half of 1985 have the 924 instrument cluster. It's more boxy/squarish than the later design. The suspension arms on the early 944's were made of steel with replaceable ball joints. Later 944's and all 968's use aluminum arms with non-removable ball joints.
To identify the vehicle definitely, you can examine its VIN number. Early 1985 944's had a VIN series beginning with 94FN47, later cars began with 94FN45. Tthe VIN tag is located on the driver's side windshield pillar, looking down from outside the car.
If the car rolled out in 82 or before (in Europe, that would be 85 or before), it is certainly a 924. If it is a 86 or 87 car, it is certainly a 924S. The 10th digit of the VIN would tell of the year.
If it is a 924 you are considering, remember that the 924 and the 924S are very different cars underneath the skin. The 924 has a 2.0 liter engine, and is relatively inexpensive to maintain. On the other hand, the 924S came with the same 2.5 liter engine and drivetrain as the early 944, and consequently shares the same maintenance issues as an early 944 (or worries, if it is an ill-maintained specimen).
It may not be easy to tell a 924 from a 924S by a visual check, particularly since owners who are "creative" in changing the badges and decals on their cars are not unheard of.
No, it's simply the factory designation for the 944 Turbo.
For the 924S, 944, and 968 series cars, it's important to have both the cam timing and the balance shaft belts replaced and tensioned regularly. These models, as well as later 928 models, have what is know as an "interference engine." If the timing belt fails, pistons and valves will travel out of sequence with one another. The result of this is .that pistons and valves will collide, valves will be bent, and you are then in for a very expensive repair
Tensioning the timing belt requires an expensive special Porsche tension gauge, the P9201, that costs about $500. A few hardy owners use the more traditional "by hand" method generally without any adverse affects. However, the general consensus is "better safe than sorry" -- use the factory tensioning gauge.
1987 and later 944's have an automatic tensioning device built in that in theory allows you to perform this operation without the special gauge. However, the automatic tensioner has been known to produce incorrect settings. Moreover, Porsche found that the 944S2 suffered from cam timing belt slap when tensioned with only the automatic tensioner. The bottom line is that the P9201 tool should still be used on the 87 and later cars with the automatic tensioner
The belts should be changed at least every 45K. If a car your are considering for purchase does not have service records indicating that this has been done, allow for an extra $300-$500 to have the belts changed.
The timing belt in a 924 is reported to be far less finicky than the 944 or 924S. Since the 2.0 engine does not have an interference design where the pistons and valves share space, a failure of the timing belt does not produce the kind of expensive collataral damage as in the case of the 944 or the 924S, viz. a piston hitting the open valves, necessitating an expensive engine rebuild. While the maintenance interval for the 924 timing belt is the same, the expensive tensioning tool is not needed.
If you have excessive vibration at idle, and the vibration disappears around 1200 RPM, one or more of your motor mounts may be bad. The mounts have been through several designs. When updating your mounts, make sure you're getting the newest version (p/n 951.375.042.04) from the 944 Turbo. The bolt lengths have also changed with the updated part, so check for updated hardware.
The right (exhaust side) mount takes the most punishment and usually goes first.
The repair is within the reach of the accomplished backyard mechanic, but requires some tools, skills and patience. Motor mounts may "look" OK and still be bad. The normal advice is to look for fluid leakage. However, usually the fluid has leaked and evaporated long ago. A better way to check the mounts is to fashion a [ shaped piece of stiff wire so that the points of the wire are 60 mm apart. Use this gauge to measure the distance between the top and bottom surfaces of the mounts. If it is less then the 60 mm, replace them. If you have an older 944 and it's vibrating, replacing the mounts will make you feel like you have a whole different car. Europroducts is the one of the cheapest sources of mounts at $110/each. Their number is 800-962-0911.
If you notice any noise or leaking from your water pump it is probably bad and should be replaced right away. If the pump fails entirely the fluid may leak on your belts and they will need to be replaced as well, or if the pump seizes it will destroy the timing belt as well - which could lead to very expensive valve damage.
In the 924S, 944, and 968 series cars, the water pump replacement is particularly unpleasant because it requires pulling the timing and balance belts to get to it. You may want to consider replacing the belts at the same time. Changing the thermostat at this time is also a good idea as it's very difficult to get to otherwise. The water pump has been updated several times. The current new factory part number is 951.106.021.10, the factory exchange water pump is 951.106.921.X ($100.00 core charge). If you update to the latest pump, you will also need the updated thermostat (p/n 944.234.160.00), otherwise you can use the old style thermostat (p/n 944.106.129.05). The rebuilt pumps may not be the bargain they appear to be, and some mechanics will refuse to even install a rebuilt pump because they've had so many fail. (See section 7.3 for information on removing the thermostat snap ring.)
Chilton's 1995 labor guide states the following for changing a water pump:
8.1 hrs. for 924S/944
8.7 hrs. for 951/944S2
6.5 hrs. for a 968
The 924 water pump is less expensive than its 944/924S/968 counterpart. (p/n 060 121 011, $87 at Euroselect). And again, it makes no sense at all to use a rebuilt unit.
When refilling the coolant/anti-freeze after replacement of the water pump, particular care needs to be taken to bleed the coolant system according to the procedure in the owners manual, or section 7.2. Use a phosphate-free anti-freeze that is compatible with aluminium engines. "Zerex-Extreme 450 phosphate-free" has been recommended by Porsche, as has the VW/AutoBahn anti-freeze.
In the 924S, 944, and 968 series cars, the seals in the oil cooler will sometimes shrink due to age, changing oil types, etc. In 1987, Porsche redesigned the seal causing many failures. The production was not corrected until 1991. All models between 1987 and 1991 are extremely at risk for this failure, if they haven't been updated to the latest part keep a very close eye on your coolant and oil. When the seal fails, it allows oil to enter your cooling system, and coolant into your oil. If you check your oil and notice a chocolatey brown froth on your dip stick, or if you notice brown residue in your coolant over-flow tank, you should take it to the shop immediately and have the seals replaced, the radiator and coolant passages will need to be cleaned with a degreaser and the oil changed. It's also highly recommended that the lower-end bearings be replaced due to the accelerated wear caused by water in the oil.
The very early models (until 84) also had problems with the oil cooler seals failing. Replacement is easily accomplished, and the updated seal kit will cost around $30-$40.
The 924 does not have an oil/water heat exchanger.
The clamps that hold the hoses onto the reservoir don't seem to do their job very well. Replacing or tightening the clamps tends to solve this problem. You may also need to replace the small flexible piece of hose (and clamps) that allows the power steering fluid return hose to go around the engine block and underneath the oil filter. The easiest way to check for a leak here is to raise the headlights so you can look down inside the nose of the car. The main reason for catching these problems early is that if power steering fluid leaks down onto your suspension arms it may rot out your ball joints. As of 1985.5 they can't be replaced individually, and the entire arm ($$$) must be replaced.
There is now an updated version of the fluid line that goes from the reservoir to the pump. the new version does not go around the oil filter & attach to the water pump, but rather straight from the reservoir to the pump. As mentioned before, fix this problem as soon as you notice it because it can lead to costly ball joint & steering rack repairs.
Harmless, but inconvenient. They can be replaced easily, they cost between $12-20 depending on where you buy.
944 and 968 series cars have an electrical release for their rear hatch. The nylon piece that holds the cable sometimes breaks. This component is fairly easy to replace. The carpet can also interfere with the rotating shaft. If the hatch is not aligned properly the hatch catches will bind, not allowing the motor and associated cable to do it's job.
On all cars, the hatch retaining pins can also become out of alignment, causing the release not to function. The pins are adjustable, but if they are lengthened too much they can allow the hatch to leak.
If the channels become dirty or warped, the power window motors may become damaged and eventually burn out. If the motor sounds like it is straining, or makes grinding/lugging noises it will more than likely need to be replaced in the near future. Cleaning the channels and making sure the windows are properly aligned will prevent damage.
Gets gunked up and causes rough idle. Some list members have disassembled the idle stabilizer and successfully cleaned them up. On the 944 turbo and 944S the intake manifold must be removed to access the stabilizer(this can be expensive labor wise). An updated part is available which is supposed to minimize the problem. It's manufactured by Bosch and replacement cost is approximately $175.00.
Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) recommends that you use a product containing the Chevron Techron additive to keep injectors clean and fully functional. If you notice hard starting, rough idle, or weak acceleration you may want to try running a bottle of this additive to your next fill up of gas.
A shimmy at around 70 mph on early 944's appears to be a very common problem. No one is sure why it exists, but it may have something to do with the front suspension's VW rabbit origins. A wheel-on-the-car balance job frequently helps minimize the problem.
Symptoms such as: doesn't set speed, speed fluctuates, speed increases, etc. are generally caused by a bad cruise controller. The control box is above the hood release catch inside the car. It looks like a long, thin, rectangular metal box. Apparently one or more components can go bad inside, which leads to all kinds of intermittent problems. This is not the only thing that can go wrong with the cruise control system, but is very common. If possible, have your mechanic or a friend with the same car swap boxes and see if it fixes your problem.
(Note: if anyone has information on repairing CC boxes, please let me know so I can add it to the FAQ.)
The heater valve has been moved to a different location (above the oil filter) in later models. The retrofit can be done by a novice mechanic. New hoses must be ordered. The changeover occurred in approximately 1988/89.
Age and high temperature combine to make the coolant overflow tank swell and eventually fail. Replacing it before it fails entirely would be a very good idea. They run around $120 new.
This pump is supposed to run for 30 seconds after the car is shut off, circulating water through the turbocharger. You can hear it running if it is operating properly. The pump is assembled in two sections, with age and heat the motor shaft binds and stops working. The hoses at the bottom of the pump create stress and this can cause a misalignment of the motor shaft. Readjusting the pump housing in the pump clamp may unbind the pump. A replacement unit runs about $175.00. (p/n 951 606 130 01)
Under warranty PCNA replaced the non-bellowed type headers when they cracked, with the improved accordion style. The factory changeover occurred sometime in 1987. If you have an 86 with cracked bellowed-type headers, a lot of complaining may get them replaced under the "hidden" warranty even if it's beyond the normal warranty mileage. Otherwise, replacement would cost roughly $1200.00.
A very bad design and a very common failure. The official Porsche component is used to be very expensive. Recently PCNA made available the hinge-only part (944 552 553 01 01C) which is much cheaper (approximately $13). Steel after market replacements are also available.
The 944 windshield is particularly expensive, the list price is over $2000! If you don't live in a major city with many glass places, you may want to mail order the glass and have one of the local glass people install it:
Prices as of 2/95:
1985-1991 $445.00 with antenna
1990-1993 $365.00 convertible and with antenna
Discounts @ Glass Suppliers, 1-800-421-1414
A very common cosmetic annoyance. Gary Cook (email@example.com) researched various places that rebuild dashes. The price ranges were from $300-450.
1910 Redbud Lane
Medford, OR 97504
The Newdash Group
4747 E. Elliot St. Suite 29
Phoenix, AZ 85044
Just Dashes, Inc
5941 Lemona Ave.
Van Nuys, CA 91411
(818) 780-9014 (FAX)
The moulded ABS "dash covers" available from various sources are generally not well liked.
These cars are prone to leaks into the passenger cabin that usually originate from one of three areas: the sunroof, the hatch, and the passenger side footwell.
Leaks from the sunroof are usually caused by stopped up drain hoses. These hoses allow the water that accumulates in the drain canal around the sunroof to run out. Check to make sure that there is no debris in the tubes that will stop them up.
The hatch can also leak. Leaks here are usually caused by a worn out hatch seal, stopped up spoiler drains, or a combination of the two. A new hatch seal costs around $60. The spoiler drains are the small rectangular holes on each corner of the spoiler. These can become clogged up, allowing water to back up & spill over the hatch seal. Replacement of the hatch seal and cleaning the drains will usually solve these leaks.
The final problem area of the 924/944 with leaking is the passenger footwell. The can problem occur when the battery leaks acid onto the battery tray (located directly above the passenger footwell in the engine compartment) and rusts it out. Eventually, the tray rusts completely through & allows water to enter the passenger cabin. The best way to repair this problem is to have a new piece of metal welded into place in the battery tray; however, this is expensive (around $500). Some have fiberglassed the tray with some success, but usually the leak will return eventually. If this has not already occurred to you, use a battery mat to absorb the battery acid & prevent the rusting. This does not apply to the newer models with the battery located in the rear.
This problems can also occur when the accumulation of dry leaves and other debris near the battery compartment and the corresponding part on the driver side clogs up drain holes, leading to accumulation of water, which will then find its way into the driver/passenger side footwells. Clearing this debris once or twice a year is easy and effective.
The 944 originally had a problem with the rubber centered clutch fracturing, allowing the center to move about freely & inducing a lot of freeplay to the drivetrain. If you notice a substantial amount of backlash when engaging or releasing the clutch, chances are that the clutch needs to be replaced. This repair will run around $1200 at a shop, or you can purchase the required parts for around $550. There are now updated versions of the clutch disc for these rubber-centered versions consisting of a spring center.
5.7 What are the available option codes?
Option codes are located on a sticker in the spare wheel compartment. The following aren't necessarily all 924/944/968 option codes, but most of 'em should be in here. Thanks to Mike Tietel for his huge list!
|R01||Touring Package (Not Available w/ Airbags)|
|018||Leather STR Wheel/Raised Hub 380MM(Not Available w/ Airbags)|
|020||Speedometer with 2 scales KPH/MPH|
|024||Version for Greece|
|026||Activated charcoal canister|
|027||Version for California|
|030||Club Sport Package|
|031||Sport shock absorbers|
|034||Version for Italy|
|036||Bumpers with impact absorbers|
|058||Bumpers with impact absorbers|
|061||Version for Great Britain|
|062||Mud flap (version for Sweden)|
|070||Tonneau cover - Cabriolet|
|103||Adjustment of shock absorber strut|
|113||Version for Canada|
|119||Version for Spain|
|124||Yellow light (version for France)|
|126||Stickers in French|
|130||Labeling in English|
|139||Heated Seat Left|
|152||Engine noise reduction|
|153||Engine parts belonging to a stipulated assembly for type 951|
|154||Control unit for improved emissions|
|157||Oxygen sensor and catalyst|
|164||Tires 215/60 VR15|
|176||Oil cooler with fan|
|185||Automatic 2 point rear seat belts|
|186||Manual 2 point rear seat belts|
|187||Asymmetric head lights|
|190||Increased side door strength|
|193||Version for Japan|
|195||Prepared for cellular telephone|
|197||Higher amperage battery|
|215||Version for Saudi Arabia|
|218||License brackets front and rear|
|220||Limited Slip Differential|
|225||Version for Belgium|
|240||Version for countries with inferior fuel|
|241||Shorter shifting travel|
|243||Shorter gear shift lever|
|255||Fuel consumption indicator|
|258||Heating for outside mirror|
|261||Passenger side mirror - electric - plain|
|262||Outside mirror for passenger side, plain, manual|
|277||Version for Switzerland|
|286||High intensity windscreen washer|
|298||Prepared for unleaded fuel, manual transmission|
|302||Type designated on rear end|
|308||Pneumatic spring for engine hood|
|323||Sticker, without ESE-Regulations|
|325||Version for South Africa|
|331||AM/FM Cassette w/2 door speakers|
|335||Automatic 3 point rear seat belts|
|340||Heated Seat Right|
|341||Central Locking System|
|346||Standard color rims (silver)|
|347||Platinum anodized wheels|
|348||Forged wheels - Grand Prix White|
|351||Porsche-car radio, CR stereo, type DE|
|375||Clutch lining without asbestos|
|377||Combination seat, left, adjustable|
|378||Combination seat, right, adjustable|
|379||Series seat, left electrical vertical adjustment|
|380||Series seat, right electrical vertical adjustment|
|381||Series seat, left|
|382||Series seat, right|
|383||Sport Seat Left w/Elec. Height. Adj.|
|387||Sport Seat Right w/Elec. Height. Adj.|
|389||Porsche-car radio, CR stereo, type US|
|391||Stone guard foil, added separately|
|393||Forged Alloy Wheels-8/9x16 (944/944S) (944 Turbo)|
|394||Pressure Cast Magnesium Rims (944/944S) (944 Turbo)|
|395||16" Forged Alloy Wheels (944/944S) (944 Turbo)|
|396||Disk wheel, telephone styling 8Jx15 rear|
|398||Outside Electric Mirror, Left|
|399||A/C without front condenser|
|400||Pressure cast wheels|
|401||Light metal wheels|
|402||50 year anniversary car 1982|
|403||Pressure cast 17" wheels|
|404*||Stabilizer Bars Front & Rear|
|405||Level control system|
|406||50 year anniversary car 1982|
|406||Front wheel housing protection 1983-1986|
|407||18-inch polished wheels|
|409||Sport seats left and right leather|
|410||Sport seats left and right leatherette/cloth|
|411||License bracket, front|
|412||External oil cooler|
|414||External Transmission Oil Cooler (Turbo)|
|415||Wider rear track|
|418||Body Side Molding|
|419||Rear luggage compartment instead of rear seats|
|422||Porsche-car radio, CR stereo, type RW|
|423||Cassette container and coin box|
|424||Automatic heating control|
|425||Rear Window Wiper|
|426||Special model World Champion 1976 1978|
|429||Fog headlamp, white|
|429||Special model "Sebring"|
|431||Leather Steering Wheel 363MM (Not Available w/Airbags)|
|432||Sports steering wheel, leather 363mm (4 spokes)|
|437||Full Power Seat Left|
|438||Full Power Seat Right|
|439||Electric Cabriolet top|
|439||Special model "Weissach" 1980|
|440||Manual antenna, 4 speakers|
|441||Fader, antenna booster, 4 speakers|
|441||Radio speakers and antenna amplifier|
|442||Prepared for radio without antenna|
|443||Tinted front and side glass, heated windshield|
|446||Parts for type "Targa" belonging to stipulated assembly|
|447||Emergency wheel - with collapsible tire|
|450||Light metal wheels|
|451||Prepared for radio for sport group|
|454||Automatic Speed Control|
|458*||16" Cast Alloy Wheels|
|461||Electric antenna, 4 speakers|
|462||Special model "Weissach" 1982|
|463||Lateral glasses tinted, (version for Australia)|
|464||Without compressor and tire pressure gauge|
|465||Fastening parts for transportation (version for overseas)|
|467||Drivers side mirror, convex|
|468||Graduated tint windshield, green side glass|
|470||Without spoilers, in conjunction with turbo look|
|471||Sport group 1|
|471||Integrated rear spoiler|
|474*||Sport Shock Absorbers|
|475||Brake pads without asbestos|
|475||License plate fastening (version for Austria, Finland, Australia)|
|476||Brake pad with abrasive pad|
|479||Version for Australia|
|481||5 speed manual transmission|
|482||Engine compartment light|
|483||Right hand drive|
|484||Symbols for controls|
|485||Forged wheels gold metallic|
|487||Connection for fog headlamp with parking light|
|488||Stickers in German|
|489||Symbols and insignia in German|
|492||H4 headlights for left hand traffic|
|494||2 speakers on back shelf|
|496||Black trim painted headlight rims|
|498||Delete Model Designation-Rear|
|499||Version for West Germany|
|503||Cabrio variant (Speedster)|
|513||Lumbar Support-Right Seat|
|525||Alarm with continuous sound|
|526||Door Panels Covered w/Cloth|
|528||Passenger side mirror convex|
|529||Outside mirror passenger side, convex, manual|
|537||Left seat with positrol and lumbar|
|538||Right seat with positrol and lumbar|
|548||Fuel filler neck, unleaded fuel with flap|
|553||Version for USA|
|562*||Airbag- Driver's Side|
|563*||Airbag- Passenger's Side|
|565||Safety steering wheel - leather|
|566||Rectangular front fog lights|
|567||Windshield green graduated tint|
|568||Tinted windshield and side glass|
|570||High output air conditioner|
|576||Without rear fog light|
|586||Lumbar Support-Left Seat|
|592||Brake fluid warning system|
|593||Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)|
|595||Rear spoiler painted to match body|
|596||Spoiler painted matte black|
|597||Heavy duty battery and starter|
|598||Insignia "16 ventiler"|
|602||Third brake light "High mount"|
|605||Vertical headlight adjustment|
|607||More numerous cables for dashboard|
|621||Differing parts for engine 924S|
|622||Differing parts for cars with 2 V-Engine|
|637||Performance Handling Package (944/944S) (944 Turbo)|
|642||Additive for cooling water|
|666||Without lacquer preservation and chrome preservation|
|673||Prepared for lead sealed odometer|
|675||Instrument cluster - technical lighting|
|684||1 piece rear seat|
|685||Divided rear seat|
|686||Radio "Ludwigsburg" SQM with arimat|
|691||CD-Player "CD-1" with Radio|
|692||Remote CD changer (6-disc)|
|701||Car-version Slant Nose|
|756||Special Model 924S USA 1988|
|757||Special model 944 1988|
|758||Special model 944 Turbo 1988|
|780||Remove safety certificate|
|912||Vehicle without identification plate|
|925||High altitude areas (version for US)|
|930||Seat cover rear LLL|
|931||Seat cover rear KKK|
|932||Seat cover rear SKK|
|933||Seat cover rear SLL|
|934||Seat cover rear SSK|
|935||Seat cover rear RLL|
|945||Seat cover front SKK|
|946||Partial Leather Seats Front|
Seat cover rear: cloth/leather/leatherette
|948||Seat cover front SLL|
|974||Luggage boot cover|
|975||Velour carpet in luggage compartment|
|980||Seat cover Raff leather|
|981||Leather Interior (except seats)|
|983||Leather Seats-Front and Rear|
|985||Parts silver colored|
|986||Partial leather lining|
|989||Left and right sport seats - cloth|
|990||All Cloth Seats|
NOTE: Options 562 and 563 must be ordered together.
Option 637 must be ordered with option 030.
* Standard Equipment 944 Turbo.