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Porsche 944

Published: 28th Oct 2013 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Porsche 944
Porsche 944
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Best deals for parts are from likes of GSF, ECP and Porsche specialists; many bits are VW derived, dating from the Beetle!

Do you drive this great classic or are thinking of buying one? Here’s how to ensure that you get the best out of your car for years to come

So the 924 isn’t a proper Porsche? That Audi/NSU engine and its location did a lot to deter marque enthusiasts, who also complained that the car wasn’t as quick as a Porsche should be. Perhaps rightly so – it was originally intended as an Audi. But for 1982 Porsche rejuvenated the car with a more menacing body and a new four-pot engine derived from the 928 V8. Still essentially a 924 but it allayed many of the criticisms and made an impressive GT. And they’re the ultimate bargain Porsche today – easily accessible with plenty to choose from on the market. SAM SKELTON shows you how to keep yours tip top.



Turbochargers can be tweaked with uprated ECU chips and increased boost to good effect. MAF signals uprate ignition timing. Rogue Tuning in America will deconstruct the Bosch Motronic ignition reconfi gure it to accept the right signal, or adaptors. Factory turbo installation can be fi tted of course.

The key here is not to tune, but to extract the maximum from the standard unit fi rst via a rolling road. It’s a tough unit; any roughness points to a failed counter balancing shaft or shot engine mountings. Some experts advise renewing the head gasket as a precaution against it failing and it’s wise words.


There is little that can be done to uprate the bottom end of a 944 engine and few people make the effort as the rewards are scant due to great build as standard. Try an S2 block for increased torque through its larger capacity or fi t 968 engine. Strength would be improved by forged pistons if you could get them made but instead focus your efforts on the top end for performance improvements after a careful bottom end rebuild.

It’s a tough unit and you can carry out ‘semi-rebuilds’ with engine in situ as sump can be dropped easily. Timing belt is extraordinarily long and needs replacing every 48,000 miles and don’t forget the chain that works counter balancing shaft. Can leak oil (usually pre-86) due to poor seals. Keep check on cam box carrier and the plugs at the rear of each balance shaft housing. Sump gaskets let go too but this is easily fi xed on the driveway.


Consider an upgrade to power steering if your car is not so-equipped and to be used on a regular basis. There’s little wrong with the stock setup if properly maintained, and the reduced steering weight will make the car more enjoyable and less tedious in town. Conversely you can remove PAS for added feel if the car was to be a track-day car or racer.

Rebush with polybushes as a matter of course. If the car is fi tted with power steering, check that the drivebelt isn’t not past its best. Regardless of the state of the PAS system drain, fl ush, and refi ll with Dexron III ATF. NEVER be tempted just to top it up – mixing hydraulic fl uids is dangerous, so always drain and refi ll the fi rst time. Porsche dealers sell a factory PAS repair kit.


Porsche 928 S4 calipers are a bolt-on mod, and bigger even than the 944 Turbo spec calipers. We’d advise these for anyone looking to do track work plus a set of EBC Greenstuff pads or equivalent for good measure. 928 GTS discs can also be used, or 993 twin-turbo two piece drilled units if you can fi nd and afford them.

Get standard callipers refurbished if contemplating a brake overhaul. They can corrode, which leads to issues with the sliders binding and with replacement pads – they can be diffi cult to fi t. It’s best to fi t new discs and uprated pads whilst doing this even if you don’t intend to use the car hard or use good OE quality parts instead. Lack of use known to kill Porsche brakes.


If you want to mod the transmission, there are worse ways than to source a 968 six-speed gearbox which is tough and has good ratios. Source from a breaker or a reconditioned and warranted box from http://www.porschegearboxes. com for £1795+VAT. The Porsche Centre will also sell you a quickshift kit for £125 if you want a snapper, faster change.

944 gearboxes can self-destruct, with the ring and pinion setup effectively disintegrating under hard use. Source a good used gearbox, as it will be cheaper than a rebuild. The gearbox is mounted at the back as part of the rear transaxle – some may prefer to change the whole unit. www. sells a warranted, refurbished ‘box for just over £2000.


A fully adjustable Spax setup as detailed in the “Rear End” section is the more extreme of numerous ideas which start with Turbo or 968 upgrades. Porsche Shop will sell a pair of lowering springs from £120, and a similar amount for a pair of dampers. Of course you can convert to Turbo spec inexpensively if you hunt for second-hand gear. An aftermarket strut brace can usefully stiffen the front bulkhead which may have ‘relaxed’ over the years.

Front suspension is shared with the 924, and thus can trace its lineage back to the Beetle 1302. A full set of polybushes, and the replacement of any worn parts with brand new items from Frazerpart is the fi rst step. Check for worn ball joints, t/c ends and anti-roll bar bushes – geometry settings are important, too. Noisy suspension may also be due to soggy engine mountings giving a false diagnosis – does the clutch judder at same time?


Ambitious owners might want to upgrade early interiors to later spec, with the oval dashboard. It’s an involved and complex job to swap however. Alternatively, a full leather retrim won’t be cheap but will look the part when fi nished.

Trim readily available given number of 944s being broken. Dash tops known splitters. Hoods on convertibles are generally hard wearing but repairs to power system expensive; lack of use is main cause. VW switchgear (windows usually) frequently fail.


£949 will secure an MSA-compliant rollcage from http://www.customcages. – an easy way to stiffen the shell further for track work or fast road use. Obviously, this would follow a full body inspection and the repair of any areas deemed less than perfect – a solid shell is key to rigidity. Strip to give Clubsport look.

Sills are a common MoT fail point – and the boot fl oor and wings are not immune from corrosion either. Remove the black vent from the door shut area to get a good look underneath the outer sill – and get work done. Sunroof notorious leakers as are front screens. Rear hatch faults are due to slamming it!


944 S2s and 968s benefi tted from a wider 16mm rear anti roll bar and it’s a wise upgrade for earlier cars. That said, why not go the whole hog and fi t the optional 20mm unit? The really ambitious type would spend £550 on a Spax fully adjustable kit from Design911, and set the car up to their own taste.

Pre-85 944s used the same rear arms as 924s but with spacers to increase the track. We’d be tempted to replace these with the later, 944-specifi c aluminium arms. Check the condition of the anti roll bar whilst here, and renew if necessary. New bushes (consider poly) would also be a wise investment, of course.


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