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    Thread: Living with a transaxle Porsche - my '87 944S

    1. Member Dr.AK's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 10:54 AM #1
      I made a thread about this car when I first bought it last year, but seeing the interest in my Audi's thread, I figure that people might get a kick out of seeing what's been happening with the car so far.

      For those who didn't see my initial thread: Last year I had the urge for a 80s sports coupe with flip up lights. I rather quickly sold my '04 Dodge Ram and looked at a few different options for cars with flip ups: 944s, C4s, Celicas, Supra Mk3s, RX7s... in the end my choice fell upon the 944 as it seemed the 'smartest' choice in terms of availability here in Germany.

      I ended up looking at a lot of 944s (and a few 968s), most of which were in terrible shape. Even those for a lot of money. In the end I bought this one here without even haggling on the price, simply because it was definitely the best condition I could find.


      A brief summary:

      '87 Porsche 944S
      2.5 liter 16-valve engine
      190hp
      157.000kms when I bought it
      Diamondblue Pearl which was only available in 1987
      2 previous owners, the first owner had it 17 years, the second owner had it for 15 years
      A huge folder with receipts and stuff, even the original receipt for the order of the car from 1987
      Zero rust and it's already been rust-proofed with a wax treatment
      Only about 250 944S are left in Germany, it's the rarest model actually

      What can I say, I've never been more in love with a car. It's absolutely the best driving car I've ever owned and easily the most fun as well.


      The first time I saw the car, together with the Sebring I owned last year (sold that this February as I wanted a wagon daily again and ended up buying a '10 Ford Mondeo):



      I did an extended test drive (easily an hour), loved it, but wanted to look at a Turbo as well on the same day. So went to look at the Turbo (2,5 hours away) which turned out to be a complete disaster. I was so mad, I still had the seller of the Turbo standing next to me when I called up the seller of my 944S and told him 'I'm buying the car. Get the papers ready, I won't even haggle on the price.'

      Got it home and later that day saw that there was a puddle of coolant under the car. In retrospective the guy had not driven it very much the last decade, barely 500kms a year and only done the bare minimum of maintenance, but at least he kept the car shiny. I figure the stress of me driving it a few hundred km a day was more than it was used to, which made the weakest link crack.

      Anyways, got it registered in my name the next day and drove it over to my shop where I had a look at the coolant issue. At first glance it seemed that only a hose clamp was not properly tightened, so I tightened it and the issues stopped for the time being.






      Drove it around for a week or so, took some pictures.












































      Next, I swapped out the absolutely destroyed speakers.





      Got myself some replacements:







      Sadly the stock grilles wouldn't fit over the new speakers, so I just used the new grilles included with the speakers. If you don't know they're not OEM, you likely wouldn't notice.

      Stock:


      New ones:



      Theeeeeeeen... the coolant issues came back and there was another puddle under the car

      I ended up just ordering all new hoses for the cooling system and while swapping them discovered that a plastic flange for one of the smaller hoses was broken off, so I had to replace that as well.










      While the car was sitting in the garage anyways I managed to source a new radio. The old one was a horrible, modern and spaceship looking unit, which I hated. I replaced it with a semi-period correct Blaupunkt Paris RCM104 from 1994. It has a keycard, for goodness sake And it's got a tape deck! And even better - it's got a plug for a CD changer, which I used to mount up a Bluetooth adapter, so I can stream music from my phone to this 26 year old radio. Amazing.



      Next up was replacing the spark plugs and the distributor finger and distributor cap.

      Old stuff out:



      Discovered the chain housing had a weird crack here... doesn't seem to be a problem so I left it for the time being and just replaced the parts.



      New stuff in:


      Car ran noticeably better and smoother.

      Then I took it to some meets. If you're somewhat familiar with the old Porsche scene in Europe, you might've heard of Tunnelrun or Crewsn. Mostly old 911s with an outlaw spirit. Tunnelrun was called Onassis800 last year and the day before, the Crewsn people held a little evening meet:



















      The next day was the day for Onassis 800!














      What an amazing event that was. They had organized runs through the surrounding country side the whole day and a lot of amazing cars from all over europe.

      But sadly, that's where my 944 decided to quit. Already on the way to the event my car started having some problems with throttle input. On the way home it stalled a few times and then wouldn't start again for thirty minutes. I managed to limp it back home, stuck it in the garage and forgot about it for the next few months as winter was approaching anyways.

      I'll make a cut here as I don't want the post to get too long, I'll continue in a second post shortly.
      '87 Porsche 944S
      '87 Audi 80 1.9E
      '10 Ford Mondeo Titanium 2.0 Ecoboost
      Instagram: @bastienbochmann

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    3. Member Dr.AK's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 11:13 AM #2
      Let it sit over the winter while I slowly gathered some parts.

      The way I figured the issue was likely caused by the throttle position sensor. So I had a quick look around... Porsche wants 400€ for a TPS, a Bosch aftermarket one would be 250€... the problem being that it was out of stock everywhere. I managed to find out that some models of the Audi 100 Type 44 used the same TPS and ended up ordering it through Audi Tradition. They sent me the very same Bosch part for 60€.



      When I tried to install the new TPS, I discovered the joys of the 2.5l 16-valve engine, or M44.40 as Porsche calls it. The very smart people at Porsche probably had somereason for placing the throttle body at the rear of the engine just in front of the firewall, but for the life of me I can't figure out why they would do it. All the other 944s have the throttle body in the front and it's easily accessed. On the M44.40 you have to remove the intake manifold. If I had to do that, I thought I might as well replace the vacuum hoses, manifold gasket and the idle control valve. Similar story to the TPS - Porsche wants over 400€, a Bosch one (out of stock, of course) would be 200€. In the end I ended up using one from a little known aftermarket company called 'Löwe'. Made in china but a few 944 guys in Germany have had good experiences with these and it was only 60€.

      With a bit of stuff happening behind the scenes in my private life, the car sat until I finally started working on it in April.













      Finally got to drive it again!






      But the clutch was about dead. I knew the clutch job was coming when I bought the car, but it was finally time to replace it. A major job, with the transmission in the rear and the clutch in the front, connected by a torque tube. Luckily I had my father to help me - he was a mechanic by trade 30 years ago before he switched professions and still knows a lot about car mechanicals and he's who taught me all I know about wrenching.



      First the exhaust had to be removed:



      Disconnecting of two sensors that need to come out for the clutch housing to be removed...



      Next we disconnected the drive shafts



      And some time later, with a lot of cussing and cursing, the transmission was finally out



      A view under the car now, where you can see the bell housing at the end of the torque tube:



      The torque tube has to be moved towards the back of the car to make enough room in the front to get the clutch out. To do this, you need to turn the whole tube clockwise and then push it towards the rear. A bit tricky if you don't know what you're doing like we did... but we managed in the end!

      With the tube slid out of the clutch



      Clutch housing off, finally starting to get to the core of things!



      The old clutch was dead. Porsche fitted a clutch with a rubber part to potentially soften gear changes. This rubber block was completely ripped off, so the clutch was basically 'flopping around' when you changed gears. You can imagine how THAT felt.





      What all had to be removed to get to this point:






      While I had the clutch off, I also changed the pilot bearing (in which the torque tube runs) and the crankshaft oil seal. To get the oil seal in, I 3d printed a tool to hammer it in... it did not survive. But the seal is sitting perfectly.






      Slowly getting things back together:



      Torque tube mounted back up:



      Starter mounted:



      Then I got around to cleaning up the transmission.



      And drained the oil and filled it up with fresh transaxle oil.



      Ready to re-install the transmission



      Aaaaaand it's in.



      First test drive was a success, everything worked flawlessly and the new clutch completely transformed the car.


      Then I finally got to enjoy the car for a short while and took some pretty photos!






































      And as I was grinning ear to ear when thinking about my pretty little Porsche, the car decided to stop me in my tracks and the generator died. A new one straight from Porsche is about 900€, a refurbished one is about 250€. In the end I decided to actually send in mine to be refurbished to keep it original to the car. I know that makes no sense and just makes me wait longer for the part, but I somehow felt better about it. Still currently waiting for it to arrive... will update once it's been replaced!




      In the end, I've driven the car about 5000kms since I bought it last year, which to me is way too little But it's still good fun, when it runs. And I'm confident that it'll stop giving me headaches once all the stuff that's accumulated over the years has been taken care of.

      I've also got the parts for a timing belt change sitting here, which is the next major job I'll tackle.
      Last edited by Dr.AK; 07-01-2020 at 11:15 AM.
      '87 Porsche 944S
      '87 Audi 80 1.9E
      '10 Ford Mondeo Titanium 2.0 Ecoboost
      Instagram: @bastienbochmann

    4. Moderator Oliver@triplezoom's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 11:14 AM #3
      Great pics! I love the lines of the 944, especially with those wheels.

    5. Member 2 doors's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 11:45 AM #4
      Raise your hand if after reading this post you went looking for 944's for sale.

    6. Moderator Oliver@triplezoom's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 12:03 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by 2 doors View Post
      Raise your hand if after reading this post you went looking for 944's for sale.
      I did. Nothing available anywhere nearby though.

    7. Member hasnfefr's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 12:20 PM #6
      These are nice driving cars. Real underdogs on the P world. Unfortunately they often are not maintained well, as you found in your search. In typical German car fashion they require lots of maintenance, but you seem more than capable. If you had to pay for the work it quickly out spends the worth of the car. I'm sure it will bring you plenty of joy now that it has found a good home, and you are giving it the attention is deserves.

    8. Senior Member UncleJB's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 12:21 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by 2 doors View Post
      Raise your hand if after reading this post you went looking for 944's for sale.


      https://vermont.craigslist.org/cto/d...147335207.html

      62k miles, second owner, moving and asking $8500 obo.

      You're welcome.

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      07-01-2020 12:36 PM #8
      Beautiful car. I love mine, though it is not nearly as nice as yours. It does what I ask it to, and I have big plans for it.

      Furniture has no say in life.

    10. Member Lujess's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 12:53 PM #9
      Ganz cool . Thanks for posting all the great pics of both your car and the meets.
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    11. Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 01:01 PM #10
      Nicely done! It's great to see it being treated as it should have been this whole time, even if it wasn't abused like so many. It's a very nice example and it's only getting better.

      Once the timing belt is done it's time for a good road trip*.


      *This assumes the tires have a reasonable date code and the fluids (especially the brake fluid) have all been changed, of which I have little doubt.
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    12. Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 01:15 PM #11
      Congrats OP. That transaxle looks like a pain.

      Did you replace the temperature sending unit as well, while you had the manifold out?

    13. Member will951's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 01:53 PM #12
      I miss my NA 944. It had quite a bit of suspension work and was a total blast. But I was poor and thought having 2 P-cars was a waste.

      Do you have a Limited Slip in that car? I upgraded both my NA and Turbo with LSDs.....huge difference.
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    14. Member Crispyfritter's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 02:10 PM #13
      What a sweetheart! Thanks for sharing with us.

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      07-01-2020 03:15 PM #14
      Great thread, great car! Thanks for the read!

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      07-01-2020 03:43 PM #15
      My friend did the clutch in his 924, and the rubber donut was busted too. So much drive train slop.

      Thanks for the read! Looks like you’re having a blast with it.
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      07-01-2020 03:45 PM #16
      Thread title got me thinking. How many Porsches don't have a transaxle?

      Just the four door ones?

    18. Member Dr.AK's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 04:22 PM #17
      Thanks guys, glad you like the thread and the car!

      Quote Originally Posted by hasnfefr View Post
      These are nice driving cars. Real underdogs on the P world. Unfortunately they often are not maintained well, as you found in your search. In typical German car fashion they require lots of maintenance, but you seem more than capable. If you had to pay for the work it quickly out spends the worth of the car. I'm sure it will bring you plenty of joy now that it has found a good home, and you are giving it the attention is deserves.
      I love the way it drives. It's such a well rounded car. The seating position is especially nice, as you really feel like you're in the middle of the car.
      And yeah, they were very cheap for a very long time as they lived in the 911s shadow. A lot of people thought 'Oh, hey, I'll just go ahead and buy this cheap Porsche' and then were completely unprepared for the maintenance and repair costs. While it definitely could be worse, if you can't do anything yourself these cars can definitely eat you up. The clutch job alone is well above 2000€ when done at Porsche. Even in an independent shop it's still around 1800€.

      Quote Originally Posted by reformed View Post
      Beautiful car. I love mine, though it is not nearly as nice as yours. It does what I ask it to, and I have big plans for it.

      That looks great too! To be honest, I kind of wish I had searched for one that was mechanically better at the cost of having a slightly worse exterior. But oh well, this one is at least a very nice base and just needs some more maintenance to be up to spec.

      Quote Originally Posted by Air and water do mix View Post
      Nicely done! It's great to see it being treated as it should have been this whole time, even if it wasn't abused like so many. It's a very nice example and it's only getting better.

      Once the timing belt is done it's time for a good road trip*.


      *This assumes the tires have a reasonable date code and the fluids (especially the brake fluid) have all been changed, of which I have little doubt.
      The tires are pretty new still, fluids actually were changed three or so years ago by the previous owner, but I'm planning on it when I get around to doing the timing belt. And you're damn right - when the belt is done and I feel confident in the car being able to tackle long trips without problem, I plan to hit some mountain passes in the Alps!

      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      Congrats OP. That transaxle looks like a pain.

      Did you replace the temperature sending unit as well, while you had the manifold out?
      No, I did not. I figure that if it fails, now I know how to get off the manifold, so it shouldn't be too much of a pain.

      Quote Originally Posted by will951 View Post
      I miss my NA 944. It had quite a bit of suspension work and was a total blast. But I was poor and thought having 2 P-cars was a waste.

      Do you have a Limited Slip in that car? I upgraded both my NA and Turbo with LSDs.....huge difference.
      Those two look mighty fine as well! I do quite love the wheels on the one in front...

      Nope, it's got an open diff. I'm not sure if I want to change it yet. I'll probably hold off with any mods until I've powered through all the maintenance that's still left to do.
      '87 Porsche 944S
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    19. Senior Member bzcat's Avatar
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      07-01-2020 04:38 PM #18
      It boggles my mind that the car was designed seemingly without regard for the inevitable clutch replacement. They say German cars are expensive to maintain... most of it is stuff like this. Imagine paying a shop to remove the exhaust and transmission just to change the clutch... $$$$

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      07-01-2020 04:58 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Dr.AK View Post
      That looks great too! To be honest, I kind of wish I had searched for one that was mechanically better at the cost of having a slightly worse exterior. But oh well, this one is at least a very nice base and just needs some more maintenance to be up to spec.
      I've always gone for the pretty one that needs mechanical work. I can turn wrenches better than I can do body work. Well let's be honest. I can buff headlights and replace dried out trim, but I cannot do body work.
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      07-01-2020 05:01 PM #20
      Beautiful, phone dial wheels are the correct choice.

      I've been fiending to get one of these, particularly a refreshed (85.5+) like you have. They're cheap and plentiful still. I just don't really have the space and don't drive that much even in non-covid times.

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      07-01-2020 05:29 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
      I did. Nothing available anywhere nearby though.
      Same here. I swear that even a few years ago you could get running 944's for under $5k or so. Now everything is either $15k or higher or parts cars or crashed.
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      07-01-2020 05:38 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
      It boggles my mind that the car was designed seemingly without regard for the inevitable clutch replacement. They say German cars are expensive to maintain... most of it is stuff like this. Imagine paying a shop to remove the exhaust and transmission just to change the clutch... $$$$
      They took a page from the Jaguar handbook.

      The E-Type clutch replacement is an engine-out procedure. There were a LOT of people who sold their cars back in the 60s when they got the quote for that job.

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      07-01-2020 07:54 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Dr.AK View Post
      The tires are pretty new still, fluids actually were changed three or so years ago by the previous owner, but I'm planning on it when I get around to doing the timing belt. And you're damn right - when the belt is done and I feel confident in the car being able to tackle long trips without problem, I plan to hit some mountain passes in the Alps!
      As if I weren’t jealous enough!
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      07-01-2020 08:10 PM #24
      In to catch up later.
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      07-01-2020 10:41 PM #25
      Quote Originally Posted by 2 doors View Post
      Raise your hand if after reading this post you went looking for 944's for sale.
      Every single time someone posts about 944s/951s....

      God these things look so damn good.
      Quote Originally Posted by Volkl View Post
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