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Old 06-08-2011, 02:17 PM   #1
JTP
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Anyone here with 944 experience?

Since my Boxster got wrecked I've been searching for a replacement car. Looked at a nice '89 911 Anniversary edition with 105k miles. The car was nice with a beautiful body and interior but I don't think the guy kept up on maintenance. He's owned it for 4 yrs and only performed oil changes. Original clutch and to his knowledge nothing has been replaced.
Other 911s were either out of my price range or beat up.

I wasn't going to look at 944s but one caught my attention. A 1987 944S. Went to see it and the car looked new. Original guards red paint was smooth and body straight. Under the hood the original engine blew so it was rebuilt with all new parts. He had the block Nikasil'd, new internal parts, new water pump, head rebuilt, assembled with high performance fasteners. I checked compression and they all read about 200 psi. Car felt tight and although it was alot slower than the Boxster, accelerated nicely. One issue, there's a sound from the transaxle that goes away when the clutch is depressed. I had it checked and it is most likely the input shaft bearing. $1000-1500 repair. Owner stated he hasn't touched the transaxle aside from regular lube changes. From researching other forums it might be the idler gear or the torque tube bearings. Owner is asking $7500. 86k miles on car, 3k miles on rebuilt engine.

So my original question is anyone here been 944 owners? I heard their maintenance costs can be more than Boxsters and parts more expensive. I've also read the opposite. With such a well maintained car I think most of the wear items have been addressed.

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Old 06-08-2011, 03:51 PM   #2
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my first porsche was a 944. very well balanced and fun to drive (but not the same as the boxster).

1983 ?? miles (if i remember correctly, > 300k). original engine, still ran well. the plan was to restore it, but that turned out to not be a good idea. the early ones tended to rust and this one had a lot. it was not well cared for...

but after i bought it doing the research showed that most of the parts were pretty cheap to procure unless it was something that required original parts (body panels, etc.).

i know that if i were looking for another porsche the 944 would certainly be on my list. i like the styling a lot, they're fun to drive and if you get one in good shape shouldn't be too expensive to maintain, but then what do i know?
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:04 PM   #3
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I had a '86 944 (updated dash model) - as mentioned previously, it's a wonderfully balanced car, fun to drive and I loved the shape. But it just did not have enough power from the 2.5 NA engine. The chassis can handle alot more power.

That car cost me $$$$$$$ to set right but once I got the suspension, steering and misc interior bits right - it served me faithfully for the next 3 years.

I find that 944 parts are alot more expensive than for the boxster.... not sure if that's changed but I doubt it. Especially the control arms and steering rack (ouch, I still remember how much I paid for that one).

I find that the 2.5l NA engine seems to spring oil leaks every 3-4 years.... mine was rebuilt just before I bought it and the owner after me that took it apart again to fix oil leaks just a year after that. Having said that, I think the 2.5l engine is pretty reliable and doesn't keep you awake at night, wondering if it's going to blow up tomorrow.

Also, the rear glass hatch is notorious for water leakage... the rear hinges weaken, the glass hatch misalignes and water comes in. The sunroof has ridiculously shallow water "gutters" so if any thing gets into the water drain pipes, it's prone to leak into the car (day 1 with the car was like that with water pouring over my head on the drive home).

And yes, I had some noise from the transmission which goes away when I depressed the clutch, but it was minor and I just left it alone.

Overall, it's still a great car and I still miss it.

Last edited by shlim8; 06-08-2011 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:39 PM   #4
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I too had a 1986 944, that was Guards Red. I replaced the telephone dial wheels with upsized black Ronal R9 wheels. It was a sweet looking and driving machine. It had 30,000 miles on it when I bought it (I owned it from 1988 - 1990). I don't remember how many miles it had when I sold it but I did a lot of highway miles in it. The only problem I had was with the air conditioner, which I could never keep working sufficiently, if at all. Otherwise just normal maintenance. I don't remember it being that expensive to maintain. Then again it was only a couple of years old.
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Old 06-08-2011, 07:21 PM   #5
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Others already posted they are great and reliable cars as long as they are maintained. Area's of concerns are in the front seals, timing belts, balance shaft belts. These require replacement about every 30k miles. Fairly easy to do.

Other maint area of concern is clutch replacement. Very expensive to have done and tedious to do for the home Mechanics. 944 N/A can cost up to $2k or more depending on where you live. Turbo cars can cost up to $3k. It's mainly due to complexity of what needs to be removed to change the clutch. Clutch is located behind the eng and transaxle is at the rear.

If both areas have been addressed than you have a good car.

944s is an odd model of the bunch. Yes it is the 1st 944 with 16 valve but perf is not much improvement over the regular 944. Not many 944s out there.

My choice would be the 944 S2. Makes a great track or street car. Has better power and tq over the 944s.

Turbo is a different animal from all 944's but is is my choice of the group. I've owned one since 1993. 1st was a 87 turbo which I owned for 10 years. great car.

Power? How much do you want is the question. Turbo lag is something to get used to.

I currently own a 88 turbo S.

Go to Rennlist and the members there will tell you all about their beloved 944. I also post there.

Here's my collection. https://picasaweb.google.com/cas951s/Porsches

https://picasaweb.google.com/cas951s/TopDown
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Old 06-08-2011, 07:41 PM   #6
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I've been a 944 guy for a long time. I'm even working on someone else's 944 for pay.

They can be hit or miss, I pulled the motor apart at 200K and it was just starting to need rod bearings.

Parts (like water pumps) are more expensive than the ones for Boxsters because they are becoming scarcer. Maintenance so far I have found to be easier on the Boxster other than plug changes.

Some 944's were mis-treated and require a constant flow of parts.

The motor rebuild was probably 8K or so if he payed to have it done. The head alone can be 1500 for a used 'S' head. The 1989 2.7 also used lots of different parts and can be difficult to find.

If you keep looking you may be able to find a nice turbo for that money. The turbo is going to be MUCH faster with similar oomph to a modern Boxster. (225hp)

The TT bearings can make noise, the clutch throw-out bearing can make noise as can the transmission. You can pick up good used transmissions for a few hundred bucks. 1-1.5K is a full rebuild (not a bad idea). Is it more of a rattle? or a squeak-squeak-squeak noise?

If your concerned about maintenance I would stay away from a 928...

before and after a little polishing...
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Old 06-09-2011, 02:54 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the input. It doesn't sound like it would be a maintenance nightmare as some have claimed especially since this car has addressed most of the issues.
The car I'm looking at is a 2.5L 16 valve with 3000miles on the engine and 86,000 on the car. The clutch was replaced when the engine was rebuilt and the engine has no leaks on it at all. He used Raceware fasteners to rebuild the engine. I spoke to the mechanic who did the work and he says the guy "spared no expense" to rebuild the engine. He said it was $7000 or $8000. The underside of the car is immaculate too. The car has 964 wheels on it but he also has the original phone dial alloys with the original P7 tires mounted on them. The rims look brand new. The car was alittle slow by modern standards but it doesn't bother me too much. He's asking $7500, fair price?

There are some really nice low mileage 951 in the area and they're asking $14000+. Saw some in the $8000 range too but they looked worn. Saw a few S2s also, but I'm willing to trade some speed for a car that has been taken care and reliable.

The noise is more of a rhythmic high pitch squeak squeak sound that goes away when the clutch is pressed. I just don't want to face a $2000 transaxle repair bill soon after getting the car.
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Old 06-09-2011, 04:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTP
Thanks for all the input. It doesn't sound like it would be a maintenance nightmare as some have claimed especially since this car has addressed most of the issues.
The car I'm looking at is a 2.5L 16 valve with 3000miles on the engine and 86,000 on the car. The clutch was replaced when the engine was rebuilt and the engine has no leaks on it at all. He used Raceware fasteners to rebuild the engine. I spoke to the mechanic who did the work and he says the guy "spared no expense" to rebuild the engine. He said it was $7000 or $8000. The underside of the car is immaculate too. The car has 964 wheels on it but he also has the original phone dial alloys with the original P7 tires mounted on them. The rims look brand new. The car was alittle slow by modern standards but it doesn't bother me too much. He's asking $7500, fair price?

There are some really nice low mileage 951 in the area and they're asking $14000+. Saw some in the $8000 range too but they looked worn. Saw a few S2s also, but I'm willing to trade some speed for a car that has been taken care and reliable.

The noise is more of a rhythmic high pitch squeak squeak sound that goes away when the clutch is pressed. I just don't want to face a $2000 transaxle repair bill soon after getting the car.

7500 sounds like a good price, assuming you get a good PPI. The 4 cylinder cars are as well balanced as most any other sports car in their class, other than 986/987 mid engined cars. I have a 968 and it is great fun, but I drive the Boxster 90% of the time. The biggest downside maintenance wise is a clutch costs big bucks as it's 10-12 hour job. Keeping belts and rollers changed every 30k miles or 3 years is considered a must. if something breaks the engine is basically toast.
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTP
The noise is more of a rhythmic high pitch squeak squeak sound that goes away when the clutch is pressed. I just don't want to face a $2000 transaxle repair bill soon after getting the car.
Really have this noise identified. If this is a Throw out Bearing or Torque tube bearing you have to remove the transmission to repair this. Torque tube is even more difficult to remove. Exhaust, Transmission, Drive lines all has to be removed. Basically like doing a clutch job all over again.

Keep this in mind.
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Old 06-09-2011, 05:43 PM   #10
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I took it to a mechanic and he seems to think it, I think he said input shaft coupling bearing. Transmission will need to be pulled off and replace the part. That was the best case scenario. No way to tell what it really is until the trans is pulled at the very least.

At least it has a new spring centered clutch and throw out bearing. (~3000 miles ago)
The owner and I discussed the issue and agreed on a price. I'll be picking it up this weekend. Will post pics when I get it, then it's "adios" to 986Forum for awhile.

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