In late 2006 my passion for Porsche that had been kindled by owning a boxster lead me to search for a 911. In February 2007 I found a lovely, well used 964 carrera 2 coupe in GP white and embarked on a new adventure. This running report is about my 964 that would be used for high days, holidays and track days and be a 'project car'. It wouldn't matter if it spent time waiting for things to be fixed as it wouldn't be used as a daily driver.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

First Set of Track Tyres (Mar 09)

In preparation for the new track season I got the spare wheels I've nicked off my boxster shod with trackday tyres. So they're now wearing a spanking new set of Toyo R888s.

I soon found that they work great on the road (albeit that they whine when clocking on) and can't wait to get them on the track next month.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Suspension Upgrade (Mar 09)

The car came to me with the original fitment Boge shock absorbers albeit that the rear shocks had been replaced and shorter springs had been put on to the lower the car. Changing the suspension had always been planned. When it was time, I wanted it to be replaced with something more suitable for the track.

Putting new suspension on something I decided to leave to the experts. Luckily up here we have one of the highly regarded experts in aircooled 911s, Jonny Holland of Unit 11 Warrington. Jonny recommended without hesitation that I should have KW Variant 3 fitted, so that's what I got.



At the same time I had them replace the aging rubber wishbone bushes with the newer polyurethane (super flex) bushes:

Of course having all this done requires a full geo on the car which was carried out by Jonny's colleague, Danny who used to set up 911s for the track when working at Tech9 in Liverpool. The car's ride height has been dropped to near 964RS specs and the appropriate negative camber applied and the castor and toe set to make the car sharper in the handling department. The car now has a very agressive nose down stance:

Out on the road the handling has been transformed beyond my greatest expectations. The nervousness of the front end has gone which is noticeable both while driving at high speed in a straight line and when driving on bumpy roads, where it used to dart about when unsettled by a bump. Turning is now sharp and quick and inspires me with the confidence to drive it swiftly. And while the adjustable bump and rebound is set to medium the ride is still very comfortable on the old bones.

Another job I had tacked on while the car was at Unit 11 was to have them weld a brace to the engine carrier and have it powder coated. The brace was bought from Rennline in the USA and is there to guard against he possibility of the carrier snapping when driving the car hard on track. A snapped carrier would lead to an engine dragging on the floor!

A picture of the brace and with it welded to the engine carrier (black bar in the pic):

New Distributor Caps and Rotors (Mar 09)

Fitting new caps and rotors required removal of the heater ducting on the left side of the engine bay so I also remove the heater blower motor and took the opportunity to remove the inlet manifold on that side and clean it out (the right side had already been done). Here's a photo taken while I was doing all that:

Just like earlier in this thread the manifold had a good amount of oil inside it which I cleaned out and then re-seated the manifold so that it was nice and leak tight. This should stop any minor leaks coming from there. Then it was time to get the distributor caps off. As you can see below with twin distributors, twelve plug wires and two coil wires it's a bit like spagetti junction so taking time to label everything up first with a marker pen is essential if it's going to go back together correctly:

The secondary distributor on 964s and 993s is driven off a small toothed belt so this is a good time to check what condition it's in. I'm happy to say that it looked fine as this has been nagging me for a while. If it breaks you get an immediate loss of power at the top end and can cause damage to the engine if it's driven for a long time with a broken belt, especially if the rotor arm stops on a particular pole causing the affected cylinder to be constantly firing.

The old distributor caps and rotor arms were well past their sell by date as can be seen from the pics below.

Some say that badly worn dizzy caps (like mine) will lead to a loss of power. From the test drive after fitting the new parts I would tend to agree with this as the engine feels a bit more lively. But more importantly I'm glad to have those old caps off which I guess could have lead to misfiring.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

New Engine Mounts (Nov 08)

With time, the fluid filled engine mounts are known to fail on 911s. This manifests itself as a bouncy rear end and difficulty in downshifting through the gearbox when braking hard. In the worst case a failed mount can transmit shocks through the engine carrier with the result that it can fracture and the engine fall out! So I thought with another trackday coming up I should examine mine as there is no record of them ever having been changed.

The left one was sagging a bit:

The right one was sagging a lot:

So I duly ordered new mounts which cost £133 + VAT for the left one and £141 for the right one. This included a discount of 15% from the OPC which I simply asked them for:

Fitting the new mounts involved taking the strain of the engine with a trolley jack, undoing a large nut underneath the mount to release if from the carrier and then undoing two small bolts that held the mount in place. Here's the left mount removed:

The new right mount from the top:

Compared to the old mounts the pictures below show there is only a small gap between the mounts and the frame. I also used some emery paper to clean away some of the unsightly rust on the rear heat shield (that you can see in the photos above) and applied some high temperature engine paint.

New left mount in place:

New right mount in place:

Here are the old mounts. They don't look too bad but when shaken I can hear hydraulic fluid sloshing around which indicates that they had leaked and were therefore were no longer capable of absorbing shocks transmitted from the engine and chassis:

Even on the first spirited test drive I could feel the difference. The mounts have really stiffened up the back end. It used to bob about on uneven road surfaces and crash over bumps. It's much, much more settled now. The gear changes are much slicker. Shifting down to 2nd under heavy braking used to be tricky and required patience. Now it just slots home. I'd heard before that duff mounts caused difficult shifting. It'll be interesting to see what it now performs like both on the road and on the track.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Thoughts from Two Trackdays (Oct 08)

October saw me take the car on both the trackday at Rockingham and another day at Curborough sprint circuit with a bunch of 911s. By the time we arrived at Rockingham the car was wearing it's full trackday fun clothes - the red carrera decal had been complemented by Red Porsche Script on the Windscreen and was wearing the red wheels.

Both Rockingham and Curborough were tremendous fun. What they both have in common is that they have some twisty hair pin bends so they really test the agility of the car. And I have to say that although slow/twisty turns are not the forte of 964s, I don't think the car was as good as it should be. I believe this is caused in part by the smaller/narrow wheels. With these fitted I'm finding that I have to work much harder to get the car to turn in (it's essential to use the brakes on turn-in) and there is a lot of understeer when back on the power (nail the throttle at the apex and will simply drift off the track). In short the car is short on grip in the corners yet the tyres, Yokohama AVS sports, are known for their good dry grip. So it must be a combination of the smaller width of the tyres and the narrower track that they create when on the car (outer edge of the rear wheels gets pushed in to the arches a good 15 mm more than when the 17 inch wheels are fitted).

Although some of the excessive understeer could be dialed out with a 4 wheel alignment (particularly by adjusting the camber on the front wheels), I'm loathed to do that at the moment because I'm aiming for new suspension early next year which will require it to be done any way. My benchmark is that the car handles the bends better when wearing its 17 inch boots. The problem here is that my 17 inch cup wheels are replicas and are quite a bit heavier than the 16s which impacts on the straight line acceleration. However, I recently picked up a set of Porsche original Boxster S 17 inch wheels which when fitted to my boxster will free up the existing boxster 17 inch wheels for use on the 964. So these will go on for the next trackday in a couple of weeks time and once the Conti rubber is worn out (should only take the day) I can look at putting some trackday rubber on these rather than the 16s.

Some photos from Curborough:

Carrera Decals (Oct 08)

With a trackday at Rockingham with the gang approaching I decided to dress the car up with some carrera script decals. They were a bit fiddly to get looking nice but thankfully Mrs B lent a second pair of hands, so that we made a nice job. A key part was to remove the Shark fins so that the decals disappeared behind them.

As a final touch a Sunscreen was added:

Just after the decals were added I was asked to write a '964 owners view' for a buying guide that would appear in the December 2008 issue of 'GT Purely Porsche'. The photo above was published in the magazine.

Exhaust Modfication (Sep 08)

While waiting for the bodywork to be completed I got the opportunity to buy a nearly new cup bypass pipe for the exhaust (£80 vs the new price of about £200). This replaces the standard primary silencer. Having done some research on the various 964 exhaust modifcations available I decided that this one provides the best bang for buck.

Firstly, as shown in the pic below, it gives a significant weight saving over the standard primary.

And most importantly the weight is shed in the best place - the middle of the car. Below is a shot of the bypass in place that shows where the inlet connects to the cat:

The second reason for choosing a cup bypass is that it supposedly releases a few more horses from the engine. How many seems to be a point of debate. Somewhere between 5 and 15 extra bhp covers the range of most people's claims.

The final reason for the change was to tune up the noise the exhaust makes. Give it a bit more growl but not so much that I would fail noise tests at tackdays. Have a look/listen at the clip below and see what you think.

More Rust to Attend to (Sep 08)

The episode with rust causing the recent MOT fail (see earlier) brought it home to me that despite popular opinion, these cars can suffer from rust as they get on in life. Although galvanised there will be problems in certain places and these problems need to be addressed. So a couple of weeks ago I decided that it was time to stop ignoring what looked to be a few little rust spots on the NS rear quarter panel and get them sorted. As you will see below it was not before time because little spots are not always as little as they appear.

First was the rust around the NS door mirror. This was there when I bought the car and had never got any worse according to the PO. Rust had set in under the base of the mirror before the newer mirrors had been fitted.

All gone now (ignore the paint on the seal as that was there before and is not overspray from the repair)

All the other rust problems were on the rear quarter panel. It was pretty messy inside the light cluster. When I got the car the original tail light was still fitted (see earlier in thread) and the seal design trapped moisture inside the wing. The light design was changed later so that the wing is vented but the damage had already been done to mine:

All the rust had to be cleaned out and some nifty welding done to repair it. Then it got lots of coats of paint and waxoyl to protect it from the elements:

Associated to this there was a problem in the engine bay. What looked to be light rust on the gusset plate turned out to be extensive when I prodded it with a pen. I was pretty gutted when I found this:

The rusty panel was duly cut out, replaced and painted. Again some waxoyl was applied behind the new panel and a smear on the surface that you can see when the engine lid is open.

Finally there was some signs of rust just above the plastic sill cover:

When I took the sill cover off, 18 years of road dirt came out and it was a lot worse than I thought!

This required some extensive welding to repair it and the whole area behind the sill cover was cleaned and coated with waxoyl to prevent future rusting (I'll need to waxoyl it every couple of years). I haven't got a photo with the cover off but the repair is stunning. Here it is with the cover back in place:

Here are a couple of shots of the newly painted rear quarter and door:

I also took the opportunity to get a new headlamp ring painted to replace the old NS one which had always been a bit rusty and in constant need of touching up:

All the work was carried out by a small local body shop (who had been recommended to me and who had already done the front tub repairs). I let them have the car for a couple of weeks so that it could be fitted in between any urgent jobs that came in. This kept the price down a little and I felt comfortable that it wouldn't be a rush job. The price which including much welding, prep and paint came to £500 + VAT (on top of this I supplied them with the new headlamp ring and rubber seals for the sill cover). I would summarise the work they did as a superb finish on the exterior panels you can see and they were very thorough in the repairs and protection applied to the bits that you can't.

Harnesses Fitted and Trackday (Aug 08)

A trackday at Oulton Park was the first chance to try out the new seats. Prior to the day I fitted 4 point bolt in harnesses and a guide bar. Strapped into a racing shell is a completely difference experience. Not only do I feel more secure behind the wheel but also more connected to chassis and what it's doing. You feel like you can really lean into a corner and find out how much grip there is. In short I'm very pleased with what they have done for its on track ability.

Prior to going to the track I swapped out the Pagid sport pads with Pagid RS15 (grey) race pads. These have taken the brakes to another level. I got no where near their potential on track and ended up taking off too much speed before arriving at the corners. I'll need to re-assess my braking points next time out to make sure I get the most out of them.

I think I'm pretty much done with mods for this year (wallet could do with a rest) but I'm planning on doing something about the suspension and geometry next year to tackle some of the understeer that I like to get dialed out. This is illustrated quite well in the video of me from my friend Tony's Boxster S - you can see how much wider I go on the slow corners compared to the 'camera car'. Saying that, in the very last session I drove the car a lot harder through the bends and found that there was a lot more grip underneath me than I thought there was. I caught up with an Exige and followed it round for 3 or 4 laps without losing any ground on it. So maybe it's me that causes some of the understeer.