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jwasbury jwasbury is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Weehawken, NJ
Posts: 3,421
1st off, welcome to the asylum

Salvage title may not mean the car is bad, but as you've already stated, it's going to hurt you if you need to resell. With that title, for mid 30s, I would want the thing to be pretty damn minty to hit the bid.

Re: engine longevity, Ronnie's930 has laid out some of the most basic killers: heat, boost, ignition timing. Something very simple, like the boost pressure hose to the wastegate being disconnected, would cause the wastegate not to open... Leads to overboost, and possibly detonation, broken piston rings or melted pistons. These engines have no computer triggered limp mode if something is out of whack like modern machines. Factory boost was about 12psi, which is a decent amount when you consider the engines are air-oil cooled.

You're smart to worry about the engine. If major work is needed, it will suck money out of your wallet faster than hookers and blow. Your best defense is to do a leakdown test. Insist upon it, and observe it if you can. Compression test may indicate an issue, but often compression level will still be decent, even with bad leak down numbers (my car was like that). The money pit potential doesn't end with the engine. If the trans is grinding gears, it can easily be a few grand in parts to replace the dog rings and operating sleeves. If the suspension is original, the rubber bushings will be shot and needing replacement...budget a few grand for that.

The thing is, even with busted piston rings, tired suspension, and balky gear change (usually 2nd is the one that gets beat up the worst), these cars actually still run down the road pretty well. You have to ask yourself honestly what you can live with, and you can do a "rolling restoration" as finances permit. This can be fun, but you will be cubic dollars ahead if you can find a car that has been OCD enthusiast owned where all this stuff has been taken care of already. Bruce Anderson always said, buy the newest/best you can afford. It's really good advice. Following that advice will also get you a car that will be the easiest to sell should it become necessary somewhere down the line.

I should clarify that I did none of these things when I bought my 930. I probably could have spent 10-15k more on the initial purchase and would have avoided maybe 2x that amount in catching up on deferred maintenance and repairs. I've enjoyed the journey, so no regrets. I've also bought 2 Porsches since then and did buy the best I could afford...spending more time driving insteading of wrenching.

Why are you limiting the search to 84-89 models. If you're looking to buy at the lesser cost end of the spectrum, forget about the '89s...that's the only year with a 5 speed transmission and they command a significant premium.
Current: 1983 911 GT4 Race Car / 1999 Spec Miata / 2000 MB SL500 / 1998 MB E300TD / 1998 BMW R1100RT / 2016 KTM Duke 690
Past: 2009 997 Turbo Cab / 1979 930
Old 10-26-2013, 04:32 PM
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