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Reliability Questions

Hello all,
I am wondering about reliability about all of your 930's, specifically 1986-88, as those are the years I am focusing on purchasing.
What weak points should I be aware of?
What should I check for?
What questions should I ask the owners?
Of course whichever car I focus on will have a PPI...

I did a thread search for "reliability" and then "weakness" and came up pretty empty. Are these things that bulletproof? I mean when I was researching my 996, a reliability search would have yielded days of reading!
-Thanks RMS
So, if you could, help me out! I will join the owners ranks soon... I hope!
Thanks in advance!
-Sean
Old 01-22-2008, 08:13 PM
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I don't know if there are necessarily any design flaws for the 930 along the lines of the RMS issue to the water-cooled motors. Headstuds are pretty much the only thing I can think of, though I'm sure others will then name about 10 more common problems I've overlooked. Course, that's what the exhilaration of driving a 930 will do to you--make you forget about the costs of feeding the beast.

Remember that all these cars are 20-30 years-old. Anything can go wrong on a car of that age. Particularly the rubber/plastic/electrical items, even if the car's been maintained well.

Also consider that most previous owners probably didn't buy this car to *******foot around. A 930 has probably been run hard. If PO's weren't good about items such as proper warm-up and cool-down procedures (or oil changes), that can be pretty rough on the motor and turbo. And the motor develops tremendous heat, which shortens the lifespan of all the other components in the engine bay.

Still, I've found it hard to put a finger on the average longevity of a turbo motor. You hear of SC and Carrera motors going 200-300K without ever being opened up. I'm pretty surprised when I hear of a 930 motor lasting 100K miles without a rebuild. But I don't know if that's because owners got bitten by the upgrade bug and the while-we're-in-there syndrome, or if the motor/tranny/clutch/turbo really needed mechanical attention. Realize that a rebuild can easily run $15K+ (partially due to said while-we're-in-there mentality).

edit: The two times I've been stranded by the car have both been electrical issues: a faulty front trunk fuse panel that had to be replaced, and a coil and CD box that failed.
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Last edited by Noah930; 01-22-2008 at 08:48 PM..
Old 01-22-2008, 08:42 PM
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and there is good reason your search didn't return any results. there really are not too many reliability issues with the car. of course like any car its age, things WILL wear out, but that year range of Porsche, nothing really premature. Any good quality PPI should pull up the major things.

The only thing that stands out in my mind in the years you asked about is too jump up one more year if possible and get an 89. then you get the G50. Not that the regular 4 speed cant handle these cars. its just that you have more flexibility with the 5-speed G50 (personal opinion of course).

As for an investment stand point, the more records you can find, the better. also a vehicle with the least amount of previous owners can also help. I personally don't like to look at my car as an investment, If I did, I wouldn't be able to drive and enjoy it as much as I do!
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1979 Porsche 930: 3.4L, SC cams, Twin plug, Leask WUR, Custom SSI turbo exhaust, Tial WG, K27HFS, and we can't forget the Zork (short lived depending on my homeowners assoc.)
05 Boxster S: For the Track.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:06 PM
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Noah930 & John,
Thank you for your insight, I do agree that the rubber is one thing which I should be attentive to, but hopefully I will be able to do all of the replacement on the hoses, belts and such (only one that really scares me is the Air pump belt it looks like a bear to get to).
I have been looking at 930's with 70-90k miles, as I am not looking for and investment car, and I don't want a car I am afraid to drive, I also feel that a car that has been driven will provide fewer problems than a car with low mileage and dry seals.
Read that as: I would rather drive the thing for a while before I have to tear the motor out of it!
As far as the MY89 goes I agree, the 5spd would be great, but I am not willing to pay the premium that everyone is asking for it. Besides, I have heard that the 930 Box is remarkably strong (wasn't it used in the 934-5's?) Also at the tracks near my home: Thunderhill, Laguna, and Sears/Infineon, only Laguna would really benefit the 5spd. The rest would really work well with the long second gear on the 930 box....
Maybe I am just talking myself out of the G50 box because I can't afford it...
Old 01-22-2008, 09:30 PM
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If your scared of the air pump, find a year car that you dont have to worry about emissions. sounds like your in Cali( I feel sorry for you b/c of emissions) and this is a big issue. anytime someone asks me about an air pump, I tell them to rip it out!

Honestly, dropping your engine is really not that hard, just purschase Wayne's books (best money you could ever spend), and he makes it a snap. all you would need is some jack stands, blocks of wood, a large floor jack, and a furniture dolly.

I feel your pain on the G50. I thought about it, but I am more than happy with my 4spd.
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1979 Porsche 930: 3.4L, SC cams, Twin plug, Leask WUR, Custom SSI turbo exhaust, Tial WG, K27HFS, and we can't forget the Zork (short lived depending on my homeowners assoc.)
05 Boxster S: For the Track.
06 Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon: Tow Vehicle
Old 01-22-2008, 09:47 PM
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I have had mine for about six years. In that time, it has been very reliable (stranded once when a wire snapped due to age). Mine has 138,000 miles on it, and I drive it hard after it is warmed-up. It has never been re-built.

Most of the first two years of ownership was replacing "old" stuff (shocks, bearings, joints, rubber, etc...). The car is 20+ years old - you just have to stay ahead of it.

Mine is a California car. I pulled the smog pump (99% of Smog Stations don't look for it anyway during the visual inspection). With a new CAT, my passes smog with flying colors.

Oh, if someone were to ask, I'd consider it very reliable overall. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.

Tip: Get the nicest one you can afford. Tons of service records are a big plus!
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:18 PM
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Emission,
May I ask if you have done anything to your car, as far as HP mods? Being in CA and dealing with smog is my major concern, however if yours can sneak through w/o a air pump and with only cats I am going to be a very happy camper!
-Sean

EDIT: sorry I see you have a k27 and fabspeed.
Please let me know what you have to do to get by emmissions!

Last edited by Quicksilver77; 01-22-2008 at 10:33 PM.. Reason: noticed something else
Old 01-22-2008, 10:32 PM
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John,
I did think about the 76 for a while to avoid the whole emissions garbage, but I have heard the 3.3 is so much more drivable.
I am looking forward to doing some tinkering, and I will absolutely employ Wayne's book! I have heard so much positive feedback on this forum!
Thanks again!
-Sean
Old 01-22-2008, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quicksilver77 View Post
Emission,
May I ask if you have done anything to your car, as far as HP mods? Being in CA and dealing with smog is my major concern, however if yours can sneak through w/o a air pump and with only cats I am going to be a very happy camper!
-Sean
My car has the K-27 Turbo. I had the "1 Bar" spring, but threw the stock (.8 bar) spring back on for engine longevity (the car is plenty fast anyway).

A couple years ago I pulled the CAT and stock muffler off and replaced them with a dual-out 3" diameter Fabspeed exhaust. My engine oil temps went down (less restrictive) and the power (and noise) went up. I guess in this config it is "track only" as far as the state is concerned.

When I choose to make it "street legal" I pull the Fabspeed exhaust and bolt on the CAT and OEM muffler (it doesn't take that long, really). It passes smog easily like that.

Most smog techs aren't used to looking at a flat-6 shoehorned into a rear-engine Porsche. Their confusion works to my benefit. I've never had an issue with the "visual" inspection.

- Mike
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:40 PM
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I got through smog last month. My car is stock (as far as I know, though the boost gauge pegs out at 1.0 bar, I've noticed). Nevertheless, headers, cat, and muffler are stock. Motor's never been open, again, as far as I know. 80K miles.

California has 2 parts to its smog certification. One is the actual emissions part. My smog pump is disconnected (though it's still there), and the car passed the sniffer part of the test, as it has in the two other states I've lived in, as well. But California also has a visual test, where the mechanic doing the exam looks at the engine bay to see if everything's OEM. Somehow, he must have missed the fact that the pump wasn't connected. It wasn't for lack of effort on his part, though, as he spent a good 10 minutes looking all over the place with a flashlight. The other mech standing next to me and shooting the breeze noticed it and quietly mentioned it to me. So whether you get called on the air pump issue will depend on luck of the draw.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:43 PM
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That is phenomenal! So just to clarify... have you also removed all the other hoses associated with the smog equipment?
I ask because I am looking at a car from out of state the current owner has the stock exhaust and cats, but it has an aftermarket system on right now. I was having second thoughts about getting it because of smogging issues, but if you are sneaking through with cats alone... I am super stoked!!!!
Old 01-22-2008, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quicksilver77 View Post
That is phenomenal! So just to clarify... have you also removed all the other hoses associated with the smog equipment?
I ask because I am looking at a car from out of state the current owner has the stock exhaust and cats, but it has an aftermarket system on right now. I was having second thoughts about getting it because of smogging issues, but if you are sneaking through with cats alone... I am super stoked!!!!
Yes, I sneak through (but I never thought much about it). My CAT was fried, so I purchased a brand-new one a couple years back. No problems with that thing bolted on the back.

Personally, I'd look for a car that has proven itself to pass California smog before I'd buy it. You can really get stuck with a big bill if that thing won't pass and you are holding the ignition key in your possession.

I wouldn't take the current owners word... Can they run the "California" smog tests on it in another state to see if it will pass?
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:53 PM
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So just to clarify... have you also removed all the other hoses associated with the smog equipment?
To protect my innocence from the internet police, I haven't done squat; it was the PO's fault. Nevertheless, while the hardware is still there in my car, it's certainly disconnected, as is the O2 sensor.

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Last edited by Noah930; 01-22-2008 at 11:03 PM..
Old 01-22-2008, 10:54 PM
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I'm going to bed. I'll pick this up in the AM.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Emission View Post
Personally, I'd look for a car that has proven itself to pass California smog before I'd buy it. You can really get stuck with a big bill if that thing won't pass and you are holding the ignition key in your possession.

I wouldn't take the current owners word... Can they run the "California" smog tests on it in another state to see if it will pass?
If you buy a California car, the PO will have to get the car smogged before selling it to you.
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Old 01-22-2008, 11:01 PM
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The help/info above is SO great! I will chat with the current owner and mechanic about simulating a CA test, maybe they can? That said the Current Owner has offered to have all the smog equipment back on the car, if I can source the parts.
Man of the year Pat (kelkat?sorry if I murdered your screen name) has all the parts, and said he would ship for a nominal charge. So I would be covered...
That said, I would WAY rather not have all the smog stuff hooked up, too many areas for vacuum leaks, clutter, and loss of power. So if you guys are circumventing(pc.. the police will never know!) the system.. I am 100% all for that, and it open so many other doors for my impending and very close purchase.
Old 01-22-2008, 11:03 PM
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First - reliability: these cars are IMO very reliable, as others have said, but keeping up on maintenance is paramount. I'll offer that annual leak down checks, in addition to required valve adjustment, oil changes, and the like will keep the car on the road, and give you a benchmark for the overall health of the motor. Read up on the zinc/phosphorous issues in new motor oil and buy oil that is better designed for air cooled engines.

Some things to consider - keep an extra Bosch CD box in the car, along with extra relays and fuses. The CD box can go without warning (this stranded me once) and a swap out is simple. Also check the window rubber and sunroof seals carefully - mine had 2 very small leaks in the lower corners of the windshield that were not easy to identify, simply a 20-yr old rubber seal going bad which would have led to rust in these areas (which is NOT a fun repair).

Emissions: I think Atlanta has the same tailpipe standards as Cali (we have the visual standard too but these guys are not knowledged enough here to check for a CAT or smog equipment - I passed the tailpipe test with a ZORK one year and the guy couldn't tell it had no cat), and my car in stock form passed the sniffer with over 100K miles (and ~18% leakage in cyl #6), no operating smog pump, and no cat. It is VERY easy to adjust the idle/low speed mixture of a CIS car to get it to pass the sniffer. After rebuilding my engine, it passed no problem (it also wasn't fully broken in which actually HURTs emissions) with 964 cams, a backdated ('79) CIS setup, no smog, and no cat. You might invest in the innovate WB oxygen sensor kit (Pelican sells them) if you plan on modifying the car - it will allow you to easily set the CIS mixture leaner if needed to pass the test, then reset it to kepp your motor rich enough to stay in one piece under boost.

Pat K
87 930
Old 01-23-2008, 03:46 AM
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I passed the tailpipe test with a ZORK one year and the guy couldn't tell it had no cat
LOL
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Old 01-23-2008, 03:15 PM
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+1 on the Zork smog LOL! I can't even imagine!!!

Well I guess I could... last year I pulled into the smog station and the guy asks me to pop the hood... I flipped the switch to open the engine bay, upon doing so he was kind enough to tell me that I had popped the wrong one... that he needed the hood opened... to his embarrassment, I obliged... The rest of the inspection went smoothly.

Knowing this is the type of smog techs we have, I think I am going to jump in! I have been having a great dialog with an older gentleman in Florida. He has an 87 silver/black with 99k on the clock, he has owned it for 10+ years and is only making room for his 3.6 Turbo. We had previously agreed price-wise and had a good working relationship, but I was super apprehensive about getting a non-California car for emission reasons. But now... If the PPI comes back clean, I may only be a few days from ownership! Throw on the old cat'd exhaust once every 2 years, get me a WB O2 sensor kit and I am off to the races!

The help is SO much appreciated!!!!
Old 01-23-2008, 05:53 PM
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Pulling into the emission station with only a zork for sure wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done, but I knew it would pass based on my WB data.... What really scared my though was when the guy started shoving the gas reader up into the zork - I had a quick vision of shattered compressor blades as it hit the turbo Luckily the bend in the zork was too severe and stopped the probe before impact.

It would have been a very costly emission test.
Old 01-23-2008, 06:49 PM
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