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Porsche Crest Building an engine with no car (dumb idea?)

I have a nice running SC Targa. It currently doesn't seem to need anything, aside from some cosmetic stuff.

I am considering adding a Coupe, but didn't want to spend a bunch on it - something I can turn into a GruppeB-mobile.

I am considering buying an engine (with no car attached) and rebuilding it using Wayne's book. Mostly I'm looking for a nice learning experience. When it's done, I'll find some ebay (or Pelican) roller coupe and install it. I doubt I will be building a race car, so performance mods won't be a consideration.

This would give me the best of all worlds:

1. I would learn (and can apply it to my SC when it's time)
2. I wouldn't have to take my SC offline
3. I would be assured of a decent running engine at least when I find a roller.
4. I don't have to jockey a non-running car around in the driveway.


What should I consider here?

How good/bad an idea is this?

What kind of costs am I looking at? (Not factoring in the roller).

I doubt the roller would be another SC...either a mid year S or (ideally) a pre-73 car. What won't fit into an early car?
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Last edited by VaSteve; 08-27-2004 at 11:56 AM..
Old 08-27-2004, 11:17 AM
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I am planning to buy a core rebuilder for my project. It has a perfectly good running 3.0. I don't want to waste driving time while I learn and build my 3.2SS. It will probably take me a year to complete but that's nothing compared to the time the project car has taken.

I say go for it. This way you will have a spare engine if anything goes wrong on teh targa.
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Old 08-27-2004, 01:44 PM
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I would buy the car and engine as one. Find a cheap garage to put the car in while you rebuild the engine. It's cheaper to buy the whole (look for a salvage car since you plan to track it) than to buy the parts seperately and put them together.
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Old 08-27-2004, 02:19 PM
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I did the core approach. I never lost use of the car during the rebuild process, so I could take my time. Now I'm looking for a good roller. 2.7 cores are cheap.
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Old 08-27-2004, 03:06 PM
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Finding the perfect roller might be the hard part. It depends how particular you are. I personally would build the engine, then swap it into the SC (but I would be doing a performance rebuild), or buy a complete car and store it elsewhere. There is probably someone with a garage in your area that they are not using, that you could rent cheaply. It doesn't have to be that close to the house since you will not be working on the car itself or driving it for a time period while you do the rebuild.
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Old 08-27-2004, 04:31 PM
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I bought a separate core motor too which I'm building into a race motor. I can work on it at my leasure and still ride in my 911 any time that I want. The project motor also takes up a lot less space in my garage then a second car would.
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Old 08-27-2004, 05:48 PM
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Well, after disccussing it with the CFO, the main consideration is "how much"? Certainly it's usually easier to get past the boss with a low initial purchase... Anyone have a rough idea how much a 2.7 might be?
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Old 08-27-2004, 06:24 PM
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Depending on the engine condition and type, the tools you already own and enhancements you elect to make, my estimate is: $5000 to $8000. Sounds like a good plan (engine without car) to me if you can finance it. Jim
Old 08-27-2004, 06:37 PM
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I paid $1500 for a good running 2.7 core, but I'm not very good at getting the best price. I'll bet the going rate is less than that.
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Old 08-28-2004, 05:47 AM
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Doing the motor first sounds great to me. Here's my stupidity story.

I bought a 72 coupe that had a motor that had been removed to do a Weber conversion and Carrera tensioner upgrade. It only needed engine installation, the valve adjustment, cam timing, and carbs tuning. Turns out there was a nut inside one of the cylinders that had already been smashed into the piston top and bent a valve. I just wanted to get it running and replaced the bad valve and then put the motor in the car. There was low compression on the side of the motor I didn't have worked on. It now runs but only on 4.5 cylinders. Strike one.

Rather than spend more money rebuilding the 2.4 I found a 2.7 liter long block that supposedly came from a reputable person and was sold as a good running 2.7. I bought that and had a leakdown performed. There was 90% leakdown in 5 of 6 exhaust valves and 18% leakdown past the rings in the last cylinder. It could be carbon buildup on the valves, but I'm thinking at least one cylinder will be weak regardless. I am going to take off one head to check the valves to get a better idea of the condition. Strike two.

Now I am faced with trying to part out the 2.7 and find a reasonably priced good motor to put in my 1972. It's hard to find a decent used motor and most people want a lot of money for something that's a pig in a poke and an exhorbitant amount of money for a known condition recently rebuilt motor. I see lots of decent looking shells for sale, but not very many engines. I think next time I will buy a rebuildable core and build the motor first. Then I will locate a suitable shell to put it in. Yes, it will cost more, but the cash outlay can be amortized over a longer period of time without interest or spousal penalty. And you'll know EXACTLY what you have in a motor. I've heard that advice before and maybe it's actually starting to sink through this thick skull of mine.

I still need a motor (really wanted a 3.0) and still have a car that barely can move under its own power. Maybe I'm I'm a little too gullible or expecting too much. Anyone want to sell me the Brooklyn bridge?

Rob
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Old 08-28-2004, 08:11 AM
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A core re-build sounds good...

Anyone know where you can get a good core? I'd like a winter project (2.7) but I'm always concerned that the one I buy is going to have some catastrophic problem with it...
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Old 08-28-2004, 12:14 PM
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If you start with a running motor (most of them) you most likely won't have anything too catasrophic. Keep in mind that your looking for a project to rebuild -- so you will most likely find lots of things "to do while you're in there".
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Old 08-28-2004, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rob Channell
Yes, it will cost more, but the cash outlay can be amortized over a longer period of time without interest or spousal penalty. And you'll know EXACTLY what you have in a motor. I've heard that advice before and maybe it's actually starting to sink through this thick skull of mine.


Rob
See this is my azz-backwards way of ending up with two cars!!
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Old 08-28-2004, 07:13 PM
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VaSteve,

I’m going to address the first question; “Should I buy and rebuild an engine with no car.”

The answer is an unequivocal YES for several reasons:
As you (and others) said, you get to leisurely learn all the intricacies of a 911 engine.
You get to collect all the information and tools necessary.
You will have some “value added.”

Now for some recommendations:
Find a running ‘83SC complete engine (same as your 911.)
Rebuild it to stock plus normal upgrades specs over a year +/-.
Keep it “stock appearing” even show condition.
Swap it into your ‘83SC and get some break-in miles on it.

Now you have to make a decision:
You can keep the newly rebuilt stock engine.
You can rebuild your OE ‘83SC engine and reinstall it in your car.
You can rebuild your OE engine to some improved specs.
You can sell the newly rebuilt engine as demonstrably running and available for PPI.

Some other factors;
An ‘83SC engine (or complete engine and transmission) is readily available, not particularly expensive, and is unlikely to have the problems of a 2.7.
Don’t buy rust.
If you do everything properly, document everything possible, and have some NoVa Pelicans supervise, you will have a really nice (valuable) engine.
I agree, the initial investment is low and you can purchase new parts as you and CFO want.

How to start:
Make yourself a good workshop place; shelves, workbench, good lighting, etc.
Buy some basic tools; engine stand & yoke, cam timing, compression &cylinder leak, and normal mechanic and measuring instruments.
Buy an engine (&trans) only after you are all set up. Wait for the best engine and best deal. Don’t be afraid of buying more than one. Carefully inspect (PPI) any engine offered.
Don’t disassemble it until you are ready to document, clean, and measure everything.

This is a good and worthwhile project.

Best,
Grady
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Old 08-28-2004, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Grady Clay
VaSteve,

Now for some recommendations:
Find a running ‘83SC complete engine (same as your 911.)
Rebuild it to stock plus normal upgrades specs over a year +/-.
Keep it “stock appearing” even show condition.
Swap it into your ‘83SC and get some break-in miles on it.

Best,
Grady

Hmmm... I never thought of breaking it in in my own car! Great idea (along with the other comments.)

This will probably be one of the most technical things I have ever attempted. Once the project commences, I will have to keep you all updated.

I look forward to these comments, please post more!
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Old 08-29-2004, 01:06 PM
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In response to Rob Channell's stories - the best way to get a good motor is to get it out of a car that runs. That's what I did with the 3.2 I recently bought ($6200, 60K miles, good compression, no broken studs, incl harness and tach). I got a chance to actually see it run (although the car wasn't driveable).

You're right - anything else is a pig-in-a-poke. An engine that doesn't come with a guarantee can only be considered a "core" engine. There's usually a good reason why the engine is out of the car (like it needs a rebuild).

-Wayne
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Old 08-29-2004, 01:10 PM
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VaSteve,

I agree with Wayne, buy an engine that someone can demonstrate running if possible. That is worth paying a premium for.

On the other hand, assuming someone has an ‘83SC engine out of a car, for sale and you (or another) can inspect it, what should you look for?

First I would remove the sparkplugs and, using a light on a wand, look in the combustion chambers. There shouldn’t be any rust. If OK, oil the cylinders. Remove the intake valve covers and inspect the cams and rockers. Again, no rust. Oil the cams and rockers.

Next, I would turn the engine with a wrench. Don’t force it. Remember, it takes two revolutions per cycle. After about ten revolutions, ask yourself “Did the force required change?” “Did it take more force to get it to first turn?” That is an indication of how long the engine has been sitting. As you rotate the engine, continue to inspect the combustion chambers.

Next, drain the oil and inspect the magnet. (On engines that have a sump plate, inspect the perimeter of the screen for foreign particles.) If you can, cut the oil filter apart and inspect for metal.

You can do a cylinder leak test. The criterion is that all the cylinders should be equally bad but none over 20% or so.

I encourage you to buy an absolutely complete engine (and more) that has not been disassembled prior. If an engine is a recent assemblage of parts, walk away. With all the junk that we threw away or used as cut-away demonstrations, I could have built engines with every single part defective.

With a non-running engine you are just buying a collection of parts. Again, don’t shy away from buying more than one.


Yes, this is a technical undertaking. It is easy. There is all the technical information available. There are tools. There are spare parts. There are lots of knowledgeable Pelican help for you. This is not experimental rocket science. This is not the “practice” of medicine, where there aren’t spares or a complete instruction manual. Fear not – You can do it.

Best,
Grady
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Old 08-29-2004, 07:54 PM
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Excellent - I just did this (bought a 2.2 long block and rebuilt is so I could continue driving my 70 911T) and fired my rebuild up yesterday. See pics below. Was bone dry excempt for drip from oil filter console. 34 year old o-ring was hard and flat. Used some cork gasket material to fabricate a temporarary replacement. Ran strong, sounded louder, smelled new.

I bought my long block from a nice fellow out in Wash or Oregan, I'm in Houston. I had already purchased a set of P&C a few years back in preparation. Machine work at EBS, used SSIs, lot's of parts from Pelican, some borrowed tools, some purchased tools like the yoke. Worked on it for over a year just like Grady recommends above. Last couple of weeks, I would just sit in the garage and look at it on the floor mounted with the tranny running back through my mind all of the steps to ensure it was done right. It took a few trys moving the distributor to get it to start, at first it popped & puttered, then it caught and sounded awsome. I loved the 20 minute initial run. Did a jig and grinned like a fool. Can't wait to get home tonight for the next breakin drive.

PS: Now I've got a 2.2 long block (from a running car) ready for someone to buy and rebuild. Various other parts to list later.

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Old 08-30-2004, 09:04 AM
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Grady:

You stated that I should get an 83SC motor. Assumedly this is because I have an 83SC car. Or, is there another reason. Why wouldn't any 3.0 SC motor be substitutable. My oher consideration would be what could I fit the motor into (longhood for example) when it was done...with relative ease (ie. not a lot of cutting)?

What should I pay for such a motor (assuming it's demostrated as running)?

rw7810: that is beautiful!
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Old 08-30-2004, 09:55 AM
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Steve, what is your desired end result regarding car / engine? What is your planned use?
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Old 08-30-2004, 10:38 AM
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