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My vintage 911 handles like a dump truck compared to my modern daily driver.

I love my 911.
I enjoy the power, the braking, the vintage 915 gearbox.
I value the PCA DE events & DIY/Pelican aspect to ownership.

But, I need to face reality.
My daily driver feels like a scalpel.
My 911 feels like a dump truck.

Everything they say about the 911, it actually applies to the new car 10-fold.
It is more planted. More precise. More "on rails". The steering is tight as hell.
There simply is no comparison in driving characteristics.
I find myself not wanting to drive the 911 anymore.

For example, look at the 911 steering slop. (New Leeland bushing)
I am driving in a straight line in this video, and feel no jerking at this limit of play.



When I've researched a suspension refresh in the past, there was no clear logic.
No real consensus how to test for a bad shock or ball joint.
No way to inspect the rubber bushings until you actually remove them.
Or why replacing part X will resolve symptom Y.
You just do it, and throw money at a vague situation.
"It's old, so just replace it"

Why is there so much play in the steering, or was it always like that ?
Which worn out part typically causes this?
Can a suspension refresh fix this much steering play?

In the meantime, I will continue to racking up the miles driving the BRZ, while the 911 stays in the garage.
First World Problems!
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Last edited by sugarwood; 12-02-2017 at 08:29 AM..
Old 12-02-2017, 07:02 AM
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While true a 911 will never handle like a modern car, also nothing will handle like a vintage 911 either.

That steering slop isn't normal. Unfortunately there's no easy answer to what is causing that, gotta go into sleuth mode. With ball joints, bad shocks, dying steering u joint, something wrong with the steering rack, or something wrong with the tie rods. Possibly alignment issues too. Don't throw parts and money, diagnose properly and repair accordingly.

I like my modern sports cars too but the only way to get something that drives like a 911 is to drive a 911. These cars are old and many have suffered from neglect, but they're worth it.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:10 AM
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With respect to the previous post, i highly suggest throwing money at it. Elephant Racing's Sport Restoration 1 package for your car will cost approximately $3100. Ballpark cost for a competent porsche shop to install and align should be another $3k. You will be the owner of one of the best handling cars ever build.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:22 AM
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I just addressed that same problem with my 85; I hadn't remembered it from my previous 3.2s (I've had four of them). I took it to a high-end alignment shop and they said it had no problem with the rack or the u-joints, but suggested turbo tie rods. I installed those and had it aligned, but it still has some level of steering slop. I plan to put on a smaller steering wheel, which I know will remove some of the sloppy feeling, but it's a fact that it's never going to feel as precise as the E92 M3 that is my daily driver. Nor will the 915 gearbox ever feel like a Miata gearbox. The trade is that no other car I've owned--over 70 at last count--has the charms of an air-cooled 911. It's a truly analog car in an increasingly digital world, and I love that

I'm sure you'll be able to unload your car if the thrill is gone.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driven97 View Post
While true a 911 will never handle like a modern car, also nothing will handle like a vintage 911 either.

That steering slop isn't normal. Unfortunately there's no easy answer to what is causing that, gotta go into sleuth mode. With ball joints, bad shocks, dying steering u joint, something wrong with the steering rack, or something wrong with the tie rods. Possibly alignment issues too. Don't throw parts and money, diagnose properly and repair accordingly.

I like my modern sports cars too but the only way to get something that drives like a 911 is to drive a 911. These cars are old and many have suffered from neglect, but they're worth it.
What exactly you mean by "nothing handles like a vintage 911" ?
The modern car is more precise in every way, has tighter steering, and a more firm suspension.

I am not sure how to go into sleuth mode.
None of this is in the Bentley or the 101.

My car got the Turbo tie rod upgrade about 20k miles ago.
The car was recently aligned and tracks straight.

Can ball joints contribute to steering slop?
If so, how do I check the ball joints?

I don't see how bad shocks cause steering slop.
They are dampers, and the slop is happening on smooth roads.

How do I check for a dying steering u-joint?
This sounds like the part most connected to this issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roswell View Post
With respect to the previous post, i highly suggest throwing money at it. Elephant Racing's Sport Restoration 1 package for your car will cost approximately $3100. Ballpark cost for a competent porsche shop to install and align should be another $3k. You will be the owner of one of the best handling cars ever build.
What if I throw $6k at the problem, and I still have this level of steering slop?
I'd rather know what is causing the slop.

My tires are 10k miles old, and I think I need a rebalance or new tires.
The combination of sloppy steering and highway vibrations make me never reach for the 911 keys anymore.
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Last edited by sugarwood; 12-02-2017 at 08:02 AM..
Old 12-02-2017, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madcorgi View Post
I just addressed that same problem with my 85; I hadn't remembered it from my previous 3.2s (I've had four of them). I took it to a high-end alignment shop and they said it had no problem with the rack or the u-joints, but suggested turbo tie rods. I installed those and had it aligned, but it still has some level of steering slop. I plan to put on a smaller steering wheel, which I know will remove some of the sloppy feeling, but it's a fact that it's never going to feel as precise as the E92 M3 that is my daily driver. Nor will the 915 gearbox ever feel like a Miata gearbox. The trade is that no other car I've owned--over 70 at last count--has the charms of an air-cooled 911. It's a truly analog car in an increasingly digital world, and I love that

I'm sure you'll be able to unload your car if the thrill is gone.
While I can appreciate "vintage charms", I am not driving a 560SL for a reason.
I also want a tight, planted, firm ride. (Not talking about the 915, I am fine with that)

Your experience sounds like mine. Your 911 does not feel as precise, tight, and planted as your modern car.
The question is: From the factory, was your 911 ever as precise as your M3 ?

Reading the internet, I was led to believe the electric steering is "bad"
Right now, I prefer the electric steering's scalpel like precision.

Is it possible to check the rack and u-joints at home?
Do you know what they did to verify those parts?
My car already has recent turbo tie rods 20k miles ago.
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Last edited by sugarwood; 12-02-2017 at 08:25 AM..
Old 12-02-2017, 07:54 AM
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Couple suggestions to test for slop:

Car not moving, attempt to wiggle the wheel about the same amount as the slop you demonstrated in the video. Have someone verify the front tires are not moving or watch the ends of the rack from underneath. If you can wiggle the wheel and no motion from the rack, then the issue is somewhere from the rack up. It might be pinion/rack slop, steering u-joint slop, or coupling slop.

If u-joint slop, you should be able to see that. Hold the part of the shaft that connects to the rack with vice grips/soft jaws and have somebody wiggle the wheel. If you have relative movement between the two shafts, then you have a worn u-joint. You should be able to test similarly for the coupling. Rack/pinion slop probably needs to have the rack removed to diagnose.

If wheel-to-rack is tight, then get under the car with front wheels on ramps. Have somebody wiggle the wheel and put your hand on each tie-rod end. You might not be able to see slop, but you should feel things "clunk" as the wheel moves from one end to the next.

I wouldn't expect shocks/struts and lower ball-joints to create that kind of slop unless well worn. Jack the front end up in the air and grab a wheel. Pull/push wheel along its axle and see if you get a clunk from the strut or lower ball joint.

Hope that helps.
Old 12-02-2017, 08:02 AM
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If I did that to my SC while driving, I'd be changing lanes on the Saw Mill.

I can think of 4 P-shop specialists in Westchester (Elmsford, Briarcliff, Bedford Hills and New Rochelle) and one in particular in NJ (Paramus) that could diagnose this problem for you.

I can't.

BTW, you know of course your comparing apples to oranges. We've had this discussion a thousand times on PP.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:33 AM
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sugarwood,

The amount of steering wheel slop in the video you posted is not normal. In my experience, properly functioning steering systems in older porsches is go-kart-good. I'd suggest NOT throwing thousands of dollars at the problem without first diagnosing where the issue lies, keeping in mind that it could be more than one component that needs replacing.

fanaudical's post is a good place to start.

I'd check:
the 2 U-joints along the steering shaft
the steering rack itself, (including the rubber coupler where the shaft meets the rack as I've seen these disintegrate to disturbingly dangerous condition)
the tie-rods (although sounds like these might be newer)
ball joints
wheel bearings
strut-top mounts

The rest of the suspension (a-arm bushings, torsion bars, shocks, sway bar & bushings etc...) shouldn't contribute the steering wheel slop in your video, but will contribute greatly to a good handling car. If everything is well-matched (which is very simple to say, but often overlooked) and in good shape, you should have no complaints about how your car is handling. This applies to the rear of the car as well. Making the front end new again may expose issues in the rear!

If you are not up to taking on the troubleshooting and replacing of faulty components yourself, I'd suggest finding a "Race Shop" that has experience with older porsches specifically. I know there is a good concentration of them in the Northeast (saw you are in NY). A good race shop should be a great resource for getting the steering and suspension performing as well as possible...

Alternatively, if you are willing to do the troubleshooting and install, I have found that Chuck at Elephant Racing provides some of the best customer service out there for suspension related issues and components.

Tom
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:37 AM
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That(video) not right...You have a problem. Fix that. Then make a judgement.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:42 AM
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Whats your ride height?
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:46 AM
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i am with Enzo..this play is not normal at all..Also NYNick is right ,with this play you should be crossing line on the freeway.
I also suspect you steering joints...If you move the steering wheel ,not driving,do you have a play in it and hear some clunk?

Ivan
also check the number 8 if the bolts are tight.

Last edited by proporsche; 12-02-2017 at 09:10 AM..
Old 12-02-2017, 09:08 AM
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarwood View Post
What exactly you mean by "nothing handles like a vintage 911" ?
The modern car is more precise in every way, has tighter steering, and a more firm suspension.
I find the 911 dynamics super pleasurable. The lack of weight up front, the way the car does everything off the rear wheels, how it pivots around an axis behind you, the way you have to transfer weight forward to get the front to bite, the way it squats and plants when you apply throttle mid corner, the "balancing a broomstick" feel it has with slip angle in the rear tires. It's unlike pretty much anything, and I've driven a lot of stuff real hard. There's a real, deep satisfaction to mastering getting these things to hustle because they're so different.

I've driven several stock and modified Twins and they are fantastic (not as good as a Miata, but hey, nobody's perfect) and my current Mini is a laugh factory of precision, immediate response, and damn-the-consquences chuckability. The 911, though, is the car all my friends consistently ask to drive.
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:26 AM
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The steering rack itself has a shim system for removing play. As for the rest of the "replace" issues - the lifespan on rubber parts is not related to mileage, but rather age and ambient conditions - i.e. climate, garaged, heated garaged, etc. In my book if you're looking for OEM handling the suspension bushings, tie rods, ball joints, etc have a max life of 15 years. Tires 5 years (and that's the outside max - for performance driving more like 3). The good news is all of the bushings, etc are not terribly expensive parts, so the logic is that if they're even questionable you replace them to form a reliable baseline.
My suggestion is to find someone with a well sorted car of the same vintage as yours (good place to look is at a track day or club event), get a ride in it, or even better yet drive it (if they'll let you) and then make your judgement from there. Perhaps a 911 isn't the right car for you.
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Last edited by Charles Freeborn; 12-02-2017 at 09:37 AM..
Old 12-02-2017, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarwood View Post
..........When I've researched a suspension refresh in the past, there was no clear logic.
No real consensus how to test for a bad shock or ball joint.
No way to inspect the rubber bushings until you actually remove them.
Or why replacing part X will resolve symptom Y.
You just do it, and throw money at a vague situation.
"It's old, so just replace it"
Personally, I would be hesitant to drive my 911 if I had steering slop like that and to try to identify and replace only the "bad" part on a front suspension makes no sense (IMO anyway). If your left ball joint is bad are you going to just replace it??

a couple of years ago my steering had a little play in it so over the winter I completely rebuilt the front end: ER bushings, new Konis, turbo tie rods, new ball joints, wheel bearings, rebuilt the calipers, refreshed the rack, new hard and soft brake lines, bump steer kit installed and had a 4 wheel alignment done. Car now tracks like a slot car with absolutely no play in the steering and it wasn't all that expensive to do. Yes, I probably replaced some parts that probably didn't really need replacing (at that time anyway) but while you have it all apart, might as well do it all.
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by enzo1 View Post
That(video) not right...You have a problem. Fix that. Then make a judgement.
+1

There’s no steering slop in my 87.
Old 12-02-2017, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarwood View Post
When I've researched a suspension refresh in the past, there was no clear logic.
To be fair, the time you did your research was when you were a super noob and you did not know a roll pin from a torsion bar. That is why the clear logic was not present. It's the same case with every one of us.

That said, I remember you had an odd ball noise when turning the wheel. Two years maybe? Was that rectified?

You probably do not need a suspension refresh. You car is near mint from pics I have seen. fanaudical recommends a way to isolate the steering shaft from the rack. Try that.

Even a rack is not a financial back breaker if tired. You have an issue. You don't have a crappy car.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYNick View Post
If I did that to my SC while driving, I'd be changing lanes on the Saw Mill.
PM me if you are willing to go for a short drive in my car and compare.
Our cars should have identical suspension and steering components.
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Kontak View Post
That said, I remember you had an odd ball noise when turning the wheel. Two years maybe? Was that rectified?
Great memory, Bob !
Here is that thread from 2 years ago.
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:03 PM
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