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JohnJ's 87 924S Rehabilitation

Hello fellow 4 cylinder water-cooled friends,

I've been popping in over here from the 911 forum since the summer, when I bought an 87 924S, and wishing there was more 924/944/968 content to read. Of course it's not cool to be consuming others' efforts while not sharing my own, so here goes.

My background: age 53 and have been playing with cars since my teens. My trajectory has been as follows (excluding family transport): Lambretta LI150 scooter (in the UK); 62 MG Midget (we moved to the US when I was 15); 67 Triumph TR4A IRS; 74 VW Beetle (not Super Beetle); 77 Jeep CJ5 232 6-cyl; 74 Alfa GTV; 85 Alfa Spider; 89 Porsche 944S2; another 74 Alfa GTV (kept that for 20+ years); 85 Alfa GTV6; 82 Porsche 911SC (still have) and now… 87 924S.

This is the car as found. I was out driving my 911 to visit a Dairy Queen, and saw this sitting outside a auto junk/recycling yard. Didn't at first think much of it, but realized it had phone-dials on, so banged a quick U-turn and went for a second look.

A week later it was in my garage. It's not a runner yet, but I'm chipping away at it.

More to follow

Kind wishes, John

(Note: experienced folks here may find some of my writing about this car rather basic; I've invited friends over to read this who aren't necessarily P-car people, so this may be new to them, if not for you. Thanks)


Last edited by jjeffries; 12-07-2019 at 01:13 PM..
Old 12-06-2019, 09:18 AM
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Last edited by jjeffries; 03-10-2020 at 08:06 PM..
Old 12-06-2019, 09:28 AM
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Whereas my 82 911 came with the most amazing documentation and service history file, this 924S came with NOTHING. I did run a Carfax and learned that it was sold new in Maryland, then went through Virginia and New Jersey before arriving where I live - Connecticut in 2004. it appears it was last registered in 2007.

What took it off the road? No idea...yet.

John

PS: yes, it has the wrong tail spoiler on. Already resolved.
Old 12-06-2019, 09:44 AM
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Nice to see another 924S pulled from the scrap pile. That tail is a lot to stomach on a 924S. Good on you for changing it. So I guess a good assessment of what the beast needs because you can get into it for more than it's worth and it become$ all for the love of Porsche. My guess is that you know that.
Old 12-06-2019, 11:33 AM
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Hey P425, my first Reply! Thanks for checking in.

Yes, whereas when I did my 911 I could spend - within reason - as needed, yet know that if I had to bail out I wouldn't take a haircut, this is a very different situation. I do most stuff myself and have some friends in the business I can call on, but this project requires fiscal conservatism, so to speak. I also have a healthy tight-wad streak and maybe my favorite part of these projects is all the new people I get to meet as I search for parts and/or advice. As I catch the thread up to date, I'll try to show what choices I had and how I've been making these decisions. Used parts are generally hugely cheaper than those for 911's, and so many 924/944's are being parted that I'm probably doing this in some sort of golden era or sweet spot in time as regards used parts price and availability.

You may have noticed that I once had an 89 944S2; that was around 1996, so the car was a "late model used car" at the time, which had been traded-in at a friend's dealership and when I first saw it, my mind went into hyper-drive/must-have-at-any-cost mode. It was light blue metallic with navy leather and had belonged to a lady, so it smelled really nice inside (expensive perfume). As a realtively recent car, it needed nothing beyond the replacement of the rubber clutch and oil cooler seals, both done as part of the deal. What a motorcar that was, a more modern and capable car than the beloved Alfa GTV I flogged to make the deal. I felt VERY special, likely somewhat insufferable. I did a couple of track days at Watkins Glen, where it seemed fast and easy to zip around the course and was equally pleasant on the rountrip to and from those events.

The rear end developed a whine and somehow, in those pre-internet days, I found GeorgeB up in the Hudson Valley, who replaced the transaxle while I waited (what service!) with one from a customer who'd in turn had George install an LSD unit in their 944. On my way to George's, I got pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike, but the trooper just told it was a sweet car and to slow down.

So what happened to that S2? Our first kid arrived, I changed jobs and we needed to liberate the value to buy my wife a better baby hauler. I sold it to a guy near Atlantic City and the next day reinvested the money into an 89 FJ62 LandCruiser. I think I'd owned it for a year or so; it had been a sweet ride. I never figured I'd have another model from this family of Porsche's until this one called out and tugged at my heartstrings as I was out on the aforementioned ice cream run.

"Save me!" it somehow communicated. Who was I to refuse it?

John
Old 12-06-2019, 01:02 PM
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Hey there John, I'm on my second 24'S, I had passed up a host of reasonably priced 911's (oil/air and water cooled) to replace my first 924S. I was in love with the car. My replacement is much nicer but the passion isn't there as it was for the first one. People come by my place when I'm wrenching on it with the garage door opened and offer me ridiculous sums of pocket change for it. I'll most likely have it until I die and my family will have to deal with the people looking for a steal. I don't even care to go after a 911 anymore. Not unless it's free!

Last edited by project425; 12-07-2019 at 04:56 AM..
Old 12-06-2019, 01:46 PM
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My 911 came to me under very favorable conditions and with some great karma... and I’m not a particularly spiritual kinda guy. It is nice but imperfect... just how I like cars. A fantastic guy who helped me with used parts and tech help, who has a killer RSR rep, when I asked him what’s his favorite 911, said “always the first one”. (His was an SC, too.) I’m old enough now to know what I like. Won’t know if this 924 is a keeper until it’s a runner and I live with it for a while.

Many more photos coming. Thanks for following along.
Old 12-06-2019, 02:22 PM
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It was a Sunday, so no one was at the salvage yard as I gingerly approached to take a look at this faded red little car. I walked around the back of it and saw it as an S, then looked at the VIN and saw the "H" that told me it was an 87.




It wasn't locked and no one was there to tell me No, so I opened the doors and took a shuftie (English slang, similar to "took a peak"). It was dirty, damp and messy inside, with Linen interior with the Porsche script fabric seat centers. The driver's seat was an aftermarket Konig, albeit one made in Germany rather than China. I pulled the carpets back and was stunned at the condition of the floors.




Similarly, the trunk floor was also pristine, and while the steel space-saver spare was there, the tools and jack were missing, as was the emblem from the nose, and the gearshift knob; the car being unlocked had let other scavengers in before me. The cable for the sunroof tilt motor was hanging astray. I noticed that the ignition lock had been crudely extracted, the dash (dark brown) was comprehensively cracked but the gauges looked good. The Konig seat was mounted using a sturdy aftermarket bracket but the driver's side carpet was wet and that bracket was making some major rust stains. I got in and held the wheel (smaller version of the four-spoke design I associate with an 84-89 911 Carrera)...nice driving position, familiar from my S2, but a less contemporary dash design and in terrible shape, not in any way improved by the (embroidered and personalized!) carpet dash cover. It smelled damp, but I could see that whatever water had gotten into the car hadn't yet caused meaningful rust.




Shoved against the driver's A-pillar, I found a small, sun-faded cardboard note saying, "For Sale, 87 Porsche 924S, 90K miles, NO KEYS, call....". I made note of this information as my mind started processing this car's prospects.

John

Last edited by jjeffries; 03-10-2020 at 08:07 PM..
Old 12-06-2019, 04:33 PM
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Nice find. I look forward to your updates.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

Last edited by CarGuyNeil; 12-06-2019 at 07:27 PM..
Old 12-06-2019, 05:02 PM
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I like the red/linen white interior! Thanks for the great story, keep it going
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Old 12-06-2019, 06:37 PM
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Hehehehe .... thereís something going on out there .... I have 2 x 911s and purchased a faded red 1987 924S with the same grey/beige script interior awhile back ... still donít know why I bought it but this thing seemed to be speaking to me also (via eBay) .... save me, save me , save me....



Last edited by pc100porsche; 12-06-2019 at 07:15 PM..
Old 12-06-2019, 06:55 PM
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Hi PC100, that's a beauty; I'll PM you my VIN and we can see how close they were coming down the production line together.

One thing I noticed looking at the CarFax last night was that this car didn't get retailed until August of '88, which was likely the norm for this model...didn't exactly fly off the shelves?

As said, no paperwork came with this car, so I don't know why it got parked. Maybe the clutch? I've just replaced the master and slave cylinders, got the air out with a reverse-flow final bleed, but the pedal only has a very small arc of engagement (more to come), but I mention it here in relation to why these cars reached certain points of mechanical neediness and then got parked: a clutch job taking 15-20 Flat Rate/Book Hours; at retail, $1500-2000 to replace the timing belt and associated parts. Maybe these kind of expenses were the cars' biggest pitfalls?

Something else that I'd like to say before proceeding any further: I wish I could say thanks to Clark Fletcher for the MASSIVE effort he obviously put into his site, so I'll say it instead to Clark's family and friend Dean Smith for allowing clarks-garage.com to continue. What a treasure he left us.

John
Old 12-07-2019, 04:28 AM
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" I don't know why it got parked." LOL.As an entry level Porsche everyone from the dropout at the local tech school to your neighbor bought one until they started buying parts or getting quotes for repair. When I bought my first 924S the guy was trying to nickel and dime me for his time and the parts that he put into it. Good luck! I got my price only because the people that he said that were lining up around the block didn't show up. A used 924S takes some cash, patience and knowledge. The rewards are worth it. Depending on how long and where that beast has been sitting you can get $5-$10 grand into it easy.
Old 12-07-2019, 05:15 AM
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I called the phone number and the seller - friend of the junkyard owner - called me back a day later. I may be thrifty, but I'm not a great negotiator so paid the asking price, which was reasonable anyhow. I knew from the get-go that this project would be rather like owning a horse: even if I got it for free, it would still be expensive. I did a side deal with the yard owner to flatbed the car the 15 miles back to my home...$100 well spent. He managed to drop it right down inside the garage, onto my planks/scissor lift.


Of course for the preceding few days - and ever since - I'd been immersing myself in all-things-924/944. I figured there's be a Bentley manual for this model (I have their 911SC manual) but no, and no matter; we live in a different world now where the necessary data is spread all over the net.

The way I'd approached my 911 had proved successful, so I aimed to do something similar here. The 911 had been bought by Jeff, a great car dealer friend of mine in 2013 from its original owner, an architect in Boston who'd bought the car as a dealer demo, from Clair Porsche/Audi with 5K miles on it, back in 1982. I've subsequently got to know that original owner, Tony, a lovely bloke who admitted to always having a love/hate relationship with the car. In the documentation file there's a copy of a letter he'd sent to Peter Schutz, Porsche AG chairman when the car was a year old, berating him for the design defects Tony perceived. It is a gentlemanly and beautifully crafted bit of communication. But Tony never spared a penny in his care for the car and the receipts in the file totaled over $100K. That's not a misprint; anything it needed, even a light bulb or wiper blade was done by a specialist shop...and none of them seemed to have cut Tony any slack. A goodly amount had been invested on A/C upgrades - something for which I'm profoundly grateful - and it had received a head-stud job around 85K miles, done at a dealership and using Dilavar studs again.


When Jeff bought the car it had 183K miles on the clock and had been sitting for a couple of years; Tony sold it because he'd become a bit too old to manage the clutch. Jeff had the car checked out and found that it had broken head-studs (again, 100K miles after the first job).



This is essentially how I got the car, because the shop tore the top end down and prepared an estimate, but then the project stalled. Jeff told me when he bought the car and I was follow along but after some months of silence, asked what was going on and learned of the impasse. I didn't have much money in the bank (never do!) but, long and short of it, was able to do a deal with Jeff. That was July 2014. A neighbor with a strong Chevy truck and trailer went up to Boston with me and we trailered it home. The engine was in pieces and took a separate trip in my Pathfinder to collect.


I'd so badly wanted a 911 forever but never thought I'd be lucky enough to own one. Better yet, I happen to prefer this body style (G-body, aka impact bumper) over the earlier cars...this was what was current when I was an impressionable teenager, although I'd had a great Dinky toy since being a wee lad back in the UK.


I won't make this a 911 repair thread but the story does relate to how I'm approaching the 924. And before the 911, came a number of Alfa's which, along with that 74 Beetle, when I was in college, taught me what I know about wrenching/spannering.




When I bought the 911, I told my beautiful/cool/I'm-lucky-to-be-married-to-her wife that once I'd completed the Porsche, I'd decide whether I liked it or the Alfa more, and sell the other. I actually did exactly that in the Fall of 2018; it was not an easy decision. This was my second 74 GTV; the first I had from 1986 to 1995, and this one from 1997 to 2018. Other cars came and went in that time, including the 944S2, an Alfa Spider and an Alfa GTV6, but the 105/115-series GTV was always the one I kept. (I could write forever about Alfa's...). But once the 911 was completed, I like IT better and found I was never driving the Alfa. The guy I sold it to just sold it on again two weeks ago via BaT, and as we speak it's on its way to San Francisco...a GREAT Alfa city/area.

Last edited by jjeffries; 03-10-2020 at 08:08 PM..
Old 12-07-2019, 06:27 AM
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So back to the 911: it was to be the biggest and most complex project I'd yet tackled, but I took a methodical and orderly approach to it, partially enforced by a tight budget but also because I knew I'd be more successful if I maintained a tight focus. So I initially tackled the car in what became three phases to get it road-ready and registered:

1. Basic chassis refresh: rebuild brake calipers, new discs, service wheel bearings, replace brake hoses, rebuild pedal cluster, freshen the fuel tank, replace the tunnel fuel pipes, overhaul the steering rack...stuff like that.








Last edited by jjeffries; 03-10-2020 at 08:10 PM..
Old 12-07-2019, 06:28 AM
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2. Rust repair in the right side rocker/sill, lock-post/kidney bowl. This is a common area for 911 rot, and just because any car is factory galvanized, we all know that doesn't mean it'll be rust proof forever. My car got off pretty light, although you'll see that after I got the car on the road, further rust repair was required on the front inner fenders/wings. As a result of this minor surgery, I had to repaint the right rear quarter and had some single stage urethane mixed. It came out OK but not to the standard of the rest of the car (which had already had other panels repainted); two reasons for this: the color match was imperfect and I got a couple of fish-eyes in the finish (surface or air contamination). Re the match: what I subsequently realized that the adjacent panels had already been reshot AND that the shop which did that work used base/clear...and that finish was nicer, with a blueness to the black that inexpensive blacks lack (they tend to go a tad brown). You'll see I got some paint mixed by great amigo Mark who owns a first-rate collision shop near Boston and used that for the paint work I had done after the inner fender repairs. The slightly brown right rear quarter only bothers me (it might bother you, too, but not the average folk looking at the car).






John
Old 12-07-2019, 06:40 AM
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3. Engine rebuild: This was the best part. In a nutshell, I had the heads and rocker arms redone by Craig Garrett, cgarr here on PP and who does exquisite work. The cams had some galling so I sent those to John Dougherty and improved to his, IIRC DC15 grind....the basic improvement level for an SC or Carrera; he's another Porsche legend. After farting around with indecision, I manned-up and split the case, had a machine shop extract the stud that was snapped flush with the case line, replaced bearings, chains etc. The original main bearings were so unworn - at 183K miles - that I re-used them. (Isn't that amazing?) but replaced the rod and oil pump shaft shells. I was convinced I'd need to do something expensive with my Alusil cylinders, but found a local guru, Tom Butler, aka tom1394racing here on PP, who did a slurry-hone, measured the cylinders and pistons and declared them to be within spec, even the rings. That was a major relief and helped me - based on cost savings - get the car on the road six months sooner than I'd first estimated.







Since I knew the car had been running well before being disassembled, I had the good sense to leave all the CIS alone, other than a new filter and the fuel lines from Len Cummings.

When I went to try and start the car for the very first time, two friends eagle-eyed with fire extinguishers standing at the rear of the car, and it started with the merest nudge of the key................. let me tell you, that was right up there with the experiences of our kids being born. I kid you not...I was stoked!

These folks you meet within our hobby are amazing. I subsequently bought a number of excellent used parts from Tom Butler and received much advice, too. Craig Garrett and John Dougherty's work was incredible and both provided quick, reasonably priced service. Len Cummings is a prince of a guy not just in making his replacement fuel lines, but also the oil pipes for the SSI conversion I did last year and being so generous with a lifetime of mechanical advice. It was guys like these, once the 911 was completed (and further work would have been wasteful and frivolous from my perspective) who made me want to do another car. In no way could I afford anything beyond an inexpensive car. That said, I didn't know this until I saw the sad red 924S while out on an ice cream run.

John

Last edited by jjeffries; 03-10-2020 at 08:13 PM..
Old 12-07-2019, 06:52 AM
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Nice save John. Looks like a fundamentally solid car. Our automotive tastes are pretty similar, albeit my '69 911T is older than your SC. I'm in the process of putting it back together after a recent (budget) paint job.

My current daily lately though is an '88 924S that I've had for about a year or so. I absolutely love it! Such a blast to drive. It's a rare color, Maraschino Red and has factory sport seats, which I believe was a pretty rare option on 924s due to their being the entry level model. I've installed late offset 16x7 and 16x8 BBS RSs from a 944 Turbo that fit perfectly and have many more upgrades planned for it.

I'm a big fan of the GTVs as well and have one waiting in the wings when I have more money and time. I had a '71 1750 years ago that I never should have sold. Anyway, looking forward to following this thread.




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Old 12-07-2019, 09:25 AM
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Hey Everyone,
Zach Mayne is a renowned automotive journalist who is good at both Words AND Photography. I consider him the Henry Rasmussen of our time, but that’s a pretty esoteric compliment, I realize.

Zach, what an evocative photo of your GTV. Best color IMO, LeMans / French Racing Blue? Talk about a car ready for some love.

Are you still doing articles for Excellence? We need to see more of your work, less of the stuff they seem to do now on EV’s and Panamera Hybrids.

Nice 924S...great (classy/deep/“not another Guards Red”) color and I like the gold wheels. Sport seats? Sweet.

I think mine would look better with 16” wheels but I’m trying to restrain myself.

Thanks very much for stopping by...please. Visit again.

John

Last edited by jjeffries; 03-12-2020 at 10:24 AM..
Old 12-07-2019, 10:00 AM
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Great thread John

I forgot how your 911 came to you - nice project for being basically a very well loved car that fell on momentary hard times, which you very aptly rescued it from. A handsome beast now.

Those photos of the 924s floor really make the same case... that is fairly stunningly nice shape, the car deserves everything you're doing for it. I'm genuinely excited for a ride in it, I have no idea what to expect but am sure the power to weight, lightness and germaness will all be pleasing. Speaking of weight, what's a 924s clock in at?

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