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Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Port Angeles, WA
Posts: 77
Buying 944, what to look for

I'll be looking at a early '85 944 with 140K miles on it that a friend of a friend has for sale.
I own a 914 but I am not all that familiar with 944 models. I am not planning to desert my 914, but my girlfriend wants a Porscha
What are known weakness's and things in general to look out for?

Neal
Old 02-19-2004, 07:49 PM
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Timing belt! It needs to be changed every 30K miles OR ELSE!!!

There is a very good writeup on this site about buying a 944...lemme see if I can find it.
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'85.5 944
Kalahari Beige/Brown
5-speed
76K miles
color-matched fuchs

SOLD
Old 02-19-2004, 09:07 PM
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Here ya go, courtesy of the legendary (on this board, at least) AFJuvat.

clicky
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'85.5 944
Kalahari Beige/Brown
5-speed
76K miles
color-matched fuchs

SOLD
Old 02-19-2004, 09:10 PM
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Join Date: Dec 1969
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To be more specific, on a 140k mile 944, you need to look at:

1-Under the battery. 944s are notorious for battery acid/rust eating through the sheet metal and allowing water to drip/flood the passenger foot well.

2-Clutch. If it has never had a new clutch, you might want to talk him down $500-$1000. It'll need a new clutch pretty soon.

3-Look at the coolant reservoir. When 944s overheat badly, the reservoir gets a lot of white lines through it. It kinda looks like when you smash a plastic milk jug, and all the creases you made have a white opaque crease mark. The reservoir is fine but if left to overheat a long time, that aluminum engine will need a rebuild soon, or at least the heads.

4-Drive it until the engine gets warm, then let it sit at idle. Make sure the engine temp mark stays at the 1/4 or 1/2 hash mark while driving. When sitting at idle, make sure that it never gets higher than half way between the 3/4 mark and overheat mark. The cooling fans should kick in at about the 3/4 mark. When its hot, CAREFULLY feel the front of the radiator for a horizontal area that is noticeably colder than the rest of the radiator...almost ambient temp. This would indicate a partially clogged radiator. It's about $250 for a new rad and a Saturday's labor. Problem is how long has it been clogged and has it been allowed to run overheated?

5-When starting off in 1st or reverse, do you hear a clumk from the right or left rear? That would indicate a bad CV joint. Again not a difficult fix, but it will set you back a few hundred dollars.

6-Check for leaking brake fluid where the clutch pedal actuating rod meets the firewall. If it's leaking brake fluid then the master and slave cylinders will have to be changed. $100 in parts and a half day of labor.

7-Look for water damage on the rear floor carpet, rear seats, and interior roof panel just aft of the sunroof. Easy to fix the leak but difficult to fix the damage.

8-Get all the maintenance records. If they have no records then be very weary of the normal maintenance schedule. Oil change, wheel bearings, trans fluid change, brake fluid change, belts (timing, balance shaft, power steering, alternator), coolant flush (!!!), tie rod ends, ball joint, brake pads and rotors, etc etc etc.

9-Does it smoke on startup? This would indicate bad valve guides, bad valves or bad rings.

10- Does it shift smoothly into 1st and 2nd. Bad synchros if not. Sometimes just changing the trans fluid to a synthetic (Mobil 1) solves this (it did mine).

11-Check the oil for a milky white substance. 944's have an oil-to-coolant heat exchanger. If the seals on it blow then coolant will mix with the oil and damage the engine. Also, if a cylinder head gasket blows, then the coolant will mix with the oil.

These are great cars! They are inexpensive to buy, have great performance, and are not too expensive to work on, especially if you can do some of the maintenance yourself. 944s, more than most cars, demand preventive maintenance. The religious oil change and coolant flush will save you huge headaches later on down the line.
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1969 911/3.0l SC
Old 02-20-2004, 06:14 AM
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