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Christien's Avatar
 
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944 as winter car

I'm interested to hear what people think of a 944 as a winter car. I'm thinking about getting something for winter as a fun but reliable daily driver. Salt around here is plentiful, and is kryptonite for my 72 (pre-galvanized) 911. I want something that's not too expensive that I can basically drive into the ground over several years.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Chris

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Old 01-13-2005, 09:29 AM
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It's called a Honda Accord. Buy a used one, drive and throw away after a while.
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Old 01-13-2005, 09:48 AM
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I'm sure you could understand why we wouldnt want our cars referred to, basically, as throw away cars, especially coming from a 911 guy. Driving a car into the ground is something you do with a $200 AMC, a pickup, or a taurus.
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:14 AM
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Do a search here and on rennlist on this topic. I've seen at least six different threads on the two boards on this topic in the last month alone...
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:26 AM
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For the "winter lite" that we get here in MD, I've found the 944 to be perfectly adequate. If you have ever driven a RWD car in the snow the 944 is actually pretty well balanced. Granted, I haven't ever had my 944 out when there's more than a little skift of snow on the ground, just because that's all we've had in the year or so I've had the car. Handles rain just fine, however, and we get craploads of that.

Additionally, I don't see any rust concerns; my car has some rust showing simply because it looks like the driver's side quarter was replaced at some point, but the rest of the car is pristine. Apparently the galvanization really works.

nate
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:33 AM
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Thanks for the responses so far - keep 'em coming!

Bryan: sorry, didn't mean to offend. Maybe I should've been clearer - I'm looking for something (P-car) that's only worth $2-3000, that will last maybe 6 to 8 years of winter-only driving, without daily pampering, washing and breakdowns. I don't mind doing regular upkeep and fixing the odd thing on weekends, but I need something more reliable than the 911 (heh, like Mir!) Certainly a well-kept 924 or 944 with low to mid mileage isn't a throw away POS.

Bitwrench: while the Accord is a great winter car (one of the best, I think - we used to have one) I'm specifically looking for a winter Porsche.

Chris
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:51 AM
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Uhmmmm depends on what you mean by winter....

It was -37 this morning here..............and my P-cars would DIE trying to cold start in this weather.

I run my 944 upto 0 degrees. Below that they don't like it.

Handling wise they are incredibly well balanced for winter driving. Even with a 2-3 inches of snow.

.........but for 8-9 years of winter driving you will be at least.........doing the clutch, water pump, front seals and belts, brakes.......

The clutch alone will set you back 2K if you are paying to have it done.
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Old 01-13-2005, 10:58 AM
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Chris, it's ok. I probably bristled too much (happens from spending too much time in OT land). Anyway, as far as handling on snow and ice, the 944 is pretty good. There have only been a few instances where I got squirrly on the ice, and I've never gotten stuck in the snow. Well, never so stuck that I couldn't rock the car and get out of it easily. We just got through another snow storm, and I only had trouble in two places: backing out of the garage into the snow, and going up the hill by my house. The hill goes up, curves, then curves again from the private road up to the highway... I'd say there was 6-8" of snow on it, but I made it just fine. Summary: On ice, just be careful, but i've been through snow 8" deep and haven't gotten stuck.

Aaaanyway, I wouldn't worry about its handling in bad weather. I'd worry more about finding one cheap enough and with good enough maintenence.
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:02 AM
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halfway thru my first winter with the 944 now (new england). handles well IMO, but i'm not trying to break any landspeed records getting to work. on crappy days, slow and steady wins the race... One thing I have noticed is that it is fairly easy to kick the back tires out from underneath ya on turns and curves, especially on fresh snow and icey patches.

honestly, i'd prefer a true beater than driving the '44 thru the winter... not due to the cars capabilities, but mainly because of the other !@^%#$!* drivers on the road.
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:04 AM
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Alex: thanks for the specifics - none of that sounds too unexpected for a car that's 10-15 years old. I'd be doing as much of the work myself as possible, though tougher jobs I might shell out the $$$ more in the interest of getting it back on the road quickly.

Bryan: 8" of snow is pretty impressive! But what you say sounds like any other car - they all get stuck or slide on ice.

Chris
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:09 AM
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Two words: Snow Tires!

Snow tires will make an average car a super car in the snow. I lived in Utah for three years and at our home in Park City we averaged 600 inches a year. I never missed a day of work due to the weather. My 924S was much more secure and easy to drive then my wife's SUV. Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-13-2005, 12:36 PM
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I ran my 944 through the winter with no issues at all.
I had an oil pan heater, and a lower rad hose heater.
However, the lower rad hose heater caught fire and burned the whole front end of my car.
So, they can be great winter cars with a good heater installed.

Don't forget the snow tires.
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Old 01-13-2005, 01:15 PM
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I was thinking the same thing: 924 as a winter car, (That's just why I jumped over here to this board) My 200,000 mile VW is looking a little ratty, so I was thinking why not another Porsche? I suppose someone (not me) could buy quite a few for the price of a C 4 or Cayanne . Any car can be a throw away car, just depends on your budget! Heck, I've even seen a Porsche Taxi, probably the only I will ever see. (Okay, it was a Cayanne, in Geneva Switz.) But still it was memorable.
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Old 01-15-2005, 10:37 PM
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I'm running my 944 here in Chicago all year and with good tires it's doing great as long as I let it warm up.
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Old 01-16-2005, 11:22 AM
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My sixteen year old daughter drives my old '77 924 w/ 205/60/15 cheap Falken 512 all-weather tires and she has not had any problems thus far (knock on wood).

The somewhat narrow tires make this car very predictable and capable in our occasional snow. My 951 has 225/245 performance tires and it is drivable in snow but not as good.

For a rear wheel drive car these do fine. I actually have a blast driving the 924 in the snow. When we got our first snowfall I took my daughter to an empty parking lot and within 5 minutes she was able to drift the car around a big oval repeatedly w/ out a problem. This says something about the predictable behavior of these things (it probably also proves that my daughter has spent too many hours on the Playstation car games!)!
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Old 01-16-2005, 12:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Christien
Alex: thanks for the specifics - none of that sounds too unexpected for a car that's 10-15 years old. I'd be doing as much of the work myself as possible, though tougher jobs I might shell out the $$$ more in the interest of getting it back on the road quickly.

Bryan: 8" of snow is pretty impressive! But what you say sounds like any other car - they all get stuck or slide on ice.

Chris
My 924S was amazing in snow for a RWD car.

You say you'd far out the "tougher" jobs, well for a 944 the timing belt ($600-$1,000) and the clutch ($1,400-$2,000) are definitely what I would consider "tougher" jobs. There is easily $1,000 in labor alone on the clutch job, and that's if you find a relatively cheap shop. And the timing belt requires a $600 tool to tension properly and must be replaced every 30,000 miles. Replacing the water pump requires that you basically do all the labor that is involved with replacing the timing belt.

Your 911 is an easier car to work on than the 944, to a large degree, hate to break that to you.

The 944 is reliable, but a $3,000 944 is very likely to become a $6,000 to $7,000 car within the first year.

As for the plain 924 2.0 (not to be confused with the 924S, which had 944 running gear), it wasn't fully galvanized until '79 I believe, so the early cars will still have rust problems.

Aaron
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Old 01-16-2005, 01:11 PM
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Aaron is partially correct about the galvanizing on the old 924's. The bodies of the old ones were galvanized but not the door skins, hood, valence, or fenders. I have replaced fenders on my old 924 and one lower door skin section. I would not buy one of these older cars as they are quite anemic (about 100 hp which is perfect for my 16 year old daughter) but they handle similar to the newer ones.

If my daughter trashes hers, I would probably replace with the best 924s
or 944 NA I could find at a decent price.

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Old 01-16-2005, 01:37 PM
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