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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Looking for some guidance in buying 944s2

Hello!
As you could see from my profile, I'm 16 and new here. So far I've been driving a '96 Altima, but that car won't be available to me after next week. So, I'm looking at a 1989 944 S2, and I need all the help I can get! My father is really good with cars, and he drives a í00 Boxster S, but you guys seem to be especially knowledgeable and helpful with info concerning 944ís, so I thought I'd register and ask for your thoughts.

Itís a white 1989 944 S2 that I found online, and itís about 20 minutes away. I plan to go take a look at it next week. It has a clean carfax/title. Here is how it was described:

White exterior, blue interior, 125k miles.
Features: A/C: Front, Power Locks, Power Steering, Leather Interior, Memory Seats, Airbag: Driver, Airbag: Passenger, Alarm, Fog Lights, CD Player, Power Windows, Rear Window Defroster, Rear Window Wiper, Sunroof/Moonroof

Selling Points: $44K new. runs and handles great, like a boxster. daily driver or 2nd car. 2nd owner, since 1998. no winters, garaged. removable roof makes virtual convertible. regular maintenance -- belts, water pump. all receipts since 1998.

Condition: Seats are in excellent condition. New leather shift handle. Dashboard in good condition; tiny cracks. Exterior in good condition; couple of nicks.

pic 1
pic 2
pic 3

Iíve taken a look at several online guides, most notably this one, and I plan to go through them when I look at the car: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/944_buyers_guide/944_buyers_guide.htm

I'm just looking for as many opinions and as much help as I can get concerning other specifics to ask about or check out with this 944.

Wow, now that was pretty long. Iíd greatly appreciate any help I can get.

Thanks a ton for your time and help!

Old 08-27-2006, 11:50 AM
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When was the timing belt last done?

What are they asking for the car?

Does it have any leaks? Do the headlight and blinkers work? Does it have any rust (if so, do not buy--these cars are galvanized and should not rust). Is the alternator charging the battery. Are any of the fuel injector leaking? Does the power steering leak? Are there any clicking sounds while you drive it?

I'd HIGHLY recommend taking it to a shop that knows 944s and have a full pre-purchase inspection (PPI) (even a dealership). It should cost around $300, but could save you from buying a car that is inches away from requiring thousands of dollars in repairs.
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Last edited by legion; 08-27-2006 at 12:01 PM..
Old 08-27-2006, 11:56 AM
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I'll be sure to check all of that out when I go look at the car. Also, I'll look around for a porsche mechanic in the area to look at the car. He's asking $6500 for it.

Is 125k a lot of mileage for this car, or is that near the norm?
Old 08-27-2006, 12:44 PM
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125k is a pretty normal mileage for a car of that age.
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5 liters of VVT fury now
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"There is freedom in risk, just as there is oppression in security."
Old 08-27-2006, 04:46 PM
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I think your father could give you quite a bit of guidance here. If he is handy with cars, this car stands a chance as an option. If he isn't good at fixing cars, find a good Japanese or American car to buy. Maintenance costs will just be too high. The key to owning one of these is to be able to do your own work and have the car down while you order parts through the online stores. You will not be able to drive to the local auto parts store and pick up much for this car. They may have an oil filter that fits, but it will not have the check valve in it to protect your engine and they won't know enough to tell you that. Parts just pretty much have to come from an online Porsche parts place like Pelican. I would strongly suggest that you read what you can here as there have been many people posted your exact question and a lot of pretty intelligent folks have given some good advice...educate yourself well and share what you have learned with your father, I'm sure the two of you will make a great decision together. I bought one for my 16 year old daughter, but I wanted it to be a project her and I did together...so far, it's been real fun and she has taken a tremendous amount of pride in her car. The experience of rebuilding the motor together also has given her an understanding of how motors work and what to look for so she can maintain it properly. Don't think you can buy an old car and it will run every day...day after day for the next ten years, that isn't going to happen. Also remember that when something does go wrong, you will be out of a car for a couple days so have a plan in place for that. But most importantly, you and your dad have to both sign on to this for it to really work. If so, you'll be the envy of all the others at school and you'll have one of the coolest cars on the road. If you can't live with those things, then find a nice Honda to buy.

Hope this helps...
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Old 08-27-2006, 06:30 PM
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Please read the post "Fix and keep, or sell as is?"

It comes down to this with Porsches: If you get a good one, you put gas in it and go. If you get a bad one, it will suck the checkbook dry faster than 0-60.

Bottom line? Do not buy this car before getting a PPI.

I used to have an '89 S2 that was white with blue interior. Great car. I won lots of autocrosses with it. I sold it to a friend who has been winning more autocrosses.

If it's in good shape, it will be a great car. but don't fall in love with it and skip the PPI!
Old 08-27-2006, 07:10 PM
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I agree completely with Dantilla. Don't buy a car without a Pre purchase inspection from a mechanic that really knows these cars and will be able to move quickly through a checklist of known trouble-spots. Frankly, this should be the first move any time you find a car you're interested in, but particularly when it comes to a car that can be very expensive to fix/maintain.

The "fix and keep or sell as is" is my thread, and the reason it is up here is because I skipped the cardinal rule and did not order the PPI because I thought I'd found an absolute cherry of a car. It is likely to end up as a $4,000-$5,000 lesson when all is said and done (I don't do my own work, and try to estimate high as to avoid unpleasant surprises when the bill is presented. Should have done this when buying the car!). Fortunately, this mistake is going to be little more than a mental aggravation, but there were days in the not so distant past when this sort of issue would have been a really big problem.

Maybe that won't be the case with you, but imagine having a similar problem to my own--you buy the car for 6k, and end up with 3-4k in work. Now you're at or close to 10k. My neighbor just sold a 98 V-6 Accord coupe with 70,000 for about that price. If you found somthing like that, you'd have a car with bulletproof reliability that is nice to drive, cheap to maintain, invisible in traffic (GREAT for avoiding tickets), and something you'll still be able to sell for a decent amount of money in 5-10 years (if you keep it that long). This is exactly what I would do in your shoes--find a good japanese car (or a newer VW) and keep it simple. Save your time and money for boarding, biking, chasing tail--whatever you LOVE to do now that you won't be able to do once you're 'grown up.' There will always be another sweet ride.
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'85/1 Blk/Blk, 28k (At the shop!)
'93 Grand Cherokee 5.2 LTD Peeling Blue (254,000 trouble free miles)
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Last edited by GravityGuy; 08-29-2006 at 03:35 AM..
Old 08-29-2006, 02:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by GravityGuy
Don't buy a car without a Pre purchase inspection from a mechanic that really knows these cars and will be able to move quickly through a checklist of known trouble-spots.The "fix and keep or sell as is" is my thread, and the reason it is up here is because I skipped the cardinal rule and did not order the PPI because I thought I'd found an absolute cherry of a car. It is likely to end up as a $4,000-$5,000 lesson when all is said and done .

what I would do in your shoes--find a good japanese car (or a newer VW) and keep it simple. Save your time and money for boarding, biking, chasing tail--whatever you LOVE to do now that you won't be able to do once you're 'grown up.' There will always be another sweet ride. [/B]
I like the bit about chasing tail. If you buy a pig in a poke you will have no time or money to go chase tail, which defeats the purpose of buying a Porsche because it looks cool.At 16 you definately need a dad who can do the work with you and help with the repair costs.
Old 08-29-2006, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Razorback1980
They may have an oil filter that fits, but it will not have the check valve in it to protect your engine
I can't think of a single oil filter that lacks an anti-drainback valve. Even the crappy Fram filters have an anti-drainback valve (it leaks, but they do have it).

A WIX filter (also marketed as DANA or Napa Gold) will have a quality anti-drainback valve and will provide very good protection.
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Old 08-30-2006, 07:25 AM
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With 125k miles, be sure to look thoroughly through the records specifically to see when the timing belt was done, the timing chain tensioner was replaced, and when the clutch was replaced. $6500 seems on par, but your market may vary.

As others have said, take it to a shop with 944 experiance and get a PPI.
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Old 08-31-2006, 10:44 PM
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Welcome to the forum. I would tentatively say that you are on a good path. At least you have read the buying guide, and hopefully will follow through and use it when buying. I did, and it saved me for sure.

Step one- don't buy one with ANY deferred maintenance. Buy a perfect car. Wait 6 months if you have to. But wait.

The next step is making sure that your father is on board for making this a project that the two of you will share, because as others have stated there WILL BE COSTS after buying, and assuming he is mechanically proficient you will absolutely need his help. So long as this car will be a bonding experience for you two, it just might work.

Take the car to AutoX, take it to a HPDE (high performance drivers ed) and you will have a blast. The car is well suited to this. Drag race it against your friends and after you lose to their Escalade, it can tow you home when you realize your transmission is toast. Do NOT buy this to drag race, you will end up crying.

If the car passes all of your checks and your fathers, then you MUST have it inspected by the qualified mechanic of your choice. On a lift. Even if you trust the seller, there might be something he doesn't even know about.

You are very young, this car can be very rewarding but you can get into trouble too. Save the heroic driving for the track. So far you have a good attitude, go slow and be careful.

ps. do NOT try to "turbo it", put 19s on it, add NOS, etc.
Old 09-01-2006, 10:18 AM
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If its a decent condition car, thats not a bad price. I'd expectto spend about $10,000 on a S2(including first years "items" that WILL pop up). My mom got hers for $7,000, I can look up the folder what she's spent on it, brb.
Old 09-01-2006, 12:03 PM
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Totals to a bit under $4k, some fixes wheren't neccesary, so thats $11K. $1.3K of that is the AC system. Car was bought in June of 2004 if I remember aright.

If you have $6,500 now, enough to just buy the car, I don't recommend doing it. Wait until your availible money is closer to the $10K mark. You may be lucky, and not have to spend it, or it may be required. Best to have it on hand.

If I get the time to do the work, I'll be putting $1-2K in my '86 944 this month in modifications and routine maintenance. Worth it to me, I love these cars. The buying price is low, but they will demand attention. Somethings fail that may not be important to you, AC, perhaps a switch, whatever. If you want a perfect car, then a 944 is going to be costly. Buying price is 17% of the price when new - parts aren't.

Last edited by Tervuren; 09-01-2006 at 12:15 PM..
Old 09-01-2006, 12:09 PM
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Tervuren makes good points. I guess the moral of the story that the common perceptions about Porsches are exactly right. They are a blast to drive, and expensive as hell to maintain(in time or money; maybe both). If you like the first and are OK with the second, then they're not bad at all.

But if you're like many of us, and want everything to work all the time, it will consistently nibble away at your play money in $500 chunks. . .

On the other hand, once an owner starts to let his/her car slide at all, the value will absolutely plummet because the cost of fixing everything that is wrong becomes prohibitive for most.

Good luck! BTW, even though my parents offered me a near new Bronco or RX7 (from the family garage) when I was sixteen, I chose to buy a 1980 toyota corolla 1.8 (this was 1995) and ended up driving that thing for nearly 80,000. It cost me $400 to buy and another $400 in maintenance total. That left a ton of money for spring break trips to Cabo, ski trips to Colorado, a trip around europe after my undergrad and enough $$ to still go out anytime i wanted (basically every weekend). A car like this would have killed all of that. IMHO, I would still buy that crapper toyota. In fact, I just might do something like that again. There is just a perverse pleasure about owning a car where the total cost per mile is less than a penny.

Makes me smile, maybe even more than driving a really fun car. I know, i know. Its a sickness.
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'85/1 Blk/Blk, 28k (At the shop!)
'93 Grand Cherokee 5.2 LTD Peeling Blue (254,000 trouble free miles)
'00 Beetle Blk/Blk
'98 Schwin Full Suspension (a sight to see!)
'96 Burton Johan Olufssen 164
'03 Nitro Natural 165
'04 Arbor Koa Freestyle 166
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Old 09-01-2006, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rammstein

ps. do NOT try to "turbo it", add NOS, etc.
I supercharged mine, whats the big deal?
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:17 PM
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Sounds like a good price if maintenance has been done. I bought my 951 with 125000 miles, mileage will not matter if it has been taken care of (and not crashed). Just plan on $1000/year minimum maintenance cost for an old Porsche you are going to drive daily - it is worth it though.

Old 09-02-2006, 02:38 PM
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