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New Owner--I don't even know what I don't know yet.

Hi Folks,

A couple of weeks ago I bought this '85 928S. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that...I've been working on VW's for a few decades (mostly Vanagons, the latest a high-top Syncro with a supercharged 2.0 inline 4) so I'm relatively handy with a wrench; however, this beast seems a bit more daunting.



I got it for next-to-nothing; it runs and drives (with a bad idle and a few noises I haven't identified). It has a million little problems, and perhaps some big ones. but it's straight, original, has 115k miles, and I'm jumping in. I've been daily driving it and taking notes on what it's telling me, mainly that it needs some basic TLC. I'm the third owner and have some documentation, but not nearly enough.





First things first, I've spent the past two weeks reading everything I can find and ordered tune-up parts, fuel lines from Roger, and a bunch of odds and ends from various places to complete the interior and fix a bad window motor and the inop sunroof. I'm finally going to have time to shut myself in the garage this weekend and get started on it.

I'm planning on doing the timing belt and water pump in the next couple of months as well.

Very excited to start a new project, and I'm going to have a million questions. Thanks!
Old 09-10-2019, 12:23 PM
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welcome - very nice looking car
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84 928 S
Old 09-10-2019, 12:28 PM
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Very Nice!!!! Good luck
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1984 Porsche 944
Now a basket case 1985 928 S euro LOL
1986 944 Na 5 speed SOLD
1969 911 Targa SOLD
1997 986 SOLD
Old 09-10-2019, 12:58 PM
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Congrats on the new ride and welcome to the forum! Ask away all the questions that you have, we have an immensely knowledgeable and helpful community. Make sure to check out our DIY tech articles to save you some headaches. Keep the photos and updates coming!

https://www.pelicanparts.com/928/928tech_articles.htm
Old 09-10-2019, 01:02 PM
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Congratulations - New 928 Owner

Hey Joe - Welcome. You've scored a very nice 928 and are actually way ahead of the "New Ownership Curve"..... Many of us had a laundry list of cosmetic, interior and paint issues to tackle along with everything else needed to make her reliable. The 928 Porsche owners are a pretty tight family and always willing to help with any questions you may have - so don't hesitate to ask.

While visiting Ouray last month my wife and I had taken a jeep to do a little sight seeing along some of the area's mountain dirt roads. Up toward the top of Yankee-Boy Pass we even stopped long enough to look into the entrance of a couple of abandoned gold mines. Somewhere along the timber line we came on to a surveyor and his dog in their 1989 VW Synchro camper. That 4WD VW must be tough because our rented jeep struggled a bit in "Low Double Granny" on portions of the climb. 1st Synchro I'd ever seen - other than in magazines. He was contracted by the Colorado Bureau of Mines to locate any remaining old mines and map them if they weren't properly blocked off. He said "Too Many Dumb A$$ Tourist keep wandering down into the mine shafts and getting hurt or lost".....

Good Luck With Your New 928 - Michael
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1984 928S - "Miss Purdy"
1987 911SC - "Frau Helga"
1986 930 - "Well Hung"
1975 911 Targa "Blue"

Last edited by JK McDonald; 09-10-2019 at 06:53 PM..
Old 09-10-2019, 06:47 PM
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Joe,

Welcome to 928 ownership. As you grow more comfortable with your car, the question you will be asking is not "what do I need to do to this car?", but "what do I need to do first?"

Lots of great help here and other forums for these projects.

Just ask if you cannot find the answer.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:58 AM
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Thanks for the warm welcome! My plan for the car, and for this thread, is to hopefully show that a 928 is not too much car for the average schmo like me to rehabilitate in spare time in a garage. Whether or not this is a fool's errand is to be determined...

The car definitely photographs well, but I've been daily driving it to get a feel for its issues and there are many.

I was finally able to get in the garage for a little while last night and change the caps, rotors and plugs and replace the cracked intake boots. I was happy that the seller didn't clean the engine.



It has a new idle control valve and one new fuel pressure regulator.



-The #4 plug was oily; all others were old but uniformly used up--bad plug wire on #4? Injector? Hoping it's something simple.

-The MAF wobbles around on top of the manifold, very unstable, which I chalk up to a flattened o-ring (ordered.)

An important part of the process for me is to punctuate dirty jobs with easy wins. To that end, I found the missing fuel sender cap and fabric cover on Ebay for a few bucks and "installed."







(New sender O-ring is on the way--I learned that lesson the hard way.)

With fresh ignition parts and air filter, the car definitely runs better but still has a nasty miss at idle. We'll see if the MAF o-ring and/or resolution on #4 helps any.

I'll probably test the plug wires then investigate the inop passenger window and sunroof this evening. Fuel line replacement and grounds/connectors/fuse panel cleaning are on the docket for the weekend.

It's also got one or several exhaust leaks so it's pretty loud and smelly. I'm going to farm out that repair to a shop but don't want to take it in until I've solved some of the smaller issues...I rarely take my vehicles to the shop, and when I do I don't want to be embarrassed by a perceived lack of maintenance! 5280 Motorsports in Denver has been recommended.

JK McDonald,

Syncros are surprisingly capable on the trails. The Jeep guys in Moab are always shocked and intrigued when they find us in the backcountry.

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Joe T.

'85 928S Auto "Marilyn J. Engle"

'86 Vanagon Syncro High-Top "La Llorona"
Old 09-11-2019, 11:19 AM
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Amazing photo, that's one tough ride!
Old 09-11-2019, 12:26 PM
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New Project - Name

Hey Joe - It sounds like you have a good handle getting started on your new project. You'll have to give her an appropriate name....

One suggestion on your inop window - the problem is usually just the window switch. If the fuse checks OK - sometimes you can firmly hold the rocker down and wiggle it a bit to get the window motor to run in an emergency. Although you can disassemble and clean it's internal electrical contacts, in the long run - it's best to just replace it. Even after reassembly (without losing any of the tiny springs) a used switch tends to only have a certain number of cycles built in before becoming erratic again.....

Here is a handy copy of the 1985 928 Fuse/Relay chart that can be printed out. It's was put together by a member of Rennlist. Another Porsche Enthusiast Site.

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1694/8685/files/1985.png?13047582372723095894

I keep a set of wiring schematics and a Fuse/Relay Chart for Miss Purdy beside the computer (Right Hand Passenger Kick Panel). When traveling cross country - they can really come in handy.

Good Luck - Michael
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1984 928S - "Miss Purdy"
1987 911SC - "Frau Helga"
1986 930 - "Well Hung"
1975 911 Targa "Blue"

Last edited by JK McDonald; 09-11-2019 at 02:16 PM..
Old 09-11-2019, 02:12 PM
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i was commenting here on another thread the other day about how i see very few 928's on the road here in denver - hopefully yours will be one i see driving around soon
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Old 09-11-2019, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JK McDonald View Post
Hey Joe - It sounds like you have a good handle getting started on your new project. You'll have to give her an appropriate name....
Michael, thanks for the suggestions. From what I've been able to piece together, the car was purchased new in Philadelphia in 1985 and was lovingly maintained until 2001, when it went to auction and came to Colorado. The bronze Porsche nameplate on the dash says "Marilyn J. Engle," so I'm going to go with that.

I arrived home to several parts orders last night. I changed out the fuel sender O-ring (FAR easier than any VW I've ever done) and messed around in the hatch area to start. I pulled the battery and found the box in decent condition, although no hold down was present. I glued a chunk of rubber onto the door over the positive side and added hold-down to my list of needed parts. I'll wire-brush the tray and respray after I find a proper hold-down.



The negative cable appears to be in good shape. I prefer to clean corrosion off with Scotch-Brite red pads, very effective.



The ground point was a bit dirty as well; I got it nice and shiny before reinstalling.



In a fit of vanity, I ordered some unnecessary pretty stuff last week. After scrubbing the hatch floor area with diluted Simple Green, I threw in these bits.



The mat is from Amazon...I was surprised to find such a nice repro for $57. The cover is from Ebay. Far more expensive but it does look nice.

(I'll attack the right rear ground point this weekend.)

I'm torn over the missing spare tire. I shouldn't be shocked by 928 prices but the spare caught me off guard. A steel wheel with disintegrated rubber for $150 seems excessive.
I've got a little shallow sub box that fits perfectly there...As a Vanagon owner I'm already a AAA Premium member so maybe I'll just carry a can of fix-a-flat and call it good.

honerboys, I'm putt-putting between Stapleton and downtown daily. Hope to see you out and about!
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Joe T.

'85 928S Auto "Marilyn J. Engle"

'86 Vanagon Syncro High-Top "La Llorona"

Last edited by joetiger; 09-12-2019 at 10:37 AM.. Reason: typo
Old 09-12-2019, 06:58 AM
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On to the passenger window. The panel came off with alarming ease...Whoever was in there before just slapped it back together and left off most of the hardware. It's a used car and it comes with the territory, but missing hardware can be quite irritating.

But Hey, I got free vice grips as part of the sale!



Dome light and speaker wiring:



The bulb was also burned out; after converting two Vanagons to LED, I have plenty of appropriate incandescent Bosch bulbs lying around. I've read that there could be a current draw associated with the interior lights on 928's, so I'll keep any eye on it.

I tested the window motor and found it working fine. The switch was the problem (although I'd been told that the motor needed a rebuild and the switch was new. )

I took apart the switch, cleaned it, and hit it with an exacto knife per a procedure on Rennlist. Worked like a charm...Temporarily. Still finicky--Michael's post above is spot on. I went ahead and ordered two new switches.

Due to more missing hardware, I had to use a couple of VW fasteners from my depleted stash on the mechanism. I hope that's okay.



I hit the moving parts with Accrolube, connected the speakers and dome light, and buttoned the door back up as best I could.

While in the switch panel, I went ahead and replaced the sunroof switch with a new one I'd ordered. Hoping to get to the sunroof next.



Working with crusty, broken panels is part of the gig, but electrical tape probably wasn’t the best choice here. I used Gorilla tape as a new replacement. I do have some leftover 1/8” ABS that might work really well to replace the broken cardboard backing.



So, the panel's back on temporarily, the window is intermittent, and the dome light and speakers work.



Gotta find some hardware. I'll probably go with generic metric stainless stuff and a bag of VW panel clips that I have squirreled away somewhere. It's times like this that I wish I could find a 928 in a u-pull-it yard. I've spend entire afternoons pulling screws and fasteners from wrecked VW vans, but almost all of my stash resides on the Syncro now.

Driving to work today a semi-operational passenger window, and subsequently with better airflow to keep the exhaust fumes out of the cabin, was a true pleasure.

Question: What’s the function of this little steel rod, mounted aft of the sunroof mechanism?

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Joe T.

'85 928S Auto "Marilyn J. Engle"

'86 Vanagon Syncro High-Top "La Llorona"
Old 09-12-2019, 11:41 AM
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Marilyn -

Hey Joe - Giving her the name of "Marilyn" sounds perfect....

You might throw in a hand full of baking soda to lightly coat the floor of the battery box to help keep any future corrosion at bay. Also insert one of the plastic protective caps found on a new battery post into the hole in the bottom of the battery box to help keep any road wash out. If you cut an "X" into the bottom of the battery cap - the battery will still be able to breath.......

There is a short length of "00 Battery Cable" between the frame and the lower right side of the engine block that should be checked for any corrosion as well. It's part of the primary ground path from the battery to the starter, alt charging circuit, ignition and all the other electrics.

You can loop a ZIP TIE through the white circular plastic window guide (just above your vice grips) to take up any slack or rattle as the window glass is moving.

The motor for the sun roof is usually good - but as a quick test if the roof doesn't want to move - you might try placing your palm against the roof panel while hitting the switch to help pull the roof open.

I think you have pictured one of the steel tube enclosures for the flexible spiral rod that drives the sun roof. The roof motor, located in the center rear hump of the ceiling has one of the drive rods on each side of it's output gear. There are two - 3 foot spiral, flexible rods that run along each side of the roof (inside these steel tubes) that often just needs lubrication once you get things loosened up.

If the roof panel seems to pull to one side or jam - one of the spiral drive rod's "Ramp Feet" (at the windshield end) could be sheared off. Although it's a common problem, there are lots of used parts around....

***Just thinking about the partial photo of the rod you mentioned - It is not the sun roof hand crank is it ? In Texas a good friend from south of the border and excellent Porsche mechanic calls it a Mexican Hand Crank (because it's "Manu-al") It allows you to close the sun roof in an emergency ****

Good Luck - Michael
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1984 928S - "Miss Purdy"
1987 911SC - "Frau Helga"
1986 930 - "Well Hung"
1975 911 Targa "Blue"

Last edited by JK McDonald; 09-12-2019 at 01:48 PM..
Old 09-12-2019, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joetiger View Post
Question: What’s the function of this little steel rod, mounted aft of the sunroof mechanism?

The spring steel rod is used to hold the back of the Sunroof motor cover flush against the headliner. You have to hook the front clips of the cover under the headliner and slide the spring steel into the metal receptacle that's located in the underside of the motor cover.
Fitting it can be maddening, but then you got a free pair of vice grips with the car, so you can't be too upset.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:32 PM
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Welcome to the world of 928s. You're going to love it here. I had/have an 85 that's been my daily driver for the past 10 years. 240K miles on it when it got T-boned by a Chrysler 200 who ran a red light. car still runs strong but doesn't look quite the same. I've picked up an 86.5 as a replacement and will be parting the 85, now that I've gotten the 86.5 running reliably.

From the looks of it you are starting with a better example than I did at least cosmetically, and you seem to have the mechanical aptitude from you VW experience, so I'm sure you're going to do well and enjoy it.

P.S. I love the Syncro. Being out in CO and into Vanagons I don't know, but you may be familiar with Mountain Bus Werks. I went to school with Stephen for a short period in time.

Last edited by 76FJ55; 09-13-2019 at 05:52 AM..
Old 09-13-2019, 05:42 AM
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76FJ55,

I am familiar with Mountain Bus Works. I think I met Stephen at a GTG a couple of years back. I think last I heard the shop was up for sale?

Things have been progressing well, going in fits and starts.

--I took the sunroof apart, cleaned everything up, and put it back together. It works! However, I broke one of the little plastic shoes that go on the ends of the rails then lost half of the piece and along with it any hope for repair. $18 for that tiny piece, but I'll accept responsibility for my ineptitude...I'll disassemble again when I get the piece; I also need to add loctite to the attachment bolts.

Stepson, thanks for the tip on that rod! It was a bit finicky to get together; I found that if I attached that rod end first, there was enough wiggle room to the the two tabs over the front and reattach the cover (my cover was missing; I found a perfect one on Ebay.)

The actual sunroof cover was pretty ratty; I've been hitting it with my favorite miracle-in-a-bottle, 3M Vinyl condtioner, each evening to get it pliable enough to stretch and re-glue.



--The windows are working perfectly with new switches installed. The passenger door panel is nice and snug with addition of new hardware.

--3 of 5 ground clusters are clean, and with every little step the car runs better and better. I did find this last night, in the front area of the tire tray:



I can't figure out what these wires are for, but glad I repaired the break.

--The old tires were, well, very old and very, very wide. The car was super squirrelly when braking and had a pretty violent shudder above 60 mph.



The techs at the tire shop had compliments and a million questions about the car. "Whoa, that's a Porsche? Never seen one of these!"



You might notice the cheap 10mm spacers on the back. Those were removed and discarded. I went with Continental DWS 06 in OEM-spec 225/50ZR16. I know they get mixed reviews with some 928 drivers but they hit all of the boxes for what I'm after in an all-season tire. We'll see how it goes.

I can say initially that the new tires are spectacular. Braking, ride, handling, speed...Everything is exponentially better. Instead of driving like my '73 Mustang, the 928 now drives like a 928. Any concerns I had about the front end are, at least temporarily, resolved. Very satisfied so far.

(I should say that my '73 Mustang was a coupe with a 351 Windsor and I loved it dearly when I was fifteen.)

Still a million things to do. Fuel lines tonight and a whole bunch during what I hope will be an uninterrupted weekend of garage time and college football.

Oh--Perusing 928 pics last night, I came across this perfect analog to my car on BaT:

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1985-porsche-928s-28/



The 100+ photos are a godsend and have been saved...Not only can I see what the goal is, but I can see all of the parts that my car is missing.

Hope everybody has a good weekend.
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Joe T.

'85 928S Auto "Marilyn J. Engle"

'86 Vanagon Syncro High-Top "La Llorona"

Last edited by joetiger; 09-20-2019 at 07:15 AM..
Old 09-20-2019, 07:13 AM
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Jacking Points -

Hey Joe - You're making great progress. You might monitor a little closer where a garage places the jacking points on the underside of your baby. There are narrow boxed rails along the doors that look strong enough to a tire shop but that can be easily deformed. The underside of most 928 floor pans have evidence of years of indifferent mechanics.

The 928 isn't as particular as the 911 but when I wasn't watching (Only Once !!!) the oil cooling lines along the right side of "Well Hung" were crushed by a tire tech. Ever since then I've been a bit more focused when a shop jacks my cars........

Good Luck - Michael
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1986 930 - "Well Hung"
1975 911 Targa "Blue"
Old 09-20-2019, 07:56 AM
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Ah, thank you Michael. The learning continues...

I forgot to add this photo:

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Joe T.

'85 928S Auto "Marilyn J. Engle"

'86 Vanagon Syncro High-Top "La Llorona"
Old 09-20-2019, 08:25 AM
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The battery ground strap can be deceptive. Mine looked good, cleaned but later became defective. The inside of those crimped on terminals get corroded inside. Just something to keep in mind. I opened mine up and dust fell out! One day the motor just did not want to turn over very well. Battery voltage was fine. I also cleaned ground strap from motor to frame.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:07 AM
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Welcome, and great work! 928 Intl used to sell “buckets” of hardware pretty reasonable. Random screws , nuts, bolts, clips, etc. don’t know if they still do or not, be worth checking.
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