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Update: new Porsche guidelines for timing belt/water pump replacement intervals

My Porsche tech, one of the very best 928 mechanics in the country, and owner of Euro Motorwerks here in Indianapolis, informed me that all Porsche service centers nationwide received a memo about three to four months ago, with updated timing belt/water pump service interval information. The memo stated that the timing belt/water pump service interval for the 928 has been upgraded to 45,000 miles or 10 years, whichever comes first, vs. the previously established 45,000 miles or 5 years, whichever comes first standard. This should come as good news to those considering themselves to be on the previous borderline of 5 years. Now of course, this could be a conspiracy by Porsche to rid the roads of 928's forever, but I highly doubt it.

I posted this same thread on Rennlist when I first found out, as I thought it would be considered good news to all 928 owners, but somehow it got turned into something negative, as would be expected over there.

I, of course, do not have a copy of the memo, but a simple call to an authorized Porsche service center asking them to verify such existence of this update should be done if you think your 928 might apply to this new update. If this is true, which my tech would certainly have no reason to lie, should be considered great news, considering the price of a full timing belt/water pump service complete with tensioners etc. is quite pricey, to put it mildly!

Low Miler
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:17 PM
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Makes me curious why Porsche is even looking at the 928 timing belt. Have they changed other similar belt maintenance intervals?

I'm not sure where it leaves a typical owner. Many of us fit the less than 45k miles in 10 years profile, when 5 years is up how many of us are going to wait? Buy a used 928 with TB done 5 years and 25k miles ago and do we wait?

I can't see being an early adopter on this. Its not like the belt seems to give much of a indication before failure.

What are you planning Todd, replace at 5 years or wait?
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Danglerb
Makes me curious why Porsche is even looking at the 928 timing belt. Have they changed other similar belt maintenance intervals?

I'm not sure where it leaves a typical owner. Many of us fit the less than 45k miles in 10 years profile, when 5 years is up how many of us are going to wait? Buy a used 928 with TB done 5 years and 25k miles ago and do we wait?

I can't see being an early adopter on this. Its not like the belt seems to give much of a indication before failure.

What are you planning Todd, replace at 5 years or wait?
Mike,

Homestly, the whole thing scares me to death! I always feel like I'm walking on eggshells when I purchase a 928 that is over the 5 year mark while driving it back to my home city (after purchasing it). Though this sounds great, I wouldn't even consider it, unless I had just had it done myself, and knew for a fact the the parts used were Porsche parts. At that point, if indeed the memo is true, I would think you would have some comfort in knowing that Porsche will stand behind what they say and produce.

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Old 07-10-2007, 07:49 AM
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I'm sure the belt/rubber technology is better these days than it was back when the 928 was in production. That may be why the interval has changed. It would be great to see a copy of that memo Todd.
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Taylor
In December of this year I will have been a 928 owner for 26 years, and will have accumulated about 1.5 million miles driving these great cars. I don't fawn over these cars, I don't spend sleepless nights worrying over which pretty pastel colors I'm going to paint which bits under the hood, what color ignition wires to buy, which high priced wax is just right, and choose my oil by the cheapest price. None have ever broken down on me, none have ever left me stranded. I don't waste my weekends looking for things to fix or replace, I just drive these cars, drive the hell out of them. I think I'm using these cars as they were designed to be used.

I have never seen a t-belt failure, or heard of a t-belt failure on these cars which was a result of the belt itself failing due to age or mileage. The failures I've seen and heard about were always caused by peripheral problems, such as water pump seizure, roller problems, bent tensioner bolt/roller bolt problems, etc. I bought an '87 in '96, it had 103K miles on it, original t-belt and water pump. I finally replaced pump, belt, and other bits in '99, at just under 220K miles, because the pump started leaking. Belt looked shiny on the flat side, but was in good shape and showed no cracking or other problems on the toothed side.

You guys worry too much. Most owners cause their own problems.

Out of curiosity, why would Porsche give a damn about belt intervals at this time on low production cars they haven't produced in over 12 years?


Fabio,

Sorry, but since I don't know anybody in Porsche service, I wouldn't even know where to start. Like I said, the best thing to do, if you think this applies to you, would be sto simply call your local Porsche dealership and ask this very question, about this specific update.

John,

I have no idea why now? I would assume the memo pertained to any and all updates on each and every model produced in the last 15-20 years or so..............

How and why did I find this out? One of my old GT's was taken into Euro Motorwerks for a PPI, for the present owner of whom I sold the car to a year ago. He had asked me to resell it for him, since I had originally sold it to him and knew these cars pretty well. I was later talking to Terry (the owner of Euro Motorwerks), about how the PPI went, and he had said one of the concerns of the interested party was the length of time on the current belt. 7 years, 8000 miles. The interested party was obviously worried. Ironically, just one week before, one of Terry's best friends, and service manager for Tom Wood Porsche/Audi, had informed Terry of that memo he had just received. Terry, being an independent, of course never received such a memo. However, he did say that he could have the service manager forward him a copy. Since it wasn't my deal, I never pursued it. But like I said, if your interested, simply call your local Porsche dealer, ask to speak to the service manager, and ask him if specifically if he has received any updates lately with regards to the timing belt change intervals, specifically on the 928 model.

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Old 07-10-2007, 08:46 AM
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Its the internet, so problems tend to congregate here, but I have had several Porsches with lingering problems, so I spent a lot of time around some shops. Timing belt and thrust bearing problems take out a bunch of 928's every year, it just isn't clear how many.

Your right, direct failure of the belt seems rare, but does an old belt contribute? Obviously 80 MPH down the road and water pump seizes even a new belt isn't going to survive, but people have detected the stuck pump at lower speeds and even driven slowly home ok.

Porsche paranoia, I guess you either have it or you don't. I've got it, parking far away from other cars, not even considering driving it to some places I take our Continental, washing it, wiping up oil, buying a 25 year old car that needs work in the first place. If its just a car to you, maybe your missing something of the 928 experience? I'm in the group of people that have had Porsche related expenses exceed their mortgage payments, and Porsche or no Porsche is a serious family budget issue. Now that I am older and the money isn't a real issue anymore, the feeling that some problem with the 928 might eat me financially alive is still here.

Porsche is Porsche, I guess they do that kind of stuff, but I would also like to know whats behind the memo.
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Old 07-10-2007, 08:59 AM
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just last year I picked up a 32v where the old/dry belt literally split down the center and half jumped right off
thankfully this occurred while at idle so no major damage
personally I think belt technology has advanced to the point that maybe it doesn't have to be done at such strict intervals, but do you really want to risk it? it's your car, but I'll stick to the 40k/4yr interval on ALL components of the tb/wp system
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:37 AM
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All postings of someones beliefs are just that, their beliefs. Not right, not wrong. Just their beliefs.

My 911 is a commuter car. I built it from a box of parts, and now just drive it to work everyday.

My 928 will be the same. I'll take care of it, do the maintenance when I should but in the end, I just drive it.

Now, why Porsche? Because I want to drive a car, not sit in my sofa on the way to work. I could get the same feeling probably from the new BMW 330i. But anyone can do that. I drive the Porsche; but not everyone can. Anyone can pick up a new car and get the same driving experience. Not everyone can own an old Porsche. All they know is gas goes here, service is done at the dealer. My Porsche's aren't like that.

John, welcome to the forum. My hope is that the 928 forum can get as good, as intelligent, as informative as the 911 site. I'm not the moderator, nor do I want the job. But, I've learned a lot here, and will continue to learn a lot here.

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Old 07-10-2007, 09:41 AM
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John, it's great to hear from someone like you. I've also noticed that 928s are the most reliable cars I've ever owned as well as the most driven and it's nice to know I wasn't alone.

Danglerb, did you have several Porsches with lingering problems or did several Porsches have a lingering problem?
Old 07-10-2007, 01:13 PM
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High mileage belts fail. Usually the teeth shear off around the crank.
Old 07-10-2007, 03:37 PM
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Half a dozen Porsche's, ones I bought new with dealer warranties had few issues, but I didn't keep them past the 5 year warranty, couple cheap ones have had problems that didn't stop me driving them, but took some time to fix.

My 83 isn't the last GTS ever made, but its special to me, and as a nice condition sunroof delete 5 spd I know it would not be easy to replace. I'd say I am still only medium paranoid about it.

The "missing something" stuff was supposed to be amusing. I find some humor in my own behavior all the time.
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Old 07-10-2007, 07:06 PM
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I've had a few teeth sheer off the old belt that was on the car when i got it, and yes, that did cause the belt to fail. Of course, mine is an 83, so who cares?

Put on a new belt, you're good as new. My how i love non-interference engines.
Old 07-11-2007, 09:27 AM
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What year did they go to interference? Was it the 32V one?
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Old 07-11-2007, 09:38 AM
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78-84 US=non interference
78-86 Euro= sometimes interference.
85-94 32V= Bang, you're dead.
Old 07-11-2007, 11:28 AM
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78-83 there was a "plain" Euro and a S model, 84-86 only an S, and its the S with higher HP and compression that has the interference risk. Whats not clear to me, due to the size of the valve reliefs in the piston tops and the low valve lift how much the cams could be off before they hit, but once the belt goes instead of just jumping a few teeth damage is done and heads will need to come off.

Tension problems as well as a worn (missing teeth) old belt could result in jumping a few teeth without breaking. Belts breaking seems to be mostly water pump failures. Somebody should come up with a way to run the water pump off the alternator belt.
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:57 PM
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again, a timing belt question

Okay, so reading the post on the timing belt, I do not know if I should be freaked out or just put it on the "to do" list and get to it when I get to it. I have a 1986 928 S, manual transmission. 135 K. I know that the timing belt was done at 120K service with a couple of follow up belt tension checks thereafter. Problem is, that was done in 2000. Exactly 10 years and 1 month ago. But, only 15 K has been put on the car since then. I've only owned the car for two weeks. It seems to be in fair condition. Paint is good, a nice sharp Guard red, interior is decent. In other words, I think it has been fairly well maintained for it's 24 years on the planet. Honestly guys, can the timing belt wait whilst I get a couple of little electrical problems fixed, change the oil and try to figure out why it intermittently idles rough at a stop light?
Or, should I freak out and have it towed to the shop?

David
Old 05-08-2010, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielDudley View Post
High mileage belts fail. Usually the teeth shear off around the crank.
Yes, that is EXACTLY the failure mode. Timing belts, also known as "composite timing chains" don't break. They simply shear some teeth, and then the $5k-8k damage occurs.

At least on most 928's. The low-powered American-spec 2-valve 928's typically don't see any damage. Of course, these cars don't have the performance...of my mom's 2003 Passat 1.8t, so I guess they make up for their sluggish straight-line performance with appliance-like reliability.

My own timing belt was installed in December 2003, which makes it 6 years old now. It is perfect- it hasn't changed tension in years [I check it every 3 months], and it looks good. What bothers me is the fact that it went on that long ago. It has only seen about 19,000 miles! I do the whole deal whenever I do this job: Belt, water pump, pulleys, and tensioner rebuild. The work was done at Zotz garage in Orlando by their mechanic Donny. Zotz is owned by Ron Zitza, a former president of the local PCA chapter, and Donny is their expert on the water cooled cars.

My dilemma: While it has been 6.5 years since the belt went on....the belt itself looks perfect, and it has only seen 19,000 miles in this time. 19k miles?

[No, I don't drive the car much, probably 2500 miles per year. Mostly just to the beach in FLL and back, occasionally to a car show, or down to Key West, about 175 miles away. Once per year to Orlando to get my aviation medical done, where I typically drive 100 mph all the way up I-95 [without a radar detector] to Cocoa Beach just to get the carbon out of the motor. The car just loves it! The thing runs better for WEEKS after this good workout!]

19k miles?

N!
Old 05-08-2010, 07:31 PM
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I wouldn't worry about it for another 2-3 years honestly! I just went 9, 10 and 11 years on three of my cars (GTS, S4, GTS) and kept the H2O pumps in each case. I did get a belt warning light on the S4, but the GTS's never showed a belt warning light. My cars see less than 2500 miles/year and are stored in an A/Ced garage...
Old 05-08-2010, 08:19 PM
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:42 PM
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Porsche 928 Timing Belt Paranoia

Sorry English is my second language.

I agree with John Taylor. It's the Timing Belt paranoia originated online and parts sellers. My 1986 32 valve original belt was replaced @ 100k miles because I too got paranoid reading online tech tips, however the belt looked like new. My second belt (Contitech ) + after market water pump + one roller and other belts were replaced @ 159k miles after 8 years in 2003 and before I replaced it the tension was very loose but no tooth was jumped.

Now my car has over 180K miles it has been 7-8 years in 2011 since the second belt. I drive less than 2000 miles per year. During the 25 years I have replaced one clutch, one alternator , motor mounts and other maintenance items such as spark plugs, brakes, fuses,, caps, wires, MAF, bulbs, tires, coolant flush, cheap Mobile oil 5000....etc. I really think replacing oil and timing belt goes by hours of engine operating not months or mileage, however too cold or too hot, humidity and the way you drive effects oil, and belts. High Torque HTD tooth profile belts are good for 8000-12000 engines operating hours and regular oil is good for 200-250 hours for our cars and synthetic goes 300-350 hours regardless of mileage and months driven. So if driving a Porsche 928 makes you paranoid then this car is not for you. Buy a 1997 Toyota Corolla which is my other car. The best selling, most reliable, and the most boring car in the world.

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Last edited by Nio; 01-18-2011 at 09:10 PM..
Old 01-17-2011, 11:44 PM
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