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Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: Minneapolis, Mn
Posts: 12
Mechanic Woes on 944 Turbo

Sorry for the sob story, but I am at my wits end.

In the fall of 2016 I thought I stumbled upon a rare gem: a local Minneapolis MN repair shop that specialized in fixing German cars. I have a 1986 944 Turbo that my brother was supposed to do a remove and replace 944 turbo engine swap … that was in 2008 so this story started out bad.

Back to 2016. I chatted with the owner of a repair shop about the German heritage visible in the work area, discussed my woes with my 8 year project my brother had failed at, and inquired if that was something he felt comfortable taking on. He expressed confidence in being able to do the job. He also knew it was something I have done myself before, and that I have a reasonable idea of the work.

For full disclosure, this has a Lindsey turbo kit on it, but by no means is not a Frankenstein kit. I am now approaching fall of 2018 with the same, “I am putting my best guy on it for the next two weeks” update I have heard before.

This experience, along with reading about the near impossibility of getting any reputable shop to work on almost any old Porsche to complete work within a reasonable timeline outside of Singer prices has me now doing my own work on my bucket list 1977 911. Don’t get me wrong. I love working on these old Porsche’s, I just thought an engine swap should be a 4-6 month process. I have done it before. I lead technology for multiple software companies, I would be fired for this kind of performance.

I have looked online, most responses to these problems call out how screwed you are, or say you should just go get the car and find someone else to complete the work. Unfortunately finding someone reputable who works on these cars is a crap shoot.

Sorry for the rant, just want a running car.

Thanks for listening,
Marty
Old 08-20-2018, 06:06 PM
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I’m confused you were swapping a turbo motor for a turbo motor? What was the year of the replacement turbo motor. Either way this is not a 4 to 6 month job but a 4 to 6 DAY job for a shop.
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Old 08-20-2018, 06:51 PM
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Just because the work on "German Cars" doesn't mean that they are familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the 944, and certainly not of the 944 turbo. My considered advice is to check with the board of the local PCA for their recommendations. Give extra credit to those shops which support driver education, club racing and technical events. Good luck...
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Old 08-21-2018, 05:44 AM
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Check out Auto Edge, I've bought parts from them in the past. They are the go-to shop for the local MN Porsche club.
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Old 08-22-2018, 04:53 AM
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944 Turbo engine swaps can be done in 3 days, if you know what you are doing.
Old 08-23-2018, 12:56 PM
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Yeah, did mine in 35-hrs last time along with clutch, headgasket and timing-belt replacement.

Mechanical stuff's easy. What trips up most mechanics is electronics. Being able to space speed/ref sensors properly (don't forget figure-8 spacer). Along with using an oscilloscope to verify that speed/ref signals are correct. After that, everything's piece of cake. I'd bet that 99.9% of starting & running issues are due to speed/ref sensor problems and no one ever checks their waveforms with oscilloscope. Took all of 5-minutes to pinpoint an issue that plagued owner for 5-years on last car I looked at.

ECT and IAT sensors are also critically important. Frayed wires on ECT connector will result in no-start condition. Throws people off all the time because when they measure resistance of sensor (if they're any good), they find that it's within spec. However, they don't take next step and verify same reading at DME connector to make sure that wiring in-between is also good.

Also measure AFM. If you see silicon on cover-cap, most likely someone's tweaked the spring to "tune" car via '80s method. This is 2018 damnit! We use ECU-tuning methods! So measure voltage-output of AFM at idle and verify it's within spec dictated in manual. Also at 3000rpms/45-mph in 3rd-gear.

Don't forget grounds. Sand all ground-points and cable-terminals to give good contact and conductivity.

Measure resistance between two terminals of each injector (all injectors disconected). Should be NO CONTINUITY, infinite resistance. Otherwise, you've got short in injector harness that'll throw off fueling or even fry your DME.

Make sure BOTH bolts are on distributor rotor. I had once case where EVERYTHING checked out, but spark never made it past brand-new rotor, cap, wires and plugs. Rotor was off by 45-degrees or so and spark had nowhere to go. If you find mechanic that thinks ignition-timing can be adjusted with distributor, run away immediately!

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 08-23-2018 at 04:33 PM..
Old 08-23-2018, 04:19 PM
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so the engine is in your car now and it won't start...or is it still being put in. I am a little confused about where you are in this project.
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BTW I am easy to confuse
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Old 08-23-2018, 07:34 PM
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Sorry to hear about your troubles. Honestly with all the issues you are having with actual "shops" you are probably best off making friends with an enthusiast somewhere (obviously the closer the better for you), tow the car to them and have said person do the work for an appropriate fee. That is of course if doing it yourself is out of the question.
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Old 08-24-2018, 06:06 AM
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I found out the hard way...your best option is to take it to your local dealership and let them do the work (right) for you....I live in Florida and have been to two different shops in my area losing about 9k and 4.5yrs time...when I could have just taken it to the dealer and spent 3k less and had the car done inside of a month and a half timing....If I was you...I would talk to your local dealership about your ordeal first and see what they say. You might find it more upfront but is cheaper in the long run than dealing with these so called Porsche "specialist" and you have a dealership record of all the work performed on your car, hell...they even knew the last time my car was registered in their system which was may of 1989. Now I'm having my engine rebuilt by them on record in Sept. of 2018...I hope you decide to go this route too and good luck to you on your journey doing it. And whatever you decide to do, keep us posted!

Last edited by PHillary; 10-04-2018 at 12:48 PM..
Old 10-04-2018, 12:41 PM
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Yes, Auto Edge in Mahtomedi.
Old 10-27-2018, 08:35 PM
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