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2002 996 C4 Cabriolet...1 water pump, 3 weeks and $4000.00 later..

Hi guys. Can somebody offer some guidance here...

It started back in september...I became a proud new Papa to my 2002 996 C4 cab, with 46000 miles. Silver. Turbo rims...an absolute KNOCKOUT.

She ran AMAZING...fast, powerful, smooth..the most linear car I have ever owned.

All was well...until January 21st. While on the interstate, I got my first code: check fluid level. I immediately pulled over and shut her off. Steam. Never overheated - thank GOD.

Called the dealer I got it from and was told "I'm sending a flatbed - let me handle it here - the Porsche dealer will rob you blind"

Ok....

So the truck comes...and I wasn't aware that the driver was pulling it up by the front lower control arms (will talk about that again in a minute).

Next day, guy calls me and says - "pump is changed, but the rear tie rod is worn out so bad - that I can't let you take it- I ordered a new one and it'll be here in a few days".

10 days later....$695....I pick it up. Box of broken parts. "I saved you a fortune - and I even topped off your oil, it was 2 qts low!"

"By the way...you probably want to get that rear-end aligned....its time"


2 miles later...I feel like I'm driving a sit-n-spin....my 2nd code: PSM FAILURE / ABS FAILURE.

I call him. "Oh that's nothing - Porsches do that so you have to take it to a dealer just to get the codes reset - you're cars fine."

Codes every 4 miles EXACTLY. PSM/ABS. Cars sliding all over its lane....somethings wrong.

I take it to a local porsche guru with a SOLID reputation.

I run down the story, show hom the parts.

He looks grim. Apparently the 1st place (that had saved me a fortune) had replaced a rear lower control arm (drivers side)....he was certain that a jackstand had been put under it and SNAPPED it in two (shows me the broken piece) and he's obviously appalled at what he see's.

He continues: the water pump hadn't even been bolted in all the way - still leaking. The front control arms are GUAGED out with fresh hook mark, and bent all to hell. (Remember the tow truck driver?)

By the way - your car has WAY too much oil in it.

He bolts the water pump in correctly, runs a diagnostic...$162. Orders parts, makes apt.

4 days, $2856.23 later....whole realignment., new tire (rear passngr) new MAF...CV boot up front..clutch spring...2 front control arms, 1 rear for the passngr side (to match the 997 part number that the drivers side now had).

Car runs like CRAP. Codes for battery/gen....brake distribution...abs failiure..idles like its being kicked in the nuts.

Voltage gauge usually sits a hair below 14....now barely at 12...then to 14...back to 12 (never seems to be were it was when I turn it off)

Had a voltage spike on my way to his shop. Went from 12 to 16 in 2 seconds. Threw a million codes at me. Shut it off, call him. Start it up....purring like a kitten. He takes it out. 25 minute spin...runs perfect. I take it home.

2 hours later, I get in, crank 12 on the meter.....shoots to 16 - I shut it off (no codes). I wait. Restart...reading 14...slowly starts to rise...I shut it off. Swear. Restart....just under 14.

My shop is reputable, and I know they're experienced...the owner gets PISSED if I mention ANYTHING from these forums..I had already asked about cleaning a MAF, mentioned a few other things from here....he's not listening.


I'm pulling my hair out. 3 weeks...almost $4000. My car runs like crap. It feels like its "floating"...not tight and grabbing the road like before. I have codes...and I'm broke. "Maybe its the alternator, maybe its the battery, maybe its the voltage regulator".

"Take it home and drive it like a porsche - see if that helps the battery situation".

Will somebody PLEASE contact me and tell me what to do?

I took it to Advanced Auto Parts ( At least they tested my battery). Fella says the cold crank amps are 640 instead of 680...not too bad.

Does a load test (heat on, Hi beams on, 2000 rpms)....says its recharging ok.


What the HECK????

Chris
Guitarpley@gmail.com

Ps - On the way home from Advanced - just under 14.
This morning on the way to the gas station - Right at 12.Picasa Web Albums - chris - Untitled Album

Old 02-07-2010, 09:26 AM
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Hi Wayne,

Thanks for the kind words - I needed those!!

Apparently the pump was bad - it makes a horrible grinding noise when turned.

I have actually emailed Bob (Pelican Parts) to try and locate a diagram of the relays...a reliable fella told me that recently he had seen a number of PCA bulletins on the water pump-DME relay connection. I will order a bunch if that's the case (I like $5 fixes right about now!!!).

Interestingly, I noticed today that my guage cluster lights aren't responding, I have no audibles or indicators for seatbelt, lights left on or key left in the ignition....hmmm....fuses are all good...

Another VERY good source in Denver suggested that its possible the 1st shop jumped it wrong...

I changed the battery this morning....still shows low volts if engine is cold and idles rough...smoothes out once it gets just above 180...almost like its stuck in open loop...

I'm baffled.

Again...thanks for the kind words.

Chris
Old 02-09-2010, 07:33 PM
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I take it you didn't call AAA for a flat bed transport?

When you first mention "the dealer" I'm assuming you mean the dealer that sold you the car?

So following on from that, it DIDN'T go to a recognized Porsche indy or official dealer?

I'm trying to figure what exactly went on, but it looks like:

The electrical issue:
Have had two 986/996 alternator suddenly quit, causing all sorts of warning light issues.

If the Porsche hasn't had the ignition lock assembly update, it may need it. have seen the key out of the car and engine still running, again, all sorts of warning light issues.

When you describe the handling as "floating" are the tires matching brands? the correct pressures (all round)? and did you have anyone else (with Porsche experience) drive it to check?

Did you have a buyer's inspection before purchase, does the car have only one key and no books?
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:18 PM
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Hey - thanks for the response...I'm begining to really like it here.

When I pulled over - I immediately called the owner of the business I bought it from...he's local, does a lot of Vipers and Bentleys and that..

He just sort of "took over"....sent a flatbed ($170). Water pump ($695) amazing amount of damage (gratis).

A local indy with a stellar reputation did the diagnosis the day after the dealer gave the car back.

Diagnostic check and waterpump install fix ($162)

2 front control arms
1 rear control arm
1 front right CV boot
1 rear sumitomo tire (yes all match)
1 clutch spring
1 MAF
1 alignment
1 oil change
---------------------
$2, 856.23

1 new battery ($140)

Now....it still throws codes (at idle if you try to drive before its warm) and when braking (coming off the interstate)

It still pulls to the right when braking. It still pulls to the right when driving (at 50 mph if you let go of the wheel, you'll be in the next lane within 70 meters.)

I'm REALLY flustered. The Indy shop has the car again - and the owner had the nerve to lecture me for making
Suggestions relating to my searches here.

There seems to be some sort of ego issue that's involved. I'm thinking its reluctance to admit they mis-diagnosed it initially. I'm not looking to speak poorly, but I have $1228 in LABOR from them and $500 for a MAF that I believe still works.

After $3000 I'm not much farther along than I was when I got there. Its basically the same - but not as bad.

I'm thinking from now on I will do much of it myself and use the local Porsche dealership for those things I can't handle....at least there will be more accountability.

I still have no audibles, no gauge lights, I can start it without pushing the clutch in now, pulls when accelerating (just isn't "tight" like it was...all told I have just over $4000 in repairs on a car that was PERFECT, and then needed a water pump.

This is absolute MADNESS. Its almost time for an attorney...

I just want to drive my car.
Old 02-10-2010, 07:06 PM
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Sounds like a voltage regulator problem if your voltage goes too high.

As far as the guys saying he'll fix your car up and in the process screw it up I just hope nodody else gets that problem again.
Old 02-10-2010, 08:59 PM
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So...to update you fellas..

Now I have the pattern established.

When I initially start my motor from cold - VOLTAGE WILL READ 12.
(idle is rough - but better since I reset my ECU)

It will take approx 15 mins for the car to warm up to normal - just over 180.

If I try to move it BEFORE it reaches that "normal" - I will get the battery/generator warning.

As it reaches normal temp I hear a "tick" and then the idle levels, and the voltage goes straight up to just under 14. Runs smooth.


Yesterday, the INDY told me it was the Alternator, and wants $683.


I have a hunch that its nothing to do with the alternator. after MUCH reading and questioning...Im thinking the throttle bodies HAVE to be gummed up (I can hear a "gasp" sound from them when I push the gasp pedal and a slight hesitation before it revs)

See picture (notice thick ring)

Im reading about engine coolant sensors and the chaos they can create - seems very very likely. Is that the same as the oil temp sensor in a 996 C4?


I think I want some relays, a good throttle body clean, maybe a thermostat and maybe a temp sensor.

It seems to be connected to the engine temp...like its bad in "open loop" but good in "closed loop"

Talk to me fellas..you guys are my new Ninja's...lol

Chris

Last edited by Guitarpley; 02-12-2010 at 05:26 AM..
Old 02-12-2010, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitarpley View Post
I have actually emailed Bob (Pelican Parts) to try and locate a diagram of the relays...a reliable fella told me that recently he had seen a number of PCA bulletins on the water pump-DME relay connection. I will order a bunch if that's the case (I like $5 fixes right about now!!!).
I have never heard that. I can't even imagine what the DME relay would have to do with the water pump. The pump is a 100% mechanical device - sounds like your bearings wore out on yours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitarpley View Post
Interestingly, I noticed today that my guage cluster lights aren't responding, I have no audibles or indicators for seatbelt, lights left on or key left in the ignition....hmmm....fuses are all good...

Another VERY good source in Denver suggested that its possible the 1st shop jumped it wrong...

I changed the battery this morning....still shows low volts if engine is cold and idles rough...smoothes out once it gets just above 180...almost like its stuck in open loop...

I'm baffled.

Again...thanks for the kind words.

Chris
It sounds like someone messed up the car way beyond the water pump. I would probably try to get it to someone with a PST-2 that can plug in and see what's wrong. It may indeed have been jumped wrong, although I don't know how you would know this other than someone fessing up...

-Wayne
Old 02-13-2010, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Britwrench View Post
The electrical issue:
Have had two 986/996 alternator suddenly quit, causing all sorts of warning light issues.

If the Porsche hasn't had the ignition lock assembly update, it may need it. have seen the key out of the car and engine still running, again, all sorts of warning light issues.
Both of these are covered in the new 996 book coming out later this year.

-Wayne
Old 02-13-2010, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitarpley View Post
1 clutch spring
What is a "clutch spring"? There is no such thing, unless I'm being very obtuse. Does he mean the clutch pedal spring (called a clutch power spring in PET).

???

-Wayne
Old 02-13-2010, 03:40 PM
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Hi Wayne!

.....youre making me think you know what youre talking about..haha..be careful or I'll be in YOUR garage looking for answers...(Im kidding)

I will have that book...and I will buy the Durametric tool (or similar). The more I learn about the 996, Im getting more and more convinced that I actually CAN do much of this myself.

And yes, I think it was the clutch pedal spring.

Anyhow..the local Indy who was going to rescue me (more like rescued $3,000.00 from me) no longer wants to "deal with my car" unless I give him an additional $683, for an alternator. He contends that it isnt their fault that the diagnosis that I paid $100.00 for was incorrect...(huh???) No worries, my atty is a rabid-pitbull..and he"ll recover some of my $.

Turns out the only Porsche certified tech he had left some time ago..Im not going to let these guys continue to randomly change all the parts until the get the right one. No way.

Wayne, if i can...are there any "how-to" articles on engine coolant temp sensors?

Between that and the thermostat - theres an issue. It takes FOREVER to warm up and then it seems to run a bit warmer than normal..

Also..can anyone tell me how to get my instrument cluster lights working again??? When I turn it I dont even get the digital meter on the console. Im using a little flashlight at night to monitor the temp and voltage...I must look like an idiot..lol

Closer - closer all the time.

Thanks Fellas

Chris
Old 02-15-2010, 10:41 AM
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Last night.....

Went for a spin...engine growl was GORGEOUS...i love that sound...

Still pulling ..PSM seems to "flake" every so often and the car feels like its trying to steer and then counter-steer itself...

Then... Voltage spikes...out of nowhere...

Immediately turned off the car...did the waiting game...finally it roared to life and I "limped" home.

This morning..

Woke up..1st thing on my mind: my Porsche.

walked outside to have coffee and ponder the situation...

Funny...couldnt help but think to myself -

"DAMN my car is goodlookin".

: )
Old 02-16-2010, 05:00 AM
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List all of the problems in one summary post for us, so that we may think about them as one group - I'm sure they are all related. There may be a loose or disconnected ground strap on your engine that could be causing all of these problems.

-Wayne
Old 02-16-2010, 10:36 PM
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Summary Post:

When Engine is Cold:

Voltage Shows 12 (new Battery) UNTIL Engine temp shows 180 - then it rises to 14.

Seems to run warmer than it previously has - Maybe 190-195 (?) when it does reach that temp - voltage will spike. (only at NIGHT though). No radio, no Heat/ac. Yes Headlights.

No audibles for seatbelts, lights left on or key left in ignition.

Starts WITHOUT pushing clutch in.

Alarm is flashing 2 bars on dash - instead of 1 light on the dash.

__________________________________________________ _

Local Renn Hack company recently told me the car "wouldnt come into alignment" but installed 4 control arms.

Still pulls right.

Seems to "steer and then counter-steer" just before it starts the voltage spikes.



Please advise.


Chris

Last edited by Guitarpley; 02-17-2010 at 04:04 AM.. Reason: spelling error
Old 02-17-2010, 03:34 AM
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Email from the compnay that did the work

Hey Lads -

I wanted to show you some bits and pieces from an email from the owner of the company who "fixed" my car for me...

Chris,

We do not need your help. The RENN HAUS technicians collectively have over 40 years of experience. You paid $3,000.00 to fix $3,000.00 worth of problems and failures with your car. It is not RENN HAUS’ responsibility or fault that your car required those and now additional repairs...

...RENN HAUS does not require your input, second guessing nor will I allow you to direct our professional technicians on how to do their job. If you can be satisfied with describing your concerns and allowing us to provide our estimate for the repairs we may go forward. Otherwise, we wish you the best.

Regards,

Guy Covington
RENN HAUS LLC
6130 Clark Center Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34238
941-922-3600
Renn Haus - Porsche | BMW | Audi | Mini - Auto Repair, Sarasota



This was because I was not pleased that my car was STILL showing the same symptoms when I got it back.

Classy, huh?

On the cars last visit to his shop (the 3rd visit in 6 days - AFTER they were done) he said that NOW the problem was the alternator, and required another $683.00.

FUNNY NOTE: when I picked the car up - there was a curious print-out left in the car. See the picture...ALLDATA instructions on how to change an alternator for my car.


FUNNIER NOTE: their website claims "Porsche Certified Technician" in nice bold letters - and they list "state-of-the-art computer alignment" and "engine electrical problems" as some of their specialties...hmmm....no certifications on record afterall...

+++++ JUST noticed they changed their website to "ASE Master Certified Technicians"+++++






Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Chris

Last edited by Guitarpley; 02-17-2010 at 04:35 AM.. Reason: forgot link, change content
Old 02-17-2010, 04:25 AM
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Call ****** Auto in Miami

Call ******auto in Miami, Ask to Speak to Gilbert, great guy can fix anything. And he is not expensive. I know Sarasota is like 3 hours away but... 305-442-2727 ****** Auto
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:07 PM
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I agree it may be time to find another mechanic.

Get your receipts/invoices in order as well as make a list of what the issues are to date.

If you are looking for a guy closer to you then Miami try Frank Eibell in St. Pete, 727-573-0911.
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:00 PM
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Sounds like the second shop you went to was not as reputable as you first thought. I’d dump them and see if you can get some new recommendations from the 996 crowd.

Were any of these symptoms present prior to your original “low fluid” code issue?

It sounds like you have several different issues.

A common (& easy) DIY repair for electrical issues is the replacement of the electrical portion of the ignition switch. When these go bad they typically cause all sorts of strange gremlins. Porsche recommends changing the entire electrical and mechanical portions of the switch but I and many others have had good success with just changing the electrical portion. Our host has them & and their cheap (~$15.00) and easy to replace. If you are in a rush you can also get them from your VW/ Audi parts counter.
Porsche 996 Switches & Motors - Page 1

Someone here will chime in on the proper part #, as there looks like two options. When I did mine there was only one choice. The switch takes less than a half an hour to replace. Google “Porsche Boxster Ignition Switch Replacement” and you’ll find lots of DIY instructions.

I only mention replacing the ignition switch because it a common failure that can cause several of the issues you mention like dash lights not working. It’s also quick, cheap and easy to replace and may either fix some of your problems or at least eliminate the switch as a possible contributor.

As Wayne mentioned you need to find a shop that has a PST-2 (Porsche System Tester) and knows how to use it. They should able to find/isolate the problem quickly. If your car is taking a long time to warm up it sounds like the thermostat may be stuck open, but this is just a guess on my part. It’s more likely something else as the car shouldn’t run rough or throw codes simply because it’s not up to temp yet.

P.s Great looking car, good luck and hope you're back on the road soon.
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Last edited by Aron in Toronto; 02-17-2010 at 04:30 PM..
Old 02-17-2010, 04:26 PM
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