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irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/9/16 4:47 p.m.

So I picked up my next $1000 project (the e30 was that price also) and drove it home with no drama other than the lack of A/C in a black car on a 95 degree day....This won't be a race car, this will eventually for some weekend road trips and random driving fun. Even in its worn-out condition, I thoroughly enjoyed driving it home, so looking forward to making it fresh again :)

EDIT: So actually I will be doing THIS car (the red one). The next few posts are about the black one also shown below. Between two $1000 924s, I should hopefully be able to make one pretty decent driver :)

And here's the black one I started with:

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/9/16 4:47 p.m.

So somebody posted this car up early this week on one of our "cheap race cars" facebook threads. There was some laughing about making it a rally car (sicne most of the guys in that thread do rally/rallycross) and many "what could go wrongs." So without telling anyone on there I called the seller and got a good conversation going with him. He had it listed at $1300 and I told him I'd like to send him some cash to have him hold it until he could show it to me on Friday. Alternately, I said I'd send him $1k sight-unseen on the car, knowing that these things are galvanized so rust (my greatest hate) is likely not an issue. He declined both but said that since I was cool about it all he would give me the "first look" at the car on Friday when he could get off work and his MBA classes at night. I nervously waited the three days, assuming that since this was from CL, he would just sell it to someone else. But he didn't. He said, "come see it first Friday, and if you want to take it, it's yours for $1k.

So I got a ride out there, $1050 in hand ($50 added on just because he was cool to hold it for me) and went to see it. As expected, not quite as nice as how it looked in pictures on CL, but certainly (IMO) worth over $1k seeing as the engine sounded good and it was cosmetically not terrible. This being a 1988 "S" model, it is essentially a 1988 Porsche 944 with the old 924 body. This year also has the highest horsepower of all 924 models (160) due to a higher compression ratio on the 2.5L than in 1987 (150hp). All in all, for performance at least I would say the '88 is the most desirable model). Didn't take much time to see it was worth a project status, so I picked it up, with a few notes from the owner (recent brake job, new catback exhaust, a few other things good - and notes on some non-working electrical things (headlight popup motors, air conditioning) and that "first and second gear you really have to push the shifter to the left to get them to engage." I thought he was kidding and as we pulled away....yup, I was in 3rd. Took me about 4 blocks in city traffic to figure out the force and direction needed to get it into 1st/2nd. Luckily, the 2.5 proved torquey enough to get me going in 3rd from several stoplights before I did.

Drive home was about 20 miles in DC rush-hour traffic with about a billion stoplights. It was 97 degrees here today. Black car. No A/C. Sunroof sealed shut with silicone to stop an apparent old leak. At stops the water temp gauge was getting into the red (and at about 3/4 when moving) so I got pretty nervous and stopped to check coolant, etc. Car seemed to run fine though. Buddy behind me reported no issues other than a non-working turn signal and a "slightly crooked tail light."

Anyhow after some minor nervousness followed by a few stints of "opening it up" I started really enjoying to drive the car, even with crap old tires on it and clearly worn suspension bushings, and hard shifting to 1st/2nd. The ride was excellent if a bit soft and damn it was hot in there. But made it home with no issues. My wife was unimpressed that THIS was the "Porsche" I had brought home, lol....

--

Jumping backwards a bit, I'll note that as a child of the 80s I always liked the 924 and 944 (and 928) probably just as much as the 911s...heresy, I know. Someday (maybe when I turn 50) I'll get a 911 but for the time being I wanted a fun project that was small enough to fit in my cramped garage and similar era to my e30 (hopefully all the Germans do things similarly, right? haha...) Pre-1991 gets me vintage tags and no inspection/emissions in Virginia, to boot. I almost pulled the trigger on 924s a few other times, but they were all older ones with the 2.0 Audi lump and I never convinced myself those would be much fun to drive. I already have a 1.8L e30 and a Triumph GT6....so plenty of low-power stuff.

I'll also note that the GT6 has just frustrated me. It's driveable, but I just don't enjoy driving it at all. It handles as well as a GT6 can, but that's not saying too much. It feels terribly unsafe in this area of giant SUVs and people on cell phones. And it's noisy from every area thanks to British build quality 45 years ago. Someday I'll get back to it. In the meantime I wanted a GT car I could "make nice" to go weekend cruising or short road trips with the wife (and perhaps two little kids). I have the WRX, which is fast and reliable....but the girls (wife, daughters) all hate riding in it because it's kind of loud and very stiffly-sprung...not terribly comfy for just cruising.

So here is my solution. The plan here has nothign to do with rally, racing, or a high-performance build. The plan here is to make the car reasonably nice (not show quality); keep it mostly original (maybe wheel/tire upgrades and some suspension improvements), make it as reliable as a Porsche can be, and just enjoy it on those nice autumn weekends and such. This build won't be at the manic pace the rally car was, since I have no schedule and a paltry budget at the moment, and this won't be a "restoration" or "collectible car" build by any means. It will be a "driver" build. But I hope you all will stick around and lend your usual advice, encouragement, etc....

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/9/16 4:47 p.m.

So some quick things I know about the car: It was in a rear-end accident at some point long ago. Something tallish hit it, above the rear bumper. The evidence shows that the rear lights were smashed and the rear hatch (still some glass/plastic from both down in the depths of the trunk), and that some sheet metal and hatch frame were straightened out. We'll see what I do about that stuff somewhere down the road. Looks like a body shop did some fixing and it looks ok otuwardly, but on the inside the work is a bit shoddy.

It has the accessory codes sticker still in the trunk. Not a lot of notable items other than power windows, heated mirrors, and power/removable "targa" sunroof. But one code it does have makes me happy, since it indicates the "sport suspension" package with "sport shocks and front and rear sways (I forget the size). So it's not the SE (special edition) with the REALLY good suspension stuff, but it's the next best thing. Sadly, the sticker does not show the code for an LSD diff. Not really a big deal since this will just be a street car, but would have been nice.

It has non-original seats - black leather probably 944 seats that appear to have power height adjustments (that don't seem to work). The back seats are a beige color as is the carpeting. Both seats are in fairly good shape, but both have some cracks in the leather and split seams. I have two 944 seats in my shed that I used a few years ago in the e30, and one of those is in excellent condition, so may see about swapping over....or just getting the ones in the car recovered. TBD.

It definitely has some electrical gremlins taht will need to be sorted.

The engine seems to run well, the trans seems to shift well. The clutch is a bit rubbery (924/944 guys will know why), adn I'm happy I'm skinny since the steering wheel sits so low (direct opposite to the "school bus" steering wheel on the e30, I might note.

Interior is a bit grubby but honestly its in reasonable shape for a 1980s car and seems to be largely complete.

Odometer stopped at just over 50k miles. P/O said that the guy he bought it from had the car "logged" at 73k miles somehow. Guy I bought it from said he had only put like 500 miles on it in 2 years due to lack of time to drive it. IDK the real mileage, but wear items shoudl tell the tale. Timing belt and belts/hoses will be a top priority regardles..

So that's it for now. More later once I start digging into stuff.

ayer
ayer
9/9/16 6:27 p.m.

I like it. I will be following this - keep the updates coming.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
9/9/16 6:33 p.m.

Ive always liked the 924. Such an awesome little car.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/9/16 6:37 p.m.
ayer wrote: I like it. I will be following this - keep the updates coming.

The updates here will surely be much slower than the one on my e30 rally car, since that one everything always needs to be done "by the next event" whereas this one I have however long I want to take on it :)

Stefan (Not Bruce)
Stefan (Not Bruce) MegaDork
9/9/16 8:10 p.m.

88 is the best year for those, especially if it's an SE.

They were rallied quite successfully in 924 Carrera GTR form with a turbocharged 2.0L:

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/9/16 9:03 p.m.

Yeah, unfortunately it's not an SE, but suspension is my "strong suit" so to say, so by the time I'm done with it hopefully it will be close to the SE setup (minus LSD, probably).

Got me as to how one could even fit in this thing with a cage unless the seat bottom is literally on the floor lol. I'm only 6' tall and don't have a tall torso, but my head is about an inch from the roof (not wearing a helmet). Luckily I already have an e30 rally car

Stefan (Not Bruce)
Stefan (Not Bruce) MegaDork
9/9/16 9:39 p.m.

A buddy of mine is about 6'5 and he fits just fine in his 931.

His 924S race car has the racing seat mounted to side mounts on the floor. Works fine for him, especially with the sunroof skinned and held in place with tabs.

Check to see if there are spacers under the seat rails, there were some added by the dealer.

Also the power seats should raise and lower, but they can have the plastic gears fail and cause them to not move up or down very far, etc.

Someone actually swapped the steering column for one from a vanagon and gained a tilt column.

CIP1.com has great deals on rear torsion bars in 26, 27 and 28mm and the front is standard strut stuff, so adjustable spring perches, etc.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/9/16 9:51 p.m.

Yeah, this car has some non-original 944 power seats installed, which aren't even hooked up to power (the wires are just dangling there). Since I don't need to wear a helmet, the position isn't bad right now so it's way down the list of things to deal with. I have a pair of pretty gnarly 944 seats in my shed too, which I know have functional raise/lower. Somewhere down the line in this build I'll get the seats recovered, but that's gonna be a long time from now!

Thanks for the link, I've spent the past few days compiling bookmarks to the many excellent information sites for these cars (and 944s) as well as some of the parts dealers. Suspension plan for the moment is to do all the bushings and get some Konis or Bilsteins, but probably leave the stock springs and torsion bars as-is for a while since I also want to keep the car comfortable for cruising with the wife/kids, so will not set it up for track/autocross work at all (other than good summer tires)

golfduke
golfduke Reader
9/12/16 3:06 p.m.

Clarks garage will be an amazing resource as you probably have figured out already. The torsion bar rear is neat, but also frustrating to work on in my opinion.

The shifter bushings/shift mechanisms are pretty awful when worn, so I'm not surprised to hear of hard 1st/2nd shifting. Luckily, almost all of those are easy fixes that can be done without unbolting the torque tube.

Speaking of torque tubes, do check the welds on the flanges for separation or complete failure. I bought an 86 944 with a vibration and sloppy shifting like you, and the engine side tube flange had completely separated from the torque tube. That repair was not fun, considering the internal bearings involved needing replacing.

I love 924s/944's... My first ever German car, and really my first big automotive 'project'. Just be sure to invest in a really good quality set of triple square sockets if you haven't already, haha.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/12/16 3:32 p.m.

^^ I'm happy you said that, since I probably would have assumed at a glance those were all Torx fittings! I put a set of XZN's on my Amazon wishlist ;)

bluej
bluej UltraDork
9/12/16 4:55 p.m.

..and by first big automotive project, he means he swapped in a warmed over LS3. That was fun

You've got other things to do tonight before you can play with your new yuppie-mobile, though!

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/12/16 5:03 p.m.

lol, I'm not even touching it until we get back from BRS. Then I will start the "list" on the Porsche, once I determine how much of the e30 I need to repair!

Stefan (Not Bruce)
Stefan (Not Bruce) MegaDork
9/12/16 7:04 p.m.

only944.com has the shift linkage stuff you'll want. Great parts at a reasonable price and they simply work. They also have new hatch and roof seals among other handy items to improve the liveability of the 924/944 :)

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/12/16 8:28 p.m.
Stefan (Not Bruce) wrote: only944.com has the shift linkage stuff you'll want. Great parts at a reasonable price and they simply work. They also have new hatch and roof seals among other handy items to improve the liveability of the 924/944 :)

thanks, already have it bookmarked! p/o just replaced a bunch of the seals trying to track down a leak but since he had just sealed the sunroof with silicone, I will need to replace that one at least.

Stefan (Not Bruce)
Stefan (Not Bruce) MegaDork
9/12/16 8:38 p.m.
irish44j wrote:
Stefan (Not Bruce) wrote: only944.com has the shift linkage stuff you'll want. Great parts at a reasonable price and they simply work. They also have new hatch and roof seals among other handy items to improve the liveability of the 924/944 :)

thanks, already have it bookmarked! p/o just replaced a bunch of the seals trying to track down a leak but since he had just sealed the sunroof with silicone, I will need to replace that one at least.

Make sure the drain holes for try sunroof aren't plugged and that the hatch glass isn't delaminating from the frame. This is a common problem on the 924 as the replacement hatch struts available on the market are for the 944 which has a wing and they are stronger, so they'll actually deform the hatch frame and the glass will slowly move.

They also have hatch pin seats there which will help with hatch rattles and the latches have drains as well, so they need to be checked for leaks.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/12/16 9:55 p.m.

Thanks. I already checked the sunroof drains (totally clear)...since e30s have the same issue. Will check the hatch glass to the frame. Seems fine, and I know it's not the original glass. What do the hatch pin seats look like? you mean the two "pins" on either side of the back of the hatch?

Stefan (Not Bruce)
Stefan (Not Bruce) MegaDork
9/12/16 10:58 p.m.

In reply to irish44j:

In the bottom of the lower hatch latches there are two rubber bushings or grommets that the bottoms of the hatch pins sit in when the hat his closed.

These rubber bushings or grommets break down and fall out and Porsche only provides them in new latch assemblies, so the only944 guy made some from delrin and an O-ring. Simple but effective and quiets a fairly significant source of noise in the car.

http://only944.com/partscatalog/only/hatchpinseats/

http://only944.com/instructions/hpsinstructions/

Stefan (Not Bruce)
Stefan (Not Bruce) MegaDork
9/12/16 11:00 p.m.

I also like their taillight kit to add an extra brake or marker light in the rear:

http://only944.com/partscatalog/only/taillight/

golfduke
golfduke Reader
9/13/16 10:03 a.m.

Yes, replace the back hatch bushings for sure. Yours are worn, unless they've been replaced previously. It's super annoying driving down the road and hearing the hatch vibrate after hitting every bump in the road. Another vouch for only944. They are good people and make some neat stuff. I also had an interior leak due to a cracked sunfroof drain. It made for a mess in the spring when I finally realized it... Just be sure to keep an eye on them when you repair the sunroof. Just because they're clear and not blocked doesn't mean they aren't cracked and still leaking inside the interior.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
9/13/16 4:20 p.m.

Cool project. I traded an NA Miata for a microsquirted 82 924 and got it running but got stuck on an MS issue (i think) and drifted back towards other projects. This will be some helpful motivation/reminder to work towards enjoying mine as well.

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
9/15/16 9:34 a.m.

Clark's is great and pelican has a good active forum and used parts section

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
9/21/16 7:13 p.m.

Back from the rally with minimal damage to the e30 (and we finished successfully) and had a chance tonight to take a closer look at the 924. I'll be honest, I'm a bit discouraged which shouldn't surprise me since it was a $1k car, but thinking about how little nice 924s go for I'm starting to think I made a bad choice here. Were I building a rally car or track car, most of the issues would be less of an issue, but the plan was to build this as a nice weekend car and I'm starting to think that unloading this one and trying to find once in nicer shape for a couple grand more may be a smarter option (both financially and frustration-wise).

I knew the rear end had taken a hit back years ago, but now that I took out everything from the trunk and got a good look at everything, I'm pretty unhappy with the shoddy repair job that was done on the car at that point. I mean, at a glance from the outside it looks fairly decent but on the inside not so much. This is the kind of thing that would drive me crazy, to be honest, and I have extremely limited skills in the area of body work.

Mechanically the car seems ok but would need things like fuel lines refreshed, and the shocks are clearly pretty bad. Car starts and runs fine and it does appear to have a new fuel pump/filter, new exhaust, and refurbished brakes.

IDK....I may post it up in the Challenge section for less than I paid for it and see if anyone wants it, and then keep my eyes open for one in more "weekend driver" condition once I save up some additional cash. TBD.....

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/9/16 8:09 p.m.

So....slight change of plans. I had considered just cutting bait with this car and selling it off, but as luck would have it, something worked out that may solve my problem. As noted above, the black car has a decent engine but the interior is so-so and the body has several major issues that I really don't want to deal with.

As luck would have it, though, a spotted a CL post down in North Carolina for an '87 924S for cheap. Got in touch with the owner who said that the body was good, interior was "not too bad" and that he had used the car as a daily driver for years until last March, when the engine started making a knocking noise. Then he just parked it. It's pretty well-knonwn that the 924S/944 engine has problems with the #2 bearings, so that's probably what it is. But I don't much care. It has a good body and complete interior. I already have a car with a working engine.

So after a number of phone calls and texts, today off I went with the trailer, 350 miles south to Yadkinsville North Carolina. Car was as advertised...Had been hit in the rear quarter years ago but the repair looks to be damn near perfect. Other than the primer there is no sign of body damage there, and nothing more than a few small dings elsewhere. The paint is terrible, interior is dirty but all there and in decent shape it seems. Car passed NC state safety inspection less than a year ago and he had receipts from some new things he did in the last year or two (like front wheel bearings and new high-pressure fuel hoses).

So of course, I bought it for under $1k (plus an old mountain bike I threw in for the guy's son).

The tow back was uneventful other than an hour or so in traffic near/behind a gorgeous Porsche GT4 probably coming back from VIR (which was on my route). Love that sound....

Also caught up with a SpecE30 coming from VIR too. Apparently this guy is one of the best SE30 drivers on the East Coast. He is also a very fast driver when towing lol.

So, it's home, it's in the garage, and tomorrow I'll check it out a bit more and see what the plan will be. I do know the plan will be to swap the engine out of the black car into this one (after refurb'ing it over the winter) and take useful parts off the black car, then part it out and/or get rid of it to get my driveway back

So, keep following. This project is gonna happen :)

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