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mazdeuce Dork
5/19/13 3:32 p.m.

I took the 911 autocrossing today with the local BMWCCA. It's a nice group of guys that run their events 20 minutes from my house. I like driving with them. I got a lot of compliments on the car, which feels odd considering the invisibility of the Mazda2 at these events. I even had someone offer me all of he's E30's in trade for the car. He couldn't remember if he had three or four. I received some good advice from a Boxter owner about managing front grip through weight transfer. It was not an easy car to drive quickly. Not that I drove that fast, comparing my times with several guys that I run with a lot, I was probably within a second one way or another to what I would have driven in the 2. The Hankook V12's are nice, but they don't grip like my Direzza Z2's do.

It was certainly a challenge to drive. I had a hard time getting the front end to do what I wanted it to at first. After the advice about weight transfer and getting the front end down hard to turn in I did better. I had problems with a series of corners that were about 120 degrees. I could get the front end to bite while on the brakes but I couldn't hold that speed through the corner. If I kept on the brakes I slowed down, if I let off them I lost grip and ran wide. It was a dance I couldn't quite get the hang of. On corners that were a bet less acute it was surprising how well the car would tuck into the corner. I was doing things that I couldn't do in a FWD car and that left me in places that weren't terribly well set up for the next corner. I had a blast, I didn't drive slow, and I want to do it again. I need to convince my wife that I need another set of wheels. She loves it when I buy new wheels.

Nathan JansenvanDoorn
Nathan JansenvanDoorn Dork
5/19/13 6:59 p.m.

That sounds a lot like my first Autox in the C4 last week. Eventually I could load up the front end in relatively short duration/tight corners, but sweepers were a lesson in painful understeer. I'm going to try a bit of negative camber up front (and eventually better/non-all season rubber)

mazdeuce Dork
5/20/13 10:41 a.m.

After further review of the results I appear to have sucked more than usual. I finished about 10 places lower overall than I usually do in the 2. A lot of people found a second or two on their 5th and 6th runs and I did not. I've decided that I don't want to be the Porsche guy who shows up once and sucks and never comes back. I won't be able to make another BMWCCA event until they resume them in September after the summer break, but I'm bringing back the 911 and I'm going to learn how to drive it, dammit.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
5/20/13 11:00 a.m.
mazdeuce wrote: After further review of the results I appear to have sucked more than usual. ... I've decided that I don't want to be the Porsche guy who shows up once and sucks and never comes back. I won't be able to make another BMWCCA event until they resume them in September after the summer break, but I'm bringing back the 911 and I'm going to learn how to drive it, dammit.

The best tip I can give you is to learn to steer with your feet and really tune up your butt dyno. Balancing the weight on the front tires is crucial. Resist the urge to make abrupt changes to brake/throttle. Really smooth out the transitions. They need to be fast but blended smoothly. (steep curves, not spikes). Have fast hands - don't let the pendulum swing make you spend a lot of time correcting - catch it early. The car punishes small errors with a big hammer... but when you get it right it will make you giggle. Don't rush the entry to corners - if the rear of a 911 is sliding you are losing time. Get in at the "right" speed, balance the grip until you are going where you want and then use all that grip and torque to exit. It takes a little re-programming to go from FWD to it's polar opposite but listen to the car. It will tell you what it wants.

mazdeuce Dork
5/28/13 4:49 p.m.

Filled up the 911 today and noticed that between my wife and I there were 4000 miles more on the car then when I bought it. It then occurred to me that the car wasn't really a project in the conventional sense, and this certainly isn't a build thread. I like the 911 the way it is and don't really have any plans to change it. I'll fix what's broken and what breaks in the future, but I'm not traveling down the upgrade path with this car. Someday it will need new paint. I'd like to wait until I can trust my kids not to smash their bikes into it before I do that. There are things about the interior that I can update, but it's pretty nice in there now. Mostly I'm just going to drive it. The car will probably see 100K miles toward the end of summer and I wonder if it can get the next 100K while it's under my care. I really like this car and can see myself owning it for a very long time.

Woody MegaDork
5/28/13 4:58 p.m.

911s really grow on you the longer you own them.

mazdeuce Dork
5/31/13 9:46 p.m.

My wife stepped out of the 911 this evening at soccer practice and said that the drivers side window wouldn't roll down. It shouldn't be a huge deal, just turn on the AC, except the blower motors are getting loud enough that it's actually quieter to drive with the windows down. Crap.
First test is to pop out both of the window switches and swap them to see if it's the switch. It's not the switch. A quick internet search suggests that sometimes the window motors just become 'stuck' and they need a gentle tap to get moving again. The proper way is to remove the door panel and bonk them lightly with a hammer. The suggested alternate is to hold the switch in the down position and whack the door card with your hand. Finger on the switch. One whack. Nothing. Another whack a little further down. Nothing. Another whack back toward the switches. Success!
Learning to be a Porsche mechanic is interesting.

mazdeuce Dork
6/4/13 9:06 p.m.

The car listens. Right when I say that I'm not going to do anything else with it, things break. I was informed that the failing blower fans have made the car undriveable. It was time to attempt to rebuild them following instructions that you can find with a quick internet search. First I had to take them out.
This is the inside of the trunk once you get the carpet out. The blower fans are back there somewhere. Really. First you have to pull the fuse box and set it on the fender.
Then you can see the firewall that needs to come out. Now, word on the street is that you can only get this out if you drain the fuel tank and pull a bunch of fuel lines and move the tank forward about six inches. The word is wrong! I did it by pulling the fuel tank strap and moving it less than an inch. Proof.
On the left you can see the rounded housing for one of the two HVAC blowers. You can't see the one on the right. More about that later. Anyway. The blower lives under this hump.
It slides off nicely to reveal this.
If you read online they'll tell you about the torx screws you have to remove. Well, my screws were normal screws. Of course I couldn't really see them so I spent twenty minutes trying to get a torx driver to fit before I pulled out the flashlight to see what was going on. I don't know why my car is different. You also have to release some clips by shoving long objects in a slot. That sounds more fun than it is. Anyway, out it came.
Here it is.
I'm working on rebuilding it. I'm replacing this bushing with a bearing. The bushing is slightly worn.

mazdeuce Dork
6/4/13 9:16 p.m.

I'll get to the rest of the rebuild later. For now I'm pissed. The passenger side went very very well. I was excited about saving $1800. Pulling the drivers side fan was harder, but I was able to wiggle it out by loosening a lot of parts. I pulled the squirrel cage to find this.

The knurled sleeve that holds the cage on has been split and removed previously and welded back on. This is surprising considering that the bushing on this one is worse than the other one. No matter, I figured if I could just remove the bearing retainer I could probably figure out how to grind the weld away and still save enough of it to make it work. That's when I noticed this.

The bearing retainer has been welded to the case. It's berkeleyed. Now, if a previous owner had taken all of this apart and actually fixed it and put it back together I'd be sort of ok with it. After all, that's what I'm trying to do. However, it was taken apart and.....I don't know, not fixed? Maybe it was fixed for a while? Anyway, I just spent the better part of $1000 ordering a new part. It should be here Friday. We'll see if the new part with the known to fail bushing lasts longer than the one I'm repairing with a bearing.
I should be glad that it looks like I'm going to be able to get it all fixed for $1000. I was really hoping it was going to be $12 though.
More to come.

Winston HalfDork
6/5/13 10:30 a.m.

Ugh. Well, as you said $1k is better than $1.8k. But still... caveman repairs on a 911 don't sit well with me either.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
6/5/13 12:18 p.m.

I'm not going to take credit for that bit of work - my attempt stopped at shooting white lithium grease thru the squirrel cage at the bushings until it stopped squealing. I'll own up to replacing the torx heads when putting it back together though. I hate those damn things.

If you haven't already committed the funds or could return it - I would try using a $100 blower from partsgeek (SAABs have a similar ones) and then fabricating a small fixture to hold it centered in the Porsche housing. As long as the fins are facing the right way and its of similar diameter it will (theoretically) work.

dculberson UltraDork
6/5/13 12:25 p.m.

Good job tackling it yourself, but it does seem like there must be a middle ground between $12 and $1000. Seems like there would be some used ones out there, even used ones with bad bushings you could replace with bearings?

mazdeuce Dork
6/5/13 3:41 p.m.

As with most things, time is an issue. I'm taking the kids and heading north for the summer in 10 days. If the Porsche works, then my wife will drive it this summer. If it's apart, then it sits. It would be better for the car and my marriage to get it back together post haste. Don't worry, I'm saving all of the bits and pieces from the bad side and will be attempting to figure out a solution so that if nothing else, I have a backup. I found a Bosch blower motor that appears to be the same from a Volvo. If it's truly the same dimensions, then I just have to either find a squirrel cage to fit the shaft or figure some way to adapt my good cage to it. I'm buying the new part, but I'm still pushing forward on an alternate solution just on general principle. I don't have the 'good' side together yet either. The bushing is replaced, and it spins great, but I'm having trouble getting the cage back on. Press fitting 25 year old plastic is nerve wracking business.

ransom UltraDork
6/5/13 3:44 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: Press fitting 25 year old plastic is nerve wracking business.

That's a true thing.

Wonder whether there's some safe means of providing a little lubrication which will evaporate, or temporarily softening it. I have no idea what kind of plastic a 25-year-old Porsche squirrel cage is made of.

One sure doesn't want to do something silly and damage it, but reducing the force involved seems like a good thing.

pilotbraden SuperDork
6/6/13 10:56 a.m.

I have a friend that restores cars that gave me a tip on restoring old plastic to it's former pliability. Boil a large pot of water, kill the heat and place the part in the water for about 5 minutes. I have not had an opportunity to try it, tread carefully if you use this tip.

Junkyard_Dog Dork
6/6/13 9:58 p.m.

For lubing up plastic parts going onto metal I use good old rubbing alcohol. Makes things slick then evaporates quickly. YMMV.

mazdeuce Dork
6/8/13 8:14 a.m.

This is the collar that fits on the shaft that the squirrel cage fits on. You can see how I split it with a dremel tool to get it off. You can also see how the leading edge is sharp. No matter how I tried, this edge would grab the plastic when I tried to press it into the squirrel cage.
I got out the dremel too again, and rounded over the edge. It slid right in. It's amazing how the small details can make life easier.
When the blower motor was originally put together the sequence was to put the collar on the shaft and then the squirrel cage on. Once I had split the collar, this wouldn't work. No matter how much red loctite I used, it would slide on the shaft when I tried to press the cage on. I could have welded the collar to the shaft like the motor that was ruined, but that is dumb overkill. It just doesn't need to stick that hard. What I did was press the collar in the wheel, and then press both of them on the shaft with a little red loctite. It works great so far. Could it fail? Yes, but if it does then I'll be able to try and fix it again.

I have a few more pictures detailing the installation process but they're on the camera that is with my daughter on her way to Washington DC. I do have a few thoughts though. First, when you take the blower motors out, pay careful attention to how the wires are laid and tucked in on the side of the motor. You need to get that JUST RIGHT or they will catch and you'll spend an hour and a half installing and re-installing the motor and not quite getting it in far enough. Second, get some good fender protectors. You can use towels like I did, but they slip out of the way and then when you're putting the firewall in you might just scratch them and even if they're just little scratches, it sucks. A lot.
The old motor is in and running great. Cost $6. New motor is in and running great. Cost $963 including second day shipping from Pelican which was the only parts dealer I could trust to actually have it in stock and not just drop ship it from Porsche NA on some unspecified time line. The moral of the story here is to not completely berkeley up parts when you're 'fixing' them. Just cutting it open and welding it shut is a sucky solution. No matter, it's done and it works. My wife was positively glowing about the performance and quiet of the fans when we loaded up the kids and the inlaws in Fergus and the 911 and took everyone out for ice cream last night.

ransom UltraDork
6/8/13 10:13 a.m.

If the red Loctite fails to hold, you might look into... I want to say 620 or 640 after a little Googling. In any case, a green Loctite developed for sleeve fitment improvements.

Looks like there's actually quite a list of Loctite "retaining compounds". One of these is probably exactly the thing for that application.

I had it first pointed out to me as a means of getting some more life out of a hub/stub axle interface on the 2002 which had become sloppy.

m323 None
7/20/13 6:57 a.m.

ok mine is next! Ive changed the fuses. it works till you put it on high, then it blows. I tried getting the driver side out but the ac lines were tight in the way even with the brackets removed.

mazdeuce Dork
7/24/13 8:46 p.m.

I hope you managed to get your blowers working. It's not a particularly fun job the first time though like most things, I could do it in half the time if I had to do it again.
My wife has continued to drive the car through the summer and it's running great. She had two guys in a Cayenne try to put the moves on her at her gym the other day. She's way too cool to talk to guys who drive Cayennes. She's rad.

mazdeuce SuperDork
9/4/13 1:03 p.m.

Life is better when you can go run errands in a 911. It just is.
The good news is that it's 100 out and I had to go stop by the store for a few things and by the parts store for new battery for my wife's truck. Even at 100 degrees, full sun, parking lot heating up time, the AC on the car blows cold. It's not fantastic. It takes a few minutes to cool the car down and although it blew cold enough to make me comfortable, I'm blowing it maximum cold and it's certainly not chilly. Really though, the car is 23 years old and I bought it with the understanding that the AC didn't work, and it does, on a 100 degree day. Hard to be sad about that.
The car is leaking a bit of oil. I really need to investigate to see if it's something I can fix. However, I bring you back to the 100 degree comment. The leak isn't THAT bad.

mazdeuce SuperDork
9/23/13 4:55 p.m.

The other week I was opening the gate for my wife on her way to work and I noticed that the fan for the AC condenser was cycling on and off on hi. Crap. There are two possible faults that cause this. The first and most common is the thermo-resistor that's under the drivers front fender with the fan and the compressor and everything else packaged with a very German sense of efficiency. I've already replaced this. It sucked. I don't want to do it again. The second possible fault is the relay. Surprisingly, among all the failure prone relays on the car, this isn't one of them. Crap. Not wanting to pull the fender liner, I decided that I'd at least swap the relays between the oil cooler blower and the AC blower and eliminate that fault. Miracle of miracles, it was the relay. Pulled Pelican up on the computer and ordered a new one. Then I did a happy dance for the half a day of wrenching I didn't have to do.

While I was poking around shopping for Porsche parts, I remembered that the cap on the windshield washer fluid reservoir was all gross and cracked allowing fluid to splash out. This made me sad every time I put gas in the car.

For the princely sum of $1.50 I ordered a new one. It's much prettier and keeps the fluid where I put it. Nice.

Bubs New Reader
9/29/13 2:14 p.m.

This car is fantastic, nothing like a 911! Yet another car I aspire to own someday - keep up the good work and enjoy the hell out of that rig!

mazdeuce SuperDork
9/29/13 4:23 p.m.

The Lone Star Region PCA had their first autocross since 2010 today and I really wanted to support them by going. More autocross is always better. Unfortunately the skies opened up before we could get the first car out. With the rain came lightening and with that came a delay of event. After about half an hour the rain slowed and the lightning went away but with in went about 1/3 of the people. For those of us that stayed, we had a very good event. There were some minor teething issues, but given a couple more events, I think this will be a really good group to run with. My runs were somewhere between really wet and driving in a lake. Even more than last time, I need more grip. The tires on the car are fine I suppose, but I've gotten used to Star Spec levels of stick and I'm not satisfied when I drive the 911 in anger. I need to wear the current tires out. More autocross!

mazdeuce SuperDork
9/30/13 11:20 a.m.

Talked to my wife about the Porsche. Told her that I was thinking of another set of wheels for autocrossing it. Her response - "No, if you want a Porsche to mess around with for autocross then you have to get your own!"
But I did get my own, it's this one.
The flip side of this is that I think I get to start shopping for a track 911.

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