bluescooby New Reader
Dec. 20, 2014 3:11 p.m.

Knowing full-well that nothing is quite as expensive as a cheap Porsche, I foolishly went against the advice of some very knowledgeable folks on this board and bought one anyway. Without the explicit written permission of SWMBO, I might add, just to increase my levels of stress and anxiety.

So anyhow, it's a 1984 Porsche 944 that was advertised on craigslist around here for $2200. A few weeks ago I met the owner, drove the car, took a quick look around, and brought it home for $1600. It's gone 172k miles, new tires, battery, and alternator, new-ish clutch and brakes. In the short time I've had the car I've compiled a short list of the many things that need attention:

First and foremost, there's no service history for the timing belt. Also the previous owner had a minor cospatial event involving a fence post, doing a bit of damage to the front bumper, knocking off the side mirror, and generally scratching up the paint. The power steering pump is dead and disconnected. The front seats are pretty ripped up and might be beyond the point of recovering. The sunroof opens itself (and refuses to close) while driving. Several wires in the engine bay, including the reference sensor and O2 sensor, are frayed and need to be repaired. The motor mounts are shot. The dash is cracked in about 30 different places. It also runs a little hotter than I'd like after sitting in traffic for a bit, and the cold idle decided to get all wonky on me yesterday for some reason.

Most of the problems already have plans in place to be fixed, and for anything else I managed to find a factory Porsche mechanic and I'm forcing him to be my best friend. I'm not sure what this car will eventually be used for, it'll just depend on how much more stuff goes wrong and how much $$$ I need to sink into it. Anybody wanna see a rally-x 944?

bluescooby New Reader
Dec. 20, 2014 3:22 p.m.

On to the pictures!

Looks good...

Looks good...

Looks good...

Not so much...

Still not terrible though...

Aerial view...

Cheap, ugly seat covers and a cheap, ugly shift knob that goes along with the cheap, ugly pedal covers and the cheap, ugly aftermarket toggle switch on the center console that isn't actually wired to anything...

Upside-down tach is a cool touch...

If anyone has suggestions, comments, or helpful hints, they are most welcome. If you have hurtful criticisms, I'll let you talk to my wife and you can berate my questionable decision-making abilities together.

XLR99 Reader
Dec. 20, 2014 4:03 p.m.

If you have hurtful criticisms, I'll let you talk to my wife and you can berate my questionable decision-making abilities together.

As a master of poor decision-making (just ask my wife), I'm betting you're fairly safe here in the company of the elite GRM Enabling/Encouragement Brigade. FWIW, I fully understand that feeling of "Oh, what have I done" when looking at the newly purchased hulk in the driveway.
I just watched the Wheeler Dealers' 944 Turbo episode, so based on their plan, you should definitely toss the stock interior, cage it, and build it into a trackday car.

Woody MegaDork
Dec. 20, 2014 5:12 p.m.

I love the color. I was searching CL for 944s last week and 90% of them were red.

mndsm MegaDork
Dec. 20, 2014 5:18 p.m.

I like the "cospatial event" terminology. I shall use that.

Dec. 20, 2014 5:36 p.m.

In reply to bluescooby:

Wait til you see your wife's CC bill in retaliation for what you just did. TIP: Keep your eyes on her shoe closet and watch the shoes multiply.

turboswede UltimaDork
Dec. 20, 2014 6:50 p.m.
bluescooby wrote: On to the pictures! Looks good... Looks good... Looks good... Not so much... Still not terrible though... Aerial view... Cheap, ugly seat covers and a cheap, ugly shift knob that goes along with the cheap, ugly pedal covers and the cheap, ugly aftermarket toggle switch on the center console that isn't actually wired to anything... Upside-down tach is a cool touch... If anyone has suggestions, comments, or helpful hints, they are most welcome. If you have hurtful criticisms, I'll let you talk to my wife and you can berate my questionable decision-making abilities together.

A pro-tip is to move the tach to the center and the speedo to the right. Did it on my 924 and it's very nice.

Luckily, the seats used in the 924/944 use the same mounting pattern as the 911's of the period, so lots of options available from racers stripping their interiors for racing, etc.

Focus on making the suspension and drivetrain bullet proof (take care of any and all deferred maintenance like bushings, ballpoints, seals, hoses and belts) and just drive it. They work better if they are driven regularly.

Dec. 20, 2014 9:16 p.m.

Will you look at Corbeau or Sparco bucket seats? Even after a couple grand spent in repairs, you can still tell your wife that the 996 or whichever generation 911 you would/should have bought is still X thousands or ten thousand more $$ than the 944 is.

Wally MegaDork
Dec. 20, 2014 9:28 p.m.
XLR99 wrote: If you have hurtful criticisms, I'll let you talk to my wife and you can berate my questionable decision-making abilities together. As a master of poor decision-making (just ask my wife), I'm betting you're fairly safe here in the company of the elite GRM Enabling/Encouragement Brigade. FWIW, I fully understand that feeling of "Oh, what have I done" when looking at the newly purchased hulk in the driveway.

Just remind she is a result of your questionable decision making. The gals love to hear that.

bluescooby New Reader
Dec. 20, 2014 9:56 p.m.

In reply to Woody:

I love that the car isn't red, that was high on my list of demands. Weirdly enough, another Gemini Gray car has popped up in the sea of red 944s on Craigslist Atlanta...

Also my wife already got her revenge, because right after I bought it she took her sister and spent a weekend in NYC. So maybe I'm in the clear...

Thanks for the advice on the seats. I'll probably look for a pair of used seats unless the car ends up becoming more competition-oriented. Then I may look at some aftermarket stuff.

And thanks for the tip about moving the tach, I never thought to do that...

bluescooby New Reader
Dec. 20, 2014 10:42 p.m.

My maillady brought me a box today containing a headlamp lid, a passenger mirror, and a stock airbox to replace the aftermarket hot air intake that was on the car when I bought it. I need to see if someone can mix up some Gemini Gray in a spray can, that way I can touch up the fender and bumper until I can afford a proper respray.

Next up is finding the source of a small oil leak and enlisting my new Porsche mechanic friend to help me get the belts and seals sorted.

I'm cautiously optimistic that this project might not be the money pit I'd initially feared...

Travis_K UberDork
Dec. 20, 2014 11:37 p.m.
bluescooby wrote: If anyone has suggestions, comments, or helpful hints, they are most welcome.

The only thing I'd say is don't put off changing the timing belt if you going to be driving it. If I was in that situation, I would have driven it home and not even started it again until the timing belt job was done.

bluescooby New Reader
Dec. 21, 2014 1:47 a.m.

In reply to Travis_K:

Ah, yeah that's probably a smart idea...

While we're on the topic, anybody know the reason for the short timing belt lifespan? Back in 1984 they could get 15k miles out of regular dino oil but they couldn't make the belts last more than 45k?

Woody MegaDork
Dec. 21, 2014 5:19 a.m.

You should be able to make Boxster seats fit in there without too much trouble. Just look for early ones without airbags in them.

I'll be interested in hearing how you make out with the touch up paint. I need some Porsche Diamond Blue Metallic for some NOS parts that I picked up.

Dec. 21, 2014 7:10 a.m.

In reply to Wally: LOL!

bluescooby New Reader
Dec. 21, 2014 10:02 a.m.

In reply to Woody:

Yeah but I think people are wanting big bucks for Boxter seats. I need to find the guy whose wife is making him clean out his garage so I can get some seats for like $100...

EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
Dec. 21, 2014 10:17 a.m.
Travis_K wrote:
bluescooby wrote: If anyone has suggestions, comments, or helpful hints, they are most welcome.

The only thing I'd say is don't put off changing the timing belt if you going to be driving it. If I was in that situation, I would have driven it home and not even started it again until the timing belt job was done.

This, and the frayed wiring worry me the most. Nothing like watching your new project car burn to the ground on the side of the road.

I love 944s and the gray looks awesome. Can't wait to see what you do with it.

Flight Service MegaDork
Dec. 21, 2014 10:25 a.m.

Bought a car without talking to the wife?

I did that once.

once

EastCoastMojo Mod Squad
Dec. 21, 2014 10:36 a.m.

Funny, I'm the one that's most likely to drag home a project without discussing it first. I would be stoked if Chuck surprised me with a project 944. Especially one that looks this good.

VWguyBruce Dork
Dec. 21, 2014 11:05 a.m.

I used paintscratch.com for some metallic black on a BMW. Match was ok. They make touch-up, rattlecan and larger batches. The rattle can and touch-up worked ok for me. I read elsewhere that some of their colors cover better than others. They shipped pretty darn quick if remember correctly.

Dec. 22, 2014 11:23 a.m.

love the color as well

turboswede UltimaDork
Dec. 22, 2014 5:41 p.m.
bluescooby wrote: In reply to Travis_K: Ah, yeah that's probably a smart idea... While we're on the topic, anybody know the reason for the short timing belt lifespan? Back in 1984 they could get 15k miles out of regular dino oil but they couldn't make the belts last more than 45k?

Belt was fairly long, it was developed from the 928's much longer belt and basically they had very little experience with them at the time. The later (88) and later engines had an automatic tensioner system which is a little better and there were kevlar reinforced belts made for a little while that worked a little better.

If you notice, the 968 goes to 60K versus the 944's 45K and they are the same belts, but installed slightly differently.

Either way, get a belt tensioning tool and check the tensions every 3 or 4th oil change and you'll be fine.

AClockworkGarage New Reader
Dec. 22, 2014 11:01 p.m.
mndsm wrote: I like the "cospatial event" terminology. I shall use that.

Never had one of those before. I once had a moving experience with a non-moving entity.

bluescooby New Reader
Dec. 23, 2014 1:38 a.m.

In reply to turboswede:

Thanks for that info! As far as tensioning goes, do I really need to get my hands on the $500 Porsche tool or will any half-decent tensioner do?

Ian F MegaDork
Dec. 23, 2014 5:04 a.m.

I have way too much spare cash in my bank account right now to spend time browsing CL. Nothing good would come of that...

Good luck! I probably would have dragged that home as well for $1600. For better or worse, I have nobody here to scold me for it... could be why I have 6 cars and a 1.5 car garage...

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