Javelin SuperDork
April 10, 2011 2:24 p.m.

In the spirit of the Javelin build thread, I decided the 944 deserved one as well. First, a quick background: As far back as 2009 I was ready to jump into P-Car ownership by replacing my beloved RX-7 with a 944: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/eating-crow-a-learn-me-thread/15048/page1/. (Funnily enough I also stated I should be checked into a mental institution if I ever sold my P71...).

I ended buying a Miata for the next season, and after realizing that it was talked up more than it could back up (at least in 1.6NA form) I was once again on the lookout for a P-Car, though I was considering 924's and 914's: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/learn-me-914924944/28112/page1/.

After a whole lot of searching and looking at other cars, including a C4 Corvette and 5.0 Mustangs, I ended up buying an 86 944 against my wife's better judgment: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/the-search-is-over-for-now/32395/page1/, although I did read GRM's Buyer's Guide which was invaluable.

So, the car. Find the whole story here at the Reader's Ride. It's a 1986 Porsche 944. I'm the 4th owner, and have full records for owners 2&3 (purchased by #2 in 92). It's Zermatt Silver Metallic (which is gold really) with a Black and Tan 2-tone interior. 5-speed manual transaxle with the super-rare M220 factory Limited Slip Differential. The suspension is the equally as cool M456 Sport Suspension. It's basically a non-adjustable M030. The seats are also the large bolster Sport Seats (M383/M387).

The first thing I did was take it on a nice 200+ mile road trip up and down some coast roads.

The car just drove better and better as the 3rd owner (2nd owner's nephew) only put 600 miles on the car.

Javelin SuperDork
April 10, 2011 2:26 p.m.

After purchase and doing little things like lightbulbs, windshield wipers, and paying the sales tax, we took the 944 to it's first autocross (3/12 & 3/13). It was pouring rain both days the entire time, and the Michelin’s didn’t have much tread left, so the car understeered pretty badly. Still, all in all, a good test of what the car was like and what it needs, which is tires, a ball joint, hatch struts, and a better alignment!

Javelin SuperDork
April 10, 2011 2:32 p.m.

I should back-track a second and note that I did join the PCA right after we bought the car, after it's not just the cars, it's the people. The #1 reason I wanted a Porsche was to join the PCA. This club is full of absolutely fantastic people who are, especially on the autocross side, very open to other cars and drivers. Their hospitality over the last 3 seasons of my autocrossing non-Porsche’s has been superb.

After the first autocross, the little things started getting fixed. A new battery and the original key fob lights up once more! Other little things fixed since I bought it: Installed a new seat lever clip, removed the hideous 80's steering wheel cover, installed new rear hatch shocks, and replacement of some burnt out bulbs.

The 944 also got it's first modification, a linear throttle cam. This is an absolute requirement for all 944’s for throttle response! The stock cam is progressive, so the first 1/2 pedal is basically doing nothing, which makes the throttle very hard to modulate. Now it responds as any other cable-throttle car and is very easy to modulate. Oh and yes, I adjusted the slack after taking the picture.

There's still more to do however, as the right front ball joint is bad, which obviously does the handling no favors. I purchased the Rennbay racing kit to fix this, it will be installed this week, before autocross #2.

All in all, she's been pretty good so far. I've already put over 1,500 miles on the car and it's been 100% reliable. Looks nice, too!

Next updates coming this week: New ball joint installation, new tires, new alignment, and Autocross #2!

plance1 Dork
April 10, 2011 4:23 p.m.

thanks for sharing, car looks great!

Drewsifer Dork
April 10, 2011 4:48 p.m.

Gaaaaaah what's with all the 944 threads lately?! Just when I thought I was over my love of these great/horrible cars you bring it all back up!

Javelin SuperDork
April 10, 2011 4:55 p.m.

plance1, Thanks!

Drewsifer, Give in to the dark side!

johnnytorque New Reader
April 10, 2011 5:49 p.m.

Great car, I love my 84 too. I'll be autoX'ing my car for the first time next Sunday, should be a blast.

What other plans for the car, have all the maint. items been done? You running a nice high ZDDP oil? These are great cars but MAN are they maintenance intensive!

April 10, 2011 5:51 p.m.

Looks great. It shoes howich I need to do to 85.1.

Javelin SuperDork
April 10, 2011 6:47 p.m.

Oil change will happen this week as well. I'll probably go with Valvoline Racing oil, which is what I have in the Javelin for the high ZDDP.

jimbob_racing HalfDork
April 10, 2011 7:06 p.m.

Wow. Really nice in that color. I'd love to have one someday.

fasted58 Reader
April 10, 2011 7:26 p.m.

So, what would one pay for a nice 944? I don't know Porsche at all but I do need another toy. Any downside to these? Quick CR search n I found a few '84-'85s from $3-5K and one at $7K. Next step google search for swaps... LS1 appears to be the #1 choice. I could get reeled into another project here.

pigeon Dork
April 10, 2011 7:27 p.m.

Looking very good. Makes me realize how ugly my beater 951 is, but it's awfully fast when the turbo spools up... BTW, if any of you early 944 owners need a set of Koni upgraded struts I've got a set I recently found out the hard way won't fit my '86 for sale, cheap to a GRMer.

johnnytorque New Reader
April 10, 2011 8:20 p.m.

^message sent!

Drewsifer Dork
April 10, 2011 9:29 p.m.
Javelin wrote: plance1, Thanks! Drewsifer, Give in to the dark side!

I did give in once. And it was horrible! And I can't afford another one right now!

Jay SuperDork
April 11, 2011 6:37 a.m.

I'm surprised you're getting understeer. I couldn't get our old 944S to understeer no matter how stupidly I drove it. It was on miserable tyres for most of the time we had it too. No LSD, and probably whatever alignment Porsche put into it at the factory minus 24 years of wear.

It was pretty unforgiving if you locked up the front brakes in a corner though, no way you were going to get it back in time to make the gate. That was probably 99% the fault of the tyres.

Jay SuperDork
April 11, 2011 6:43 a.m.
fasted58 wrote: So, what would one pay for a nice 944? I don't know Porsche at all but I do need another toy. Any downside to these? Quick CR search n I found a few '84-'85s from $3-5K and one at $7K. Next step google search for swaps... LS1 appears to be the #1 choice. I could get reeled into another project here.

$7k should get you into a half-decent 951 (944 Turbo.) Don't spend that kind of dough on an early (pre-'85.5) car, figure $3000-$4000 max for a standard single-cam early.

Javelin SuperDork
April 11, 2011 8:25 a.m.
pigeon wrote: Looking very good. Makes me realize how ugly my beater 951 is, but it's awfully fast when the turbo spools up... BTW, if any of you early 944 owners need a set of Koni upgraded struts I've got a set I recently found out the hard way won't fit my '86 for sale, cheap to a GRMer.

Message sent!!!

Travis_K Dork
April 11, 2011 10:16 a.m.

I would probably use this oil rather than the valvoline stuff. It costs alot more, but is synthetic and doesnt have to be changed near as often. http://matrixsyntheticoils.com/store/product164.html

I used in in my alfa, and someone had sent used oil from one of the alfa engine for analysis and said it was the best oil they had found for use in that engine. Since the 944 is similar (in the parts that matter) it would probably be good for that also.

Javelin SuperDork
April 11, 2011 10:34 a.m.

In reply to Travis_K:

Thanks. I'm usually a synthetic user, but since this engine has 225K miles on it and has never seen anything but dino oil, I'm going to stick with the dino. Last thing I need is every seal to spring a leak.

turboswede SuperDork
April 11, 2011 11:07 a.m.
Javelin wrote: In reply to Travis_K: Thanks. I'm usually a synthetic user, but since this engine has 225K miles on it and has never seen anything but dino oil, I'm going to stick with the dino. Last thing I need is every seal to spring a leak.

http://bestsyntheticoil.com/info/seals.shtml

Maybe or maybe not. I think its worth a try given how well made the motors are.

BTW, the bottom ends tend to last around 2-300K so you may want to start thinking about freshening it up sometime soon anyways. I'm sure we can find you a spare 2.5 to put on an engine stand to get ready.

dean1484 SuperDork
April 11, 2011 11:14 a.m.

I recommend Kendal standard 20-50. I have used synthetic in my car and it made everything start to leak and I did not really notice any advantage. I also noticed lower oil pressures even though it was rated the same (20-50). Back to Dino juice and all is good. Just change it more often. Due to this there is no real cost savings.

April 11, 2011 12:27 p.m.

A 944 can be a very good E Stock autocross car. Was it last year or a couple of years ago that a 944 and 924 finished 2nd and 3rd at Nationals? I think the 924S might be the car to have in E Stock. I just haven't seen a lot of people build serious ones. If I had it to do over, I'd get one over the MR2.

turboswede SuperDork
April 11, 2011 12:33 p.m.

Javelin, saw this and thought of you, heh:

http://portland.craigslist.org/clc/pts/2306194427.html

Good luck with the build, can't wait to get out on course with my car, maybe I'll see you at one of the PCA events this year.

Javelin SuperDork
April 11, 2011 12:35 p.m.

In reply to fast_eddie_72:

Sorry man, but SCCA stock specs are a snooze-fest. It was 2009 when the 944 and 924S finished 2/3 behind a Miata (all 3 cars/drivers are from up here). It should be noted that both Porsche drivers moved on to other classes last year.

I am running in PCA P02 this season, which is similar prep levels to STR. Next year will be I01, which is closer to SP-level. After that it will either be sold or have an LS1.

Others: As for the oil, I'm not going to risk it. It already has a few seeps and weeps and dino oil is still affordable, so in it goes. Plus I don't know of any full synthetics that have high ZDDP for flat-tappet motors.

April 11, 2011 12:38 p.m.

Not for everybody. I was cursed with a love for underpowerd cars. And it makes all kinds of sense that both cars were in the same region. Those guys must have really gotten the set up figured out. It was neat to see that it happened. Always cool to take a car that's "not supposed to win" and show everyone up.

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