P71 SuperDork
Oct. 22, 2009 10:58 p.m.

Hello GRM'ers,

I found a 944 closer than New Hampshire (though I'm still in love with Carrera4's black 83 in the Classifieds). It's close enough to drive home, and is also an 83. It's a gunmetal color (which is my #1 choice) with a black interior, sunroof, and is on the 3rd owner. The current owner has documentation from the late 80's until 03-04 and the car hasn't received much in maintenance (or miles) since. It has 174K, is all stock, and is cheap. It sputters, the door handle doesn't work, and it has a leak from the battery tray to the passenger floor. It has also been lightly tapped on the left front and needs some fender work, a headlight, and probably a respray.

They are open to offers, but the sputtering and the leak scare me. It had the timing belt done at 140K and the clutch in 2002 around 150K. I imagine it will need a water pump, timing set, plugs/wires/rotor/cap, and tires at the bare minimum. Add in the bodywork and paint and that's a lot of money.

Advice? Anything else to look for?

Travis_K HalfDork
Oct. 22, 2009 11:06 p.m.
P71 wrote: Anything else to look for?

Maybe an Alfa GTV6? Unless it was for a spec 944 or ES autocross car, id waaay rather have the Alfa. I like the way 944s look, but I cant fit in one, and i wouldnt want to have to work on one. Im pretty sure thats not the answer you were looking for though. lol I wouldnt buy a 944 that needs a timing belt that soon for anything over $800 though, its too much of a pain to have to do it right away.

P71 SuperDork
Oct. 22, 2009 11:44 p.m.

Well they want $600 obo And NO Alfa's. The only reason I'm selling my beloved FB RX-7 for a Porsche is to join the local Porsche Club as they have been great people and Audra and I want to be more involved.

Oct. 23, 2009 1:40 a.m.

Thats good, because I found a 86.5 Nissan Hard Body that comes with a tow strap.

For reals though, I have a water pump for the old red 83, its yours. Fresh out of headlight covers though. And you'll probably need a fuel pump. Think gold one from FL.

dean1484 Dork
Oct. 23, 2009 6:33 a.m.

Google "Clarks Garage" you will find the answers you seek. The price is a tad high. Fuel pump, speed and reference sensors DME DME relay are all things that could be the problem. Has the DME ever been re soldered? Could just be a cold solder joint rearing its ugly head. Has the impeller shaft ever being serviced? If not the bearings are going to require replacement. Best to just get a rebuilt one from George B at 944 ecology.

Honestly the body work is what would worry me the most. I would rather change the motor than fix a fender but that is just me. the 83's were the only year NA car to get forged internals. No real benefit but an interesting tit bit.

I would offer them a couple hundred and see if the take it. These cars are all over the map in price especially the sub $1,500 ones. You really have to evaluate what you are getting for your $$$$ and see if it is a good Eal for you.

Ohya you will have to do belts. The conservative recommendations are every 30K (or so) or every 2 years (I let mine go to 40K and or three years no issues).

If the car has been driven hard rod bearings become a maintenance item. Hot idle with less then 2 bar oil pressure and you need new bearings for the street. for the track less then 2.5 bar and you should consider it. There are also oiling issues with these motors. Because they are laid over to the right in the car swelling left handers result in the pickup coming exposed and d this more than once and you will be out a motor. These cars do not take to oil starvation well at all. They self destruct very fast (ask em how I know!!!!) An accusump as solved this problem in my car,

Since I am a owner of one of these things I am a tad bias. When running properly there is nothing else like driving one of these cars "at speed". Males the hours and money spent just not seem to matter. But this seems to be the same with every track toy I have ever had.

P71 SuperDork
Oct. 23, 2009 7:10 a.m.

The fender is not that bad at all. The very front corner is popped in and the headlight cover is missing. The bumper even looks unscathed. Honestly my RX-7 has a nastier bump up front.

The owner looked at the battery box and said no rust, so I'm hoping it's just a clogged drain. I'm going to look at it tomorrow hopefully.

John Brown SuperDork
Oct. 23, 2009 7:38 a.m.

Bring $500.00 cash and a check and tell him that the ATM would only let you get the 5 bones out. See if he will take the cash only before scribbling out the check. Be prepared to tow the car away.

Carrera4 Reader
Oct. 23, 2009 8:16 a.m.

Hey P71 - no love! Just kidding. I'd buy locally if you can as well.

The leak at the battery tray is probably rusted through somewhere - there is a drain at the front of the tray that runs through the firewall into the engine bay. Even if that is clogged, you shouldn't get much leaking. Depending where it could be an easy fix or a nightmare. Sputtering could be a bad fuel injector. Check compression if you can to rule out valves as well. Should be around 140-145 psi accross all 4 cyl.

I had someone come out to look at my car last night, but it sounds like he's losing his job in a week, so that's probably not going to happen. I believe I have a GRMer coming out from VT this weekend to look at the car as well, so I've got action. The worst thing that could happen is that the car doesn't sell and it happens to still be around in the spring

joepaluch New Reader
Oct. 23, 2009 10:32 a.m.
P71 wrote: Hello GRM'ers, I found a 944 closer than New Hampshire (though I'm still in love with Carrera4's black 83 in the Classifieds). It's close enough to drive home, and is also an 83. It's a gunmetal color (which is my #1 choice) with a black interior, sunroof, and is on the 3rd owner. The current owner has documentation from the late 80's until 03-04 and the car hasn't received much in maintenance (or miles) since. It has 174K, is all stock, and is *cheap*. It sputters, the door handle doesn't work, and it has a leak from the battery tray to the passenger floor. It has also been lightly tapped on the left front and needs some fender work, a headlight, and probably a respray. They are open to offers, but the sputtering and the leak scare me. It had the timing belt done at 140K and the clutch in 2002 around 150K. I imagine it will need a water pump, timing set, plugs/wires/rotor/cap, and tires at the bare minimum. Add in the bodywork and paint and that's a lot of money. Advice? Anything else to look for?

Do you want a project car or a runner? I would only consider that a project car or parts car. I could be a base for a 944 spec race car project or a spare parts car. Not really sure I would consider it a "driver". Now you should expect ANY 944 you get to need a t-belt. It is just good insurance to get it done as when they break it is a real pain. What gets expensive is body work, paint and interior. If it is a race car project then those issues are not that important. If it is a street car well... frankly expect to pay $3000-$4000 for a nice street car that has a decient interior, decient body, and good running motor. Even this may need a t-belt.

Below these prices something else will be wrong. Now again if you want a project car fine. I have taken junk and built it back up so the car has potential. However it comes down to how much work do you want to put in.

BTW.. cheap for this sounds like sub $1000, but then expect at least $2000 into it to fix the major issues. This probably won't include a repaint or at most a cheap touch up.

Now you could get lucky and some guys do by getting a "junker" and they can resolve things for $500. However others get stuck thinking that their $1200 car is a bargan until they realize it will take $2000-2500 more just to make it into a solid driver status.

The sputtering could be any number of things. It could be an easy fix or signs of major issues. It is hard to say.

joepaluch New Reader
Oct. 23, 2009 10:40 a.m.

Oh at $600 it seems like an ok buy. However that assumes you are willing to put in the work to fix it. For me a straight tub, spare motor, (even if it needs a rebuild) spare gear box and spare wheels (assuming it runs on cookie cutters) is worth the $600 in parts alone.

If it were close to me I might just buy it for $600 and drag it home. Then if I could fix it up drive it, if not rob it for parts for my race car. It is worth more than $600 in parts to any 944 spec racer. Now if it worth that to you is a different deal. Heck I know I could buy that and get my money's worth, but if you don't the space to keep it, the knowledge to work on it, the need for spare parts, and the contacts to sell off parts is not a good deal at all.

Remember I have 3 parts cars that I used to support my 944 spec race car. The best deal I got was an 88 924S that had an engine fire for $330. I got this local on ebay and then sold the 16 inch wheel off it for $250. Then the popular white on black instruments for $35 and another part for $40. So I pretty much recouped my cost while keeping the tub, 88 motor, short 5th gearbox, rear suspension and host of other useful parts. However that does not really work out for all guys.

fiat22turbo SuperDork
Oct. 23, 2009 12:35 p.m.

I have a set of headlight covers (need them to provide molds to reproduce my broken Carrera GTS headlight covers)

My battery tray was leaking as well. I trimmed back the rusted metal and treated the rust and covered it with a piece of galvanized steel and a bunch of fiberglass. It was a $2009 car after all.

My battery tray was messed up because someone put the wrong battery (too tall) in it and slammed the hood (cracked the 'glass hood too) but that pushed the bottom of the tray down making the rust damage worse. I had to push the tray back up with a floor jack and some 2x4's.

If they haven't changed the belts in a few years, I'd be wary. A buddy of mine bought an 84 down in Redmond, OR for a screaming deal. He's been talking to me about his headaches with the car every week since then.

Wheel bearings weren't packed (replaced but not packed!), brakes were shot, cooling system, belts, electrical grounds, etc. It looks nice though and it hasn't ever not run for him, just all of the deferred maintenance added up. Of course he does have a bit of masochistic streak in him, he owns a Ducati (that he rebuilt himself) and a 77 924 that sat in a yard in Redmond for 10 years that he is slowly resurrecting. Oddly, he prefers the feedback in the 924 to the 944, but of course the 944 is faster (in a straight line)

mattmacklind SuperDork
Oct. 23, 2009 12:56 p.m.

Sounds like it could be had for very little money, but waiting might produce a better one for not too much more, don't you think? This sounds like major work and its an early n/a car. Some really like them, but I think the interiors are ug and seem to usually be in a very bad state.

I may be looking for an n/a 944 next year myself, but its competing in my mind for a 70's to early 80's Chevy step side pickup.

pigeon HalfDork
Oct. 23, 2009 1:19 p.m.

Stupid question - why not just keep the RX7 and join the local p-club anyway? We have several non-BMW owning members of the local BMW club chapter.

On topic, I'd agree that what you're looking at is a project. As long as you understand that going in, sounds like you could get a cheap buy-in, but even valuing your labor as free it'd probably be more cost-effective to find a well-cared-for example that's not going to kill you on initial repair and catching up on deferred maintenance costs.

M030 Reader
Oct. 23, 2009 8:58 p.m.

My 1987 944 sputtered when I bought it, too. It turned out that it needed intake manifold gaskets.

It was easy to diagnose because there was a hissing noise coming from, you guessed it, the intake manifold. Spraying carb cleaner around the manifold flanges cleared up the sputter, so...

In less than an hour, and for less than $20, I had it running perfectly.

924guy Dork
Oct. 23, 2009 10:49 p.m.

big pain in the arse project... but worth every minute, cut and bruise if you stick it out and get it done...

mad_machine SuperDork
Oct. 23, 2009 10:59 p.m.

this is not a good topic for me to be reading. I have loved the 944 ever since it came out. Now that they are availible for pocket money...

4Msfam New Reader
Oct. 23, 2009 11:22 p.m.

I dunno - there's other's out there... http://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/cto/1426125612.html http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/cto/1426074235.html http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/1435161129.html http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/cto/1434613567.html

Although I like cheap, I think repairs would add up fast.... Now I want one....

AngryCorvair SuperDork
Oct. 24, 2009 8:39 a.m.

when i bought my '86 944 it sputtered and ran kinda crappy. had been parked for almost 6 years and the fuel was stale. within 5 minutes of putting in a half tank of fresh 93 octane, it started clearing up, and by the end of the next fillup it ran like a top. knowing what i know now, i wish i could've kept that car. all it needed was a clutch.

P71 SuperDork
Oct. 24, 2009 9:26 a.m.
pigeon wrote: Stupid question - why not just keep the RX7 and join the local p-club anyway? We have several non-BMW owning members of the local BMW club chapter.

Because you must own a Porsche to join the PCA. I've been in every local PCA event for 2 years and I enjoy them more than the SCCA, so I thought it would be nice to actually join. Then I'd get to do the autocrosses for cheaper, be involved in course design, and all of the other club functions (cruises, tech days, racing schools).

If I could swing keeping the RX-7 and having a 944 I would. I'd probably be sleeping on the couch for about 6 months though. Unless I brought her home a Miata too...

Capt Slow Reader
Oct. 24, 2009 9:32 a.m.

There are several people in the local PCA club down here that have "project porshes" to let them join PCA, and autocross their non porsh at all the events...

you have a big yard right?

pigeon HalfDork
Oct. 24, 2009 10:22 a.m.
P71 wrote:
pigeon wrote: Stupid question - why not just keep the RX7 and join the local p-club anyway? We have several non-BMW owning members of the local BMW club chapter.

Because you must own a Porsche to join the PCA.

Wow, that's mighty elitist of them (says the guy driving a BMW 7-series)

Maybe talk to a couple of your local friends and go in together on a really cheap project 944, hold title jointly and then you can all join PCA? Or just sell the RX7 and find a good 944 or 924S or 5-speed 928.

P71 SuperDork
Oct. 24, 2009 10:49 a.m.

Well I'd also like to actually drive a Porsche at the events fellas. They have much simpler classes (Showroom stock, stock, improved, and OMGWTFBBQ Modified) and more runs (5-8 depending on length of the runs, usually ~1 min) and are cheaper ($40 non-member, $30 member vs. $50 for SCCA member) and have a wicked HPDE program. Also Audra dislikes the RX-7 (it's LOUD, it's stinks of fuel (carburetor), it backfires, and it's generally awesome in every way ) and we would both like to step up to something nicer to drive to the long-distance events. Not to mention my neighbors would like me more if the race car starting up at 6AM on Sunday was a quiet Porsche instead of a nearly uncorked rotary...

So yeah... Definitely looking at real 944's to race next season. We do not have to purchase right away, and I would prefer a half-project. Something like Carrera4's car where a lot of maintenance has been done and it just has a small list of little items to sort. If I wanted a full out re-spray project I'd finish my RX-7. It's bad enough I'm swapping the interior and rear axle just to sell the thing!

Capt Slow Reader
Oct. 24, 2009 11:09 a.m.

So did you get a chance to look at it yet?

Travis_K HalfDork
Oct. 24, 2009 2:07 p.m.

Is there any way to get the steering wheel up higher on a 944? The main reason why I dont plan on ever owning one is that the steering wheel is so close to the seat, and so close to the center console that i cant get my feet on the pedals. I can actually fit in a X1/9 better than a 924 or 944.

P71 SuperDork
Oct. 24, 2009 3:22 p.m.

Travis,

The steering wheel is higher up on the redesigned interior on the 85.5-88 cars

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