supchu5150 New Reader
Dec. 12, 2016 8:23 a.m.

Everyone, I am looking at a '86 944 to buy. I was wondering what are any issues with these cars other than the obvious? I've already looked at it and the story of this car is: 2 owners from new, garaged, no rust, all original. 140,000 miles, non turbo. It starts, runs, and drives fine. Is there anything 944 specific I should look for? Thanks!

Stefan MegaDork
Dec. 12, 2016 8:52 a.m.

Start here:

Basically its a design based on the 924 which was a VW/Audi parts bin project that was a collaboration between Porsche and VW that was shelved by VW and picked up by Porsche to help save the company.

The chassis is pretty basic and well balanced. The 2.5L isn't terribly exciting, but its sturdy and will live to 300,000 miles with good maintenance. Parts aren't hard to find, just a bit more expensive than similar bits for BMW's.

The biggest issues are essentially the timing belt and the fuel lines. The timing and balance shaft belts needs to be changed every 3 years or 45000 miles, failure to do so will cause the pistons to meet the valves. The rubber fuel lines in the engine bay run from the passenger side of the engine bay over the exhaust side and they will age and dry out over time, leak and potentially cause engine fires.

The rest of the issues are well documented in the above link, but feel free to ask any questions, there are more than a few of us here who have owned or currently own 944's.

docwyte Dork
Dec. 12, 2016 8:57 a.m.

Also check the clutch and oil pan gasket. Both are PITA jobs to do.

Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
Dec. 12, 2016 9:13 a.m.

Also, if it ever mysteriously stops running, it's the crank position sensor. It's always the crank position sensor.

Stefan MegaDork
Dec. 12, 2016 9:28 a.m.
docwyte wrote: Also check the clutch and oil pan gasket. Both are PITA jobs to do.

Not really, but everyone says they are. The key to those jobs is to pull the engine and service it on the stand. Much easier and pretty much how it was designed to be done.

Now the clutch itself is stupid expensive, which is irritating to say the least.

supchu5150 New Reader
Dec. 12, 2016 10:00 a.m.

Thanks guys, this is exactly the info I was looking for. It's probably too late anyway, called the seller and told him I'd take it...just gotta find somewhere to put it.

docwyte Dork
Dec. 12, 2016 10:23 a.m.


Any job that requires the pulling of an engine to make it easy falls into the "PITA" category for me. Unless said vehicle is an old air cooled Beetle...

I totally agree with you that pulling the engine is the way to go to fix both of those tho...

dean1484 MegaDork
Dec. 12, 2016 10:53 a.m.

Service History. Otherwise assume that you will be dealing with deferred maintenance.

markwemple UltraDork
Dec. 12, 2016 11:53 a.m.
docwyte wrote: Stefan, Any job that requires the pulling of an engine to make it easy falls into the "PITA" category for me. Unless said vehicle is an old air cooled Beetle... I totally agree with you that pulling the engine is the way to go to fix both of those tho...

Air cooled buses and 911s are easier than bugs.

Stefan MegaDork
Dec. 12, 2016 1:02 p.m.

Pulling the drivetrain was typically also the way I tended to do headgaskets and other maintenance on the Turbo-Dodge's I grew up with.

A cheap engine hoist, a reasonable set of tools and a free weekend, what's the problem?

Honestly, if this is your DD, you damned sure will have backup (which I typically did when I playing with T-D's as there were always two or three around to use).

I had the engine in and out of my 924 about 4 times just trying to deal with the cable clutch solution, a poorly machined flywheel, etc.

Now, how often do you really need to do the clutch (assuming no manufacturing defects or other failures)? The oil pan gasket? Once every hundred thousand miles? Its a 30-year old German Sportscar, there will be some pain, but as long as you plan ahead and have a backup so you can take your time and do it properly, it really isn't the end of the world that many say it is. That said, if this sort of work is a deal breaker for you, then old cars may not be for you.

docwyte Dork
Dec. 12, 2016 1:31 p.m.

Agreed, this is an old machine and they've been through many hands at this point. Most of them have been neglected.

It's going to take time, money and elbow grease to get it somewhat up to daily driving snuff. Even then you're going to want alternate transportation.

If you can't do most of the wrenching on it, it'll be expensive to maintain...

supchu5150 New Reader
Dec. 12, 2016 2:21 p.m.

This car is not intended to be a daily driver. It goes in the "collection" with my TR6, GT6, Mustang GT, and Miata track car. None of those are daily drivers. (Mustang could be..) This is my first venture into German cars that are not VW's. It did drive home, everything seems to work as it should. Given it has no maintenance records with it, I will pull it apart over the winter and do the timing belts and check everything over. PO looked at me like I was high when I asked about the timing belts...

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