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HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/8/19 3:59 p.m.

I really didn't believe my first thread would start with this car.  I really thought I would be starting a thread on the resusitation of the Jaguar you see in the background.  But as usual, circumstance presents opportunity and I'm just not going to fight it.  So here it is - my 1979 911 SC:

So why "A Gathering" for a title?  Well, the latest issue of our BMW CCA chapter's newsletter showed up the other day and there was an event listed coming up in the little town nearby that was billed as a "German Motor Gathering" and exhibition of German cars.  Now, I've had a number of BMWs over the years that could have been considered interesting (if you squinted just right) but nothing currently fits that description.  What I do have is this Porsche that needs some attention.  It is not a show car.    I thought that with this event scheduled later in September, entering might provide the motivation necessary to finally start some of the projects I intended to work on after retiring.  Posting progress on this forum will help with that and, hopefuly, provide a resource for when I run into problems.  So I've entered the show in the non-judged category.  My wife and I will just be participating and hopefuly have some fun.

The "to do" list is not that long.  Some things I might not get to.  Some things may show up that I have not anticipated.  Here's what I  think I need to do:

  • Remove failing window tint
  • Repair DS door strap
  • Replace all hood and engine lid support shocks
  • Air/Fuel & Oil filter change along with fluids
  • Ignition switch replacement
  • Replace or repair windshield washer pump
  • Clean & lube window lifts
  • Correct battery hold down issues, install vent tube and clean some corrosion
  • Repair cracked rear "Porsche" reflector
  • Radio antena needs attention
  • Exterior, Interior and Engine Bay clean and detail

Seems pretty straightforward.  Seems pretty doable.  Should be enough time.  Maybe I'm way optimistic.

We'll see.


HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/8/19 4:23 p.m.

Parts started showing up a couple of days ago

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/8/19 7:38 p.m.

OK, so...where to start?  I'm really tired of using my head as a hood prop when I'm trying to revive the battery.  Watched a Tube of You's video wherein this guy shows how to change the front hood gas support shocks, only he is mostly in the way and can only describe what he is trying to do.  My main take away is; the pins and clips on either end of the shocks are small and almost unreachable, and have a tendency to fly away from you and become lost for all eternity.  He also notes that he finds no retaining clip on the hardest to reach drivers side lower pin.  I dive right in.

Passenger side is relatively easy.  Driver side not so much.  I find there is no clip on the hardest to reach drivers side lower pin on my car.  Note to self, order a new clip.  The hood now supports itself for the first time in the 12 years I've owned this car.  Moving on to the engine compartment lid.

At first glance I think, "Access seems to be really good, this will be easy."  Seconds later one of the retaining clips flys out of the needle nose pliers I'm using and makes a "tink" noise as it hits some unidentified sheet metal and becomes lost forever.  I use a flashlight, disassemble several blower hoses and deploy my secret weapon high powered hand held magnet to scour every inch of accessible real estate, to no avail.

Note to self, order another new clip.

Both sides reassembled  (EDIT: the following are both "before" images, no "afters" imagine them very shiny and clean)

Sorry for the fuzzy image of the passenger side support.  I'm learning this camera and hope to improve.  Anyways, I clean some stuff in the engine bay and change the air filter.  Probed the fuel filter and determined I need a 19 mm flare nut wrench so I don't destroy the soft metal fittings and put one on order.  The good news is that a previous owner installed a anti-backfire pop-off valve in the air box, so I can take that off my things to worry about list.  Air boxes are expensive.

So for the first time since I've owned it I don't have to stretch between the hood release handle while lifting the whale tale to open the engine compartment lid.  Just pull on the handle and it pops open.  That's a wrap for tonight.  Wonder where that clip went?

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela GRM+ Memberand Digital Editor
8/9/19 8:19 a.m.

Okay: I'm excited for this.

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/9/19 2:13 p.m.

Wanted to tackle the ignition switch replacement next but we had a delivery scheduled today and decided to work on something a little less strenuous.  Winshield washer pump it is. 

Tubing nipples broken off

Thought it was a mechanical break but it looks like the plastic material was attacked by the battery out-gassing.  The bracket was slightly corroded but the plastic material is crumblely.

Looks like any residual moisture was attacked by....something.  Order parts and rethink letting a smart charger stay hooked up continuously.  I believe the battery condition is directly related to the ignition switch issue (more on that later) and should be my next task.

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/11/19 10:43 p.m.

So yesterday I decided to address one of what I think will be the hardest tasks on my list.  Changing the ignition switch.  I slowly became aware that there was an ignition switch problem while shuttling the car between New Orleans and San Antonio.  You see, we moved a couple of times between the two and the first time the 911 made the trip on a trailer behind a rental truck.  The next two times it was on the road.  I was aware that the speedometer was wildly optimistic (don't know why yet) and was using a plug-in-the-cigar-lighter GPS for accurate speed and distance measurement.  At one point the GPS went dark, the internal battery was depleted and there was no power at the lighter socket.  That was odd...but also odd another occasion the headlights/tailights failed to come on when I started the car.  Not knowing what was happening I turned off and restarted the car and everything came back.  There was some minor slop in the ignition switch, hardly noticeable, that seemed to make a on-off connection, although the engine continued to run.  I later became aware that the speedometer did not always function until the key was wiggled a little and then it would come back to life.  Added to all that was the new battery had a drain that would render it dead in a couple of days.  I did no diagnostics.  I went to the interwebs.  On impulse I decided the electrical portion of the ignition switch was the culprit and needed to be changed.

Okay.  The quick, but not easy method of ignition switch repair is to reach up behind the dash and remove the electric connection plug and unscrew the two small screws attaching the electric portion of the switch to the backside of the key tumbler and steering lock mechanism.  Some people say this approach is impossible, not enough room for tools, hands or fingers.  Others say with enough patience and a mirror attached to a mini-light and some tool improvisation it is possible.  I figured I had enough experience behind the dashes of assorted small, highly compact vehicles, where sense of touch has always compensated for lack of vision, that it was possible. 

After a day of wrestling with the 911 in 100 degree heat and failing to even loosen the lower and highly visible attaching screw, much less being able to put a wrench on, or even see the upper screw, I surrendered this method.  Its damn near impossible. 

Fast forward to today: Bentley 911 SC manual and an incredibly informative four minute Tube of U video and I've launched into the other approach.  Remove the whole ignition switch assembly from the dash and remove the electric switch portion on the workbench.  To do this you have to remove two break away bolts from the front of the dash after the rubber fascia piece is unscrewed.  Then it's Dremel destruction time.  The plan was to mill a slot in the round face of the break away bolt and use a screwdriver to unscrew it.  Things went south pretty quickly under the influence of a diamond bit and 35,000 hand held RPMs.

See the slot?  Yeah, neither did I.  Got a little carried away.

But, there was enough of a high point on each of the bolt head remmnants to get a chisel to bite and I was able to tap the bolts counter clockwise and unscrew them.  Success.

Next up - drill the rivets (if needed) and loosen the allen screw detent that holds the steering lock in place and change the switch. 

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/11/19 10:57 p.m.


HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/12/19 9:12 p.m.

And its out!  Drilled the two pop rivets and dropped the assembly out.

Swapped out the electric switch and the assembly is back in the dash.  Ran out of daylight before getting the rivets and bolts back in.  Was going to use a different style bolt but not sure that's possible with the counter sunk style shear bolt heads.  I'll reconnect the wiring harnesses and test the new switch tomorrow.

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/15/19 2:43 p.m.

The testing of the new switch did not happen as planned.  I ordered two new shear bolts and they should be at the Porsche dealership this afternoon.  In the meantime I decided to do something small and simple to keep the project moving along.  I got my new 19 mm tubing flare wrench and attacked the fuel filter.  Although the tubing nuts were quite tight and I had to remove the two blower hoses, they came off with no damage.  Change the inlet and outlet tubing fittings over to the new filter and install.  Simple, right?  Well no.....

The pipe thread on the inlet side of both the old (on left) and superceeded new filters (right) are the same size and pitch.  The outlets are different with the new filter having a smaller ID.  Everyone sells the Bosch 0 450 905 021 as the replacement for a '79 911 SC, everyone but Bosch that is.  They list no fuel filter for my car.  I visited their website and spoke with their technical department and they could offer no alternative, not even the specs on the proper fitting size, thread pitch, etc.  So another vendor is sending me a sort-of proper filter cross-referenced from a Mahle that other people use, but I'm not 100% comfortable until I see it.  I did some web investigating and found what is being called an adapter fitting with a Porsche part number 930 110 199.  The dealership confirms it goes with someone's filter on some year or model of Porsche, and the kicker is; it's a dollar cheaper than any web price I've seen yet.  I'll update here for anyone who's has had the same issue.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/15/19 3:46 p.m.

Very cool and, yeah, sometimes it takes an event to get you working on the car.

And that reminds me that I also need to replace my 911's trunk props....

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/15/19 8:24 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

My advice: Order some extra pin lock clips.

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/17/19 10:49 p.m.

Plugged the new ignition switch into the dashboard harness.  Picked up the new fuel filter adapter allowing me to install the new filter.  A little concerned that the new fitting ID is smaller than the old:

Will it make a difference at higher RPMs or pose a higher backpressure on the fuel pump?  I don't know.  We'll see. 

Cranked the engine over and after a few moments, she fired right up.  That's when minor panic ensued.  Gasoline was skeetin from between the new outlet fitting lower shoulder and the new copper crush washer above the filter outlet ("Skeetin" - (verb): A barely visible fine mist or spray of liquid, potentially dangerous, or just not right).  Shut it down and replaced the washer.  Fired it up and she settled into a nice comfortable idle.  Tomorrow will button up the dash knee pad and ignition switch bezel and select another project from the list.  Clock is ticking. 

Safety note:  Always position a fire extinguisher beforehand rated at least ABC whenever working on fuel injection systems.


HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/18/19 9:52 p.m.

Started the day out by installing a couple of temporary bolts to fix the ignition switch in place to allow testing.

Cranked it up and got out on the road.  First thing I noticed, besides the tightness of the ignition compared to the sloppiness of the old switch, was that the speedometer began working from the begining.  No more jiggiling the key to wake up the speedometer.  Out on the road the speedometer seemed to be more accurate from a seat of the pants viewpoint.  Won't know until I take a GPS with me.  Could a failing ignition switch have caused speedometer inaccuracy?

Brought back into the garage and set to work installing the permanent fasteners around the ignition switch.  Didn't want to commit the shear bolts until I knew the thing worked.  Loosely installed the shear bolts until I could get the pop rivets in.  The shear bolts come with thread lock already applied.

Pop rivets are simple, right?  Well, this go around they required some practice and some innovation like stacks of washers between the rivet heads and the tool but we got the job done.  Took a lot longer than I anticipated.  Threaded the shear bolts in and snapped the installation heads off.

Image looks bad I know.  Real life looks much cleaner (still need to work on my camera skills).  Last thing to do is screw on the bezel and the lower dash knee bolster and....Bob's your Uncle.

Had about another hour before the Saints Preseason game so I attacked the drivers side window tint.  It actually peeled off fairly easily but left a fair amount of adhesive residue.  No pictures because they just wouldn't show up well.  Used some Goo-gone as a preliminary solvent and the remaining residue came off suprisingly easy using windex.  However, the driverside (non-opening) vent window was a complete different story.  The delamination of the tint that got so bad I could not make out objects in the side mirror is what caused me to want to remove it in the first place.  I peeled the inner layer of tint off just like I had done on the door window, but this time it was a thin, opaque layer that came off and not tint at all.  The dark portion stayed on the vent window like it was a different conncoction or something.  The dark remainder did not yield itself to further peeling. 

The showroom sticker for this car shows tinted windows (all around!) were an added option.  The windows are much darker than what I think a factory tint would have been (typical '80's Miami Vice posture).  Funny thing is, the drivers side window with the tint removed still looks like a tinted window, although less intense.  I am beginning to think I'm dealing with a multiple tint sandwich - and maybe not just one variety either.  I am not relishing attacking the rear windscreen, especially in this south Texas heat.  Anyone have ideas or suggestions?

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/19/19 8:59 p.m.

Tint removal continues apace.  The passenger side door window and "vent" window acted much like the DS vent window.  A veneer of opaque film yielded easily leaving a dark layer of tint which did not.  Peeled away the dark layer using razor blade and fingers to reveal much adhesive.  The modus of removal has now evolved to applying GooGone to soften the adhesive, scrape away as much as possible with a new steel razor blade and clean up residue with Windex.  Rinse, lather and repeat.

The glass still retains what I believe is the factory tempered tint.  It's nice and I have no idea why anyone would want to have amped up the darkness.  Moving next to the two rear quarter windows and the dreaded rear windscreen with its defroster grid.

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/20/19 7:50 p.m.

Rear quarter windows done.  Rear windscreen 98.5% clear of tint, still have adhesive to remove.  None of the wiz-bang tint removal products seem to work better than the others.  It all seems to come down to a razor blade and a lot of elbow grease.

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/24/19 2:58 p.m.

Just about wrapped up the tint removal.  Only a few pieces left at the base of the rear window that are only visible from outside looking in, but are hard to reach with the hand held razor.  I've got a new extended reach razor scraper that should do the trick (should have got one sooner).

Moving on to the slow windows, starting with the worst offender - the passenger side.  It went up mostly fine but would bind and stop on the way down.  Removed all the interior trim panel and door mechanism pieces to take a look.  What I found was:

the window felt channel section that should be one piece all the way up the rear most guide had gotten out and was pinched in the channel and caught under the window lift arms.  Pulled out, the window races up and down, although a little shaky without the felt in the guide.  Instead of tackling the drivers side I ordered parts for both doors including new felts and the felt/rubber seals for the window slots at the top and will address them both at the same time.

funbeasts New Reader
8/25/19 5:07 a.m.

It’s such a pleasure learning from you. so many people who say these ideas are boring, yet they don't offer up any ideas of their own....... just want to say thank you for your suggestions...

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/25/19 7:32 a.m.

In reply to funbeasts :


HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/29/19 9:27 p.m.

Today saw the removal of the passenger side window frame.  Pretty straight forward with the exception of one of the upper rearmost allen head shoulder bolts.  All the other bolts broke free, albeit with a pretty audible "snap," as the fastner broke free under torque.  This particular fastner did not yield and you could feel the allen head profile starting to yield and round off.  No problem, I have a hammer impact wrench and a hammer.  Beat on it a few times and it would not budge.  I was afraid I'd crack the window if I continued beatin on it.  In the end it yielded to massive torque applied by an ancient electric impact wrench that my FIL gave me.  He was a welder, blacksmith and a true metal artist who had an ornamental iron works business building the wrought iron balconies and fences you see today in the New Orleans French Quarter. 

My big question was what kind of adhesive was applied to the felt channels in the window frames.  The answer was "none."  They pulled out pretty easily by hand.

The new channel felt popped right in and after replacing the inner and outer felt/seals on the door top opening slot it was reverse installation time.

I really think that with the exception of the pinched and torn channel felt all that was really necessary with this window was a good cleaning and lubrication of the actuator arms and guide channels.  I found that everything was coated with what looked like old crusty wheel bearing grease.  I cleaned it out and blasted every moving part with white lithium grease.  A bunch of times. 

Put the frame back in the door, cleaned the window glass of all remaining crud and tint (at the bottom where nobody would have seen anyway) and tested it.  Ran it up and down and it acted like a normal electric window lift.  I'll get some double sided tape for the moisture barrier and close up the door card and move on to the drivers side tomorrow. 

HundredDollarCar New Reader
8/30/19 10:21 a.m.

Disaster!  Although, not wholely unexpected...

The reflector already was broken in the middle and that's what I was attempting to repair.  I literally was holding the two separate pieces when they crumbled under their own weight.  And I thought BMW invented self destructing plastic in the interiors of the E36 in the 90's.  Porsche was evidently the trailblazer.

What to do now? 

HundredDollarCar New Reader
9/9/19 9:56 p.m.

An update from last week:  Didn't use double sided tape for the moisture barrier.  Didn't use duct tape like the last guy in there.  I couldn't find any 1/4" butyl rubber around here that I really wanted to use.  So instead I ended up using a 3M sealant/adhesive that looks like it might allow removal in the future.  I was able to re-use the factory barrier with its built in flaps to protect the door access openings (around the window lift arms) and get the door card installed.  Didn't end up with any extra screws, nuts or bolts even though there were some non-factory fasteners in the mix, probably from the window tinters or stereo installers that were in there last.

HundredDollarCar New Reader
9/9/19 10:38 p.m.

So, on to the drivers side door.  I was thinking this one should be easier, or at least go faster since I learned a lot doing the passenger side already.  I was sadly mistaken.

Everything was going OK.  I started running into some odd fastener combinations in the DS door.  There was a wide assortment of sheet metal screws, a wood screw (!) and various non-factory solutions for attaching the door card and handles.  No matter, we'll deal with that on reassembly.  I got this far in removing the door card and ran into an issue:

The bolt holding the interior door lock knob would not release.  On top of that, the phillips head profile was already somewhat stripped.

Not wanting to use the hammer impact for fear of cracking the window and not getting any purchase with a screw driver I tried the 'ol electric impact...which finished off the phillips head for good.  Neither pliers nor vise grips would budge the bolt.  I ended up drilling it out by hand.  Funny thing was, after removing the plastic lock handle and then the door card I was wondering how in the world I was going to remove the broken off threads left in the lock bell crank when I touched it, and the bolt moved!  I couldn't believe it.  After all that, the thing unscrewed using nothing more than slight pressure from my index finger.

Never experienced anything like that before.  I guess the heat and vibration from drilling the bolt head off must have broken the tension.  I was sure there must have been thread lock on that bolt to be that stuck.  I'll take small favors any day.  Anyway, this is where we ended up the day:

Looks like the metal around the door limit strap is torn.  I haven't got a good look at it yet but I'm hoping it can be repaired without pulling the door or, worst case, welding.  Which I don't do.  Don't currently have a welding machine.

But this would be the time to fix it.

HundredDollarCar New Reader
9/11/19 4:13 p.m.

Right, door check strap repair next on the list.  Drove out the roll pin that connects the old door check strap mechanism to the A-pillar.  When I did, the whole door stop/check strap mechanism just fell out into the interior of the door.  Reaching in and retrieving it revealed the retaining nuts were still on the door stop studs, which is bad.  Looking in the door reveals (looking from the A-pillar to the front of the door frame):

Torn interior metal.  The door stop was free-hanging inside the door, held in place because the strap end was still pinned to the A-pillar bracket.  Looking inside the door towards the A-pillar:

Looks like a welded repair is in the future, but not today.  Today we break out the Porsche precision door repair tools:

The log splitter wedge was actually the most usefull tool, making quick work of that folded metal.  Reaching in the door and hammering forward with the blunt end of the wedge pretty much made for a flat flange to bolt the new door stop and reinforcement kit to.  The idea is to sandwich the torn metal between the two stout reinforcement plates and crank down on the mounting bolts.  Went pretty well except when I dropped the forward plate into the door.  There is an inner wall structure between the outer skin that forms a neat little slot for things to fall into that you can't reach.  I could feel the plate at the bottom of the door through a drain hole but couldn't push it back up the cavity where I could get my hand on it.  Made a little fishing tool, hooked it and pulled the fish out.  Sorry, no pictures.

Took a while to line things up but eventually I got things started and cranked down on the bolts, replaced the roll pin and crossed another item off the list.  I think the repair will last a good while.

HundredDollarCar New Reader
9/12/19 9:29 p.m.

For clarity, the finished repair from the outside.

Started on replacement of the window felts and seals.  Got the window frame removed and the guide felts replaced and found one of the inner door felt strips was rusted away and deteriorated.  Don't have a replacement on hand so I'll shift focus while waiting on delivery.

HundredDollarCar New Reader
9/17/19 9:53 p.m.

Things seem to move pretty slow sometimes, especially waiting on parts.  The only things in life that don't move slowly are deadlines, and my deadline is fast approaching...this weekend to be precise.  I thought the door felt I ordered showed up yesterday, but when I opened the package there was a brand new Volvo o-ring inside for what looks like a fuel filler grommet, along with a packing list with someone else's name on it.  From a different vendor.  No Porsche window felt.  It seems that two unique vendors, with only a third party parts distributior in common, can occasionally produce a snafu such as this.   A few desperate phone calls later and I get My part delivered to My door in less than 24 hours.  Thanks Pelican Parts.

Door felt is now installed, along with all the other door top seals and felts and we're back in business!  Cleaned the window glass, sprayed up the regulator channels and rollers with white lithium lube and installed the window and window frame.  I'll make a run to the hardware store tomorrow for fasteners as the last folks in this door neglected to replace any of the window frame bolt washers or lock washers. 

Should be back on track (no window pun intended).


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