PCA Southeast Michigan Region

From the Blog

The Master Cylinder 03/2011

Q –  On my 89 944 the hood shocks failed and I bought new ones but they are too long.  I can’t get them on!  Charlie

A –   Yes they are too long and tricky to install too.  If you disconnect them and lift the hood high enough to get the new ones on, you can break the windshield.  I know, I have done that and it was quite expensive!  So the trick is get two buddies to help.  Have your friends hold up the hood while you install the bottom of the shock first.  Then, with all your weight, get the shock compressed enough to slip in the top pin.  They are super strong and you may curse a little but you can do it.  Just don’t try to do it alone.  And never grip the polished shafts with pliers or you will ruin the shocks. One last caution…when you are trying to lean on the shock to compress it, grip the body of the shock as tightly as you can…you’re going to be trying to pilot it into a bracket with a sharp corner, and if you slip, you can gash yourself pretty bad. Good luck!  –  MC

Q – I am thinking of buying another Porsche. I have owned a 930 turbo, a 993 Cabriolet, and after I sold the cab, I got a muscle car.  It is just not the same.   I am looking at a Cayman S at the local dealer and I wonder if I should be concerned based on issues with the engine on the older cars.  I am also considering buying a car from a private owner and then purchasing a service contract.  Your opinion please.   Tom

A – I know what you mean about those muscle cars, I once owned a Chevy 2 with a 350 and it was only fun in one mode, full throttle ¼ mile.  It is a good thing that more muscle car owners will never drive a “furrin” car or the prices of pre-owned Porsches would skyrocket.   Of course there is one muscle car that I like, my Hudson Hornet, but I admit it is a personal thing.

The Cayman will be an excellent choice for a number of reasons.  All the bugs have been worked out.  The engine is bulletproof.  If you are buying from a Porsche dealer and the car is Certified Pre-Owned, the warranty is even better than a new car.  Naturally you will pay more for the car than you would from a private owner, but when you buy a car from a dealer, you should expect that.

The warranty from Porsche is excellent.  If you buy from a private owner, you can purchase a warranty but before you buy it, you had better have an attorney look at the contract and find out how they pay for repairs.   I recently managed an order where the client had an extended warranty that reimbursed at a labor rate which the warranty company determined was the national prevailing rate.  This resulted in extra out of pocket expense that cost hundreds of dollars for the “covered repair”.  Even worse, numerous issues were not even covered at all due to various “weasel clauses” built into the contract.  The factory sponsored warranties are far more comprehensive and fair. –  MC

Q – On my 85 Carrera, after a 10 to 20 mile trip, I get a vibration and high pitched noise from the chassis that is driving my crazy.  If I push the brake pedal hard, the noise goes away for a fraction of a mile then it comes back.  I was convinced that it was a bad wheel bearing so I had my shop take the car apart and inspect the wheel bearings.   They were fine and naturally, the noise was still there.  Then they thought it a splash shield rubbing on the rotor and indeed, there was a shiny spot on the splash shield.  They bent it out of the way and on the test drive there was no noise.  Then I drove it just over 10 miles or so and the noise came back.  Next they thought it might be the brake rotors or pads so they serviced the rotors, and serviced the pads and indeed, the noise changed!  After that, it would start after about 30 miles!  Then they installed new pads.  They drove the car about fifty miles and were very excited to report that the noise was GONE.  I was thrilled!  Then I took a trip north to the Flint area and about 60 miles out, the noise came back.  I am so p—– off, I can’t see straight!  Of course, every time I take the car in, they drive it and the car is quiet as a mouse!  I know they are making an earnest effort to fix the car but they are simply out of ideas.  Help!

– Larry

A –  Holy cow, you have really suffered and it sounds like the shop has too.   I hope you didn’t pay for all the guess work.  Yes Larry, I do have an answer.  I can’t promise you that it is the correct answer but it worked for me.  The last “hair ball brake noise” that I choked on was due to a stress crack on one of the brake pad spreader clips.  The clip was not obviously broken.  The crack was nearly invisible.  (Note the term “nearly”.)

With a fresh set of clips on the front calipers, no more noise.  In case you wonder why the clips cured it, when you apply your brakes, the spreader clip moves outward and allows the pads to exert even pressure on the rotors.  When you release the brakes, the “square cut seal” in the caliper bore and these clips help the pads move away from the rotor.  When the clips are weak (or damaged) the pads can be just close enough to the rotor to vibrate at that annoying frequency that you were hearing.  –  MC

Q – I have a 1987 Porsche 924S and there is a water leak into the car.  Every time it rains the passengers side floor gets wet.  I don’t think it is the windshield since it leaked prior to having the windshield replaced and it still leaks with the new windshield.  Joe

A – Under the battery, there is a clear path for water to enter the passenger side of the car.  My advice is to remove the battery, clear the debris out of the area that may be blocking the drains and scrape the area clean.  If the floor of the battery box is rotted out (which I am betting on) you can repair it in a few ways.  1)  You could take it to a body shop where they can weld in a patch,  2)  You could fashion a patch out of plastic which you can purchase at a plastic supply house, and glue it in with sealant, or 3)  A piece of galvanized steel from a heating and cooling shop can be used.  If you are going to have a body shop do it, they should be able to refinish it so it will be many years again before it rots.  If you are going to do it yourself, a product called POR-15 can be applied over the rusty metal which then bonds to the rust.  This provides a good basis for either a plastic patch or the steel patch.  Bonding the patch to the area works well since the battery holds it in place until the sealant dries.  That will cure the wet floor for years.

One thing to note is that both the positive and negative cables are black!  Make sure you mark them before you remove the battery.  If you don’t, and you are not sure which is which, use a volt/ohm meter to confirm which cable is ground.  It is not worth taking any chances on this topic.  –  MC