Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Alu Dials and Steering Wheel

The white dial conversion is perhaps my favourite aesthetic change - albeit one that is more complicated to reverse...

The dials were initially black faced and as per the 'S' spec had the 'Carrera S' script at the bottom of the tacho.

If alu dials were specced from factory, the Carrera S script was lost which I think is a real shame.

However - from factory, the dials would come with the chrome inner bezel, sitting behind the glass which in my opinion makes the factory dials so special and I knew I would only have the faces changed if I could locate a set of the 5 inner chrome rings. They are notoriously difficult to come by.

I started at VDO - the instrument makers - but quickly hit a dead end. Ultimately after a lot of backwards and forwards with Porsche UK realised that I was only going to find a set via a breaker who would be willing to dismantle a set of dials that had the rings. After a lot of searching, (and a lot of money) I located a set in Los Angeles and had them shipped over. Amazing what OCD will drive me to...!

Once I had the rings, I took the dials over to Julian Reap in North London. Julian is the guy for refacing dials. In fact, when Porsche GB receive special colour requests one their new build cars - Julian is the guy that actually does the work.

I opted for the factory alu colour on the dials, however I had Julian template the Carrera S script so I could keep the unique tacho look that makes the S special.
Additionally, the factory alu dials were cut out over the warning lights. I have had them smoked, so that the dials look a single uniform colour, however the lights shine through the smoke effect with the same intensity as standard.

Good shot of the inner chrome rings and the Carrera S script on the tacho

Warning Lights are smoked, but just as intense when lit as standard

The other addition I've made is to the steering wheel. I've always liked the 3 spoke 996 wheel and thought the alu / leather wheel would bring a modern feel to the drive as well as compliment the new alu dials and gearnob. It makes a surprisingly big difference (to me) and was almost worth the extraordinary £1,500 Porsche charge for the wheel + airbag...!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Magazine Feature

I am in touch with the 2nd owner of the car who forwarded me a scan from the 911 & Porsche World January 2002 issue which featured my car when it was put up for sale again at Isaac Agnew.

The author was wrong about the interior carbon bits. It's perfectly clear there aren't any...

Bit of fun and nice to have....

Engine Bay Work

The 993 engine is a real thing of beauty, and can be fairly easy to smarten up. I have used quite a bit of plastic polish on the black bits to make them shiny, cleaned the fan (which is fiddly but noticeable) and have now replaced the Mobil 1 sticker which was old and torn.
Also notice the Porsche 'Motorsound' airbox which has a chrome look intake. This airbox is identical to the standard one, other than a number of small drilled holes on the right hand side which allegedly increases the sound. I don't think it makes any difference at all.

Air con pipes run across the back of the engine left to right with the compressor over on the right.

The engine in the 993 is 'hung' from mounts rather than sitting on mounts if that makes sense. Over time, the mounts succumb to the pulling forces and it's easy to see if they would benefit from being replaced.

The effect this can have on the driving is experience is surprisingly noticeable.

If the engine drops slightly at the back of the car (as happens when the mounts are finished) my understanding is that it's often the case that the gear change is not as smooth. The engine is mated to the gearbox, and extra pressure is put on that coupling making gear changes more notchy.

If you can fit your fingers between the top and bottom of the mount, it's definitely time for new ones!

There are 3 levels of stiffness of engine mount. C2, C4 and RS mounts which are particularly unpliable.
The general consensus is that the C4 mounts offer the best real world improvement whern changing, and that's what I've gone for.

They are hard to photograph since they are right up in the back corners.

At the same time as the mounts were replaced, I cleaned the ISV (Idle Stabilising Valve) which sits at the top of the engine and is a real pig to get off most of the time. However with the engine dropped slightly to gain access to the mounts, it's much easier and is well worthwhile.

The ISV has a butterfly valve which should rotate freely. Over time, the valve becomes sticky and clogged up and results in lumpy idle which makes the car stall easily - especially in reverse. Simply cleaning with WD40  loosens the butterfly valve and makes a tremendous difference to pulling away!

Engine Bay labelled below. Note position of the factory stickers.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Exhaust Tips

The later 993 cars with the varioram engine had square exhaust tips with rounded edges. These are commonly known as 'squovals'.

Squared off exhaust tips on the varioram models

These tips look nice, but I always had a hankering for the optional wide ovals which in my opinion fill the cut out in the bumper more fully and seem somehow more appropriate for the car.

There are a number of aftermarket providers of exhaust tips - more for the narrow body cars than the widebody's. My requirement was quite specific in that I am not a fan of the thick 'rolled' edge tips - an example below.

Thicker, rolled edge tips

There are plenty of aftermarket thin lipped options for the narrow body, however as far as I can tell (and I've looked very hard) there are no thin lipped versions available for the widebody, which meant I was forced to buy OEM parts from Porsche.

The problem with the OEM parts is that two tips cost a whopping £480!!!!!! It's insane money for two little bits of metal, but they're the only ones that look right as far as I'm concerned.
Part Numbers are 993.111.981.02 and 993.111.982.02

Here they are on the car. I am very happy with the look and think they're (almost) worth the money...

Lovely thin lipped exhaust tip for the widebody... Expensive, but worth it


I've always loved the sound of the air-cooled engine. For me it's one of the best things about the pre-996 Porsche, and an enduring part of air cooled 911 history.

I always felt that the 993 was too quiet. My understanding is that Porsche had to seriously dumb down the noise to comply with strict USA emissions / noise tests. This may or may not be true, but for the 2000 miles that I drive each year, I wanted to be able to really hear the sound of that glorious air cooled flat 6.

I had RSR mufflers on my previous 993 and I really liked them so they were a serious consideration. Having owned a pair before, I thought I'd try something different, and  initially, I put some nice cargraphic boxes on. Ultimately, I decided that these were too similar to stock. After much deliberation, and after reading the glowing reviews on rennlist,  I absolutely had to have the Fister FD 3's.

Darin Fister who's based in California has a modification to the standard boxes which I think is perfect. I sent a pair of stock mufflers over to him, and he worked his magic and sent them back. I don't recommend sending 993 back boxes to the USA and back. It's ridiculously expensive, and that's probably why there are only a few pairs of these in the UK.

Anyway, they arrived, and I had them installed. Oh YES! That rasping, throaty and beautifully metallic noise of the air-cooled engine is music to my ears. Here's a little before and after video.

First up, the cargraphics....

And now, the Fister's...

This is an easily reversible modification. I can put original mufflers back on whenever I like, but why would I? There's no resonating, and I've driven for hours on the motorway without any intrusiveness into the cabin. Testament to the build quality of the 993..!

You have to hear them to believe them. They're the perfect combination of noise, without crossing the line to anti-social.

Spoiler Wall & Bearing

The electric spoiler has a wall or 'curtain' that sits between the rear edge and the engine lid. It's not visible until the spoiler is in its raised position, and it tends to fail after a number of years. It's made of what seems to be quite a cheap looking corrugated plastic with moulded edges to fit the spoiler on one side and the engine lid on the other.

Mine had never been changed and was beginning to split when I bought the car. So a new one ordered from Porsche and only about 30 minutes to remove the old one, bin it and replace with a brand new part.

Clear view of the 'corrugated' plastic curtain

The spoiler is a lovely part of the car....photographs well...

The other part worth mentioning is the spoiler motor bearing. The corrosion and failure of this part is fairly common and is obvious when listening to the spoiler when it's going up or down. If the motor is making a grinding noise, almost certainly the bearing is gone and needs to be replaced.

The bearing is very inexpensive, and the job is both straight forward and satisfying.
It involves splitting the drive assembly, removing the old bearing and replacing with new. Re-pack with grease, re-assemble and refit in situ.

Spoiler is virtually silent now.

Light Cavity Clean

Some time last summer, my wife went to stay with a friend for a couple of nights in the north of England, taking both my 5 year old and 3 year old with her. This gave me the rare opportunity of having some genuinely free time to do whatever I wanted with the car.

I'd always wanted to get all of the lights out and see what kind of caked on old crap I could find in there. I wasn't disappointed.

I removed the headlights from their housing, cleaned up the cavity and then gave it a coat of really good wax to try and prevent huge build up in the future. The headlight guides corrode easily, but a bit of light rubbing brings them up nicely. They're very easy and inexpensive to replace if you have to, but I didn't think it was necessary.

Headlight removed - clean up and wax in progress

Next I took out the lower fog lights and indicators. There was a tonne of crap behind here and the cables needed a good clean - making them look like new.

Another thick coat of wax in here...

Rear lights and reflector removed, and now the real cleaning began. I used ordinary car cleaner for a lot of it (having taped all the electrical bits and pieces up to protect from water ingress)
Then another coat of wax and a bit of elbow grease to bring out the shine.

Finally, I used autoglym fast glass on the rear lights and reflector (as well as all of the front lights), back to black on the plastic bits,  and put the whole lot back together.


When I bought the car, I noticed that the original Technology wheels had been replaced with replicas. The car was specced from new with the 18 inch Turbo hollow spokes and I wanted to reinstate them as soon as possible.

The spokes are hollow and one of the simplest ways to determine whether the wheels are solid or hollow spoked is to feel the backs. The hollow spoke wheels are smooth - just like the fronts although they are flat rather than curvy. Solid spokes have two definite ridges on either side of each spoke and have a much thinner profile.

The part numbers 993.362.136.00 (front) and 993.362.140.00 (rear) are close to £4,000 new from Porsche which is a massive rip off, but I couldn't drive the car with the fakes on. The wheels suit the car so perfectly, these are some of my favourite views.

Front wheel 

Rear 3/4 - One of the best angles in my opinion