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Porsche 924 – a sensible choice?


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#1 OFFLINE   garethj

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 10:42 AM

I think it’s widely agreed among the scholars here that cars from the 1980s are a good choice for daily driver, they don’t have the complications of airbag failures, engine management lights and CAN BUS communications. They do have the benefits of being able to demist the screen and holding speed on a motorway. But it was always this way; 20 years ago everyone thought 1980s cars were rubbish with these new fangled fuel injection things and electric windows and we were better off with points and carburettors. Perhaps we’re all just comfortable with the technology we grew up with.

The case for the Porsche 924 is compelling, it was expensive when new and made with quality parts, likely to have been cared for in its early life as well as perky performance, good handling, popup headlights and a groovy interior. It’s also worth less than any other sporty coupe you can name – Audi Coupe, VW Scirocco, Ford Capri, Opel Manta, Skoda fucking Rapid… So I bought one, this one in fact, sight unseen from ebay.
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I wanted a white one with chequered interior, I was narrowly outbid on another car and this one came up a few days later. No heroic tales of collection, the dealer sent it to me on a truck. The MoT had recently expired so that was my first check, it failed on poor handbrake performance, fuel pipe leak, fuel tank leak, anti roll bar mounts and a tiny spot of rust behind the jacking point.

My normal mechanic has disappeared, I hope he’s on holiday but anyway I had to find someone else to do the work. The place that did the MoT recommended someone so off it went. All of the failure stuff was straightforward except for the fuel tank leak. He had a go at patching it up because the alternative is to take the tank out which means taking the gearbox out first. The repairs were done, it passed its MoT but the tank leak had started again before I picked the car up. The mechanic wasn’t comfortable about taking the tank out so I drove it to another place who had just broken a 924 for spares and had a good fuel tank. As they had 3 shiny 924s for sale on their forecourt and had taken everything apart the previous week, they got the job of replacing the tank. While they had it all apart they also changed the clutch, that’s the two biggest jobs on a 924.

I picked it up last night and there’s still a whiff of petrol fumes so it’s going back tomorrow, but what about the rest of the car?
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No power steering and it’s been a while since I’ve driven a car without it. A bit of a shock at first, but putting more than 15psi in the front tyres helped a lot, and of course once you expect the steering to be heavier it’s ok. The way the steering feels when on the move is brilliant, it’s got the same alive feeling as an old 911 which is encouraging for a sports car. The gearchange is good too, proper quick and positive action and because the centre tunnel is so high and the seats so low, the lever is nice and short. How low is the seat? If you park next to a high kerb and have to get in, it’ll look like you need a hip replacement asap.
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Sitting inside it’s all good stuff, the steering wheel is the same as a 911, the dials are right in front of you and Porsche ergonomics are everywhere – the electric mirror adjust is hidden under the door armrest. But it does feels special inside despite the VW switches, at least they work and haven’t got scuffed graphics like the switches on a 5 year old Golf.

This car has been unused for a while and the idle is a bit lumpy, and it pops on the overrun, I’ll do a basic service and see how it goes from there. The electric windows are noisy and a bit slow, the rear wiper motor is noisy and the popup headlights don’t quite have the energy to pop all the way down. The water temperature gauge doesn’t work, neither does the clock but that’s about it. I drove it to work this morning, my first journey of more than 3 miles and it was peachy - enough power for overtaking, relaxed cruising and a really good feeling through corners.
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Values seem all over the place, some cars look like complete dogs for £600, plenty remain unsold at £2000. Of course values won’t increase until 10 minutes after I’ve sold it but if you want one, now’s probably a good time to look.

#2 OFFLINE   barefoot

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:10 AM

You don't need to tell me how good they are, I've had a 944 for nearly 20 years and it's now done 250,000 miles.

The slow windows will be down to the gears, not the motors & I think the headlights will benefit from linkage lubrication.
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#3 OFFLINE   dollywobbler

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:12 AM

Nice. True Autoshite interior colour scheme. I've just been writing about 944s as it happens. 924 much less likely to cost thousands to sort out if you get a dodgy one, but corrosion is the main issue - galvanised or not. I think overall, I probably would.

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#4 OFFLINE   HillmanImp

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:17 AM

I do look at these every now and then but am yet to take the plunge. I LOVE the interiors.
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#5 ONLINE   cort16

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:21 AM

What's the thing parallel with the door handle on the quarter? Is it another lock of some kind?

I estimate this car needs £3000 maybe £4000 spending on it to get it rite and when this is done it will be wotrth about £1500!!


#6 OFFLINE   Spiny Norman

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:28 AM

Probably a key-type lock for a suitably shite 80s alarm system I'd guess.
Nice looking 924, love these interiors too. :D

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#7 ONLINE   Junkman

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:29 AM

I am somehow unable to like the 924s as long as there are 928s out there.

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#8 OFFLINE   Danblez

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:34 AM

Most excellent choice and yours looks very tidy. Is it as tidy as it looks?

I am very much enjoying my £200 turbo. So much bang for your bucks it's untrue.

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Are you coming to the national rally at the weekend?

#9 OFFLINE   garethj

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:41 AM

Probably a key-type lock for a suitably shite 80s alarm system I'd guess.

That's exactly right. It's got a Huf key so probably a Porsche dealer fit?

Most excellent choice and yours looks very tidy. Is it as tidy as it looks?

I think so, it seems fundamentally good and not rusty. Time will tell.

I am very much enjoying my £200 turbo. So much bang for your bucks it's untrue.

Are you coming to the national rally at the weekend?

The turbos look fantastic but I believe they're a bit risky as a daily driver thanks to head gaskets? I thought I'd dip my toe in the water with the 2 litre as it's the most economical. I think they're quite aerodynamic as it does 125mph with only 125bhp. A Saab 900 turbo does about the same speed but needs another 40bhp.

Not going to the national rally, where is it?

#10 OFFLINE   Danblez

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 11:49 AM

I think the head gasket reputation is a bit over stated. Yes they do suffer a little mostly because they have been sat around with water in them for the last 10 years. Like most things on the car though pretty easy to do, I managed it on my own over 2 full weekends with no previous experience! (Ok I admit I had a LOT of advice from the club and someone to help lift it back on!)

The rally is at the Midland Air museum Coventry on Sunday (£2.50), should be a good turn out!

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#11 OFFLINE   brickwall

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Posted 15 May 2013 - 06:39 PM

My mum had one back in the 80s and it's the one car she wish she still had, apart from the A40 van.
Take care of the boot /glass thing and don't put in big boxes towards the back of the car. My brother learned the hard way :?

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#12 OFFLINE   garethj

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:13 AM

Met up with 2 friends from university last night, unlike me they’ve both moved from Engineering design to Engineering management so their car budget is very different, the 911 GT3 shows this.

Here’s the Porsche with some VW-derived cars. :D
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As general progress goes, the 924 got its MoT and the fuel tank leak came back the following day so a replacement tank was found. That was tested, cleaned, painted and fitted which meant taking the gearbox out, it sits below the fuel tank at the back of the car. When this was all apart the garage found quite a lot of play in the torque tube (wonder why it’s not called a propshaft?) so as it’s only another hour’s labour with everything apart they changed the clutch. A good thing too as it had a couple of missing damping springs and the diaphragm spring fingers were a bit worn. About what you’d expect after 80,000 miles on an old car, nowadays a clutch seems to last forever.

After all this, there was still a leak from one of the high pressure fuel lines above the tank so that was changed yesterday, I’ve had the smell of unleaded in my nostrils for weeks so I can even smell it when I’m not in the car.

It’s now done about 500 miles since I bought it, the first tankful got me 29mpg which wasn’t bad considering it pissed most of it out and it’s been no stranger to the Italian tune-up. Once it’s running smoothly I’d hope for 35mpg, maybe a bit more. Running smoothly?

It’s got a bit of an uneven idle and it’s not happy at low revs, I was hoping the fuel leak was dropping the fuel pressure to the injectors which was affecting things but the fuel leak has been cured now and the car runs the same. For any Bosch K-Jetronic experts out there, here’s the symptoms:

Starts from cold fine, idle is even. After a mile it starts to judder at low revs, less than 2000rpm especially in higher gears. It continues like this for as long as you drive it, I’ve tweaked the timing a bit to bring the idle revs up and because it seems to run a tiny bit cleaner but I checked it with a strobe so I can get it back to factory spec easily. If you switch off and let it cool for a bit, it starts nicely and idle is good again, until it warms up.

I put new plugs on, the leads look good and when you wiggle them around it doesn’t affect the idle at all. Distributor cap looks ok, so does rotor arm, all the parts are Bosch or Beru which are OE spec. I tested the ignition coil resistance and it’s within spec, but I only checked it when the engine was cold.

I sprayed Easy Start all over the air hoses, there was a bit of a rise in the revs when I squirted the auxiliary air valve. After a few goes in this area the revs didn't change at all. I’ve got no idea if the mixture is correct other than it’s just passed an MoT so it’s less than 4% but a knackered Pinto can beat this too.

Any ideas what to check next, and it what order?

#13 OFFLINE   stormee

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:57 AM

Please check the injector O-rings, the may shrink as temp rises in the cylinder head. Again, go for a vacuum leak, use brake cleaner, especially in heat affected areas, K-jetronics are very sensitive to air leaks. Another culprit is the big black air case/hose thing, remove this and bend in in various directions under bright light, they often tear and cost losts of money but are fixable.

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#14 OFFLINE   colc

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:28 AM

Do these have the same "hedgehog" auto choke mechanism as Mk2 Golfs? If so, this may be your problem.
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#15 OFFLINE   colc

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:28 AM

Do these have the same "hedgehog" auto choke mechanism as Mk2 Golfs? If so, this may be your problem.
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#16 OFFLINE   stormee

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:26 AM

Or maybe the warm up regulator does not work properly, typical fault. It's a bimetal-thingy in its own housing, location is inside intake-manifold I suppose.

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#17 OFFLINE   garethj

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 11:37 AM

I know the warm up regulator is often flaky, but if it was running rich I wouldn't expect to get 29mpg with a fuel leak and frequent trips over 100mph

#18 OFFLINE   Danblez

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:36 PM

I would get the mixture checked. It sounds like it may be running lean which would only show up badly after it was warmed up.

Have you had a go at tweaking the mixture? Maybe after it has warmed up tweak it a litle (clockwise to richen I think) and see if it makes any difference? I would also look at the leak around the AAV as it wont have disappeared just because you squirted easy start around it and could be contributing to it runnning lean?!

Also check the coil when warm as they can break down with heat and I would change the igniton leads for peace of mind. I always start with the easy stuff, be methodical and never presume something is OK just because it looks OK! :D

#19 OFFLINE   garethj

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 01:23 PM

I've ordered a new ignition coil, new set of HT leads, new distributor cap and new rotor arm. As Dan says, you've just got to work through this stuff.

But I've focussed on the more important things - some bangin choons, or whatever the 1980s equivalent was. I found a period stereo on ebay which didn't work, I removed the keyring from inside the tape mechanism :roll: but it still didn't power up. I took the bottom cover off and the main power track on the PCB was burnt through. I plugged it into a current limited power supply, soldered a join onto the track using some nice old solder with loads of lead and switched it on. The lights on the front came on, woo-hoo!

Of course I didn't have any speakers plugged in, the connectors were the old DIN style with a spade connector and pin in one housing, I ordered a pair and put it all together in the car. This is the result :D
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And this is how it'll mostly be used, not always with Body Rock by Maria Vidal playing, but usually.
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This is my shite mp3 player, an iRiver H340. I had my first one about 10 years ago and it's a proper geek's music player, it plays all sorts of formats, the battery lasts for ages, when you plug it into a PC it recognises it just as a USB drive (no dedicated software needed) and best of all it's got a line input for recording from any source. You can only get them second hand now but because they sound so good and they have the features, they go for over £100 a time.

#20 OFFLINE   Danblez

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:58 PM

Zomg blast from the past. We had the exact stereo in our family 1985 Volvo 240 Gl. I seem to remember it sounding pretty decent.

#21 ONLINE   Lacquer Peel

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 10:01 PM

One of my first mp3 players was an iRiver, I think I ordered it from America!

I would like to fit a Volkswagen LT straight 6 diesel to a Porsche 924. Make it a proper LT sports.

#22 OFFLINE   garethj

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 09:22 PM

New forum, time for an update.

 

I changed most of the ignition stuff, I'll do the coil this weekend, it hasn't made any difference to the running but at least it's eliminated.  Hot starting seems a bit shit unless you give it some throttle so I wonder if it's losing fuel pressure.  If it's losing it by dribbling through the injectors it could explain the bad running so I'm going to make up a fuel pressure tester and go through the system.

 

The radio is good, it's been a while since I've had one without RDS so I've got to re-tune halfway through my commute, or just switch to the podcasts on my mp3 player.  The speakers are rubbish so I might update them at some point.

 

It drives really well except for the stuttering a bit at light throttle and low revs, so 4th gear is as high as I can go in town.  Most of my drive is on dual carriageway or fast A roads and the 924 seems to be more than the sum of its parts.  The engine is a bit thrashy above 5000 revs but the stainless exhuast makes the most of the engine note and it pulls hard for its mere 125bhp.  I don't think you can even buy a car these days with less than 100bhp but for those of us that grew up with Mk1 Fiestas with 50bhp it's quite brisk.  Road test vary but 0-60 seems around 9 seconds which gives enough power for overtaking.

 

The handling is really nice although the steering is heavy and the wheel is set low so your legs are apart, the 185/70/14 tyres aren't very wide and when you go into a corner a bit hard the front starts to slide a bit.  Put a bit more power on and you can feel the back slide next and it's all very balanced, then you can keep applying the power and it just goes around faster.  I'm not going to have a Troy Queef bit here and talk about a dap of oppo' but it makes me look like a skilled driver.

 

My old Ginetta was similar although that didn't have any stabilising understeer to start with, but it did make you feel like you're really driving with some skill.  You're not.  The car is doing all the hard work, all you need to do is not fuck it up and it'll be fine.

 

Part of my commute is 5 miles of single carriageway traffic which even at 6:30 in the morning is nose to tail at 45mph.  At the end is a roundabout and then dual carriageway into Cambridge.  It's slow moving traffic, there's nowhere to overtake as the queue is for miles so naturally there's some twat right behind me trying to get under my rear bumper.

 

When we come to the roundabout, here's the plan.  His Audi is nose-heavy anyway, and accelerating around the roundabout only makes it worse.  I can hoof it in second gear and corner like a driving god, get a good exit speed and keep accelerating on the dual carriageway so by the time he's on the straight and got his turbo boosting I'm 100 yards ahead and going 40mph faster.

 

It passes the time....


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#23 OFFLINE   inconsistant

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 03:55 PM

Hi Gareth, fab write up!

These cars are probably last on my wish list, or rather were, but after reading your threads they seem make perfect sense for a car on a budget... simple mechanics, durable build quality, galvanised and as cheap as they're ever going to be. Even my wife is quite taken by the idea of one, and you can't say that about an mg maestro, mg metro, puma, cinquecento sporting, or pretty much anything else on my thousand pound wish list of chod.

These might be the thinking man's shite. Looking forward to the next installment.

Cheers,

Richard


924: Likely to dislove a bit slower than anything elas on my chod for a gran list

 

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#24 OFFLINE   Mr Lobster

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 08:05 PM

I'm a fan of these as well. A mate has one and loves it and reckons that they can be run on a sensible budget if you shop around for bits. One is on my list for some point in the future though as its probably the only way I'll get into a classic Porsche.


Model of your shite, sir?

 

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#25 OFFLINE   dome

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 06:28 PM

I've had a couple of square dash 944s and really enjoyed them. A 924 was on my radar recently but I ended up buying an MX5. Good fun but just not quite the same as an old Porsche. Nice wee car you've got there.






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