A great car that is underrated as a sports car offering good fuel economy that is built to last
Bought with worn piston rings (smoked on overrun, though oil pressure was still pretty good). Piston bores were OK though nearing the end of their life; new valve guides fitted. Quite expensive to sort out; rings were £125, gasket set another £70-ish, head serviced and new guides another £100 or so. Fitted exchange water pump as precaution. All in all costs ran to about £475 and it took ages to do. Great learning experience though.
Radiator gave up some 10,000 miles later causing head gasket to blow. New Radiator (exchange) £215 (patent part).
New Fan switch (I'd recommend getting a genuine porsche one, not patented)
Dismantled electric motors for windows, serviced and replaced though the passenger one is feeble.
After thinking about this, sourced a donor engine (1986 2.5 lump reputed to have covered 60k) with appropriate ECU and airflow meter (1982 engines, although pretty much the same as any other 2.5 lump, require a 1982 ECU). Very expensive; nearly £1000 to buy another £500 to fit.
New clutch fitted at the same time. Again, expensive (£500) - yes I know this is more than the car is worth!!
New oil pressure sender unit.
Alternator replaced. not sure if this was down to my own 'meddlings' or it had just worn itself out. Very important fact here - the alternator on a 944 is the same bosh unit you will find on a lowly Granada. Porsche will charge you a *** massive *** amount for a new one (exchange too, and from a 928 apparently). I got mine from a chap specialising in recon parts for £90.
Replaced front discs and pads (cheap - £17 per disc!).
Lost Hydraulics on clutch.
Drivers seat came off its tracks (should I say, the tracks came off the chassis!). Welded back in place.
Rear wheel bearing replaced (not too bad in terms of cost)
Head gasket went after another 40k? Was this my driving, or just bad luck. No immediate reasons as to what caused this.
Timing belt replaced at same time.
Timing belt snapped 400 miles later. I can't blame the car for this!!
Lost the key. Can't get in it at the moment.
Still problems with temperature gauge. It sort of trailed off from working normally to not working at-all.
Rear wiper gear has always been worn, and never worked.
Heater stuck on hot. Very hot.
Problems starting on occasion. Engine turns, but it just won't catch. could either be the battery, or perhaps the starter motor needs looking at.
Los the key. Can't get in it.
Despite all the above, it's a fantastic car. I was unlucky and bought a nail. Also, despite what people say, unless you really do know what you are doing, you can't run a porsche on a shoe string. Little faults tend to become big ones, and that usually involves expense.
But here are its praises:
It has one of the best gear boxes I've ever used. That, along with the hydraulic clutch makes it a joy to drive. And its covered nearly 200,000 miles.
The running gear is made from granite; that goes for the body work too. Though mine has led a hard life, it looks almost perfect with every panel being straight.
Fuel economy is pretty good. I've managed, on one occasion, to achieve 38mpg (OK I coasted it a bit too).
It doubles up as a load lugger. Three bicycles and a TV set in it in one go. I swear you can get more stuff in a 944 than some estates.
Not especially fast, but for something that's 20 years old, it is pretty impressive. However there is more torque than a tractor and its great for overtaking.
Though not especially comfortable on long distances, it has a great driving position, and the interior is what I consider a proper sports car/tourer to look like. Its the old style dash, not the oval one, but I prefer it.
I'd like a newer one with plenty of history with it. I don't think high milers are such a problem, but would expect the head gasket to go.
Would I have another one? Yes!!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 23rd December, 2002