While I'm In There

When I bought the 924S almost 2 years ago, I knew it was going to be somewhat of a project. It’s been a perfectly reliable* driving project, but a project nonetheless. When stuff has gone wrong, I haven’t needed to overnight parts from Germany - I’ve been able to drive it until it gets fixed.

*aside from that one time I forgot to tighten the connector between the clutch master and slave, and the clutch decided to lose all pressure and stop working right in the middle of a busy intersection. But that’s not the car’s fault.

The previous owner said that he was told the timing belt and water pump had been done shortly before he bought it. Estimated mileage since then would put me right around the next scheduled replacement time. Now, I don’t get quite as excited about changing the timing belt on a 944 engine as much as some do. Why? Well, here’s what I’ll need just for the belts:

Part/Tool Source Cost
Belt/Roller Kit Lindsey Racing $201.84
Engine Tools Kit ArnnWorx $324.03
Total $525.87

Yes, I could skip some of the tools, and I could leave the existing rollers. But I’m happy to pay a little more to make the job easier, and to ensure I know exactly when everything has been replaced. Considering that you can find replacement 8v engines from reputable disassemblers (or more accurately, 944 hoarders) for $500 all day, it makes dropping more than that on an otherwise critical maintenance job a little less pressing. Plus, I still dream of swapping in a 944S2 or 968 engine one day.

But that’s not it. Lots of other jobs require removing the timing belt, so at the very least I would need the tool kit above for those. My car’s camshaft tower gasket is shot, which means that oil occasionally drips onto the exhaust manifold, creating a lovely smell. That job is inexpensive, but again, timing belt needs to come off. And honestly, getting this done is the primary driver behind getting the timing belt done. Lindsey Racing sells an option rubber coated steel gasket with their kit - I think I’ll go that route, so I’m less likely to have to do this again.

And if I’m messing with the camshaft, I might as well do a popular tweak of advancing my timing by 4°. This can be done with an adjustable cam gear, or (more inexpensively) by replacing the stock 0 offset key between the camshaft and camshaft gear with a 4° offset key. It appears that Lindsey Racing used to sell the key, but I’m guessing they figured it cut into sales of their $300 adjustable gear. So instead, I’ll get the kit from 928 Motorsports. Let’s see where we’re at…

Part/Tool Source Cost
Previous Total $525.87
Camshaft Re-Seal Kit Lindsey Racing $59.93
Offset Camshaft Key Set 928 Motorsports $56.00
Total $641.80

It doesn’t have to stop there - I could do the water pump, thermostat, and balance shaft seals. I probably should too. But I have no reason to believe these items need replacement, and I’ve already got a bit of scope creep happening so I’ll save these for next time. So, here we are, $641.80 in parts to prevent a $500 engine from grenading. To be fair, half of it is tools, meaning this job will be a lot cheaper in the future. And I get a performance boost (hopefully) out of it.

Seems legit.

Colin Baker Written by:

Colin is a network engineer, amateur/wannabe Porsche mechanic, and elite hobbyjogger in Madison, WI.