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Thread: The Poor Woman's Porsche

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Default The Poor Woman's Porsche

    Hi hello! I picked up a new friend and project this weekend.

    I had been noodling around with the idea of picking up a project car for, well, a long time. I have really wanted to learn how to get more hands-on with my car, and I want something a little older. Something I can really tinker with. So, I decided to start saving up my pennies and put them towards a project car. But what would I even get? I wasn't really sure.

    I've always been really excited about NA Miatas. They are cute and you can do a ton of stuff with them. I test drove one and, well, it kind of felt like a death trap. Maybe it was the specific miata I was test driving. Nevertheless, death felt imminent.

    So, no Miata. That's fine.

    I decided to look at cars that met two critieria: late-80s to early-90s and pop up headlights. I really love the way they look and how they humanize the car. I'm a girl and, well, I love cute things. My cars have always had names, genders, personalities, etc. I immediately went to the Rx-7 and the 240sx s13, but decided against them as a halfway decent one was out of my price range. I looked at e30s and, while I loved them, they were missing the pop up headlights I really liked. I even test drove a few cars that were out of the scope of what I wanted but in my budget (99 bmw z3, 01 Audi TT, and an 02 bmw 540i). But none of them really gripped me. Finally, I test drove a car that had been on my radar and kind of immediately fell in love with it.

    Let me preface this by saying a few things about how I drive: I am not a fast driver. I don't like to go super over the speed limit. I don't like to beat on my cars and dump the clutch and do burnouts and stuff. My cars have personalities, like I said, so I don't like to do things that would jeopardize them or myself.

    So, I bought a 1986 Porsche 944.



    I have always loved Porsches. I have always drooled over literally every single one I've seen. They were always kind of unattainable goal before I learned more about the 944. Now, I realize the 944 isn't considered a true Porsche by the standards of many car people. And, well, I don't really care. If there's one thing I learned from bagging my Focus ST, it's that you can't worry about what other car people think.

    So I bought this thing. And, wow, I love it.



    The guy who had it before me had had it for about six months or so. He had no idea what to do with it or what it really was, so he had driven it maybe 300-400 miles in that time. He bought it from the second owner, who had had it for a good portion of it's life and knew everything about it. The odometer broke last year at 136,xxx miles, but based on the history from the previous owner, we are guessing it's probably closer to 138,xxx. The only glaringly obvious flaws are this: the windshield is cracked, there are two dents in one of the front panels on the hood, the front seat is kind of shit, and the radio is busted.



    All in all, it didn't seem like a ton of work was needed. It doesn't rattle or shake or have a tantrum at high speeds. The paint and clear coat are in wonderful condition. We haven't seen hardly any rust on it (yet). Aside from having some wheels off of another Porsche, it's pretty much bone stock. (We have the phone dial wheels, too.)




    As for what comes next, I'm not really sure. I'm going to get a new windshield installed and I'm going to put in a new single DIN radio and HID headlights. I'm also going to look into getting the timing belt changed. I don't believe it's had one changed in a while, and I'm going to go ahead and assume it's never happened. I don't have any proof of that, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Eventually, I'll look at getting the seats reupholstered. I assume it's on the original suspension, so I'll probably look into putting it on coils just to update that. I don't know if I'll slam it just yet. Right now, I'm kind of just excited to have something to fix, if that makes sense.

    Any advice or info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!




    Static 1986 Guards Red NA Porsche 944
    P O R S C H E P A I ~
    The Poor Woman's Porsche

    @kenznotmercedes

  2. #2
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    Well, from what i've seen with other peoples experiences. Enjoy!

    Jkjk, this will be very cool to see done out. I know you dont like to drive fast, but i would be very happy to see it done out like it does get driven fast. No bags
    I just need something to go from point A to point B
    so i bought 3 bmws
    @cressidodd

  3. #3

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    I love 944s too, nice cars indeed.
    Please don't put hideous HIDs on, white lights on an old car feel wrong on many levels seeing shit at night is also massively overrated

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

  4. #4
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    Almost bought one of these back in the day, ended up getting my RX7. Please get a RECARO or something other than re-uphostering the oem seat. Extra points if you get a matching pair in a leather that (somewhat) matches the interior. The OEM seats are weird and since Singer still hasn't done a 944, you could be the first to do a Singer-style update on a 944.


  5. #5
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    Johannesburg South Africa
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    Wow, well done on the project car of choice. I love them too!! Will be watching this thread. Enjoy!!

  6. #6
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    Jan 2012
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    A porsche to learn on? A transaxle porsche? Hats off, but it seems to be in good shape.

    Since you radio is busted you may be interrested in the continental trd7412ub-or, it has almost everything, but it looks old.., that was a main selling point to me...

  7. #7
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    Awesome! Congrats on the new project

    This reminded me that I started a build thread on my crap-can 944 a while back and haven't update it. Which makes sense because it hasn't really had any updates in, eh... a long time.

    These cars are a blast to drive! They don't seem to be all that popular because the timing belt can kill the car in a hurry if you don't swap it out at a regular interval. Doing the timing belt yourself can be a very rewarding and it's not that bad of a job at all. There are a couple special tools required though to hold the cogs while you tighten the belt but it's worth buying them if you plan to keep the car for a while.

    Best first mod is updating the shifter. After 30 years they get reeeaaally sloppy. Only944 sells an awesome short shift kit for the transmission side (make sure to get the shift linkage arm too) and then you can rebuild the shift lever in the car with the following nuts and bolts and 5mins with a grinder:

    - M10x50mm bolt- x1
    - M10 nylon lock nut matching the bolt above - x1
    - M10 thrust bearings - x2 (McMaster 5909K11)
    - M10 thrust bearing washers - x4 (McMaster 5909K71)

  8. #8
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    Irvine, CA
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    Oh rad! I seriously looked into buying one of these before I goofed and bought an 80's BMW.
    Ol Dirty Bastard

    Photo by Alex Dooley
    www.ruined-luxury.com

  9. #9
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    Dec 2012
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    Good choice. Excited to see what you do with it

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by z168 View Post
    Good choice. Excited to see what you do with it
    Same.

    You should see if a PDR guy can take care of those 2 spots on the front, probably save you a bunch of money

  11. #11
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    Seney, MI
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    I think the perfect unholy matrimony would be a 1uz v8 in one of these, maybe some deep wheels and a widebody like this one...
    http://www.broadfootracing.com/Wide_body_kit_19.jpg
    http://www.broadfootracing.com/Green_1.jpg

  12. #12
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    Wow thank you all for the amazing feedback! Work has been kind of crazy and we had Riverside Chattanooga this past weekend, so I haven't had much time to fiddle with the 944. We did put a new throttle response cam on it, and I am scheduling get the timing belt replaced. I have heard mixed things on how difficult the timing belt itself is to replace. I'm not sure yet, but I'd love to do it myself if possible.

    I absolutely LOVE the seats that were suggested. I was definitely thinking of getting new racing seats. I'm not a massive fan of the OEM ones. I also managed to get the old head unit to work with an aux cord. I really didn't want to put in a newer head unit that didn't match.

    Once the timing belt and water pump are done, I'm going to look more into lowering it. I've read you can put new springs or coil overs on the front and move the torsion bar in the rear to get a pretty good drop. I'm not sure how involved that is. If not, I'll just do coilovers all around.


    I haven't decided on wheels, yet. There are Fuchs on it right now, and I have the OEM phone dials. Definitely going to do something Euro for wheels, but I'd love to have something three piece. My main goals for this build, right now, are to clean everything up but still keep it super 80s. Drop it low(er) and bigger, nicer wheels.

    Sorry it's not much of an update! Still trying to get funds and parts around to work on the dang thing. At least my Focus is on hold, for now.



    Static 1986 Guards Red NA Porsche 944
    P O R S C H E P A I ~
    The Poor Woman's Porsche

    @kenznotmercedes

  13. #13

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    Dunno if they can be modded like that, but with your idea of project I would look into machining your OEM teledials into faces to bolt to some 18" motorsport slant lips I think that would be super cool and still kind of oem+/period correct

    FB: @DumbassCarCrew - IG: @fruttolo_dumbasscrew

  14. #14

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    You can absolutely lower the rear yourself via the torsion bar.

  15. #15
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    Mar 2019
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    Helsinki, Finland
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    Hi
    Nice pick. So it's 1986, there is so called 1986.5 that has new dash and better ventilation. What did you get?
    I've had three, one NA and two turbo's some ten years ago.
    Cambelt isn't nothing out of norm, biggest difference is that there is counter rotating shaft to even the vibrations. Tightness of the belt is the problem, but there is tool for it and if I remember correctly an phone app that uses mic to listen correct sound of it. Get spare DME relay for fuel pump, it dying is common problem. If you can feel the engine when it is running, exhaust side motor mount needs to be replaced. Torsion bar shouldn't be a problem, unless it is rust welded.

  16. #16
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    Aug 2014
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    My Porsche is an '86 with the updated interior!

    A little update to the Porsche:



    My better half (@rightfullrudder) drove him to work and, on the way home, his alarm started going totally wild. Only way he could get it to turn off was to disconnect and reconnect the battery. We are still trying to figure out how to disable the damn thing, but we haven't had anymore issues with it thus far.

    Upon further inspection, we decided the timing belt was a little too tired for our comfort level so he has been somewhat retired to the garage for the past two weeks. We watched a ton of youtube videos and asked around and decided the timing belt was going to be too much of a challenge for us to do since it needs a new one pretty bad. We dropped it off at a local shop (Eurofed) on Saturday for new timing belt, rollers, water pump, and all new seals. Picking it up either Friday or Saturday.

    Also, I know the Fuchs were a big love for many people but I am really not a fan of black wheels on the red, so I sold them. And sweet Ben surprised me with these beauties:



    Some gorgeous 5x120 15" ARE 398s! He refinished and rebuilt them while I was away at a bachelorette party. Talk about an amazing surprise! We have matching red center caps en route. We are just trying to get them to fit on the porsche with adapters, now. (If anyone knows anything about getting these to fit, let us know!)

    Hopefully going to have the thing road worthy here soon, though the stancey part has been a bit delayed thanks to the cost of having a qualified shop do everything.

    Still, the next thing on the list is to do a full refresh of the suspension. I would, ideally, like to swap out the rear torsion bar and shocks for a full set of coilovers. They just seem much more practical to me. It seems like the 944 people are totally divided over it. If anyone has any experience lowering these things, let me know! I'd love some advice haha.



    Static 1986 Guards Red NA Porsche 944
    P O R S C H E P A I ~
    The Poor Woman's Porsche

    @kenznotmercedes

  17. #17
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    Damn those AREs are gonna look good!
    Ol Dirty Bastard

    Photo by Alex Dooley
    www.ruined-luxury.com

  18. #18
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    Aye, goodluck on the build, can't wait to see the end result.

  19. #19
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    Little update on the Porsche!

    I picked it up from Eurofed on Saturday morning. New timing belt and rollers, new water pump, and new seals! Maybe it's placebo, but it definitely feels like it handles better. They said the rollers were so worn and the timing belt could've given way at any moment, so I am so glad we took the car in when we did.

    Brought it home and cleaned it up and got to work on a few other things. Our custom center caps for th ARE 398s came in and I could not be happier with them!



    We are having a little trouble fitting them with the adapters because of the width of the bolts of the 944. We've drilled a little into this random lip that they have on the inside (nothing that would harm the structural integrity of the wheel) and have managed to get one to fit. Now to finish rebuilding and getting the other three to fit.



    I think they will look amazing mounted!



    I also removed the front rubber bumper pads on the little protruding snout of the 944. My plan is to sand down these two little nubbins on there and fill the holes JB weld, sand, and repaint. I'm planning on removing that "944" from the snout, as I think that was added there after the fact. I think the car looks a little more streamlined without the pads, but I'm curious to y'alls feedback! I'll also be removing them from the rear, too!



    Not a great picture, but totally forgot to take one this morning haha! Hopefully you can tell a little bit of a difference. Lucky for us, the paint was super nice quality under the bumper. I was worried it would be really dirty.

    I took the car to work this morning, too! So happy to have it back.



    Oh, and a little funny story for you all: I got the car with the odometer stuck at 136xxx miles on it. The guy who I got it from had had the car for about six months, and had driven it only a handful of times. Well, I was doing some digging and found a sticker to have the oil changed at 137xxx miles on it. I about fell over when I saw the date said 2001! So, who knows how many miles this thing has on it. We are guessing maybe 200? There's minimal rust on the chassis and no rust on the body, so who the heck knows.

    Anyways, I ordered a few more goodies this past week. I have an OEM turbo rear valence en route to go on the booty of the car, under the rear bumper. Retrofit Source was also having a sale, so I picked up a set of Morimoto LED headlights, too. My current headlights are trash. To my boyfriend's dismay, I did get them with black housings because they look super cute to me. Hopefully, they turn out nice!

    Next on the list is a suspension refresh! From everyone I've talked to, it sounds like coilovers are the route to go. If we did that, we'd drop the carrier of the torsion bar and remove it completely. Otherwise, it would be new struts, lowering springs, and reindexing the torsion bar.

    Hope everyone is doing well and thanks for reading <3
    Last edited by Kenz; 04-08-2019 at 03:09 PM.



    Static 1986 Guards Red NA Porsche 944
    P O R S C H E P A I ~
    The Poor Woman's Porsche

    @kenznotmercedes

  20. #20
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    More news on the Porsche!

    Last week, the turbo valance I ordered arrived! I was pretty impressed with how good of condition it was, as I picked it up off of a junked turbo. The only issue was that it was white. Despite my better judgment, we decided to sand and spray the valance ourselves since it was going on the underside of the car anyways. And, wow, I'm impressed!



    The paint matched up pretty perfectly when I went to line everything up! We let the valance dry over night and installed it the next day.



    Here's the boyfriend and I lining up the holes underneath of the car. Lucky for us, there were already drilled in slots from the factory! But, the space was pretty small (thank god for tiny hands) but we got it eventually.

    After a lot of swearing, measuring, and a little drilling...



    I'm SO happy with how it turned out! I think it makes the car look so much more complete.

    On top of that, my headlights came in! Well, one of them came in last week but I had accidentally ordered only one! So, yesterday I finally went and picked up the other from Retrofit Source. They were super easy to install, pretty much just plug and play. My old headlights were garbage and borderline dangerous, so I think these are a huge improvement. They are much brighter and not as blue as some of the other lights.



    Plus, now he looks super kawaii and adorable when the headlights aren't on. Just look at him! OwO



    I also put the bumper pads back on because the leftover little nubbins were driving me crazy. Once everything is done, I might drop the 500 bucks to get the nubbins cut off, the holes welded in, and both bumpers resprayed. But for now... stock it is!

    We finally got fronts and rears to fit on the ARE 398s. I spent all weekend polishing the hardware, and I'm hoping to wet sand and polish the barrels this week. Hoping to install the wheels sometime this weekend. Fingers crossed!

    Still working on figuring out suspension but I'm leaning towards Koni Cups for their price and reliability. That'll come hopefully in May!

    Thanks for checking in. xx



    Static 1986 Guards Red NA Porsche 944
    P O R S C H E P A I ~
    The Poor Woman's Porsche

    @kenznotmercedes

  21. #21
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    Nice job on the rear valence, paint match looks really good
    97 M3 GT2
    2018 SIERRA TOW RIG

  22. #22
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    The Turbo rear valence looks really great!

    Not sure how I feel about such modern headlights on an old car but, the black housing are sweet, and actually tie in really well with the black bumper pads, keep up the solid work!


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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by hinrichs View Post
    Nice job on the rear valence, paint match looks really good
    Thank you! We really lucked out. I was super surprised that it turned out so good!

    Quote Originally Posted by 19birel View Post
    The Turbo rear valence looks really great!

    Not sure how I feel about such modern headlights on an old car but, the black housing are sweet, and actually tie in really well with the black bumper pads, keep up the solid work!
    Thank you so much!

    I am still a little unsure on them, as well. I think they are kinda cute (initial reason I went with these) and they are a really nice brand, which is great. My old headlights were so bad it just wasn't safe driving haha. I kept the old housing and might just HID convert them in the future.



    Static 1986 Guards Red NA Porsche 944
    P O R S C H E P A I ~
    The Poor Woman's Porsche

    @kenznotmercedes

  24. #24

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    Those headlights look pretty badass in my opinion. How's the output at night?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graphitemk6 View Post
    Those headlights look pretty badass in my opinion. How's the output at night?
    Compared to the stock headlights, it's an insane difference. The previous headlights were dim in comparison and one of the housings was warped and just in bad shape. Pretty much couldn't see at all at night. I drove the car home last from work last night and it was fantastic! I'm really happy I picked them up! They were on sale from Retrofit Source and super easy to install, so I'm thrilled.

    I will take a picture of the output tonight since I'm working late again!
    Last edited by Kenz; 04-17-2019 at 08:22 AM.



    Static 1986 Guards Red NA Porsche 944
    P O R S C H E P A I ~
    The Poor Woman's Porsche

    @kenznotmercedes

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