Chapter I - The Purchase
Ever since I saw the 928 at the Motor Show way back in 77 as a kid I wanted one, followed the evolution through motoring magazines and occasionally got up close to one at shows etc ..... I moved to the US from the UK in 1997 and joined the PorscheFans list and started to become more aware of problems/issues about actually owning a 928.
Towards the end of 1998 I was finally in a position to start looking for one, decided that a 1989 Auto met my criteria and initially began seeing what was available. Soon determined that the 928 market is cyclic, for months you occasionally might see a 928 for sale that meets your needs and then one week there are 10 for sale. One week spotted a 1989 Auto for sale in Seattle at Park Place Ltd and we were planning a family trip anyway so decided I'd spend an afternoon test driving as the dealer had 4 928's in at the time including a 94 GTS.
Turned up on the Friday and a 5th car (a 91) had arrived while I was on route, drove the 89, 91 and GTS and didn't bother with the two 87's as they were definitely in inferior condition to the others. Went back to the Hotel and came down a little from the high and decided that the 91 was for me but my wife liked the GTS and told me not to rule it out ........
Next day I returned and was more analytical, the GTS was nice but the interior looked as though this car had been lived in (Florida Car) despite the low mileage. It wasn't (in my opinion) worth twice as much as the 91 which in comparison looked new and the mileage was only 15K more. Returned on the Sunday and made a preliminary offer on the 91 based on a full inspection and returned home.
If you need a contact at Park Place I can recommend David Bruski, did what it took to close the deal. He also is the guy responsible for getting the dealership on the web.
CarFax came up clean and verified that the car had been used very little since 1996.
Inspection came up with a number of items:
|1||Engine Mounts needed replacing|
|2||Belly Pan Gasket needed replacing|
|3||Rear tires wrong size (Dunlop 255's not 245's)|
|4||Sunroof sagging at rear (I noticed that one)|
|5||Headlight washer nozzle broken|
|6||One of the Drivers Seat switches was iffy|
|7||No Compressor or Lug Wrench|
|8||Passenger Fender and nose had been replaced but was 'low' speed impact as everything else seemed original|
|9||Hole in console by Auto shifter (probably from phone installation)|
|11||Air con needed recharging|
|12||No luggage net|
I asked for 1-7 to be sorted and the dealer agreed and while the car was having this done also had the 60K service carried out. It turns out the car had been at a brokers in California for a while in 96-97 before coming to Seattle to Park Place where the present owner bought it. Turns out the guy had a collection of Porsches and only drove it a couple of thousand miles before deciding to sell, as he didn't get to use it enough. Shame......
As the car had been little used for a while all the fluids were replaced along with a long list of other components including the oxygen sensor and the timing belt. Left a nice hole in the wallet but I reckoned on that before purchasing the car.
All this happened in early January 1999.
Chapter II - The Retrieval
By February I was getting really impatient to drive the car, it took a long time to fix all the bits but you can't hurry a good mechanic.
Weather here in the Northwest at that time of year is very unpredictable but by then I knew all the weather sites on the web plus the online cameras at Snoqualmie pass, I thought I knew it all (Ho Ho Ho). One Friday at work decided it looked OK to go and collect the car, rang the dealer and told them I was catching the flight in an hour and they said they would pick me up from the airport.
Finally got to see my car again and they had replaced all four tires to Pirelli SuperSports which I was pleased about, checked the pass on the dealers computer and it was still clear so began the drive home. Got caught in Seattle traffic for an hour and a half, it was getting dark and beginning to rain too which wasn't ideal conditions to get used to the car .....
About 6o'clock made it the pass and it was just wet so felt relieved, an hour or so later the weather started to take a turn for the worse, the temperature indicator started going down to freezing and rain became snow. Light snow started to turn to heavy snow, then down to one lane and and finally just two tram lines indicating there was a road surface, found a local radio station that said a Winter storm warning was in effect, now I was getting nervous (so much for accurate weather forecasts).
Eventually the road was all white and vehicles were going around 25 MPH, where the windshield wipers weren't clearing there was snow and I had to pear out of the windscreen to make out where the car in front was. This was a blizzard and I feared my car was going to end up in the ditch, now I felt that sinking feeling in my stomach and was pleased that I hadn't taken anyone with me as they were sure to have been giving me verbal abuse.
I was playing close attention to the temperature and it was around 22 degrees, at least the heater worked. Got to the Gorge and people were turning off presumably to stay at the motel rather than carry on. I saw one other car continue and thought I'd much rather get up the other side of the Gorge and get to Moses Lake for the night, then I could carry on to Spokane the next day. Car in front eventually got so slow I had to pass, turns out it was a student in an old Golf (Rabbit), now I felt really dumb. Caught up with a Semi and all I could see was his lights, followed for a while and then the temperature began to climb and eventually snow turned to rain. Yeehah.
Finally got some speed up and made some progress, on the outskirts of Spokane snow began to fall again but after what I had been through earlier it was nothing. Arrived exhausted and desperate for the use of a restroom, car was filthy.
Slept soundly that night !!!!
Much later found out that I had a light in the dash which illuminates when the PSD is active, well it didn't come on once during the drive which says loads for the car and the tires in those conditions.
Chapter III - Ownership
Apart from a couple of chips thanks to a gritting truck that passed me during the drive home the car suffered no ill effects, ordered some touch up paint and using one of Larry Reynolds tips of painting with tooth picks, the result was better than I expected.
Ordered bits for the car, mainly interior trim pieces that were missing, purchased the necessary cleaning goodies from CarCare and spent some garage time inspecting all the nooks and crannies and generally getting more familiar with the car.
One of the rear wheels was buckled which was corrected; this also cured the slow puncture that kept setting the RDK (tire pressure monitoring system) off.
Also noticed that the wheel where the fender had been replaced was difficult to clean, seems like they got some undercoat overspray on the wheel which has left a rough texture in places. Good excuse to purchase those 17" replacements that looked so good on the GTS.
Had a leak from the transmission which has been looked at a couple of times and is much better now, will still leak a little if left for a couple of weeks though.
Stereo has been replaced with a new Blaupunkt Toronto, rewired the factory amplifier back in and returned the wiring harness back to standard which looks a lot neater, this is a story in itself so go to Stereo Update for the whole saga.
Original owner must have been a big and heavy guy, the carpet is worn where the seat back was pushed hard back into the transmission tunnel and the seat squab doesn't look nearly as crisp as the passenger's seat. I guess when exiting the car at some time full force must have been exerted on the cassette box as the lid was deformed. A replacement was way up in the stratosphere in terms of cost so I dismantled the lid and removed the foam, I then made a panel from some old PCB material we had in the lab and glued it in place and recovered with the foam. Looks as good as new and luckily the leather was unmarked.
Began to hear a knocking noise from what appeared to be the driveline, this was identified as a cracked flex plate in the bell housing, got this replaced under warranty (turned out to be deformed rather than cracked) and checked everything else that could be with the torque tube out. Noise is still there and no one has a clue what it is, so solution is to leave it until it gets worse which isn't the way I like to do things but better than throwing money down the drain.
Ordered new mats in Cashmere rather than black which smartens up the interior but makes the carpeting look its age, evidently if it has been shampooed too many times (not me honest) it tends to take on the appearance of a wet dog (Dave Robert's words). Now have a luggage net too.
Changed the oil to Mobil one.
Changed the oil pressure regulator so I now have 5 bar of pressure (only getting 4 before), seems these components often need replacing. Pressure reads 2 at idle and warm (getting 1 before) which seems a little lower than others, who experience 2.5 but I reckon that is within the tolerance of the gauge/regulator.
Fitted a new battery, while the old one looked fine it would run flat if you were working on the car with the doors opened for a few minutes or left the stereo on, also bought a Porsche battery maintainer which recharges the battery through the cigarette lighter. In the long run regular use of this when the car is left for a while (like in the winter) should extend the battery life significantly.
Just a couple of weeks ago fitted a Rear Muffler Bypass (RMB), was a bit unsure about these at first as the last thing I wanted was something that would gain unwanted attention and make the car noisy when cruising. Turned out I had nothing to worry about, sure it is louder but it is the change in tone that is more noticeable and that change is for the better in my opinion. Count on scraping some knuckles if the bolts holding your old muffler are original like mine were :-).
Ride height increased but still rides too low, handling has improved significantly with the adjustments made so far.
I reckoned on 18 months to get the car into a condition to my liking, apart from the knocking noise and a slight vibration at 60MPH (I think the wheels need balancing) I am nearly there and am only 10 months into ownership. Plenty of time for a set back though .......
Update: 26th January 2000
I now have a car cover from 928 Specialists to keep the dust of the car when it is unused for more than a few days, the fit is excellent and is dead easy to put on.
When I ordered the car cover I also got coils and Nology wires, I figured 9 years is a long time to ask these components to perform at 100%. I havn't fitted these yet but as the car isn't going anywhere over the next few weeks there is no rush.
When I was fitting the RMB noted the drivers side drop link was slightly bent, have a new one of these to fit too.
So I was away on vacation for a couple of weeks and there was a small pool of transmission fluid under the gearbox so it seems the infamous leak is back. It is due for its annual service in a couple of months so will top it up and wait.
Update: 1st April 2000
Well the coils and wires got fitted not long after the last update (must have been some time in Feb), passenger side coil was a real bear to replace. I just took time with the wires, the two coil wires turned out to be incorrect but DR got new ones shipped direct from the factory so no worries.
I drove over to Tacoma for the Dyno day and left my car with Leif to do the annual service and fix a few bits.
1. Gearbox leak, looks good so far anyway, check valve inside the gearbox which stops fluid draining from the torque converter was found to have a groove in it. Valve was rebuilt for the grand sum of $50. The only difference driving is that it seems more eager (seemed fine before to me) to change down to first.
2. Power steering reservoir replaced, I had a small leak which was due to the clamp below the reservoir bottoming out on its adjustment. It was felt that it was prudent to replace and for $25 I have no issue with that. Steering feels much more consistent in weight.
3. Radiator mounting bracket secured, the weld had broken and I could only get one self tapper in, Leif removed the radiator to get a couple more screws in.
4. I had a vibration at 1500rpm when cold through the accelerator pedal, it reminded me of a Scirroco I had many years ago where the heat shield on the manifold had come loose. Turned out I was right (get lucky sometimes) and the heat shield just needed adjusting.
Things not fixed:
1. Knocking noise, leak test and compression turned out to be 'perfect' but removing one of the ignistion lead to cylinder #8 caused the noise to reduce. Warranty company won't tear down the engine just for this so will have to wait.
Update July 7th 2000
After the PCNW Drag day my air con failed, on the way home of course it was in the 90's so a very uncomfortable trip home (300 miles) ensued. The rear vent worked OK but couldn't put out nearly enough juice to cool the whole car.
Found a local shop that was willing to take on the work and thought the system would just need a recharge, ever optimistic. Seems some time in the past there was compressor trouble and whoever did the repair decided to skip on flushing the system so contaminated freon was circulating which resulted eventually in a clogged expansion valve.
Wallet lighter by a drier and expansion valve they flushed the system and pumped it full of new freon and now it really blows cubes, waaaaaay colder than it ever has before. Interestingly the system still contained a full charge of freon (albeit contaminated) so the system itself is in good shape.