The joy of vintage supercar shadetree mechanics

The joy of vintage supercar shadetree mechanics

Paul
Paul

November 28th, 2009, 10:52 pm #1

So I guess I could have gotten an Austin Healey or something along that line, just one step above a tractor as long as I wanted something in a sports car, but noooo, I had to get into THE most complicated frigging German cars on the planet. The Germans, by the way did discover how to put two pieces of metal together and keep oil in, but they use more different bolt sizes and pieces than anyone would normally think necessary. Here's the car, 1983 928S, fastest car sold in North America that year, 5-sp manual transaxle, a real beast! Rear Weissach axle provides 4-wheel steering in corners by toeing wheels into the curve like a skiier, not for the faint of heart to work on. Mine was all apart on the shelf one day, sheesh, so was the transaxle too





I have learned that you must take a lot of car apart, to work on just about anything on a 928 Porsche V8 or the smaller 944 varieties, of which I have three now. Alternators for instance, a half day of work disassembling everything crammed under a 944 hood just to get in to the alternator, sheesh.

Well I have been wrestling with the 928 which decided to not want to start. Here I am up on a remote ridgetop and I suppose I could roll the darn thing down the hill to a tow truck but generally can figure out what the issues are. I've been through the TTS (thermo time switch) the Temp II Sender, the Cold Start Valve, all the relays, and finally swapped out what gave every impression of being a bad fuel pump. If you get that far you should replace the hard connected filter too. Nothing is easy.

So I have the entire six foot wide formal German shop manual books for the 928, been all through various issues including the transaxle. So I glance at the books and see an image of a fuel pump in one of the wheel wells. I jack the car up to find the logical well based upon what the photo looks like, remove the inner well and yeah there's a lot of stuff in there but no fuel pump. So I go through all 3 other wheel wells and no pump.

Back to the shop manual again, read it carefully now. I find out some versions have two pumps to avoid vapor lock, one of which IS IN THE FUEL TANK, but thank the LORD, mine only has one. I finally find the darn thing in a very cleverly concealed dimple in the fuel tank itself. So now with TWO different size nuts on the fuel pump electrical contacts, I suppose for safety, one phillips head screw, one regular screw, and THREE different box wrench sizes, I get the darn things off and the new ones on. Of course, there is gasoline dripping which is controlled by pinching the line with a visegrip with protective cardboard in the teeth.

So now I sit in the car, wait a moment and turn the switch. I hear a FUEL PUMP whine! I twist the key and she wants to start as the system is now being flooded with fuel and air bubbles are being forced out. Then VARoooooMMMMMM! Man, nothing sounds quite like an all aluminum SOHC fuel injected hemi! Yeah I now Dave Krugler has the DOHC 32-valve V8 version but I think the SOHC 16 sounds wicked through that gutted ANSA exhaust. Oh one other thing, it's faster than Mark Weller's Crossfire, ha ha.

Early 928 cars had a CIS injection system (Constant Injection Spray) and mine being a 1983 S version uses the L-Jetronic with a big spider manifold. It's a 4.7 liter (283 cubes) and believe it or not, has raw aluminum cylinder bores, but the silicon content is so high it's actually a glass lined bore. The beast is running now and I'm really looking forward to breaking a few speed limits again. The 4.7 would make an interesting speedboat motor, hmmmm, naw, that would be insane to add complexity like that to a boat! The Germans are nuts.

No bearing caps here, look closely!


There is a full girdle with 30 bolts holding the crankshaft in this motor.



Ah well, no burns or blood giving today, success!

Regards, time for a beer and some hand soap, not necessarily in that order.

Paul










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Glenn
Glenn

November 29th, 2009, 2:33 am #2

Those of us with Germany heritage do seam to have serious standards.
Nice piece of machinery you have. Ill bet its blast on the road.

Glenn
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Paul
Paul

November 29th, 2009, 4:47 am #3

That car was intended to dominate the Autobahn, which it did. It has aluminum fenders, hood and doors, rear mounted transaxle, very tall gearing for long term high speed running. Some of the suspension and motor castings are works of art. Cost was no object. In 1983 this S version sold for roughly 32,000 pounds in England, which is $52,510 dollars in present day exchange rate, or the rough equivalent to a new Corvette today. In later years the cost of the car went sky high as they added more and more technology and speed each year up until 1995 when it was finally taken out of production (1977-1995). Because of the complexity lots of people are afraid of them but they are built like tanks and run very well, and are actually quite reliable.



They are available on the market for pretty good prices these days but you must know what you are getting into as the repairs can cost well more than what you may pay. I learned enough about the technology to be comfortable with a couple other same era cars that share the exact same fuel systems, etc., so it's easier to maintaine all of them. I'm lost in a time warp, late 60s with boats, mid 80s with cars.

Yes, Feilhauer is a good German name for sure! Cincinnati has a huge German heritage, I was sorry to hear Grammers finally closed their doors but there are plenty of other great German restaurants. The Pletchers came over from the Swiss German border area in November of 1756, on the ship SNOW CHANCE http://immigrantships.net/v6/1700v6/chance17561110.html (A lot of German names here, but the Pletchers are not on this list, only 42 of 109 listed). Martin died at sea, Mary had a child en route, which took something like 8 weeks or so at the time, making just a few miles per day. They departed England with a fleet of 50 ships, made slow progress, could see various other ships in the group all the way. The name was originally spelled Pletscher but the English changed it for the trip I guess. Mary, Henry and Samuel arrived in Philly, eventually made it to Centre County Pennsylvania where She and the two kids hooked up with more of the family. There are more Pletcher's on headstones there (in Howard Pennsylvania) than anywhere else in the country. I think the area reminded them of Germany. Part of Penn State University sits on Pletcher land awarded for service in the Revolutionary War! Amazing history, every family has history like this if you can only find it. You know lots of records were lost in Germany due to war bombings, sadly.

Regards,

Paul
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Joined: July 11th, 2006, 8:59 pm

November 29th, 2009, 9:15 pm #4

So I guess I could have gotten an Austin Healey or something along that line, just one step above a tractor as long as I wanted something in a sports car, but noooo, I had to get into THE most complicated frigging German cars on the planet. The Germans, by the way did discover how to put two pieces of metal together and keep oil in, but they use more different bolt sizes and pieces than anyone would normally think necessary. Here's the car, 1983 928S, fastest car sold in North America that year, 5-sp manual transaxle, a real beast! Rear Weissach axle provides 4-wheel steering in corners by toeing wheels into the curve like a skiier, not for the faint of heart to work on. Mine was all apart on the shelf one day, sheesh, so was the transaxle too





I have learned that you must take a lot of car apart, to work on just about anything on a 928 Porsche V8 or the smaller 944 varieties, of which I have three now. Alternators for instance, a half day of work disassembling everything crammed under a 944 hood just to get in to the alternator, sheesh.

Well I have been wrestling with the 928 which decided to not want to start. Here I am up on a remote ridgetop and I suppose I could roll the darn thing down the hill to a tow truck but generally can figure out what the issues are. I've been through the TTS (thermo time switch) the Temp II Sender, the Cold Start Valve, all the relays, and finally swapped out what gave every impression of being a bad fuel pump. If you get that far you should replace the hard connected filter too. Nothing is easy.

So I have the entire six foot wide formal German shop manual books for the 928, been all through various issues including the transaxle. So I glance at the books and see an image of a fuel pump in one of the wheel wells. I jack the car up to find the logical well based upon what the photo looks like, remove the inner well and yeah there's a lot of stuff in there but no fuel pump. So I go through all 3 other wheel wells and no pump.

Back to the shop manual again, read it carefully now. I find out some versions have two pumps to avoid vapor lock, one of which IS IN THE FUEL TANK, but thank the LORD, mine only has one. I finally find the darn thing in a very cleverly concealed dimple in the fuel tank itself. So now with TWO different size nuts on the fuel pump electrical contacts, I suppose for safety, one phillips head screw, one regular screw, and THREE different box wrench sizes, I get the darn things off and the new ones on. Of course, there is gasoline dripping which is controlled by pinching the line with a visegrip with protective cardboard in the teeth.

So now I sit in the car, wait a moment and turn the switch. I hear a FUEL PUMP whine! I twist the key and she wants to start as the system is now being flooded with fuel and air bubbles are being forced out. Then VARoooooMMMMMM! Man, nothing sounds quite like an all aluminum SOHC fuel injected hemi! Yeah I now Dave Krugler has the DOHC 32-valve V8 version but I think the SOHC 16 sounds wicked through that gutted ANSA exhaust. Oh one other thing, it's faster than Mark Weller's Crossfire, ha ha.

Early 928 cars had a CIS injection system (Constant Injection Spray) and mine being a 1983 S version uses the L-Jetronic with a big spider manifold. It's a 4.7 liter (283 cubes) and believe it or not, has raw aluminum cylinder bores, but the silicon content is so high it's actually a glass lined bore. The beast is running now and I'm really looking forward to breaking a few speed limits again. The 4.7 would make an interesting speedboat motor, hmmmm, naw, that would be insane to add complexity like that to a boat! The Germans are nuts.

No bearing caps here, look closely!


There is a full girdle with 30 bolts holding the crankshaft in this motor.



Ah well, no burns or blood giving today, success!

Regards, time for a beer and some hand soap, not necessarily in that order.

Paul









As long as we're on the subject of cars....
I was looking into buying one of those myself. But I'm noot what you would refer to as a purist. 928s can be bought very cheaply due to the high cost of engine repair/replacement. Most people cant do their own wrench turning, or are intimidated by fuel injection. But Renegade makes swap kits for the GM LS series motors. Less weight with 350-440hp.
http://www.renegadehybrids.com/
That was my intended project before I chose a 400hp, 6.0 LS motor/Richmond 6 speed to drop in a 68 vette. I figured that era car went with my chris craft better.
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dan
dan

November 30th, 2009, 1:26 am #5

now thats a car
made in detroit
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dan
dan

November 30th, 2009, 1:33 am #6

or was it bowling green
not sure i,m a mustang
guy
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Paul
Paul

November 30th, 2009, 1:57 am #7

As long as we're on the subject of cars....
I was looking into buying one of those myself. But I'm noot what you would refer to as a purist. 928s can be bought very cheaply due to the high cost of engine repair/replacement. Most people cant do their own wrench turning, or are intimidated by fuel injection. But Renegade makes swap kits for the GM LS series motors. Less weight with 350-440hp.
http://www.renegadehybrids.com/
That was my intended project before I chose a 400hp, 6.0 LS motor/Richmond 6 speed to drop in a 68 vette. I figured that era car went with my chris craft better.
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Hey Gary, that looks like FUN !!
They'll be talking about you, driving that car to the YC, hopping on a 42 Chris!

I'm familiar with the Renegade group, have a buddy in PCA who put a SBC in a 944 and that is one very fast ride. Somehow I don't believe the iron block SBC is lighter than the all aluminum 928, however, but the SBC is a great engine, cost effective and easy to work on.

Yes you can buy a 928 in various conditions, some for a song, but then very quickly spend more on repairs than you did for the car especially if it has been abused. Therefore, stay away from the cheap ones that have been run hard, turned over to kids who can't maintain them properly, etc. Mine was in good shape, having been driven by a woman for a few years, but where she may have taken it easy on some of the car, she apparently was not so easy on the clutch or transmission.

Below, 928 SOHC and DOHC versions.




When I got the 928 I knew at the time there was a bearing in the transaxle that needed to eventually come out. I ran it a couple years, it drove fine but was starting to growl a little louder in first and second gear on that end of the mainshaft, so it finally came out, here is the offending $400 bearing. Look closely at the raceway you will see some pitting. It would have lasted a long time longer, but I was getting tired of the growl.


A new transaxle a couple years ago when you could still get one, was a $12,000 ticket, which is totally nuts. Parts are available, some rather expensive. I ran the car with SWEPCO and changed over to AMSOIL synthetic gear lube and it made a big difference in the way the transaxle sounded and shifted when cold. Great driving car, but you have to be nuts.












It's a beast! Maybe not the beast like that Vette, but one heck of a lot of fun! Oh, and did I say it's faster than Mark Weller's Crossfire?

Regards,

Paul





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Paul
Paul

November 30th, 2009, 11:35 am #8



Yeah, I know, posting fuel pump photos on the net, I need to get a life.

However this was a triumph of diagnostics and thankfully the car is running again, seems to have even more power. I knew the motor would run by a shot of carb cleaner into the intake plenum, it ran momentarily giving me the assurance the ignition was okay. Fuel delivery was next, so I replaced the fuel injection relay, checked all fuses. I removed the Temp II sensor and Thermo Time Switch, cleaned them up with electronics cleaner and still no start. After an attempt to hotwire the fuel pump with no avail, I finally ordered the proper Bosch unit and installed it along with a new filter. After air was forced trough the injectors due to draindown, motor coughed to life and now starts instantly. Road test indicates the car has more power than before.





Here's the crime scene. Not so bad, a little dripping fuel, but not too difficult. The fuel pump on this car is very difficult to find, however, seems quite apparant now but with that protective plate installed you would never know there is a depression in the fuel tank with this stuff being located here!

Regards,

Paul









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Joined: July 11th, 2006, 8:59 pm

November 30th, 2009, 3:55 pm #9

or was it bowling green
not sure i,m a mustang
guy
I think they were made in St Louis back then...go figure.
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Joined: July 11th, 2006, 8:59 pm

November 30th, 2009, 4:29 pm #10


Yeah, I know, posting fuel pump photos on the net, I need to get a life.

However this was a triumph of diagnostics and thankfully the car is running again, seems to have even more power. I knew the motor would run by a shot of carb cleaner into the intake plenum, it ran momentarily giving me the assurance the ignition was okay. Fuel delivery was next, so I replaced the fuel injection relay, checked all fuses. I removed the Temp II sensor and Thermo Time Switch, cleaned them up with electronics cleaner and still no start. After an attempt to hotwire the fuel pump with no avail, I finally ordered the proper Bosch unit and installed it along with a new filter. After air was forced trough the injectors due to draindown, motor coughed to life and now starts instantly. Road test indicates the car has more power than before.





Here's the crime scene. Not so bad, a little dripping fuel, but not too difficult. The fuel pump on this car is very difficult to find, however, seems quite apparant now but with that protective plate installed you would never know there is a depression in the fuel tank with this stuff being located here!

Regards,

Paul








If the trans costs $12K, I gotta wonder how much the pump costs?
Good thing most of us old commander owners are not afraid of turning a wrench themselves.
BTW, the LS series SBC motors (5-7-6.2L, used in vettes, GTO, and new Camaro) are all aluminum blocks, even lighter than the 928s 5L.
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