Porsches are some of the most collectible cars in the world, and many owners buy their Porsches with the intention of keeping them way past the expiration date of their warranty and motor plan. This coupled with the spirited nature these cars demand when you’re driving them, repairs are an inevitable part of ownership. Some models are more prone to problems than others, and while many are easy to fix, lets discuss some of the more expensive Porsche repairs and how you can avoid them
Porsche 996 and 986 models are known to have a few Achilles heals in their engines. These models are known to have an issue with their oil separators, the component that is used to separate oil and air from the incoming aerated oil. When the separator fails, aerated oil is used within the engine, which causes your car to create puffs of smoke that escape through the exhaust. If this is left unchecked, you will begin to experience heat issues and due to the aerated oil now being the incorrect viscosity, it can no longer offer the same level of lubrication it used to, which can cause engine internals to fail, or in extreme cases cause the block to seize. Once an internal component fails your only option is to commit to a full engine rebuild, which can quickly become very costly. The best way to avoid this happening is to take your vehicle to an experienced technician at the first sign of excessive exhaust smoke, or to have your car serviced regularly by a technician that knows when the oil being removed from the car is aerated.
The more serious of the 996 and 998 engine problems come from the intermediate shaft bearing. This component uses an internal grease to keep it lubricated, which means the grease cannot be redone at each service. The problem arises when the car gets older and the grease begins to thin and or dry up, as it often leads to the bearing seizing and failing, which then leads to the engine failing, and requires you to complete a full engine rebuild, or even requiring you to do an engine swap. Avoiding this is simple as the bearing is serviceable, and it is recommended the bearing be replaced every 4 to 5 years or after 70,000 miles.
All Porsches use cam chains to keep the engine’s timing correct. Unlike cam belts that are replaced at major service intervals, cam chains are meant to last the lifetime of the vehicle. Unfortunately, chains do begin to stretch over their lifetimes, and this stretching can cause the chain to reseat itself on the cam gear. This creates incorrect timing or complete failure, and will cause the pistons to ram in to lifters and rockers, completely ruining your engine. Avoiding this is done by ensuring your Porsche has its regular service, and by listening out for the “death rattle” from your engine, and having the cam chain placed on a tensioner or replaced.
Both Porsche’s manual and automatic gearboxes require regular maintenance. With the manual gearbox, if you begin experiencing issues such as grinding or difficulties engaging a gear, points to your synchros being worn, or air has made its way into the system, due to low transmission fluid levels. Either way, continuing to drive your car with this issue can lead to further gearbox damage and potentially gearbox failure. It is simple enough to check your transmission fluid levels at home, to bleed the system on manual gearboxes with the help of a friend to pump the clutch pedal. But in all honesty, it’s always best to leave these things to a professional when dealing with a vehicle of this caliber.
Almost all Porsche problems can be avoided with regular maintenance, and by doing small vehicle repairs before they become a problem. For all your Porsche and other German car brand needs, look no further that Foreign Affairs Motorsport, South Florida’s Premier German Auto Repair, Performance and Race Facility since 1978.