If it was easy, everyone would do it…
To date my Porsche ownership experience had been:
- Delight, I got it running!
- Apprehension, MOT time.
- Dejection, it failed the MOT badly.
- Sadness, facing a potentially huge [relative to the value of the car] project ending welding bill.
I was quoted a maximum of £500 to sort the corrosion, the green light from which I began preparations for the MOT re-test. I wanted to save as much money as possible and asked Tony (the welder) what I could do to minimise the costs, he said he’d need to drop the axel and the bolts were more than likely rusty and would be a pain to remove and that I could loose the nuts myself and save on labour. I’m glad I did, it was a pig of a job and even with some solid swearing and a lot of WD40 it still took the best part of three hours.
Once in for the welding, and in accordance with my initial ownership experience, things weren’t quite as they seemed; when a section of the outer sill was cut away it revealed a patch up job on the inside. This was not something I saw first hand but was reportedly not a professional job, slightly more Blue Peter than Wheeler Dealers (although how close those two are is indeed an entire other discussion) as, in with the automotive body filler, there was newspaper. To all intent and purposes my Porsche 924S had been repaired with papier mache – not an MOT failure point! We decided to go ahead and replace the sill. It took a few weeks for the part to come in from Porscheshop by which point I’d lost my welding slot as other jobs were under way. In fact, it all went a bit wrong around then. It took an age (don’t recall how long now) to get the welding done and the new sill in, but it did get done, and was then painted.
The months, yes months, that followed were a blur and a disaster on the progress front. The welding was done, I hadn’t seen it but I sent a cheque and, to be fair to Tony, the price agreed was the price charged, although it almost certainly took longer than expected. My next problem was getting the car in at Hillcrest for Simon to finish the MOT work. By that stage it was summertime and everyone wanted their air cooled 911s sorted for the nice weather. There was a work queue and I was at the back again. The queue shortened but there was then a transport issue, getting the car from one site to the other. More time passed. Realising I’d missed the chance of getting out on track before autumn I got on with other things and possibly didn’t chase as often as I should have.
The car did make it to Hillcrest, a little while ago. Another MOT, SitRep, and no mention of corrosion, but there was a new addition to the fail sheet…
- Lower (upper) steering column universal joint is excessively deteriorated
With an updated job list work began. The car was hoisted in the air again, the rear axel was dropped and the new, made to measure, braided fuel line went in. The braided line was a far cheaper option than the Porsche solid steel item and far less prone to corrosion. Fuel leak fixed.
For the steering column UJ Simon was going to remove one from a parts-donor car, but after he checked the price for new it worked about the same so we went with that instead. Later and a few minor adjustments to the air flow meter got the engine right / omissions in check. A few hoses were replaced and all was set for the MOT.
By way of a celebratory drink Simon put £20 worth of fuel in the 924S for me. Driving it back into the garage he, and one of his mechanics, noticed a smell of petrol. A strong smell of petrol. They suspected a connection on the new fuel line, I wish it was, but alas not. The fuel tank on the 924 and early 944 is a steel item, made of two parts. The tank in my car had rusted along the seam where the two parts join, the problem had not manifested itself before then as we’d all only ever put around £5 worth of fuel in.
I immediately began searching for a replacement fuel tank. With a new Porsche tank costing well over £1,000 I wanted to try and get a refurbed unit from a parts dealer but none were available quickly enough for me. For reference, I did make a few good contacts along the way though – Jon Mitchell’s Garage and PIE Performance. I bought the replacement tank privately having very nearly come a cropper buying the tank from a 924 Turbo, it is slightly different from the rest of the range, all of which share the same part / part number. On the tank I did buy there is a little pipe at the bottom (pictured above) that is usually on the other side of the fuel filter, a small area of concern. The fuel tank isn’t in yet but I am hoping it will fit okay, that there is enough room / slack in the braided hose to make it fit.
I was hoping that the work would go in the weekend after I dropped it off, or the following Monday at the latest and then I would be all set – road legal and not a potential fireball – for the Christmas Autotweetup the following on the Sunday, 18th December. Again, there was a delay, outside of our control, unfortunate and one that I will not complain about.
Now, again, I am waiting, dearly hoping that I will have my car in time for Christmas so I have something to play with on my days off, rather than distracting my attention when I am back at work.
Could this be a Christmas miracle?
PS, the picture below illustrates that if you’re really excited you won’t bother waiting for an appropriately sized car to collect your fuel tank!