Would there me any sharp intakes of breath?
So, I had done my own assessment of the car, detailed in the appropriately titled, 924 S Road Test Assessment. Time had come to take it to the professionals for a true picture of what needed doing.
Just to note; I had this done back in August, it has just taken a while to get around to writing it up, so some of the pictures will look like a step back.
It was during another Twitter chat with Jon Mitchell (@JMG_Porsche) that he mentioned their Free New Customer Inspection. The opportunity to get one of the countries leading Porsche specialists (arguably the leading specialist for 4 cylinder expert) to assess the car for free was too good to pass up. I booked a day off work and the car in with JMG.
Leaving first thing, to avoid rush hour traffic, I had an enjoyable drive down to Christchurch, the car was running quite well and, in parts, the roads were interesting. Arriving at JMG, in addition to the expected 911s, there was a good collection of 944s, many of which put #Project924 to shame. I doubt they had cost £400 though. Having said hello and looked friendly and harmless to the big guard dog, I went into reception and met Mark, Jon’s son and business partner. I had spoken to Mark a couple of times, on the phone, so it was nice to put a face to the voice. Unfortunately Jon wasn’t in, this visit.
I’ll be honest, JMG’s setup isn’t the most glamorous, but to me it’s the people that count; I’ve had plenty of visits to plush main dealers before where the quality of the cappuccino far exceeds that of the mechanics – they can keep it. My 924 S was booked in and allocated a number, they do this as it avoids confusion when customers call in. I was given a cup of tea and took my seat in reception as my car was taken away for inspection. Mark was busy so I got down to the serious business of reading my book.
A couple of hours later and the inspection was complete and Eddie walked me around the car while it was on the ramp, to explain what was what. It wasn’t pretty, the underside of the car that is. The encouraging thing for me, Eddie explained that these cars can smoke when from the exhaust if not used regularly and going by the soot on the bumper it was likely nothing more than unburnt fuel; the car is running rich. Eddie also kindly showed me the best places to place the axle stands.
The table below shows what was found in the inspection. Comments are mine.
|Bodywork, Interior Trim & Lights|
|Off side side repeater non operational||Fixed|
|Rear wiper blade split|
|Off side rear seat belt not fitted||Not an issue|
|Driver’s seat torn||Knelt on a tore passenger’s|
|Dashboard cracked||Have a spare to try and recover|
|Door cards in poor state of repair||A good clean should help|
|Glove box light non operational||Seems to come on with lights|
|Glove box vinyl pealing||to be glued or recovered|
|Heater non operational in hot position||It sort of is, just takes a while|
|Horn non operational||Fixed|
|Driver’s door seal split||Not leaking, will keep for now|
|Scratch on driver’s door||Looking better after a polish|
|Dent present on driver’s door||Pushed out a little|
|Stone chips present on front of vehicle||Replacement badge panel and bumper sorted most|
|Rust around rear of front wings|
|Front window has crack present||Just passed an MoT|
|Wheel paint flaking||May try a DIY respray|
|Engine and Ancillaries|
|Oil leak from cam cover present||Seal replaced|
|Oil misting present under intake manifold||New seals and oil separator cleared|
|Oil level below minimum / contaminated||Re-filled|
|Engine auxiliary belt aged and beginning to crack||Replaced|
|Engine timing belt looks aged / recommend checking history||Nothing documented – replaced|
|Brake fluid contains +4% water – *Dangerous*||Fluid changed|
|Clutch fluid contains +4% water – recommend replacement|
|Coolant level low||Replaced and refilled|
|Oil leak from oil filter housing||New filter fitted|
|Oil leak from rear of engine|
|Oil leak from near side of engine|
|Engine mounts collapsed / aged||Replaced|
|Coolant leak from temperature sensor on radiator||New seal|
|Anti roll bar bushes swollen / aged|
|Rear brake pipe flexible pipes corroded on ferrules||Cleaned up a bit, no mention on MoT|
|Front shock absorbers have excessive movement in shafts||Looking at replacement options|
|Near side front wheel bearing requires adjustment||Done|
|Front brake disks were deteriorating||Performance still okay – cleaned|
|Rear brake disks were deteriorating||Performance still okay – cleaned|
|Off side front brake disc backing insecure and corroded||Replaced – as a pair|
|Rear beam mountings showing signs of wear|
|Near side track rod end beginning to split||New track rods fitted|
Thankfully the report was sent over on email to save me waiting around. While it doesn’t make for attractive reading, this is a car with a full MOT and there was only one point that needed immediate attention, the brake fluid, and that was changed as soon as possible. Eddie did mention that the biggest difference I could make to the car was to replace the engine mounts, which I have now done (report to follow) and I suspect he was right.
I should have saved the guys some time by telling them that I wasn’t overly concerned about the bodywork and interior. All the same, it is nice to have a check list!
The biggest concern for me is the leaking oil, the cost to get this done properly is going to be too expensive, against the value of the car. I may need to invest in an engine crane and have a go at that myself; replacement engines seem to be about £250 – £300, apparently with no leaks. Some of the wear to the front suspension is due to soaking in oil, so that can possibly wait until the leaks are sorted. The brakes are performing well, improving with use; the disks and pads have few miles on them, but years left standing has taken its toll. I will sort the brakes in the new year, may kill these on track first.
So, how about JMG Porsche? I was very impressed. All of the guys there seemed to know what they were doing and there seemed to be no egos, all happy to talk about solutions to problems. Even without Jon there it was clear this was a tightly run outfit and clearly there was price in their work. If you own a Porsche and are within reach of Christchurch I would highly recommend checking them out. Something that isn’t for me as I like to get my hands dirty, but I have seen they offer a maintenance plan including servicing and MOTs which could be good for those that aren’t so keen with the spanners.