There are no particularly awkward elements or techniques to this job. Note, though, that you will need at least some access to the underside of the car, and certainly first to deal with the actuating rods – so unless you have the luxury of a garage lift, make sure that it is safely supported on axle-stands before you venture beneath it.
The only special ‘tool’ required is a system tester, and as ever we are assuming that, as a DIYER, you would have to rely on subsequently taking the vehicle to a conveniently located specialist for the new actuator(s) to be ‘adapted’, that is to say electronically linked to the vehicle’s management system. It will be perfectly safe to drive, however, with the performance no worse than before you did the repair work.
When replacing the actuators you will additionally need to lower each rear corner of the engine away from the body to provide sufficient room to reach in to each unit’s three socket-headed M6 screws. It’s best to do that just one side at a time, supporting the power unit with a jack (or, as here, a transmission stand) as you do so. Make sure that the engine is jacked fully back into place before tightening each securing nut, or you risk damaging the threads.
Ordinarily we might offer advice on what else you might wish to attend to while the car is partially dismantled, but here it’s a case of letting sleeping dogs lie; if it ain’t broke, in other words, don’t even think about trying to fix it. Because – for example – any exhaust-system fasteners you try to undo will almost certainly break, creating more problems than any preventive medicine will solve. Some of the accompanying photographs will show what we mean.
The same goes for the roughly ‘L’-shaped device immediately below each turbocharger. Their purpose is to collect surplus oil from the blowers, storing it until it can be drawn back into the engine by the scavenge pump. Each has a drain plug, which in theory should be removed occasionally to allow any residual lubricant within them to escape, but which in practice might just as well now be welded into position. Don’t even go there, basically.
All you can realistically do, then, is clean and/or de-rust any items or fasteners that have to be removed anyway – inside the rear lamp housings and behind the rear apron, for instance, or the intercooler bracketry – and replace any parts that are visibly broken, or about to fail. In truth, there were none of the latter to be seen in this nine-year-old car, but the overall state of the underside was a stark reminder of how little genuine longevity is built in to these modern Porsches.
It’s not connected directly with this task, of course, but look at the condition of that main battery-cable terminal and, up at the front, the leaking coolant pipes – both of which issues will need attention in the fairly near to immediate future in order to preserve any shred of reliability. (And both of which, to some extent, we have already dealt with in one or other of these how-to stories, albeit in principle rather than in specific detail.)
What you will need to know, of course, is how much this problem might end up costing you – and the sad truth is that it’s a pretty common one. The two short rods, as we’ve said, are about £11 each plus VAT, and you’ll be looking at roughly an hour’s work each side to have them fitted. (Or, better still, periodically removed, greased and refitted, such that they never seize in the first place.)
The turbo actuators – or what Porsche calls adjustment motors – are priced at an eye-watering £501.06 plus VAT apiece, and to have one fitted you will be looking at around four hours’ labour. If both are required – and that, as proved by this car, is by no means a certainty; don’t assume (or be told) that you must have both – your parts bill will obviously be doubled. But any good specialist ought to take account of the fact that the rear apron is already off, and adjust the labour charge downwards accordingly.
Porsche-torque’s hourly rate, to give you some sort of yardstick, is £75 plus VAT. If you would like Sid Malik to have a look at your 997 Turbo – or any other Porsche, come to that; we highly recommend him and his team – call 01895 814446, or alternatively go to porsche-torque.co.uk.