Living the Legend
Our band of contributors from around the world share their real-life experiences with their Porsche 911s
Our real-world Porsche 911 owners update you on their latest flat six escapades
This month started really well. I was enjoying the car again, and running on the 17-inch rims was so much better, but… a different noise started from the engine, which sounded like a bearing. My thoughts were of the water pump or alternator, but I kept these thoughts to myself.
Fast forward a week and a warning light starts flashing on the dash by the temp gauge. I was cruising on the M5, so backed off and did an instrument check. Temperature was okay, oil pressure good. The engine seemed okay, so I pushed onto my destination (albeit at a slower speed). As I pulled off the motorway and stopped at the lights, I looked in my mirror and spotted clouds of smoke, which I soon realised was steam (it had that odd fishy smell that you get with hot coolant). I immediately thought that it was a head gasket (and many ££££s flashed before my eyes), so, figuring that my engine was already knackered, I crawled the last mile to park at work.
The last mile my car was more of a steam engine than an internal combustion, but I turned the heater up and opened the windows to try and keep the engine as cool as possible, and I made it. I jumped out on arrival to check the pipes to see which bank was having the failure: no vapour out the pipes, just from the engine bay, so it wasn’t a head gasket! I shut down the engine and opened the engine cover, steam billowing out, and I looked underneath to see coolant draining out. At this point I thought recovery was the most likely scenario, but decided to leave the car cooling and go into work.
Early afternoon I called Classic Line Rescue (which comes with my insurance from Classic Line). I phoned the call centre, who were helpful and efficient, and they dispatched a local recovery company. A roadside technician arrived from Highfield Recovery (local to where I was in Exeter), who confirmed it was the water pump and the car would require recovery. After a short wait a recovery truck arrived; since the car had been topped up with fluid it was much easier to drive it onto the loader.
Since my local motorsport mechanic is only based a few miles from me, the rescue company had agreed they could take it there. After an uneventful trip on the M5, the car was unloaded, and a long stressful day ended. The next day I got
confirmation from AVM that it was a water pump issue. They had ordered a new unit which would arrive early the following week, and they would try and fit it in.
I also asked for an oil change, too. If the engine had heat cycled, changing the oil/ filter would be a sensible move, and the oil could be checked. It was cheaper for me to order the Mobil 1 from Euro Car Parts with one of their discount codes than it was for AVM to get it (owning a Porsche doesn’t need to be any more expensive than an everyday car – you just need to shop around). So, oil out, all good (apparently it still looked new), so hopefully this means my engine is nice and healthy.
I have driven about 180 miles since and all seems good, so all I can say is thanks to Classic Line rescue and the guys from Highfield who got me home! Hopefully I won’t be needing their services again!
Bristol, UK @rob911_ltl @ROB996LTL
Model 996.1 Carrera 4 Year 1999
Acquired February 2014 Rob Clarke