LET­TERS PORSCHE 997 - THE PRAG­MATIC AP­PROACH

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911 Porsche World - - Letters -

I have built a few in­ter­est­ing Porsches in the past, some transaxle, some air-cooled and a few of them have been fea­tured in mag­a­zines.

What I have now is a 997.1 C2S, which I feel might be of in­ter­est in terms of the 997's per­ceived value and risk, par­tic­u­larly with the ear­lier cars. The car is noth­ing spe­cial as such, but per­haps rep­re­sents a safe, if un­con­ven­tional, way of buy­ing a 997.

In­stead of look­ing for the 'Vir­gin Mary's' 16,000-mile, never driven in the wet 997, which all other buy­ers seem to look for, I went for a high­mileage car in the spec and colour that I wanted. Why? Be­cause in my ex­pe­ri­ence, the 997 plat­form doesn not re­ally 'wear out' with miles. These things are solid, the chas­sis stays tight, rust is non-ex­is­tent and I was not look­ing for an in­vest­ment, just a 911 I could use ev­ery­day as Porsche in­tended and with no worry of ad­ding miles. We know about M97 en­gine is­sues, and even the low­est mileage cars can be af­fected by scored bores (ev­ery car I checked in fact) and IMS is­sues.

So all three of the lower bud­get 3.8 997s I looked at had the fa­mil­iar tap­ping sound and all three vendors as­sured me it was just a hy­draulic lifter. I didn't bother to ar­gue. I knew it was pis­ton slap and I had bud­geted for a re­build any­way. Not only that, I fully in­tended to re­build the mo­tor my­self, which­ever 997 I bought, fit­ting six lin­ers and an up­rated IMS, as well as a few other up­grades.

I even­tu­ally bought an early Basalt Black man­ual C2S, with Sports Chrono, Sports seats, cruise, in fact ev­ery­thing bar a sun roof. With 123,000-miles on the clock, it was £10k less than most on the mar­ket, due to peo­ple avoid­ing well-trav­elled gen 1 997 3.8s like the plague.

I set to with the re­build and dis­cov­ered the IMS bear­ing was in per­fect or­der, but true to form, the no6 cylin­der bore was scored and the pis­ton was scrap. All the bores were slightly oval, too. How­ever, I went in with my eyes open and now 3000-miles and three months on with my re­built en­gine, I have achieved a bul­let proof 997 DIY bar­gain.

Of fur­ther in­ter­est, I have used iron lin­ers as op­posed to steel. I plan to doc­u­ment the con­di­tion of the lin­ers at each oil change, and put out some facts about how they last and if they are a worth­while re­pair. Gavin Arnold via email

CHRISHORTON 911&PW’S con­sul­tant edi­tor

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