FU­TURE PER­FECT

It is a rare tun­ing pack­age that de­liv­ers not only in­creased power, torque and pos­si­bly fuel-ef­fi­ciency, but also a wel­come sim­pli­fi­ca­tion and fu­ture-proof­ing of your en­gine’s wear-prone pe­riph­eral sys­tems. Chris Hor­ton fol­lows the in­stal­la­tion of an inge

911 Porsche World - - 924 Track Car -

We have all heard that age-old en­gi­neer­ing apho­rism: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It is gen­er­ally very sound ad­vice, too, but oc­ca­sion­ally – to use an­other rather hack­neyed ex­pres­sion – to ac­cu­mu­late you have to spec­u­late.

This 964 Targa, de­spite its 130,000 miles and some­what care-worn ap­pear­ance, was still run­ning beau­ti­fully. We know, be­cause we drove it. The en­gine pulled smoothly and strongly through­out the mid-range, and on a quiet and open ‘B’-road the car was in its el­e­ment – lop­ing along in third gear at an easy 65–70mph, and ef­fort­lessly sprint­ing to 80 or more when the op­por­tu­nity safely pre­sented it­self. But for how long might that de­sir­able state of af­fairs per­sist? Given reg­u­lar oil changes and an em­pa­thetic driv­ing style there is no rea­son to sup­pose that the heart of the power unit – the pis­tons, the bar­rels, the valveg­ear and the crank­shaft – would give trou­ble any time soon. But ex­pe­ri­ence has shown that it is al­ready quite a dif­fer­ent story with the an­cil­lary but no less im­por­tant items such as the now dis­tinctly old-fash­ioned me­chan­i­cal air­flow me­ter, the fuel in­jec­tors, and not least the Bosch Motronic ECU.

All are in­creas­ingly well-known weak­nesses in any of the en­gines of the pe­riod that run this rel­a­tively prim­i­tive elec­tronic man­age­ment sys­tem – and ex­pen­sive to rec­tify, too. A new air­flow me­ter will set you back over £660 in­clud­ing VAT,

and even a sec­ond-hand item – likely to have, or else soon to de­velop, the same prob­lems – around £250–£300. An ECU? A stag­ger­ing £4000 from Porsche, we are told, and for that rea­son alone per­haps as much as £1000 from a breaker. Even an over­haul of your ex­ist­ing de­vice might cost sev­eral hun­dred pounds, and once again of­fer­ing no real guar­an­tee of longevity. Cer­tainly the in­jec­tors are now easy to over­haul or even to re­place, thanks to the ef­forts of ASNU in Wat­ford (see the Jan­uary 2013 edi­tion, and/or go to asnu.co.uk), but even that ba­sic clean­ing process costs around £180 plus VAT for a set of six.

Wouldn’t it be nice, then, to ditch the en­tire sys­tem, and re­place it with mod­ern, solid-state, plug-and-play com­po­nents that

of­fer not only mod­ern stan­dards of re­li­a­bil­ity, but also mod­ern stan­dards of ad­justa­bil­ity – or ‘ma­pa­bil­ity’ – and not least more power and torque to start with? The maker of this kit, Suf­folk-based PIE Per­for­mance, claims a gain of 48bhp, and a com­men­su­rate rise in torque, and although we have no proof of that, other than driv­ing the same 964 af­ter its con­ver­sion to the sys­tem shown here, we have no rea­son to doubt it. There is also a mod­est but worth­while re­duc­tion in weight – an orig­i­nal Bosch air­flow me­ter weighs around 2kg; its re­place­ment just a few grams – and, last but by no means least, fit­ting is a gen­uinely DIY process that is also en­tirely re­versible. No drilling or cut­ting, in other words. That alone sounds like a clas­sic win-win sit­u­a­tion to us. Fac­tor in the mod­est cost of the kit – com­fort­ably less than £3000 if you in­stall it your­self – and it is surely an equally clas­sic no-brainer. PW

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