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
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