First conceived by PIE Performance Tuning’s co-proprietor, Chris Lansbury, the kit shown here – marketed as the PPT 964/A – is designed for the basic rear-drive, manualtransmission 964 Carrera. So there is no C4 or Tiptronic option, in other words. It will also become available, in time, for the preVarioram 993, but that will require different intake pipework, and not unreasonably Chris wants to establish it in the 964 arena before moving on to other things.
At the heart of the system, developed for PIE bywymondham, Norfolk-based Specialist Components, is the latter’s generic Typhoon ECU, here tailored to the needs of the Porsche engine, but interestingly also adaptable to numerous other non-porsche applications. This mounts via an adaptor plate in the standard position under the left-hand front seat, and hooks up to the vehicle’s existing wiring via a specially made short cable with the familiar three-row multi-pin socket at its far end. This cable also features a short ‘flying’ lead fitted with a nine-pin serial-port plug via which, together with a USB stick and a further lead, the ECU can be reprogrammed.
Perhaps the cleverest part of the set-up, however, is the deletion of the heavy, cumbersome and inherently restrictive – and now increasingly problematic – moving-flap analogue airflow meter. Its task is instead carried out by a tiny air-temperature sensor pre-installed inside the cone-shaped oiledfoam air filter, and an almost equally small MAP, or manifold-air-pressure sensor, mounted on a bracket immediately adjacent to the filter. All these devices require to function are the relevant electrical leads, and then linking to the inlet manifold by means of some small-bore vacuum tubing and a couple of connectors – all supplied in the kit.
Also supplied is a specially designed carbonfibre intake pipe, to fit between the air filter and the throttle body (where the old airflow meter used to be), and a set of six brand-new Bosch injectors, each capable of flowing up to 440cc of fuel per minute. The result is, in simple terms, more fuel and more air in the combustion chambers – which itself is going to raise both power and torque – but crucially, thanks to that revised ECU, the more efficient burning of said mixture.
And that, remarkably, is pretty much it. Fitting takes around four hours – with the larger part of that time accounted for by removing and replacing the six injectors, and as we saw for ourselves is definitely a plug-and-play job, well within the scope of even a relative beginner to automotive DIY. The car shown here subsequently fired first turn of the key, but any minor discrepancy between the ECU map as supplied (and naturally you need to specify the vehicle’s precise model, year and market) and what the engine ultimately requires can quickly be addressed via a file download to the USB stick. The same principle also allows for easy remapping to cater for future mechanical modifications, such as a capacity increase, or an exhaust or camshaft upgrade.
Impressive? You bet it is. So much so that, with a non-running E28-model BMWM535I that has much the same Motronic set-up as a typical 964 (and is now a non-starter, almost certainly thanks to an ECU and/or airflowmeter fault), I am seriously considering asking PIE and/or Specialist Components to put together a similar system for that. My E28 BMW525E has to be a strong candidate for conversion, too, never mind the 924S and the 944, both of which now have famously ‘creaky’ ECUS – and the same potentially problematic airflow meters. Suddenly their future looks a whole lot brighter than it did just a week ago.
Price for the 964 kit shown here is £2295 plus VAT (£2754 inclusive) or, if installed by PIE Performance itself, £2595 plus VAT (£3114 including VAT). Full details from PIE Performance on 01787 249924, or go to pieperformance.co.uk. Otherwise, reckon on about four hours’ labour at your own chosen specialist’s current rate – or have even more fun, and simply do it yourself!