911 Porsche World - - Practical Porsche -

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 pieper­for­ 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!

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