NORMAL SERVICE RESUMED
While the rest of the 911&PW crew shiver through another northern European winter, US contributor, Matt Stone, basks in the LA sunshine with his Carrera 3.2. It’s all right for some, eh?
The beginning and end of each year for many people brings reflections on the recent past and often resolutions for the future. It does for me, too, and always includes an annual service for the Carrera. Plus a couple of other things that popped up on my list. So that meant another visit to my go-to guy, Tony Callas, and his rather fabulous team at Callas Rennsport. On the dockets were a full lube, oil and filter service, brake system flush and bleed, plus the replacement of the wonderful working, but completely wrong looking, Alpine AM/FM/CD head residing in the dash. Tony had sourced for me a period and model correct used Blaupunkt Reno Am/fm/cassette unit that would fit back in the aperture, and look right. Work right? Who knew? I for sure wanted a working radio, but didn’t much care if the cassette player played or not, because, I’m not sure I still own any playable tapes.
Another issue that had popped up in the latter half of the year was the perishing or disappearance of at least one of the bushings that centres the steering wheel shaft in the column; I’d secured the pair of them just to have in my pocket in case Tony didn’t carry them, but he said “keep them or return them, I have a metal bushing replacement that is much more precise, lasts forever, and isn’t expensive.”
Once at Callas, the car went up on the rack for technician Mike’s detailed once-over inspection. Fortunately, no new problems had cropped up since the last service, although we are now keeping a good eye on a couple of minor oil leaks from this fitting or that. No need or time to address this now, but on the list for this year for sure.
Mike drained both oil tanks, and swapped in a new Porsche Purolator “Red” filter, then refilling the entire system with high zinc Joe Gibbs Racing 20/50 conventional oil. Standard opps here.
Tony’s particularly mindful of moisture levels in the brake fluid, not wanting to see that go above one per cent, so it’s checked each time my car’s there. It had been about a year since its last brake flush, and the water level had just hit the one per cent threshold, so for sure it was time to flush and bleed the system. Which Mike did using a power flusher/bleeder tank. This ensures complete system fluid replacement, which on my 1989 example also includes the clutch master cylinder. Even then, just to ensure there’s no air in the system, the brakes are re-bled manually using the old school pump and hold method, ensuring a solid, firm pedal.
The radio head swap was also relatively straightforward. Sierra Madre sourced replacement main and speaker cables, since the bonehead that installed the Alpine had cut the Porsche factory plug and play cables, and spliced in the wires for the Alpine, It took a bit of wiring magic for Mike to cut, clean, strip and reconnect the wires to make it all fit and work again, but he did it, and the Blaupunkt dropped cleanly back into the original hole in the dashboard. Now reconnected, it once again looks properly 1989.
The last item remained the replacement of the steering column bushes that centre the steering rod within the column; as it was the steering wheel would clunk up and down within the column at least a half inch in any direction, and the steering had become heavy and imprecise. Tony has developed a machined metal bearing/bushing that replaces the factory piece; the idea is that being metal it’s unlikely to ever perish again in the future, and solves all slop and rattling problems. The steering wheel came off, and the new bush was pressed into place on the steering shaft, everything buttoned up, and that problem confidently, and likely permanently, solved.
Something Callas likes to do is drive each customer’s car with the owner in the passenger seat to discuss in real time any issues he may discover while at the wheel, or anything the owner is unsure or uncomfortable with. Tony took the wheel, explaining to me how to best manage the clutch for maximum life and minimal wear. We went over all the system controls on the dash and instrument panel, and he tested them to make sure everything worked, and that I fully understood all the operation. He evaluated the steering, brakes and other systems to again ensure things were up to snuff or not. Fortunately, other than things we knew about or were already addressing, my car passed Tony’s pernickety hands-on test in fine fashion, and I learned a few things along the way. A good process which I recommend you undertake with a trusted service advisor. PW