Porsche has gone from troubled sports-car manufacturer to one of the biggest names in both the luxury and sports car markets, with their classic models (including previously unloved models like the 944) seeing a huge increase in value over the past few years. While it’s now more tempting than ever to buy a used Porsche, you may want to arm yourself with what are the most common Porsche Issues to look out for.
From 930 911 to the modern PDK gearbox, Porsche is no stranger to gearbox issues. These issues can vary from the typical gremlins associated with low transmission fluids to the dreaded transmission valve body failure. One feature that made 911’s so popular was the introduction of synchronizers with the 901 and 915 transmissions. Synchronizers allow drivers to freely shift between gears without needing to rev-match the engine and upshift without needing to use the clutch. Unfortunately, this driving style has taken its toll on these transmissions, with the teeth on the synchros often being worn down and needing to be replaced.
Newer PDK transmissions require frequent maintenance and fluid changes to operate at optimum efficiency but their weakness, like many Porsches automatic transmissions before them, is the valve body (also known as a “mechatronics unit” or “electrohydraulic control unit”) The valve body is responsible for regulating the flow of transmission fluid that controls the clutch and gear engagement. Dirty transmission fluid is the main culprit for damaging and blocking valve bodies, with failed solenoids a close second.
Porsche Engine Issues
Porsche issues with engines are fairly bulletproof, with the only real exception being the pre-2009 non-RS, naturally aspirated engines found in the 997, 996, and 986. These engines suffered from a poorly designed intermediate shaft bearing (IMS bearing). The IMS bearing is pre-lubricated from the factory with special grease. As this grease ages, it thins and hardens and can cause the bearing to fail, which in turn can destroy the engine. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to grease the bearing, but it can be completely replaced.
Another common Porsche engine issue is excess smoke coming from the exhaust. Fortunately, the most common cause of this is an overfill of oil and can be rectified by having a technician open the oil drain valve, draining the oil, and replacing it with the correct amount of oil. Oil separators are also known to go bad. Oil separators separate air from the oil before returning it to the pan. A bad oil separator can lead to aerated oil entering the engine, which causes the oil to not offer the protection or lubrication required.
This issue only affects cars with Targa tops, sunroofs, and panoramic roofs, and isn’t an issue exclusive to Porsche, but it’s still worth noting. It’s basically impossible to waterproof parts of the roof that move or can be removed. While rubber seals go a long way to limit the amount of water entering the cabin, manufacturers use small gutters and drainage pipes to channel any water that may get past the leak to the underside of the car. When your roof is open, it allows for dirt, dust, leaves, pollen, and other debris into the drainage channels,
When it rains, these foreign objects may cause the drainage pipes to get blocked and for the water to overflow into the cabin. While annoying, it’s a pretty simple fix, and simply requires the drainage pipes to be unblocked, which any Porsche mechanic will be able to do.
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