Back in winter of 2014 I picked up an ‘84 944 for $1000, or maybe it was $750. Hell I can’t remember, but the point is I have it and now I have to deal with it. When I bought the thing, it didn’t run. It was advertised as “Will run when quick start is sprayed into the intake”. Long story short, I brought it home swapped out the DME and changed a few sensors and bam, she fired up. I did some basic maintenance and drove it for the spring and summer of 2014. I think I wrote up a quick post about the personal significance of this particular 944.
When winter hit, I parked the car intending to pull it back out in the spring. Unfortunately, life happened. Having just graduated University, I didn’t exactly have mountains of riches, or even a healthy enough income to support driving a shitbeat Porsche. So the car sat, and it sat, and it sat. It’s been three years since I graduated, I’m well on my way in my career, and I have a little spare change to play with. But mostly that supercharged Xterra that I bought has started to rust, so I stopped caring about it, which means I stopped spending money on it (I hate body work).
Step One: Scrapping The Useless Parts Car
I also owned a 944 back when I was in high school, but that may have been the roughest 944 on the road. It was bad. It was banged up, rusty, on a salvage title, and spat oil out of every crack it could find. It was also owned by 17 year old me so that really didn’t help things. I held on to it after I went away to university thinking one day I’d fix it up, but that never happened and it became a parts donor for my newest acquisition. Unfortunately it was so rough, not much was good on it. Every panel was dented, the suspension was shot, and the interior was a complete disaster. So this spring I decided “Screw it, the motor and trans comes out, the rest goes for scrap”. So we set off hacking the motor out of the car in what might be the fastest time to pull a 944 motor: just under two hours. It’s easy as hell when you can just cut everything. And to all the 944 naysayers - Yes, a 944 motor will come out the top if you hack enough of the car off.
After the motor and trans were out, along with the torque tube, we hauled it off to a buddy’s house up the road who deals in scrap. I live in a VERY small town so no one cares when they see a beat up Porsche filled to the brim with scrap metal being dragged down the main street by an SUV. It’s actually more common than you’d think. We pushed my “good” 944 into the garage and retired to the fire pit for the night where somewhere between “a few” and “too many” beers would be consumed.
Step Two: Making a List
The next day I decided to survey vehicle to see how I would tackle this. So I decided to make a list of all the things I would need to accomplish, and in what order. On the advice of everyone’s favourite 944 guru Stef Schrader, the first thing on the list would be to clean the damn car out. Three years of sitting under some trees meant the engine bay had turned into a compost bin of sorts. There was so much uhh, “environment” in there that I couldn’t tell if something was actually living in there.
After I cleaned the car, I was able to get a good idea of what I’d need to start working on. You may have noticed earlier that I said we pushed the car into the garage. It does run, albeit with a killer lifter tick (we’ll get to that at a later date), but it doesn’t drive. The clutch fluid keeps vanishing somewhere, and I was able to trace that back to a leaky slave cylinder. So the next thing on my list was to find out why the car leaked water into the interior. i decided to tackle this while I waited for my parts hoard to come in the mail. Pro Tip: Order parts AFTER you’ve had a few beers. Like you’ll blow way too much money, but your inner gearhead will thank you when that box shows up at your door.
Step Three: The Tale Of The Rusty Battery Box
Any 944/924 owner will tell you that if your passenger floor is wet, it probably means your battery box rotted through. You’re hard pressed to find a 944 that hasn’t had work done to the battery box area. And sure enough, after sitting full of damp leaves for three years, mine was rotten.
I had toyed with the idea of simply sanding down the battery box and giving it a good primer job, then spraying some rocker guard over it, but me being me, I got carried away with the whole thing. I decided to do the whole area between the firewall and the windshield. So I fiberglassed up the rotting battery box, removed all the accessories in this area, and got to cleaning it up for primer.
So that’s where I stand right now. Next step is to redo all the horrible wiring to the battery, and tidy up the wiring along the firewall. These are all little things i can do while I wait for the clutch parts to arrive. The goal is to be driving the car by mid July, which seems fairly achievable to me.
if you’re actually still reading this, thanks for taking interest! I’ll post about this mini-project car as often as I can.