I picked up what we call a “rough around the edges” or “edgy” 2002 Porsche 911 Carrera coupe from a wholesale buddy of mine with the intentions of fixing it up and keeping it for awhile, possibly for a track day or two. Anyone who knows me knows that when I say that I am “keeping” a car that I buy for some arbitrary amount of time knows that it will probably be gone before it gets in my garage. The car had pretty good service records but didn’t look the part so I rolled the dice and picked it up sight unseen. I wanted to share the process of some of the stuff I had to do to this car to get it ready for prime time.
2002 Porsche 911 Carrera coupe
Purchased for $12k
Cosmetically is where the car really needed some attention. Front bumper and hood rock chipped to death, cracked windshield, rash on all four wheels, brake caliper paint fading and peeling, door dings throughout, and rear bumper spider cracks on right rear. On the inside, the seats were well worn and needed replacement, radio not working, passenger window not indexing properly and sunroof not closing with switch.
Despite the cosmetic condition of the car, the engine seemed to be solid and ran great. Check engine light on for secondary air, dirty oil, dirty air filter, bald rear tires, bad clutch shudder on acceleration, wind noise at 50mph and above from right window, steering wheel off center, and PSM/ABS lights on.
I started with the mechanical stuff on this car. First, ordered everything for a clutch job (disc, pressure plate, flywheel, throwout bearing, etc) and decided to tackle the infamous IMS bearing and rear main seal that these have problems with randomly grenanding engines. Also ordered a new air oil separator (figured why not while I’m in there), spark plugs, new coil packs, air filter and oil filter.
This was my first attempt at removing a transmission from a 911, but it proved to be pretty easy (ended up doing it three times, will discuss that later). Was able to get the new clutch components assembled, removed the old IMS bearing (which looked new) and rear main seal and replaced both of those, and removed and replaced the air oil separator from the bottom while transmission was out all fairly easily. Put it all back together, replaced all the plugs and coils, swapped out the secondary air pump, changed the oil (I used Liqui-Moly 5w40, my favorite oil for German cars) and fired it up with no issues.
I then took the wheels off and removed all four calipers from the car, spent hours cleaning and sanding them down then painted them red with ceramic caliper paint. Ordered some Porsche decals from eBay, put those on and reinstalled the calipers. I then bled the clutch and brake system completely.
Since the car needed tires I started shopping around. My car had the 17” basic wheels, and I realized that another car I have in the shop, a 2001 Boxster, has the 18” Turbo Twist wheels on it with good tires so I decided to swap wheels and deal with putting tires on the Boxster later. Easy fix there and really improved the look of the car. While I had the wheels off, I went ahead and pulled the suspension system off and replaced the springs with H&R sport springs to give the car about a 1” drop. I think they have way too much wheel gap from the factory so that fixed the problem and gave the car a much more aggressive look. Also installed an aftermarket HID headlight kit with a factory 4300K beam color (nothing more annoying than blue headlights) – this car came with halogens.
Moving along, I needed to tackle the issue with the ABS and PSM lights randomly coming on. Plugged in my scan tool to read the codes and found that the steering angle sensor was either bad or needed to be calibrated. Since the steering wheel was off center I had a feeling it just needed the calibration, but since my scan tool won’t do it (you need Durametric or PWSIS) it had to go to the dealer or a specialist (one of my most hated things to do!). I took the car to my brothers shop to get aligned, then took it to the one of the best indy Porsche shops in town for the SAS calibration.
Now that the car is mechanically perfect, I moved to the cosmetic stuff. Starting with the seats, I got a custom covers made with perforated suede inserts and embossed Porsche logo added on. I also got the dash pod, shift boot, e-brake handle, console surround, armrest and knee pads covered in matching suede (headliner is factory alcantara so everything matches). I replaced the sunroof switch and door latch assembly to fix the other two issues mentioned previously and adjusted the drivers window to get rid of the wind noise. Another “while I’m in there” upgrade I did was a short throw shifter kit by B&M. The radio was easily fixed by replacing a blown fuse. Interior now perfect.
Exterior was easy fix stuff. Started by fitting a new windshield and wetsanding/buffing the bumper scrapes and cracks. Got it looking 90% and saved a bunch of money by not having them painted. Had my paintless dent repair guy get all of the door dings out fairly easily in a couple hours. The car was finally coming together!
Took the car for a long drive through the hill country out here in central Texas and parked it in the garage. The next morning I discovered a nice little surprise – a puddle of oil the size of a dinner plate on the floor (thankfully I’ve got epoxy floors so very easy to clean). Put the car back on my lift and quickly discovered that the oil was coming from between the transmission and engine – either the IMS seal wasn’t seating properly or the IMS wasn’t installed correctly. I reluctantly pulled the transmission again and found that it was the former. I found that I didn’t press the rear main seal in far enough so I looked up the specs and made a tool from home depot parts (the factory tool is unobtanium, and very expensive). Ripped the seal out and tapped a new one in. Put it all back together and again it was leaking – I was discouraged so I left it on the lift for a few days and worked on some other stuff and after revisiting (and taking the transmission out for a third time), realized that my measurements were off and I had inserted the seal too far. Took the seal out again and installed a new one, triple checking my measurements. Put it all back together, took it for another long drive and voila, no leaks.
After spending so much time on the car I grew a bit attached to it and being in the car business and being an enthusiast this can be dangerous and a huge reason a lot of guys don’t make it. To make a long story short, I drove the car for around 1000 miles and came across another 996 with two turbos (writeup to come on that one) and decided to cut this one loose. I put out on the internet and Porsche forums hoping to get around $19k for it. I ended up selling it fairly quickly to a local guy who previously bought an SL55 from me.
Here is a breakdown of cost and profit. Keep in mind this does not include my labor, which I estimate at around 40 hours. I also get parts at wholesale or dealer cost, so that is huge for me keeping things on the cheap. I learned a ton taking this project on and the value of that to me is worth more than anything. What is better than working on a Porsche, learning a lot, driving an awesome car for a couple weeks and then making a little bit of money? Anyone can do this sort of thing with some patience and self-control. A good quote that is thrown around a lot in the car business is “you don’t make the money when you sell the car, you make it when you buy”. Don’t get too excited when looking at a car to buy, fix up and sell because you will always end up paying too much. Try to keep a level head and take into consideration everything the car needs. Don’t be afraid to lowball – the worst they can say is no and you can walk away and keep looking.
Car Cost: $12,000.00
Total Cost: $15,116.83
Sales Price: $18,000.00
Net Profit: $2,883.17