2003 Porsche Carrera 4S

After owning much less exotic cars I got myself a 2003 Porsche Carrera 4S in mid 2008.  Below is a log of maintenance and service I have had to perform.  I hope you find the information useful.

What is a 4S, and don't all Porsches pretty much look all the same?  pretty much...usually referred to as a 911, Porsche calls this particular generation a 996, but the only designation on it is "Carrera 4S". The 4S has the wider body of the Turbo and GT2 models, but has the base n/a motor.  The base 996 and GT3 use the narrow body.  It gets more confusing with the next generation's 997.  So, over the regular base 996 model my 4S has the bigger Turbo brakes, the firmer and lower Turbo suspension, AWD like the Turbo, the Turbo front bumper, the bigger Turbo side radiators (but no center radiator), a composite rear deck lid, the spoiler apparently pops up higher over the base model, and it has as standard equipment a  bunch of the things that would have been options on the base model like full leather interior and a better base stereo system. A good reference for all things 996 is "Porsche 996, The Essential Companion" by Adrian Streather. Excellence magazine also reviewed the 996 C4S in issues 109 and 116.  Bentley also has a repair manual that is invaluable, and it can be found on Amazon.com.

Porsche Option Decoder, Maintenance Schedule.  Hengst filter part numbers: Oil E14HD77, Cabin E951LC, Engine E457L.  NGK Iridium IX plugs BKR6EIX.

For servicing your car, check out TrackSpec Autosports in Fremont, CA.
Got questions? E-mail me         Go back to kevinlaird.com's Homepage

March 2017:
This page is now static and will no longer be updated as I sold the car on Bring-A-Trailer.  It was last seen heading to MO.  I replaced the 4S with a 2011 Turbo S.

December, 151,000mi:
Every 2 year brake-clutch fluid flush. 2 liters of ATE.
50K mi. new NGK spark plugs, transaxle and differential fluid change. 3qts Redline 75W-90NS trans, 2qts 75W-90 dif.
Annual inspection: pulled the undertrays and inspected everything (hoses, suspension, etc.).  Everything looked good.

The check engine light came on and I pulled a P0430 code, "Cat conv. efficiency bank 2". Bank 2 = passenger side.  I had to replace the drivers side (bank 2) cat back at 75K mi.  This side lasted 150K mi.  I cleared the code using a Durametric, and it came back after 3 start cycles.  I then swapped the rear O2 sensors side-to-side, and the code came back again.  I then swapped the front O2 sensors side-to side, and again the same code came back, so it definitely is the cat. Back when I replaced the bank 1 cat there were no options for us here in CA besides the OEM cat.  While shopping around for the best deal on a new cat I found that Magnaflow now makes a CA compliant cat for ~1/3 the cost of the OEM part.  However, when it arrived it was 2-5/16" too short as it appears that they did not make an allowance for the wide body of the 4S.  In working with Summit Racing, whom I ordered it through, they checked with Magnaflow and relayed back to me the dimensions of the appropriate part for my car.  The dimensions given to me were longer than the part in hand, and thus it seemed like I had been shipped the wrong part.  After shipping that back and getting another part exactly the same as the one that didn't fit I gave up and got the OEM Porsche part from Carlsen Porsche.  Good news if you have a Mk1 996 Magnaflow probably has a part that'll fit.  996-111-113-50 exhaust gasket, 999-084-052-02 locking nuts, 996-113-032-BX catalytic converter, $1,699.

The sunroof just decided to not operate as it should, requiring multiple presses of buttons to get it to open and close properly, and one touch functions did not work anymore.  When I last had issues a few years ago the motor and switch were replaced. I replaced the switch and the sunroof acted the same so I replaced the motor.  Carlson Porsche "Tip switch" 996-613-147-10-A05, $33, sunroof motor 997-624-211-00, $382.

My sunroof reset procedure:

(1). Disconnect battery for 15min and reconnect.
(2). Run the sunroof through all modes - tilt, open, open, close.
(3). Hold down the forward close button and keep it held down (the one that points to the front of the car) until the sunroof finishes automatically going through all modes (tilt, close, open, close). You need to hold down the button for over 10sec.

If this does not force the sunroof to reset itself (it doesn't do anything other than tilt open when depressing the forward button for 10+ seconds) then try the following: Access the back of the sunroof switch, unplug it, turn on the ignition acc, jump the grey wire to the brown/green wire on the plug.  This will run the sunroof through it's reset procedure (open, close, tilt, close).  When I did this on mine I thought that the switch was bad since it ran through the modes just fine.  I put it back together and a few days later the one touch functions were gone again.  So I replaced the motor.

I picked up a iCar bluetooth OBD module from OBD Innovations so that my new Garmin VIRB 30 camera can pick up data from the car to overlay on video.

Completed a group driving tour of the Colorado Rockies in July.  Covered 3,401 miles in 8 days, from sea level to 14,000' (Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in N. America), with lots of high speed driving and gear changes in the mountains, and the car ran flawlessly. Video.

June, 144,000mi.
Oil & Filter change. Oil analysis report.  I also pulled apart the oil filter and it was spotless.

Ditched the Sumitomo tires for another set of Falkens.  I missed the performance, and the rears were wearing too much on the insides as the tires run vary narrow for the size.  The wider Falkens wear fine with the same alignment settings, so I'm sure the odd wear with the Sumi's is that they are too narrow for the wide 4S/Turbo wheels.

Flushed the power steering fluid.  This time I just used a turkey baster to suck the fluid out of the pump, put new fluid in, ran the car around, and repeated 4 times to use up a can of Pentosin 11S.  This was easier than making a big mess cracking a line at the rack like I've done in the past.

When inspecting things while the wheels were off I noticed that the outer passenger side CV boot has cracked like the driver side did a few months back.  I'll have TrackSpec do the R&R. I'm also going to have them tweak the alignment to that the car has better high speed handling characteristics for the long road trip in July.  Right now it's awesome for handling, but will follow any road imperfection at high speed due to having 0 toe F&R, which will get tiresome on a long road trip.  I also got the A/C recharged as it seemed to be taking longer to cool the car down.
    New alignment specs:
        Front=> Camber: -1.4     Caster: 8.6     Toe: 0.08
        Rear=> Camber: -2.4     Toe: 0.08

Got the front end repainted due to rock chips, and had a clear bra installed.  Robert Woods at Pro Autobody.  $2,300.

Over the past several months my back has been bothering me, and it seemed as though I could never get the seat adjusted properly.  I then noticed that the seat bottom looked much more depressed than the passenger seat.  I took the car to Bascom Trim in Santa Clara and when they took it apart they found a plastic bracket was broken inside the bottom right rear corner of the seat.  They fabbed up a repair and replaced the bottom foam cushion.  After driving a 1,000mi trip to Death Valley with Sequoia PCA (Video) I'd say it's fixed.  $570

I repainted the S on the decklid as the silver topcoat was wearing off exposing the grey-black raw plastic underneath.  I wanted something different from red and I had some old Ford engine blue sitting in the garage that I had previously used to paint the 4S logo on the wheel caps.

March, 140K mi.
Picked up some spare parts to keep in the tool bag on long trips.  In helping a friend who also has a 4S with diagnosing his car that wouldn't start, which turned out to be a hose that slipped off the fuel pump, it seemed to us that having these parts onhand on the road would be prudent.  That conclusion was made after perusing the forums, and realizing that these simple parts aren't easy to come by and can leave you stranded. Fuel injection replay, Fuel pump relay, Crankshaft position sensor.  I alreay have a spare coil. The fuel injection pump relay is also used in a lot of other circuits, while the pump relay is unique to that circuit and your local parts store is unlikey to stock it.  Rockauto.com $179.

February 2016
Annual inspection to get ready for the driving season and a long road trip in July, and I found the following that needs attention:

I figure on doing it all myself except the control arm and bushing stuff which I'll have TrackSpec Autosports take care of since it'll need an alignment anyway. Everything above, parts and labor, plus 3gal of Redline 5W-40, came to $2,903.

    New alignment specs:
        Front=> Camber: -1.3     Caster: 8.6     Toe: 0
        Rear=> Camber: -2.3     Toe: 0
        The front end does feel a bit tighter (crisper, more responsive) in terms of steering feel.

The rear engine cover struts died. This is the second time I've had to replace them.  It was actually hard to find anyone who had them in stock (I didn't bother checking the dealer $$$), and a lot of places list an incorrect part.  I found the correct ones at LiftSupportsDepot.com. Stabilus SG406017 (Porsche 99651255104). $78.

December 2015

        A random update on some things I've done this year that I forgot to post.  Magnetic iPhone mount found on Ebay:

Kinda weird looking without the phone on it, but I can always remove it and no one would know it was ever there.

            I added a piece of fake carbon fiber tape to the top of the vents so the phone wouldn't wear the finish.

            Moved the inflatable lumbar support bags higher up in the driver's seat:

The black pieces can be pealed back, and like sticky tape restuck, thus allowing
one to move the bags up and down on the wire screen that they hang on.

August-October, 135,000mi.
The passenger side window stopped dipping enough when attempting to close the door.  The operation of the window otherwise was fine via the center console switch, and it was not making any odd noises.  After searching the forums I concluded that it was the door lock mechanism.  Removal and installation was pretty easy since I have previously replaced the regulator in booth doors.  3B1-837-016-P, $177 at Carlsen Porsche.

The parts department at Carlsen Porsche came through with the warranty claim on the strut tower mounts that cracked after only a year.  So now I have an extra set of stock strut mounts.

Oil & Filter change. Oil analysis report.

One of the rear Sumitomo tires developed what I thought was an imbalance.  Turned out that there was an delimitation of the internal sidewall of the tire.  TrackSpec took care of the warranty claim through TireRack, and I got a new tire.

June, 131,000mi.
Completed a driving tour of the southwest. 3,600mi in 12 days, altitudes from -200' to 10,000', and temps from 45 to 120deg.

New tires: Sumitomo HTRZIII's.  Since I can never count on being able to get the Falkens or something similar without having to backorder them and never knowing when they will show up most of the time, I decided to get some cheapo (<1/2 price of Falkens & Yok's, <1/4 price of Michelens) Sumi's to run in the off season and on long drives.  $500.

The remaining creaking in the front suspension was becoming more prominent over time, and more annoying.  While everything looked good I decided to change out the control arms, spring isolators, and sway bar bushings.  While that was getting done at TrackSpec, they noticed cracks in the strut mounts, which is surprising since I put new ones in a year ago.  Apparently Porsche has a 2 year warranty on parts so I'll go down that road to see if I can get some restitution.  Meanwhile I went with aftermarket ones. $1,450:

February 2015, 125K mi.
Bi-annual brake & clutch system fluid flush as recommended by Porsche.  2 litres of ATE.  The brake pads still look good with a lot of material on the fronts, and there is still a decent amount on the rears (which are still original!).

Preventative maintenance time. Going to be driving on a 2 week tour of the southwest in June so I figured on getting some things replaced that would be a bummer to have go out on such a long trip.  The water pump and external Air-Oil Separator had never been replaced, and my mechanic thought that it would be a good idea to also to replace the cam chain tensioners. There does seem to be less noise on start up, and the transition under accel when the motor goes on cam is less noticeable.  Not sure if that had to do with the tensioners, but I assume it does.  I also had all of the hoses going to and from the AOS replaced as the plastic ones in particular become very brittle. I was too busy to do this job myself so had TrackSpec take care of it. Here is everything that was replaced, part number followed by the description from the receipts, $1,985:

AOS and hoses.  Ignore items 9-11 for 2002-5 cars. I replaced hoses: 4, 5, 18, 12, 13, 20.
4 was brittle enough to crack when squeezed by hand.

November 120Kmi.
Oil & Filter change. Oil analysis report.

Added a memory foam piece that I got at a Relax the Back store to the drivers seat lumbar area as it was not providing me with enough support even when inflated.

In the picture on the left I am holding up the inflatable bags showing where i put the foam.
The right picture shows how the seat back comes out.
You lift up on the top of the pad to disconnect the white clips from the black rod.

The day before departing on a 3 day driving tour through Lassen NP that I helped orgainzed the alternator wouldn't produce enough power to recharge the battery.  After creeping along in traffic for an hour in 100deg heat we pulled off at McDonalds for a break and the car wouldn't restart.  In fact it took quite a bit of effort, first letting the battery recharge a bit while hooked up to the host car, to get it jumped as the battery was totally flat.   Once driving again I noticed the volts were hovering around 12 when it usually reads around 14.  With the AC on, which turns the fans on, it dropped under 12. I was able to get it home as without any accessories on except the radio volts stayed above 12.  Rebuilt alternator from NAPA $344.

While I had the alternator out I replace the oil fill pipe as it cracked sometime ago and was easily accessable without the alternator installed. 996.107.150.61. $43.

New set of Falken 615K's.  $1,212 from Discount Tire Direct and installed and aligned (same specs as last time) by Vex Motorsports (ask for Jesse).

Power steering pump cap was leaking.  Replaced the rubber O ring and that fixed it. You can't use a regular rubber one as the fluid would eat it up.   999.701.154.40 $8.50

When I having the bi annual smog check done the tech said that the gas cap should be replaced.  He passed the car anyway, and I just now got around the replacing it. 996.201.241.03 $22 from Amazon.

I changed the accessory belt as it was looking a bit worse for wear.  I forgot to change it the last time I changed the engine air filter, and figure I would the next time it was due, but during a routine under hood inspection I noticed the ribs were cracking and threads were just starting to peak through the rubber on the otherside.  Dayco 6PVK-2115.

The Porsche Covercraft windshield suncreen that came with the car started to decompose so I got a new one from Covercraft.  It doesn't say Porsche on it, but it was cheaper and I got one in a cool blue tint.  UV10854BL $48 from Amazon.

Dropped a camping stove on the hood of the car while getting camping gear off a shelf in the garage causing only 4 small dents, and no paint damage.  If I had not recently sprayed the hood with the 3M spray last month it would have been far worse.  I got lucky as the stove fell about 5'.  The 3M stuff pealed of fairly easily from the hood.  I resprayed it with the 3M stuff after the repair, and gave the bumper another coat while I was at it. DentPro Mobile $305.

I started to hear a loud tuning fork whine sound inside the car, eminating from under the center of the dash, down by the differential, after a long and hard high speed drive on a twisty road (Hwy 36 from Hwy 1 to Hwy 5). Since then I have only had the opportuinity to get the car up to speed (~120mph) once, and only then for not very long, and could hear the same sound but at a much lower volume.  I just changed the fliud ~15K mi ago.  It might be time to rebuild the dif.  A friend happened to have a rebuilt dif in his garage from when he owned his turbo so I bought it off him to keep as a spare. $1,000.

Repaired 2 rock chips in the windshield.  This time I saved a bunch of money over having someone do the repair and bought 2 VersaChem repair kits at O'Rielly. It was easy to use and came out perfect. $25.

Took the bumper off to shoot it with 3M Paint Defender spray film as it seemed easier to do this vs. masking everything off.   While it was off I cleaned out the radiators:

It wasn’t until this last month when an occasional clang noise became louder and greater in frequency in low speed parking lot type driving. Usually near full steering lock and when changing direction (forward – stop – reverse).  While working the steering rack back and forth, while looking at the strut mount with the wheel off and suspension loaded, I could see that the bearing assembly would rotate fine until near the end of travel when the bearing plate would move just enough to make contact with the outer part of the strut mount.  With large washers blocking the view to the center part of the mount you cannot tell that anything is wrong until you take everything apart.  Even then it looks ok until you push on the center and out it pops.  Right side pictured below.  I found the left one to be cracked when I took it out for replacement.

C4S uses unique parts for this so make sure you get the right ones. 996.343.016.04 (Right), 996.343.015.04 (Left).
The local dealers only had the left one in stock, and Porsche NA had none of the rights in their warehouses.
Sunset Porsche in Oregon came through with the other in stock.  $465
February 110,000mi.
Oil & Filter change. Oil analysis report.
One day for some reason the stereo would not recognize my iPhone as being connected to the stereo.  After checking the fuse to the Dension 500 I disconnected and reconnected all the connections to it and it started to work again.

The vast amount of rock chips on the windshield was really starting to annoy me, and was really bad when the sun was at a low angle such as in the morning or evening.  It was like looking through a dirty windshield all the time.  The bumper and hood of the car was also pretty ratty from all the rock chips so I had is reshot by Mathews-Carlsen in Palo Alto.  It looks brand new now so it was definately worth it. $3,600 (though I only paid the insurance deductable).  The windshield alone is ~$750 and there are no aftermarket suppliers, so you have to get the porsche part.

I also installed a power cord to my Valentine One radar detector, taping onto the dome light.  Black/Orange is power, and Brown is ground. While it is not truely "switched" or "key on power", power is cut when you lock the car, so you won't drain the battery if you left the detector on accidentally.

January 2014
I replaced the front sway bar end links and sprayed down the rubber spring isolators (located at the top of the spring), the rubber strut mounts from the top and bottom, and the A Arm bushings, with Sailkote. I tried to get as much of it inbetween the pieces as I could.  It would have been better to do this when I had the struts apart, but I wouldn't have guessed that I would still have some noise after reinstalling them.   This seems to have taken care of most of the remaining creaking noises. Endlinks 996.343.073.M80, Sway bar bushings 996.343.792.M100, $141.  I did not replace those bushings yet.  I also picked up a oil filler tube as mine cracked 996.107.150.61 $43.  I temporarily fixed the one on the car by using an old piece of radiator hose as it is a lot of work to replace, requiring removal of the throttle body and alternator.

I picked this up sometime ago, but forgot to post it. It fits my jack better than the solid aluminum ones I used previously.  I think I got it from Pelican Parts.

        December 2013 107,000mi.
The front suspension has been creaking and rattley sounding for some time, and has gotton a lot worse here in winter when it's cold out and when the car is cold. Speed bumps and rough roads are what triggers it. There is no play in the suspension/steering. I replaced the inner and outer tie rods and that took a bit of the noise away, with a side benefit of the steering feeling slightly lighter.  Next up was replacing the strut bearings.  The AWD 996's have a larger roller bearing at the top of the front struts than the regular 996's.  They were full of grit and not much grease. Pretty poor design with no rubber or plastic seal to keep dirt and grime out, and the grease from washing out. I should have cleaned and greased them when I replaced the struts back in Feb 2012. As with a lot of specific C4S parts, make sure you get the right bearings, as the dealer with my VIN somehow got me the wrong parts initially.  Besides replacing the bearings I also got the support peice ("shock plate") as it seemed prudent, but probably isn't necessary. After all that I still get some creaking noise going over speed bumps, but other noises over rough roads is gone.  The rubber strut tower mounts are all that's left, other than control arm joints, sway bar bushings, but since none look or feel worn I'm not going to bother replacing anything else. I'll get a can of some good teflon dry lubricant spray and try shooting that on the various suspension bushings.

The larger diameter one is the right part.

Top: dirty old bearing with barely any lube remaining.    Bottom: new bearing with minimal grease from the package.

New bearing with marine grease applied.  While it looks like I went overboard,
only a little grease oosed out once it was reassembled and installed on the car.
No dirt should be getting in there now.
Tie Rods: Rockauto.com MOOG parts (the outers had TRW cast in them like the stock parts): ES3641 & EV800548, $110.
Bearings & support: Carlsen Porsche 996.343.501.00 & 996.343.523.00, $142 w/10% GGR PCA discount.
Alignment: $180.. I went more aggressive on the alignment this time to try to help understeer and initial turn in.  Responce is quicker, but the trade off is that the car always pulls slightly with the camber of the road, but you get used to it.
        Camber: -0.5/-0.5 deg.
        Toe: -0.05/-0.05 deg.
        Camber: -1.4/-1.4 deg.
        Toe: 0/0

Even taking great care to match the length of the new tie rods to the old ones, I managed to get the steering wheel slightly misaligned somehow, but the car tracked straight down the road. Coming home from the alignment shop the ABS and PSM lights went off.  After checking everything at the shop again, and not finding anything wrong (they didn't have a Porsche tester to perhaps reset all the sensors correctly) I went home to sort it out.  After readng online about the many things that trigger both ABS and PSM lights at the same time, and there are lots of things that range from dead brake light bulbs to bad sensors, I did the following:  Disconnected the battery (when any weird electrical happenings do this for 20min and it's likely that will fix it) and put it on a charger.  While the car was starting up fine, I had been working on the drivers side window mechanism the day before, running it up and down a lot.  I also pulled out the front ABS wheel sensors and sprayed them down with brake cleaner, and did the same with the ABS rings.  I also wiped off the electrical plugs and really made sure they were plugged in tight.  I'm not sure which of those fixed the issue, but the car is fine now.  Since the car was fine driving to the alignment shop I'm going to assume that either the steering sensors or steering angle sensor needed to be reset, and the alignment shop didn't know how to do that, or followed the wrong procedure aligning the car.

Upon closing the drivers door I heard a odd "twang" and then noticed that the window didn't sound quite right when I went to lower it.  The window also wouldn't drop when the door was closed.  If this happens to you, just gently but firmly press the window down by hand to allow you to shut the door.  So it appeared that the drivers side window regulator failed, like the passenger side did back in Dec 2011. See my notes below about how to do that install.  To get the interior door panel off I found an old tool that I forgot I had that helped a lot (see the 1st photo below).  I got the much cheaper Dorman part from Rockauto.com, 752-088, $115, glad that there is finally some aftermarket parts appearing to keep maintenance cost down.  After installing it wire promptly jumped a pulley when I first ran it.  Upon dissassembly I found the wire jamed inside the spool/winding mechanism that attaches to the motor.   It looks like it was assembled improperly leaving the wire kinked, and as such with a wire that has been kinked it is very hard to straighten out, and I couldn't get it to operate without jumping the tracks inside the spool.  Overall it's noticeably cheaper made than the porsche part, so I got a new mechanism from the local dealer (Carlsen $257) and returned the POS Dorman part to RockAuto.

Old school manual window handle remover.  The side with the right angle made popping off the door panel easy.
Just slide the short arm under the door panel near a hold down tab and lever it out.

November 2013
New set of Falken 615K's.  Again the Kuhmo XS's were not in stock for the rear, otherwise I would have saved a little money buying those, and the new BF Goodrich Rival is still not available in a size that fits the rear and matches the front diameter wise. $1,211 from Discount Tire Direct and installed by Vex Motorsports.

August-September 2013, 101,000mi.
Did a weeklong driving tour of Yellowstone in July (2,700mi. roundtrip from CA) and the car was flawless. Got an average of 26mpg overall, which included a very spirited drive over Beartooth Pass and back, and long cruises at 85mph on cruise control.

Windshield rock chip repaired. $75.

Changed the engine air filter, cabin air filter, oil & oil filter, transaxle fluid, differential fluid, and spark plugs. I buy parts and batches of filters and cases of oil from Lubrify. This time I went with NGK Iridium IX plugs, part # BKR6EIX.  Oil analysis report.

June 2013
Replaced the Bank 1 (drivers side) cat.  Cat 996-113-031-06, gasket 996-111-113-50, lock nuts 996-084-052-02, bolts (didn't use) 900-074-287-02, clamp 996-111-220-02; $1,740.40 shipped from Sunset Porsche in Oregon.  Installation required removal of the bumper, otherwise you would need to remove the other cat. Being in California means we're screwed and have to use a CARB (california air resources board) approved part, and the only one approved by CARB is the stock Porsche part. Searching online and checking with a friend that ran a smog test shop, and another friend (Lupe Garcia) that owns the Redwood City Meineke confirmed that.  Having had hassles with previously owned modded cars in the past, legally modded cars mind you, I went with the Porsche part.

May 2013
Since swapping the rear O2 sensors side-to-side the check engine light did not come back on for a really long time. When it did I got the same code, so therefore it's probably a bank 1 cat.  I swapped the forward O2 sensors and again will wait for it to come on again to confirm that it's the cat.  Since they are $1,700 new, and about $500-800 used, I want to be sure it's really a cat before I spend that kind of money.

I could not get the key out of the ignition.  It had been getting a bit sticky for a few months, and a bit of lube did not help.  The steering lock mechanism was determined to be the issue after reading online that this is common problem.  The master cylinder cap had also not been sealing well so I also ordered a new one.  Steering Lock 996-347-017-07, Cap 996-355-119-01, $156 to my door from Sunset Porsche in Oregon. There are good instructions on rennlist here on how to do the R&R of the steering lock mechanism.

Discovered half of one of the two plastic A/C line mounts missing.  These lines run down the passenger side of the car near the rocker panel. 999-511-230-40 (outter hard shell) and 999-511-232-41 (inner rubber).  The holes in the new piece however were identical,whereas one line is smaller than the other.  I used some pieces of wheather stripping make it fit.  $10 for 2 (kept the extra one for a spare).

It should look like this:

I did a mid year checkout of the car, and found some coolent hose rubbing issues that I
cured with some pieces of old hose cut legnth wise, and RTV to hold them in place.
Driver side engine compartment view, arrow points to now covered structure that was rubbing against the hose:

This hose will be replaced.  It doesn't look or feel too good.  Powersteering fluid had dripped on it from the vent line as it hung over this coolent hose before I rerouted it into a catch can (see below). Design oversight on Porschs's part.
Passenger side engine compartment view, again with the arrow pointing to where the hose was rubbing:

The replacement part from Porsche is a 997 part, with clip fittings on both ends, instead of a hose clamp on one end.
This necessitates installing a new fitting on the oil pump housing.  The new hose has a different bend in it which keeps is far from the
structure that the old one was rubbing against.
Parts: Hoses: 997.106.831.03, 996.106.233.56 (not pictured, small elbow at bottom of oil pump).
Water neck: 997.106.216.00. Pump cover (gasket): 996.106.321.50. $98 Carlsen Porsche.

Underside, near transaxle, both lines rubbing on crossmember:

April 2013 - 95,000mi.
Bought New Falken 615's from Discount Tire Direct $1,162, installation $140. I would have gone back to the Kuhmo XS's, or tried the new BF Goodrich Rivals, but the rear Kuhmo's were on back order like they always seem to be, and the rear Rivals were not available yet.

The secondary air injection pump has actually been getting noisier when it runs, which is occassionally only at idle when the weather is cold. Sounds like a high pitched electrical whine, like a hair drier.  I found this thread on rennlist that described how easy it was to disassemble the unit and lube the bearings.  The bearings were bone dry.  It's been several weeks since I lubed it and it's been really quiet since then.

The check engine light went off while on the highway, along with a message on the display that said something to the effect of "take the car to a service station".  Bought a ELM327 wifi code scanner from ODB Innovations, bought the cheapest OBD2 code reader app I could find for my iPhone, and pulled a P0420 code. This translates to bad Bank 1 (driver side engine bank) rear O2 sensor or cat.  I swapped the O2 sensors side to side to determine if it's a bad sensor or cat.  If the same code comes up again then it's the cat, if a P0430 (same as a P0420, but bank 2) comes up then it's the O2 sensor.

February 2013 - 92,000mi.
Oil & Filter change. I let the oil change interval go longer as per the recommendations I received from Blackstone and here is the latest Oil analysis report.

Clutch pedal assist spring broke.  Actually it was probably somewhat broken for sometime, as whenever someone else drove my car they'd comment that the clutch felt heavier in my car than theirs.  It really broke this time as I heard a loud "tonk" metal breaking sound when I depressed the clutch pedal.  After that I'd hear some occassional odd sounds, and the pedal feel would change time-to-time when it was depressed. Was a bit of a bitch to replace mostly because there is little room under the dash and I have long arms. Remove the plastic air duct for better access.  It comes out with one screw and some muscle. Be sure to put a nail or cotter pin in the end of the plunger (see below, right side end of (7)) to keep the spring from expanding before removing the old part.  Don't remove it from the new part until you have it installed. To get the spring assembly out you do not need to completely remove the pin (6) and in my case I couldn't, just twist and pull the whole thing (7) out while working the the clutch pedal.  Part #996-423-081-20 "Servo Spring" $65 from the local Porsche dealer with a 15% off coupon from Porsche (sign up for their e-mails).

Fall 2012
Interesting couple of months.  Everything is seemingly falling apart.

Ran over something on the highway during my morning commute and it tore up the screen shield on one side that I installed to protect the radiators.  If it wasn't for the screen on one side, I'd be replacing another radiator.  I was able to repair the screen.

The driverside mirror lid on the visor fell off, which is odd since it is very rarely used.  The hinge on the lid cracked.  It looks like the plastic is very brittle, cracked, and fell off.  I was able to glue on a new piece of plastic from some scrap I had, drill it and shape it.  There is no replacement part for just the lid, and a new visor is stupid expensive.  This fix cost me a a bottle of superglue.

Two tail lights burnt out and were replaced: 6418LL, 5007BP, $7.

The headlights would not turn on unless switched on/off several times.  After some research online it seemed that the cause was the headlight switch.  I ordered a new one from KO Performance.  Installation was relatively easy using the Bently manual and reading online about some others who had replaced it.  I also ordered a replacement magnetic engine oil drain plug as the current one was beginning to strip where you insert the allen wrench. $150.

Then the sunroof started to make an occassional loud crack/clunk sound when lifting.  It would then take pressing the close buttons multiple times before it would close.  I removed the sunroofs interior headliner cover to look at the mechanism, lubed it, and could not find anything wrong other than it seemed to extend too far possibly.  Here are two short videos of the issue: 1, 2.  Switch and motor replaced at Bascom Trim. $842.

October, 2012 - 88,000mi.
New battery from O'Rielly $151.

New front brake pads and rotors.  Yes, the original pads actually lasted this long.  Parts bought at local Porsche dealer (I had a 20% off coupon), and self installed: $868.  If you signup for Porsche's e-mail newsletter once a year they include a discount coupon for parts & service.

  • Disks, 1 each: 996-351-409-03, 996-351-410-3.
  • 1 Pad Set: 996: 996-351-949-1.
  • 2 Break Wear: 996-612-365-00.
  • 4 Pan-Head (caliper bolts): 999-073-402-01.
  • 4 Damping Pads: 996-351-089-01.
  • August, 2012 - 86,500mi.
    New tires.  I really liked the Kuhmo XS's as they had a bit more grip that the Yokokama AD08's I ran previously, and they lasted about the same amount of time. However, when I went to order a new set I found that the rears were on national backorder, and that after waiting a month that it would take another 8+ weeks to get them. Since my tires were close to cording I thought that I'd get a set of Yokohama's since I had a good experience with them too, but the rears were also on backorder.  Since the car is AWD the options are pretty limited, as the height of the front and rear tires need to be the same.  On top of that add in trying to find a tire that heats up quickly and is reasonably priced.  I looked up an old favorite and found that Falken RT-615K's fit in the same sizes as the Kuhmo's, 235/40/18 & 315/18/30.  I had run the old compound years ago on my old '95 Mustang GT track/autocross car and liked them a lot.  Next time I'll remember to order tires far, far ahead of time.  The Falken's were $182 more than the Kuhmo's, I got them from Discount Tire Direct, and had them mounted & balanced by Dietsch Werks: $1,264 + $140.

    July 2012 - 83,000mi.
    Another oil & filter change.

    Occassionally the power steering pump would make a little noise after spirited driving, even after the fluid flush that I did below, so I overfilled it and added this catch bottle.  I replaced the short vent tube with a longer one and used an old bottle that I found in my garage.  Since the power steering fluid is pretty nasty stuff be sure to test the bottle and hose that you use to make sure that it is compatible. After several months of running it this way it's been quiet, and surspisingly there hasn't been any fluid in the catch bottle.  On a friend's 2004 X51 C4S there is a one way breather on the end of the vent line.  I guess either Porsche put one on later cars, mine never had one pit on at the factory, or it was removed before I bought the car.

    May 2012
    Installed 1/4" (7mm) wheel spacers on the front to reduce understeer. Suncoast Motorsports RSS kit includesd longer bolts. $147.

    February 2012 - 77,000mi.
    The headlights were looking horrible from I don't know what so I refinished them.  Usually a bit of rubbing compound put on by hand, followed by wax, would clean up any oxidation, but that didn't work this time.  I regularily wax the lights also, so they really stay in good shape.  Alien bug guts really did a number on the lights I guess.  Even getting out my buffer to work the rubbing compound didn't work.  So I wet sanded the entire surface with 1000 grit sandpaper, then followed that up with rubbing compound, and then wax.

    Had to do the CA state required smog check. $58.

    Flushed the brakes (every 2 years), 1.5ltr ATE Blue.

    Flushed the power steering fluid as it was foaming with hard use on hot days, 2ltr Pentosin CHF11S.  I disconeccted a line into the steering rack on the right side of the car.  After letting the fluid run out I refilled the powersteering pump and ran the car until the pump ran out of fluid (started making noise).  I did this 3-4 times before reconnecting the line and refilling for a final time.

    The engine compartment deck lid would no longer stay open, and the trunk would fall in a breeze, so I replaced all the struts.  Rear: 99651255104 $76, Front: 99651155101 $30.

    Installed Bilstein HD's (front 22-052568, rear 24-029933) to improve the handling, not that I suspected that the originals were worn out (which are also made by Bilstein). Note that the Bilstein SP's are shorter than the HD's for use with lowering springs, but have exactly the same valving as the HD's in this application.  I got this info directly from Bilstein in San Diego. The car definately has less body roll, while the feel going down the road is mostly the same.  After the old shock were off, I noticed that I could hear fluid sloshing inside the front ones, so they probably were not working as good as they could have been. .$1,150.

    I also got a new oil pressure sending unit with and weatherproof connector.  I would occassionally get a failure indicator on the dash display for a few seconds.  I'd cleaning the electrical contacts (see past issues below) to the sending unit and I wouldn't have any more occurances for several months, then it woudl start up again.  Why Porsche didn't protect these connections from dirt I don't know.  I found a plug in the trailer parts section of West Marine and soldered it in so I should never have any issues again. I noticed that the sending unit is manufactured by VDO (it has their stamp on it) and it is stamped with the Porsche part number 99660620302, so there may be a cheaper way to get the part from a VDO vendor. $74 for the sending unit & $5.50 connector.

    December 2011
    Changed the cabin and engine air filters. $50

    The passenger side window decided to stop dipping when the door was opened.  Also, the mechanism started to make noise when going up and down.  For those unfamiliar with these cars, when a door is opened the window lowers itself automatically by about a 3/8" in order to clear the roof molding.  When closed the window moves back up for a nice streamlined seal.  When this isn't working properly you have to manually lower the window each time you open the door.  Prior to closing the door you can gently push the window down by hand if it is not low enough to close.  After reading several posts on rennlist and renntech I determined that the window regulator need to be replaced.  Basically this is the mechanism that the window travels on when it is going up and down.  It does not include the motor.  I figured the motor was fine so I did not replace it.  Pictures and more details from the R&R can be found here. Passenger side part# 99654207604: $234.

    November 2011
    While the car was in the shop for the clutch they noticed that the rubber driveshaft joint between the transmission and the driveshaft had some cracks.  They could not locate the part itself as their parts suppliers would only sell the entire driveshaft, and I needed the car back right away, so since it wasn't too badly cracked I had them put it back together and I figured I could try to find the part since the entire driveshaft from Porsche was $500.  After trying a local driveshaft shop who couldn't get the part but found a BMW part that almost matched, I posting on rennlist.com and a member posted back that koperformance.com had the part. It had the exact same number on it as the part that came off my car. $75.

    October 2011 - 75,000mi.
    The feel of the clutch started to feel a bit odd.  I wasn't sure if it was me as I hadn't driven the car for several days, but when out running errands and not being able to get it into reverse to back out of a parking space, I knew something was definately not right.  Getting into 1st was also a bit difficult. It seemed to be related to the clutch operation, but the problem ended up being the clutch itself.  Parts replaced from the shop invoice: Slave cylinder (it was showing signs that it was starting to leak), Clutch kit, Flywheel and pressure plate bolts, Pilot Bearing, release guide, spring, and arm, crankshaft seal, ball socket bushing.  I also had the intermediate shaft bearing upgraded with a part by LN Engineering.  It seemed to be the prudent thing to do as everything was apart, I will probably keep the car for a long time, and the failure of this bearing would be catastrophic to the motor, thus killing the value of the car. The oil and filter were also changed. Dietsch Werks $3,694.
    Not sure why the old pressure plate look like this when it came out:

    The old IMS bearning had about 0.01" of play in it when you would push/pull on it.  I wouldn't say that I made much of a precise measurement, but it was the best I could do with what I have.  Otherwise it looks fine and rolls smooth. It was completely filled with oil when I opened it up a several weeks after it was taken out, so it was staying well lubed.


    September 2011 - 74,000mi.
    Didn't have time to flush out the PS fluid, but became convinced that it's the issue with the odd sounds I sometimes get.  I pulled the cap off to check the fluid when the noise was occurring and the fluid was foamy.  I assume that means it's lost it's anti-foaming properties due to age.  The fluid still looks perfectly clear though unlike regular PS fluid or ATF that I'm used to that turns brown and smells burnt when it is bad. I picked up 3 liters of Pentosin CHS 11S from Lubrify.com, and I also got 3 liters of ATE to flush my brakes in the off season as I'm up on Porsche's recommended 2 year fluch cycle. $99

    The Yokohama's in the rear are done, while the fronts are still just above the wear indicators so I'll keep those. Pretty awesome lifespan for a sticky tire that warm up really fast.  After finding out it could be up to 3 months to get replacements (aftermath of the Japanese earthquake?) I did some research into comperable tires and got some Kuhmo XS's.  In fact it sounded like I got the last set of 315/18/30's in the US.  While the standard tire sizes for the car are 225/40R18 & 295/30R18, there are not many good choices out there in those sizes.  After finding a member on sixspeedonline that had bought Kuhmo XS's in 235/40/18 & 315/18/30 for his Turbo and reported the fix was good, comparing the dimensions listed on Tirerack, and knowing that Kuhmo's have a tendency to be less wider thanother brands, I figured they'd fit well. Delivered from Vulcan Tire, and mounted/balanced by Dietsch Werks $1,296.

    August 2011
    That odd sound from October came back.  Think I'll flush out the powersteering fluid.

    July 2011 - 70,000mi.
    To even out the tire wear, and since the tires are directional, I had all the tires flipped on the wheels at Dietsch Werks.  I'm really impressed with the wear on the Yokohama's.  At this point in their life they get pretty greasy when hot however. $120.

    April 2011 - 67,000mi.
    Changed the oil, oil filter. $100.

    March 2011
    Had the chrome cover on the passenger side headlight washer fly off while on the freeway.  When looking for a replacement I found that one cannot just buy the chrome cap.  To replace it I extended the washer by pulling it out gently with pliers, and held it in the extended position with vice grips.  Use a small flat head screwdriver to release the tab holding in the washer.  The new one just snaps in place. Photo on the right shows the old part.  Parts Heaven $52.

    February 2011
    Installed a B&M shifter (part #45135).  For such a well engineered car it always bugged me that the throws were rather long, and felt more precise and positively enganged. The install was easy as the instructions provided were excellent. $280.

    Did my semi-annual inspection of the car. It's an old habit from back when I open-tracked a '95 Mustang GT.  The only item I found was a nail in a tire, so I took the car over to Jon at Dietsch Werks and had them patch it and check the alignment since I had not done so with the new Yokohama tires.  $120.
            Camber: -0.7/-0.7 deg.
            Toe: 0.08/0.08 deg.
            Camber: -1.5/-1.5 deg.
            Toe: 0.14/0.13

    November 2010
    Needed new wipers and though I'd try someting new and Tire Rack had a 2 for 1 offer: Valeo Ultimate wiper blades, 22" 900-22-1B.  Unlike a traditional wiper arm, these do a way with the metal arm and just rely on the blade for structural support. They certainly look more modern, and are probably more aerodynamic and therefore should produce less wind noise.

    October 2010
    Picked up an odd sound from the engine compartment.  Not sure what it was, as it didn't last long and has not reoccurred. Heat seems to be a factor,  and was dependend upon engine RPM, and not dependent upon the car moving. It went away after about a minute or two on each occassion. It didn't last long enough for me to park and pop the hood and maybe get a better idea of where it was coming from. I took the accessory belt off to check the idler pulleys, alternator, etc. and they all felt fine.

    September 2010 - 58,500mi.
    Changed the oil, oil filter, engine air filter, cabin air filter, and accessory belt. $155. Oil analysis report

    Bought a new set of tires.  These went on my spare set of wheels and I tossed out the old Sumitomo's. Yokohama Advan Neova AD08's: 225/40R18 & 295/30R18, $1,122. The Pirelli's that have been on the car are wearing well on the front, however the rears are really going fast and now have only half the tread depth as the fronts.

    May 2010
    The only remote key fob that I have stopped working.  After replacing the battery it still didn't work.  Off to the dealer, Carlsen, and $176.89 later ($147.10 parts, $45 labor) I have a new key fob.  That was after a 15% discount for being in the GGR PCA (they sponsor the regions autocross series), and knowing a tech that works there.  Part #996-637-244-42 "Key Head W.C".

    I started to randomly get the oil pressure sender fail notice in the instrument cluster again (see March 2008 below).  So I cleaned the electrical connections on the sending unit with some light sandpaper, put a dab of dielectric grease on the connectors, and that fixed it again.  I still think that most times when people experience this problem it's not the sending unit, it's just dirty connections as they are poorly insulated from the elements. So before you replace the sending unit just try cleaning the connections.  Here is another picture to show where it is (upper right bank of the motor):

    April 2010 - 54,000mi
    With the bad rain we've been having I put the Pirelli's on the car as the Sumitomo's, particularily the fronts, had very little tread.  I've been happy with the tires, though they could use more meat on the outsides like the Pirelli's and Kuhmo SPT's I had previously.  For the money though they can't be beat.

    March 2010

    February 2010
    Bought a set of 996 C4S wheels and Pirelli PZero tires (original, new car take offs). Yes the caps are wrong, but I can care less. I wasn't looking for an extra set of wheels, but I will be needing new tires soon, and I couldn't pass up this deal. $800

    January 2010 - 50,000mi

    The vice grips were used to hold the allen wrench socket to get one bolt on the right rear coil pack where clearance was tight.

    I had to bend the rear most end of the drivers side heat shield in order to remove it.

    December 2009 - 49,000mi.
    How about a update on the tires?  The Sumitomo HTR ZIII's have proven to want more camber than the Kuhmo SPT's I had previously, as such they've worn out moreso on the outside.  I don't know if this is a function of the internal contrruction, or the fact that they do have less meat on the outside than the Kuhmo's.  Otherwise wear has been similar to the Kuhmo's, but the fronts are wearing faster that the rears, and are at the wear bars.  The rears have about double the thickness of the wear bars remaining. The Kuhmo's wore surprisingly evenly front to rear.

    The clutch pedal was squeeking at the end of it's travel whenever it was depressed.  I used some lithium grease spray and lubed it where indicated.

    October 2009
    The sunroof gets me again! After getting out of the car after a drive home from work I found gasket laying across the roof about to completely fall off. It must have stuck to the sunroof itself and pulled itself off of it's mount on the car.  I cleaned it with some Turtlewax F21 (a plastic/rubber/leather protectant), and used a few dabs of superglue gel to refasten it.

    September 2009
    The sunroof partially stopped working. With one click of the open/close button it is supposed to close without having to continously hold the button down.  After a search on Rennlist I found the reset instructions and it's worked fine ever since. To reset the sunroof hold down the rocker switch in the "close" position for ten seconds with the sunroof already closed.

    I also noticed the right rear air deflector, found in front of the rear tire, barely hanging on.  No sense replacing it since it'll just get hammered again.  Porsche really needs to make all these air deflectors under the car more durable. I don't think they know what roads are like here in America.

    August 2009
    Bought a set of jack pads.  I haven't been happy with how my jacks moved around on, and how the jackstands, fit the small jack points under the car.  I got these off Ebay for $50.  They are sold aluminum and fit into the jack point under the car and lock in with a half turn twist.

    Installed v2.0 of an iPhone mount.  I tried other things and they would not hold the iPhone securely enough for the Dynolicious app to work accurately.  I removed the now useless CD storage unit (eject one slot, and yank it out) and attached a swiviling iPhone vent mount I bought sometime ago off Ebay.  I removed the parts on the back that would clip the mount to an air vent so that I could mount flush.  I'll try this out for a bit and see how it works before I install something to finish off the remaining hole. I'll need to find a small, black, rectangular box or something similar.  That way it would make for a second usable cubby.

    July 2009
    Having never owned a dark colored car before I started to notice ssmingly every single little paint chip.  On a recommendation from a fellow PCA member I bought a paint pen that matched the color of my car from Autovisuals.com.  The felt tip pen makes touch ups easy, and to my surprise it has yet to clog up, which I thought would happen after a couple uses.

    The upper passenger side radiator hose started leaking where it joins the radiator, just like the lower hose on this same radiator did a few months ago.  I took it apart, cleaned it, and put it back together, but it still leaked.  I replaced the hose and it seems fine (part # 996.106.621.78, $32 at the dealer).  Same MO as with the lower hose. Lesson learned is that when you replace a radiator, replace the hoses, as the old ones won't reseal well.  This would only apply to the cars with the hoses with the rubber 'O' rings - 996 4S & Turbos.  The parts counter mentioned that the new 997's have these 'O' ring type connection all over the car.  Replacing these hoses was easy.  Removing the tire and inner fenderwell cover is how you get to the hoses, and is simple with basic tools.  I bleed the cooling system by refilling the coolent tank, putting the cap back on, positioning the metal ring on top of the bleed valve to hold the valve open (the black thing on top of the coolent tank) and running the car at idle. Monitor the temp via the dash gauge, monitor the coolent level in the tank, and wait for the coolent to get hot and flow through the system (you can tell by carefully feeling the hoses at the front of the car).  Once it's hot I gave it a spin around the block, and then let it cool down.  Top off the coolent tank when cool and reposition the ring on the bleed valve.  Check the coolent level the next time it cools down and top off if necessary. Since so little coolent was lost in changing this hose I used distilled water to top off the system.

    I put together a basic tool kit for the car (and my 4Runner) for when I go on long trips. It's made out of various tools I either had duplicates of or tools I got at Harbor Freight. ~$50.

    April 2009 - 42,000 miles
    Changed the oil and filter, cabin and engine filters; ~$150 for the oil (9qts Redline 5-40) and filters.
        Part numbers:
            Oil: Mahle 996-107-225-53 (OX128/1D)
            Air: Hengst E457L
            Cabin: E951LC (carbon)

    I sent off an oil sample to Blackstone to see how the oil and filtration is doing and they suggested running the oil for another 2,000 miles before changing it (for a total of 9,000 miles) since the oil analysis report was so good.  As such I'll keep running the Redline eventhough it's not on Porsche's approved oil list (oh the horror!), and Mahle filters.  After having a K&N on my old Mustang GT race car, and seeing how that resulted in higher silica readings, I'm convinced paper filters are the way to go unless you are racing for money. I also replaced the oil pan drain plug with one that has a magnet in it.  I got it on Ebay from maxspeed-motorsports.

    After 15,000 miles the Kuhmo SPT's were practically bald.  Pretty damn good wear considering my driving.  Goes to show what a good alignment, and the proper tire presures can do.  I was going to get another set of the Kuhmo's but after reading about the Sumitomo HTR Z III's I decided to try them out as they sounded a bit stickier and they were in the same price range as the Kuhmo's.  I don't see any point to spending $600 more for a Porsche N rated tire that may be marginally stickier unless a sponsor pays me the difference.  Tires from Tire Rack were $652 shipped.  Mounting, balancing, new valve stems, and alignment: $398.   The new alignment specifications are:
            Caster: 7.8 deg.
            Camber: -0.7 deg.
            Toe: 1/32" each side, for 1/16" total.
            Camber: -1.2 deg.
            Toe: 1/16" each side for 3/32" total. (it doesn't add up but that's what the sheet says).

    Lastly the front, lower, passenger side radiator hose started leaking slightly.  This hose seemed fine last year, but alas it was not.  This hose has a connection to the radiator that I had never seen before.  I tried cleaning off the connection and lubing the O ring with maring grease, but after driving it around it still leaked.

    Since it could be leaking from either the O ring or from where the hose is swedged onto the metal fitting I figured a new hose would be a better way to go.  After having NAPA get me a new hose I discovered that the 4S has a different hose than the base 996, which they ultimately couldn't get me.  The dealer was able to get me one the next day (part# 996-106-626-77) for $34, same price as what NAPA charged for the wrong hose. I have to credit Porsche with the ability to get parts to us so fast, particularily impressive as Porsche is a small auto manufacturer.  I've had friends wait weeks for basic parts from other exotic car manufacturers.  I also got a gallon of Porsche antifreeze from the dealer, $31.  I didn't need much of the new stuff as I reused what came out when I removed the hose since the coolent had been replaced last year.  I filtered it with an clean, old T-shirt.

    March 2009 - 41,000 miles
    On a rainy weekend with not much to do I installed a dash mounted switch to raise and lower the spoiler.  Since there is a switch under the dash by the fuse box this is redundant, but more convenient.  I like to pop it up for auto-x runs, although I doubt it does anything, it ain't gonna hurt.  The car photographs better with it up anyway. Some wires, a switch, in my case part #996.613.155.10.A05, is all that's needed.  Instructions on how to do this install can be found here.  Cost was about $40 for the everything.

    January 2009 - 39,000 miles
    The transmission seemed a bit sticky to shift into 1st and 2nd when cold.  I figured I'd change the transmission fluid, and while I was at it change the differential fluid.  You need 2 quarts for the differential, and 4 quarts for the transmission.  I contacted Redline and they told me to use 75-140 in the dif and 75-140NS in the tranny.  With basic tools it is easy to change the fluids.  To fill the transmission, I ran a hose through the engine compartment to the fill hole on the tranny and filled it that way.  Use a old plasitc grocery bag or something similar to keep the inevitable overflow off the crossbrace that is directly below the fill hole.  This makes cleanup easy.  If your car is a daily driver I'd leave the fluid alone until the factory recommended change interval.  $57.

    December 2008 - 38,000 miles
    Winter, and that means new wipers.  Easy enough as the local parts house had them in stock. ANCO part #91-22. $21.

    September 2008 - 34,000 miles
    Changed the oil and filter; $130 for the oil (9qts Redline 5-40) and filter (Mahle). Out of curiosity I cut open the filter and didn't see anything.  It's easy to do.  once you remove the material at one end ( I used a screwdriver) you can easily cut it with some tough sissors. The black plastic thing just comes right out.

    I also installed a Dension 500 so that I could hook up my iPhone to the stereo.  In 2003 Porsche's started using a fiber optic system for the stereo system, which makes this sort of upgrade a hell of a lot more expensive.  After trolling the various internet forums this seemed like the only way to go.  Unfortunately there are no real comprehensive instructions to install this thing, but between the instructions provided, and reading various posts, I got it installed.  Use "Installation Type 3A" in the instruction manual.  While everyone online has seemed to install it in the trunk, I installed it behind and under the radio.  This seemed easier to me, and there is plenty of room for the unit.  You do have to pull the radio however, but one can get the keys to do this on Ebay for a few $.  I tapped into the optics here (red circle).  The green circle is the wiring loom where I tapped into the + and -. Gettin my mind wrapped around the whole fiber optic situation took awhile, but it's not that big a deal after all, just different.

    After tapping into the optics:

    I had a bit of difficulty in that my car is an early 2003 model, which used different fiber optics than cars build since then.  Again, this is not readily apparent in the literature, so I was a buit frustrated.  I however got it to work fine, at least so far.  There is a special adapter available, but I took apart the stock radio connector (and completely pull out the blue lock), and managed to get both optic cable into the connector. The blue lock needed a bit of persuation with a pair of pliers to go back in however.

    In my opinion the retailer (bumperplugs.com) could gain many more sales if a dedicated set of instrutions was provided to each year and make of car, and for each type of stereo system. It seems to me that a lot of people won't attempt the installation due to the lack of clear instructions. Of course you could take it to a professional installer, but make sure they know fiber optics and that they have done this type of installation before.

    Lastly, since my car did not already have a CD changer installed, I had to take the car to the dealer to have the stereo reprogrammed to think there is a CD changer installed, as the Dension unit takes the place of a CD changer.  The stereo will not work otherwise.  Mine stereo constantly cycled on and off while the car was on until the deck was reprogrammed.

    July 2008
    Right radiator was replaced due to cracking of the lower hose mount.  I hit several cones autocrossing apparently exactly the wrong way. The shop says they've seen this occassionally. My preventative measures can be seen here.

    I built a camera mount that bolts onto where the rear seat pins (for lack of a better term) hold the rear seats up. Parts needed:


    June 2008 - 30,000 miles
    Shift Light Installed.  I really got used to having a shift light on my old track car and really missed it.  Especially since this car revs so fast and 1st and 2nd gears go by so fast. I really wanted a sequential multi light shift light as opposed to the single light one I had before (MSD).  This way I have a good idea of where I am in the RPM range and can better anticipate when to shift.  After searching around the various enthusiast forums I found one by the Austrailian company Ecliptech.  After ordering I got it in four days.  Ain't that amazing!  And the shipping was reasonable too.  I read several threads on Renntech about where to find the appropriate wires, and find out how to take the instrument cluster apart.  It took me an afternoon as I never had taked apart the dash on a Porsche before, and I really took my time.  Everything is nicely engineered and easily went back together, unlike other cars I've worked on where things never seem to want to go back together easily and look the same as when you first took it apart.

    I should have taken more photos, but on the left you can see the aluminum 'T' I made.  You can't see it well in the second photo, but the top half of the 'T' is bent down thus allowing the shift light to have an attachment surface.  The photo on the right shows the existing gap in the gauge trim that has been slightly enlarged so that the aluminum 'T' I made would have clearance to pass through.  I did not glue the 'T' to anything as the tight fit between the gauge trim and the top dash piece.  I did stick the 'T' under the existing padding.  I forgot to take another photo to show this, but about an inch over from the existing slot that is shown in the photo on the right, I cut a similar slot, but smaller, for the shift light wiring.

    Wiring: 3 wires on the shift light, black, black/red, black/blue.

    I have it set so that the first light comes on at 5,000rpm.  At 6,500rpm, after the lights have all come on, they all flash.  I figure this also gives me enough time to do something before hitting the rev limit.

    May 2008 - 29,000miles
    After driving for an hour in the worst traffic jam I can remember, on an exceptionally hot day, I noticed a loud noise from the engine compartment that was a cross between a bearing grinding away and a gearbox loaded with rocks.  After removing the accessory belt I found that the lower most idler pulley did not turn as freely as the others.  Seemed strange that this little thing could cause such a horrible racket, but once I replaced it the engine is quieter than ever.  The part number on the pulley was 996.102.120.55, however the parts counter at the dealer said that was superceeded by 997.102.119.00.  The new part is not metal (except for the bearing part), and much, much lighter.  It bolted on like the original and dimensionally was the same for the most part. $100.57 at the dealer counter, and I got it the next day.  I could have got it cheaper at Sunset (in Portland), but I wanted to get the car running again ASAP.

    March 2008 - 26,000 miles
    Car came with brand new Kuhmo SPT tires.  I had my alignment shop put their recommended alignment on it based on my driving.  I also changed the oil & oil filter, put the air filter back to stock (the proir owner put a K&N on it) with new filter, replaced cabin filter.  From my experience the minor gains, if any, of K&N filters are not worth the poor filtering abilities.  $240 for the alignment, $137 for oil (Redline 5-40) and filters (Mahle).

    Alignment specifications (figures are the same left and right and taken directly from the report my shop gave me):
            Caster: 8.0 deg.
            Camber: -0.5 deg.
            Toe: 1/32" each side, for 1/16" total.
            Camber: -1.0
            Toe: 1/16" each side for 3/32" total. (it doesn't add up but that's what the sheet says)

        Update (July 2008, 31,000mi.): after 5,000mi the tire wear has been perfect, so the shop hit the specs just right

    Around this time the oil pressure gauge would randomly drop to zero for a few seconds, then come back to normal.  After having a minor stroke the first time it happened, I figured that since the engine was running fine that it must be some kind of electrical issue.  After searching the Porsche message boards I found several people that had issues with the oil pressure sending unit (mounted on the upper right side of the motor), and the electrical connections to the sending unit.  I cleaned the electrical connections and put some dielectric grease on them and it has been fine ever since.  The connections do not have any protection from the elements, which is rather surprising.  I seriously doubt that people who have been told by service tech's that they needed to replace the unit really needed to.  Best to first clean the connections and see if that takes care of it.  Here is where the sending unit is located:

    X: spark plug coil packs, view from wheel well, with spark plug heat shield removed.

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