I'm thinking about purchasing an '84-89 911. I would be patient and wait to find one in good shape that's been well maintained.
What's realistic to budget in terms of routine maintenance? I change the oil and do valve adjustments on my 914/4. But, I don't feel comfortable doing that on a flat-6. So, I'd have a professional do this. Other than oil changes and valve adjustments, what else should I plan for? It would be driven about 3-6K miles per year.
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I agree with the others. A 3.2 motor is great. If you do you your own work on your 914 you can easily do the work on a 3.2. I had my valves adjusted at a very well regarded shop and they did not do a very good job so went back and redid them myself with much better results.
If you have doubts just pick up a copy of the Bentley service manual for the Carrera you are thinking about buying. It lays everything out very clearly and it will be the best $85 you ever spent.
We were charging $1000-$1500 in the 1980s on these cars for a yearly full service: oil change, fill the washer tank valve adjust, plugs, cap, rotor, fuel filter, air filter and a brake flush.
And a couple hundred bucks to change oil: a gasket set, 12-13 qts for high quality oil, and it's not a hard job to do just time consuming to get it up to temp, drain the case and tank pull the cover and clean the screen if applicable, and get it refilled correctly.
Valve adjust need to be done stone cold, so that always complicated it a little bit. We would just make the cust leave the car for a couple days.
Plus whatever else it needs or breaks.
It will also depend on the specific car you get and if it has had all the updates or not: pop off valve in the airbox, Carrera tensioners, which are not bullet proof either, clutch (rubber hub or sprung).
And depending on the year if it has a G50 or not. A 905 gear box will probably need rebuilt at sometime unless it's already been done.
Then it's all the kind of common things with a Porsche 911. Peddle box bushings, brakes, cv boots, if it's a coupe with a roof, cables, guides and velvets, window switches, power seat switches, clutch slave, master cylinder and a battery replacement ever so often. The batteries tend to get punished just because the are not driven enough and are not properly maintained. And some 911 are just harder on batt than others.
Then again just whatever breaks or falls off.
And if you want your AC to work that is a whole nother animal.
If you are going to have someone else work on it I would plan on a couple grand a year. Some years will be just a service and some will have more major repairs.
These are great cars, very reliable. Parts can be pricey, but the aftermarket has kept this in check. Great sponsors here.
There are many 'rules' of what to look for and look out for. The Zimmerman book is highly advised, many posts throughout RL give clues too.
I recently bought a pristine low miler 3.2 and chased an oil drip until it necessitated the first engine drop in its 24 year life. Many things sealed, replaced as a preventive. Plus valve set.
This was a $2grand job (others can debate whether I overpaid , but I got several items done while out, saving future headaches.)
Anyway, getting service receipts and history is always wise. A PPI a good idea too. All in all, very enjoyable, reliable cars with decently predictable failures in a few specific areas. Have fun in your search!
Factory Turbo-body 3.2 Carrera, Pantera, Jaguar E-type, Audi R8
Thanks for all the feedback. It makes me feel a bit more comfortable with this pursuit. Some of the fun in owning an old car is the work. Usually, its theraputic. Sometimes, its frustrating. I'll begin to search the site and read the Zimmerman book.
Makmov metioned the A/C. I understand air-cooled cars don't have very good A/C. But, how bad is it really? I live in Redlands, CA. This summer's been mild. But, it does get pretty toasty. I was thinking a 911 might offer significantly more comfort than the 914. The 914 only goes "fun, casual" places. I was hoping a 911 would let me have the fun without arriving at certain events dripping wet. (And my wife would be more willing to take the fun car on dates.)
Porsche didn't get the AC really right until the 964, which is pretty relaible and blows cold - although it's not without some problems that can come up and the evap is a little small.
In fact if you want something that is just a little more easy to live with all around you might look at a 964C2/C4: Power steering, Power brakes, Coil spring suspension, ABS, dual airbag, and AWD.
A Carrera AC is much better than a AM, dealer/port installed SC AC, but still not as good as the next generation 911 AC is.
You don't want to be driving a air/oilcooled 911 where it gets warm with out AC. There is a HUGE heater in the back that will turn a warm day into unbareable without AC especailly if you have a dark car with dark guts.
It always seems like all the engine heat escapes from the rear fender openings and gets sucked in the door window openings when you slow down or stop.
If it does have a working AC it will probably need a touch up on the charge once a year. The cars just don't get driven enough generally to keep the gas inside them - they need to be run often to keep all the seals sealed up.
Roger, I used to dd my 914-6 for about 6 months after I sold my BMW and before I bought the first 911.
There is a HUGE difference in ride quality, and comfort between a 914 and an 80s 911. When I bought the SC, I thought "gee what a civilized car". I could go to San Francisco and not feel beat up and tired when I got there, and my ears were not ringing. I went to San Diego, and to Orange County and it was GT driving at it's best. When I bought the 3.2 Carrera, with Sport seats and a cruise control, I thought "gee, I won't even spill my coffee now". And I haven't. Now that I'm 41, I think the creature comforts mean more to me, especially when I want to drive the 911 to the office, and not get out all sweaty and smelling like fuel or burning oil. The 3.2 Carrera does not leak a drop of oil, gets awesome gas mileage, does not burn much oil, and like I said, I can jump in it and cruise 80-90 the whole way and get out like I just left. It's the closest thing to a time machine that I have ever experienced.
The 914-6 on the other hand, as you know, has paper mache thin sound deadening, short wheel base so it porpoises down the highway, burns oil, and the side shifter 901 is not terrible, but on a good day you might not miss a shift. The best thing about the 914 in my opinion is the 4-wheel drift on command that you can do on any offramp, any day, any time. That's why I keep mine even though it is by now covered with an inch of dust.
I bought an 86 911 over a year ago with 100k miles on it. It now has 104k and has been to the track a few times. I haven't had a single issue with it other than maintenance items (knock on wood). It's a great car and really fun to drive. Biggest item is the valve adjustment, these run around $400 if you have a shop do it or $25 for the gaskets if you do it yourself (I haven't done it yet). I had to replace my clock and a window switch and I put new transmission mounts in. Also replaced shocks and struts with Bilstein sports all around. Plugs, rotor and dist cap along with fluids and filters also changed. All normal things to do in a car this age.
I'm hardly an expert, but seems as though the most common major repairs are the synchros and head studs, figure a few grand if you pay someone to do it. One more thing, check for rust in the battery compartment.