Resuscitating a Porsche 944 and an FJ40 (long) (1 Viewer)

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In the past few months I have “resuscitated” – meaning got running and moving under their own power – two very different vehicles that I have owned for 20 to 30 years but have not run for 10 years +/-. The first is a 1986 Porsche 944 with about 90,000 miles that I bought from the original owner in 1991 with 25,000 miles. The second is a 1976 FJ40 that I bought in 2002 with unknown mileage and ownership history. The Cruiser was my daily driver for years combined with a half dozen or so off-road adventures per year while the Porsche was my fair weather, Saturday night, few-hundred-mile-trip-per-year, vehicle. Both last ran and drove less than 10 miles about 8 to 10 years ago when I moved from town to the country. When parked, both sat outside for roughly 5 years and in my shed for about 10 and I did absolutely nothing to either one to prepare for storage. A buddy has bugged me for a couple of years (a Cruiser guy) to buy the 944 so I wanted to get it running, and I decided to get the Cruiser back in gear as a trail rig, mainly finishing the body and paint work that I had begun over 10 years ago.

I thought some of you might be interested in my side-to-side experiences in getting these vehicles running:

Porsche 944

One night a year or two ago I went into the shed and saw a large puddle of gas under the car. I suspected a problem with the tank and dreaded replacement because that requires dropping the transaxle. But after a little inspection I found the leakage was from the tank-to-fuel pump hose (looked like it had melted) and the fuel pump itself so both of those were replaced along with the pump-to-filter hose and the filter. The brakes on each wheel (discs) were all rusted/frozen up so that the car could not even be rolled so I rebuilt each caliper. Got the wheels turning freely, and flushed and bled the system. Put Marvel Mystery Oil in each cylinder and rotated engine several times by hand. Put in a battery but the motor wouldn’t crank. Tested the starter/solenoid and it too was frozen up so a new rebuilt Bosch went in. Now it cranked good but no start. Good spark at each cylinder and good fuel flow to the fuel rail but the plugs were dry as a bone. So, pulled all the injectors, which showed to be semi-stopped up, and cleaned and flushed each one. This is an interference SOHC engine so if the cam belt breaks the valves and pistons collide and big damage. My records showed the cam belt had only about 12k miles on it but was 15 years old. So I removed the covers to inspect the belt (probably the biggest job I did in terms of time spent) and the belt looked good and had no visible cracking or fraying so I figured I would be OK to try to start it. With the cleaned injectors in, she fired on the first turn of the key and after a few minutes purred like a kitten. A ten mile test drive at less than 4000 rpm went fine and there was no smoke, no unusual noises, no leaks, and ran and stopped fine. Total spent on parts a little less than $1000. My buddy came and got her about a week ago and was thrilled to death!

FJ40

Also put Marvel in each cylinder and a new battery (actually a used Interstate from the local Interstate store) and spun the engine several times with the plugs in but coil disconnected and then the next day with the plugs removed. Unlike the Porsche the starter acted like it did 10 years ago! Since I had removed the tank and taken it to a guy who rebuilds antique tractor tanks and radiators to be cleaned out and sealed, I rigged up a temporary fuel supply using an old Harley Sportster tank I had. Cranked and cranked and fired with the help of starting fluid but ran for only a few seconds. Checked for fuel all along the lines from my temporary tank to the filter to the pump and seemed to be getting flow to the pump but not very strong or consistent thanks to a balky petcock on the motorcycle tank. I wasn’t getting any visible flow at the carb when I manually operated the accelerator pump, so began to suspect the fuel pump was bad. Disconnected the supply line at the carb to test the pump with wifey’s help, and noticed a drop or two of fuel at the end of the line. I thought, hmmm, I wonder where that came from? My wife cranked the motor while I held a cup under the fuel line end and no flow. I was about ready to order a new pump but thought I’d try cranking a little more with some starting fluid, but no luck, and then poured a little gas into the carb, cranked some more and she fired, then coughed and sneezed and sputtered and then Bingo! She ran with the choke out and half throttle and didn’t purr like a kitten and never had, but snarled more like an angry tom cat! Oil pressure was good and after she had warmed up, she smoothed out and I decided I’d try to back out of the part of my shed where she had sat and drive around to the entrance to the shop part of my shed. I had a bit of a spongy brake pedal and while the brakes weren’t completely locked like on my 944, she moved reluctantly but move she did. I didn’t try to drive on the road as I didn’t think the brakes were safe so I only went the 50 yards or less through the yard. But the engine ran nice and smooth after warmed up, had good oil pressure and no leaks. Total spent was $50 for a used Interstate battery about one year old.

I love both Porsches and FJ40 Land Cruisers! Both are special vehicles to me and both have excellent reputations in their different worlds. Funny how certain vehicles develop reputations for certain things like reliability, durability, etc. but I’m here to tell you that reputations aren’t always reliable indicators for a specific vehicle. I had a ’97 Porsche 911 for about 10 years which I owned from 50,000 miles to 90,000 miles. At the same time I had an F-150 pickup which was my daily driver from about 65,000 miles to 110,000 miles (it’s still my daily driver). I don’t have the actual numbers but outside of normal maintenance (oil and filters, brake fluid flushes and pads, tires) the only money I spent on the 911 was to have valve cover gaskets replaced to stop oil leakage. The F-150 has been regularly serviced at the Ford dealer, but I have also replaced the passenger side window regulator, the door module (which is one of the “computers” and a $500 item!), plugs and half the ignition coils, a total of a couple of thousand dollars compared to a few hundred to have the oil leaks repaired on the 911!

I left out a lot of details on the 944 and FJ40 like the mice nests in both air intakes! I’ll be happy to answer any questions or provide any details. Never could have done the 944 without the web.

Pete
 

whitey45

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Pete,

Been a Porsche tech and landcruiser junky for 30 years. My porsches are parked right next to my landcruisers! I used to work on 944’s everyday, they were super popular in the early 90’s. Probably have done hundreds of timing, balance belt, water pump, oil seal replacements. Have had several 944’s, fun great handling car, but really needs the turbo. Was a fun read, have brought back porsches and landcruisers from long hibernation. The cruisers almost always start with a battery and fuel! Porsche probably not the best car to let sit, just a fuel pump can be costly to replace. I rescued a 944 a couple years ago( was on craigslist for free!!! The guy could not get it to run properly and thought it needed injectors. I put it on the lift and went right to the in tank filter ( totally clogged up!!) put a new one in and it fired up and purred!! I bet you wish you had the 993 now!! I daily drove a 95 for 6 years, sold it about 10 years ago with 220k original miles, was still running great and on its original clutch still, amazing vehicles!

cheers,

Brian
 
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Brian,

I loved that 993 but I wanted a newer, bigger, faster model so traded it for a 991, a '14 Carrera S which is an unbelievable performer. With 2 hip replacements in 4 years the bigger doors on the 991 help ingress and egress. When friends see me getting in my car they remark on how hard it is to get in and out of, and my response is always "it's worth it"! I still love the air cooled 911s so I'm looking for a '69 to '73. This is the second FJ40 I've resuscitated. Much easier to work on than a 944 due to lots of room in the engine compartment, but I do appreciate the German design and engineering.

Pete
 
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Good one Mark!
PCA member? What region? We’re Inland Northwest. The LC and 996 were bought new, the 914 was my dad’s track car and the FJ40 is something I bought in NM in 92.

The 40 went through a 2 year resurrection (frame off), the 914 was disassembled, cleaned, and painted (original Olympia Blue) 2 years ago.

All are fun rides.
 

middlecalf

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So what did/do you guys use your Porsche’s for? I hauled a load of sod once in my 1984 944, only vehicle I had. Shortly after that I purchased my first cruiser, a 1970 FJ55. Perfect combo for out west!
 
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PCA member? What region? We’re Inland Northwest. The LC and 996 were bought new, the 914 was my dad’s track car and the FJ40 is something I bought in NM in 92.

The 40 went through a 2 year resurrection (frame off), the 914 was disassembled, cleaned, and painted (original Olympia Blue) 2 years ago.

All are fun rides.
I'm in the PCA Lincoln Trail region only a few thousand miles from you! Unfortunately, few if any good Porsche roads or land Cruiser trails within a 100 miles or more.

Pete
 
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So what did/do you guys use your Porsche’s for? I hauled a load of sod once in my 1984 944, only vehicle I had. Shortly after that I purchased my first cruiser, a 1970 FJ55. Perfect combo for out west!
I had a 89 944 bought new in Lubbock Tx while living in Carlsbad NM. We went to Artesia NM and bought a bag of roasted chilies, maybe 1990. My son has that car now and sill, when you climb in....smells like roasted chilies.....always thought it was the Guards Red bleeding through. 🤣
 
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We should probably sealer our own Porsche/Land Cruiser thread on mud. Probably be more fun then Pelican, 914World and Rennlist. At least we have have the good nature to laugh at ourselves. I have a bucket load of fun P-car and Land Cruiser tales to tell.
 

whitey45

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I would love a Porsche/ cruiser thread, never been on any p forums, I enjoy the cars for there performance, engineering, fun factor and of course there great lines. I don’t care if no one ever see’s them, but it would be fun to exchange stories and pics! I bought this 77 930 turbo when I was 25! (Circa 1995)( It came into the shop needing work, the bill was $3300 and the owner couldn’t afford it, so he brought the title in and gave it to my boss. It was my dream car, he said pay the bill and it’s yours!!!! I drove the hell out of it for 2 years and sold it for a down payment on my first house! Fast foward 25 years and now are valued at $250k!!! At the end of the day my house is worth way more, so it’s all relative I guess, sure wish I still had it!
4F04DAA0-6BB5-4423-8423-1F52272E4BCA.png
 
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I would love a Porsche/ cruiser thread, never been on any p forums, I enjoy the cars for there performance, engineering, fun factor and of course there great lines. I don’t care if no one ever see’s them, but it would be fun to exchange stories and pics! I bought this 77 930 turbo when I was 25! (Circa 1995)( It came into the shop needing work, the bill was $3300 and the owner couldn’t afford it, so he brought the title in and gave it to my boss. It was my dream car, he said pay the bill and it’s yours!!!! I drove the hell out of it for 2 years and sold it for a down payment on my first house! Fast foward 25 years and now are valued at $250k!!! At the end of the day my house is worth way more, so it’s all relative I guess, sure wish I still had it!View attachment 2460656
I love a black 930!
 
Joined
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We should probably sealer our own Porsche/Land Cruiser thread on mud. Probably be more fun then Pelican, 914World and Rennlist. At least we have have the good nature to laugh at ourselves. I have a bucket load of fun P-car and Land Cruiser tales to tell.
I'd second that! I got a lot of good info from a couple of guys on the 944 forum of Rennlist. When I got my first 911, the '97 993, I discovered the 911 forum on Rennlist and found that a whole lot of guys on there were #1 A-holes! If you hadn't changed the shocks and suspension and removed the belly pan (or engine under-tray whatever it is called) on your Carrera they didn't want to talk to you. Totally different attitudes than on the 944 forum and far different than here where it seems that everyone is interested in what you're doing and more than willing to help answer questions and share opinions.

Start the thread Mark and I'll contribute a couple of tales, beginning with my first Porsche, a 924 that I purchased 38 years ago!

Pete
 
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Ok, I’ve been searching for a place on mud to place a P-car and LC thread and think Clubhouse under Group Clubhouse would be the best venue. However can’t seem to open a new thread there.

I sent an e-mail to mud to see how to preceded, and as soon as I figure it out...I’ll invite all to join.
 

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