Adding colour fill to shift button shift pattern

I bought a used alcantara shift boot a while ago that had the shift pattern in red and always liked it. After trying various shift boots over the last 10 years and never being really happy with how long they lasted, I decided to bite the bullet and pay for a genuine Porsche shift boot. The boot comes mounted with the shift knob and I’m really happy with it despite the expense, as it should last year’s with proper care

While the shift boot and knob is awesome, the button with shift pattern looked bland compared to the Alcantara boot I had. I decided to fill in the indicator part with guards red touch up paint. I practiced on an old button I had and thought I could just swap buttons if it worked out.

It worked out perfect however I soon realised that I couldn’t get the new button out to swap them.

The problem was I didn’t want to damage the new leather and it soon became clear that I would damage it trying to pry it out. So plan B was to do it in the boot.

First step was to tape up around the edge. I could pry it up about a millimetre which was enough to get tape under edges. I then used some guards red touch up paint to fill the grooves of shift pattern

Basically it’s just a matter of over filling where grooves are. I needed to do it a few times as paint shrinks into grooves a little, when it drys, so to get it level took a few fills and sands

Then I sanded it down with 120 carefully, then 220 till I was happy. I then smoothed it with 1200. I wrapped the whole boot in newspaper to prevent getting any clear on boot

Once it was ready to go I gave it a coat or 2 of high gloss clear and put on a window sill, in the sunshine to dry

A few hours later it was ready to go into the car. I’m very happy with the result

944 HVAC fan only working on 4(max)? How to fix

Thankfully this is an easy fix. The resistor pack gets crud built up on it from being in engine bay, exposed to the elements.

First step is to remove the rubber strip that hold front of cowl over heater blower fans

Once that’s off cowl lifts up at from and you can access resistor pack and disconnect black plug for wiring

Then remove the 2 screws, one at each end.

Once out remove rubber gasket and put it to soak for about an hour in white vinegar. I used a toothbrush to give it a light scrub too

After it’s soaked for an hour let it dry(I used kitchen paper towels to speed up drying). Once dry, refit and you should have all fan speeds working 👍

Hiding a boost controller in plain sight

My mission was to mount a boost controller as subtly as possible.

I decided on using a turbosmart e-boost street as it’s a compact unit, has 2 boost settings and can be switched between those settings with an external switch, and it’s red LED display would shine through smoked plexiglass.

First step was to remove front of eboost street. The panel is held on by the 2 small Allen bolts but the rotary controller was permanently mounted through a small whole meaning front cover was captured by it. So to take panel off required some delicate work with a cutting wheel on a dremel.

I then marked out on the Plexi where it needed to be mounted and where the rotary controller and display were and holes for Allen bolts. I then drilled the holes. I had to buy some special hole saws for the Plexi as it’s very easy to crack and ruin the piece. The hole saws worked perfectly and I was able to check fit it

The Plexiglass was then sprayed with black paint on rear except for the area of the display.

Once the unit is mounted the panel looks completely black and blank, but the display shines through the dark tint when working.

A single din trim panel with clips on the back, to hold it in place, was cut so e-boost controller would fit through it. I then used high strength double sided tape to secure the Plexi to it. It’s the same 3m tape used to hold trim pieces into the outside of cars.

I had to file edges to get a good fit into the console. I then decided to add a Porsche sticker in white to it and it was ready to fit

The final result below turned out great and I’m really happy with it

Building speaker pods for ribbon supertweeters

To make these I started with a new product I read about called Apoxie Sculpt. It’s a 2 part epoxy used for sculpting and making prototypes. You mix part A and B in equal measure and begin sculpting. It sets within 24 hours but you can scuplt it for several hours, so super easy to use. Once set it can be sanded, then painted etc.

The Pioneer Carrozzeria ribbon supertweeters TS-ST910 are only sold in Japan, so we’re sourced via eBay and replaced the much cheaper Sony set I was using. As my system is Hi-res, these supertweeters play from 18kHz up to 100kHz. Now most humans over 15 years of age are lucky to hear above about 16kHz so most would think these would be pointless but music is harmonic in nature and since the 70s and 80s we have known that reproduction of frequencies above our hearing range effect the timbre and tonality of the notes we do hear. If you hear a violin live these harmonics are produced but a recording limited to our hearing range would cut off these harmonics. Harmonics are sounds in higher octaves that resonate with the primary note being played. Yamaha introduced a CD player very early in CDs life that went up to 30kHz even though CDs were limited to 20kHz based on this knowledge of harmonics. Brands like Rotel also made amps that went up to 50kHz in the 90s for same reason, so although Hi-res is relatively new, the theory behind it isn’t. Many may argue it’s just marketing but all I know is my system sounds amazing and the ribbon tweeters lifted it to another level.

I started out by using the trims(cups) for flush mounting and added some plastic pieces to help seal off the back. The speakers are sealed so this was only to aid making the mount and not for acoustic reasons. I glued them on with some JB weld 2 part epoxy glue.

I then used the sculpting putty to seal the plastic pieces in. These bits had holes that lined up with the bolt holes in tweeters for securing the speakers into mounts.

Once I had the rear of mounts to a point I was happy with I began working on molding the mounts into position on the car.

This involved adding lots of putty and physically sculpting it in the car. I started making just one side as I find the knowledge gained makes second mount easier and any mistakes aren’t done twice, so only need to be rectified once. It also makes second one a quicker process.

Once I was happy with fitment and shape, pod was sanded smooth and shaped then sprayed in high build undercoat. This was then sanded smooth ready for top coat.

I then painted the pod in gaurds red to match the car. It’s pretty loud colour and I think I’ll respray them again in a matt black to not stand out so much, but for now I’m enjoying the splash of colour

Then it was just a matter of rinse and repeat on second pod. I wore disposable gloves while playing with sculpting putty but it really was a simple as using play doh. Really happy I discovered it, as it’s very workable and gives you a great finish when sanded and painted.

The results

Is the 944 reliable?

I see many people asking is the 944 reliable and the answer is yes and no. Mine had a few issues when I got it but got them sorted and daily drove the car for 6 years, mostly incident free, then had some more serious issues(hard to diagnose) but now its super reliable. The engines on these cars are incredibly reliable, so most issues come down to a few other causes, mostly electrical, but in this article I’ll address those issues, and what can be done to get rid of many potential reliability issues for many years. It is just a general guide based on my experience and not a technical guide for diagnosis of problems.

DME, the sensors, and relay

Speed and Reference Sensors

944’s have an engine management system made by Bosch called a DME(Digital Motronic Electronics). It is a fuel injected system the uses 2 sensors{on most models later that changed to one sensor) known as the speed and reference sensors. These tell the engine management system(DME) what the pistons are doing and when to fire the fuel in and when to to trigger the spark plugs, etc. Unfortunately when people get a “no start” situation, often the first thing people suggest, is replace these 2 sensors. That’s not bad advice, as it is a possible cause, but replacing parts that aren’t faulty, not only gets expensive but won’t fix the issue, unless you are lucky and that it was actually the cause. As the wiring harness is very old now, often its not the sensors but the wiring back to DME, from the connectors at back of engine, that then goes to the DME box itself. You can buy replacement harnesses from Lindsey Racing and I highly recommend this. Personally I have replaced all the engine harnesses, as it gets rid of all potential electrical gremlins related to old wiring adding massive reliability

Click here to buy sensor harness

Click here for instructions on how to fit harness

The testing procedure for sensors is at a site all 944 owners should have bookmarked, called Clarks garage click here to sensor test page. This site has so much information and apart from some advice written over 25 years ago, that’s now a little out of date, the site is invaluable. One of the things it suggests is glueing an 0.8mm washer to an old sensor, to set depth of sensor. Do not do this because if that washer comes off, you are in a world of pain, as it falls into a place that is expensive to open up and also we now have a cheap tool to do the job Click here to buy tool. The reason you need to set depth is, its critical the sensors are the right distance to flywheel, to get an accurate trigger signal for DME. If you can get sensors out without removing bracket, then you don’t need to set depth again. Unfortunately more times than not, the bracket needs to be removed to get old sensors out.

There is another alternative to fitting all new harnesses from Lindsey racing, which is what I did, and requires fitting them into factory connector at DME, which can be a bit daunting(but isn’t that hard, as long as you are patient and methodical), is to buy a complete harness. Recently a company called Kroon wiring decided to support the 944 community and is making complete replacement engine harness. This isn’t a cheap option but the harness is probably better built than when car left the factory, so will ensure reliability for many many years to come and just plugs in to DME and avoids the fiddly work needed with the Lindsey racing replacements to be fitted in factory DME connector, although obviously both still need to be hooked up to everything in engine bay. Its also possible for them to wire in custom integration for other non-original sensors, like to monitor intake temps or something, directly into the harness.

Click here to buy Kroon Harness

DME relay

The DME relay is used by the DME and ignition, to turn on fuel pump. For many years people often carried 2 or 3 in glovebox, as they are an old analogue relay, that’s prone to failure at the most random and inconvenient times. Quality of replacement vary and I had a lot of problems with ones I had, so genuine Porsche are the best but we now have an option that should mean the end of being stranded by these. It a solid state relay made by Focus9 technology and I was a beta tester for them and been using one since 2016 and highly recommend them. They have 2 versions, standard which I use and pump prime that activates the fuel pump for 3 seconds before starting, to make starting easier. If buying today I’d get pump prime but have no issues starting with standard unit. Some people re-solder broken relays and get them working again but as they are only putting off the inevitable, I think the solid state are way to go for reliability.

Click here to buy Solid state relay

DME(engine control unit)

With my car the DME box(ECU) had a random problem when I first got it 10 years ago, and the guys I sent it too couldn’t work it out exactly what it was, even though it tested faulty, so sold me a rebuilt unit. Now we have more options and I wouldn’t suggest getting the DME rebuilt as its very old now, and there are several better options. Even if fixed, the age means it may cause further problems later, due to age and construction, and technology available at the time car was built.

Which option is best depends on a couple of factors. If you own a normally aspirated(NA) car(a non turbo), or a turbo, whether you don’t plan to modify it or not. One option is the Focus 9 technology solid state DME(ECU) replacement. This is made with latest technology and will outlast most of us. These guys reverse engineered the DME and then made a new version that is built with 40 years newer technology. It does require a core exchange. They also have a version for “spec” racing version that is a control class of racing, so cannot be modified

Click here to buy F9tech DME

The more advanced options, for those who either want to do modifications at some point or want to improve basic performance, like throttle response, is to go a tune-able set up. These allow the fuelling, timing, and other settings to be changed and are essential on turbo models, if you want to improve performance by upgrading turbos, injectors, etc, but they will still benefit an NA(whether the expense is justified on NA’s is another matter). They also allow changes to be made at any time and can be retuned to accommodate the new changes

VEMS

VEMS(versatile engine management system) is the stand alone system I personally use. My factory Air Flow Meter(AFM) had begun to play up and couldn’t be fixed. I could have bought a refurbished AFM, but as they are no longer made, so how long it would last is unknown, and they are very expensive refurbished. Buying a used one, then it may not even work at all, a gamble I wasn’t willing to take. I decided on VEMS because although, like all stand alone systems, a dyno-tuner can tune the car, it also has an autotune function, that basically self calibrates the system enough for it to be very drivable without the expense of dyno tuning time. It allows removal of the factory AFM, which not only improves air flow into engine but adds reliability, as it uses an Air temp sensor and wideband oxygen sensor for precise tuning. Far more precise than the original DME. It’s also a plug and play system that plugs directly into factory harness. It does require IAT(internal air temp) sensor and a wideband O2 sensor to be fitted, but that’s not complicated or expensive, and any decent mechanic can get that done easily or can be done yourself if you can weld the bungs required for sensors in. I added wasted spark ignition too, as it takes distributor out of equation, that needs parts that need to be maintained.

Click here to buy VEMS

MAXXECU, MEGASQUIRT, Motorsport Engineering and other options

These ECU’s are known as stand alone units, as they are a complete management systems. Some like Motorsport engineering are packaged into a plug n play like VEMS is, and others require a bit more work to install. Some come with a raw harness that needs to be installed, which is a lot of work, some with base tunes to get you going, and some that will not only require a wiring loom to be built from scratch but require dyno tuning before car will run and drive. They do offer virtually unlimited performance upgrades, with monitoring at the highest level of anything possible and you can add features like boost by gear, traction control, anti-lag and more, easily.

The thing about stand alones is, without the community support, you are on your own and either need to know how to tune, wire and set up yourself, or are at the mercy of your tuner and mechanic. That’s ok too, but if relying on someone else to install and set up, it is very expensive. Megasquirt has a huge amount of community support on rennlist forum, Maxxecu(new option for turbos and in early days) on the facebook group “Premier 944 turbo and 968 turbo group” and Augtronic and Motorsport Engineering by tuners in UK and Europe, as does VEMS, so making a decision between them, can be important just based on where you live, or based on your tuning skills and fabrication and wiring skills.

Click here to buy ME ECU for NA and Turbo Plug n Play

Click here to buy Megasquirt Plug n Play for NA 944

Click here to buy Maxxecu Race(basic)

Click here to buy Maxxecu Pro(advanced)

Click here to buy Augtronic

Vacuum Leaks

These cars have vacuum lines running all over the place in the engine bay and even in the car for the heater control. The original lines often have leaks that can cause all sorts of problems. These should all be replaced and you can get kits or just buy silicone hose yourself. Although you would think that replacing them would solve any vacuum issues, there is one other place a leak can cause an issue, and that’s the throttle body. The throttle body is meant to be sealed and a leak can mean the DME is getting the wrong reading of air going into engine, so car will have incorrect air to fuel ratio, and can run poorly

Click here to buy throttle body reseal kit

Click here to buy vacuum lines

Fuel Lines

More than just a reliability item, these are a safety item too, as having the car burn down does effect the drive-ability a bit. The original fuel lines can split and fuel is under tremendous pressure so if they go, its right over a hot exhaust. You can buy braided lines but I prefer aeroquip fuel lines, as it means they are easy to visually examine as they age. The lines at rear are less of an issue regarding an instant fire, as not over hot exhaust but also a good idea to inspect regularly and replace if needed.

Click here to buy Fuel lines

Grounds

The importance of good grounds can’t be over stated. Luckily it costs nothing to clean and reattach them. On some cars ground straps from battery may need to be replaced. For the engine, the ground point is just near the speed and reference sensors at the back of engine between bell housing and firewall. Cleaning is just a matter of removing them and cleaning area of grime and cleaning the terminals with light sanding. There are I think 7 ground points and its a great idea to clean them all. It varies from models being LHD and RHD but there are diagrams online that show you locations. As everything from DME, sensors, and gauges, require a good ground signal, it’s definitely worth doing and free

Is my car reliable?

I bought my 86 turbo in 2010 (today, so its our anniversery 🙂 As mentioned above I had a problem with DME when I first got it but had that sorted a few weeks later. It went great and I was driving it everyday but occasionally I’d have the dreaded random no start. it was very rare but also very frustrating. I could always roll start it, so always parked with that in mind and often had work colleagues who would get roped into helping. I actually put up with this for about 6 months while searching online for possible solutions. I read that you could sometimes jiggle wires at back of engine where speed and reference sensors connect to factory loom and car may start. Sure enough it worked and I realised it was the factory wiring back to DME that was the problem. I ordered the Lindsey racing replacement harness and as I am down under and shipping here is so expensive, I thought I may as well get some other things at same time. Luckily one of those was the fuel injector harness. Now when the stuff arrived, I kept driving for a bit using jiggle method if the car wouldn’t start, but when I finally got around to fitting the harness, I thought it made sense to look at fuel injector harness too. Although I hadn’t had an issue with it, when I touched the connector at the injector, the factory harness broke off in my hand. I then fitted the new fuel injector harness. I realised I’d dodged a bullet, as it was just a matter of time till that harness would have broken and left me stranded and scratching my head to the cause. This is why, if you want a reliable car, I think the harnesses are so important.

When I started to have the issues, that the worn out Air Flow Meter(AFM) caused, I tried replacing many parts to fix it, not know what the cause was. Often I knew it was unlikely to be the solution but figured at least the parts would be good for many years and I might get lucky and also some things I was planning on doing anyway. I was also between mechanics and so sort of stuck on my own trying to work it out. I replaced the fuel pump to a HV unit from Lindsey Racing, fuel filter, distributor, cap, leads, fuel rail(CEP), rebuilt injectors, Tial F38 dual port waste gate and Turbosmart electronic boost controller, AFR gauge(Zeitronix ZT2) with EGT, and probably a few other things I’m forgetting. I also had to fit most of these things myself, so learned a lot doing it and am far more confident tackling mechanical tasks these days

Once it was figured out it was AFM, I weighed up options and decided on stand alone. Initially I bought an M tune set up but couldn’t get car to run. This wasted a lot of time and money but I eventually gave up and bought VEMS. A few weeks later it arrived and once fitted to the car, she started first time and I’ve never looked back

So yes my car is very reliable and starts first time, every time, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take it on a long trip. Yes its had some issues as you would expect for a car of its age, but the majority of the time(90+%) I have owned it, its been driven daily and reliable. I have done the things to it, I think are needed, to make it reliable and will make any 944 very reliable. If you also want a reliable 944, then it takes a little work but if you address the primary causes of problems, outlined above, then these cars are very reliable and very few other cars have the engineering behind them mechanically, to do the sort of mileage these cars do consistently, combined with handling, style, and looks that are hard to beat.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

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Well, after many happy years using only Sony phones, I dropped my beloved Sony and the touch screen stopped working, rendering it a paper weight.  Unfortunately my phone company or any other phone company here in Australia, no longer stocks Sony or I would have got the new Sony X1. I wasn’t in a position to buy the Sony X1 outright, so a little reluctantly, I decided to go with the Samsung Galaxy note 10+. I have had the phone for a few weeks now, and I must say I am impressed. It is their flagship phone and it shows.

What I Like

What I like, and there is a lot to like in my opinion. Once you have navigated all the options it has, and got it set up how you like (which I feel like I might be doing for some time to come) the phone is fantastic. It is no particular order

The S-Pen. Being able to write out quick notes, using normal handwriting on the screen is very cool. Then being able to set a location to that note or a time/date, is fantastic. For someone like me, who comes home from shopping and then realises I forgot the one thing I went there for, it’s perfect. I can write a shopping list and then set the supermarket location, and then next time I pop into the the supermarket, the list pops up. Brilliant.

I  can also write emails or phone numbers in a note, with my handwriting, and then add them to contacts or send an email or convert to text,  or even chat using hand writing!! The handwriting recognition is amazing, if it can even read my chicken scratchings lol

I doubt I’ll use the gestures functions much, but being able to trigger camera via S-pen is really cool and handy and will definitely get used. The S-Pen uses Bluetooth and has what Samsung call gestures, that do all sorts of great things and what it can do varies depending on the app you are using.  In camera mode, you can zoom in and out, for example, as well as take pics, using the button on the S-Pen as a remote trigger for the shutter.

I can also write notes on the screen when the phones display is off, without having to activate phone or open the notes app.
Continue reading “Samsung Galaxy Note 10+”

So You Bought a 944

What Do I need to Do First?

First take a deep breath and let it soak in that you now own one of the greatest handling cars ever made. It is a car that was the benchmark for many other cars, like the RX7, because it was seen as the best of it kind at the time. The connection to the road is unlike most cars, and something most people have never experienced before, and it allows the driver to feel, in a more analogue way, the joy of driving, whether that is using momentum in a NA(normally aspirated) or having a blast in the turbo, which is still a very fast car despite it’s age(and can easily be modified to be even faster). So first thing is pull up a chair and just look at your gorgeous car.

First Things First

Some things should be done straight away, and if the car has no service history, some of these should be done before even turning over the motor, especially for cars that have been left sitting for many years. The engines in 944’s are what are known as an interference motor, and so if the timing belts break, the valves will hit the pistons and do expensive damage, and hence the importance of resisting the temptation to start her up and see what she will do. So first thing is to find out when belts were last replaced and if unknown, then replace them before trying to start the car. Most owners replace the water pump with every second belt change, as it is easier to do when the belts are off, so this should also be done at the same time if when it was last done is unknown.

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Is The Porsche Cayman GT4 the modern successor to the Porsche 944 Turbo ???

As my loyal readers know, I have owned a gorgeous Porsche 944 Turbo for over 5 years now. The reason I can afford it is because it was shunned by the Porsche “Purests” who at the time of it’s release often stated that it wasn’t a real Porsche, afterall it wasn’t rear engined, it was water cooled and it’s predecessor the 924(from which it evolved) was seen as a bitza, using parts from Audi, Mercedes, VW and of course Porsche. They over look the fact it was completely designed by Porsche. I would like to thank them because if they knew what I know, then the 944 turbo would have been way too expensive for me to be able to afford. God bless you, one and all 🙂

The 924 was originally designed by Porsche to replace the 914 and 914/6, which was a joint venture from Porsche and VW, and sold under both brands badges. VW decided at the last minute to pull out and go with their own designed Golf. Porsche decided to buy the rights back from VW and still release the car as a Porsche. The 944 replaced the 924 and used an all Porsche designed 2.5 litre engine, that was basically half of the engine used in the V8 928.

Continue reading “Is The Porsche Cayman GT4 the modern successor to the Porsche 944 Turbo ???”

Navdy Automotive Heads Up Display

Navdy Automotive Heads Up Display

This amazing bit of technology (the Navdy) looks like it really is bringing the future to our cars. The device allows you to do all sorts of things like texting, tweeting, make calls, see who is calling you, navigate, and much more, all while keeping your eyes on the road ahead. Pilots have been using this technology for years to make flying safer, and now it is coming to your car.

The Navdy is a very clever device displays all sorts of information from your Android or Apple phone. It allows you to talk to it and use gestures to control it and will have a range of apps it can work with, all designed for use while driving. Because the display projects an image that looks like it is 2 mteres in front of you, that means you don’t have to adjust your focus to veiw it.

The Navdy is going to be a much safer way to do many of these tasks while driving, and is major technological advancement compared to the basic Heads Up Displays (HUDs) currently on the market, that are either designed as speed displays or for Navigation. The added functionality and gesture control take this technology to the next level

PRE-ORDER and SAVE

The Navdy is available for pre-order at a significant saving over the normal price that people wil once it is released. You can pre-order by clicking here but don’t hesitate as this cheaper price is for a limited time.

Make sure you check out the video, even if you are not buying as it’s worth watching anyway

 

 

Ebay Find:- Orignal release FEIT kicks

Well a few weeks ago I was trawling ebay when I decided to search for my favourite brand of kicks *FEIT*. Much to my surprise there were a couple of kicks for sale and amazingly they were in my size and very cheap. When I saw the listing I noticed they were unworn, and new with tags. I promptly ordered both styles.

Now for those of you who don’t know the brand FEIT(pronounced fight), it was started back in 2005 by the Australian  brothers Josh and Tull Price. Tull had earlier haDSC_0001d a lot of success with a brand he started back in 1996 with a friend he went to school with Rodney Alder. That brand was Royal Elastics. They decided to replace laces with an elastic panel and by 2001 they were selling around 1 million kicks a year, in 35 countries. Although by any standards Royal Elastic was a massive success it didn’t represent what Tull was passionate about, and that was quality, craftsmanship, and sustainability.

FEIT was born out of a desire to produce high quality shoes using traditional methods and high quality materials. This meant the shoes would be built to last, offer incredible comfort, and be an antidote to the mass-produced low quality shoes that have dominated the market for some time. Now I am old enough to remember my parents getting shoes re-soled at the local cobbler.

Continue reading “Ebay Find:- Orignal release FEIT kicks”