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Autodealer Dream Buy: 1984 Porsche 944


WHEN we mention the word Porsche, many people think 911 and sometimes overlook some of the brand’s other models, such as the 944. Although not as desirable as the 911s, the 944 does have its own unique traits.

Want one? Here’s a list of things you should look out for when buying one of these sports cars:

The 944 was available in coupé or cabriolet body styles, with an array of either naturally aspirated or turbocharged engines.

Keep in mind the 944 is an expensive car to maintain. Cheap to buy initially (in most cases) but don't let this deceive you. You need to realistically keep a strong budget for these cars. Be realistic with yourself. You may find a pristine 944 and it may be the diamond in the rough, however, always be prepared for things. It isn't that the 944 is a bad car, by all means, they are great cars, but more the fact that these cars are now over 20+ years old. With a car approaching that age, things do tend to go wrong.

1: Check the clutch

The original clutch - in most of the 944s - is a rubber-centred disc. A conventional, standard clutch has a sprung centre. This means it’s made of metal and springs. In a 944 the centre of these clutches was replaced with a very thick rubber centre. The issue is that with time, any rubber of any sort tends to become brittle and crack.

2: Odometer

Unfortunately this is very common on the 944. There’s a small plastic gear in the odometer that is known to fail. Some people replace them and put a tiny dab of lithium grease on them to help but they either wear down, break, or move off to the side. It’s not an expensive fix but it can be time consuming.

3: Car-sagging in rear

If you look at the car (and it has a horrible amount of sag at the rear), there is a heavy possibility that it has bad bushings in the rear on the torsion bar. The other possibility is that the shocks are entirely blown or were replaced with the wrong shocks. It's not a horribly expensive replacement, but more commonly is worn-out bushings in the torsion bar setup.

4: Clicking/tapping noise

The 944 uses hydraulic lifters. With age, these tend to wear out. Again, a vehicle that is now over 20 years old may not have been maintained properly. It is normal for the hydraulic lifters to make some noise at startup. Once the car has warmed up to operating temperature or the car has been at idle for a while, these tend to fill up and the tapping/clicking sound should go away.

5: Transmission issues

These are not common unless the transmission has a really high amount of kilometres on it or if the car has been driven hard, but it's worth mentioning. The pinion gear tends to give off a wailing sound as the speed gets higher. The faster you go the higher the pitch is. The whining will come from the rear. This doesn't necessarily mean imminent failure it just that it’s getting old. However, it's worth getting it checked by a transmission specialist - if it is.

6: Wiper motor check

These particular cars have a wiper-motor that unfortunately has more than likely been exposed to water. No fault of the car; sometimes the owner may have forgotten to check the drain holes in the battery and wiper bays. They get clogged with leaves or crud and water refuses to drain; it builds up and can cause wiring issues, or worse, get into the wiper-motor and rust it up.

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