Spannerphobia

Are you obsessed by making modifications to your car?

I’m always pretty scared to just start cracking open the cylinder block or even changing the oil filter.

Have I got the right tools to hand? Am I SURE this is a left-handed thread? What happens if I discover some filings, scoring or mysterious, cloudy leakage instead of bright metal? It’s particularly pathetic given the years I spent learning the theory of Mechanical Engineering (Yes, I can deal with entropy and dimensional analysis, but have no clue about toe-in or feeler gauges).

This terror actually got worse after I invested in a copy of the relevant Bentley manual (2,000 fun  ways to make a £2,000 mistake).

With this mindset, I thought I was doing something wild and ambitious when I cleaned the sticky gunk off my radio buttons. Then I saw this guy at work. What a hero.

Even more out-there is this M96 motor upgrader. I may need a clutch replacement soon, but he probably needs one every week. As for tyres, I hope they have a local rubber plantation.

Inspired by creative geniuses such as these, I have cast caution to the slipstream and performed my own radical mod. It’s in the picture below.

wheel modWhat do you mean ‘where?’

I used a clear, Nasa approved zip tie to hold the shield in place, even when I’m hooning around at outlandish speeds (of up 50 MPH). I can tell you’re impressed.

 

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Camping 911-style

My 996 in AirChamber

I bought myself an air chamber, rather than pay for my carport to be converted into a garage.  The chamber is not intended for use ‘outside’, but in reality people install them in carports all the time. This purchase was suggested by a friend who told me that rust formation on his ancient Mini Cooper had been arrested by one of these ‘tents’. My decision was helped along by a discount offered to Porsche GB members.

The chamber was pretty easy to assemble and was a perfect fit for the space available. I found a  crack in one of the tent poles which was replaced by the manufacturer within days, without any problem. Since then, I’ve made a few modifications. Unhappy with the tendency of the roofline to sag a bit, and flap a little when the Scottish wind level reached storm force, I reinforced the roof, as shown above, with a couple of curved tentpoles and some zipties. No more flapping.

The only other point to make is that, since the fans are drawing in atmospheric air, the inlet moisture content on a wet day is at 100% humidity. I was curious (since I know a bit about engineering thermodynamics) to discover what the net rate of drying inside was. It turns out that, on the wettest day possible, 5% of any liquid water evaporates overnight (and is removed via positive pressure driving air through the zips and gaps).

The website for this product is ghastly (draping miniskirted women over Ferraris is such a limp sales ploy) and I’d be happier if they’d show more interest in licensing my design modifications. Otherwise, it’s working well. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Chassis shampoo

It’s November now and surprising that we have had no freezing weather yet. Sometimes I wonder if global warming is actually a bad thing (I live on a hill). My suspicion though is that the winter is just waiting to turn my local roads into quagmires of ice and salt.

Concerned about the tarmac-facing side of my car, I managed to get hold of a shop-soiled chassis washer device by Karcher. What they had to pay the AA, for their approval, heaven only knows.

Karcher chassis cleaner

Karcher chassis cleaner

The price of a new one is over £70, which I though ridiculous for a hose on wheels, so I went the much-travelled eBay route and paid about £35 (This system relies on you already owning one of their pressure washers). Together, they managed to dislodge a tonne of brownish muck from our old CRV, and some weird, black silt-like material from the 911’s wheel wells.

The water jet seems very effective at spraying the underside, although given the Porsche’s jigsaw of panels under there, I’m not sure how much contact I’m achieving between the special liquid waxy stuff they recommend and the rustable components themselves. I’ve emailed their UK customer service people a couple of times (“Which nozzle should I use?”) and they were totally on the ball.

Although I’ve given myself yet another car maintenance task, it feels good to have a weapon in the war between aging ferrous metal and high-velocity sodium chloride solution.

Does anyone go to the extent of having their vehicle chassis coated in tarry stuff, like my father used to do?

 

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The merchandise

So, I hope you’ve noticed the T shirts etc which are hanging around the site. These are all based on my design(s) and infringe nobody’s copyright, by the way.

ClassAction_T-shirts_AnLge

There will be more soon…I’m particularly pleased with one based on a painting of a 917, which I painted myself. Most of the apparel currently centres on the 996, whose shape is a design classic in my book.

If you’d like to buy items specially configured, or for a club, just let me know. Similarly, if you have ideas for designs, I’m happy to take these on board.

I do hope you choose to buy some of this stuff. I too have a future clutch replacement and a service history to support!

Cheers,

Patrick

 

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Caveat emptor

Whenever you buy something second hand, there will always be some niggles associated with its former life, or lives. I bought my vehicle from a small independent dealer in North East Scotland. Overall, he turned out to be a trustworthy character and the car had been evaluated some time before by David Phillips, the guy who now services the vehicle for me. I managed to secure a small discount off the asking price (which was higher than average, but this was a very tidy vehicle).

A few days later, I drove very gingerly off an ice-covered lot, leaving in my wake a collection of Bentleys and BMWs of which the locals had tired (Aberdeen oil money results in exotic cars getting bought and discarded).

I had done a pretty close visual inspection and was allowed an unsupervised test drive, but still there were small elements which I’d missed. These included a few tiny spots on the leather interior, a small ding on the frunk and a minute nip in the passenger door as well minor scuffing of the outer driver’s seat bolster.

The ‘Savannah Beige’ interior was not that attractive. Left to my own devices, I might have selected pale grey instead but actually I have grown to really like the sand coloured inside. I’m still not that keen, though, on the strong green tint applied to the windows…maybe blue wasn’t an option. Speaking of options, I was lucky to get quite a range of these:

options

The tyres were, well, tired and some stone chips appeared on the bumper cover once the dealer’s coat of blue coloured wax was washed off.

The frunk (or luggage compartment) had a gap at the front and the headlights needed to be refitted flush to the wings (that is just my OCD coming to the fore). These small dimensional variations were probably well within factory tolerances in 1999, but they got under my skin and I knew I’d have to get them fixed.

Driving along the motorway, I began to notice the smell of leather and the slight whiff of oil heating up. It went like a rocket with no weird rattles or warning lights. So far, so good.

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