Friday, September 14, 2018

Maintaining your Porsche

Modern cars intimidate most people into avoiding even attempting basic maintenance on their own.  It should not be that way actually.  While modern cars are certainly much more complex than older cars, many things are actually easier now.  I was a professional mechanic (or service technician) from '83 through '97.  I worked at a Ford dealer in Eastern Washington and specialized in the highest tech stuff that cars had back then, electronics, engine performance, and air conditioning primarily.  I also did alignments and other repairs.  I maintain my own cars still today.  Everything from general maintenance to a complete engine swap on my 2007 Jaguar a few years ago.

I encourage most people to give some of the basics a try.  It's good to know more about your car. This article is intended to give some useful information about maintaining your own vehicles.

Where can I get service information?

As it turns out, this is better than it has ever been.  Back in 1996 when On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) regulations were mandated coast-to-coast in the US, and finally spreading to the modern world, the regulators realized that just making low emissions vehicles was not enough as nobody would maintain those emissions systems and often they would even remove them when the car was fairly new.  So along came OBD2 intent on making sure people maintained emissions compliance and eventually easing the emissions inspection programs.  As these OBD regulations matured they also realized that the high costs of the dealer monopolies was driving big incentives for people to not fix their cars when emissions failures happened. So, along came the Service Information Rule to make service more readily available by enabling 3rd party service providers access to the same emissions related service information that the dealerships had.  Then in 2012 Massachusetts passed a Right to Repair law covering on-road motor vehicles basically extending the SIR type regulation bumper-to-bumper.  Right-to-repair laws are spreading more. So, what does all this mean for you?  It means you have a legal right to access the original manufacturers service information and training for a "reasonable subscription fee".  The government helps manufacturers determine what is reasonable.  

In order to ensure manufacturers were obeying these laws, the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) was formed.  Their website at https://www.nastf.org houses links to this government required service information that the manufacturers would prefer to hide.  There you can access the service information for your car.  Each manufacturer has it's own unique website of information, and each has a pricing menu based on how long you need information access and how many vehicles of information access you need.  Porsche's is here: https://techinfo2.porsche.com/PAGInfosystem/VFModuleManager?Type=GVOLangSelection&lk=ELSE.  Notice the cryptic link to find it.  Of course it is one of the most expensive too with a 1-day subscription costing $140.  For comparison access to the service information on my 2007 Jaguar was in the $15 range for 3-day access to partial info for one vehicle.  

So that factory information is too expensive?  There are 3rd party alternatives.  One of the biggest is Alldata.  They have a DIY service information website that is geared towards folks like us.  I used this for my Cayman S and it was around $30/year.  Much of their information is derived from the manufacturers information.  

Where can I get parts?

Many repair parts are only available from the dealer networks but most maintenance parts are available from other providers.  Of course, be careful on aftermarket parts as many are not as good as the manufacturers original parts.  Here are some places I go for Porsche parts:
  • Vertex Auto.  These guys specialize in Porsche, although they have expanded to others now.  
  • Pelican Parts.  Another Porsche specialist. When I renewed my PCA membership I got a 10% coupon here. 
But what if you need those factory parts?  If you walk down to your local dealer you are likely to get sticker shock.  The parts can often be silly expensive.  However, there are places that sell original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts at a discount.  Some you can even look up in online catalogs.  One example of a Porsche dealer selling parts online, sometimes at a discount is Sun Coast Porsche.  Remember also that our LTR PCA club does get discounts on parts at Autohaus (Porsche of Peoria) and Isringhausen if you show your PCA card.  See this blog post for more details.

For some things such as fluids, you can get these from local parts stores.  I actually buy Mobile One (Porsche preferred) oil from Walmart. You can also get filters, belts, some hoses, bulbs, etc.,  at local parts stores such as Autozone, Napa, O'Reilly's, Pep Boys, etc.  

Where can I get help if I get stuck?

Here is where the internet has really helped.  Crowd-sourced information is abundant.  There are many forums that specialize in Porsche too.  Here are 2 of the bigger ones:
Most common questions have probably been asked already and you will find information posted from other Porsche folks like us.  If it has not been asked before, go ahead and start a new thread with your question.  You might be surprised the help you get.  Of course with all this crowd-sourced information you have to sift through it a bit.  It's not all good or even accurate but there is also a bunch of great information out there.

Another place to look is YouTube.  Here is a list of results when I searched for "how to remove a Porsche 997 door panel" for example. Videos can be much more informational that a manual.

Don't I need a hoist and a whole bunch of tools?

I don't have a hoist and it rarely is even an inconvenience.  There are certain things that are much easier with a hoist but most of the time a hoist is in your way.  If you were puling the engine out of your 911, sure a hoist is extremely helpful.  For normal maintenance a floor jack and jack stands, and a set of ramps cover most tasks OK.  However, if you really want a hoist you can get them for home.  Some are as low as $1500 or less.  Here is an example of one.

As for tools, I still happen to have my tools from when I did this for a living.  However, when I need new basic tools a trip to Sears will fill many needs.  There are some common tools you will need for Porsche's.  First of all, a set of Torx tools.  You can get drivers or sockets, or just get both.  Some things on Porsche's use "triple-square" or "cheese-head" bits.  You can find these at places like Tooltopia.  Some can even be found at local tool suppliers like C&H in Peoria.  Be careful of going too cheap on tools.  That is a recipe for damaging things including you.  Get a good torque wrench too.  In fact, get both a 1/2" drive and a 3/8" drive so you can cover the spectrum of torque you will need.  

What do I do with my used fluids?

Engine oil can be recycled at the place you bought it from.  Some other fluids can also be returned at auto parts stores like Autozone.  Others like brake fluid and antifreeze are harder.  Often your local parts store can point you in the right direction.

What are some typical costs?

Oil Change

Let's start with a basic oil change on a modern Porsche sports car.  You can get the factory recommended Mobile One 0W-40 oil at Walmart for under $25/5quart container.  My 2006 Cayman S takes 8.5 quarts.  I just get 2 jugs because my Mercedes also takes the same oil and about the same capacity.  The OEM filter is from Mahle and can be purchased from Vertex for $11.95. I can change my oil for under $60 using the factory oil and filter.  I back the car on to ramps.  I takes about 30 minutes. The used oil goes back in the jugs the new oil came in and I drop it back off at Walmart the next time I go. The only tools are a ratchet and socket for the drain plug, ramps, a drain pan, a funnel, and a filter wrench that can be purchased at any parts store, or even Walmart.  

Brakes

There are 2 very important things you should never go cheap on: brakes and tires.  There are many things not to go cheap on of course but these 2 are the main things that are critical for avoiding accidents.  On a high performance car like Porsche, the factory pads are a great choice for most people and uses.  I know many people that even run them on the track. Vertex sells many great brake pads for my car including the OEM pads.  In my case the fronts are $209 for the set, and the rears are $119.98. You will need to check the rotor thickness when changing pads as they wear too.  The manual will have thickness specs.  Lets say you do need rotors as well.  In my case I do track days so the factory drilled rotors should really be upgraded to slotted rotors to avoid the cracking issues. I did not find what I want at Vertex so I looked at Tire Rack and Pelican.  Pelican had Sebro slotted rotors for a reasonable price.  The fronts are $128 each and the rears are $130 each.  You should always change the brake fluid when changing pads and since I do track days I use Motul 600 which I can get right here at Hoerr Racing for $19 per 500ml container (I use 2).  So, for under $1000 I have new OEM pads, upgraded rotors, and new performance fluid.  It takes me about 2 hours to change these parts and bleed the brakes in my garage with just a floor jack, basic tools, and a pressure bleeder.  I also have a vacuum bleeder that I use to replace the fluid in the reservoir before beginning the pad swap. Warning: brake fluid is destructive and will eat car paint!  Use caution and cover areas that could get a drip on it. I will go through many sets of pads before needing rotors again so the next pad swap will be less than half that cost.

Spark Plugs

The Cayman S is mid engine and you can't even see the engine without removing panels.  This can be intimidating and make it seem like changing spark plugs would be very difficult.  In actuality, this is one of the easiest cars to change plugs on.  You start be removing the rear tire and a small plastic panel behind it (3 screws). At that point you can see all 3 coils in plain sight.  Here is a video on YouTube showing this.

I prefer factory electrical parts including spark plugs.  Sun Coast sells the OEM spark plug set for $108.  You can get the same brand and type of spark plugs for less elsewhere.  It takes me about an hour and a half to change them.  Always use anti-seize on the threads and make sure the gap is correct.  


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Parking Surprise

Considering egress from a Carrera can be a task in itself for a “big”guy like myself, I tend to park in areas where I can fully open my door.........let alone parking in such a manner whereas I can reduce door dings from other cars. Imagine my surprise as I was leaving an establishment in Bloomington this week as saw this, sandwiched between two vehicles......... When I went in, there were only a few cars in the parking lot and none around me.  All I could say was why? I knew a Porsche attracts attention, but this is a little overboard...... Am I the only one this happens to?



Monday, August 27, 2018

Cars & Coffee in Springfield

Isringhausen Imports, a Porsche authorized dealer in Springfield, held a Cars and Coffee last Saturday, welcoming Lincoln Trail PCA members to join in a car-lovers dream. Lincoln Trail PCA members had a strong showing as evidenced in photos snapped by local paparazzi (which really included just me.).



















Sunday, June 17, 2018

Detailing and PDR Tech session


We attended a tech session for car detailing and paint protection at Detail Peoria (http://www.detailpeoria.com/) this weekend on Knoxville in Peoria.  We started by discussing paint restoration, prep, and protection.  They also discussed some products to use to maintain a clean car.

Then we saw a demonstration of paintless dent repair (PDR) using both the tool from behind the dent method as well as the glue method by "the Dent Guy" Scott Shinn (309-208-3932).  We also discussed wheel curb rash repair that The Wheel Guy (Kevin Duncan) does (309-231-2591).

Friday, June 1, 2018

HPDE opportunity for first timers

The St. Louis region PCA has a special high performance drivers education targeted at people who have never done one before.  This event is 1/2 day on Saturday July 28th at Circuit of St. Louis Road Course (Gateway).  It is $100 for intro students.  You can see more info and register for the event here: https://www.motorsportreg.com/events/st-louis-pca-taste-of-track-summer-2018-gateway-motorsports-park-642075

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Caymen S Transmission

One of our Lincoln Trail members has posed a question.......... They have a 2010 Caymen S with 60000 miles and their transmission overheats and shuts the motor down. Has anyone else had this issue or know of anyone who has and how was it resolved?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

More Benefits of Joining LTR - Discounts at the Dealers

In case you were thinking about joining Lincoln Trail Region of Porsche Club of America, here is something to think about. The Board of Lincoln Trail have been working with our local Porsche dealerships (Peoria Porsche, Peoria,IL and Isringhausen Imports, Springfield, IL), where now Lincoln Trail members can receive discounts.

As a Porsche owner, Lincoln Trail members can now obtain discounts on Porsche parts and service, as well as discounts on the purchase of a new Porsche. Are you pondering the purchase of a new or used Porsche?.  Lincoln Trail boundary includes two dealerships; Isringhausen Imports in Springfield Illinois and Porsche of Peoria Illinois. In addition to sponsoring events, both dealerships have graciously decided to add another dimension to make being apart of one of the largest car clubs more beneficial with Lincoln Trail PCA discounts. Starting immediately, the following is announced: (Hint - you will need your PCA membership card)

Isringhausen Imports
229 E Jefferson, Springfield, IL 62701
217.528.2277
www.isringhausen.com/
10% discount will apply to over the counter parts purchases and Repair Orders

Porsche of Peoria 
2322 Van Winkle Way, Peoria, IL 61615
855.656.2233
https://porschepeoria.com/
Parts and accessories - 10% discount
Service - 15% discount
New Sales (Discount will not apply to GT models)
718's - 5% discount
Macan - 5% discount
911 - 5% discount
Panamera - 5% discount
Cayenne (2018) - 5% discount
Cayenne (2019 orders) - 3% discount

As you can see, just another way being a PCA member can be beneficial.  But let's not forget, the most important aspect of being in PCA is the people....My thanks and appreciation to both dealerships who have continually supported PCA.


Well, you’ll want to check out our club’s web page at ltr.pca.org. There is so much more for members to learn just a click away

With PCA, it’s not just about the cars, it’s about the people............


Friday, February 23, 2018

Add the LTR calendar to your smartphone or PC calendar

The St. Louis region has a helpful page to explain how to add calendars to your phone or PC here: http://stl.pca.org/add-region-calendar/.  This will also work for the LTR calendar with the following changes:

Our LTR ICAL address is: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/ical/s52gdanf8jvh397ak62i9d2ars%40group.calendar.google.com/public/basic.ics

Our LTR calendar ID is: s52gdanf8jvh397ak62i9d2ars@group.calendar.google.com

You can also get to it with this URL: https://calendar.google.com/calendar/embed?src=s52gdanf8jvh397ak62i9d2ars%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America%2FChicago

I have added Chicago Region PCA and St. Louis Region PCA calendars to our website as well.  They show up in the Central Illinois Car Events calendar on our home page.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

High Performance Drivers Education (a.k.a. track days, HPDE, DE)

Porsche sports cars are made for the track.  Their supreme handling and braking make them fantastic to drive at speed on a road course.  A closed road course is really the only place you can legally experience these cars capabilities.  Many larger PCA regions regularly hold what they call Drivers Education (DE of HPDE) events.  This blog post is intended to introduce people who have never attended a DE to what these are all about.

Here is a video of PCA Zone 2 DE.
Here is some in-car video from a DE

Here is a video with a novice driver at Putnam Park.  You can hear some of the conversation with the instructor.

Now that you are interested, what next?  There is one piece of safety equipment you must have before going to a DE: A Snell SA helmet with one of the last 2 ratings.  This is not a motorcycle helmet, and there is a big difference.  Snell SA helmets are made for in-car use and contain fire retardants that motorcycle helmets do not have, as well as several other differences.  SNELL is a standards organization, not a manufacturer.  Helmets with their ratings are made by many helmet manufacturers.  This year (2018) you can enter all DE's with a Snell SA2015 helmet.  Most events will also accept SA2010 helmets as well.  These helmets are available from many distributors such as Hoerr Racing (near Peoria),  Summit Racing, Jegs, and many others.   You can get them from around $250 and up but if you are buying one now, get the SA2015.  Some are still trying to sell the SA2010 helmets so be careful. Some events do offer helmet rentals as well.

There are many DE events at the various tracks near us.  Here is a map of those tracks.  For us the Chicago, Central Indiana, and St. Louis regions of the PCA have some great nearby events.  One of the best tracks and events for beginners is the CIRPCA Spring Break at Putnam Park.  This track is particularly well suited to getting started as it tends to be more forgiving than most.  CIRPCA has this website of great info on DEsChicago region also holds a DE at Blackhawk that is often focused on novice DE drivers.  Most PCA regions, as well as many other car clubs, use Clubregistration.net  or MotorsportsReg.com for their events.  You can search there to find events.

Your normal car insurance will likely not cover you at the track.  There is special insurance available for these events though.  The PCA recommends Lockton Motorsports and there are others.

Here is what to expect from your first track day.  Before the event you will need to have your car inspected and an inspection sheet filled out and signed.  Basically your car must be in good condition with no leaks, good brakes and tires, seat belts in good condition, battery properly mounted and terminals protected, etc.  You must also flush your brake fluid with high performance brake fluid within 30 days of each event.  When you check in to the event, they will often do a quick check as well.  The morning of the track day will begin with a mandatory drivers meeting.  You will have a schedule for the day which includes both classroom instruction and 25 minute driving sessions with an instructor.  Generally you will get 4 sessions per day.  The in-car instructor at a PCE DE is a person who is an advanced driver and has passed the PCA instructors program.

DEs are a great way to experience your Porsche in its natural habitat doing what it was made to do.  Its not for everyone but it is very fun for those who want to experience their Porsche doing what it does best.  You drive at a pace you are in control and comfortable with.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

LTR Classified Ads System Fixed

I found out the other day that the LTR classified ads system did not support emailing.  This meant that you could no respond to ads, forward ads, or use the "forgot password" system.  We now fixed those issues and the system is back up and running.

The classified ad system is free for LTR members to use.  You can post ads for cars or other stuff with photos and details.  You can also include a URL to a website for more details on your items.  One use of the URL is to post a link to a Google Photos album where you can have photos, videos, etc., to help sell your item.  Once you create your ad, there is a simple and short URL direct to your ad that you can share with people easily.  Here is an example: http://ltr.pca.org/test/ShowAd.aspx?id=82 of an active ad now.  If you are feeling even more nerdy, you can use this link with a QR code generator such as this: https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/  to generate a QR code that people can easily scan with any smartphone to pull up your ad.  Here is an example.
http://ltr.pca.org/test/ShowAd.aspx?id=82
If you scan that with your smartphone it will take you to the ad for the 944. This is real handy if you have your car at a show or other gathering you can put an ad together with this QR code so people can quickly get more info on your item for sale.

I hope you find our classified ad system useful.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Finding a local shop

Another question has come into Lincoln Trail and you can offer input. A new member has just obtained a 1987 Porsche 930 with 47k miles and is in the process of sorting it out. Their question; where can they find a mechanic who knows their way around a 930 in the Bloomington/Normal area? If you have or know of a mechanic who fits the question, please let us know. 

https://ltrpca.blogspot.com