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Another dead 996 3.4 liter engine, need options (3.4, 3.6, 3.8)


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My 1999 C2 996 with 47,000 miles just died and started spitting up metal in the oil filter. The car has been well cared for by proven shops. I wish this were a joke that a Porsche blows a motor at 47,000 miles, even my dad's old Chrysler Cordoba went to 60,000 before giving up the ghost. At the time of failure their was proper oil and coolant in the car, it was cruising along the highway at 3,500 rpm's.

Options

1)Send in the core and get a Porsche factory remanufactured engine $8K with core exchange + $2K warranty, by requiring us to send them an unopened core Porsche keeps to themselves what went wrong. The bigger issue is am I getting an improved motor with the new 3.4L. I talked to 3 dealers today who think but are not sure that the bearing (single) on the 3.4 is now bigger on the intermediate shaft, which could most likely have been the cause of failure. Has anything changed in the remanufactured 3.4 liter engine? I really don't want to spend $10K to get another failure in 50,000 more miles. While I get a 2 year warranty I don’t even come close to 5K miles per year on this car so it will not likely fail again until after the warranty is up.

2)Sell core to junkyard guys, buy a remanufactured 3.6L with x/51 engine for $11K no core exchange (you cannot exchange a 3.4 core on a 3.6), 3.6L is said to have two bearing around the intermediate shaft, and less prone to failure. Problem here is I need to convert from egas to mechanical throttle (can be done in UK by autofarm guys, but no one in the states seems to know how to do this, so far I all I know is I need to change the whole butterfly and center plastic that sits on the mainifold and then change over to mechanical unit anyone who has part numbers or a DIY on this I would really appreciate it). Also, with the 3.6L engine and 3.4 brain apparently you have to buy a break out box to control the cam lift solenoid and a control and link box to mate the 3.6 harness to the 3.4 liter brain (Autofarm in the UK sells a harness conversion for around $1,700). By the time we are done we are into this deal for about $15K, to make matters worse I just heard from several west coast Porsche shops that 3.6L are starting to fail almost as often as 3.4L. Does data exist on failure rates of 3.4 L vs. 3.6 L engine? While I get a 2 year warranty I don’t even come close to 5K miles per year on this car so it will not likely fail again until after the warranty is up.

3) Sell core to junkyard guys, but an engine 3.4 L or 3.7 L engine from autofarm cost of $11-$15K that has their stronger intermediate shaft http://www.autofarm.co.uk/engines/water_cooled/shaft_tech and sisileeve cylinder liners. Either motor will drop right in the 3.7 comes with an ECU map, but if the thing will pass smog in the US is an unknown, also in all deference to the good folks at autofarm I would be proving them right. Any comments on their technical merits of their products please let me know. All in cost with labor for this solution will be about $13K for a 3.4 L to $17K for 3.7L, including shipping my old core to europe.

4)4) Sell core to junkyard, buy a 997 3.8 L engine with X/51, find someone in the states that knows how to convert e-throttle to mechanical and wire a solution to use a 3.4 brain with breaker boxes to control the new variocam plus of the 2007 engine. I think this whole deal will cost about $20Kto $25K. The new engine block on the 2007 is said to be stouter and has a much reinforced intermediate shaft. Any comments or predictions on the increase in longevity on this solution and if anyone out there is known to be able to pull off the install or would be willing for a price to provide me with the parts and knowledge to have my local guys do this install please let me know.

Thanks in Advance

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I can't be of much help other than to say that Autofarm have a very good reputation

here in the UK and I read a good write up in one of our Porsche magazine about the

3.4 engine solution. The guy who developed it is a very well respected engineer who

has worked for several top motor racing teams. Good luck

Barry

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Putting a 3.6 or 3.8 into an early 996 has the same issues as into an early Boxster. Look at my posts on that issue on the board. It really has nothing to do with egas, but the difficulties of integrating the 7.8 DME into the earlier car.

That said I have done this with my car, the solution I am currently running is not OBDII compliant, and no system using an aftermarket controller to run the Variocam plus on the 3.6 or 3.8 will be, especially in California. I am currently working out the final details on the integration of the 7.8 into the earlier chassis, and I hopefully will have a solution to this soon. This would be OBDII compliant. Unfortunately my real job keeps getting in the way.

Personally, if I were going to go to the expense of a new motor, I would buy the biggest one I could :)

Putting the 3.8 in is no different in complexity than the 3.6.

Todd

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Well, my heart goes out to you. I just had mine give up a month ago at 66,200 miles. Seems like the same issues, lots of metal in the oil, sounds coming from the engine compartment like bolts in a coffee can. I can't believe this could happen to such a "high end" car. My last Porsche, an '88, had over 90k on it when I sold it, still going strong at that time. Anyway...

I went to Pioneer Porsche, got the Porsche Club discount on the engine, which ended up being $8793.19. (Even if your not a member the member ship fee is way less than the discount!!) Labor was $1598.40, for a total of $10564.32, including the incidentals. For me, there way no way I was going anywhere else but the dealer, as I want someone to "own it" if there are more problems. I was p/o'd enough already.

Like you, I was thinking it would be nice if I was paying all this money to pay a little more and get the best. Didn't seem like it would work for me though, and proceeded as above.

Good luck, with your choices.

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Putting a 3.6 or 3.8 into an early 996 has the same issues as into an early Boxster. Look at my posts on that issue on the board. It really has nothing to do with egas, but the difficulties of integrating the 7.8 DME into the earlier car.

That said I have done this with my car, the solution I am currently running is not OBDII compliant, and no system using an aftermarket controller to run the Variocam plus on the 3.6 or 3.8 will be, especially in California. I am currently working out the final details on the integration of the 7.8 into the earlier chassis, and I hopefully will have a solution to this soon. This would be OBDII compliant. Unfortunately my real job keeps getting in the way.

Personally, if I were going to go to the expense of a new motor, I would buy the biggest one I could :)

Putting the 3.8 in is no different in complexity than the 3.6.

Todd

When you say a 3.4 brain with a external controller box would not be OBD2 compliant are you saying that because you believe it will throw a check engine light? I assume that the 3.6 has a clean emission signature so it should not be the cause of an emissions problem.

I will look at your posts on the boxster board...thanks

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The tailpipe emissions are just fine. I don't know the particulars of emissions testing in california, but there would be several issues in using aftermarket controllers since they aren't CARB approved. Assuming you could get past the visual inspection issues, using the aftermarket controllers should not be a problem. If they are set up properly, they won't trigger any OBDII codes that would cause one to fail inspection. That said, I would rather use a factory 7.8DME setup, and is why, even though I don't have a problem with inspection or the performance of the engine, I have spent a significant amount of time and money trying to do so.

Todd

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The tailpipe emissions are just fine. I don't know the particulars of emissions testing in california, but there would be several issues in using aftermarket controllers since they aren't CARB approved. Assuming you could get past the visual inspection issues, using the aftermarket controllers should not be a problem. If they are set up properly, they won't trigger any OBDII codes that would cause one to fail inspection. That said, I would rather use a factory 7.8DME setup, and is why, even though I don't have a problem with inspection or the performance of the engine, I have spent a significant amount of time and money trying to do so.

Todd

Todd what is invovled in switching to a factory 7.8 dme. do you have to wire egas, do you have to reprogram the whole car to show up as a 2002 or later model ie. abs, instruments, airbags?

Also, I may not end up having to use a variocam pllus external controller, to be confirmed, but I have heard variocam only affects sub 2,000 rpm operation, for racing use this would not be a problem, don't know what it would do to driving around town or if it would throw a check engine light.

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Vman,

Simply to integrate the 7.8, a lot of rewiring. I should qualify this by stating that while in principle it should work, I haven't completed the project yet, so I can't say for sure that everything is going to work out yet. The egas is the easy part, just need a new pedal and throttle body assembly and run a few new wires.

You need to control the variocam plus somehow. If you lock out the valve lift (the plus part of variocam plus) to the high cam profile, the car will not idle so at a minimum it needs to be actuated off idle. The stock cam timing maps on a 3.4 DME are different than a 3.6 as well, The 3.4 actuates the cam adjusters above 1300rpm to go to early timing, which is much earlier than the 3.6 wants it done. If you are not using the car on the street, the current setup I have using an aftermarket controller to control the variocam plus is the easiest and cheapest. The only issue with it is if you are using it as a street car and need to pass OBDII and visual inspection you will most likely have problems.

Todd

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  • 2 months later...
Vman,

Simply to integrate the 7.8, a lot of rewiring. I should qualify this by stating that while in principle it should work, I haven't completed the project yet, so I can't say for sure that everything is going to work out yet. The egas is the easy part, just need a new pedal and throttle body assembly and run a few new wires.

You need to control the variocam plus somehow. If you lock out the valve lift (the plus part of variocam plus) to the high cam profile, the car will not idle so at a minimum it needs to be actuated off idle. The stock cam timing maps on a 3.4 DME are different than a 3.6 as well, The 3.4 actuates the cam adjusters above 1300rpm to go to early timing, which is much earlier than the 3.6 wants it done. If you are not using the car on the street, the current setup I have using an aftermarket controller to control the variocam plus is the easiest and cheapest. The only issue with it is if you are using it as a street car and need to pass OBDII and visual inspection you will most likely have problems.

Todd

Hi

I don´t need a obdII compliant set up, but yes I need to be able to use the car every day.

My car is a 1999 996 C2, and I want to install a 3.6 or 3.8 engine. What is the easiest (and right now cheapest) solution?

Thanks

Kare, Spain

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2 months ago my '99 motor grenaded at 41k mi. Aftermarket warranty covered most of it. Dealer did the work. I was explicitly told that my replacement PCNA refurb motor had all the design improvements ever incorporated into the 996 Mk1 motor.

See Rennlist for more details of the adventure, especially if you are interested in aftermarket warranties.

Editorial opinion follows: I have a long history of horsepower mods, all the way up to motor swaps. It's a sad history. But it's a history that has taught me a lot. Mostly it taught me not to attempt it.

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The british word would be "gutted". Sorry to anyone this has happened to and I hope the replacement engine brings it back to be an even greater car than it started to soften the blow!

Porsche UK won't warranty the car after it's 8 years old (same everywhere?) so a lot of us '99 996ers will be on our last year of warranty. Is there a way of bringing on this devastation so you can get a replacement under warranty?? Can someone mail me some engine metal hehe.

Edited by WeekendWonder
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  • 8 months later...
The british word would be "gutted". Sorry to anyone this has happened to and I hope the replacement engine brings it back to be an even greater car than it started to soften the blow!

Porsche UK won't warranty the car after it's 8 years old (same everywhere?) so a lot of us '99 996ers will be on our last year of warranty. Is there a way of bringing on this devastation so you can get a replacement under warranty?? Can someone mail me some engine metal hehe.

WeekendWonder, I have an audi TT 3.2 DSG and was my intention to return to one my old passion:911.

Unfortunately I have read a lot of disasters for the 996 motor. I have been amazed and disappointed of everything this.

My target is (was?) a 996/2002 3.6 liter.

Do you know if in England, does Porsche guarantee similar breakups of the motor and for how old?

Thanks and sorry for my weak english.

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Hi Vman,

Sorry to hear about your troubles. A supposedly prestigious car should not be suffering catastrophic engine failure at 47,000 miles. I would advise that you take this up with Porsche at both dealer and national level, don't take this lying down.

When I purchased my 996, the independent dealer mentioned he gets a lot of 996s with strange invoices for replacement engines in the document history. Examples are invoices of a few hundred pounds for replacement engines on non-warranted cars. Apparently if a customer has one of these common engine failures and makes a fuss they can persuade Porsche to subsidise the replacement engine cost. It doesn't matter who serviced/maintained the vehicle as Porsche have no monopoly on this. I would write letters to anyone and everyone you can think of and threaten legal action; this is a known fault and Porsche are being irresponsible.

BMW had similar problems with M3 engines and the customers, forums and owners clubs forced them to take responsibility in the form of a recall. I hope you get somewhere with this, there are too many Porsche apologists around letting the side down :soapbox:

All the best.

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Options

1)Send in the core and get a Porsche factory remanufactured engine $8K with core exchange + $2K warranty, by requiring us to send them an unopened core Porsche keeps to themselves what went wrong. The bigger issue is am I getting an improved motor with the new 3.4L. I talked to 3 dealers today who think but are not sure that the bearing (single) on the 3.4 is now bigger on the intermediate shaft, which could most likely have been the cause of failure. Has anything changed in the remanufactured 3.4 liter engine? I really don't want to spend $10K to get another failure in 50,000 more miles. While I get a 2 year warranty I don’t even come close to 5K miles per year on this car so it will not likely fail again until after the warranty is up.

Thanks in Advance

Where can you get the stock engine for $8000 share the wealth. Lowest I found is $8600. I would stick to the 3.4 with warrenty and is the least complicated vs 3.6-3.8 for the novice. Just my 2 cents

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My 1999 C2 996 with 47,000 miles just died and started spitting up metal in the oil filter. The car has been well cared for by proven shops. I wish this were a joke that a Porsche blows a motor at 47,000 miles, even my dad's old Chrysler Cordoba went to 60,000 before giving up the ghost. At the time of failure their was proper oil and coolant in the car, it was cruising along the highway at 3,500 rpm's.

Options

1)Send in the core and get a Porsche factory remanufactured engine $8K with core exchange + $2K warranty, by requiring us to send them an unopened core Porsche keeps to themselves what went wrong. The bigger issue is am I getting an improved motor with the new 3.4L. I talked to 3 dealers today who think but are not sure that the bearing (single) on the 3.4 is now bigger on the intermediate shaft, which could most likely have been the cause of failure. Has anything changed in the remanufactured 3.4 liter engine? I really don't want to spend $10K to get another failure in 50,000 more miles. While I get a 2 year warranty I don’t even come close to 5K miles per year on this car so it will not likely fail again until after the warranty is up.

2)Sell core to junkyard guys, buy a remanufactured 3.6L with x/51 engine for $11K no core exchange (you cannot exchange a 3.4 core on a 3.6), 3.6L is said to have two bearing around the intermediate shaft, and less prone to failure. Problem here is I need to convert from egas to mechanical throttle (can be done in UK by autofarm guys, but no one in the states seems to know how to do this, so far I all I know is I need to change the whole butterfly and center plastic that sits on the mainifold and then change over to mechanical unit anyone who has part numbers or a DIY on this I would really appreciate it). Also, with the 3.6L engine and 3.4 brain apparently you have to buy a break out box to control the cam lift solenoid and a control and link box to mate the 3.6 harness to the 3.4 liter brain (Autofarm in the UK sells a harness conversion for around $1,700). By the time we are done we are into this deal for about $15K, to make matters worse I just heard from several west coast Porsche shops that 3.6L are starting to fail almost as often as 3.4L. Does data exist on failure rates of 3.4 L vs. 3.6 L engine? While I get a 2 year warranty I don’t even come close to 5K miles per year on this car so it will not likely fail again until after the warranty is up.

3) Sell core to junkyard guys, but an engine 3.4 L or 3.7 L engine from autofarm cost of $11-$15K that has their stronger intermediate shaft http://www.autofarm.co.uk/engines/water_cooled/shaft_tech and sisileeve cylinder liners. Either motor will drop right in the 3.7 comes with an ECU map, but if the thing will pass smog in the US is an unknown, also in all deference to the good folks at autofarm I would be proving them right. Any comments on their technical merits of their products please let me know. All in cost with labor for this solution will be about $13K for a 3.4 L to $17K for 3.7L, including shipping my old core to europe.

4)4) Sell core to junkyard, buy a 997 3.8 L engine with X/51, find someone in the states that knows how to convert e-throttle to mechanical and wire a solution to use a 3.4 brain with breaker boxes to control the new variocam plus of the 2007 engine. I think this whole deal will cost about $20Kto $25K. The new engine block on the 2007 is said to be stouter and has a much reinforced intermediate shaft. Any comments or predictions on the increase in longevity on this solution and if anyone out there is known to be able to pull off the install or would be willing for a price to provide me with the parts and knowledge to have my local guys do this install please let me know.

Thanks in Advance

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  • 1 year later...

Hello,

I have a 2002 Boxster S with an unusable motor, and I just bought a 2006 Cayman S 3.4L for a good price to swap in. I have a few questions:

What would be needed to convert a ECU to 7.8? Is it physically a different computer hardware, or is it simply different programming? If it is different hardware, would it be possible to use the Cayman's ECU in my Boxster?

Would the Cayman computer be how I would control the Variocam Plus? Or do you sell a box that can control it? If you make something, does it control the Plus just like the factory computer (rpm, loads, etc.)

Is there any incentive to run 7.8, or will getting the proper MAF frequencies and the Plus working give the same results?

Sorry for so many questions, but I new to the changes on these engines.

Vman,

Simply to integrate the 7.8, a lot of rewiring. I should qualify this by stating that while in principle it should work, I haven't completed the project yet, so I can't say for sure that everything is going to work out yet. The egas is the easy part, just need a new pedal and throttle body assembly and run a few new wires.

You need to control the variocam plus somehow. If you lock out the valve lift (the plus part of variocam plus) to the high cam profile, the car will not idle so at a minimum it needs to be actuated off idle. The stock cam timing maps on a 3.4 DME are different than a 3.6 as well, The 3.4 actuates the cam adjusters above 1300rpm to go to early timing, which is much earlier than the 3.6 wants it done. If you are not using the car on the street, the current setup I have using an aftermarket controller to control the variocam plus is the easiest and cheapest. The only issue with it is if you are using it as a street car and need to pass OBDII and visual inspection you will most likely have problems.

Todd

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  • 3 years later...

Putting a 3.6 or 3.8 into an early 996 has the same issues as into an early Boxster. Look at my posts on that issue on the board. It really has nothing to do with egas, but the difficulties of integrating the 7.8 DME into the earlier car. That said I have done this with my car, the solution I am currently running is not OBDII compliant, and no system using an aftermarket controller to run the Variocam plus on the 3.6 or 3.8 will be, especially in California. I am currently working out the final details on the integration of the 7.8 into the earlier chassis, and I hopefully will have a solution to this soon. This would be OBDII compliant. Unfortunately my real job keeps getting in the way. Personally, if I were going to go to the expense of a new motor, I would buy the biggest one I could :) Putting the 3.8 in is no different in complexity than the 3.6. Todd

where have you bought the aftermarket controller to run the Variocam plus on

and what with vario lift what have you done

starts well enough but about 100 hp

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Putting a 3.6 or 3.8 into an early 996 has the same issues as into an early Boxster. Look at my posts on that issue on the board. It really has nothing to do with egas, but the difficulties of integrating the 7.8 DME into the earlier car. That said I have done this with my car, the solution I am currently running is not OBDII compliant, and no system using an aftermarket controller to run the Variocam plus on the 3.6 or 3.8 will be, especially in California. I am currently working out the final details on the integration of the 7.8 into the earlier chassis, and I hopefully will have a solution to this soon. This would be OBDII compliant. Unfortunately my real job keeps getting in the way. Personally, if I were going to go to the expense of a new motor, I would buy the biggest one I could :) Putting the 3.8 in is no different in complexity than the 3.6. Todd

where have you bought the aftermarket controller to run the Variocam plus on

and what with vario lift what have you done

starts well enough but about 100 hp

I used a Perfect Power SMT6. I still have one with a new harness and the software etc that I would let go pretty cheap if you want to go this route. I also have maps and wiring for the setup. The lift is an all or none function while the valve timing is variable and controlled by a pulse width signal on the factory DME.

Regards,

Todd

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