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Transmission Problem or Lightweight Flywheel Noise?

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I brought my 2002 C2 to the local Porsche dealer (McKenna Porsche in Norwalk) today for an e-brake adjustment and an oil change. When I called the service manager to see if my car was ready, he said that he thinks my transmission needs to be replaced. The car is a 6-spd with 55K miles and has never been driven carelessly since I have owned it, which has been just under 2 years and only 9K miles.

A little background:

I purchased the car in February of 2006 from a local Porsche reseller. PPI showed no issues. However, I noticed a loud "rattling" sound at idle on the way home from purchasing the car, after it had warmed up. The sound went away when I would engage the clutch. Having just made such a large investment, I immediately called the seller in a panic, and they arranged to have the car looked at by McKenna Porsche. McKenna took a look and called to let me know not to worry, and confirmed that the car indeed had a brand new clutch and lightweight flywheel. This inspection cost me $0. I drove the car home the following day and have lived with that rattling sound--and no noticeable issues with drive-ability--since, thinking it's just the normal "chatter" that is associated with a LW flywheel. I have never heard another Porsche with this, so I cannot say for sure if mine sounds the same.

I explained all of the above to the service manager today, and he confirmed that he would look back into the service history for the car, which I would have expected him to have done BEFORE calling me (my expectations for others are apparently always too high, but let's not digress...).

So here's where I'm at as of this evening:

I DO have a warranty/MBI (through February '08), which I purchased when I bought the car. The warranty is through GE Financial: 4-Star Coverage. I did provide all of this information to McKenna. The service manager is supposed to take another look at the car and service history first thing tomorrow morning to confirm that his techs really believe that there is indeed a transmission problem. If so, he is going to contact my warranty provider to confirm coverage. I have heard some pretty ugly stories about just-under-5-digit transmission replacements, and I am ABSOLUTELY not enthused about the prospect of having to pay for a replacement transmission.

I am hoping the board can help me with a couple of questions:

1) Does it sound like the problem could really be the transmission itself, or is it possible that the tech made a snap judgment without considering the LW flywheel?

2) Does anyone have any experience with a warranty from GE Financial, and can I expect that they WILL cover the transmission replacement if it is actually necessary?

As of now, I am expecting to get a phone call in the morning telling me that the transmission is fine, and that the chatter really is from the LW flywheel. If not, I am expecting that a tranny replacement will be covered by my warranty. If neither of these happen, and if the dealer insists that the tranny is bad but that I will have to pay, I am going to pick the car up and take it to my local independent shop for another opinion.

Thanks in advance for any help.


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You didn't say "It grinds going into 2nd" or " I can't get it into gear". I am guessing the tech misdiagnosed the rattle.

Drain and inspect the trans fluid. That will tell a great deal. If it looks really clean and the color is good... no worries. If it looks like a grenade went off in there or the fluid is really dark or full of metal flakes... time to call your warranty guy.

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I have NEVER heard a grind nor had a problem shifting into any gear.

As I "prepare" myself for tomorrow morning's follow-up conversation, I'm leaning toward just telling McKenna to stuff it and give me my car back, and not even to waste one more minute of their time--or mine--talking about what I believe to be a non-issue.

Thanks for the note

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I think every 996 that I have heard with a light weight flywheel - rattles some at idle.

Loren is right...as always...Every Porsche and every BMW M that I owned,create a rattling sound when idle,with a lightweight flywheel installed...A very easy way to avoid this voise is to slightly push the gear lever in front(3rd gear),when you are stationary in neutral.

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My LWF rattles slightly at idle in neutral. Press the clutch in and it goes away. Your service advisor is an idiot, end of story. Either that or the tech is, or both I suppose. I would recommend that you get the car away from them. Far, far away. Then get someone competent, like yourself, to change the transmission fluid unless it has been done recently. The 'lifetime' fill on the transmissions means the lifetime of the factory warranty.

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I think every 996 that I have heard with a light weight flywheel - rattles some at idle.

...A very easy way to avoid this voise is to slightly push the gear lever in front(3rd gear),when you are stationary in neutral.

This is a great way to reduce the life of your transmission substantially. I would recommend NOT taking this advice, if you can't handle the noise, make sure you have a sprung clutch disc to work with the LWF not the stock one as it is made to work with the dual mass flywheel. If you still can't take the rattle, put back the stock flywheel and clutch.


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Thank you for all of the responses. To take this back to the original post, I AM NOT bothered by the chatter in the least. I've lived with it for almost two years. The problem here is that I took my car in for some OTHER service, and my dealer heard the noise and decided to tell me that my transmission needs to be replaced. My inclination is to take the car back from them pronto, but I want to make sure that there really isn't a problem. I guess you can say they have me "rattled" (pun intended).

Tholyoak, as for the suggestion that skandalis made, I wouldn't think of doing something like this, because--again--the noise does not bother me.

I will be speaking with the dealer again this afternoon--it's hard for working folks to deal with anything but work between (at least) 8am and 6pm.


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