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85 911 vs 88-89 911


HGGuate

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I am looking at a 85 911 in good condition but am scared that a hard and clunky transmission may not be too fun in the long run. I dont have a 88 or 89 available immediately, but am sure one may come my way if I look for it in the next year.

Any opinions out there if its worth waiting for an 88 or 89, or if the difference in transmission and feel are just part of the Porsche fantasy, and im just as well served by the 85 i have in my sights.

any help is greatly appreciated.

HG

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I don't have a lot of experience here but I just bought an '88 930 after doing some research. My impression is that the transmission in the '85 versus '88 is not substantially different, at least on the turbo's. And that they are not hard and clunky but rather a bit inaccurate requiring some care in placing the stick carefully for gear selection. Of all of the reasons to not buy an '80's Porsche, I don't think this is it.

I am looking at a 85 911 in good condition but am scared that a hard and clunky transmission may not be too fun in the long run. I dont have a 88 or 89 available immediately, but am sure one may come my way if I look for it in the next year.

Any opinions out there if its worth waiting for an 88 or 89, or if the difference in transmission and feel are just part of the Porsche fantasy, and im just as well served by the 85 i have in my sights.

any help is greatly appreciated.

HG

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I do not remember when the G50 trans replaced the 915, but you need to search that. There were also issues with 2.7 exploding airboxes and head bolts that failed. You need to know which year did what. Mostly you need complete maintenance records and meticulous care. Few people can afford to fix up and older 911.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am looking at a 85 911 in good condition but am scared that a hard and clunky transmission may not be too fun in the long run. I dont have a 88 or 89 available immediately, but am sure one may come my way if I look for it in the next year.

Any opinions out there if its worth waiting for an 88 or 89, or if the difference in transmission and feel are just part of the Porsche fantasy, and im just as well served by the 85 i have in my sights.

any help is greatly appreciated.

HG

Hope this helps....

In the 911 Carerra (non turbo)- the 915 trasmission was replaced with the G50 transmission in the 1987 model year. The same year had a few other differences in the DME that bumped up the HP and Torque.

In the Turbo 930's the only year that the G50 transmission was included was the '89 model year.

You may want to get your hands on the Porsche Red Book which lists all the changes and options for each model year. Some/Most people swear by the G50 transmission- some people don't think there is much of a difference for practical driving. A few people do like the 915 transmission better... I've driven both and I think there is a difference with the 950 being less sloppy and feeling torqier (is there such a word?)- especially at lower RPMs in 2nd and 3rd- but that might also be DME related.

That said, it might not be a make or break thing for you... Also, some early G50 transmissions had some very minor issues with the fork which gets an upgrade when you replace the clutch ...

You should read up on the G50 transmission and definitley drive both before you buy...see if it makes a difference to you because that's all that counts.... the extra $ you might have to pay for an 87-89 may not be worth it to you.

More important is the mileage and condition of the car. Try to have a PPI performed by someone who knows Porsche's inside out. Maint records are a plus but a leak down test will tell you alot more. I believe 84-89 Carerra's all had 3.2 engines- they did not have the problems with the airbox- and that's a quick and reportedly easy fix anyway by adding a popoff valve - the 2.7's were much earlier cars ... they were problemtic because of a problem with the studs pulling out when the engine heated up- but there are fixes for that as well (albeit not inexpensive) and the cost of the fix is usually reflected in the price between a 2.7 and a 3.0....

jim

Edited by 89Cab
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  • 3 months later...

I've had both a 915 and a G50. The biggest difference (for me) is that I'm MUCH more comfortable letting other people drive the G50 transmission. It's syncronized, so its much smoother and less "picky."

If you are the only driver in the 915 transmission, I wouldnt worry about it and just keep it going with fresh fluid and use the magnetic plugs.

Good luck!

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I'm currently driving an '86 (essentially same as '85 mechanically) with a little less than 60K miles and recently had the shift linkage repaired at minimal cost when I complained about slightly hard and imprecise shifting at a regular maintenance interval. This is my fifth car with a 915 transmission in well over 400,000 miles and a period of 40 years (my first was a '70 911T), and I was prepared for the worst, having had to rebuild transmissions on two 911SC's in the eighties, although not until each had well over 100K miles. However, replacing a nylon bearing at the base of the shifter cured the problem and I'm happy to report that the car now shifts as well as any of my cars at any time, which is to say very well indeed. My mechanic tells me that two other nylon bearings in the linkage also notoriously deteriorate with time, although mine were fine so he did not have to replace them. It's possible those had been replaced by an earlier owner since I don't have good records from him and bought the car at ~ 52K miles.

My impression is that a lot of the negative criticism of the 915 is related not to the transmission itself but rather to these shift linkage plastic parts not being replaced after a considerable period of time and use. That said, Porsche had some reason to switch to the G50 in '87. It may have been simply production cost, or it may have been that the increased torque planned for future cars at the time was to be better handled by the G50, or somewhat better feel, or some combination of all three. Certainly the fact that I never had to rebuild any 915 transmissions on the 2.0 and 2.7 cars and did on both 3.0 cars leads me to believe that steadily increasing torque was a consideration, and the 3.2 has even more torque. So, in summary I would say a G50 transmission would be nice but I certainly wouldn't turn down a nice example with the G15, nor would I pay a large amount extra just for a G50.

Besides, God intended that reverse should be over and down :D.

Edited by thorrall
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  • 5 months later...

I have had 4 915 trans cars(80-85) and 2 87's-- my g50 cars were dogs compared to earlier 915 trans cars- they are geared differently and supposedly have a 7 more u.s hp than u.s 915 cars but to me felt sluggish w. not responsive or near as direct w. tactile feel as 915 cars-maybe its the hydraulic clutch and higher gearing ?- but the g50 is stronger, easier to shift, and more reliable however plus.. bring more$$.

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