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iamtheari

How does the 996 behave in extreme cold?

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I'm still trying to decide between a 993 (I like the look better and the air-cooled Porsches are just cool cars; plus it comes at the end of the era so all the problems were mostly worked out by then) and a 996 (I like the interior a lot more, plus many were sold with heated seats; it also apparently costs a little less to keep running unless the engine blows up on you) ... and one thing I can't find a lot of information on is how they compare in severely cold weather.

I am not buying a summer-only car. I am sticking with Coupes (or at least Cabriolets that have the optional hard top) and exclusively to C4 models so I don't have to worry about hitting a small patch of ice on the road. The heated seats would be nice in the cold winters, but my current vehicle lacks that feature so it's not a deal-breaker for me.

Our winters are severely cold. In fact, there is no place I know of that gets both hotter and colder than here. Temperatures over 100F in the summer are common and over 110F is possible. But in the winter, ambient temperatures (not including the wind chill) of -30F are common and -50F is a real possibility.

The general response to that is to buy a car with a plug-in block heater and keep it plugged in whenever you are not driving it. I am not aware of whether such a device is available for the P-cars and would definitely love to hear from anyone who knows of one.

But regardless of that, the question is this: If you needed a car that would fire up and run in temperatures down to -30F or so, would you prefer a 993 or a 996? My shopping is getting more directed and specific but this is a major outstanding issue. Thanks!

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Both the heat and the AC work much better in the 996/water cooled cars than the air cooled cars. As for heated seats, they can be added with a little work, I know because I did it on my 2000 C4 cab. All OEM parts and looks, although you can go aftermarket if you want. You will need tow sets of wheels and tires, the summer tires are worthless in the cold/snowy weather, and you won't want to run winter tires in the summer. Not sure how you would do a block heater in a 996, haven't seen one, but with 0W-40 synthetic oil and good coolant you should not have a problem in the winter. Obviously a heated, or at least protected garage would help. You will love a C4 in the winter with the right tires.

You should also know that the cost to rebuild an air cooled engine is probably twice that of a rebuilt 996 engine.

Edited by Dharn55

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no car in the world will run well on ice. but in some, with careful technique you might have a chance at control. There are much better cars for pure winter driving than the C4S. Like probably any SUV with studded tires. But if you really are inclined toward a Porsche 911-type, then I totally agree with Dharn. My SC was totally worthless on ice. A 993 C2 would also likely be worthless on ice. period. my C4S is controllable. I would imagine that a 993 C4 is also controllable. That's 993 C4. I've driven a 993 C4 and it is an awesome car. That said, the 996 C4S is, imho, better for all around general driving. For winter use, a separate set of tires, and the smaller rear wheels are mandatory. I've really grown to appreciate what the C4S can do on any roads in dry weather. I really don't want to find out the upper limits of ice driving, but that's just my own feeling. Good luck on whatever P-car you choose. Some folks do think of the C4S in terms of a C$S, but any Porsche is traditionally somewhat expensive to properly maintain.

Edited by judgejon

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I should clarify that I am not going to drive it in deep snow or when the streets are glare ice. I have a four-wheel-drive full-size pickup for that. In the past, before I got the truck, I had a 1996 Pontiac Trans Am as my only enclosed transportation (while I know people who have ridden their motorcycles 12 months of the year up here, I am not quite that nuts), and survived okay in the winter other than when clearance was an issue. Traction control and smart driving (with a lifetime of experience driving on severely low-traction roads) go a long way. The all-wheel-drive is just one more thing to increase peace of mind when there are patches of ice or when starting out at an icy stoplight and hoping to get through the intersection before the light changes on you.

Side note: Ice isn't even slippery at the temperatures we get down to in the winter. At -30F the surface doesn't melt fast enough from a car's weight to be a problem. I've always said that 30 above causes more wrecks than 30 below.

I am looking mostly at Type 996 C4 cars, not the C4S as the cost/benefit on adding the S doesn't seem to work out for me. I did test drive a C4 Cab this past weekend but it doesn't have the removable hard top so I think I have to pass on it. And I loved it. :)

It does sound like the 996 would be a better bet for me just because of creature comforts such as a good heater and available heated seats (I haven't found any 993's with heated seats, which tells me they probably just aren't available at all; I don't mind modding the car or replacing parts of it at all, so long as it's a reasonable possibility). So maybe I should start getting more serious about the 996's I see and let the 993 C4S owner know the bad news...even if I do like the way it looks better.

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I should clarify that I am not going to drive it in deep snow or when the streets are glare ice. I have a four-wheel-drive full-size pickup for that. In the past, before I got the truck, I had a 1996 Pontiac Trans Am as my only enclosed transportation (while I know people who have ridden their motorcycles 12 months of the year up here, I am not quite that nuts), and survived okay in the winter other than when clearance was an issue. Traction control and smart driving (with a lifetime of experience driving on severely low-traction roads) go a long way. The all-wheel-drive is just one more thing to increase peace of mind when there are patches of ice or when starting out at an icy stoplight and hoping to get through the intersection before the light changes on you.

Side note: Ice isn't even slippery at the temperatures we get down to in the winter. At -30F the surface doesn't melt fast enough from a car's weight to be a problem. I've always said that 30 above causes more wrecks than 30 below.

I am looking mostly at Type 996 C4 cars, not the C4S as the cost/benefit on adding the S doesn't seem to work out for me. I did test drive a C4 Cab this past weekend but it doesn't have the removable hard top so I think I have to pass on it. And I loved it. :)

It does sound like the 996 would be a better bet for me just because of creature comforts such as a good heater and available heated seats (I haven't found any 993's with heated seats, which tells me they probably just aren't available at all; I don't mind modding the car or replacing parts of it at all, so long as it's a reasonable possibility). So maybe I should start getting more serious about the 996's I see and let the 993 C4S owner know the bad news...even if I do like the way it looks better.

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I should ask this:

What tires do y'all recommend for winter driving? I may as well shop around and include a set of those plus wheels in my budget.

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I should ask this:

What tires do y'all recommend for winter driving? I may as well shop around and include a set of those plus wheels in my budget.

I can't help on this one, my friend, as I run summer tires all year...Bridgestone Pole Position 050's. check the search engine, lots of discussion about tires.

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We have about the same weather temps but where I live we also get loads of snow and I know of some people who drive 996 C4's as daily drivers all year round. Don't even consider a 993 as the engine heater will never be of any use. They are driving on Brigdestone Blizzacks.

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We have about the same weather temps but where I live we also get loads of snow and I know of some people who drive 996 C4's as daily drivers all year round. Don't even consider a 993 as the engine heater will never be of any use. They are driving on Brigdestone Blizzacks.

Regina, indeed. I'm in western North Dakota and dated a girl from Regina a few years back. I got snowed in at a McDonald's parking lot in Regina the second week of June one year. If you crazy guys can drive your C4's year-round, so can I. :)

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Hi Iamtheari,

Ive been thinking about your predicament and why you are looking for a C4 (snow driving). I just realized that no one on the forum has recommended you consider a C2 with stability control (Porsche Stability Management)

Although this safety system is standard on C4 and Turbo versions of the 911, I believe it is an option available on C2 since 2,001.

Here is how Porsche describes the system:

Porsche Stability Management (PSM) is an automatic control system offering valuable assistance in specific, critical driving scenarios and to accomplish this, PSM uses a range of sensors to monitor the direction, speed, yaw velocity (speed of rotation around the vertical axis) and lateral acceleration of the car. Based on this information, it can then calculate the actual direction of travel. If the car begins to oversteer or understeer, PSM applies selective braking on individual wheels to bring the car back into line. Whenever PSM is forced to intervene, an indicator light in the cockpit is illuminated. Another scenario where PSM can assist the driver is when applying the throttle on wet or other low-grip surfaces. Here, PSM uses the ABD (automatic brake differential) and ASR (anti-slip regulation) functions to maintain traction and stability. Included as standard equipment on all 911 models, the latest generation of PSM allows considerably more freedom to explore the car's performance. All PSM inputs are much more precise, thereby enhancing the agility of the car. When “Sport” mode is selected on the optional Sport Chrono Package Plus, the PSM threshold is further extended to enable greater driver involvement – particularly at speeds up to 44 mph. Also included in the Chrono package is a modified ABS offering shorter braking distances. Occupant comfort has also been improved by refining all potential PSM inputs.

If you'd rather enjoy the 911 unassisted, the PSM system can be disabled leaving only the automatic brake differential in place. To ensure your safety, PSM remains present in the background and will only intervene under heavy braking where at least one front wheel requires ABS assistance.

With its unique combination of precision, stability, safety and performance, Porsche Stability Management is a natural application of the Porsche engineering philosophy.

Here is a link to a page that describes the different safety systems available in a Porsche:

http://www.porsche.com/microsite/technology/default.aspx?pool=uk&ShowSingleTechterm=PTAktS&Category=&Model=&SearchedString=&SelectedVariant=

hope this helps.

HG

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I could probably live with a C2, but it happens often enough here that you will pull up to a light or other place you have to come to a complete stop and you end up with both rear tires on ice. This is particularly nasty when you are pointed up a hill, as you can spin out and even slide backwards into traffic if you are unlucky. All-wheel drive alleviates (doesn't eliminate, but nearly so) that, in my experience. There are definitely enough C4 cars moving through the market in the USA that I shouldn't have trouble finding one if I am patient. I even found an '02 C4S that is on the edge of my price range...I hope that guy writes back!

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I don't subject my C4 to winter here in Colorado except for the occasional blast around the E-470 loop when the roads are dry and gravel free, but I can tell you that I've driven the car in snow with my Yokohama summer tires a few times to see how it does and the car really surprised me how well it performs in the slick.

There is no ground clearance so you would be screwed if the snow got too deep, but hey, these cars aren't built to plow roads.

I think if you use your truck for the bad weather days you'll be pleasantly surprised at how well the C4 handles in the wet and slick.

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Hi Iamtheari,

Ive been thinking about your predicament and why you are looking for a C4 (snow driving). I just realized that no one on the forum has recommended you consider a C2 with stability control (Porsche Stability Management)

Although this safety system is standard on C4 and Turbo versions of the 911, I believe it is an option available on C2 since 2,001.

Here is how Porsche describes the system:

Porsche Stability Management (PSM) is an automatic control system offering valuable assistance in specific, critical driving scenarios and to accomplish this, PSM uses a range of sensors to monitor the direction, speed, yaw velocity (speed of rotation around the vertical axis) and lateral acceleration of the car. Based on this information, it can then calculate the actual direction of travel. If the car begins to oversteer or understeer, PSM applies selective braking on individual wheels to bring the car back into line. Whenever PSM is forced to intervene, an indicator light in the cockpit is illuminated. Another scenario where PSM can assist the driver is when applying the throttle on wet or other low-grip surfaces. Here, PSM uses the ABD (automatic brake differential) and ASR (anti-slip regulation) functions to maintain traction and stability. Included as standard equipment on all 911 models, the latest generation of PSM allows considerably more freedom to explore the car's performance. All PSM inputs are much more precise, thereby enhancing the agility of the car. When "Sport" mode is selected on the optional Sport Chrono Package Plus, the PSM threshold is further extended to enable greater driver involvement – particularly at speeds up to 44 mph. Also included in the Chrono package is a modified ABS offering shorter braking distances. Occupant comfort has also been improved by refining all potential PSM inputs.

If you'd rather enjoy the 911 unassisted, the PSM system can be disabled leaving only the automatic brake differential in place. To ensure your safety, PSM remains present in the background and will only intervene under heavy braking where at least one front wheel requires ABS assistance.

With its unique combination of precision, stability, safety and performance, Porsche Stability Management is a natural application of the Porsche engineering philosophy.

Here is a link to a page that describes the different safety systems available in a Porsche:

http://www.porsche.c...electedVariant=

hope this helps.

HG

I might be mistaken, but I think you're referring to the psm in the 997's.

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Both the heat and the AC work much better in the 996/water cooled cars than the air cooled cars. As for heated seats, they can be added with a little work, I know because I did it on my 2000 C4 cab. All OEM parts and looks, although you can go aftermarket if you want. You will need tow sets of wheels and tires, the summer tires are worthless in the cold/snowy weather, and you won't want to run winter tires in the summer. Not sure how you would do a block heater in a 996, haven't seen one, but with 0W-40 synthetic oil and good coolant you should not have a problem in the winter. Obviously a heated, or at least protected garage would help. You will love a C4 in the winter with the right tires.

You should also know that the cost to rebuild an air cooled engine is probably twice that of a rebuilt 996 engine.

How much work is it to add heated seats in a 996 and what is the cost?

Is it a DIY tread about this?

thanks

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How much work is it to add heated seats in a 996 and what is the cost?

Is it a DIY tread about this?

thanks

I've looked into it a little bit. The seats aren't that expensive. Here's a pair for $500 on eBay: http://tinyurl.com/2c8rekj

The problems are finding them in the right color, getting seats that match the electrical system in your car (memory computer, etc.), and figuring out how to get the heaters working - what I haven't learned yet is whether they require a switch or control system in the car or if that's all on the seat and/or something you can add.

But I've basically conceded to myself that I will either buy a car with heated seats at the time of purchase or I will live without them.

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C4's are fine in the winter, with all-weather tires. I drive mine year-round and we got whacked for snow fall in Northern NJ last year. Handling is exceptional, just dont be tempted to push through the snow the plows leave at the entrance to your driveway as you don't have the clearance. -2F was the coldest morning I had last year, according to the instrument dial, when we drove upstate NY. Started fine, need 5 mins running time, idle or otherwise, to get benefit of heating in that cold, but the car performed as it always does - solid engine, great handling. It's the crappy, niggly things that go wrong for me, like turning signal stems breaking, cab top hydraulics, not the major stuff. Putting hydraulic oil in my cab top this weekend, as an example. Rear view mirror works well though, I see plenty of BMWs and Merc's in it :-)

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C4's are fine in the winter, with all-weather tires. I drive mine year-round and we got whacked for snow fall in Northern NJ last year. Handling is exceptional, just dont be tempted to push through the snow the plows leave at the entrance to your driveway as you don't have the clearance. -2F was the coldest morning I had last year, according to the instrument dial, when we drove upstate NY. Started fine, need 5 mins running time, idle or otherwise, to get benefit of heating in that cold, but the car performed as it always does - solid engine, great handling. It's the crappy, niggly things that go wrong for me, like turning signal stems breaking, cab top hydraulics, not the major stuff. Putting hydraulic oil in my cab top this weekend, as an example. Rear view mirror works well though, I see plenty of BMWs and Merc's in it :-)

What kind of all-weather tires do you run? I priced out (from tirerack.com) a set of Sport Edition Cup 4 wheels with Pirelli snow tires and threw in a tire storage rack and the total came to $1,457 even. That's 17x7.5 and 17x9 wheels with 205/50R17 and 255/40R17 tires. But all-weather tires that work well in the weather you describe would probably be better for me, as 5 days a week in the winter we have relatively clear streets in town, just some packed snow and icy patches depending on whether it's deep winter or spring, and dry pavement on the highways.

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I drive my car year round, have had problems with brakes icing and stopping tire rotation twice in very cold nights after warmer day or wash...but as for traction no problem with usual winter driving precautions and good tires. I have the falken eurowinters on and no trouble 2 winters in 996 c4

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