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JoostE

Variocam error - engine running fine

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Hi, I'm new to this forum and would like to discuss a subject concerning the variocam in a '98 C2 996. I want to buy this car, the only issue is that the onboard computer shows an error/ report concerning the variocam. I had the car checked at Porsche, they told me about this. The engine is running fine and there are no other problems with the car.

Is it safe to buy this car, or should I have the seller to check/ repair the error ? The seller is providing a 3 month warrenty, but I won't use the car on a daily base.

What would you advise me to do ?

Joost

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Thx boxter-s-dk for your reply. Are errors concerning the variocam such a serious issue that you would advise me not to buy this particular car ?

Porsche indicates this as 'an active error in the variocam system' when I had the car checked for their advise. The car is driving fine for all I can see. Can this be a software error, or does it have something to do with the electronics, or perhaps a mechanical problem ?

The car is from 07 '98, it has manual gear box and it has driven 101.000 km.

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Hi, I'm new to this forum and would like to discuss a subject concerning the variocam in a '98 C2 996. I want to buy this car, the only issue is that the onboard computer shows an error/ report concerning the variocam. I had the car checked at Porsche, they told me about this. The engine is running fine and there are no other problems with the car.

Is it safe to buy this car, or should I have the seller to check/ repair the error ? The seller is providing a 3 month warrenty, but I won't use the car on a daily base.

What would you advise me to do ?

Joost

VarioCam errors are often caused by blockage in the VarioCam unit's oil passages (they are very small and easily obstructed). Sometimes these codes are intermittent or momentary and then go away because they are triggered by a small bit of crud that got pushed out of the unit, other times if the problem keeps returning, it may be a sign of a failing unit (they are replaceable), a bad solenoid (also replaceable), or a poor maintenance history on the car (oil and filter not changed often enough, cheap oil used, etc.).

You need to look at the car an its maintenance history more closely to see if there are signs of poor maintenance evident. If no history is available, walk away............

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Thanks JFP for your answer.

I had the 996 checked by Porsche this week, they told me about this as a read out of the on-board computer. The car is in very good shape, both interior and exterior. There is no light on the dashboard blinking. The history of the car is available, it has been checked on a regular base. The oil has been changed recently.

In the Netherlands they keep track of every (recent) cars; the kilometers a car has driven is stored central when it is being serviced. Only in the early years of the car a lot of kilometers were driven with it. The last two/ three years only 1.200-1.500 km per year the car was used. It is not a car which is imported from another country; the car came straight from the factory. A history booklet (Porsche standard booklet) is available which service dates and locations.

The last few years a lot of Porsches 911 are being imported from the US.

> You mentioning replacements of parts to solve the problem (If this is in fact the cause of the error), are these replacements expensive ? I can't do it myself.

> Are there besides the read-out of the on-board computer other signs which are a indication of the seriousness of the problem (besides oil and oil filter) ?

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Although rare, an erroneous variocam fault code can also be caused by a faulty DME. I've experienced this first hand and have also read about others who have encountered this as well.

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Thanks JFP for your answer.

I had the 996 checked by Porsche this week, they told me about this as a read out of the on-board computer. The car is in very good shape, both interior and exterior. There is no light on the dashboard blinking. The history of the car is available, it has been checked on a regular base. The oil has been changed recently.

In the Netherlands they keep track of every (recent) cars; the kilometers a car has driven is stored central when it is being serviced. Only in the early years of the car a lot of kilometers were driven with it. The last two/ three years only 1.200-1.500 km per year the car was used. It is not a car which is imported from another country; the car came straight from the factory. A history booklet (Porsche standard booklet) is available which service dates and locations.

The last few years a lot of Porsches 911 are being imported from the US.

> You mentioning replacements of parts to solve the problem (If this is in fact the cause of the error), are these replacements expensive ? I can't do it myself.

> Are there besides the read-out of the on-board computer other signs which are a indication of the seriousness of the problem (besides oil and oil filter) ?

With a good service record history, the car should be sound.

To swap out the VarioCam unit or solenoid, it requires special tools (cam holding device) and removal of the cam cover on the side with the fault. This is not a difficult procedure, but it is a bit time consuming. As I do not have access to your local parts pricing, I would suggest asking your dealer's part department for pricing on both the VarioCam actuator and solenoid to get an accurate assessment of what it is going to cost.

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Although rare, an erroneous variocam fault code can also be caused by a faulty DME. I've experienced this first hand and have also read about others who have encountered this as well.

Thanks Iogray for your reply.

What was the solution to solve this, was the DME replaced ?

Are there other indicators of a malfunction of the variocam besides the read-out at Porsche ?

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Although rare, an erroneous variocam fault code can also be caused by a faulty DME. I've experienced this first hand and have also read about others who have encountered this as well.

Thanks Iogray for your reply.

What was the solution to solve this, was the DME replaced ?

Are there other indicators of a malfunction of the variocam besides the read-out at Porsche ?

You should be able to read the VarioCam settings on the Durametric software as well.

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Thanks JFP for your answer.

I had the 996 checked by Porsche this week, they told me about this as a read out of the on-board computer. The car is in very good shape, both interior and exterior. There is no light on the dashboard blinking. The history of the car is available, it has been checked on a regular base. The oil has been changed recently.

In the Netherlands they keep track of every (recent) cars; the kilometers a car has driven is stored central when it is being serviced. Only in the early years of the car a lot of kilometers were driven with it. The last two/ three years only 1.200-1.500 km per year the car was used. It is not a car which is imported from another country; the car came straight from the factory. A history booklet (Porsche standard booklet) is available which service dates and locations.

The last few years a lot of Porsches 911 are being imported from the US.

> You mentioning replacements of parts to solve the problem (If this is in fact the cause of the error), are these replacements expensive ? I can't do it myself.

> Are there besides the read-out of the on-board computer other signs which are a indication of the seriousness of the problem (besides oil and oil filter) ?

With a good service record history, the car should be sound.

To swap out the VarioCam unit or solenoid, it requires special tools (cam holding device) and removal of the cam cover on the side with the fault. This is not a difficult procedure, but it is a bit time consuming. As I do not have access to your local parts pricing, I would suggest asking your dealer's part department for pricing on both the VarioCam actuator and solenoid to get an accurate assessment of what it is going to cost.

Thanks again for your reply. Before the check this week, the car was checked and some repairs were made recently at another Porsche garage/ service point (concerning the AC unit and new tires and brakes). For some reason they didn't follow up on this problem with the variocam. I haven't been able to check with this service point for the exact reason.

At the check this week the couldn't tell me more besides the read-out.

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Although rare, an erroneous variocam fault code can also be caused by a faulty DME. I've experienced this first hand and have also read about others who have encountered this as well.

Thanks Iogray for your reply.

What was the solution to solve this, was the DME replaced ?

Are there other indicators of a malfunction of the variocam besides the read-out at Porsche ?

You should be able to read the VarioCam settings on the Durametric software as well.

Thx JFP; At the PPI they didn't mention anything about a Durametric readout; I do not own such a kit. It was just written on the report the gave me - I didn't see the actual read-out.

As I understand correctly from your answer; variocam errors are only noticable from digital read-outs ? There are no other indicators ?

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The car sounds nice, but I would not buy a 996 with an engine fault to start with, no matter what.

Get the seller to fix it, before you buy it...

Best of luck

Stefan

Dk

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Although rare, an erroneous variocam fault code can also be caused by a faulty DME. I've experienced this first hand and have also read about others who have encountered this as well.

Thanks Iogray for your reply.

What was the solution to solve this, was the DME replaced ?

Are there other indicators of a malfunction of the variocam besides the read-out at Porsche ?

You should be able to read the VarioCam settings on the Durametric software as well.

Thx JFP; At the PPI they didn't mention anything about a Durametric readout; I do not own such a kit. It was just written on the report the gave me - I didn't see the actual read-out.

As I understand correctly from your answer; variocam errors are only noticable from digital read-outs ? There are no other indicators ?

Often, but not always, a VarioCam fault will throw a code and trip the check engine light.

Durametric is an excellent Porsche diagnostics software package that is widely used here.

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An update and perhaps for future reference:

Allthough the engine was running smoothly, further diagnostics indicated that there is a problem with the variocam. The conclusion of the mechanic was that this part needs to be replaced. With the replacement part there were no more errors in the read-outs.

Thanks all for your advise. All the best, Joost

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