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Reliability of 996 Engines


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  • Admin

Jim Pasha has written an outstanding article in the October 2005 issue of Excellence Magazine. He discusses the overall reliability of 996/986 engines and what makes these engines some of the best Porsche has ever produced. We have added the 26 high resolution pictures showing the 996 engine internals.

Thank you to Jim and Excellence magazine for allowing us to reproduce this.

You can download the PDF version of the article here:

Reliability_of_996_Engines_Excellence_Magazine_October_2005.pdf

Members can view all 26 pictures - most not in the article.

(You will need a browser that has the Flash plugin to view these pics) here

(edit - added pictures link Sept. 27, 2005 - Loren)

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Quote from the article:"[T]hese all-new engines are surprisingly trouble-free -- especially in comparison with Porsche engines of the early 1970s."

Great achievement. If all else fails, lower your standards!

And because the all-new engines are so great and so much better than all the old rubbish, Porsche still has to use the old crankcases for their Turbo and GT3 engines.

Cheers,

Uwe

Edited by umn
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There have been another couple of articles about this kind of thing recently. There is one on RMS in Total 911 (which can be found here http://www.porscheforum.nl/album_cat.php?cat_id=11 second row down images 1-4), and also one in this month's 911 & Porsche World about Autofarm (a UK outfit in Oxford) re-engineering engines that have blown with the option of alternative pistons etc. more cheaply than a replacement engine. There are a number of statements in this article I wanted to post on here for reaction (about RMS and other stuff) but I don't have my article to hand at the moment.

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This reaffirms what the air cooled masses don't want to hear. The water cooled 996 motors are very reliable and cheap in the long run to own. Is is still a Porsche if the motor doesn't need to be taken apart every once and awhile? They quickly overlook the fact that air cooled engines are not cheap to rebuild. Ask me how it felt dropping off a big check to my mechanic for my 3.0 L engine rebuild. I lost a cylinder at 105,000 miles. I could buy a M96-03 engine for the same amount of money.

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Hello,

Being the owner of a late 996 C4C Tiptronic Porsche , I would very much like

to read the article on the reliabilty of 996 engines. My car had RMS failure last year and I keep reading threads of RMS re-occurring.

I tried the link to the article in Excellence magazine, but it doesn't work. Any suggestions what I can do?

jo996

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  • Admin
Hello,

Being the owner of a late 996 C4C Tiptronic Porsche , I would very much like

to read the article on the reliabilty of 996 engines. My car had RMS failure last year and I keep reading threads of RMS re-occurring.

I tried the link to the article in Excellence magazine, but it doesn't work. Any suggestions what I can do?

jo996

I just tried the article link and it works fine (over 200 downloads as of today).

The article and pics are hosted here (by permission). You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (free) to read the article.

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... my 3.6l engine had an RMS failure at 12.000km, another one at 18.000 km and the engine was swapped for a brand new one back then.

Just yesterday I found out that after another only 12.000 km it leaks again and I had to arrange another visit at the dealer. We'll see what the culprit is this time and who'll pay for it....

Sorry, I somehow have some doubts on the reliability of M96 engines.

I plan(ned) to buy a Boxster for my wife later this year, but depending on the results of this new leakage I am not sure whether I can get back the confidence in these engines again.

Wolfgang

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I am thinking about buying a 2001 C4 Cpe w/ 17k on it. I know the owner and he is meticulous if not too careful with the car. He is the original owner and the car has 17k on it. My main concern is the engine/RMS issue with these models. I am buying the car for 45k and it has no warranty, am I nuts?

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The "RMS Issue" is really a non-issue. Do a search on the topic and you will be reading from here till the end of time. Basically, an $800-$1000 fix and pales to the "fixes" that earlier 911's required. If the RMS is the only thing that has you worried then you are doing fine.

BTW, you are not nuts if you do your homework and due diligence in getting it totally looked over (PPI) and checking on it's full history. YOu can do this with the owner/dealer/and PCNA all with the VIN#.

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Isn't it possible that a small part of the 'qualified' success of this engine & drive-line....can be attributed to the fact that the owner of the 1998-on vehical is a tad different than 911s of yrs past?

Surely, no one would deny that post-993 that Porsche matched it's change in product with a calculated change in it's marketing direction.......with 'fair' success I might add.

To put it into context........can we honestly say the typical type of buyer for the MY2000 996 had directly comparable use & drive as the buyer of a new 911 964 or 993?

I'm not saying it's 'huge'..........I'm just saying that to leave it completely out of the discussion.......is to say that Porsche was not successful in 'shifting' (and yes broadening) it's marketing demo and base.....(or, that the new-revised 'Porsche following' coincidentally drives & uses their 911s almost identically to the 1987 or 1995 buyer).

I don't see a 'flack jacket' here in the 'Clickable Smiles' but I feel like I should be wearing one ;)

Edited by GreggT
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As the owner of my third 911, a 996, I take exception to the notion that concerns re engine/reliability issues may have sth to do with a shift in buyer demographics. True, Porsche may have expanded it's market in recent years. I would suspect, however, that more of their newbies are driving Boxters, not 911's. At any rate, as the owner of a 1968 911 my father bought new, and the former owner of a 1979 911SC (my wife only lets me have 2 at a time), I can tell you that the concerns re Porsche engine reliability are real. I have driven Porsches now for 23 years. I personally am sick and tired of the many glitches, flaws, reliability concerns not covered by the factory, etc one sees with Porsches and at the prices they command. You name it - leaking engine seals, chain tensioners going bad, leaking valve covers getting oil in heat exchangers, head studs, RMS leaks, etc. the list is not a short one. I have a RMS leak now! - which the dealer will fix at my expense whenever the clutch goes bad. THis is clearly a design flaw. Whatever the excuse, they should fix it, no questions asked. I am not an apologist for the marque, as so many seem to be. It is only because these persistent quality control issues come with the extreme joy of driving one that I remain a loyal owner.

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Isn't it possible that a small part of the 'qualified' success of this engine & drive-line....can be attributed to the fact that the owner of the 1998-on vehical is a tad different than 911s of yrs past?

Surely, no one would deny that post-993 that Porsche matched it's change in product with a calculated change in it's marketing direction.......with 'fair' success I might add.

To put it into context........can we honestly say the typical type of buyer for the MY2000 996 had directly comparable use & drive as the buyer of a new 911 964 or 993?

I'm not saying it's 'huge'..........

When I read Pasha's article, my first thought was to oil. My second was manufacturing improvements, i.e. methodology, tolerance, and material quality. These are heavy hitters on wear/tear, naturally. In addition, Pasha discusses a matter of fatigue related to the main webs of engines from generations ago.

Frankly, it's one article about one engine, and I wasn't that impressed. Not because of the statistical significance (or lack thereof), but because any modern engine reaching 100K with limited wear/tear after bathing in Mobil1 from new and benefitting from major advances in design/manufacturing just doesn't surprise me. Think of the gigantic leaps in available computing power alone.

But, it is lost on me what is meant in the quote above. (Am I that much of a newbie?) What marketing direction affects the longevity of the engine? Is the perception that current owners take better care of their cars than those in the past? I doubt that. Are they not tracked as often now as they were? Weekend racers among us are undoubtably slightly diluted (or, deluded ;) ). Something else?

--Brian

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No problem.

I was babbling on in the hypothetical, not wanting to cause too much of a ruckus...and my result is being unclear :( .

A crazy solution to proving the hypothesis, would be to load a few 996s in the old time machine and take them back 10-20 and see how they'd do with that crowd.

If history writes up the M96 drive line as well-designed & long lasting.....well that's really is all that matters.

There will people that will continue to draw the throw-away Timex analogy (the engine / gearbox not easily rebuilt, modified, not replaceable pistons and cylinders for easy rebuild.....gearboxes without servicable internals components, etc)...and possibly site the absence of any serious international competition's use of the M96.

None of this matters, if history records that the typical 996 buyer had great success.

The premise of my thought, was that the 'typical' buyer may be a tad different.

To put it in context.......I've been around awhile also.....and am fortunate to have a number of cars. You go to the track today, DEs, Tracktime, Club Events.....yes you see 'some' 996s but not many........years ago you saw 911s, 930s, 964s, 993s.........today you see 911s, 930s, 964s, 993s, GT3s, new Turbos.

Does this speak to the typical demo cross section of todays 996 Porsche buyer? I don't know.

Last comment........I can recall discussions with friends 20 yrs ago (at the track) and when a fella asked if a 911 could be considered a good dependable 'daily'.......The answer was no. The suggestion was get the 944. But the more important point was, no one cared if the 911 wasn't the perfect 'daily'.....hell it was a 911.....everything was 'fixable' when it did brake.

Fifteen years later the Discussion Boards started having important discussions about squeeks, rattles, cup holders, & clear side markers. Parade dinner speeches espoused new record profits and how well the truck was coming along.......things changed, marketing changed, it succeeded (in what it was trying to do).

To say that the M96 is actually turning out to be a pretty good product for today's 996 buyer is great, and is certainly saying.......something (and BTW, more of them 'should' track their cars, they're probably tougher than I give them credit for).

And......before anyone thinks my nose is pretty far up in the air..........my 996s do have clear side markers :D

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Gregg,

I would think that given that we're from the same neck of the woods we would be hanging out at the same track events but obviously not. I see a lot of 996s at the track. I haven't done an official count but I would guess more than 993s or 964s. In club racing the number of 996s is growing pretty rapidly. Neither 993s or 964s are really competitive there. RSCS and RSAs are but not the stock cars. Between club racing and Grand Am Cup there is plenty of 996s getting a good work out.

Also, where do you (and others) get the idea that the M96 can't be rebuilt or that it's a throw-away engine? The concept, which I love, is that Porsche can rebuild their engines much more efficiently than the local mechanic can. In doing this they can also manage quality and gather huge amounts of engine wear data. They don't toss old m96s, they rebuild them and sell them to the next guy. Pretty smart I think. If they announced a similar program for air cooled engines people would be elated.

On the Excellence article. It is just one engine. On the other hand, it is nice to see one with a few miles on it turn up looking good.

Jim

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M96 in Grand Am Cup?.......and also actively participating in club racing? ('some' yes).

......but nope, sorry, haven't seen it and was not aware, but I missed alot of events this year.........back next.

Edited by GreggT
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Gregg,

Stock (sort of) 996s dominated the Gran Am Cup series for a number of years. This year the NASCAR guys that run the series have tilted it in favor of the new Mustangs. The M3 is also really strong and has been for awhile. It's a pretty fun series to watch.

In club racing the the 3.4L 996 is no match for the 993TT, 993RSCS and the progressed RSAs that run in C but my 3.6L X51 is doing just fine. We qualified first and took first in the sprint at Road America last month and qualifed second and took second in the enduro.

Jim

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I just pulled up Labor Day weekend Club Race results for Rd Am........just for what it's worth........all classes, about 250 cars........I only saw one (1) car.........I actually thought there would be a few more.

Edited by GreggT
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Yea but where was that 1? :)

Actually there were two 996s entered in C but one left on Saturday morning. He must have had a problem. Most of the bigger races you'll see two or maybe three. The class is still dominated by 993RSCSs and progressed RSAs. 3.6L 996s are just now getting to the price where guys will convert them to race cars.

Jim

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with hemeoncdoc wholeheartedly. There is NO reason to forgive mediocrety in engine design when a variety of makes ( including American cars I may add) are able to produce high powered , sophisticated engines that easily survive 200K miles without leaks or breakdowns. I also do not believe that only Porsche drivers use their cars the way they are designed. It is also clear that if you are using your car on the track you may shorted then time that engine failures occur but certainly not the same problem over and over again for the last 10 years.

I for instance would definately be looking at a Maserati or a Baby Aston Martin going forward. Or maybe the new Nissan/Infinity supercar...

Also, the reluctance for Porsche to make parts available for gearbox repair etc is rather anti-customer I would say.

I love my C2 but getting the habit of looking under the car every day to check for the RMS or other leaks syndrome puts a damper on my enthousiasm for sure.

Maybe Porsche should outsource their engines rather than their other components. Audi most likely would be doing a better job. Maybe even Jugo!! Consider a 3.8 liter engine with just about 350 HP. That's no longer the pinacle guys!!

Evo X with 2 liters will make 300+ horses with full factory warranty.

Coming soon to a dealership near to you at 35 K or so ( including ALL options)!!

Cheers

HarryR

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  • 4 weeks later...
I just pulled up Labor Day weekend Club Race results for Rd Am........just for what it's worth........all classes, about 250 cars........I only saw one (1) car.........I actually thought there would be a few more.

If you check out club races in the Noreast you will find 3 to 5 996's in C.

Just Riesentoter region has 3 996's in the C class.

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