An enthusiast’s guide to maintaining your 944 (and classics in general) – Part II


Hi and welcome to Part II of the enthusiast’s guide to maintaining your 944 (and classics in general). If you missed Part I check it out here.


By far the least enjoyable part of maintaining a classic is dealing with rust. Especially if the car’s spent its life in snowy or rainy countries, rust will quickly become your nemesis. Virtually every bolt you’ll set your spanner on will be rusted in place and learning to deal with it is a necessary part of the job. Here are my top tips for keeping your sanity:

1) For slightly rusted bolts some WD40 can help. Don’t expect miracles though

2) For more serious cases, by far the easiest and fastest way to loosen a rusty bolt is to heat it up. Just make sure you’re not heating anything else that you shouldn’t

3) In many cases despite best efforts the bolt will need some muscle. When forcing a bolt try to use precise and sharp movements. You want all your force to go into turning the bolt and not in stripping it. It helps to use extra leverage (e.g. by extending your ratchet with a hollow tube) as opposed to muscle

4) If you strip a bolt it’s time to get out the drill - I use a Dremel. First step can be to cut the bolt so as to enable you to unscrew it using a flathead screwdriver. Failing this you can drill off the head of the bolt, releasing the tension and then unscrewing the rest of it

5) Be aware that when doing any procedure for the first time you may be stripping bolts. So either accept that the car may be inoperable till you get replacements or make sure you’re stocked up

6) Where possible try to replace ancient rusty bolts with new ones. The cost is minimal and it will spare you future anguish

7) Along the same lines, a tiny bit of grease when inserting the bolts back in can make future removal much easier


Paintwork and bodywork

Unless your car’s been hidden in a dehumidified cocoon for the last few decades it’s likely that its paintwork and bodywork will not be perfect. I’ll be upfront here and admit that despite best efforts, anything other than minor touch-up either needs professional equipment or real artistic flair (I’ve got neither) to give a good result. However, there’s a couple of things you can still DIY:

- Touchup: Small scrapes or holes in the paintwork can be easily patched. Make sure you remove any rust and then apply rustproofing followed by the appropriate paint. Clark’s Garage has a full list of all paint codes used on the 944 and bear in mind that the 944 does not have a layer of clear lacquer like most modern cars do - Rust removal: The back side of body panels and the underside of the car are likely candidates for some preventative rust proofing. Different people swear by different rustproofing solutions. To be safe, I often apply them all! Any rustproofing course first starts by removing any loose rust using a wire brush. You can then use sandpaper to remove as much of the residual rust as possible. I then apply rust resistant paint or, if the area is not normally visible, I apply POR15

- Rust prevention: Classic car owners round the world often swear by Waxoyl. It is a thick, greasy and sticky substance, applied via spray can which is meant to be unbeatable at rust prevention. It’s also unbeatable at being impossible to clean, so watch out.

Finally, after touching up your paintwork I highly suggest taking proper care of it. This includes cleaning, claying, polishing and waxing for the ultimate in good looks and paint protection.

Perhaps details to follow in a subsequent detailing article.



I hope its becoming apparent that maintaining a 944 is relatively straightforward. There are however some risks that must be respected and some basic precautions than must be taken, including:

- Never ever ever go under a car that is not properly supported. This means supporting the car on appropriate axle stands and never relying on the hydraulic jack that may collapse at a moment’s notice and crush you

- Be aware of engine parts that may move even if the ignition is off. For example the cooling fans operate even with the ignition off

- Many of the fluids used in cars are toxic to people and the environment. Use gloves, use goggles if necessary and capture and dispose of them properly. Do not poor coolant down the drain


So, where to start

I’d suggest starting small and taking baby steps. The regular servicing cycle is a nice place to start, including small jobs such as replacing spark plugs, oil, air and fuel filter, replacing brake fluid and coolant.

You can then pick and choose jobs as required. I bought my 951 in excellent condition and as such channelled my mechanic’s energies into preventative maintenance, from flushing and cleaning the intercooler to removing and sending the injectors for cleaning.

Once your Porsche is in good shape you’re likely to want to take care of smaller issues such as leaky roof or boot, faulty sunroof or boot motor or the odd electronics job.

As you feel confident you can start tackling larger projects. My first few included power steering pump replacement, motor mount replacement and timing belt replacement.

Just remember to read up in advance, make sure you understand what you’re doing, and take loads of photos of the way things are before you pull them apart.

All in all maintaining a 944 is both doable and enjoyable for the enthusiast mechanic. The only things it really needs is time and an appetite to learn.

Hope this short guide has given you a good overview of the basics of classic car maintenance. So, go ahead, grab a spanner and get under the hood!


Alex Proto