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


In many ways I’m your typical petrolhead… I’ve been around the track in anything from Caterhams to Jags, Porsches and Lambos. I’ve even subjected my trusty 944 turbo to multiple sessions at Brands Hatch and Snetterton, pushing this perfectly balanced beast to its limits (and,yes, past them… and into the pit).


And yet I’m not in it for the driving. For me the pleasure’s always been in the engineering of the matter. I’ve learnt a lot since my first 944 and that first set of spanners and yet I still get that same feeling of satisfaction every time I successfully complete a job or add another procedure to my repertoire.

Even with a relatively modest car like the 951 (that’s the 944 turbo), there’s a sense of almost artistic gratification in participating in keeping a 30 year old masterpiece ticking along just right. A sense that’s magnified when you consider doing this with zero engineering training and nothing but basic tools, the internet and some common sense.

So, this is a two part post on my top tips for the aspiring enthusiast mechanic; helping you get to grips with some of the basics and in the process demonstrating just how achievable DIY maintenance on a classic can be.


It is worth noting that the 944 is an ideal car for the enthusiast mechanic. There is tons of documentation publicly available, a very active community, affordable parts, almost no specialist equipment necessary and, overall, the 944 just makes sense. Apart from the limited slip differential (its inner workings are still black magic to me) I must say there’s virtually nothing you can’t figure out with a bit of reading, a bit of prodding and a lot of patience.

The internet is your friend Practically anything you need to know about the 944 can be discovered online. The first port of call is always Clark’s Garage, a veritable treasure of clearly written and well organised articles on the majority of procedures you’ll ever need to do.

Second port of call are the workshop manuals. Thankfully, readily available on the net (e.g. here) these are the super detailed official workshop manuals – a few thousand pages of them!

Finally, the global 944 community is always at hand if all else fails. Rennlist is THE place for 944 technical talk, just signup and start the conversion.

Your basic equipment

Possibly with the exception of the timing belt tension meter* and the flywheel lock, all other tools I’ve ever needed to use are common and relatively inexpensive. Here’s a list of the basics you’re likely to need (all of the below in metric where relevant):

The basics:

  • A full spanner set
  • A full socket and ratchet set (worth expanding your set with a selection of extensions and angles to make sure you can get to all those pesky obscured bolts)
  • A set of sturdy screwdrivers
  • Hydraulic jack and two axle stands
  • Wire brush for basic de-rusting
  • Latex gloves
  • Space!

The not so basics

  • -A torque wrench: In theory each bolt on the car should be tightened using specific torque.

In practice, in most cases very little precision is necessary. However in some cases (say, when dealing with bolts on the alloy engine), too little torque can lead to disaster further down the road while too much can lead to stripped threads (just as much of a disaster). A torque wrench takes the guess work out of the equation

  • Some brute force: When the going get tough, the tough grab a crowbar. Yes, a crowbar and a long piece of pipe for extending the leverage on your spanners and ratchets will undoubtedly come in handy
  • A magnetic grabber: Especially in the 951’s jam packed engine bay, losing a bolt somewhere in the bay can double the time of any procedure. A handy magnetic grabber can save your precious time and frustration
  • Multimeter: When diagnosing electrical issues a standard multimeter is always useful


Spare parts

One of the beauties of 944 maintenance is that it doesn’t need to break the bank. Not only does Porsche continue making original parts at affordable prices but the OEM market offers almost any part at even lower prices.

In addition to Porsche themselves, Eurocarparts and GSF offer a huge selection.

I’ll also state the obvious at this point: Always invest in the best quality parts for your treasured classic – the cost and effort of maintenance is mostly in the labour so skimping a few bucks for cheaper parts is never the smart choice.

This is the end of part one. Follow us on Facebook and keep an eye out for part two, covering dealing with rust, taking care of paintwork and bodywork, safety precautions and getting started.

Till next time!


Alex Proto


*An expensive bit of specialist equipment needed for measuring the correct tension of the timing belt. If you’re in the UK its worth enlisting with the Porsche Club GB if only for borrowing the club’s tensioner!