Braunton Engineering have worked on the 944 model for over 25 years - they deal with jobs ranging from the annual MOT test in house, through to engine rebuild, chassis refurbishment (corroded sills), through to track preparation and modifications for track day or race use.
Porsche 944 ABS pump in the offside front wheel arch.
The 944 is a fairly complex beast for the small sports car it represents. From the transaxle layout, the large four cylinder in-line engine, slant mounted, to the unique chassis and body design. With the advanced oil and water way systems, the torsion bar rear suspension (& front struts and alloy lower wishbone set-up), the 944 requires an experienced mechanic to ensure correct maintenance.
Braunton have two technicians who are intimate with rebuilding the 944, and both remain enthusiasts for any model of 944 - from the 944 lux in its early years through to highly evolved, last of the line, bridge spoiler 951.
Porsche 944 Cambelt and balance shaft belts, water pump replacement at Braunton Engineering: Periodic maintenance of the engine belts on the 944/968 models is advised. If not on the accrued mileage then on the time span since last belt change – according to the cars service history. Braunton advise change of belts at 30,000 miles or every 4 years whichever arrives first.
The rollers and water pump are worth replacing for peace of mind. The team have a policy born from experience of fitting new rollers and recommend fitting the water pump as the belt runs the pump (an old, worn water pump can drag on the belt resulting in premature wear or breakdown to the belt), if the water pump has not been replaced within the last 5/6 years, according to service history, then it is best replaced.
944's are now consistently failing their MOT with corrosion to the sills. The cavity between the inner sill and outer sill traps dampness and over time, corrosion takes hold. A good inspection point is in the door shut – the black plastic vent can be popped out to view down into the cavity between the inner and outer sill. Other indications are rust bubbles appearing on the outer sill and in the lower door shut and top of the sill. Other rust areas for the 944 are around the rear hatch locks, lower edges of the arches, inside the boot – both inside cavities of the rear wing next to arch.
The Porsche 944 was considered by many to be the most reliable Porsche to have been built. The 944 delivers excellent handling characteristics with a balanced layout thanks to the gearbox being located on the rear axle and an all alloy four cylinder engine (effectively half of the 928 V8, yet with 2x balance shafts) perched at a slant angle just over the front axle.
The transaxle design allows the weight of the engine and gearbox to be evenly balanced in the chassis which delivers a vehicle with a near perfect 50/50 weight distribution.
The 944 turbo is a living legend - in standard form the 944T is a sharp tool, but with some modification the car is transformed and steps up to knock on the door of current fast sports cars - here is a little, stealthy sports car which can cross the country like a grand tourer or competitively lap a race track. This should not be a surprise as when the model had its own racing program: The Porsche 944 Turbo Cup Series in the 1980’s.
The 944 is now starting to rise in value, with the turbo tipped as the rare, holy grail of the 944 world - good examples are becoming hard to source.
Despite its age, the 944 remains a reliable daily driver if it has been well maintained according to the maintenance schedule.