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    New 997's, and engine family lines

    I received the following by email from a friend of mine in PCA regarding 911 engines.

    I am very much interested in any comments by RC and others knowledgeable in the matter of engine reliability as discussed and the prospects for the 997 and 997S engines in this regard.

    "Subject: New 997's, and engine family lines
    Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 17:23:19 -0500

    You are subscribed to the 964 / 993 / 996 incl. Cup cars area from the Technical Q&A Section.

    Classification: Engine
    Subject: New 997's, and engine family lines

    More than likely, I am ahead of ourselves in asking this question, but I am curious. I am one of those lucky ones who has had NO rms problems with my cab. It has been totally trouble free since new. Even worried me because I rarely used half a quart of oil in 7,000 miles, when I changed. (yes, of course I checked it often!)

    Here's my question. I was very interested in your comparisons of the 996 engine, which you mentioned was developed from the Boxster engine, compared to the GT3, and Turbo engines, being developed from the old reliable 911 engines. Do you know, are the 997 engines developed from the same engine as the current 996 Carrerra, or the seemingly more reliable 911 engines? (sorry, I don't know what else to call them) I was wondering if the 997S might have different guts from the standard 997?

    The 997 engine is an evolution of the 996 engine. I have to believe it will incorporate fixes for the RMS problem, the porosity problems, the cylinder liner coming loose failures, and so on. The S engine will be the same evolution engine but with increased displacement and associated tuning. It may have additional reliability reserves; it will be interesting to see when & how it finally comes.

    Your oil consumption figures are excellent. There are many others with no RMS problems, however, people are less likely to write in to report that their car is fine.

    That is so well said, "the seemingly more reliable 911 engines". The 993's with OBD-II are coming down with major OBD-II failures, mostly secondary air injection ports clogged. Substantially all of the cars are failing emissions at mileages as low as 30k. About one week out of the 7-year emissions warranty, wouldn't you know. Not for actual emissions, but for failing excessively tight OBD-II tests, so the car fails itself. For a new owner of a used 993 this is a rude welcoming when the car can't be registered in CA, NJ, NY, WA, etc, and the problem was missed by dealer PPI pre-purchase inspection. The light comes on about ten minutes after the car arrives at the owner's home. Even worse for the loyal one-car owner, the car is not going the distance it should. Not even close.

    In addition, all or substantially all of the 964 and 993 engines we have seen apart have all had worn out valve guides with way too few miles of service. The exhaust guides can be worn out (or worn close enough to the limit to where they will soon exceed the wear specs if re-used as is) at 10k-20k miles. The intake guides are better, but they are not far enough behind. The 911SC engines could routinely go 125,000 miles or more, in some cases twice that. The valve guide material used for the 3.6 and 3.8 liter air cooled engines is just too soft. The replacecment guides from the US are much better, but an unprompted engine rebuild is a show stopper for most owners.

    The turbo engines suffer from the same valve guide problem, except that the wear rate on the exhaust guides is worsened by the additional heat of the turbos. The turbos should also be afflicted by the secondary air problem, but we have few reports on those so far.

    Given the above, I would feel best with any of the following:
    - 996 or turbo still in warranty
    - GT2/GT3 still in warranty
    - any Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Porsche
    - 997 because it will be in warranty AND have improvements
    - a 964/993 for someone that can rebuild their own engine
    - a 964/993 for one that can afford an engine rebuild

    So I think your labelling is particularly accurate.
    Joel Reiser - PCA WebSite - 8/17/2004"

    Re: New 997's, and engine family lines

    I also got this from my PCA 996/Forum subscription. These are indeed serious issues - RMS leaks on 996 engines and worse premature injection port clogging and abnormal valve wear on 964/993s. I hope PAG hones to these problems and extends warranties - after all 911 buyers are who made what the company is today.

    Re: New 997's, and engine family lines

    I FULLY agree with the recommendations, nothing to comment on that. Also 996 cars AFTER the MY 2002 facelift can be recommended but personally I wouldn't touch a 996 before the facelift due to various quality/technical issues.

    The new 997 Carrera S engine is an evolution of the 996 M96 engine, this is right. But most parts are different compared to the M96 engine, this is why the new engine generation is called M97. Now the interesting part: the 997 Carrera (not "S") still uses a M96 engine which is modified.
    The engine itself is almost identical to the 996 engine but has some minor improvements regarding engine software, intake, etc. But I'd say that for 90% of the parts, it is the same engine.
    Yes, the 997 Carrera S engine has "reserves", it has been built with future power upgrades and emissions laws in mind. I recently heard that a 380 HP powerkit is planned but I have no official confirmation for that. Another rumor indicates that this engine is good for up to 400 HP without serious reliability problems and this would really be a pleasant surprise. Because one reason why Porsche never used the M96 engine for the GT3/GT2 and Turbo was the fact that the M96 engine wasn't good for turbo charging and high rev figures.

    One thing is wrong in that statement though: the 996 engine is NOT derived from the Boxster engine. What many people don't seem to know: the 996 was ready ONE YEAR before the Boxster was introduced! So the Boxster engine is based on the 996 engine. 993 sales were running surprisingly good by that time (after a pretty bad period) and Porsche decided to keep the 996 on hold and put the Boxster on the market first.

    Judging by the rev quality of the engine on my 997 Carrera S, I'd say that the new M97 generation is the best combo between the "old" 964/993 engine generation and the 996 M96 engine, especially regarding production cost and reliability. Yes, the 964/993 engines had issues but right now, the 996 Turbo/Turbo S, GT3 and GT2 engines are almost bullet-proof, highly recommendable. Only downside: they cost a fortune (REALLY a fortune!) if they have to be entirely replaced but over the past two years, engine repairs are possible, parts are available and the engines don't have to be replaced completely anymore.

    There was even a rumor that the new 996 Turbo engine will be based on the M97 engine and not on the current "old" 911 engine anymore but this is hard to believe considering the plans Porsche seems to have with the 997 Turbo.
    But one thing is for sure: if Porsche EVER had the chance to wipe out M96 issues like the RMS leak, etc., the M97 engine it is. It might look the same, even if you compare the engines from the outside but the parts are completely different and I suppose part quality and reliability has been greatly improved, of course also with the idea in mind to reduce warranty repair cost.
    I was able to notice it on the Cayenne first: Porsche earned a lot of money over the past few years and it shows in the 997 too. Build quality is up to BMW/Mercedes level, reliability even much better, pretty impressive for such a small manufacturer. And I recently spoke to a guy from a towing service and he said that in his opinion, reliability of Porsche cars has improved strongly over the past few years.
    And if I'm thinking about the quality of my first 996 back in 1997, the difference is even more impressive.
    I just hope that after the improvements over the past two to three years, Porsche doesn't go back to "saving money at any cost". People who buy such expensive cars don't care about a few bucks more but they care a lot about quality.

    So far, the 997 has been impressive. And if the quality is right, if Porsche does a clever model policy over the next few years, if Porsche listens to their customers (and I know they do, they monitor this forum and others too) and if worldwide economics recover (especially the high petrol prices are a problem), I see golden years ahead for Porsche.

    Re: New 997's, and engine family lines

    An interesting side note to this discussion is a recent Porsche TSB, #1359 issued 5/25/04, which covers the removal of the rear main seal for Porsches (all Porsches, including Cayenne). Much is made in the TSB of preserving the integrity of the seal so that meaningful analysis can be performed later. There are specific instructions for removing the seal without damaging it and storing it in the exact condition it was removed (no cleaning). It would seem Porsche is very interested in RMS issues.

    Has anyone else noticed a more aggressive approach to quality issues since the J D Power "fall from grace"? Porsche seems to have increased awareness of quality issues since then. I know the Cayenne was responsible for their drop in the rankings. Although the Cayenne is a well made vehicle it does have many minor annoyances that show up on this type of survey. Maybe next time they partner with another company on a vehicle they should choose Toyota.

    Re: New 997's, and engine family lines

    ADias, RC, GM Austin:

    Thanks for your responses. I, too, am hoping that the 997S engine, being a re-design of the 996 engine will resolve its flaws without creating new ones.

    Re: New 997's, and engine family lines

    DD694 said:
    I have to believe it will incorporate fixes for the RMS problem, the porosity problems, the cylinder liner coming loose failures, and so on.

    Thank you, Bill, for posting this email. Excellent information regarding potential costs without a warranty.

    Would someone please explain what the "porosity problems" are? Is this a 993 and 996 problem?



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