SEMA Show 2018, part 2: Racecars & VWs

In this second post, I wanted to show some of the other cars that caught my eye at the show. They included a K20A2 Honda-swapped 964, Movie Bullitt Mustang, Toyota LMP1, and some pretty cool VWs. Below are a few of my favorites.  I especially liked the Type 2 bus pickup with the Subi swap. The Toyota LMP1 was sort of sad. It was off in a far corner and it was just there to shill for a rear view camera.


996 IMS Bearing

For those of you who live in constant fear that your M96 engined 996 is about to self-destruct, you should take some comfort in these photos: This is the stock dual-row IMS bearing that came out of my old car at 105,000 miles. It still turns smoothly, and the bearing seals are intact. It was replaced with a ceramic bearing from LN Engineering by the car’s new owner along with a new clutch and resurfaced flywheel. The clutch had 45,000 miles on it and was only worn 50 percent. It was only replaced because it makes sense to do it along with the RMS at the same time as the IMS bearing.

Porsche 996 Carpet Replacement

Keeping mind my past experience with a carpet swap in a BMW E30 some years ago, I finally found a good replacement for the carpet in the 996 and, uttering those infamous words “how hard could it be”, set off to do the carpet swap last weekend.  If you’re curious how much of your interior you have to remove to do this swap, here’s your answer: almost all of it.

Pelican parts has an excellent DIY write-up which I won’t duplicate here, but do have a couple of helpful pointers for those who endeavor to follow.  Here are the key lessons learned from my experience:

  1. Just cut. Follow the Pelican Parts top tip and just cut the new one in half down the middle (under the center console.) I didn’t do that, and it would have made it a whole lot easier to maneuver into position in the passenger footwell.  You might have to use some extra contact cement along the center tunnel since the two halves aren’t held together any more, but it is totally worth it in reduced aggravation. And you won’t have to remove the shifter cables from the shifter or the e-brake handle mechanism from the tunnel.
  2. Give yourself the weekend. The two hour estimate is off by a factor of 5 (maybe 10.) It took me 2 hours just to remove the accelerator pedal (and I’ve done that before.)
  3. Bend don’t remove side panels. To release the rear corner of the carpet on each side, you have to remove the rear-seat side panels from their lower catches.  You don’t need to remove the entire panel, just carefully bend the panel as you pull up and you can free it from the slots in the carpet and have enough room to maneuver the new one into place when the time comes.
  4. Frustration ahead.  The accelerator pedal can be a bear to remove and reinstall. To remove, take out the set screw, pull forward by the top (what looks like an old cell phone antenna housing) to release the top catch, then slide up to release the cleat. Expect buckets of frustration when you try to put it back.  It’s easier to do if you do put it back before you reinstall the seats.
  5. Don’t turn the key. Once you disconnect the electrical connections to the seats, you will get an airbag light if you turn the key to the on position (to roll down a window, for example). If you have a reset tool like the Schwaben Professional Scanner (with the right Porsche software module from Foxwell) you can reset it yourself. Otherwise you’re heading to the Dealer and pleading for them not to charge you for the reset.

The photo above will help you visualize what’s going on with the accelerator pedal module. When you remove it, you pull out to release the round peg, then pull up to release the square-ish cleat. To install, slide the cleat in first, then push down and forward to lock the peg. Secure with the screw. Or better yet, upgrade the whole thing to a fully adjustable throttle assembly (though that probably means cutting your new carpet….)

You also learn interesting things by tearing apart your interior, like how unnecessarily complex the center console design really is or that there is in fact a coin tray in the console box (which you have to remove by carefully prying the top to get to one of the screws).


On top of old Smokey

Ever wonder what a bad air-oil separator looks like?  This is it.

We sent an oil sample off to the lab just to be safe and had the car towed to TPCRacing in Jessup. They did a great job sorting it out and getting me back on the road again.  It turns out I had two unrelated problems: leaking water pump and bad AOS.  I had planned to have the AOS changed during the winter and I suspected it was about time for the water pump, so I dodged a bullet.

The water pump (996-106-011-57-M100) was leaking at the housing and through the pulley seal. You can see from the photo below that the play in the bearing had allowed the blades to touch and score the block just a bit.

Many people make the mistake of using a pump with metal blades thinking it would be an upgrade. The problem is that when they contact the block, the debris can be catastrophic. The plastic impeller fails more gracefully.

Early expansion tanks have a tendency to fail on track cars, so we got the updated tank while everything was apart (996-106-147-56-OEM). Shop around.  Genuine Porsche tanks can run as much as $600, but you should be able to find them for around half of that (which is still nuts…) if you shop around a bit.  In this case, the hoses were also brittle and failing (996-106-850-05-M100).

The Air Oil Separator is supposed to separate oil vapor from the crank case and return it to the intake path. This appears to be an original item. They have gone through a couple of revisions since (996-107-023-55-M100). When they start to fail, you get about a tablespoon of oil that pools in your cylinders causing smoke at start up (see video.) When the fail completely, you can hydrolock the engine. Given where it sits on the engine, it’s impossible to inspect visually.  You should think of it as a wear item and replace it whenever you get a clutch (like the IMS bearing.)

We rounded out the repairs with a new idler pulley and belt.  The idler pulley felt OK when it was on the car, but fell to pieces when we took it off.