At high speed, the front end of the 996 seems a bit light. For cooling purposes, it’s a fairly efficient design: High pressure air enters the openings in the front of the bumper, passes through the AC condensors and radiators, before exiting toward the pavement ahead of the wheels. The design tends to cause the front to lift at high speed, as well as catch leaves, bugs, and debris between the condenser and radiator. We can’t do much about the leaf problem for now, (except remember to clean the radiators each year,) but we can do something about lift and improve brake cooling at the same time.
If you look into the front wheel wells of later 997 models, you will see that the air now passes through the radiator and into the wheel well where it helps cool the brakes. The 997 fender liners will not fit in the 996, but you can modify them to get the same effect. This is a fairly easy project that should take just a couple of hours to complete.
- Safely place the car on jack-stands, remove the front wheels, and remove the fender liners. Be careful when removing the plastic pop-rivets as they may have become brittle.
- Remove the front bumper cover and the shroud around the radiators.
- At this point it is a good idea to separate the condenser from the front of the radiator and blow out any debris.
- You will need to remove the triangular frame so you can pull off the plastic shroud on the back side of the radiator fan on each side. Mark the area you need to cut before you pull it off.
- Use a dremel tool to cut away the material you don’t need.
- Line the metal triangle up with the back side of the fender liner and draw a similar pattern.
- Cut away the material on the fender liner as well. We put a metal screen on the back side, but that’s optional.
- Installation is the reverse of removal. (We love writing that.)
Don’t worry if your cuts are not perfect. Once the wheel is mounted you cannot see your new vents. You’ll notice a little less floating of the front-end during high-speed straights and get a little better brake cooling as well. Win-win. Make a note to clean out your radiators again next year.
Something else to consider is to upgrade the Brake Duct Spoilers while you’re there. Air is channeled under the front of the car and redirected by spoilers attached to the control arms toward the brake calipers. An easy upgrade is to add the GT3 version of this part.
The key to this mod is not to use the 996 GT3 spoilers which are about $90 each, but instead use the spoilers from a 997 GT3, which (unusually for Porsche) happen to be priced about $10 each.
Part numbers are 997-341-483-92 and 997-341-484-92, left and right respectively. Simple clip on install, but you may want to use a zip-tie or two since it isn’t a perfect fit for your older 996 control arm.
Need more? 997 GT2 Brake Spoilers are also available, but they cost more than $300 and tend to catch on debris and pavement.