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"tell me more..." Part 3

By Jim Alderson.

...Between 1989 and 1992 I lived outside of London in Gerrards Cross and joined Porsche Club Great Britain and Club 89, a for profit business which rents time on some of the best circuits in England. PCGB is a very fine organisation with some of the nicest people I've met and well run track events. They had club racing long before PCA...and Parade '90 was super. Club 89 is a high class way to drive your machine on the track. I enjoyed driving at speed on, for example, Brands Hatch and Cadwell Park. My 928 was powerful and handled well.

Then a sad thing happened, on one circuit during a beautiful sweeping curve (a four wheel drift if I remember correctly), the engine went to 6300 or 6400 rpm (or was it 6500?). I was paying all my attention to driving and after that turn, smoke started coming out of the exhaust. The automatic fuel pump shut off that was designed to prevent over revving did not kick in! It turned out that I had broken three pistons and bent some valves. The 944 heads allowed the valves to come in contact with the pistons.

For early (non-hot rodded) lower compression 8.5 & 9.0 engines, if the timing belt fails, the valves shouldn't hit the pistons...I assume the same goes for over revving.

It was the perfect excuse to get a 4.7 liter block, Euro S plenum, intake runners, Euro S distributor and update to the later double plate clutch. Red McClintock was still glad to provide me advice from California. I reused the 944 heads and took the occasion to wrap the headers. Later on, the contacts I made fixing the engine helped me track down an S-4 front and rear suspension and the S-4 brakes. I got the engine fixed just in time to ship the car to California in June 1992.

In August the car arrived and it was my daily driver for six years.

Until the end of November '92 my commute was a 150 miles a day. Then we moved into our new home in Livermore and my commute to Alameda was reduced to 75 mile/day.

While I was in England, Red persuaded me NOT to buy a Euro S exhaust system but rather to wait until I returned to the 'States' and to install a much better custom exhaust by High Speed Engineering, Hayward, California (owner, Harry Hoffman, telephone 415 595 5128).

High Speed Engineering developed a machine which set a land speed record on the salt flats in Utah.

The custom exhaust work (approximately $900 U.S.) was beautifully done. The pressurised air from the stock air pump runs in a small pipe parallel to the single 3.5" mild steel exhaust pipe and feeds a Corvette cat. converter immediately in front of the Borla resonator. The system meets all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)/California emissions standards.

But I was setting off car alarms when I drove past them. Back to the shop...I had a racing, ladder type, muffler added to the system which reduced the noise by about 6-8dB. I get compliments about the deep sound...It does sound great but I wish I had the additional sound insulation the S-4s have.

Shortly after the exhaust work, my original transmission, which I had rebuilt in England, still wasn't shifting as smoothly as it should have been. (The wait-until-it-breaks-in period had long since past.) Back to Red. It turned out that the highly recommended mechanic in Britain had installed a piece in the transmission backwards. Red suggested that since it cost as much for him to reinstall a new Borg Warner (e.g. S-4) unit as it would the old one that I should go for the update.

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