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Porsche 928 Restoration Update

Left hand cam box from Porsche 928 sitting on engine stand

Of late we've been feeling a little special. It's not a lot compared to some of the hotrod hot-shots out there, but we've just started our first moderate restoration job on a classic Porsche 928.

We've done a fair bit of work on this vehicle in the past and there's always been an understanding that a couple of things could really be fixed up and this is a great way for the owner to turn a fire risk into risky business.

So what were the plans to start?

It all started due to some (generous) oil leaks from around the sump and, as such, this simple sump seal has now spiralled into a job of cleaning and fixing as many of the front-end issues without breaking the bank.

As a part of this, the owner has also asked us to check out some ongoing electrical problems however, that might be something for update 2 or 3 (or 4).

So what have we found/done so far?

Engine bay of Porsche 928 with bonnet removed and support device fitted across engine bay.

In the first round of discussions we were hoping to get away with a simple sump reseal so we started by tearing down the front lower suspension, sub-frame and steering components. As a part of this, we also opted to do a more thorough inspection of the front end and found some damaged mounts and (worse) leaks from the head gasket and water pump area.

This is kind of a pain as the complete timing belt kit was only done a few years ago at (understandably) great expense. It's also a pain as someone in this particular vehicle's storied past had tried to patch over the significant oil leak from the cylinder head using what is essentially bathroom sealant.

All this had us scratching our heads but the news from the owner was good. If we could get the sump off to do a basic check of the crankshaft end float, the heads could come off and the fun could begin.

With that in mind, the teardown and clean-up began a couple of hours at a time and, within a surprisingly short amount of time, the sump was on the ground and we were all covered in various slimy liquids.

Dial indicator gauge mounted on stand. The reading is 0.1mm.

The good news? The crank end-float was almost factory and (from the bottom up) the motor looked to be in pretty good health.

Next was the big step, pulling the engine out.

In the end, this was a surprisingly easy process and the extraneously complicated transmission set-up in these cars actually turned out to be a significant benefit. By removing just 4 bell-housing bolts and gently wiggling left and right, holding our tongue in just the right position, the whole thing was out and on a stand ready to go shortly after.

Engine being lifted from engine bay of Porsche 928. Visible is the timing belt, ignition leads and more. On each side of the engine bay are protective black covers to stop the bodywork from being damaged.

Then it was onto the cleanup - an affair of at least 2 cartons of degreaser and a measurable amount of our lives.

That's pretty much where the car sits now. With the cylinder heads about to come off, we've sent a wish list of parts to the owner and we're moving onto the biggest hurdle so far, sourcing them.

To summarise, to replace the sump gasket on a Porsche 928 simply remove the front lower control arms, front steering components, intake manifold, starter motor, A/C compressor, alternator, subframe sandwich plate, steering rack, subframe, engine mounts and the roughly 35 bolts holding the sump on.

Man standing next to Porsche 928 engine on engine lifting hoist.

Then measure the crankshaft end float, find out it's within spec and agree to do the "big leaks" at the same time and remove a large batch of wiring, radiators and accessories until you can crane the whole engine out (relatively easily). So far it's been not just incredibly dirty but also insanely fun. Hopefully we'll have another update for you soon.


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