News 2001

Current News


I ripped out the foam insulation pad in the engine compartment and replaced it with some more Dynamat Xtreme.

My car is back on the road after bleeding the brakes, the last step after changing a brake line and hooking up the fan belt and testing the rebuilt generator.

I'm off work this week, so can spend some time getting my car back on the road. Today I removed the generator and took it to a shop to be rebuilt. This page included some pictures of the voltage regulator that have been moved to its own page.

I finally added the last brake line - left rear - and took some pictures of the process. The line came out easily, much to my surprise.

Made new 'mast-head' starting with a picture of the 912 logo on my glove compartment. It takes up slightly less vertical space.

The generator is bad. Now we really have to consider what to do because the couple of hundred bucks for the fixing the generator could go toward an alternator kit - but that won't be available for over a month.

Added some information on the horn including a wiring diagram and a couple of detail pictures of the steering wheel and the horn button.

Added some pictures to last summer's Carlson Concours and Swap meet.

On the alternator front, we just got an email from Bernie Bergmann that in about six weeks they will have a complete bolt-on 911 Kit for Porsche 356 ABC & 912. Price will be $895.00. This is very interesting news.

The new regulator stopped working in a rain storm on the way to work so now we need some more extensive analysis. It is possible the regulator was damaged on installation.

I added a page on some alternator conversion ideas. If anyone can help in this area, let me know.

Another big storm today. This time it got the transformer on the pole behind the house at 6:30 this morning. The UPS kept everything running for an hour and allowed me to shut it down gracefully. Now at 6:00 in the evening we came home to find power back on and now we are back in business.

A storm came through the local area this morning causing a 4 hour power outage. My UPS kept the system up for an hour, but the site was off the air for about 3 hours. I am disappointed in the performance of the UPS -- I had expected a longer time before it shut down. However, it did give me an opportunity to shut the web server down gracefully so it came back up without incident. The last time it had been booted was March 4 for an OS upgrade.

What luck! The new voltage regulator fixed my generator problem. I was worried that I would need a new generator, but tried the simple fix first.

Craig Pierce sent me some pictures and commentary about his seat belt installation which seems to have some advantages over mine.

We've been getting email from 912 owners with electrical problems the last couple of months. Probably in sympathy, the generator light on my 912 turned full on today. So it is back to what our girls call the 'umbrella car' - the third car that I drive when it rains - until I can do some analysis this week-end. I think the knee jerk reaction will be to check the brushes on the generator and to replace the voltage regulator. When that doesn't fix the problem, we will have to do some more serious analysis. What I'd really like is an alternator.

The ignition page has been updated to include some pictures on how to time the engine.

Updated the seat belts page. There are problems with my installation and a proposed solution.

I just got an email from Adam Reed:

Hi Dave

Just a note to tell you how much I appreciated discovering your site. You've been through many adventures extremely familiar to me. My '66 now has 430K on it--I'm pretty sure I'm still the record holder on the 912 Registry. I've owned it since 1972, so I think I've gone through every adventure possible with it. And it's still more fun than anything else I might be able to afford....

Is that great, or what? Imagine 430K miles! But, on the other hand I am not that surprised. This is really what Porsche is all about.

The lights were on all morning yesterday. The car would not even jump start.

We added a couple of pictures of Andrew Stallworth's '67 912 to the gallery.

Updated some of the images in 2000 Carlson swap meat and concours, front pan restoration and head light upgrade by re-scanning the negatives rather than using flat-bed scans from prints. This is a significant improvement in image quality and color balance for those upgraded. The pictures were taken over a year ago.

Completed the fix of the vent window, so the car will be put back to work as a commuter rather than a garage queen which it has been for the past week.

After driving 150 miles round trip Friday to the Marin Headlands and Hawk Hill to see the raptor migration, we started some maintenance on Saturday. Successfully changed the oil and adjusted the valves and painted the valve covers.

The drivers side front vent window has been noisy, so we started to change the rubber seal. One reason for the noise turned out to be a nearly broken upper pivot which fell apart during disassembly. The used one ordered from Parts Heaven arrived without the top hinge. The failure mode in mine was the pin being frozen in it. Meanwhile, the car sits in the garage. Sigh...

Added a bunch of black & white pictures taken with the Leica 35 mm camera of the Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca. These pictures have a special look that is characteristic of this equipment. Hope you enjoy them. I haven't updated all the text for these, but should be able to do so over the next few days.

I finally updated the recommendations page. This is a summary of what has happened to the car since we bought it and recommendations for new and or prospective owners of 912s.

The last few days I've been updating some of the pictures on the site. It seems that up until December last year, I was using the scanned images from the photo finisher. These came in Photo CD format. The resolution on these is so bad the it is embarrassing. So far I've been concentrating on the Event list, and have updated images on Greater Valley Concours, Loma Prieta Concours and Swap Meet at PartsHeaven Hayward, Palo Alto Concours, Monterey Bay Region concours and the Monterey Historics. All these events occurred in 2000. A comparison of the results is posted on my photo site.

Last week-end was the Monterey Historic Automobile Races. We spent the day on Saturday and found some interesting stuff.

During a visit by my brother Pete from New York, last week-end, we changed the grommet for the crankcase ventilation tube at the cylinder head. This is more complicated than one might expect.

I've been asked several times over the last couple of weeks about jacking the car and where to place the jack stands. So, pictures being worth thousands of words, here is what I do...

We spent a couple of hours at the Concours and Swap meet at Carlson in Palo Alto today. I posted a couple of digital pix.

The driver's side window jammed, so we took off the door panel and glued it back it its rail. This may not be a permanent fix, but we're back on the road again.

Posted pictures of last weeks Monterey Zone 7 Concours

072101-429.jpg On the way home from work yesterday, the car had some giant misses. At the same time the tachometer would drop to zero. This is characteristic of an open in the primary ignition circuit - no voltage on the coil. The car started to run again immediately - good because I was in the center lane in heavy traffic.

This morning I popped the hood to see what was wrong. The compression bolt that holds the coil in its bracket had fallen off and the coil had dropped down. The bolt was under the fuel pump, fished out with a magnet. I replaced it using an elastic stop nut to reduce the likely hood of this happening again.

I did a minor tune-up this morning and the car runs much better. We'll see about any change to the gas mileage. Items done included:

  1. Adjust the valves first while the engine is cold.
  2. Re gap the plugs. The replacement wires I used included the Bakelite ends that connect to the spark plugs. There is a rubber air dam that fills the gap between the engine shroud and the Bakelite. Only the rubber turned out to be plastic which has hardened up to the point it is difficult to remove the connectors. For now I've removed them, but need to get some replacements.
  3. The two plugs at the back (#2 and #4) were sooty so I adjusted the mixture on those two throttle bodies. This was done by screwing the mixture control in until the engine starts to miss, then back out until the engine runs smooth then an additional 1/4 turn.
  4. Checked the timing, which is fine.

We drove to San Francisco today and bought gas on the way home. We only got 21.3 mpg for the tank and the car seemed to be running slightly rougher than usual. Normally with this much driving on the freeway, I'd expect perhaps 23 mpg. It is time to check the tune. We are still averaging 46 miles per day for the summer. Pretty good transportation, huh? So far in the last couple of months all I've done is an oil change and a couple of window seals.

Added a nice note from Jim Loomis on fixing electrical ground problems.

We went to the Wine and Roses Zone 7 councours and took some pictures. No 912, however.
We went to the Palo Alto Concours today. Great fun, nice cars. I talked to Del of Del's Body Shop at the Concours. I need to have the trunk lid repainted.

Changed the oil and filter and actually washed the car. This is a good time to do some inspection. The fan belt needs some attention. It vibrates too much.

I bought a Leica and started a new web site. Sigh...

We went to the Parts Heaven swap meet and concours on Sunday. There was one new 912 entered in the concours and a couple of 912 available for sale.

We replaced the window seals at the top of the doors today.

A factory Spare Parts Catalog 912 Supplement to 911 arrived in the mail. As a supplement, it does not have all the part numbers and descriptions that are in the 911 catalog. The text is in German, English, French and Spanish. There seems to be diagrams for all parts even if the part numbers are not included. As an example, the pedal cluster part numbers are missing, but the shift linkage numbers are included for the early models. A quick look suggests early 911 differed from early 912 more than from 1967 on.

Even where the part numbers are not included, I think this manual will be valuable to see how the car is put together although the description included with the PN would be useful.

The catalog is divided into 12 sections:

  1. Engine
  2. Fuel tank - Heating (includes ventilation)
  3. Transmission
  4. Front axle, Steering
  5. Rear axle
  6. Brakes, Wheels
  7. Pedal system and levers
  8. Body
  9. Electrical equipment (includes generator, distributor, battery, horn, wipers, etc)
  10. Accessories (roll cage, seat belts, air conditioning)
  11. Page reference for part numbers
  12. Repair sets (a replacement body shell for the 912 is PN 902.500.921.00)

We have had the 912 for one year as of Friday last week. We drove it 10,000 miles and made many improvements, most of which are documented here. It has been very reliable, never failed to start and always got us home. It has become quite inexpensive to drive for the last few months - I'll go through that when I update my over all report in the next month.

On Sunday, my brother Rick and I drove to Fresno to see the Greater Valley Concours d'Elegance. There were a couple of 912s to see.

The new door lock/latch referenced below is far superior to the old one. This is probably in the category of 'little things that count' but for now there is a lot of satisfaction in removing a significant source of irritation with the little car. The down side is that the controls for the lock and latch work much stiffer than the old one. Later designs for the inner and outer door activation changed to a lever mechanism to gain some mechanical advantage. The '67 and earlier 900 series do not have levers to help move balky latches. For now, I can live with the increased forces required.

I finally changed the drivers door lock with new factory parts. This seems to have solved a chronic difficulty with the old lock which usually required slamming the door to get it to latch properly.

There is some activity in the California State Legislature that could require all 1966-1973 cars to pass a biennial smog check and or be subject to a roadside smog check. This would be a big problem for most 912s. SB800 has put back the 66-73 exemption after their meeting April 17, thus reducing my heart burn, but we need to monitor this situation. Check out our smog page update.

+ 4/21/2001 +

We replaced the front wheel bearings today. This is an inexpensive fix, requiring two sets of bearings and an oil seal. One of the bearing races is difficult to replace, but it may not be required.

+ 4/19/2001 +

Now that tax season is behind us we can now broaden our perspectives. The little car as been piling on the miles in our 11 month of ownership. 1185 miles driven since March 29 according to the gasoline slips. I've only changed the oil and driven it in the last week.

There is some activity in the California State Legislature that could require all 1966-1973 cars to pass smog check. This would be a big problem for most 912s. Check out www.smogrfg.com. How would you like to discover that you couldn't drive your 912 and because of that, could not own it either? This is worth paying attention to. I grabbed the current form of the bill here.

+ 4/8/2001 +

Drove the 912 to Sacramento to visit the first concours of the season. There were no early 900 cars, but it surely is fun to see 40 years of Porsches that seem like they are all brand new.

I got a tip today that Autos International, Inc is a good place to get interior pieces such as dash coverings (my dash was not recovered using original materials).

+ 4/6/2001 +

Added a note on noise reduction, collecting some comments and pictures in one place. Nothing really new here but there were some significant and unexpected results.

+ 4/4/2001 +

It is apparent to me that a good parts guy has been an important asset on my journey with the 912. The local PCA magazine featured a cover story on the people I picked about the time that we bought the car. They were the first ones I called and since then I've spent most of my parts money with them. We've established a bit of quid-pro-quo. He answers my questions and gives me advise and I give him my business. I need a lot of advice so I think I'm the winner. Much of the content on this site has been influenced by his guiding hand. I've heard it recommended that you should be sure to shop around because prices for parts are all over the map. I suspect that may be true for used parts, but I'm doubtful about new ones. My suggestion is to build a relationship with someone you trust, gives you good information and service then keep buying your parts from them. And don't sweat the small stuff.

The car is running great.

For those in Northern California, there will be a PCA Zone concours in Sacramento on April 8th.

I've been bothered by a difficulty in starting the car when the engine is still hot. If cold, the car starts instantly. I touch the gas peddle as the the key is turned. It always starts providing a carburetor leak has not drained fuel from the float bowls. Starting it when hot has been more difficult until I remembered that an old technique for flooded engines was to start with full throttle in order to get enough air available to overcome the excess gasoline in the throats and intake system. It seems to be working. I've been successfully starting using no throttle when cold, maximum throttle when hot.

Snick, Snick. The new shifter goes snick. I did not expect such a dramatic difference in gear changing as created by the new short shifter. If you have not done this to your old 911/912, do it. Clearly more has changed than the ratio of the two levers around the center pivot point. The tolerances are much tighter leading to a feeling that the shift lever is actually attached to the transmission. No longer will I complain about vague shifting - it does not have to be that way.

Note: I've changed my email address. The links at the bottom of the pages have been changed to reflect this.

Today the car is on the road again after completing the re-packing of the right side CV joints and replacement of the associated oil seal, solving the problem with the shift knob on the new short shifter and finishing the repair of the throttle coupler. Follow the links for the updated project pages.

The plastic bushings for the throttle bell crank, guides for the throttle rod plus a new end rod for the throttle were received today. We should be able to get the car back on the road over the weekend. This is at least the second time the car has been off the road for a week waiting for small plastic parts. The first was when we ordered 3 of the 4 pieces for the transmission linkage and had to order and wait for the 4th. What happened this time? In this case we were looking for a permanent solution - bronze bushings - that were the wrong size for the early cars. The bell-crank was redesigned some time during this period. The rod end was a fatality of rusty parts frozen together which was not discovered through pre-inspection. This also led to the removal of the throttle rod and discovery that its suspension bushings ware bad. Often one will not know if parts are bad until disassembly is complete. Anticipation of problems will not always be sufficient to keep the car on the road.

At least during this time other pending projects can be done. It's not that there are not other things to improve or fix.

I managed to get the aluminum plug out of the transmission flange so we can replace the oil seal and pinion bolt on the the other side of the transmission by twisting as I pulled using some water pump pliers.

Added a table of metric taps with drill sizes.

Our 912 is all torn apart working on a bunch of projects. Most of the links below are not yet complete.

A new throttle coupling is being installed but the threads on the old one are seized, and the bushings we ordered are the wrong size. The throttle linkage is out of the car, so it is not drivable until more parts arrive. As a result I started on several other projects.

When I was doing the half shafts, I only did driver's side. The other side is now off and being cleaned up. I want to replace the transmission oil seal on that side but am having trouble removing the aluminum plug. After cleaning up the CV joints we see that their condition is better than the other side.

We have a new short shifter and have installed much of it, but have not got the shift knob figured out yet.

There is a new door lock for the driver's door but have not installed it yet - still gathering information and tools.

I moved a couple of my seat modification pictures around and made a new page on the 944 seat upgrade.

The local Porsche dealer had the stretch bolt for the differential flange (see the 10 March note below), so I installed that today. I added a picture of it to the oil seal update page. Funny looking thing.

I replaced the oil seal on the drivers side transmission output flange today. It has been dripping transmission fluid for a couple of months. The stretch bolt that holds the flange on to the differential pinion would not take the factory recommend torque value, so I'm going to have to get a new bolt and redo part of the job. Luckily it does not take long.

It has been over 5 months since I stepped back and reviewed our experiences with the car. I have rewritten the September recommendations update to reflect this.

The power just went out for the 5th time in two days. These brief outages are probably caused by the wind blowing tree limbs against power lines. The disks on the server (~23 GB) have recovered each time just fine, but it is still not good, so the WEB server and the network gear are now on a UPS. The last time the power went out while I was unpacking the UPS. I plugged it in switched the server into it and then re-booted the server. I suppose next I should read the UPS manual.

The forecast is for rain all next week. The Sierras need the snow pack so we might have hydro-power for the summer.

The driver's door has never closed properly, so today I really looked at it. Here we look at the door closely and fix some problems.

I drove the 912 to work today and had to get gasoline. It has been raining the last couple of weeks and we have only averaged 12 miles per day for the last tank of gas as we have driven the other cars to work. The previous two tanks were 16 miles per day. The average since we bought the car has been 24 miles per day. Yes, it does rain in California. And yes, I still don't like to drive the car in the rain. Paranoid about rust, you see. See the Expenses link at the top of any page for the complete summary on gasoline. I keep track of gas mileage because it is such a sensitive indicator of how well the car is running. If the carbs or some gas line starts to leak, the mileage drops. Similarly when it gets out of tune.

A few people have sent me pictures of their car which you can see in the Gallery. Send me your story!

022501-225.jpgI replaced the rear left brake light lens which had a crack in it.

Also put on the rubber strips that go between the bumpers and the sheet metal that holds the license plate. There are one or two socket head bolts on the top of the bumper and one at the bottom. You should not need to take off the sheet metal to add the rubber strips but (to make an easy job harder?) I did. The fit of this piece was not as good as it could be, so I man handled it a bit. Clearly this piece is not the one that came with the car - it has been repainted. Also the sheet metal screws that were on the bottom which tie to the bumpers were not there so I added a couple of new ones.

Added a couple of pictures of my seat belt installation.

I added a note to the ignition page about a modification to allow the Pertronix electronic points to fit into a Bosch 050 distributor.

+ 2/12/2001 +

I've taken one of the half shafts out and took it apart. There are wear spots that probably are bad enough to require replacement. I've added pictures to show what I've learned. Sigh...

+ 2/6/2001 +

Early 900 series cars had Nadella or Löbro half shafts. A picture of the Nadella can be found here. Mine have been converted to Löbro with CV joints. Nadella are no longer in the parts chain. It has been suggested that the CV joints should be repacked every 60K miles. I am gathering the parts and information to do mine. Here is what I've heard and read about so far. There are 6 bolts at each end of the half-shafts that are removed with 6 mm hex wrench. The factory manual suggests these be replaced after removal. They are torqued to high enough values to stretch the bolt by design. The factory supplied bolts are expensive - perhaps close to $2 each. After market or bolts used on later cars are available, but they have 12 point socket heads, similar to those holding on the door hinges. It takes a special wrench. The bolts on my car look to be 45 mm in length measured from the end to the bearing surface on the head. Swepco makes CV joint grease. It takes a couple of tubes - 2 1/2 oz per joint. The job is supposed to be pretty messy. The boots are held on with inner and outer metal clamps. The boots on later model cars were crimped to a metal flange of some sort. The inner clamps are readily available, but the large diameter outer ones take a bit of searching. Some people use heavy duty tie-wraps for these. The rubber boots are available. The joints should be cleaned and inspected. If there is any scoring on the sliding surfaces, the parts should be replaced. New complete half shafts with both CV joints are about $280 each.

And the tracking problem? I don't want to talk about it. It's fine.

I replaced the universal joints in the steering shaft last week-end. This is relatively easy on the 1966 912 because there is no steering lock. It would be different on the later cars. See further down in the news section the events leading up to this project. The highway tracking problem seems significantly reduced after some further adjustments today, but I've only done one test drive, to it is too soon to say this particular gremlin is chased away.

Patrick Van Asbroeck's excellent advice on finding electrical problems that was recently posted to the 912 Registry is added here.

For $25 plus tax and shipping, I now have a portion of a somewhat dirty steering column from an early 900 series Porsche. Wonder if it will fit? It certainly has tighter universal joints than those on the car.

I spent some time with the front steering over the week-end.
  • We centered the steering wheel - see the updated toe in description.
  • I have new bushings for the inner ends of the tie-rods, but did not change them after investigating what was involved. Changing them requires removing the entire steering rack.
  • We reaffirmed there is some play in the universal joints in the steering column. The parts to fix this easily are not in distribution (see January 9 comments). I ordered used ones today from Parts Heaven (510 782-0354) in Hayward, CA.

    + 01/17/2001 + Northern California is experiencing rolling black-outs. The house and the server have not been hit yet. In fact here is the uptime since the system was last booted:

    8:42pm  up 43 days, 21:03 hrs

    However, I expect the power will be hit as our 'energy crisis' continues.

    + 01/13/2001 + I did several little tasks today while all the girls went to Nordstrom Rack. I don't think they were surprised that I didn't join them.
  • Washed the car. It is good to take this opportunity for a careful inspection. I found some rust under the rubber seal for the hood below the windshield. I need to order new rubber seals so I can remove the old one and clean up the rust.
  • Changed the oil and filter. The chamber on the engine that you pour the oil into had some water and oil in a messy foam it it, so I took it off and cleaned it out.
  • I replaced the turn signal blinker but the factory replacement part did not work.

    + 01/10/2001 + It was stormy today, so I drove the Land Rover to work leaving the 912 safe and secure in the garage. On the way home I thought about a conversation with a friend of mine who has a 924 in the back of his property slowly reverting back to nature. We were talking about the pleasure the 912 provides. He said that when he was driving the 924, his attitude was much different because it was the only car available for him to use to go to work. It had to be reliable and maintaining it was done because he had to, not because he wanted to. Maintenance was a chore.

    A neighbor has a 356C with a cover on it. One day I inquired about the car. He drove it to work for many years and has now given it to his son. He had two engines and had an engine stand that he used to work on the spare engine. After retiring, he sold the stand to another Porsche owner who has two 356s and commutes many miles each day. If one car requires maintenance, he uses the other.

    Our little car is a successful part of the family because it does not have to be 100 percent perfect. It could be down for repairs and we would not feel the strain. In the same way, the spare car does not have to be perfect either, reducing its need to be new and expensive. The power of redundancy. Hmmm, think of the possibilities.

    + 01/9/2001 +

    The word from our sources is not encouraging to replace the universal joints in the steering wheel shaft. The replacement parts are not that expensive, but are very difficult to replace. They suggest checking the steering rack for run out instead. Evidently this is a more probable place to find play in the steering. Another possibility are the bushings at the inside ends of the tie rods. These rubber parts are available.

    + 01/3/2001 +

    There is a universal joint for the steering under the access door in the trunk. If I grab the joint with my hand to feel both sides of the joint when someone rocks the steering wheel I can feel a bit of play in it. Is this the reason for the slight wandering at highway speeds? We are looking for a replacement. Porsche does not stock the original PN and the new replacement parts have changed the splines requiring more extensive repairs all the way to the steering wheel. This may not be an easy fix.

Last modified: Wed, 16 Nov 2005


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