The big myth surrounding the Porsche 924 is its resistance to body corrosion. Bar-room ‘experts’ (we all know one) will tell you all Porsche were actually galvanised at the Porsche factory, so cannot rust, this is only partly true though. Porsche cars that were built prior to 1980 were surprisingly only partially galvanised, so the early models need more care when checking for rust.
The most common Porsche 924 rot trap is in fact the area round the bottom rear of the front wings, this where a bolt is attached to the lower part at the outer wing and to the floor pan. The battery tray problem, another Porsche weak spot, this corrodes through and allows water ingress that`ll leak into the interior, this will corrode the fuse box, causing no end of unpredictable electrical havoc.
Getting underneath checking the the fuel tank, as replacing a nasty rotten one is a very time consuming job, if fact it requires the Porsche transaxle to be dropped to replace it.
The Porsche 924 left the factory with very consistent 7mm panel gaps, therefore any deviation from this would likely be evidence that the car has suffered accident at some stage. Ensure that the pop up headlamps do work and that they sit flush when they`re lowered. Any misalignment again could be a signs of a poor body repair.
The standard Porsche 924’s engine might be the least powerful, importantly it’s one of the least trouble some, as it’s a non interference engine, and this means that a broken cambelt won`t necessarily mean that its a detonated engine. Changing the Porsche 924’s cambelt is pretty straightforward; make sure that it’s been done quite recently, if in doubt – change it.
The Porsche 924S was introduced in 1986, and retained the bog standard 2.0-litre Porsche 924’s very narrow body, but it gained a slightly de-tuned engine from the 944’s the 2.5-litre ‘four’. Unlike the standard Porsche 924’s engine, its an interference engine, so the evidence of a very recent ( 30,000 miles) cambelt replacement is an absolute must. This is a much more complicated job though, thanks to a second belt, extra pulleys and don`t forget, a new water pump, preferably one that`s fitted with a sturdy metal impeller.
The Turbo version, the most powerful of the 924 family, but potentially the most problematic. Main issue being the KKK turbo installation does rely on the engine being left to tickover or idle for a couple of minutes after driving to allow the hot turbo to cool down. Switch the engine off to quickly allow the oil to boil and accelerates wear on the tiny turbo bearings. Post-1981 cars have modified crankcase breathing to help with this problem.
Neglected routine servicing is a main concern, as the dirty oil will accelerate any valve gear wear, you need to ensure too, that there’s no blue exhaust smoke or any signs that there`s low oil pressure. If a rebuild is required, you need to bear in mind, many of the original Porsche 924 parts are unavailable, so other alternatives will need to found.
The very low slung radiator in the Porsche 924, will suffer some stone damage, so do check the coolant level. Watch for any signs of the poor running, as the Porsche induction system is prone to air leaks. Very hot starting issues, normally due to a fuel vaporisation somehow can be cured. If fact they were sorted on the later cars. – The Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system isn’t much of a concern otherwise. It is also worth a check of the condition of the wiring harness that serves the starter motor and the alternator – it runs very close to the hot exhaust manifold, making it prone to melting the insulation.
Porsche 924 transmissions are quite reassuringly tough, having said that, a leaking heater matrix that`s located just above the clutch housing, will contaminate the clutch and flywheel and shorten their life drastically if left. A whirring noise coming from the transmission tunnel on the early Porsche 924s can be failed driveshaft bearings, bad news that they are quite pricey to get fixed, but an apparent broken clutch on a Porsche 924S might in fact only be a collapsed clutch centre-plate rubber damper.
Suspension wise, normally aspirated Porsche 924s shared the components with the VW Beetle and the Scirocco, so the parts will be found at reasonable cost, although it`s worth checking for corrosion round any mounting point for tired rubber bushes and dampers. The brakes or steering don`t give cause for concern, other than the general wear and tear, but it`s worth inspecting for seizure, due to the lack of use.
The Porsche 924 is a very well screwed together vehicle, but the dashboard does suffer from slits and cracks. They can of course be repaired, but secondhand items are plentiful.
The Porsche 924s are very popular with the track day racing enthusiasts. Given that the preparation for any of these events will involve a little more than a strip out the interior trim, beefing up suspension and of course fitting a sturdy roll cage, it’s not very difficult to return track day car back to a road spec But do check for any loose or badly fitting interior trim, neatly aligned bolt holes in the floor pan could suggest a roll cage has been fitted and later removed.
The electrical gremlins can strike an indifferently maintained Porsche 924. The electrical switches that operate the head light pods are sealed, meaning that failure involves a replacement not a repair. This may force a cash-strapped previous owner to resorting to poor repair or bodges. A very rusty battery tray will also allow water onto the fusebox that`s located beneath the passenger footwell, cold starting and fuel pump relays are another common failings.
The Porsche Pasha seat material is amazingly available from the European suppliers, but the retrimming costs will can mount up, so please don’t ignore a tatty interior.