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Project Boxster Clubsport just wrapped up, it's time to change our tune. I'd like to introduce our new project car, and I'll be the first to point out that it is inconsistent with the very title of this site. It's Porsche-powered, but it's an all-aluminum 2.5L inline four, not a Flat Six. We didn't seek this car out as a project car, and actually I had this particular car before I started writing for this site. I've enjoyed it thoroughly so far, but I have been wanting to take this car to the next level in terms of performance. In order to keep up with the latest in performance tires from our friends at Michelin, Project "944 GTS" is going to be host to quite a few updates to its suspension, brakes, and powertrain.



Presenting Project 944 GTS: In all its Impact-Bumpered Glory




Before we get started with this project in earnest, we need to thank Michelin. As many of you know, Michelin is a long-time sponsor of FLATSIXES.com. Recently, they have generously offered to sponsor Project 944 GTS as part of their involvement with our site. Please consider checking out what Michelin has to offer by clicking their banners on this page. Without Michelin's support, and others like them, this site really wouldn't be possible.

When the 944 debuted in 1983, it brought a Porsche-developed engine to the four cylinder transaxle cars for the first time. This 2.5L, 8-valve four would be the basis for all 944 and 968 engines to follow, and in various forms would sprout turbochargers and displacements up to 3.0l. Our new project car, a 1987 944S, is the unloved middle-child of the range. With 2.5L and 16 valves, the S delivered forty horsepower more than the base car, a seven thousand RPM redline, and a lower price of entry than the Turbo.


The only engine modification is visible above; a set of braided stainless fuel lines which replace the crack-prone stock rubber lines.

What's Been Done

Though little-loved when it debuted, the sixteen valve four would find more fans in 3.0L form in the 944S2, and became Porsche's first model with Variocam in the 968. I've had this 93k mile example for a little over a year now, and it is my three-season daily driver. The 944 has a reputation for unreliability, which seems to be more the fault of the cars' low prices for the last twenty-plus years and resultant inattentive owners. This example has been incredibly reliable for me, however. The maintenance file which came with the car totaled a few times what I paid for it last year. The car has needed nothing beyond routine maintenance in the last year and eight thousand miles.

So, like any responsible 944 owner, I've addressed the timing belt, tensioners, water pump, and balance shaft belts. Though well maintained, the car had seen limited use over the last several years, and the now seven year old timing belt was an engine failure waiting to happen. The 944S, like the later 16v cars, features a single row timing chain under the valve cover which connects the two cams. The cam tensioner is prone to failure, largely due to the plastic guide rails wearing down over time causing timing chain breakage. A few weeks ago, I replaced that as well as I was beginning to hear some chain noise on cold startup.


Heck, even the dash is free of cracks.

Where We Stand

To date my 944 has done everything I've asked of it. It is comfortable, reliable, and though not as flickable as some of my past cars, has faultless handling. Currently everything works except the cigarette lighter, so we'll be able to focus on improving the car, rather than spending a lot of time sorting out its faults. Aesthetically the car is not perfect, there is a thin spot on the left rear flare, some paint wear under the driver's door sill, and some fading and oxidation in the Guards Red paint. Though I've done some paint correction, it's unlikely it'll ever look perfect without a repaint.

Apart from changing the wheels and the current Momo steering wheel, there won't be many cosmetic changes. The 944 has never been subtle, with its big rubber spoiler and aggressive flares, and I have no desire to go full-on garish with this car.


What is a 944 GTS?

The 944 in virtually all of its forms, save this one if I'm honest, has been a popular platform for modification since its debut. My car already features a handful of upgrades(some of which I don't care for), including a Momo steering wheel, forged 968 16" alloys, and a freer flowing exhaust. My intention is to increase the performance of this S, without turning it into a harsh, track-only car. As I said, I use this car nearly every day. Like Project Boxster Clubsport, we plan to shed weight and increase grip, but I'd like to look at this project slightly differently than that one. While the Boxster is decidedly a sports car, the closed roof 944 is more of a junior GT car. A lot of space is dedicated to luggage, and thanks to its 21 gallon fuel tank the car has extremely long legs.

With that in mind, let's consider this project in the vein of the current 911 GTS(did the title give it away?): Project 944 GTS will be a more performance oriented take on the 944S, but without taking the full plunge in to hardcore, GT3-style territory. Remember, this car has to stay every-day usable. I live in the Northeast where even the best roads resemble the surface of the moon. So while the suspension will be thoroughly upgraded, we won't be using 500lb/in springs for peak track performance. The focus will be on improving roadholding and permitting a wide range of adjustability to take full advantage of modern performance tires, plus a few nods towards usability and safety without sacrificing performance.

Watch this space for our first update!


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  • 1 month later...


New York has been unusually wet this year. I'm not going to back this claim up with any real research about rainfall per month, but I don't think I'm wrong. After 26 years in one state, you sort of get a feel for its weather patterns. Thankfully, I own a Porsche, which means I don't need to be scared away by a drizzle or a torrential downpour. Despite our recent bout of foul weather, I've undertaken the first steps in Project 944 GTS: The addition of upgraded sway bars. Unfortunately, because of the near-constant wetness I have not been able to give the 944 a good test, but for now we'll work with what we have.



It was time to find a workshop, and cue the music.




Before we get started with this post, we need to thank Michelin. As many of you know, Michelin is a long-time sponsor of FLATSIXES.com. Recently, they have generously offered to sponsor Project 944 GTS as part of their involvement with our site. Please consider checking out what Michelin has to offer by clicking their banners on this page. Without Michelin's support, and others like them, this site really wouldn't be possible.

Picking Sway Bars for a Porsche 944

This is more of a challenge than it sounds. If we just look at factory bars, there are about 12 different front sway bars for the 944, and five different rear bars. The aftermarket has numerous options as well, ranging from stock-style, to fully hollow, infinitely adjustable units. I opted to track closer to the factory, largely because the range of options is so large.

My particular 944 was not equipped with the M030 sport suspension option, which means that stock equipment in my Porscher consisted of a 21.5mm front bar, and no rear bar(Clark's Garage shows an 18mm rear bar as stock on the 944S, but it appears that this is incorrect based on other sources and my mechanic, himself a 944 fan and multiple owner). A 944S with the M030 option would be equipped with a 23mm front bar and a 20mm rear bar. I opted to skip this step entirely.


If you follow the 944 family right out to the end, you find that the 968 was also available with the M030 package. The M030 package in the 968 was the most extreme of the transaxle Porsches, and utilized a massive 30mm front bar and 19mm rear bar with 3-way adjustability.

This, of course, is what I went for. I opted for a setup from Lindsey Racing which mimics the stock setup, but with 5-way adjustability on the rear bar rather than three. Because the front bar is so large, and because many other elements in the suspension will be altered as well, I wanted a wide range of adjustment so I can fine-tune how my 944 behaves.

Fitting the Bars


Note: Since this photo the power steering leak was repaired.

I grew up on watercooled VWs so I was fully prepared for the front sway bar to be a monumental pain in the butt, and fully obscured by the front subframe. I could not have been more wrong. The front bar on the 944 is the most accessible I've ever seen. Once you remove the front plastic undertray the swaybar is right out in the open. To remove, take off six nuts(two on each inner bracket, and one on each end link), remove the bolts, and it's off.


This car is daily driven. Yes, it's dirty.

Before installing the new bar, we made one minor addition. On a stock 944 the center mounts fall vertically from the front frame member, to help cope with the loads of the new larger new bar we added a set of angled brackets which triangulate the mount using the lower motor mount bolt. The M030 bar is substantially larger than the stock bar(a full 8.5mm), but uses the same mounts with a larger inner diameter on the bushing for a perfect fitment.


The rear bar is also fairly simple. The inner mounts are part of the torsion bar mount, and can be seen above. Whether or not your Porsche has a rear bar, these mounts are in place. The removable brackets are readily available, and are shared with a Volkswagen Beetle(they have a 113 part number, as do the bushings).


Because the rear bar I used is 5-way adjustable, the stock sway bar links were not going to cut it. To get the length to reach the innermost and outermost adjustments I opted for a set of heim-jointed adjustable length links. In addition to making up the extra length, these can be fine-tuned to avoid any preload from left to right.


The rear links bolt to the camber adjustment bolts. With the sway bar bolted to the center mounts it becomes a very simple thing to get everything aligned. Before fitting the links it is important to match the lengths of the two links. Provided your 944 is set up with truly uniform ride height from left to right, this will be perfectly adequate for initial setup to avoid preload from left to right. If your Porsche is not level from left to right, your setup may vary.


This is with the drains fully cleared a day before this particular storm. It's been silly.

So How Does It Work?

Long story short: I'm not 100% certain yet. It seems like every single time I've tried to get in my 944 since installing the sway bars it's been raining(it's only been a few days so far). Perhaps more interestingly, the front bar and the rear bar were installed on different days. With just a 30mm front bar and no rear bar the Porsche understeered very badly in conditions where I've never seen understeer in this 944 before. So far, with both bars, the Porsche has felt neutral. As things dry out, I will drive the car more, and report back as things progress.


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  • 3 weeks later...


yes its from flatsixes in the USA. Part 3 is now out


Has anyone made their own tail light fittings, as discribed in the article, instead of buying?

In the sway bar segment, part 2, the author's car did not have a rear sway bar. Mine does. Any other S1 owners with or without a rear sway bar?

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  • 2 weeks later...

they lost track of the numbering the episodes! another part 3, this one on installing a short shifter. 


It would be interesting to hear other peoples experience with different shifter kits.

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Have you had anything done to your front shifter mechanism?

When you look at OzJustins rear sway bar setup http://i.imgur.com/Uxz40up.jpg from his photo when selling his exhaust; he has some nice red looking red mounts for his rear sway bar. I have also seen, I think on the Rennsport forum, an additional stiffener triangulating the front sway bar mounts. Has anyone here done any of these set ups with the sway bars?

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