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924 vs. 944 Turbo (aka 951)
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Chrenan  



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 3899
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:16 am    Post subject: 924 vs. 944 Turbo (aka 951) Reply with quote

924 vs. 944 Turbo (aka 951)

OK, here is an answer to the question nobody asked, how does a 924 compare with a 951. I picked up a 1987 951 last fall, worked on it over the winter/summer and finally got it on the road at the end of the summer. What follows is an informal comparison made up of random musings on the 924 and 951 in various categories.

First, a few words about the cars in question:

The 1980 924 Iíve had for 6 years, almost every mechanical piece on the car has been replaced, and Iíve rebuilt the engine with some extra oomph (details in signature below). There is no sound deadening material in the cabin, thin carpets, lightweight seats, rear seat delete, stiffened suspension, harnesses, roll bar, etc. It is setup exactly the way I want it and I am very comfortable pushing it hard.

The 1987 951 is a 110,000 kms example imported from Japan. It was bone stock when I got it. The only modifications Iíve made from stock are removal of the AC, swapping in a manual steering rack (new) and associated bits, and solid upper strut mounts (much cheaper than stock units). All other work has been maintenance related. Every vacuum hose has been replaced (big and small), the venturi delete has been done, all coolant hoses replaced and a new radiator went in. Oil pan gasket has been changed, new motor mounts, new koni adjustables all round, hatch seal, cap, rotor, thermostat, temp sensors, turbo coolant pump, plugs, engine bay fuel lines, etc, etc, etc. And of course, just for gohim, the full front engine service (belts, rollers, tensioner, seals, water pump).

Working on the cars:

Nothing will make working on the 924 seem more simple and enjoyable than working on a 951.

It is diabolically tight in the 951 engine bay. You canít get at anything without removing something else. Even with the AC and power steering deleted on my car, the engine bay is still immensely crowded. You need three elbows per arm and a wide variety of ratchet extensions, u-joints, wobble extensions and a dose of good luck to get anything done. My extendable mechanicsí magnet and swear vocabulary have been heavily taxed since getting the 951.

The level of complexity jumps exponentially when dealing with the 951. More belts, more sensors, more electronics, more hoses, bigger everything (brakes, radiator, etc). With added complexity comes added expense. End of story.

Its not all bad of course, some little details make the 951 less frustrating than the 924. Whichever German Genius decided to move the relay board and fuse box from under the steering wheel to the engine bay (beside the wiper motor) deserves a Nobel Prize. You mean I can change or test a relay without having to lie on my back upside down in the footwall of the driverís seat? Great!!!

Driving the cars:

The 951 feels very modern compared to the 924. The updated dash plays a role, as does the EFI. The heater produces masses of warmth on demand, something Iíve never been able to accomplish with my 924. When I drive the 924 it feels like I am driving a car that has earned its collector car insurance. When I drive the 951 I canít believe it is 21 years old.

The 951, even a plain-jane base unmodified version like mine, is a fast car. Its not just the power, because there isnít that much by modern standards (220hp/240torque). 0-60 was something around 6 seconds when new. All I can think is there has been designed into the 951 some unique mix of peak torque and well chosen gear ratios that is beyond my layman understanding.

Amazingly, the acceleration through 4th gear feels as ferocious as through 3rd and 2nd gear. And, my god, those gear ratios. 2nd tops out at 120 km/h. That means 3rd, 4th and 5th are just there to determine how long your stay in jail will be. A full boost run in 3rd gear is something to behold, easily worth the purchase price of the car and the aggravation of wrenching on it.

The 951 is a big, curvy girl. You can feel the weight. Not so much when you flatten the gas pedal or brake pedal, both pedals have a ďhand of GodĒ feel about them. But when carving corners you start to realize that Colin Chapman was correct, weight ruins fun.

Donít get me wrong, it still handles sublimely, and compared to an ďevery day carĒ it might as well be an F1 car. However, it doesnít talk to me like the 924 does. Maybe because it actually has more grip from the wider tires? Maybe because it still has the ďsoftĒ factory setup that I have worked out of the 924? Maybe I donít trust the 951 enough to push it yet? I donít know. The 924 squirms and squeals when pushed, it communicates constantly, it warns, it reminds, it never scolds. Even if I duplicated the work done to the 924 on the 951, Iím not sure it could be the same dance partner.

Character of the cars:

The 924 wins. It just does. Hands down. No contest.

My 924 barks when you start the engine. It blubs. It chortles. It gurgles.

It makes 2 distinctly different noises, one below 3500 and one above.

You have to flog it to go fast, but it soaks it up like an eager sparring partner.

With no catalytic convertor and a muffler that clearly doesnít muffle much anymore, it sets off car alarms in underground parking lots.

Its an old car, and it feels like it, and thatís OK.

Nobody knows what it is, which makes it super desirable to me.

Long live the 924.
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1987 951 - M193 Version for Japan
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ideola  



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 15505
Location: Woodstock IL

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kudos! Well done!

Best line in the hole piece: "3rd, 4th and 5th are just there to determine how long your stay in jail will be"

And I like the conclusion as well. If I ever get around to writing my book, I may ask to include this
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Chrenan  



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 3899
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Dan, as long as I get a signed copy of your book and a credit its yours!

I'm working on my next article which will compare my daily driver Impreza with my beat-up and seldom used F-150. The Coles Notes version will be: Impreza is good at getting groceries, F-150 is good at taking crap to the dump.
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Rasta Monsta  



Joined: 12 Jul 2006
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Location: PacNW

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shaggy wants to visit your yellow car. Maybe next summer. . .
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Chrenan  



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
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Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be a good meetup, you'd just have to let me catch up on the straight sections...
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Rasta Monsta  



Joined: 12 Jul 2006
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Location: PacNW

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could always bring it to a track day down here. . .you are welcome to stay with us.

Word is, we're starting time trials next year!


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Chrenan  



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be an epic journey in the little 924. At least I'd know there would be a set of tools there if anything went wrong!
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Rasta Monsta  



Joined: 12 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An excellent set. . .my dad is a TV repair man.
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Chrenan  



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spicoli!
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Mahatma Gadhni  



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A great article! I really enjoyed reading it.
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Slam  



Joined: 07 Jan 2005
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Location: Wainwright, Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good writeup, Chrenan. Now you need a 944 NA for days when you don't feel like driving either car.

One thing - how about a word about clutch feel? My 924 clutch seems heavier/bulkier than my 944. I do agree about the 924 having a more charming personality. However, some days you don't want a car that won't shut up!
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'84 944 - all-weather workhorse.
'83 944 - still looks like ass.
'87 944 - wifey's DD, alive and well.
'80 924 - tuned by son #1.
'78 924 - blown up by Scottie.
'77 924 - gift from friend. Future project...
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Brockoli  



Joined: 06 Feb 2007
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

great article, it was like i was readng the excellence mag that comes to my door every month.

this was just the break i needed from studying. I also like my 924 more now!!!
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'80 924 M471,Wideband O2, Full coilover susp,23/19 sways,Bilstiens,KLA Strut Brace,Roll Bar,Test Pipe,BBS RS, Willwood BBK

25% of a '87 944 Chumpcar http://straightpipe.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=2454

'79 924 Sebring Edition(Sitting)
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Chrenan  



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 3899
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slam wrote:
However, some days you don't want a car that won't shut up!


Very true!

Slam wrote:
One thing - how about a word about clutch feel? My 924 clutch seems heavier/bulkier than my 944.


I always thought my 924 had a heavy clutch, and it did. When the fresh engine went in, I replaced the clutch (disc / pressure plate / throwout bearing) and cable with new stock parts. Now, my 924 clutch is ridiculously light, very comfortable. I've read on this board a number of times that the clutch is heavy, and that it should just be accepted becuase it is cable operated and it will always be heavy. Not true at all, worn out clutches and cables are heavy.
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pocketscience  



Joined: 23 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:42 am    Post subject: Re: 924 vs. 944 Turbo (aka 951) Reply with quote

Chrenan wrote:
Whichever German Genius decided to move the relay board and fuse box from under the steering wheel to the engine bay (beside the wiper motor) deserves a Nobel Prize.


Can you post a pic of this please? And some general pics of the bay would be interesting too.


Cheers,
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81 924 N/A, GTS lights, Saratoga, interior, headers, Integral cam, EFI (sold)
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Chrenan  



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a "before" picture, this is from the seller I got the car from. I'll try to post a new one later showing the relay/fuse box up close. Its the black box in the top right corner of the picture with the K&N sticker on top.


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1987 951 - M193 Version for Japan


Last edited by Chrenan on Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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