story and photos by leo dijkstra "the dutch shark"

I must say I feel a bit proud today. And at the same time thankful to the Rennlist 928 crowd. Why? I’ll tell you; we all put our heads together and did a fair bit of 928 archaeology. We didn’t exactly find King Tut's treasures, but Lord Carnarvon could never have unearthed all the previous owner's (PO) hacks on my Shark.

Here's what happened.
My car had been losing more and more coolant on each trip without showing where it all went. Still in my water pump failure denial phase, I had replaced the brown and brittle 30 year old coolant expansion tank and some hoses. But to no avail...the water pump was noisy and a quick peek behind the cam gear covers showed a very wet timing belt.

I slowly began accepting my fate, so I went to search the 928 equivalent of the National Library going by the name of Rennlist 928 forum. I dug up the excellent write up on the 928 16 valve timing belt water pump replacement procedure by Doug Brownridge. Oh dear—197 pages including all kinds of possible WYAIT (while you are in there) jobs. That was enough to scare a relative noob like me into contemplating putting her up for sale and scanning the web for another one. But NO WAY! What are the chances I can find another black tan 1984, Euro S2 with an ’87 5-speed gearbox and LSD? And selling a 928 with a known water pump failure is not going to generate a lot of Euro's in today’s market. Best to man-up and bite the bullet then.

I ordered parts at one of the big four in the USA (cheaper and better availability than here in the Netherlands) and while waiting for them, I dug in.
Not exactly King Tut's treasure: worn water pump, leaking oil pump seal, a cam gear that skipped a few teeth because of the loose timing belt, a reversed harmonic balancer, wrong timing belt tensioner arm, incorrect tensioner pivot bolt. And it is this part that baffled me and fellow Rennlist archaeologists Stan, (aka MrMerlin) and Roger (from most; a bolt that holds the tensioner firmly on the most critical component of any 928 engine, the timing belt. It turned out to be the wrong year bolt, resulting in about a millimeter play in the pivot hole. The PO decided to remedy the problem by, drum roll please—wrapping electrical insulation tape around it...OMG! And to think I have been doing top speed on the Autobahn with that bit of nonsense.
Maybe the 928 timing belt desing and engine deserve a little more credit if it can take this amount of abuse.

I can truly say that without the Rennlist guys, and wrenching with the iPad besides me with the photo by photo write up, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. A work shop manual tells you how you are supposed to do it. But once you encounter a PO hack coupled with incorrect parts, the Workshop Manual goes blank at which point the Rennlist crowd kicks in to solve your mystery puzzle. The result, it started right on the button. Smooth as never before!

And you know what? I feel a bit proud completing my first timing belt and water pump job!

I like the funny ASCMA avatar that Fraggle uses on Rennlist, which says: “Amateur Super Car Mechanics Association' with the credo: 'Dedication, ingenuity, insanity. Keeping alive what no one else will!”

Does this make me an ASCMA member now?


paul zollo
09/09/2014 22:15

I have a 1984 928s2 with the 5 spd dog leg trans and burgundy int. Also has an origional balpunkt rador detector...just trying to find out how rare the car is here in the states and what it is worth compared to non euro models


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