words and photos by leo dijkstra

That is the question. How many times did you encounter yet another shortcut made by the previous owner, the infamous PO. At whom we all have sworn, secretly, in our garage, alone.
Puzzled by the makeshift ingenuity, using those universal engineering materials we've come to know so well. A bent coat hanger (great for keeping the exhaust up), zip ties (fixing a side mirror that got hit) or duct tape. We all know what they say: It has a dark side, a light side and it holds the universe together. And if you can't fix it with duct tape, well, you're not using enough.

We've all encountered our share of botches. Some small, like the stripped electrical wires twisted together wrapped in electrical tape (if you're lucky), some more serious. Similar to like the one I wrote to you about in my previous Owner's Report; the timing belt tensioner pivot hole filled up with electrical tape as a replacement for a proper bush. What was this PO thinking? Let's save three bucks and gamble that the timing belt is not that critical on a 928?? Come on, man! 

It's not that I don't like ingenuity. I am a trained engineer and love finding new angles to new problems and puzzles. But where's the boundary between a clever fix and a botched job? And does it matter if you botch your Porsche to keep it running? My view revolves around four basic thoughts:

1)     Safety. I am not the kind of guy that puts cheap Korean tires on a 150mph+ Porsche. So when it comes to clever fixes, I might try the 'coat hanger as a temporary exhaust hanger'. But that 'electrical tape bush on a timing belt tensioner pivot' is long gone and replaced with a proper bush as it should be

2)     Temporary. Provided I comply with rule number one, safety, I feel a botch should be something temporary. If not, the next owner will be puzzled trying to match up those Workshop Manual pictures with what's on view. Don't ask me how I know (just read the bit of car archeology in the previous Owner's Report). And most hacks have not been tested for durability. Unlike the other original parts in your Porsche. Making botches susceptible for breaking rule number one...

3)     Honesty. Can a bodge be honest? It can. The rule is: 'Would you tell it to the next owner before you strike a deal?'  I can honestly admit botching the ground wire running from the spare wheel well from the speedo sensor at the gearbox. I fixed my wire by soldering it to a ground in the spare wheel well. No need to dismantle my interior to retrace the original ground wire that runs up to the CE panel and then to you dash pod, only to be attached to a ground over there...

4)     Time and money. I put this last as a good botch that can easily win this argument on points. Example from my first car: a Fiat 124 Spider that I ran on a budget. The notoriously low sump scraped the streets every now and then after a speed bump and it developed a small hairline crack. Just wide enough to let a drip of oil through when the engine was hot, only to close up again when cold. Like I had a dog making its mark wherever we stopped. The fix? Cleaning it, degreasing it thoroughly, and smearing a couple of coats of bath room silicone kit spread across the bottom of the sump. Not just a bit, but a five by five inch bright white layer. It stands the heat, is flexible and takes well to oil. I hoped it would last 'til I found another sump, as the car was my daily driver. But it held for years and years. In fact, that coated sump turned out to be more durable part on the little Fiat...

These four points came to mind when I encountered that whiff from the 928's exhaust manifold. It turned out to be a leaking gasket where one of the manifold studs broke. Let me go over the rules for this case. 

Safety?

It had to be gas tight. So the botch better be.

Temporary?

After just having finished my timing belt/water pump change I just want to drive this summer, not wrench. So if a botch holds this summer, I am up for it! And I can dig in deep when winter comes.

Honesty?

Well, I am telling you now ain't I? And last but not least: does it save time and money? Ooooohhhh yesssss! We have a winner!

The fix?

I did not share my positive experience with silicone with you for nothing... Out comes the canister of high temperature silicone gasket kit! The procedure: Clean and degrease that manifold gasket and the manifold, put on a layer of kit, let it dry overnight, repeat, put on another layer, let engine warm up at idle, let it dry overnight, repeat. So far, almost a 1000km later of spirited driving, it still holds. Costs: nil. Time saved: well, how long does it take to lift the engine from a 928 to gain access to drill out that manifold stud? Right, you've heard it first, here on flüssig...

You might think I am your worst PO. But no, I am not. As there's one additional rule that applies to me; I have a habit of keeping my classics and not selling them on...

And this classic is rolling this summer!
 


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