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ThE sPaCeCoWbOy
05-02-2001, 04:55 AM
i have a 86 944
what upgrades can i make, where can i get them from...
if possible, can someone estimate the HP/TQ gains and the price its going to cost?


05-03-2001, 01:03 AM
***This is a long post, so I’ll put it in 3 parts, but it should be worth it…*** ... NO really!

PART I: “A Clean Running Engine”

First things first, I would be certain you have a “clean running” engine to start.

With Turbos, any leaks in the vacuum or intake systems will cost you valuable HP. These cars make such good power that you'd think it’s running great, until you fix the little “bugs”. Only then do you realize how much MORE HP they really put out bone stock.

Short of putting your car on a dyno for a baseline reading, which can get expensive, it’s guesswork and “seat of the pants” feel.

So FIRST check and change as needed; all your rubber, vacuum lines, intake boots and all heater/water hoses. (You might as well stay on top of the cooling system while your at it).

For what it’s worth, I purchased an 86 951 just over a year ago with about 72k on the OD. When I looked under the hood, it seemed as if every thing was “brand-spanking-new”! It was a one-owner, always garaged car and for the most part the cleanliness of the engine is what sold me. However I realize some time after, although the rubber looked good, it had small cracks. I could barely see them only after I pulled the pieces, yet they were big enough to rob the car of power. You should be able to tell the difference by how hard the old rubber is compared to the new. Or in the case of the cooling hoses, how soft the old are compared to the new.

Now once you’re sure you’ve got a, “clean running” engine, you may want to change your ignition coil, cap, rotor, plugs, (FYI- I run Beru Silverstones ) and plug-wires. Here’s were you can pick up a little extra power; for spark plug wires, I use Nology “Hotwires” [$150 & 5-10hp] I gained a noticeable amount of power on the low end.

FYI- some 911 owners’ may tell you the “Hotwires” are not good, especially if you’re using Autothority Performance Chips. It has to do with the “in-line capacitors” on the Hotwires and electrical interference. While this is true for them, it does not effect the 944 Turbos, just be sure to ground them properly. The bolt on the intake, which holds cruise control cable in place works well. Trust me, if you buy them, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Another upgrade is to replace the stock coil with an aftermarket high capacity ignition system. I personally have not done this, however I know someone who has and they are happy with the result. Again they gained more power on the low end, which is always helpful with a turbo sinces it reduces the sense of “Turbo Lag”. (I may do the same at some point.)

Again, in my car, the stock wires “looked good” but I was surprised at how bad they really were. Although they looked good, the insulation was very brittle.

Also even if you recently replaced your stock air filter with another paper filter, change it to a K&N. You can stick with the stock air box and get a filter to fit for: [$65 & 5hp] or a MSDS/K&N “cone filter” which runs approx. [$130 & 5-10 hp] –either choice is a must, as these cars like to breath. If you’re not too concerned about aesthetics, removing the stock air box and going with the cone filter is best.


05-03-2001, 01:14 AM

Now you can start making bigger improvements. If the car hasn’t already been “chipped”, it’s a must. For [$400 & 48hp] this would be your next step. Autothority’s “Stage II” is the most popular but check around.

After that, I would suggest a Lindsey “Boost Enhancer” [$89] ( While this won’t add any HP, it will bring on the boost (or “spool-up”) quicker, making the car accelerate faster by keeping the waste-gate closed longer.

***FYI- The waste-gate is what keeps your car from over boosting and “blowing up” by opening a valve in the exhaust and “bleeding off” or bypassing the exhaust gases that normally go up to the turbo. It does this as boost increases to a preset point, approximately 1 bar or 12psi. (give or take a couple points)

You can however, adjust the Lindsey Boost Enhancer to keep the waste gate closed a little bit longer and actually gain a couple pounds of boost. I found I was getting a max of 17lbs. In 5th gear by modifying the stock setting.

***Warning: this can cause over boost and launch your motor, so only attempt it if you know what your doing.*** Otherwise, it’s a “good bang for the buck”, …no pun intended.

Now another little known secret most don't attempt (and there's a reason why), is it's very easy to get 20psi of boost from a stock turbo by simply adding a $59.95 adjustable boost controller / regulator.

(FYI-There are more expensive electronic units available for about [$500])

This will give you almost 40 - 60 more HP over factory ratings with a stock turbo, depending on how high you turn the boost up and depending on whom you talk to. I have heard you get as much as 20HP to the wheel for every pound of boost you add. (I personally question this) As always, a dyno run is the best way to tell, but most people are satisfied with the, seat of the pants feel.


Most everyone will tell you, anything over 20psi on an unmodified engine and you’re done for.

*** Now even though I said it can be done, THIS IS NOT RECCOMENDED***

For many reasons I wouldn't do this. I don’t know all the details and I won’t boar you with what I do, however I have the sense not to question this matter and simply wouldn't try it. (If you wish to do the research, I’d be interested to hear what you find. Bottom line, ***it can cause serious damage!***)

WARNING: These cars are known to blow head gaskets and the more you mess with them, the more you increase the probability. Many people say it’s just a matter of time. I myself am still running the factory head-gasket with just over 100k on the OD and have been lucky so far. However I WILL replace it with a “wide-fire” ring at some point WHEN it does blow.

You’ll know your head gasket is blown when you see a brown muddy, almost “chocolate pudding-like” substance at the waterline and on the cap inside your coolant overflow tank. Average is said to be around 130k miles depending on your driving habits.

By far the biggest bang for the buck “I’ve” received to this point, is to replace the stock waste-gate with one also made by Lindsey. (Really, I don’t work for Lindsey)

It’s an excellent unit for [$399] ustilizing the stock base and a dual chamber top made of machined red anodized aluminum. One of the most affordable and easy to install units, not to mention, it looks good too.

The fact it utilizes the stock base is important since it makes installation a breeze (trust me on this, not all are that easy to install and will usually run you a couple hundred in extra fabrication cost to get them mounted)

Note: if you go with this set-up, you won’t be able to use the Boost Enhancer which doesn’t really matter anyway. Trust me you’ll like it. But, you will need the a fore mentioned “manual boost controller”
***I’ll say it one more time, ALWAYS be careful with adding boost! ***

The reason for replacing the stock waste-gate is that even when they are supposed to be “closed” technically they are still slightly open. By going with an aftermarket unit, they stay completely closed until you reach the preset “max boost level”, which sends more exhaust gases to the turbo, allowing it to spool up quicker, producing power sooner and resulting in MUCH quicker acceleration. Also unlike a stock unit, once it reaches the preset level, it holds right at that point. (The stock unit will begin to drop off once it reaches max boost.)

Note: it’s recommended that you install a much more accurate aftermarket turbo boost gauge, such as VDO or AutoMeter [$90] which reads in increments of 1 pound of boost up to 30lbs boost or 25 lbs of vacuum, vs. the stock dash gauge which only reads roughly + or – 1.2 bar of boost or vacuum.

*FYI My numbers are approximations, I didn’t feel like running out to my car or looking them up, but for demonstration purposes, you get the point. So you Brainiacs who feel the need to correct everyone can just relax.


05-03-2001, 01:22 AM

As I mentioned before, turbos like to breath, so a “test pipe” [$225 & 10 – 15hp] or as they are also referred to, a “catalytic converter bypass pipe” is a good investment. Technically, they are illegal in some states (especially California) so they are intended, “for track use only” (wink… wink.) It takes all of about 20-30 minutes to install or remove and will most certainly cause you to fail a smog test if you don’t have the stock cat installed.

A good addition to complete the test pipe is a free flowing exhaust [$500 & 10 – 15hp]. (Again, “for track use only”) Don’t worry about the noise. The blades in the turbo make for a good noise reducer. So your neighbors won’t get angry when you take it out for those early Sunday morning rides at 6:00am. (Also very important; if you run track events at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, CA, you’ll have no problem passing the 89db restriction rating.) Personally, I thought my Borla race exhaust was quieter than the stock even though the Borla had a “straight through” pipe. (Ironic, isn't it?)

With all these modifications, you should be running damn near close to 300hp at the wheel! Again, dyno’s will tell for sure. Either way, MORE than enough power for daily driving and pretty damn good for the track too.

If that’s still not enough, there's always a new MAF and turbo and engine internals, etc. And if you're still not satisfied, Huntley claims to be working on an 800hp monster 951. So there's no end to what you can do and how to spend your money.

And last but certainly not least; with **all this extra HP** you can’t neglect the suspension.

You’ll be really bummed, after spending all that money, the first time you come into a corner too hot and can't stop in time.

And when you try to drive it out, the car will just spins out of control in to the nearest immovable object.

As a result, I would highly recommend up-grading your shocks/struts, springs, sway bars, brake lines, pads and rotors. Also add a strut tower brace and upgrade the wheels and tires too.

All of these components can run you another $4,000 to $10,000 depending on what you choose but when you’re done, you’ll have a car that can out perform almost any $50,000+ factory jobs out there. (McLaren’s, XJ220, F50’s etc. not included)

Won’t that guy in the brand new Mustang Cobra GT, C5 Vette or 996, be pissed when you pass them by in your mid-eighties “[censored] Porsche/Audi”? Oh well… that’ll teach them for making you eat at the card table instead of the, "Grown-ups"!

For what it's worth, all the prices and HP numbers I’ve listed are approximate so don’t sue me if you pay more or less or your HP ratings are slightly different.

I highly reccomend, you don't make all of the Engine mods. first, however, your best bet would be to do a combo of power and handling as you go.

Keep this in mind while you deciding on the various upgrades you intend to do in the future, so they'll be compatible. That way you don’t have to “re-do” something down the road. You can always improve both over time.

*** Disclaimer *** While I have quite a bit of first hand experience with the 951 and modifications, I don’t profess to be the end all be all expert. As such I do, from time to time, make mistakes, (I’m still working on the walking on water thing). With that said, I would be grateful to those who are more knowledgeable, if they would chime in and set the record straight.


P.S. I can attest first-hand to the statements about “passing other cars” as I have personally made most of these mods. and as a result, have enjoyed passing these cars plus many more… Of course, there's always the driver factor, and ALWAYS someone faster that you! Good luck and have fun!

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