Some time again, I made an inventory of the 5 issues I hated most about my 2003 Porsche 911 Carrera, aka the 996. Once I talked about that I used to be not too keen on how the brake pedal felt, lots of you commented that one thing will need to have been flawed with them. Aside from needing a fluid change, there wasn’t something mechanically amiss, however I nonetheless didn’t love how the pedal felt lengthy and just a little spongy, so I resolved to do one thing about it.
Precisely what I used to be going to do about it took a little analysis. I knew I wanted to interchange the fluid, in order that was a perfect time to interchange what actually seemed to be the unique rubber brake strains with some good braided stainless strains from Goodridge. If I have been going to do this, then possibly it could even be a good suggestion to attempt to change out the brake grasp cylinder with one meant for a 997 GT3, one thing that folk on Rennlist and different boards mentioned ought to make a distinction in pedal really feel however not change the drive transmitted to the calipers, thus avoiding any anti-lock brake wonkiness.
To line up these components, I as soon as once more reached out to the incomparable people at FCP Euro, who very kindly supplied the components for this job, a Motive Energy Bleeder and a few new brake caliper bolts (extra on that in a second).
Additionally on my listing of most-hated 911 issues was the automotive’s annoying-ass wheel bolts. I figured this is able to be pretty much as good a time as any to improve to wheel studs and nuts, and if I used to be going to do this, I ought to get some wheel spacers to repair the automotive’s stance. For these, I went to Porsche specialist Rennline.
Rennline was my go-to for this as a result of first, the stud and nut package they provide had the precise stud size for my most well-liked wheel spacer thickness (15mm throughout). Secondly, the wheel studs they use have a hex head, which means that putting in them after which torquing them to 30 lb-ft was tremendous simple with the suitable Allen head bit. Contemplating I plan on checking the studs’ torque at any time when the wheels are off, this comfort is an enormous deal.
I additionally went with Rennline for the wheel spacers as a result of it makes a speciality of Porsche components, so their hub-centric spacers match completely with no looseness or rattling. In addition they match the wheels completely and are extremely properly milled from aluminum and anodized black. There are tons of spacers available on the market, however getting them from an organization acquainted with Porsche’s quirks made probably the most sense. Even higher, the menschen at Rennline despatched me the components free of charge, which I respect the hell out of. In addition they despatched me a four-piece adjustable pedal set, which is getting put in very quickly, so hold a watch out for that story quickly.
So, as soon as I acquired the automotive up on its jack stands utilizing the least sketchy technique I discovered on YouTube, I used an influence gun to take away the wheel bolts and set to work. The very first thing I opted to do to ease myself into issues was the wheel stud conversion. That is critically simple, and Rennline supplies directions that make it roughly idiot-proof. It’s merely a matter of winding the studs in by hand and both having a pal step on the brakes or utilizing a pry bar to cease the hub spinning earlier than torquing them to 30 lb-ft. That’s it. No messy threadlock and no must double-nut the studs to wind them in.
To not blow your thoughts or something, however this modification guidelines. Not solely do the studs make hanging the wheels simpler than coping with the little wheel information device within the device package, however they appear rad, too. The longer studs additionally imply there’s loads of meat for the nuts to seize onto with the spacers, which slip on over the studs. No want for further centering rings or something; they heart completely and sit flat as long as you’ve wire brushed your hub to do away with any corrosion.
As an aesthetic modification, this one was enormous. My inventory wheels now completely fill the wheel wells, and even with my narrow-body automotive that’s been barely lowered, I’ve solely skilled tire rub as soon as underneath very onerous compression, and even that was minimal. I like to recommend Rennline for these items when you’ve got a 911 (or Boxster or Cayman, and so on.)
With the simplest stuff out of the way in which, it was time to get messy and do the brake strains. Now, I ready as finest as I might to do that job by hitting all of the fittings with WD-40 forward of time and shopping for the appropriately sized flare wrenches, and even then, this virtually went very, very badly. Needless to say my automotive has been a California automotive its entire life, so there’s no considerable corrosion. Nonetheless, I acquired seven of the eight fittings for the brake strains off with only some shut calls. Then I acquired to the final becoming, and all of it fell aside.
This final brake becoming was the within junction between the onerous line that goes to the ABS pump within the frunk and the smooth brake line. I did every part the identical as with the others, however apparently, this flare nut was made of sentimental cheese as a result of it simply began to spherical over. Fortunately it didn’t spherical over utterly, as a result of changing that tough line would contain eradicating the 911’s gas tank and many of the trunk elements, together with suspension and steering rack stuff. The road itself was solely round $100, however the labor can be a nightmare. As an apart, I wouldn’t advocate Harbor Freight’s Quinn-line flare wrench set. They’re too versatile which is what gave me a lot bother.
So, moderately than persevering with to destroy the becoming, I did some analysis on what I might do to get this factor undone. I attempted a warmth gun with PB Blaster, after which I attempted a torch. Suntil nothing. I attempted a particular set of sway bar finish hyperlink pliers, and as soon as once more, no cube. This was wanting grim.
Right here’s the factor, although. I’m a 38-year-old man. I’ve been messing with automobiles for over 20 years, and I’ve made sufficient horrible errors the place I ought to have simply stopped however went on and ruined one thing that I now know when to throw within the towel on a job. This was that point.
However first, I figured I’d swap the grasp cylinder out because the brake system was empty anyway. So, I pulled some trim off, stuffed some plastic luggage and pig mat beneath the grasp cylinder, and began gingerly eradicating the brake fittings. Fortunately this was completely drama free. Ditto for undoing the big nuts holding it to the firewall, and pulling the reservoir off. All of this was tremendous simple, particularly since my automotive doesn’t have Porsche Stability Administration which might require some adapting of fittings and depart a lightweight on the sprint.
The very last thing to do earlier than I referred to as the fellas at Home Automotive once more was to interchange the brake caliper bolts. My automotive initially got here with hex socket bolts. These have been outmoded years in the past by Torx head bolts. Provided that Porsche recommends that these bolts get changed each time the calipers come off, and I’d had them off as soon as to do the suspension, I wasn’t feeling too nice about these original-looking models. The substitute bolts additionally got here from FCP Euro, and swapping them out after which torquing the brand new ones to spec was a breeze.
So, with every part else out of the way in which, I picked up my telephone and referred to as Andy, my service advisor at Home Automotive in Pasadena. In case you’ve adopted the 996 undertaking, you understand I’ve used these guys a few instances earlier than and had superior experiences, and so they have been form sufficient to complete the final brake becoming for me. It took them round 20 minutes to get the becoming unstuck, after which they filed the becoming down from 11mm to 10mm in order that within the unlikely occasion that I must take away the fittings once more, I can accomplish that.
Lastly, they crammed and bled the system for me utilizing Motul’s RBF600 DOT 4 brake fluid, which Motul despatched over together with a few of their 5W50 300V Competitors motor oil (it smells type of like banana Laffy Taffy, in case you have been questioning) for my subsequent oil change. I went with the RBF600 for a couple of causes. First, I’ve used it in different automobiles with nice success. Particularly, I switched to it when the US authorities outlawed ATE Tremendous Blue brake fluid. Whereas it technically has a decrease boiling level than a few of the different Motul racing fluids, these increased boiling level fluids are extra hygroscopic and due to this fact want altering far more usually. The RBF600 will comfortably go two years earlier than needing a change, and I’ve but to boil it in any automotive.
The entire track and dance at Home concerned them preserving the automotive in a single day and resulted in a couple of hundred bucks in labor expenses. In the end, I’d moderately not have spent that cash, however higher that than coping with ruining the brake becoming and having to spend much more changing the entire onerous line.
So, now that each one that’s achieved, what’s the 911 wish to drive? Did this repair my spongy brake pedal? You wager your ass it did. The mix of stainless brake strains and the GT3 grasp cylinder (which prices properly underneath $300 new on the time of publication) utterly reworked how the brakes really feel. Earlier than the brakes have been sturdy however took a little bit of pedal journey to actuate; now, the pedal is rock stable however nonetheless with loads of modulation to keep away from ABS actuation. These upgrades pair properly with the inventory drilled rotors and the Hawk HPS pads that the earlier proprietor put in final 12 months, and so they lastly really feel just like the epic, unflappable brakes that I’ve come to count on from all of Porsche’s autos.
In virtually 1,000 miles of driving on roads, highways and canyons, I’ve not had any destructive experiences to report. The automotive drives like a a lot newer and sharper automotive than the 140k mile discount 911 I bought six months in the past, and apart from a brand new set of tires, some brake caliper decals and people Rennline pedals, I’ve no actual plans to make additional modifications within the speedy future.