Monday, September 29, 2008

A 914 Porsche Story: Smoked!! Keep an extra rotor!!

914 Porsche Distributor Rotors do not come in three pieces.

Too bad my camera sucks balls at close range but this is what I found under my 914's distributor cap. I spent the afternoon investigating why my 914 stopped running on the freeway a couple of Saturdays back. Not fun racing up to 70 MPH and have nothing left but burning smell and gas on the side of the road. I had it towed home and could not get the thing to turn over.

After checking the plug wires this afternoon to see if anything was loose, I decided to take off the cap since it was the only other thing I could look at without tools. I swear to God, Porsches must be made by little German elves with like stubby little fingers made of hard rubber. You can't take off one thing without taking off another unrelated part or without a few "Awe Shits!!" when you jam your fingers into the side of something. As soon as I finally got the distributor cap off I immediately thought, "Hey where is my Rotor?" It wasn't there. It was gone! I found it in three separate chunks seen in the photo and the rest of it was dust. I am not a mechanic for cars. Car Washes maybe. You know mechanics and engineers, when they see something wrong and people are around who don't know any different, they sort of freak out leaving the bystander going, "What, I don't see it?" This was pretty obvious that most novices would spot. But you are talking to a guy who rebuilt his fuel system from under the car by touch so... perhaps there is some knowledge.

Of course, I immediately had to post my findings as something really cool on the 914 BBS I belong to. Turns out it isn't that special. Avid 914 drivers keep two or three rotors with them at all times. Shit... it wasn't really that cool. It's one of those parts that just go out. A mechanic's dream... bad rotor? Hmmm... no labor hours but we'll charge you 3 hours at $90 an hour for a $8 part.

I have undone and replaced lines, hoses, and other things without really thinking about it at work for years. It doesn't matter what it looks like, I am always good with flows of fluid, air and electricity. I re-installed everything on the Porsche and jumped in the front seat. And the car was trying to start and would keep trying after I turned the key off. I wondered if my car was really screwed up beyond the rotor. I kept starting it and it kept trying but I noticed the battery power was low. I threw this super charger I have on the roof and tried to start the car that way. Nothing!! WTF. I looked under the hood and found all kinds of smoke and shit. I wondered WTF Now! I thought this had gotten expensive. I kept staring at the distributor cap... Wait a minute!!

I had crossed the two plug wires on the driver side spark plugs. I just crossed them back and POOF!! My little car came back to life. Seems to run a whole lot better too. So I can spot a bad rotor but not a crossed wire...

I drove it around the block twice going, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

Moral to the story: Yes I Can... I can do it on my own.

(Note: The above statement is not an endorsement of Obama, if I did endorse him a few months back, I was miss-guided)

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