Just a couple of important things that you ought to know when thinking about buying a 993 (or have just purchased one), especially if you've never owned an air-cooled Porsche 911 before.
"993" is the common nomenclature for 911s built between 1995 and 1998. 993 was Porsche's in-house project codename. Similarly, 996 refers to 911s built between 1999 and 2004. Porsches built before 1999 were air-cooled, meaning there are no radiators or radiator fluid - those built after 1999 are water-cooled, like most modern cars.
- It takes about a mile to warm up an air-cooled 993 the morning, also it often takes about the same time for the brakes to be up to full pressure (so don't worry when you see the brake light stay on for a couple of minutes). But you don't need to worry, even when not at full pressure the brakes work just fine.
- Note: You don't need to warm a 993 up in the winter, just get in and drive you actually risk overheating it if you try to warm a 993 up.
- The rear brakes sometimes squeak when they are dirty with brake dust. However, the stopping ability of any 911 will blow you away.
- Like any Porsche, a 993 likes to be driven over 3000 RPM, unlike the average car that you would normally shift at 2500-3000RPM.
- You need to pay attention to 3 oil gauges on a 993, and the most important one, the oil level gauge, can only be read when you are stationary in idle. Also, the dipstick is useless because the gauge is more accurate. Typically, a 993 will consume about a half quart every month or so (assuming it's driven regularly).
- When adding oil to a 993 only add a half quart at a time. Stick with whatever brand of oil has historically been used in your car - I've heard changing oils can cause the seals to shrink and thus oil leaks.Porsche recommends Mobil 1(SAE0-W40). Also, keep a quart in the trunk for low oil emergencies.
- 993s that are not driven regularly are more apt to have issues with engine leaks, due to gasket drying and shrinkage,and valve clogging due to fuel sitting stationary.
- The correct tire pressures for 993's and 996's are 36 Front and 44 Rear. Be warned, most tire store technicians will tell you they should be at 40 psi both front and rear but this is incorrect per the manuals for both 911 makes.
- The window switches only last about a year. The good news is they only cost about $35 to replace. When they begin to fail, the windows will stutter or stall.
- The batteries in the key remotes last a little longer and are also inexpensive - $14. As the remote batteries weaken, the distance you need to be close to the car to unlock the doors will shorten. With a strong battery, you'll be able to unlock the doors from 20 feet away or more.
- 993s have 2 buttons for AC, one is full blast out of the main vents only and the other is auto temperature direction adjustable. The OEM Heat/AC Controllers are known to fail. To replace a Control Head runs about $1,000. The best source for used Porsche parts that I have found is Parts Planet at 1-800-783-4911.
- For more information and/or technical questions, it's imperative that you join the Porsche Club of America. For a $42 annual membership, you will benefit from a 10% service discount on labor at most Porsche dealers, as well as expert online technical assistance. You'll also receive a monthly copy of Panorama magazine.
- You've probably heard correctly that there is no cup holder or right armrest. This is true, and the ignition is on the left side of the steering wheel like most Porsches.
- Why you should never lift off the accelerator during a high-speed turn! "Driving a 993 at the limit is all about smooth weight transfer. This is a hard concept to grasp because 99% of your time driving you are well within the limits of the car, so whatever incorrect driving technique you do does not have any bad effects. But when you are driving at the limit of your car, you can easily spin it causing harm to yourself and your car. If you are in a turn and you lift off the throttle abruptly you will transfer the weight to the front wheels and off the rear wheels. Since most of the weight is in the back Porsche 911, this is going o allow the heavy rear end to keep going in the direction it was before you lifted (remember that high school physics about an object in motion tends to stay in motion?). The result is you spinning. The rear end will keep moving because there is not enough weight on the tires to provide the friction needed to keep it in place because you transferred the weight to the front tires. Only do an abrupt lift, and only do heavy braking, when you are going straight.
"Staying on the gas during a turn is one of the hardest things to learn. It goes against every ounce of common sense. When you are going too fast into a turn, the last thing you want to do is go faster. But you have to fight that urge because you will spin otherwise.
- My last bit of advice is that you take your time getting to know your new Porsche 911 (993) - don't push the limits until you've spent at least six months getting to know your car.
Please leave any tips for 993 owners I've forgotten to mention below as a comment.
P.S. I sold this Porsche (1997 911 C4S) in July '09 with 89,000 miles on it for $39,000. At the same time, I purchased a CPO 2003 911 C4S (996) with 41,000 miles for $39,000.
Written by Corcoran Perry & Co. CEO Jon Larrance.