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2001 996 C4 Engine Failure & Replacement


Vehicle Information: Model: 996 C4; Year: 2001; Body Type: Coupe; Total Mileage: 29000;

Hi Joel, On the second lap of the first morning session at a DE event this July, a huge amount of white smoke came out the back of the car, the engine stalled, and noticed all the warning lights on my dashboard. I pulled over to the side of the track and when I got to the back of the car, I noticed creamy coffee looking oil trailing out of the exhaust. When the car was back in the paddock area, a few folks came over to help and see what had occurred. We the help of a mechanic on hand we tried to see if the motor would turn over. However there was something catastrophically wrong with the motor. The first opinion was intermediate shaft failure, which would cause this type of smoke and outcome.The car was transported by flat-bed to my mechanic, and once on the lift and opened up, he diagnosed something completely different. (Porous engine block failure) He said the antifreeze had leaked into the oil of the motor, causing the viscosity of the oil to breakdown and stop providing the adequate lubrication, until such point the motor seized.The car's warranty is long gone, which didn't stop me from contacting PCNA, to see how empathetic they were feeling, to no avail. They had 2 interesting comments when refusing, 1. PCNA felt the car wasn't driven enough, too little milage. 2. That the service was not always performed at a Porsche dealer.It was now a matter of buying a used motor, or a rebuilt motor from Porsche, with the 2 year 24k miles warranty. There was very little savings between a used and rebuilt motor, maybe $3k or so. I opted for the re-built factory engine, and was very surprised to see all the extras that came with the motor. I was expecting a stripped engine, and got what looks like a brand spanking new motor, with new A/C compressor, alternator, starter, belts, and everything else including oil minus a qt. Your readers may also like to know, these factory motors have the upgrades and enhancements to previous faults such as new bearings for the intermediate shaft. It also has the new oil filler pipe and cap, like the 997. It wasn't cheap, the total bill was just over $16,000.Have you heard about this problem occurring with other 996s?Do you believe tracking the car at DE events can be detrimental to the longevity of these engines? Or could have been responsible for this problem?Once the engine is well broken in, how long should I wait to return to the track?I find it difficult to understand why Porsche would not stand behind their engines even after the warranty expires. My original engine had just over 900 hours on before this happened. Do you have any recommendations in approaching Porsche?Joel, I truly appreciate effort you make in responding to our questions.Thanks very much.

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