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Another 2002 911 Engine Problem (C4 Cab)


Vehicle Information: Year: 2002; Body Type: Convertible; Total Mileage: 3800;

This may begin to sound familiar. After holding out for eight years with a serviceable, but beat-up car, I finally laid down the money for a special order 02 911 C4 Cab. Except for an occasional puff of gray/black smoke out of the right rear tail pipe roughly every other day and heavy oil consumption (roughly 1 quart every other gas fill-up), I had no problems, only satisfaction. I asked the dealer about the oil burn and was told that this was not unusual for a car early in its life.This all changed around 3400 miles. While passing a car in 3rd gear at roughly 3,000 RPMs, the car suddenly got very sluggish and the yellow Check Engine light came on accompanied by a red message on the computer: Drive car to the nearest dealer. About a second or two after that the engine lost power and proceeded to make sounds like an air compressor that was rapidly popping out intervals of air. My friend said it sounded like one or two of the pistons were taken out by the computer, and the sound was the effect of the other pistons dragging them along. I took the car to my dealer which confirmed the fault: #3 piston fault. The dealer performed both a leak-down test and a compression test, which I am told came back as expected. Upon further examination of the pistons, it was noted that cylinder #3 was blacked and fouled. In addition to replacing all of the spark plugs, the dealer also choose to replace the #3 fuel injector. It was suggested that the fuel injector was the culprit for the large amount of oil consumed.Only a few hundred miles later the problem returned while accelerating in 4th gear at approximately 3,100 RPMs. Same response: sluggish, then engine light, then (this time yellow) message, then the popping noise. Meanwhile, the amount of smoke that comes out during start-up was startling. That was five weeks ago when the dealer took possession of the car, and I havent seen it since. During this time various theories have been offered. The first thought (week 1) was that it was another problem with another fuel injector not sure which one. Then (week 2) the technician determined that the car was running rich. A few adjustments were made (I dont know what was done), but that apparently didnt solve the problem. So, based upon direction from Germany, the dealer removed one of the two heads (!) to check it for warpage/leakage. I asked whether this was normal no. After not hearing anything during week 3, I called at the beginning of week 4 to learn that the area rep had told the dealer to stop all work until he could personally inspect the car. Now the plan of action is to replace the head gasket and two seals. Still, the service agent admits that they really dont know if this will correct the problem.So, I hate to pester you with questions and will respect your decision not to address some or all of the following. 1.Is there any reason for a car to burn 14 quarts of oil during the first 3600 miles? I park the car in roughly the same spot each day and have never noticed any oil droppings on the garage floor.2.Should I be concerned that a car with less than 4,000 miles is getting one of its head gaskets and two seals replaced? How can I be confident that damage hasnt already occurred elsewhere, or that this wont create further problems down the road? I see a recent post about worn valve guides in a 96 996 is this what Im looking at in another few years?3.Given at least three threads that report similar problems (996 new turbo smoking problem, 2002 996 Smoke at startup, and Porsche to replace engine in 2002 C2) do you think Im afflicted with the same issue? If not, do you have another idea? If so, have you learned anything more about what exactly is going on here, and whether Porsches solution? 4.Given that Porsche seems to be replacing engines in this type of case, wouldnt that reduce the value of the car going forward (I realize this is more of a market concern, but what would you say if someone approached you about buying a 02 911 with an 03 engine?). Thanks for your help. I have to say that Im just really disappointed and feel that Porsche has really taken advantage of the situation by seemingly choosing to trial and error on my car. If it werent for PCA and this web-site, Id really be lost, so it is good to see how Porsche has responded to the previous problems. To be fair, Id also like to note that the dealer has been generous in terms of providing a loaner (an 02 Boxer), but then again, I didnt lay down this type of money to have my car sit at a dealership for the majority of the summer (as a friend of mine likes to say, the driving season here is very short). So, in general I have had a terrible experience thus far.

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