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Barks of the 996 GT3 RSR Bounce Off Monza’s Trees

Though not the fastest car through Parabolica, the 996 RSR’s baritone bellow is very entertaining.

The signature bark of the 996 GT3 RSR is unmistakable to the sonically sensitive Porschephile. They recognize the dry blat-blat-blat of the 3.6-liter under deceleration and heel-toe and from years ago when they heard those same sounds bounce off the walls at places like Sebring and Daytona. The rasp, the throatiness, and the absence of gearbox noise help it stand out as a distinct piece of music in the Porsche anthology.

The varied soundtrack accompanies a motor that screams to a tick over 8,000 rpm, and made ~445 horsepower while up there. Just a hair under 300 lb-ft was the churning force this motor produces, and though that’s not an exceptional amount by today’s standards, it is plenty of shove to propel a car weighing ~2,400 pounds. With a six-speed sequential to row through, it reaches a much higher top speed than one would imagine after watching it accelerate seemingly casually out of Monza’s hairpins.

Great stability on the brakes is one of this car’s obvious strong suits.

Fortunately, these two RSRs brake very well and exhibit great stability while decelerating. The 380mm and 355mm discs front and rear, respectively, bring the Porsche to a halt without much fidgeting. To run at somewhere like Le Mans for 24 hours, the car had to be reasonably stable. The big wing and diffuser help, but by modern standards, the 996 RSR’s areo doesn’t look like that a factory racer.

Still, after Looking at the body movement and the comparatively simplistic bodywork you get a sense of how far GT cars have come in the last fifteen years Body control, downforce, and braking performance are simply different level. Now, GT3 cars are built more like prototypes with an emphasis on aero grip, while back then, cars had to be managed more at lower speeds and slid in a subtle fashion. The steady forward march of progress, right?

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Is Buying a 996 Turbo a Wise Decision?

The fact that Tyler Hoover picked up another 996 after a painful foray into the range speaks to the value of the car. He first grabbed a first-generation 996 with a 3.4-liter M96, which promptly grenaded. He then swapped in a Chevrolet V8—an LS2, to be specific—for $17,000. What was once the cheapest 996 with a manual transmission was turning into a costly and time-consuming project.

To make matters worse, the American motor let go shortly thereafter—at the very same track the previous engine gave up the ghost. Rather than fuss around with another swap, he decided to buy a 996 Turbo. Logical, right?

The car was mint and had only been driven 76,000 miles. Also, with Bilstein lowering springs, a GT2-style clutch, and BBS SR wheels, $36,000 was a steal—especially after considering the prices of 993 and 997 Turbos.

Of course, the Turbo’s Mezger motor is also robust, and the typical 996 IMS-related concerns don’t apply. Combine that added reliability with 4WD and 415 horsepower, and there’s plenty to like about the Turbo. What other supercars can be bought for that sort of money, and driven without fuss, unwanted attention, or kid gloves?

« It’s the best mistake I ever made, » Hoover concludes. Though the looks are divisive, there is plenty to like about the unloved 911—though going for the slightly spiffier Turbo model makes much more sense. It was a logical purchase, after all.

With 420 horsepower and 415 lb-ft, the Mezger makes Hoover grin on every onramp.

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How Much Does LS-Swapping a 911 Truly Cost?

For people tired of the M96 or want their 996 to outrun a few more cars in a straight line, the LS swap is appealing. While the swap is considered to be a cost-effective alternative for the hot rodder or the blasphemer, the custom work required to have an American V8 running smoothly in the back on a 911 can cause the conversion costs to skyrocket.

The Appeal

There are plenty of reasons to go down this rabbit hole. Replacing that mellifluous, raspy bark of the M96 is the distinctive rumble of a Chevrolet V8, which is undeniably appealing—if only to confuse people expecting a different sort of sound. Along with that deep throated burble come impressive power gains, affordable maintenance, and similar weight to the original engine. In short, the balance is retained, the torque and power resemble those of a 996 Turbo, and the sound is, well, head-turning at least.

Dare I say it—the LS2 looks natural in its new habitat.

The Hurdles

So far, so good. However, the complexities of an LS swap could deter all but the very ambitious and mechanically inclined. Mr. Tyler Hoover chose an aluminum LS2 from a 2006 Corvette, which, when mated to the Porsche gearbox, makes 371 horsepower at the rear wheels. This set him back $4,750. The Renegade Hybrid conversion kit, which features a water pump conversion kit, an A/C system, and an electric power steering system from a Prius, came next and cost him $7,322.

All these parts were obtained easily, but getting the whole package to work was a different story. After stumbling over a few wiring hurdles, and adding an aftermarket fuel system, the car turned over. However, as you can hear in his voice upon turnover (2:39), his feelings were mixed. That ambivalence was only increased by issues with cooling, tailor-made hoses, and a few leaks.

The Tally

Engine+Conversion kit: -$12,072

Extra parts: -$3,867

Labor: -$2, 604.

Selling the broken M96: +1,500

Total: $17,043.

The Takeaway

As mentioned in his own article, the performance makes all of Hoover’s frustration bearable. Yet, one has to consider the actual costs of a swap like this. For similar money (including purchase price of the original car), one could own a 996 Turbo, a C5 Z06, or any number of contemporary sports cars with loads of performance. There’s no denying the interesting combination of parts or the incredible acceleration, but by no means is this swap a cheap alternative. Does it strike you as a worthwhile endeavor?

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What Does it Really Cost to Own a 996 Turbo?

Have you ever been tempted to buy a Porsche 996 Turbo? No IMS issue with that incredible Mezger engine and, if you find one with the X-50 Power Pack option, you get the same power as the current 911 GTS! These Porsches are the deal of the decade, but exactly what does it cost to purchase and maintain one of these powerful 996 Turbos?

Back in the spring of 2014, we found a beautiful 2004 996TT Cabriolet for sale with the desired X-50 option and ceramic brakes. We learned from the DMV that our 996 wwas originally registered with a sticker price over $170K! We purchased this beauty in Seal Gray with less than 49K miles for the equivalent of one dollar a mile.

We get a fair number of questions on our YouTube channel asking just what it cost to own a Porsche like this. Surely the maintenance must be insane! It is 450HP, four-wheel drive, carbon ceramic brakes, amazing traction control, huge wheels and zero to 60mph in about 4 seconds. With all that performance and complication, our 996 Turbo must eat us out of house and home with shop bills, right? We put together a video detailing all our costs and issues with our 996 Turbo so you can make your own determination. We run you through every repair and maintenance cost as well as a few of the extras we purchased.

Added Bonus

Have you ever been curious just how accurate a dealer Pre-Purchase Inspection is? We walk you through what they got right and what they missed. In the end, we give our final numbers as of the filming of the video.

Full disclosure

Since making this, an additional repair item has popped up. The front lower control arm ball joint failed due to a ripped boot (a common problem with the 996 suspension). We were able to order the part and, hopefully, it will just be a $100 fix. Check back to the channel to see how it goes as I’ll be producing a video for that repair as well.

Lastly

Take a few minutes to peruse the comments section of the video. I think you’ll find some of the responses interesting. Some feel that a Porsche that cost as much as this one did originally should have a completely clean service record. Or, when you lay down that kind of cash, are you paying for raw performance and some mechanical glitches are to be expected? Let us know in the comments what you think.

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Comparing the Air Cooled Engine of a 993 to the Water Cooled Engine of a 996. What are the Differences?

I’ve been around air-cooled cars all my life. Both my parents had VW Beetles, so when it came time to replace my hand-me down first car, a ’71 Ford Capri, it isn’t surprising I went for a ’72 Super Beetle. Then years later, after I found out that Heidi had an heirloom 1958 Porsche 356A Cabriolet in the family, I made it my mission to get that car in our garage. Since then, we acquired an ’06 Boxster, ’86 Carrera Cabriolet, ’95 Carrera, ’85 Ferrari 308 and an ’04 996 Turbo X50. We still have all but the Boxster.

From all our adventures over the years with the cars and the inevitable maintenance, it seemed like it would be fun to talk a little about the differences between air-cooled and water-cooled Porsches. With the 993 and the 996 side by side, it set the stage for, as close a comparison as we could come up with for the wonderful features of each. We dive into the traditional simplicity of “air and oil do it all” versus the efficiency, scalability, and convenience of a modern pressurized liquid system.

What To Expect in this Porsche Engine Comparison Video

In this video, we explore the pros and cons of each system and even talk a little bit about some of what went into Porsche’s decision to abandon so many years of air cooled tradition in the 911 line. With the introduction of the 996 model in 1999, Porsche was facing stricter noise and emission regulations in both the European and US markets. In addition, the venerable flat six had climbed to 3.6L and close to 300HP in the NA cars and finally 450hp in the Turbo S. It was at this point that the cars were just finally outgrowing this older, louder, less scalable and less precise cooling technology and had to figure out a way to move to the industry standard of pressurized water/ Ethylene glycol. This necessitated a complete engine re-design which occurred in parallel with a complete chassis and drivetrain redesign.

At the end of the video, we compare the sound differences, to give you an idea of just how different they really are. The 993 shows off that great whoosh-ey goodness while I don’t think anyone would complain about the 996’s proper cabin heating and cooling, and engine temperature management that doesn’t require keeping an eye on that oil temp gauge in hot weather. Which is your favorite?

This post is from our newest contributor Franny, from Heidi and Franny’s Garage on YouTube.

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