1988 Porsche 944 Update

A friend’s ’88 944 NA had a few problems…not the least of which was that the air conditioner compressor FELL OFF!  The only things holding it into the car was the AC lines, the now-loose belt and the adjuster.  But then the adjuster looked at the hoses and belt and said, “You guys got this.  I’m outta here!” and broke.  It’s a good thing that the sway bar is in the way – the compressor at least stayed in the car, although it flopped around a bit.

We picked it up by trailer – a very nice Marina Blue/Linen 944 with some “neglected maintenance” going on.

Once in the shop we determined that the compressor rear mounting bolt (an 8mm bolt) had backed out and left the building.  It was gone completely.  The front bolt (10mm bolt) was broken off in the ear of the compressor.  The belt itself was a bit mangled, but still draped around the three pulleys.  Further investigation showed power steering fluid everywhere – quite literally.  The pump was leaking, but the rack wasn’t just leaking – it was pouring fluid out to the ground.  So that indicated a rack replacement, pump replacement and reservoir replacement, including flushing the lines.  A resealed rack was installed with a new pump, new reservoir, belt, adjuster – and the power steering was done.

Because the bolt was broken off in the compressor and the mounting ear was cracked, a new compressor was sourced and installed without incident.  Everything soaked by the power steering leaks was cleaned, and new bushings were fitted to the front sway bar since the fluid had wrecked the rubber bushings.

With the front of the engine compartment done, next we switched our attention to a non-functioning sunroof.  The typical nylon gear problems existed, but two of the three microswitches were not working on the panel in the hatch, so those were replaced and properly adjusted for proper operation.

The last task was to install the rear wiper that had been removed sometime in its life.  The owner had the proper parts, so that was all installed and now works as designed.

There is a moral to this story – check the bolts on the compressor at each oil change to ensure that they are 1) present and 2) tight.  The fact that these bolts failed led to more expensive issues, including a new belt, compressor and dryer, labor charges and AC recharge.  Also – if your power steering is leaking, fix the leaks!  And remember that the system used Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF), not Power Steering Fluid!

Author: Kevin Duffy, Author and Chief Geek

Kevin Duffy is a retired Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Daytona State College in Florida and a dedicated car guy. He now spends his time with Porsche 924S, 944's and 968's in his backyard shop. He is active in the Porsche Club of America, and he concentrates on 924S and the 924S Special Editions, doing rescues and restorations.

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