Project 964: From bad to good and back again

This little yellow car with a rear-mounted air-cooled engine is an emotional rollercoaster. This is why Project 964 updates come sporadically; They are a reflection of my relationship with the thing.

I like this car. Sometimes a lot. But most of the time I hate it outright. I’m going through a brief burst of positive experience with the car, as it only comes back and slaps me in the face with an array of new problems. At this point I park it, unplug the battery and forget about it for a few months. Nevertheless, repairs and improvements continue.


Let me give you a brief overview on what I’ve done with 964 over the last six months or so. In the last update, Aki helped me see it tip-top, thanks in part to some of Gtechniq’s favorite products.

After a while, a wave of positivity began to flow as soon as a package arrived from Florida. If you remember, last year I sent Porsche’s HVAC unit to the United States for specialized ECU repairs.

I stumbled upon these guys during a 964-themed, deep-night Internet dip-dive, and I was fascinated by the unique services they offer for masochistic owners of old German and Italian cars.


I contacted them and talked to a helpful guy named George, telling him about my running story with 964, in which I have no A / C, no heating and no sign of life from HVAC fans.


Jorge told me all about the less-reliable control units that came with the 964s and 993s, and although this may not be the complete solution to the particular problems I had, sending the unit away would eliminate at least one of the problems. Hopefully that will bring it back Something Efficacy though.


The unit’s circuitry with modern boards and functionality was completely repaired for reconstruction. George was kind enough to take a few pictures of the process while he was doing the work, I sent him my unit starting from the state. You can see that some mold has started appearing on the face. Lovely

First things first, specialized ECU repair runs a diagnostic test. This shows a problem with the rear temperature fan of the unit which will continue even after turning off the ignition, the car battery will be damaged.


After removing it and the bits that were deeply clean, George proceeded to replace them with brand new circuitry, SMD internal components, and switchgear.

Specialized ECU Repair then flashes a new, more reliable management software and runs it through multiple checks on their test bench to make sure it works 100%.


Finally, a brand-new metal cover was added to a 3D-printed housing with their own temperature fan.

A few weeks went by quickly and it came back with me to Japan. I simply plugged in the two connectors that were easily clipped to the back of the HVAC unit from the gap in the dashboard.


For the first time since I bought my Porsche, the switches were illuminated. However, although the functionality of the control unit itself is undeniable, we have learned that the problem with non-working A / C compressors exists elsewhere. So even though no cold air is being created, I finally have the fan working and more importantly, a functional heater. The colder months that have just passed have been much more comfortable with the cabin heat and I have never had to manually remove condensation from the inside of the windscreen.

As an A / C problem, I’m currently looking at other options to fix it. I don’t like to do too much with the huge belt-driven compressor hanging off the engine, so I’m investigating the electrical conversion.

Pull JDMness off the dash


Fast forward a few more months and I’m back in Akir’s garage.


First, deal with the spaghetti-like wire flowing down from the passenger side of the dash after removing the navy unit. And secondly, to make a little idea was our test.


The awful steel metal LCD screen bracket that I left after I pulled the navigation and TV tuner units out of the car really started to bug me. I tried a gentle way to remove it, but if you ever deal with these things you will find that JDM adhesive tape is used Too much Strong though nothing to worry about, since Aki had some aggressive approaches we can try, starting with steam.


Even if the high pressure vapor softens the adhesive, the bracket will not move. So Aki raised a notch in it and pulled out the hitgun.


Setting it to the minimum setting and keeping a reasonable distance so as not to damage the dash, it quickly starts to loosen things up.

With a gentle pull from the front and a plastic trim remover tool, it peels off, leaving little residue on the top that is quickly taken care of.


I can’t begin to describe the satisfaction of seeing this horrible piece in my hand, and then under a trash can!


At this moment, Akir’s OCD entered He noticed that the vapor had softened some of the faint yellowness on the ashtray, the remnants of years of cigarette smoke that had been absorbed by the surface of the dashboard. Afterwards a few concentrated passes with the steamer and most of the nicotine go away.

While this was happening, I took the opportunity to remove the ETC (electronic toll collection) card reader from Dash. If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s that the gadgets are stuck.

The idea here was to hide the ETC unit in the glovebox and feed the two wires plugged into it at the bottom of the dash. In other words, refit it to where it should have been.


A little more cleanliness and the dash looked even better.

Spaghetti time


As soon as the cleaning is done, the wiring is done – and some carpeting problems I’ll talk about in a moment.

Although Aki’s concentration skills are much better than mine, we thought that removing the passenger seat would give us more work space. Easy enough, isn’t it? Well, no. Project 964 confirms that this relatively simple task was filled with a lot of hard work, broken equipment, wounded knuckles, and the most epic multilingual swearing sessions.


Of the six bolts holding a 964 seat at the mounting point, more than half were semi-mixed due to normal age, wear and good old binding. After some WD-40s and a few round Allen keys, they loosen up and the seat is pulled out.


This allowed some more shaky housing to access the wires that needed to be eliminated for the most part. Aki loosened the mounting points and hinges holding the lid of the glovebox so we could pull it out and drill a small hole to feed the wires attached to the back of the ETC card reader.


This shot was taken after a significant amount of trying to reach and cut the zipties holding Mass Wiring, again everything is done during navi / tv installation. After bending the piece of metal into a kind of hook I was able to fish the largest bundle in the dash which prevented everything else from being released. As soon as I did this, Aki was trying to make sure I wasn’t snatching any important wires.


We finally got there and dropped 80% of the wiring crap that was not needed. What a relief!


We then attached the ETC and for the time being kept it inside the glovebox. This is something I will come out with later, because I don’t want to ruin the surfaces with more sticky glue. The metal bracket that was screwed into the ETC module has been discarded.

Too bad.


We had another reason to remove the passenger seat, and it’s not pretty. What you see here is foam coating stuck to the floor of the 964 from the factory.

The door seal leaked causing the car to slowly sink into the water and the foam was completely filled, which I didn’t notice at first because it was sealed with all the hard rubber. Although that rubber cracked from age, and the water came out when you pressed it. There was no other way but to remove it or face a big problem down the line.


It was a messy job that required the heat gun to melt the incredibly sticky glue that held the foam and carpeting down and then some aggressive cutting.


I dragged the passenger side to Aki’s place, and then a few days later attacked the driver side at home. What a mess.


It sits still, seals are fixed until new ones arrive, and the interior is dry. I have open floor covering mats.

Shortly after that I finished the car parking, disconnected the battery and didn’t look at it for months. I’ve made peace since then that Project 964 will continue to play with my passion, so I’m trying to take a more realistic approach and go back to doing it one step at a time. Right now, I’m trying to figure out ways to deal with the floor situation I have a few options – fit metal floor covers from Renline, for which many owners go; Purchase an OEM foam floor set and it all fits back; Or take the opportunity to completely redo the floor carpet, and even change a color. It will have to wait now though, as there are other aspects of the car that need my attention first.

No matter what I do, don’t be afraid, I will share with you moments of joy and moments of sorrow. Hopefully, the latter has less as the project continues.

Dino Dale Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare
[email protected]

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