Injecting More Life into a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo

997 911 turbo service engine out rear
The Porsche 911 Turbo (997.1) is an amazing automobile right off the showroom floor. Its 480hp twin-turbo engine coupled to an all-wheel-drive system allowed it to get to 60mph in less than 3.5 seconds and kill the quarter mile in less than 11.5. Cornering and stopping are equally impressive. Along with awesome performance are somewhat understated, by exotic car standards, looks.
But time waits for no one, certainly not cars. The vehicle pictured here came into my friend’s shop, Ace Performance, because at 30,000 miles the clutch was on life support. Like many things on a 911, the clutch job required removal of the engine, so while there you might as well…

997 911 turbo service engine out rear close up
Like many German vehicles, the 997 is designed to perform first, and worry about things like long-term reliability, serviceability, maintainability, etcetera, second. As it should, because the original buyer is more concerned with aesthetics and performance more than anything, and it’s not like he/she are going to do anything themselves. There is nothing wrong with that, it is how most cars are built and sold these days.
Since the main reason of all this wrenching was to replace the clutch, a new Sachs heavy duty full disc clutch and new OEM flywheel are being installed. The thing is, the 911 is one really complex vehicle, as you can see in the pictures. There are many thing running between the front and rear of this vehicle; the driveshaft, brake lines, oil cooler lines, coolant lines, and who knows what else. For that reason, the while-you-are-there syndrome hits the 911 pretty hard.
997 911 turbo service engine outside
While Ace Performance was there replacing the clutch, they also changed and/or upgraded the following:

997 911 turbo service details
All this should translate into solid improvements in drivability. When all is said and done, Ace Performance expects over 500 horsepower at the wheel, a significant bump from stock.
Many of us don’t get to see a relatively new Porsche going under the knife, which is the main reason I took these pictures while my own exotic 4Runner was getting worked on (more on that later). Check them out and appreciate the fine German art of putting 10 pounds of engine shit into a 5-pound engine compartment.
997 911 turbo service details 2

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  1. BigRedCaveTroll Avatar

    Shoulda just stuck an LS engine in it instead. Probably would’ve been cheaper, more reliable, more economical, sounded better, made way more power, etc.
    Just kidding, that’s pretty neat to see it all torn apart like that.

  2. Ross Ballot Avatar
    Ross Ballot

    And this is exactly what scared me about 911s, and MR/RR layout cars. It’s all fun and games until you have to do what is 1/10th the job on a FR layout car…

    1. JayP Avatar

      The exception is the 924/944… It had to be complicated to call it a Porsche. Right?

      1. nanoop Avatar

        They really tried to make a 4-cyl. complicated, in typical P-style. If four belts and two balance shafts don’t do it for you, get a turbo or 16V. (I wonder if there ever was a 16V turbo…)
        Edit (sent off too early): Certainly no match to this 30 years younger 911, it still looks like everything in the 944 is spread out and assorted, for easy access.

    2. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

      To be fair, my AW11 wasn’t that bad… but it also had no accessories other than an alternator.

      1. discontinuuity Avatar

        I also have an AW11, and I think the reason it’s not so bad is because it’s basically a backwards FWD Corolla.

      2. Ross Ballot Avatar
        Ross Ballot

        Glad to hear that since I have an SW20 haha

  3. WinstonSmith84 Avatar

    Here’s a Carrera GT getting a $25K clutch replacement at a friend’s client’s shop. The clutch lasts something like 10K miles too, so you’re spending more per mile on the clutch than it costs to run a well-engineered car. I asked the shop owner what will happen when Boxsters and Caymans with PDKs need their transmissions serviced. He said it will be just like with IMS Boxsters. The lucky ones will get offered several hundred dollars for their junk. Once he has enough of the parts that don’t break on all of them, he’ll stop accepting parts cars. The idea that this is defensible on aesthetic or performance grounds is ridiculous. The West German Porsches that built the brand were winning endurance racers. They had to work, and they had to be repairable quickly in the field.

    1. Andrew_theS2kBore Avatar

      The Carrera GT powertrain was originally developed for an endurance race program (check out that dry sump tank cast into the transaxle housing!), so it makes sense that the clutches are relatively short lived. Much of the difficulty in replacement comes from that fact that no one, especially the NHTSA, wants a road car where you can remove the back half by pulling four to eight pins… then add A/C, catalysts, silencers, etc, and you go from a 30 minute change to 30 hours.
      That being said, I absolutely agree on double-clutch cars. Although the expected service life for the wet-clutch types (PDK, DCT, DSG, etc) is over 100k miles, when those miles are up… the car will be valueless. Even more frightening is the dry clutch models (Ford… why?).

      1. Scoutdude Avatar

        Yeah but the Ford replacement is pretty basic and not really any more complicated for the trans R&R than most FWD vehicles.

  4. desmo Avatar

    mucho complicado.
    Definetely no car for me

  5. fede Avatar

    there seems to be a lot of things over that boxer engine…
    also, is the engine/gearbox part of the structre of the car? what do the marked parts (i can’t describe them… it’s late, english is not my language, and my brain is already off) on the photo hold? or what is holding them?

    1. theskitter Avatar

      So, the big cast part (that you’ve outlined the inside) is the rear wishbone pickup, top and bottom. The outlined portion is going to bolt to some sort of housing for a (probably) soft (possibly) active engine mount that will support the powertrain. If I had to guess, I’d say the outlined points are the very rear of the frame, which (again, guessing) is horseshoe shaped around the powertrain, which is unlikely to be structural in a road car. <- That would be a good Hoonatica.

      1. fede Avatar

        that would be a great hoonatica! i can just name the ferrari f50… (and i assume, enzo and laferrari)

    2. ACE Performance Avatar
      ACE Performance

      There is a cross member that connects those points. The engine / tranmission is not a structural part of the car.

      1. fede Avatar

        thanks for the answer!

  6. salguod Avatar

    30K and the clutch is shot? I’ve got 3 stick shift cars, admittedly simpler and with much less performance, and the youngest clutch is at 160K.The clutch in my 247K 318ti is the factory original.

    1. ACE Performance Avatar
      ACE Performance

      The clutch was not actually slipping but being a 500hp AWD car from the factory the clutch has a much shorter lifespan than most cars. The second owner of the car is doing the work and with substantial power in mind he wanted piece of mind that the clutch would be fresh and ready to support his goals. The original clutch and flywheel did show lots of signs of abuse caused by the previous owner.

    2. Kamil K Avatar

      But those don’t have 500hp going to four wheels, and are probably not driven nearly as hard as this Pcar. Apples to oranges.

      1. salguod Avatar

        Yeah, I get the difference. It just feels crazy to do a clutch at 30K, but I live in a different world than a late model 911 Turbo owner. I might have 500HP total in my 4 daily drivers.

  7. neight428 Avatar

    That’s a totally different automotive enthusiast paradigm. Owning one of these thinking of it as a scaled up Mustang/Miata/Jeep/Whatever has probably crushed a few dreams over the decades.