Transmission Fluid Change
It had never been done, at least, not in the lifetime of my ownership of the car. I was experience a few small issues with the gearbox that I was hoping a simple transmission fluid change would alleviate. Simple, though, is never what a 944 delivers.
It's a simple procedure, in theory. You take the plug out to drain the old fluid and put the new fluid in. As with every repair procedure on the 944, there are always silly little things that keep your mission just out of reach. In this case, it's clearance. There's just no room to put the new fluid in. Clarks Garage
suggests using a four foot hose to feed over the exhaust and left rear wheel to fill. I went with what appeared to be a simpler method.
But before that, here's what you'll need to do the job...from left to right:
1. **Car Jack** - The clearance under the car is just too low to adequately maneuver anything around, including your tools and the drain pan.
2. **Gear Oil** - I went with 75W-90 generic oil since I don't abuse the gearbox in any way. I chose a thinner oil than the 80W because in colder weather, the transmission has a tendency to not want to shift.
3. **The Suction Apparatus** - It's a giant hypodermic needle. The model in the picture is rubbish, though. STAY AWAY from this at Advance Auto. For $10 it's not expensive, but its construction is terrible. Took me a return on the first one and unscrewing the second one to actually fill it up properly.
4. **17mm Allen Socket** - Needed to undo both the fill plug and the drain plug.
5. **The Wrench** - To undo the plugs, duh.
6. **Drain Pan** - At least 3 quarts is necessary. The 944 uses 2.75 quarts of fluid in the case.
7. **Rags** - To catch the spillage, which will occur.
Undo the fill plug first! If you drain the oil first, and cannot undo the potentially stuck fill plug, you can't drive car anywhere. Then...undo the drain plug after putting the pan underneath. Let the oil drain. It's recommended to warm up the car for a few minutes to thin the oil out but when thick, it's not too bad, nothing like honey or mustard, but slightly thicker than engine oil. Cap it back up and refill the case.
To get the fluid in via a hose is fine. However, you're dealing with a potentially large spill if it comes out of the fill hole or if you accidentally put too much in. I chose to buy a hypodermic syringe made for cars. It's a simple device. Put it in the bottle, suck up the fluid, and put it back into the transmission case. Due to its design, it leaks. It just threads together at the top, meaning that air and fluid are free to ride the threads during suction and evacuation. It was a mess to work with. Ultimately, I took off the top of the syringe, poured in a pint of fluid, threaded it back up and slowly pumped it into the case. I did this numerous times until 2.75 quarts were in the car. It was cold, wet, and slimy. I *still* smell like gear oil.
Car shifts nicely though. I no longer have a hesitation going into second gear. The car shifts when it's cold easy enough too. To my surprise, the fluid that came out of the case was clean, and had no particulate matter in it. I was expecting far worse. This was a job that had to be done. Because of bad weather, it happened three to four months later than planned though.
Power Steering Bolt Stuck
I had a day of fairly decent weather and so the car came to light. The power steering failure is the primary area of concern at this point as it's just dangling from some speaker wire.
I got under the car with the hopes of reattaching the pump. I received the new (used) hardware from my online contacts and wanted to get the power steering pump back in place. It came to my attention, though, that the mounting bolt was sheered off to a point where the bolt wouldn't correctly fit. The bolt in the lower-right of the following image has sheared off, leaving a stub, not nearly enough to attach the bolt.
To get a better view of the pump, I had to remove it from the car. Working on my back not only hurts, but is extremely cramped. I took the necessary steps to eliminate any spillage, and undid the hoses.
At this point, I need a vice to remove the stuck bolt. I can't get enough torque on the wrench to remove it.
Engine Mounts Installed
Engine Mount Removal
What should have taken no more than four hours ended up taking nine. And it wasn't that I didn't know what I was doing. The car, yet again, is possessed and hates me. And it's nothing I did.
As you can see from the above image, the two new mounts are very different from the old. I believe they were the original mounts from 1986. I cant be sure, but then again, can't be sure of *anything* the previous owner did to this car.
You can see from the rightside mount that it's worn so much more than the left side. This is because it sits oh so close to the exhaust manifold which produces a lot of heat. Looking at it, I'd say it split open quite a while ago and leaked all its innards to the wind. Dead mounts equals vibrations. That's their point. They dampen any residual vibrations created by the engine to the chassis. That way, when you're in the car, you don't feel them. Bad mounts can lead to other problems.
I believe this is why my power steering pump fell off
. The power steering pump is held on by two bolts, the unit dangling from the engine in only one direction. Excessive vibration would lead to the pump flopping more than any other part.
You can see that the left one was worn but not so bad. The driver's side appeared shorter than the original by 1/8" or so, the left not so much. It doesn't mean they're not worn out though. Any twenty two year old car should have new mounts installed.
Removal was a simple process in theory, but since it was my first time, took more than I expected. It's really simple. Lower the crossmembe (which the mounts sit in) and raise the engine (which the mounts support). It took a good two hours to get me enough room to do this. I ended up lifting the engine from below with a car jack, while lowering the crossmember as much as i could without it falling off. The crossmember impacts alignment on the car, which is why it should only be touched as sparsely as possible.
Engine Mount Installation
Installing the new mounts took more time than removing them. Far more time. That's because of two things.
Firstly, I'm attempting to squeeze a new uncompressed mount into the area where a compressed mount used to sit. The engine because used to its old height and therefore wanted to sit back at that height. The car lift and car jack were changed about forty dozen times to get enough lift on the engine. The crossmember was lowered, raised, and fell everywhere in between. Eventually I managed to get them in place.
Secondly, the previous owner hit something. Something big. Like a kid. Or Grandma. He ran over something and it's been plaguing my car since the day I bought it. Everything is out of alignment 1/4" to 1/2" on the right side. If you remember, my headlights won't close without hitting the hood and front fender. My radiator was bent in. My power steering pump was rubbing against the radiator hose, chewing a nice big hole in it. The front valence is cracked. And a recently discovered crack was found in the chassis. All these (and probably more) have made the repairs a lot harder to do.
The engine mounts are no exception either. When the mounts were in place, lowering the engine should cause them to sit pretty much on centre. Not in my car. Guess where they land...about 1/2" to the right of where they should be. Three hours of struggling to get the bolt holes atop the arms to fit into the engine mounts and I gave up. No amount of wiggling helped. The engine just wanted to sit half an inch to the right of where it should be.
I snagged help from two more people, one to hold a 2x4 between the engine bay and the engine and pulling on it, one to hold the light (me) and another to attempt to line them up with a steel pole. Eventually, we did get them in and the engine mounts secured. This should have been far far easier though.
The result is that I need more time to see how much this has helped. At low rpm (idle), there was some violent shaking on the steering wheel and engine bay. You could loosen a kidney stone just sitting in it. Last night's trip home felt much better. The weather has been significantly more temperate, too, no longer in the 20's in the morning. The 944 just doesn't like the cold weather. It does everything it can to fight to live in the winter. I hope with a few more trips, I'll be able to determine whether or not the mounts have solved most of the engine wobbling. The 944 engine consists of two belts, too, a timing belt and a balance belt that turns two counterweights that offset vibrations. If they're off one notch, the engine will also vibrate. I need to get into the timing system again and see how close they still are to perfect. But that's another nine hour job I won't be doing until I get another ten degrees on the highs.