My 1983 Porsche 944 LS Build

Discussion in 'Car Journals/Projects' started by 944_GASM, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. 944_GASM

    944_GASM Well-Known Member

    I'm sure many of you are aware of my champagne '83 944 that I have driven around for the past 4-5 years in the Buffalo and Rochester area. Well I have finally jumped into the swap I have always wanted for the car.

    To give you some background on the car... I have owned the car since about 80K miles. My father owned it before me and only one other father/son owner for the car's life. Maintenance was always done at it's intervals and the car never left me stranded and I have daily'd it for the past 2 summers.

    To anyone who hasn't driven an older Porsche or 944, once behind the wheel, it is such a spirited drive and enjoyment that it's hard to find something similar. No power steering, no ABS, traction control or stability, you are in full control. That is the main focus of my build, updating the crucial components to make it possible to compete with the newer sports cars, yet keeping the true spirit of the vehicle.

    The heart of my transplant is GM's LS376/525 crate motor. LS1's are a dime a dozen but are swapped into every vehicle. I wanted to break that habit and throw something that is reliable and comes from the factory with the expected HP that I wanted(480-500). I choose crate after looking online for a donor and noticing that the price for a new one wasn't much more than a wrecked car with one.

    Now to put all that power to the Porsche Transaxle, I needed to swap completely with a 951 (turbo) transmission. This took awhile to find as I wanted a specific code (AOR). This code included a LSD standard with reinforced inner plates and molybdenum coated differential shafts, and 1st and 2nd gears on drive shaft blasted for extra strength. After a couple months of internet frenzy, I found one in Cali and jumped on it. To complete the strengthening I also purchased a higher strength differential, Lindsey racing drive shafts, and swapping my N/A 5th with the turbo 5th to improve top speed of 199 MPH. Even with all the strengthening, I did some equations and was worried about the torque tube displacement. The HP was never really an issue with the transmission but the Torque is definitely a metal shearer. So I went back to the internet and found a company called Black Sea R&D who make "super bearings" for the torque tube to handle the high ft/lbs ratings.

    Having a car that can go in a straight line quickly is an amazing thing but not really my main objective. I went with a Spec 1 Koni 944 suspension kit from Paragon Products. This includes a pair of front Koni Shocks, pair of rear Koni Shocks, front Adjustable Weltmeister 28mm Sway Bar Kit, rear Adjustable Weltmeister 22mm Sway Bar Kit, Front Coil Over Kit w/ 350# springs, and a Rear Solid Weltmeister Torsion Bar Set (30mm).

    So now I have a a car that is fast and can turn, but I still need to be able to stop... So I found this amazing kit from Wilwood that offers 4 piston calipers that mate to the existing set-up. I immediately went for them, even though they come at a price.

    Aesthetics is still what I'm deciding on. At the moment I have purchased Broadfoot Racing's wide body kit, and will be doing a vintage forest green paint with some fifteen52 formula LTW's with some wide rubber. No negative camber, no air ride, no nonsense. I want a car that has some serious balls and can take to the track if I want, or daily on a nice day. Speaking of the track, after talking with The Little Speed Shop, who will be assisting in this build, will be putting in a small cage to help keep me safe. With no airbags and a 32 year old safety standard, I want to protect myself and anyone else who will be riding.

    So where am I right now? Not anywhere close to finished but this is not a quick swap. I am about 10k into the build with just parts. I only need the GM crate motor to finish the part list. I forgot to mention that a company called Texas Performance Concepts offers a kit to transplant the motor that I have purchased as well. It includes your bell housing adapter (bell housing is not included), Custom built race ready LS conversion oil pan with pick up tube (this is the same pan the racers use), Billet oil filter block (uses a stock style oil filter ), New and improved LS motor mount uprights(These are the best in the industry), 1/2" Cross member spacers with new bolts, LS pilot bearing adapter and new sealed bearing, 11" conversion clutch disc (organic compound just like a stock clutch), and the Hydraulic Throw out slave bearing with a Stainless steel hose and the two correct fittings to mate to your Porsche master cylinder.

    My expected completion will near the end of next year I'm assuming but hopefully sooner. I am gutting the car right now and making back some of the money I've spent. Once gutted I plan on Zeon's to do the body work and Paint. I can handle the brake, suspension, and transmission swap. The Little Speed Shop will be doing the motor and wiring swap along with the cage and any other small things I have forgotten about. Once completed, I spoke with Jay about having a valvetronic exhaust fabricated and finally tuned by Mike at Innovative.

    I will post more pictures as I start getting into this more, but I had some requests to start a build thread on here, so yeah!

    Let me know what you guys are thinking and if you have any words of wisdom. Mind you I know this build can be done cheaper and faster, but I am not that type of person. Anyone can buy their dream car but not many people can say they built theirs. If it takes awhile and a lot of money that is okay with me. I plan on keeping this car forever and keeping it in my family.

    How it started.

    Turbo Transmission

    RoachinRay likes this.
  2. vw to bimmer

    vw to bimmer The Krazy Professor

    This should be awsome!
  3. Jeller

    Jeller Posting- God

    Cool project. Look forward to seeing it progress.
  4. RoachinRay

    RoachinRay Bags&Wheels BRUH

    Awesome! Cant wait to drive by it every day when it makes it to Zeons
  5. lite1979

    lite1979 Printing Shit!

    Very cool build! My brother has a 924S with the 2.5 4-cylinder with the harmonic balance shaft and what not. He's told me about a couple conversions for these cars, but I've never seen a V8 in one. One guy got a kit to mate a VR6 to his...
  6. Unit91MS

    Unit91MS Well-Known Member

    Glad you didn't end up selling it Earl, It's going to be awesome! You may want a little negative camber though...
  7. 944_GASM

    944_GASM Well-Known Member

    Yeah, that's what I have currently in mine as well. Make sure he does the timing belt every 25-30K to make sure all of that stays working. One of the biggest pains about the cars, but as long as that's done the car will run forever. If he needs any small parts, let me know. I'm willing to give my unused ones up.
  8. 944_GASM

    944_GASM Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Yeah I hit a hard spot with the car where I just wanted to get rid of it, but every time someone was interested, I couldn't get myself to part with her... It was tough to see where I started with her and how age just started taking a toll.

    As far as the camber goes, suspension has always been my weak point, so I am kinda winging it. I know the stock eccentric bolt is a PITA to adjust camber so they offer this : - I plan on running about 18X11 Fr and 18x12 Rear
  9. 944_GASM

    944_GASM Well-Known Member

    Also, does anyone have some insight on Engine Management? Seeing as I am running a crate motor, I am not sure what route to go for as far as a harness. Should I just go with the OEM GM one made for standalone process or go aftermarket (Fast XFI, etc.)
  10. Unit91MS

    Unit91MS Well-Known Member

    Those plates look pretty nice. At that width you will definitely gain some performance benefit from around 1-2 degrees of negative camber, at least on the track. Somewhere in that range shouldn't really cause any camber wear as long as your toe is in spec. With the proper size meaty tires on there it will look perfect.
  11. Minglor

    Minglor jamjamjamjamjamjamjamjam!

    Sounds like an exciting build.
    I'm curious though. Why spend all the coin on a crate motor that usually makes 420-430 wheel?
    I understand an LS1 is a "dime a dozen" but with a moderate sized cam and 2000 in heads they are making the same. Step up to 4 inch bore and even some square port heads....
    Locally an LQ4 with 243 heads just made 388 wheel through a 4l80 and stock converter. Which I feel like some work I could get it past the 400 mark playing with fuel/timing or even just an intake manifold.

    Moving on.
    Engine management.
    Really depends on your skills and goals. The Holley efi is fantastic. Very user friendly. Going to be able to diy any tuning to accommodate future modifications and has a lot of nice features that can add a saftey net for engine failure conditions.

    The stock PCM/harness is the other way I would go. HPtuners works. Tuners locally that would be able to tune it if you weren't doing it yourself. If you don't want to make your own harness I would recommend PSI for a harness. I've had to fix a cheaper harness from another vendor.
  12. 944_GASM

    944_GASM Well-Known Member

    I am in no way against the thought of a LS1 Build, the money I am paying for the LS376/525, I'm sure I could build a very competitive LS1. My only thought process was dependability and current garage space. Dependable in the sense of I want to DD this and not have to worry while also being able to put over 420hp on a dyno. I wouldn't be able to do the work on the LS1 with the fact that it just wouldn't fit in the garage I have now, with all the parts and car... nor do I know anyone who would be able to do the work with myself at their place. Thoughts? I'm not too familiar with the LS family and understanding their reliability under high demand from tuning/upgrades. Also trying to stay away from the Cast blocks just for weight saving even though it's only ~100lbs or so more.

    Also, thank you for the insight on engine management. I've heard great things about the Holley efi as well, I'm still far from that process so I will continue to research. I believe Innovative was going to be my tuning source before I am comfortable adjusting things myself.
  13. Minglor

    Minglor jamjamjamjamjamjamjamjam!

    IMO NA lsx builds (h/c/I) are damn near bulletproof. Cam sizing will effect life of valve springs and drivability.
    Nothing wrong with going crate if you want the one hit complete package.
    I ran the hell out of stock ls1 in a miata and currently giving a massive amount of abuse to a cam only ls1 nova. These motors are hard to break.
    Also, Doing a head/cam install on a lsx motor is some of the easiest work you can do. If you get the urge to grab an aluminum lsx and do some heads or whatever lmk, I'm always willing to lend a hand. I watched my friend do one with a book off Amazon for guidance.
    I'm swapping to 317 (6.0 truck heads) on my ls1 this winter and adding a zr1 supercharger because why not.
    Dos Jotas likes this.
  14. Minglor

    Minglor jamjamjamjamjamjamjamjam!

    Mmmmmm pushrods.
  15. eurotrsh

    eurotrsh Resident Wheel Consultant

    You have my full attention.
    Minglor likes this.
  16. 944_GASM

    944_GASM Well-Known Member

    If that's not American, I don't know what is. This is all for your Nova?
  17. lorge1989

    lorge1989 Posting- God

    I also support going the LS route and not spending all the coin on a crate motor. There is a huge easy factory there, but you can also increase you fun factor by using those funds elsewhere, which I think is more important.
  18. 944_GASM

    944_GASM Well-Known Member

    Okay, I think I am convinced now. I would be saving almost half, for just as competitive of a motor. The LQ4 seems like a great starting block (pun intended), bored to 4" so I would be able to clean the walls and make it possible to put on a competitive head (L92 any good?). Cam wise I'm not too sure what to go with along with pistons and so on. I'm sure upon more research, I would be able to figure that out.
  19. Minglor

    Minglor jamjamjamjamjamjamjamjam!

    The L92 head on an LQ4 should put you right at 10:1 compression with stock pistons.
    L92 heads flow silly numbers without being touched. 300+cfm
    Cam I would encourage sticking to the medium/small range. I had a 234/243 cam which sounded great at idle made great peak power. Alllllll the action was 4000 rpm plus. I swapped to a 228/230 and I'm much happier with the power range. Basically a 228r cam, very commonly used.

    If I recall the square port head cams are cut differently than cathedral ones.

    Only catch is budgeting. Cathedral port heads are everywhere and even a set of used cnc ones can be found for sub 1000.

    I'd kill some time on ls1tech and see what feels like a good combo to you.
    Put an email out to Martin at Tick performnce or Tony at mamo performance for cam ideas if you decide on a head/engine.

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