Porsche 996 Turbo: Long-term report, February 2015

Porsche 911 Turbo

The Turbo gets its first service in my ownership courtesy of RPM Technik.

The scariest moment in car ownership for me is when I take the car to a garage for its first service in my care. No matter how carefully I chose the car, no matter how much research I did beforehand and no matter how clean the pre-purchase inspection report was, the first time the experts get it up on the ramps and take a look makes me nervous.

I’m always concerned that despite my diligence during the purchasing process, some subtle issue that will prove terrifyingly expensive to fix slipped through unnoticed, or worse still I’ve managed to rip some vital part off the underside of the engine or chassis and continued to drive the car, blithely unaware of the horrors that lie undiscovered underneath.

With this in mind, I nervously booked MVC in to RPM Technik for a 12k service last month. I’ve only done 4,000 miles in the car since last April, but I was keen to get fresh oil in the engine and have RPM’s experts go over the car for a general health check. The Turbo has been looked after by both of the Porsche specialists in my area in the past – the aforementioned RPM Technik and JZM Porsche in King Langley. JZM looked after my old 986 Boxster Anniversary that graced these pages a few years ago and did a fantastic job, but this time around I decided to take the car to RPM, mostly because the thick folder of invoices and paperwork for MVC has a number of receipts from RPM for work carried out and they already had the car’s history on file.

I dropped the car off on a bright and frosty Monday morning and collected my hire car for the day, a misery-spec Seat Ibiza that had clearly seen some very hard miles. It’s fashionable to give the 996 interior a hard time, but jumping from the Turbo into the Ibiza with its scratchy cheap plastic and itchy cloth trim left me thinking that the 14-year old seats and swoopy interior styling weren’t actually that bad! I drove home with my fingers crossed for a clean bill of health and waited for the call from RPM’s mechanics.

Thankfully, my fears were unfounded and the Turbo passed with flying colours. There were no horrible surprises lurking, and the only things RPM mentioned were issues I was already aware of, like a tiny car park dent on the rear flank and the pain bubbling on the rear alloys. As well as carrying out the standard 12k service, the staff at RPM replaced a leaky sump seal ring and I picked up the car the same afternoon, freshly washed. The bill came to a very reasonable £291, which was significantly less than my local OPC quoted me for the same service.

While I was collecting the car, I mentioned that I was looking for advice on brake upgrades, and their first suggestion was to upgrade to Performance Friction pads and DOT 5.1 brake fluid. The more costly route is an upgrade to 6-pot calipers and 350mm discs on the front of the car, which would bring the braking system on a par with that fitted to the 996 GT3 mk2 and 997 Turbo. Much though my wallet would prefer a cost-effective solution, I can’t help but lust after the full-house upgrade! RPM promised that their mechanic who worked on the well-known CSR 996 will be in touch, and I’ll report back with his suggestions in a future report.

Getting the Turbo serviced was the first item in my ‘todo’ list for the car this year, and the next immediate item is to get the wheels refurbished. According to my paperwork they’ve been done via an OPC before now but the results haven’t been particularly good, as evidenced by the bubbling finish on the rears. The two most recommended wheel refurbishers are Exel Wheels and Lepsons so I’ll be getting a quote from both, but if anyone has any further recommendations, please do get in touch.

Apart from driving the car to and from its service, the recent frost and snow has meant MVC has sat on my driveway more than normal this month, but the trackday season is coming up and I’m looking forward to blowing out the cobwebs and stretching the Turbo’s legs out on track in a month or so.

This article was originally published in the March 2015 issue of GT Porsche magazine.