porsche 928 s4 thoughts


May 25, 2001
hey guys, i've always liked this model porsche since i was a teenager. i loved the way they looked and sounded in movies like Weird Science, Scarface, and Risky Business. i'm considering one in the 86-90 years up to 15k in price. what can i exspect as far as upkeep,maintenance,reliability. i know they are getting old much like our buicks. i know they arent the fastest and are a little heavy. think they ran low 14's high 13's. any tips or links will be appreciated. thanks.
The 928 Porsches are great cars. Build like a rock, great brakes, great high speed (100+) stability, and quite comfortable, if a bit cramped.

The 2 valve US versions (rated at 219-234 hp) are the 78-84s. The 5 sp usually runs low to mid 15s at 89-91 mph. The autos, mid 15s to low 16s at 87-90. Top speed 135-144.

The 85-86 US version had the US only 5 liter 32 valve 4 cam engine. It was rated at 288 hp/302 tq. Porsche went to the bigger 5 liter 32V engine for the US to boost power and still meet US emissions laws. The europeans still had the 4.7 liter single cam engine. The 5sp US 85-86s will usually do mid 14s at 96+, the 4sp autos, high 14s at 94-96. Top speed 148-152.

In 87 all 928s , US and Euro, had the 4 cam engine rated at about 316. 5sp cars do 14.2-14.6 at 97-101, autos 14.4-14.7 at 96-99.
Top speed 160-165.

In the early 90s, the engine was punched out to 5.4 liter, rated about 340 hp. The 5 speeds were doing 13.8-14.1 at 101-103. Top speed was 168-174.

I have a 86 928S auto. I got it back in Nov 94 with 22K miles on it. It now has almost 100K, and still feels as good as ever. I would wager that it could still pull a 14.8 at 95, and it still goes an easy 140 without effort.

The basic engine is usually good for 200+K miles, the auto tranny has Mercedes-Benz guts, the car is all galvanized steel with some aluminum panels, it's a solid piece. But....

Upkeep is not bad, but even basic repairs are big bucks if done right. The electrics can be flakey, some of the minor controls are less robust than in a Regal, the AC 90 degree+ heat is sad, and the leather squeaks in cold weather.

Overall, it's a great overall car.

If you want some more info, e-mail me.

I would kill to have my 88 S4 back - grr.

Go visit www.devek.net - that's the place to call for upgrades. Their white car is a 210mph land missle.

BTW the cars sound bad as hell with headers and exhaust.
thanks for the replies fellas. i do understand that parts being a porsche will be exspensive. i was reading a site with a guy who has had one since 96 and is well in the 16k dollar range in repairs. i know the timing belts are very important on these cars. i also understand that the rear hatch release is a problem as is the air condition and engine vacumm hoses. stuff like that doesnt surprise me being they are getting old. i guess after more research that i'd stick in the 87-91 range as newer are way to exspensive, but i like the redesigned front end better. again thanks for the info and links.
Yup, timing belt should be replaced every 45000 miles. It's a $1000-$1300 job. It's funny you mentioned the rear hatch release, because I totally forgot mine does not work.

You can find a real nice '87 -89 S4 for $12000-$16000 if you look carefully. Just remember to have any car you are considering looked at by a 928 savvy shop. A lot of Porsche shops specialize in the 911 and don't know much about the 928. Make sure the place where you take it is very familiar with the 928.

If you have the means, it's a great car and a nice contrast to a GN. The GN is straigtline speed with creaks, rattles, crappy brakes, and typical '80s GM quality, but fun.

A Porsche 928 is a whole package, a serious automobile. Even when my Buick was stock with just a tad more boost, it would leave the 928 behind a ways from a 60-100 roll. After the Buick was "modded", it would leave the 928 for dead at even 80-130. Of course the Regal felt a "wee" bit unstable at those speeds!

Keep in mind, while the 928 engine is almost bulletproof, a proper stock rebuild, when the time comes, will cost $10-13k minimum.
I am in North Jersey. If you want to take a drive down to me, I'll be glad to let you try out my '86 928.
vicat1 , thanks for the offer! i'm gonna sit tight and look, not gonna jump into anything. i know the money pit of gn land can be endless and exspensive, thats kinda whats keeping me at bay about a 928 for now. everything is so much more money, even basic stuff like plug wires because being german made. i'll do my homework before i buy. i just dont know of any good shops in my area. i'm used to driving long ways to get good work done to my gn's so distance isnt to big a deal.
I would be very scared of who I let work on these monsters, they are not for everyone. Inskip Porsche in Warwick does good work, but $$$$$. There are a couple of independents in SE Mass that specialize in the transaxle POrsches, soon as I can find some #s I'll let you know. I'm also the parts manager for the Porsche dealer down here, whatever you want e-mail or pm me I'll try ti hook you up.:D
I will tell you honestly, my 928 has been WAY more reliable than my turbo Regal. Of course the Regal is modified, but if I had to drive across the country, I would take the 928.

I know I am repeating myself, but the 928 is such an undervalued car. I paid 17k for my '86 back in Nov 94. It had about 22k on it and was in almost showroom condition. A same year 911 was going for 19-25k. It now has almost 100k on it and runs like new.

When my Regal was down for the 27th time, I took out the good ole' 928, and I always smile. Of course after the Regal, it feels a mite sluggish, but it's so solid and secure feeling.

My advice would be to actually drive a nice 928. Take it up to 120, solid and secure. Drive one, you might understand.

I love my Regal, but the 928 is a car you can depend on. Expensive?, Yes, but worth it.

Ok, enough plugging for Porsche, but I love the 928.
Beautiful GREAT car. I had an 82 Euro signatures series. I raced it for one year and put $25,000 in repairs. Keep in mind that little things like a radiator cost well over $1000. What a painful (but fun) lesson that was. Get used to signing checks to 928 international in California. Good luck. ;)
while were on the subject i've seen a lot of 944's around here dirt cheap, is there something wrong with them? i was thinking new daily driver possibly?
944's are $3500.00 and up around here too.
I wonder how hard a 3.8 turbo swap in to a 928 would be?
Nothing wrong a a nice 944, it's just a whole different ballgame. The 944 was a big improvement over the 924. The original 924s used the same basic motor as the VW pickup and AMC Gremlin.

A stock 944 turbo is quite speedy. 0-100 in about 18 seconds, top of about 140-145.

The 924/944 and the later but much refined 968 were the "economy" Porsches.
Actually this is for the 944S Turbo but gives you an idea.

Horsepower 250 bhp
Torque 258 ft lb
0-60 mph in 5.4 sec
Top speed: 161 mph
928 has been a dream of mine forever. Go for it if you can. One of the most awesome cars Porsche ever made. In my opinion it is very underestimated and undervalued due to it not having break neck performance. It is a definate cruiser for sure with excellent road manners.

Mark :D :D :D
I am not sure exactly when, but in the mid 80s, I think, the 944 used a 4 cyl that basically half of the 928 single cam engine.
Quite a step up.

And yes, the 944 turbo "S" was a very fast car, especially for a 2.5 liter. You could also order different rear alex ratios to suit your needs, just like in the old musclecar days. With the shortest one, top speed was limited to 140 or so by engine RPM, but the car was very responsive. With the standard, longer ratio, getting off the line was a little tricky, but the car could do 160-165 easy.

A good deal better than the first 924s. Those cars would do a 16.8 at 80 on their best day, and struggled to do 110.
944/924 used Audi engines and is one of the main reasons they are not considered a very desirable car. Th 924 had so many problems with electrical problems, the Porsche techs I know hated to see them even pull into the drive. The 944 would be a good little platform for a 3.8 transplant though. Might be a fun package for sure.

I used to have an '87 924S and it was basically a 944 minus the fender flares and a different suspension. Mine had the 2.5L 944S motor and LSD transaxle. It was rated at 180bhp and was pretty fun to drive for a 4 banger. I could easily take out 3rd gen F bodies and even some stock 5.0's. I got it up to just over 140 a couple of times, but I was running out of gear. The car was great until it needed repairs. That is the only reason I got rid of it and am very reluctant to get another German car.
"944/924 used Audi engines and is one of the main reasons they are not considered a reliable........."

True, for the early ones. The early 924 was a weird car, just like the 914/914-6. In Europe the 914 was sold as a VW-Porsche. It used the basic air cooled flat 4 as the Beetles and Vans. The car itself was designed by both VW and Porsche. The basic chassic was not bad, it could be made to handle quite well. But the motor, espescially in US trim, was a dog. I think there were 2 engines, a 2 liter and a somewhat smaller one. They were fuel injected, the same basic setup as the strange VW 411 Fastback. They had tons of electrical problems. The 2 liter was rated at no better than 90 HP. The 2 liter would 0-60 in about 11 seconds, if you were lucky.
The smaller 1.7 liter, I think, was rated about 70 HP. Major dog, but still a fun car to toss around.

The 914-6 used a GEN-U WINE Porsche engine. A detuned 911, carbed flat 6 rated at 110. Given that the car only weighed about 2000 lbs., it was decenly quick for the time, 0-60 about 9 secs.

Back to my point.....

The first 924/944 used the 2 liter engine, designed by VW/Audi, and were built by Audi. But the later 944 used a Porsche engine, and a lot of improvements by Porsche in the whole car.

The basic 944 from the mid 80s was rated about 140 HP, 0-60 about 8-9 sec. Top speed about 115-120.

In 87-88, there was the 944S, with a 16 valve head. Rated at 188, 0-60 about 7-8 sec and top speed about 130-135.

I am a little foggy on the following, but....

In 88-89, they brought the 4 cyl up to 3 liters. Good torque, with the 8 valve head rated at 155-160.

Trying to remember all this is giving me a headache, but it is true that the earliest 924s had a bunch of irritating problems.

Try to drive some and see if you like them. The latest 944 was a solid car, and the turbo "S" version will keep up with any 928 except the latest 5 sp 928GTS.

The 928 is more expensive to upkeep, but as an overall car, is 3 steps above the 944.

I typed too much, I'm done.