The 996 Carrera, which was produced from 1999 until 2004, is a sore topic amongst enthusiasts. Generally, those enthusiasts are quick to grab their bludgeons and wallop the IMS Bearing dead horse en-masse. Somewhere in that collective hatred of the 996, you will hear about the cracked eggshell headlights, water cooled engine, and how it isn’t as good as the old Porsches to bear the name. Realistically, the 996 is one of the best Porsche investments a collector can make, especially if your sights are set on the 996 Turbo.
The 996 Turbo offers immense power and is, in fact, not plagued by the IMS Bearing issue that a measly 1% of early model naturally aspirated Porsches from that generation experienced. Yes, you read that correctly. Only 1% of early model M95 engines actually suffered IMS Bearing failure and only 8% of late model cars had it as well. The reality is that even the following generations of Porsche 911 Carreras with naturally aspirated engines had the same issue, but no one seems to mention that fact. Maybe they just hate the headlights of the 996?
Regardless, the 996 Turbo is a reliable investment that you can expect to reliably use for daily transportation that provides the exhilarating thrill only possible in a rear wheel drive, rear engine, performance car. The heritage of this car, which began with Porsche’s efforts to cram more power into a regular 911, ultimately led to another name for the turbocharged coupé from Stuttgart. The 996’s predecessors earned the name ‘Widowmaker’ for their absurd amounts of power and snappy steering that, when driven by amateurs, ended in many trips to the morgue. The 996 Turbo, with its 420hp twin-turbo 3.6-liter flat-six, is at least tamed by all-wheel-drive, but its potential for fun and tail-happiness have not left the Turbo namesake.
If you want to buy one of these cars, which we highly recommend you do while prices are low, you will want to know what needs to be addressed post-purchase. It is critical that these cars receive the care and maintenance that Porsche intended and for that care to happen at precise intervals. The daunting idea of a major service for the 996 Turbo might quickly turn off a non-enthusiast, but to the real Porsche collector, it is just a part of owning these cars.
We have developed a thorough checklist and full kit featuring LIQUI MOLY oil to help you through the 30,000-mile service, which will save you time and add to your peace of mind that you are buying the right parts. Unfortunately, it is still an involved process. We have included the printable DIY below as a .PDF, but here is a basic summary of what you will need to do:
Replace spark plugs
Change engine oil and filter
Change engine air filter
Change cabin (particle) filter
Inspect poly rib belt
Inspect powertrain for leaks
Inspect engine compartment
Inspect coolant hoses
Inspect coolant level
Check antifreeze concentration
Fuel system: Check for leaks
Power steering: Check fluid
Brakes: Check rotor and pad wear
Brakes: Inspect all lines and hardware
Clutch: Check play and pedal position
Throttle: Test operation
Steering: Inspect bellows for leaks/tears
Tie rods: Check play and dust covers
Axle joints: Check play; dust bellows
Drive shafts: Check play; boots
Exhaust system; leaks, looseness, hangers
Tires: Condition; inflation pressure
Locks & latches; check tightness/function
Seat belts; tightness & function Lighting; Check operation
Wipers & Washers: Wipers blades & fluid Electrical including warning lights
If this looks like an overly extensive list, that is because it includes everything down to the Porsche recommended checks a 30,000-mile service interval technically requires. No, you probably will not have any issues with the majority of these systems. However, checking their function and operation, recording them, and comparing them during your next 30,000-mile service will give you an idea of their rate of deterioration based on how much you drive the car. As well, if you are looking to purchase a 996 Turbo, this checklist should serve as a basic guide for what to inspect in your prospective car.
We have the full checklist with spaces for you to record your findings for your own documentation and highly encourage you to use them. Print off this .PDF and use it step-by-step through each of the system checks and parts replacements to ensure you complete the service like a pro without shelling out the big bucks. Remember, your Porsche 996 Turbo is a source of enjoyment. So grab a few friends, some cold drinks, and settle in for an afternoon of work that will guarantee the future enjoyment of your favorite car every time you turn the key.