Porsche 911 Tiptronic to Manual Conversion - Is It Worth It?

The debate on the merits of converting a Tiptronic Porsche 911 to manual has been discussed many times. One of the reasons was the large percentage of Tiptronics that were actually produced. It was a popular option at the time, though today, many of us would far rather have the traditional manual gearshift. So, this is a question that has been asked a great many times over the years:

“Is it possible to convert a Porsche 911 from Tiptronic to manual?” and of course “Is it worth it?”

The first answer is yes.

The second is no – or maybe – or most truthfully “It depends.”

In this article, Colin will walk us through an actually conversion from Tipronic gearbox to manual gearshift that we have undertaken recently and explain briefly how it was done, whether it is cost effective and the thinking behind the owner’s decisions to undertake this significant conversion.

At first glance, the Porsche 911 Tiptronic to manual conversion may appear relatively straight forward. A simple gearbox swap, an extra pedal, some associated brackets to mount everything and it’s all done, surely?

Of course, when you take a fresh sheet of paper, or wipe clean Colin’s vast whiteboard on his office wall and begin to detail the process, it gets a little more involving.

We can’t go deeply into the technical issues of the project, however here is an outline of the principal engineering challenges to be faced when converting a 964 Tiptronic to a manual.

Phase 1 – take it apart, or as my dad used to say – “let dog see t’ rabbit”

  • Remove engine & tiptronic gearbox
  • Remove tip box from engine, remove torque converter & plate from crank
  • Remove centre console & gear selector mechanism
  • Remove front seats
  • Remove front carpet sections over tunnel
  • Remove pedal box
  • Remove redundant tiptronic oil cooler & pipework (from gearbox to front)
  • Remove rear drive shafts (complete – big nuts and all
  • Drain & remove brake master cylinder reservoir
  • Remove tiptronic ecu and wiring harness

Phase 2 – Metalwork

  • Remove tiptronic gear selector mount in tunnel
  • Weld in replacement C2 console (or box to you and me). We either spot weld through the gearlever hole or plug weld in from underneath. Either way you need to remove carpets and sound deadening and have someone on fire patrol!
  • Drill bulkhead and tunnel for clutch hoses
  • Paint new console as appropriate

Phase 3 – Engine preparation

  • Fit flywheel (dual mass or RS lightweight) to engine
  • Fit clutch assembly
  • Fit gearbox to engine. Note: you will need new mounting studs & nuts for the gearbox.
  • Fit clutch release shaft & test fit slave cylinder
  • Fit starter motor (note: you need a C2/C4 starter as Tip starter does not fit a manual box)
  • Don’t forget to check the gearbox oil level before you fit it, much easier to do this and top up with the engine out!
  • Reconnect starter, extend wiring for reverse light as appropriate.

Phase 4 – Interior

  • Fit manual pedal box. Preference is to use the later 964/993 pedal box.
  • Fit new brake reservoir with clutch fluid feed
  • Route clutch pipes from reservoir to pedal box and from pedal box through to the rear of the tunnel. Note that LHD & RHD pipes are not the same and please don’t use cable ties, invest in the correct Porsche 2-piece pipe mounts for the tunnel.
  • Fit gear lever assembly, with or without RS lever. If you do go for the RS lever, note that the console we welded in has oval holes and plastic mounts to carry the shifter tube. For a standard lever the tube goes in the low position. For the RS lever, the mounts are inverted and the tube is up in the high position.
  • Fit forward shift link onto crossmember and connect up to lever underneath. Leave adjustment points loose as you will need to tweak them later.
  • Refit sound deadening, carpets and seats
  • Refit shift boot, gear lever and centre console

Phase 5 – Underside

  • Re-hang the engine and gearbox assembly
  • Fit slave cylinder to new flexi pipe, fit to gearbox, connect to main line
  • Refil reservoir and bleed clutch lines. You can use a loop of rope or string under the clutch pedal to pop it back up again when pumping.
  • If necessary bleed the brake system as well.
  • Test the operation of the clutch.
  • Connect the gear selector and test for each gear.
  • If all is well and you’ve got this far it’s a fair assumption that you will already know how to drain & refill with oil, reconnect fuel lines, motronic, etc.
  • Test everything again with the engine running.
  • Fit C2 drive shafts (got to be 964C2 or C2RS – the tip shafts are too short and the C4 has smaller driveshaft couplings).
  • Torque axle nuts with the wheels on the floor and using the foot brake.
  • Connect drive shafts to gearbox with new, clean bolts. Do not over-tighten them!
  • Refit centre tunnel cover and undertrays
  • Run engine up to temp and check oil level.

Now go out and enjoy the drive!

Of course, as Porsche engineers, we love to be involved interesting projects and this was not the first time we have engineered a conversion such as this.

However, from the owners’ viewpoint, the one who is paying for the work to be done, there is a very important, fundamental question:

Is it worth it?

In the world of air cooled Porsche engineering, almost anything is possible. You only need to see some of the custom build Porsches we create for clients to understand how we can transform a Porsche 911, both cosmetically and mechanically, into anything the owner may wish for.

So whilst the Tiptronic to manual conversion is a relatively easy conversion, is said conversion cost effective?

A few years ago, the answer would have been absolutely no. Back then (i.e. before Porsche prices escalated to the level they are at today) it was far easier to sell the Tiptronic and simply keep looking until you found the perfect manual car, be it a 964 or 993.

Roll forward to today’s world, where good air cooled Porsches in short supply and the very best cars command top prices, it is now much harder to find your perfect air cooled Porsche to own and enjoy. That very issue is what prompted the conversion of this car.

The owner had looked for quite some time for a really good Porsche 964 to own and of course manual transmission was one of the non-negotiable parts of his quest. But what do you do when the cars for sale are either C2’s with lower quality/high mileage/high price or the much cheaper C2 Tiptronic?

After a long period of searching, we found his perfect 964. It ticked all the boxes. Guards Red, black leather interior, great paint, well maintained and cared for and with a great history. Apart from the fact it was, frustratingly, a Tiptronic.

Due to the state of the Porsche marketplace it was time to break out the spreadsheet, detail everything involved with the conversion and calculate the point at which the conversion of a Tiptronic to manual becomes cost effective. For this owner the cost vs benefit balance was very much yes, but for others this will vary.

We have to assume that you have exhausted your search of the marketplace and have been unable to find your perfect car.

The cars to the right specification that you have found all require further spending on them to restore then to an acceptable level before going forwards.
You have found your perfect 964 albeit a Tiptronic. It’s in perfect condition and needs very little spending in terms of restoration and being a Tiptronic it's market value is significantly less than the manual equivalent. Perhaps not enough to cover the conversion cost, but definitely cheaper

Well done, you’ve arrived at the tipping point - pun intended.

Take the cost of the Tiptronic car you have found, add in the conversion cost and look at the final figure. If that is around the price you would expect to pay for your mythical, Unicorn manual shift 964C2 you have the answer to the question, “Is it worth it?”

For the owner of the car depicted here, yes it was definitely worth it. The stars all aligned and the final car that Ninemeister created is, indeed, his perfect Porsche 964C2, five speed manual, RS shift, RS flywheel & clutch.

As we said at the beginning, there is no sweeping rule that decides whether or not a Tiptronic to manual conversion is financially worthwhile. In truth, every car is unique and every client’s requirements are unique, hence this conversion is only a possibility which needs to be explored in greater depth and precise detail to decide on the true value of it.

Basic Shopping list:

  • Gearbox (964C2 or 993C2/4 6 speed) (yes, we can also fit a 993C4 system to a 964)
  • C2/C4 manual starter motor
  • Flywheel
  • Clutch assembly
  • Gearbox mount
  • Gearshift assembly
  • Console (weld in box)
  • Gear knob
  • Pedal box (964 or 993)
  • Master cylinder reservoir
  • Clutch pipework & supports
  • Clutch master cylinder
  • Clutch slave cylinder and flexi pipe (new one only!)
  • C2 gearbox undertray
  • Tachometer (or live with the tiptronic gear indicators)

Porsche Cayenne Water Ingress - Is This You?

We receive quite a few calls from Porsche Cayenne owners reporting a rather mysterious water sloshing sound. They describe it in various ways. “It’s as if I can hear the petrol in the tank moving about” or “It’s like I have a jerry can full of water in the boot”.

That description is an accurate one, particularly the second. Because on quite a few Cayenne’s that’s essentially what you have.

All cars have water drains on their bodywork. From small channels at the edge of a sunroof, to drains around the foot of the windscreen. In all the areas where water gets trapped as it drains away, water channels are added to help avoid the water becoming trapped and creating corrosion problems over time.

On the Cayenne from 2004 onwards to even recent cars, that sound of water moving around is, in fact, drain grommets becoming clogged with silt so that water cannot pass through. The water actually becomes trapped under a ‘false floor’ that Porsche build into the Cayenne sills to add strength and safety.

Here at Ninemeister, we have developed a simply fix that requires access to various areas hidden behind the wheel arch liners. Plus, of course, a powerful workshop lift capable of raising a Porsche Cayenne, plus it’s smuggled cargo of water.

We have been truly amazed at the quantities of water we have drained from some Cayennes, almost needing a chain gang of buckets to catch it all.

Once drained, we create a different access, so that the grommets cannot become clogged again in the future and this should solve the problem from recurring and, or course, prevent corrosion from the inside.

If you’re driving a Cayenne and you have been hearing this strange water sloshing sound recently, you might like to drop us a line.


Porsche 997 Coolant Leak Issues

The Porsche 997 coolant leak issues have been discussed on Porsche forums the world over. And while many discussions centre around the water pump and header tank, there is a more significant issue that is discussed less often. The corrosion and failure of the Porsche 997 coolant pipes.

Water pumps can – and do – fail on any car. It’s an item with a finite life and will certainly expire at some point, regardless of your care and attention on maintenance. However, in the Ninemeister workshops, we are seeing very regular instances of the coolant pipes failing on the Porsche 997, both 3.6 and 3.8 engines.

Many owners are dismayed to see pools of coolant leaking from the underside of the car and very often assume it is a terminal failure. After the initial trauma has subsided and the car arrives here at Ninemeister, frequently it is the coolant pipe fittings that are at fault.

Dissimilar metal corrosion attacking the 997 coolant pipes

Here’s an overview of what is happening, why they fail and a few thoughts from Colin Belton on the whole issue of 997 corrosion proofing.

Essentially, the failure happens on the joints that connect the various elements of the coolant system together. Constructed to speed up the assembly of the car and simplify production, the fittings are made of both steel and aluminium.

When subjected to the salt of winter roads, plus the internal effects of the coolant system circulating around at temperature, the two metal materials suffer what is known as dissimilar metal corrosion. In effect, they don’t get along and start to eat away at each other. Add in the perfect little micro climate of permanent moisture behind the plastic under tray and it’s a recipe for a corrosive environment.

Eventually, the joint fails. With luck, the owner isn’t somewhere remote or driving at high speed on track, though whatever happens, the problem needs to be solved.

There is no revised part available for this. It is principally a task of removing all of the corroded parts, both the pipes and the fittings themselves and replacing everything. It would be wonderful of course, if there was a lasting solution to this that ensures that it never ever happens again.

Fresh coolant pipes installed before Waxoyl treatment

Whilst Porsche don’t offer that, we do apply some common sense during the re-assembly here at Ninemeister. As we replace each failed part, we corrosion proof each one with Waxoyl automotive rustproofing treatment.

Waxoyl is a traditional rustproofing treatment that is well proven and has been in use for many decades. It’s an excellent way to protect vulnerable areas of any car.

Which, or course, poses the obvious question. Why don’t Porsche do this in manufacture and also, more importantly, what about the rest of my Porsche 997?

We believe that the reason why it’s not done in manufacture any more is quite simple. Times have moved on, manufacturers generally, not only Porsche, build cars with a lower expectation of a life of decades. With the majority of new cars being sold now on Contract Purchase agreements, the incentive from the manufacturer to create really, really long lasting build quality, such as the Porsche 993, is no longer there.

Another example of Porsche 997 corrosion

With drivers happy to pay to have use of the car for a monthly fee, rather that ever considering ownership outright, then future corrosion issues are moved down the line a few years hence. It makes sense from a financial viewpoint for any manufacturer. Why go to great expense – and it is expensive – to construct cars with stellar build quality when the world is moving on a such a rate?

It is generally considered that the Porsche 993 did not make any profit at all in the first few years of production, such were the remarkably high standards of engineering.

So should I be concerned about 997 corrosion?

Like any modern car, hidden corrosion is becoming something to consider. We are now seeing Porsche 997’s in our workshop and bodyshop with the beginnings of corrosion issues. These areas are generally well out of sight, in engine bay areas, behind the plastic under tray panels and in other hard to reach areas. Left unchecked, they will, for sure become a significant problem in years to come.

We will be writing more soon on the subject and also offering help and advice if you have concerns about corrosion proofing on your Porsche.


Girodisc Brake Upgrade for the Porsche 997

Porsche 911 brakes have historically been one of the company’s greatest assets. However, even the best Porsche brakes don’t last forever and when the time comes, Porsche 997 owners often ask us if the original Porsche brakes are the best option, or whether a brake upgrade may be a better way.

Porsche 997 owner John Hughes came to us recently to talk about his 911’s brakes. He was generally happy with the performance, though at times he felt it could be improved. John doesn’t drive his Porsche on track and was unsure whether he would get the best value out of a brake upgrade.

In fact, most of the Porsche owners who ask about our Girodisc Brake Upgrade for Porsche do not drive their cars regularly on track, if at all. They simply wish to have the best possible brake performance without spending a fortune on carbon brakes, which would be of debatable use.

In our view, the Girodisc Brake Upgrade for the Porsche 911 is a great improvement over the standard factory braking system. We caught up with John a few weeks after his 997 brake upgrade to talk about why he went for the Girodisc brakes and what he thought of them.

“It’s a step change in performance,” says John. “I had to completely recalibrate my stopping distances and the pressure I needed to achieve them compared to the original Porsche brakes. Even now, I sometimes have to release the brakes and drive up to the roundabout! That’s how powerful they are.”

So he’s impressed. What make him choose Girodisc? “My Porsche is a ‘keeper’. I’m not planning on selling it any time soon, so I didn’t mind the small additional investment over the cost of the standard factory brakes. I don’t drive me car on track and have no plans to. However, I was a little tired of the way the Porsche factory brakes began to look a little scruffy over time and the claims made by Girodisc on longevity sound very impressive. I believe that the extra cost will be worth it, due to the higher quality and the fact that I plan on keeping the car long term.”

“Above all, the feel from the Girodisc brakes inspires great confidence, so the combination of the feel, the appearance and the longer life means that for me, they were worth the investment.”

We supply and fit the Girodisc brake upgrade to a wide variety of Porsche owners and whether they are hard core track drivers, or Porsche owners who simply want the best quality, we’re finding that the upgrade is a huge success.

If you’d like to know more about the Girodisc upgrade, call Pete Robinson on 01925 242342 or use the contact form links below to send us a message.

Call us now
+44(0)1925 242342


Porsche 911 Owning on a £30k Budget - It Will be Liquid Cooled, Time to Get Over It.

Ninemiester was built on a reputation for creating strong, powerful air cooled Porsche 911 engines. Colin is evangelical in his love for the air cooled flat six and the team have many decades of experience between them in building and improving the lovely Mezger based engine. However if you’re new to Porsche 911 ownership and you have a budget of less than £30,000 then the chances are your Porsche 911 won’t be air cooled, it will; be liquid cooled.

The poor liquid cooled Porsche 911 has come in for an awful lot of criticism over the years, some of it justified, while at other times, the fear and panic of web forums can take over. Here at Ninemeister, we have a whole range of performance tuning techniques for liquid cooled Porsche 911s and long experience of working with them.

So here’s three reasons why in future, you’re going to have to take a look at a liquid cooled Porsche 911. And why you should actually be looking forward to it.

1. They’re plentiful. With more than 175,000 Porsche 996 produced and 997 production at al all time Porsche high of 212,000 there’s no shortage of cars to choose from. You can take your time, explore the market and choose the car that’s right for you. Either a low mileage car to keep for weekends, or something a little less precious to be modified for fast road and track use. There are lots of options.

2. Tuning parts and techniques are developing all the time. As air cooled cars become used less frequently, Porsche 911 owners are turning to the liquid cooled cars more and more. We are constantly developing ever more parts and performance enhancements for these cars, you can read more about these developments here.

3. They’re NOT collectable. Just a few short years ago, any Porsche track day paddock was filled with air cooled Porsches. Today, their values are so high that they’ve become a very rare sight. A combination of owners being to cautious now that they’re aware of the sheer value and other owners simply cashing in their car and moving on. Your average liquid cooled Porsche 911 is a long, long way from being collectable. Combined with the plentiful supply, this means that you can modify the car, change parts, drive it across Europe or even through a British winter and not be too concerned that it’s value will be affected.

3. When cared for properly, they are actually very reliable. We have several customers who run modified 996 and 997 Porsche 911s on track, with varying degrees of modification and varying schedules of use. All are very reliable and their owners absolutely love them. For sure, there are several very high profile issues that spring forth should anyone Google 997 reliability, however the actual number of cars affected is tiny when compared with the total number of cars out there. We won’t be commenting or adding any more views on the subject, however, if you’re considering a liquid cooled Porsche 911 and you have concerns, feel free to contact us for a chat.


The Porsche 964 and 993 Chain Link Issue

We have decades of experience of building both standard and highly modified air cooled Porsche engines. Very often, it’s the attention to detail that makes the difference between a successful, reliable engine build and one which can give trouble down the line.

This PDF created by director Colin Belton highlights an issue relating to the vital timing chain split link.

When fitting a replacement split chain to a 964 or 993 engine, you must ensure that you use the correct retaining clip on the ends of the split link joint.

You can download the full PDF guide here.


9m93 GT2 Opportunity For Sale

Here at Ninemeister, whilst we are not Porsche dealers in any conventional sense, on rare occasions we do have 9m Cars for sale. Furthermore, on even rarer occasions there presents an opportunity to purchase an ongoing 9m project at the most significant stage of the build. This 9m93GT2 Project is one such opportunity.

For good reason the 993GT2 is regarded as an icon. It is after all the fastest, most powerful air-cooled 911 to have ever rolled off the Porsche production line at Weissach.

Aficionados and collectors concur, driving values of factory cars well into seven figures to the point where the GT2 has become the stuff of legends. So whilst the majority of Porsche enthusiasts now dream about owning a GT2, for one lucky owner this 9m build could well be that unique opportunity to realise their dream.

All 9m Car builds are created with the finest attention to detail, this 9m93GT2 is no exception. With the massively time consuming process of crafting this authentic Porsche 993 GT2 factory specification body now complete, the truly fun part of specifying the finished car awaiting whoever commissions the build. Paint colour, interior trim, seats, engine performance, exhaust tone, chassis dynamics, wheels & tyres are just some of the options open to choice. We’ve suggested possible specifications below, however in reality there is almost no limit to what you may wish to do with this project although one thing is definitely for sure. When finished, it will be perfect.

Dare to Dream

Bodywork

  • 9m constructed GT2 Evo bodyshell (converted from 993 Carrera 4)
  • Sunroof delete (full factory roof skin)
  • 9mRS chassis reinforcement package
  • Seam welding
  • Airbag delete
  • Paint and Trim
  • Electrophoretic coated shell
  • 9m 16 stage prepare and paint process
  • Colour to be decided

Interior

Choice of two finishes, or a bespoke interior to your specification.
RS Lightweight

  • Vinyl or alcantara headlining
  • New Porsche carpet set
  • Rear seat delete
  • 9mRS Carbon seats
  • RS door panels
  • Full leather/alcantara re-rim (any available colour)
  • 993RS steering wheel
  • Manual windows, mirrors
  • RS gearshift
  • Refurnished instruments

Touring

  • Leather, vinyl or alcantara headlining
  • New Porsche carpet set
  • 993 hardback sports seats
  • 993 door panels
  • Full leather/alcantara re-rim (any available colour)
  • 993RS steering wheel
  • Electric windows, mirrors
  • RS gearshift
  • Refurnished instruments
  • Porsche Classic HiFi, 9m speaker package (optional)

Chassis

  • 9m X-sport adjustable suspension package
  • 993GT2 mono-ball top mounts
  • 993GT2 front suspension uprights & steering arms
  • RS wishbone & rear link bushes
  • 9m GT2 Evo stiff axle kit
  • 993GT2 calipers & 4 channel ABS braking system
  • 9mRS engine & gearbox mounts

Wheels and Tyres

  • 9m93GT2 Speedline 9×18 front,
  • 12×18 rear (optional)
  • Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 225/40 front, 295/30 rear

Engine and Transmission

  • 9m fully rebuilt 3.6 Twin Turbo engine, 450+hp
  • Bosch Motronic engine management – custom tune
  • 9m/Kline Inconel exhaust system
  • 9m Evo Intercooler
  • 9mRS lightweight flywheel package
  • GT2 6 speed G50 2wd transmission
  • 9m Wavetrac limited slip differential (ZF optional)
  • GT2 hollow drive shafts

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+44(0)1925 242342


Porsche Club GB Night at Ninemeister

The evening of the 8th of May saw the Ninemeister team staying behind after hours to welcome some important guests. The local area of Porsche Club GB were calling by to take a look at some of the latest projects in the Ninemeister build shop and also talk about some of the newer servicing updates in the main workshop.

It was a great chance to talk Porsches of all ages, show how some of the latest Hunter wheel alignment systems work and also let the Ninemeister team talk cars too.

Because unlike many people who work within the automotive industry, our team are as passionate about cars after work as they are when working on customers cars. We thought it would be a cool idea to let the crew show their own personal projects too.

So alongside the Porsches and Porsche projects, there were such diverse cars as a brand new Caterham, a German classic BMW E46 M6, a Japanese classic Nissan Skyline R32. Oh, and a chopper bike…

Inside the showroom was a unique display. A chance to see the progress of a 9m custom project build. From bare shell, through primer, to deep gloss paintwork, then finally the finished car. It takes more than 1,000 man hours to create a 9m car and it’s very rare to see a complete chronological time line of the build process.

And for anyone who may have needed any extra incentive, there was a delicious hog roast on hand, with all proceeds going to the North West Air Ambulance.

We would call that a good nights work and recreation.