944 Tuning

"A Porsche for the Masses."

We have a few Porsche owners among our members and quite rightly so, the 944 offers good levels of fun at a great price.

All 944s are good, practical cars. 2.5s are the common ones and are easiest for home mechanics. These come with 160bhp as standard but not much tuning potential. The 2.7 engine was better but has some specific parts which are expensive if they go wrong.

The more modern 3.0ltr S2 is a very good all rounder and entry into Porsche ownership. 211bhp standard so plenty for most people. If you want tuning potential though then the turbo model is the way to go. Originally 220bhp to start with, then in 1988 they did the 250bhp S model which became a standard model in 1989.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums


Some of our members have used Porsche engines in other projects including a Morris Minor and a number of Classic VW Beetles so there are plenty of mods you can do to a Porsche engine. Improving the handling should be your first priority in your 944 tuning project. Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 35mm and fit stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Turning our attention to the 944s engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

Following our tips for tuning your 944 you will end up with a practical scorching hatch that will embarrass bigger cars.

When looking at a car, condition and history is more important than mileage (they are all at least 18-27 years old these cars!) Sills are notorious for rust, blocked drainage tubes are also rust traps. Belts, rollers, tensioners etc should be done every 4 years along with water pump every other belt change.

Porsche 944 Tuning modifications.

Don't just look at the peak power figures, you need to see the whole torque curve when determining if a mod is right for you 944.

With our tips your 944 can be a track day fun car and still be a reliable daily driver.

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

Engine modifications.

These are the modified upgrades are usually fitted by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get going.

A highly regarded 'sweet spot' for this engine is around 330bhp. Achieved fairly reasonably (need to spend around £2.5k) and is reliable. After this you start changing turbo's and MAF kits etc and you jump to 400bhp+ for around another £3k+! There are 600bhp+ cars out there!!

Getting the correct grade of performance modifications for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won't work well on the road making the car difficult to drive.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your 944

  1. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - Adding a turbocharger is the most significant way to increase your intakes air supply, ensuring you are able to use more fuel and make power gains. Although one of the most technically difficult mods it offers big gains.
  2. 944 Handling modifications - Fitting a more sporty Suspension kit dramatically improves 944 handling Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  3. Flowing and porting the Head - Head work will get air flowing into the engine while removing turbulence or restrictions.
  4. Fast road cams are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but ideally be installed by someone familiar with setting them up on your car and tracking one down can be a challenge but we are sure you'l; find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft for you.
  5. Air Induction and Exhaust - Be aware on their own these mods won't ADD HP , but they will enable you to release power after other mods by lessening the restrictive flow.
  6. Lightened Flywheels - a lower weight flywheel will improve the engines ability to rev freely. Not suitable for all 944 engines.
  7. Braking Mods - Improve your ability to stop should be listed in your priority list.

944 Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Suspension upgrade (drop 27mm - 39 mm.), Lighter flywheel, Engine Tunes/Remapping, Sports exhaust, Panel air filter, Alloy wheels.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, Ported and polished head, high flow fuel injector, Power/Sport clutch.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Sports gearbox, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Competition cam, Engine balancing, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Your goal when modding the engine should be a nice flat torque output. You don't want all the torque to be at the top end of the rev range unless you are creating a motor sport car.

In this article we shall give an overview and introduction to the best modifications for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance upgrade.A fast road camshaft usually proves to be one of the best NASP power modifications you can do with a single part fitted to your engine.

The exhaust and intake durations play a big role in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car hard to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a cam upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip to fully realise your gains.

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to increase the fuelling.

If you find you suffer from flat spots and power surges after your mods you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. Improving the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned 944's uprated injectors.

Porsche 944 Intake and Exhaust.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Air induction kits will only help to increase power if the air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most stock engines will see NO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for 944 engines you should just fit a performance panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Do not go with the biggest exhaust you can get this will reduce the exhaust flow rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Getting a professionally flowed (ported and polished) head with larger valves can fully release the engines power. Your clutch can seriously let you down as you increase the power if it starts to suffer and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 46%. Fit an upgraded clutch to avoid power losses through the transmission. The best mods in our opinion for your 944 are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

Turbo engines are just crying out to be flashed. You will see massive power gains on most modern turbo engined cars including diesels making a tune/remap one of the most cost effective and massive modifications for your money.

We've also come across some owners toying with twincharged conversions and making some very high power hikes.

Adding forced induction will see phenomenal power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are often harder to add than a supercharger. It is more challenging to map a turbo as the boost builds exponentially with revs.

Superchargers will give a boost which is correlating to engine speed so is easier to map. To cope with forced induction you will usually need to decrease the engine compression ratio .

944 Tuning

944 Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many 944 owners uprate the handling of their cars with tuning suspension mods as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 23 - 40 and fit performance stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Adjusting the handling is often the first step in using the 944.Adjusting the 944's handling is often the first step in tuning it.

Handling mods are often the initial step for the 944.

Good Quality coilovers permit you to adjust the suspension height and this allows you to tweak your cars handling to suit your driving style.

Is there anything I should keep in mind while deciding on suspension settings for my 944?

Improvements to the bushings

Enhancements to the bushings: Things you need to know

It is possible to connect the 944's suspension components to the chassis of the 944 using poly bushes, which are replacements for the rubber mounts. The rubber ones usually deteriorate with time and need replacing anyway so why not upgrade.

By replacing new OEM rubber bushings, you may greatly improve your vehicle's performance.

It's probable that the ride may be a touch rougher because of the stronger polyurethane bushes but they'll last longer and maintain tighter handling.

Worn bushes may also hasten the decay of other suspension components due to the increased vibration and play.

With a new set of poly bushes, the excessive play associated with rubber bushings may be reducde.

Some polyeyurothane bushings are hard to locate, but most will find the primary mounts readily available in their regions You may be able to have custom poly bushings created to suit your needs.

A common misconception is that a non-adjustable suspension system that lowers the vehicle by90mm from a franchised component shop is the best option. But suspension design and setup is quite complex.

Claims are often made that all 944 models and years may be able to utilise the same suspension kits sold by vendors.

To adequately support a diverse variety of vehicles, the "generic one set for all models" approach is obviously a mistake as engine weights and equipment trim levels all affect the cars handling characteristics.

How low should you go on the 944?

TorqueCars research and testing indicate that the maximum suspension drop for most road vehicles is 23 - 40 millimetres, whereas the maximum suspension drop for hot hatchbacks with lower OEM suspension is 20 millimetres.

Tolerances may be greatly lowered by altering the diameter of the wheels. Lowering a vehicle, even with 17-inch wheels and stock suspension, may create several issues.

Because the 944 is lower, less air travels under it, which may aid in stability; nonetheless, the main goal should always be to enhance handling. It is critical to use the proper shocks when employing lower springs buying matched components as a kit.

We found that most 944 factory suspension setups need tweaking, a few degrees of toe (set some toe out to improve cornering or use toe in for better stability) and you only need around 0.8 to 1.3 degrees, and a small amount of negative camber will substantially enhance your cornering and handling.

Putting bigger discs and better high friction brake pads can make for radically enhanced stopping.

Note that some performance friction pads can be noisier and will need a lot of heat before they start to work.

In every day driving the brakes are occasionally used, therefore won't be as effective at slowing you up so specify friction pads which work well in daily use.

Porsche 944 Wheel modifications.

Alloy wheels can help the brakes cool down and are generally lighter than steel ones.

Don't forget that your choice of rubber greatly affects your cars grip and handling. It is not worth compromising performance with cheap tyres when you can buy track legal slick performance tires.It is worth noting that although they can look cool on the 944 big alloy

wheels will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this to the change in your effective final drive ratio.

Due to this fact try to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel the recommended OEM sizes. In all cases avoid going bigger than 18 inches, although we know some of our members have gone larger than this with no problems.

Join us in our forum and meet up with other 944 owners where you can chat and swap tuning ideas for your car. Also have a read of our tuning articles to see what the pros and cons are of the many tuning options open to you.

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3 Responses to “944 Tuning”

  1. Paul Sayward says:

    I have a 2.5 lux, Im going to spend money on it to restore it. it has already been chipped, without sacrafizing,
    reliablity. would it be possible to get 200 bhp from one, and if so how much would a complete rebuild cost. I know everyone says buy a turbo, but everything on the car works and the interior is mint. Thanks Paul

  2. Camden says:

    you cant put a turbo on a porsche 944 na as the motor will go boom due to the 10:1 compression ratio. You can put a turbo on but you will only be able to push 5-8ibs because of the compression and at that point its pointless to buy one.

  3. Robert Johnson says:

    Im going a thousand miles to r/r a head gasket on a 1988 944 lux i bought. What should I bring? Whats needed.and What mod would be inexpensive at this point?

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