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Porsche tuning – five tips for beginners

07.10.2022 By Richard Lindhorst
Porsche tuning – five tips for beginners

Buying a new car is always exciting. Many Porsche drivers certainly remember the first drive into their garage at home. But what’s next? What am I going to do with my car besides driving it? What changes do I want to make? Do I even want to give my Porsche a bit of tuning? We’ve compiled five recommendations for entering the world of Porsche tuning.

Porsche tuning tip nr. 1 – Washing it!

I just picked up my car, freshly detailed and polished by the seller. Why should I wash it? And why should I consider that tuning? It’s simple: No matter how closely you inspected your Porsche before buying it, there are almost certainly things you missed. Small holograms or scratches in the paint, tar stains…. Also, a fresh coat of wax is very much tuning, as it really brings out the shine of the car!

Even a look at the brakes and under the engine after the drive home can reveal overlooked problem areas. And if there are no problems, that’s great! But a hand wash is an experience that strengthens the bond between you and your car, as you always find new, beautiful perspectives on it. Of course, you haven’t got to go to the great lengths as the professionals from Swissvax. But for your honeymonn-phase, there’s not many nicer things, than treating yourself and your car with a good detail.

Porsche tuning tip nr. 2 – The right tire

The tires are the only link between a car and the road. Their importance can hardly be overemphasized. So give them the attention they deserve! First, check for damage, residual tread and whether the tire is evenly worn. Less than three millimeters of remaining tread is too little! Next, check the DOT number on the tire sidewall. This four-digit number indicates the week and year of the tire’s production date. A tire should be replaced after six or eight years at the latest.

If you need new tires, don’t save at the wrong end. A Porsche is a sports car that needs to be driven accordingly. Porsche works with most of the well-known tire manufacturers. They develop special tires an N-rating on the sidewall. Only tires that meet Porsche’s strict requirements receive the coveted N. These go far beyond the legal requirements, especially when it comes to wet grip. Only with a tire like this can you really enjoy the full potential of your Porsche.

Clearly visible at the ten o’clock position: The N4-label. Tires approved by Porsche are given the N. The following number stands for the version of the tire. © ZWECK

Finally, the most important thing – air pressure. The correct air pressure is almost more important than the tire itself. Half a bar too little makes for spongy steering and more heat generation, thus higher wear. But too much pressure is not good either, as the contact area of the tire can be reduced. Also, with too much pressure, the tire wears faster in the middle, than with the correct setting. Check with your tire manufacturer for the recommended air pressure and follow it.

Porsche tuning tip nr. 3 – New wheels

For many, new wheels are the entry into the world of Porsche tuning. Rims change the presence of a Porsche like hardly any other tuning part. Be it Fuchs wheels, cookie cutters, BBS cross spokes, or something completely different. Maybe just a different color by painting or powder coating? There are hardly any limits to the imagination. And there are endless options from the factory as well. Should it be more unusual – especially for the newer models – you’ve also got plenty of choice, for example at TECHART.

In addition, the driving behavior of your Porsche can also be greatly influenced by other rims. First of all, through the wheel size. The larger the rim, the smaller the cross-section of the tire. This results in less self-damping through the tire sidewall, but at the same time ensures more direct steering. But watch out: if they are too big, even the best damper can no longer keep the vehicle comfortably on the road. Moreover, lighter rims in particular are an underestimated means of Porsche tuning. They significantly reduce the unsprung masses, which leads to much lighter-footed handling and better ride comfort.

Porsche tuning tipp nr. 4 – Suspension

This leads us to another modification that can significantly enhance the appearance and driving experience of your Porsche – the suspension. The older your vehicle, the more it will benefit. This is because damper technology has developed considerably, especially since 2010. Even for G-models, there are now coilover suspensions with adjustable compression and rebound dampers. This allows you to adjust the suspension between trackday and everyday use to always have the right setup.

Modern dampers like these Bilstein ones in a Carrera 2.7 RS Replica are a fantastic way to improve the ride quality of a classic Porsche. © SD Sportwagen

Tuning on a Porsche? It still doesn’t add up for every Porsche driver. Often the fear of losing originality paralyzes considering the resale value. But this fear is unfounded. After all, many conversions are completely reversible. What’s more, the handling – especially of air-cooled 911s – can be taken to unimagined heights with modern damper technology and tires.

Richard Lindhorst, Elferspot

Visually, it also makes a lot of difference when the beloved 964, or especially early G-models, are a little closer to the ground. By the way, lowering does not have to be at the expense of comfort. Because there are plenty of combinations to also achieve a more relaxed and less sharp driving behavior than from factory. Porsche tuning does not always have to be synonymous with performance enhancements.

Porsche tuning tip nr. 5 – Engine mounts and short-shift-kits

Engine mounts are not exactly the parts that you would immediately associate with Porsche tuning. But worn engine mounts are often overlooked or even forgotten during regular services. In fact, they cause unpleasant rocking/tilting movements of the drivetrain with every load change. Even low-mileage vehicles can be affected, because the rubber bearings age, become brittle and crack. Those who like it sporty can resort to semi-rigid or even rigid bearings. Of course, this does not apply to vehicles with active engine mounts.

The selection is basically large, because the bearings have not been changed for a long time. That’s why semi-rigid engine mounts from the Porsche 964 Carrera RS, for example, fit the 996 Carrera. Semi-rigid mounts are already a fantastic upgrade for sporty road drivers and make every gear change more precise. Combine the engine mounts with a short-shift-kit and the overall driving impression of a G-model or 964 is rejuvenated by decades. And that for very little money.

Tuning does not have to be expensive, uncomfortable or wild

For many, the subject of tuning is a closed book. Wild spoilers and body kits are often associated with it, and tuners are even frowned upon. But Porsche tuning doesn’t have to be wild; it can also be discreet and, above all, tasteful. Ultimately, it is primarily a matter of improving the actual condition of your car in the way you like it.

And this can be achieved, especially with older Porsches, by sensibly selecting spare parts for wear repairs. The argument of originality is also only partially valid here. Why should I replace leaking shock absorbers with poorly performing original parts when I can achieve a nicer look and significantly better handling for the same money or only a small surcharge?

The interior of your own Porsche can also be upgraded to your heart’s content. Why not a different steering wheel for the classic? It feels better in your hands and may also improve the seating position. Speaking of seats, why not upgrade to sports seats and store the originals? The replacement is quick and easy, and you’ll end up with more lateral support and driving comfort.

There’s loads of options, even with newer cars!

By the way, the tuning possibilities are not even limited to classics on which you can supposedly do more work by yourself. Electronic fuel injection systems offer countless ways to make your Porsche more powerful and efficient. There are even systems that provide different performance levels at the push of a button. For the Porsche 992, for example, TECHART again offers such a solution. By the way, there are now also electronic injection systems for F-models. Feel free to ask Christian Wilms from dastriebwerk.

The first premise should always be: Do what you feel like doing. You want to convert your 968 into a Clubsport? Let’s go! Classic racing conversion of your Porsche 964 Carrera 2 to Cup specification? Why not? Porsche tuning is not a sin, but an expression of your own personality, your own preference. So don’t be shy, dare to turn your Porsche into your very own personal treasure.

© header: TwinSpark Racing & Engineering

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