Finding free horsepower in my Porsche 911 on the way to Laguna Seca

What could possibly be better than free horsepower? It's the stuff of dreams; a small, free, tweak or adjustment that makes the engine much more powerful. This is the true story of how I discovered, with the help of my dad's ear, a nice chunk of extra horsepower that was lurking, hidden in the engine of my Porsche 911, just waiting to be unleashed. Hopefully, you may also be able to find some hidden horses after reading this post!

3 years ago my dad and I took an amazing trip in my first Porsche 911, a new-to-me 1982 911SC. We were headed to Laguna Seca to attend the Rennsport Reunion in 2018. We'd been to Laguna Seca a bunch of times together, including the time we crewed a 700HP vintage Corvette racing team back in 2013. We love cars and racing and being able to drive from San Diego to Monterey in a classic 911 was a dream come true for both of us.

We had a great trip and a great event. We saw many of our favorite Porsches, the 904 GTS, 908, the RUF Yellowbird and a whole grip of 959s. We also saw my favorite, the Porsche 917K in Gulf livery, racing on the track... amazing. My dad's favorite is the unbeatable Mark Donahue / Sunoco 917/30, which we also got up close and personal with. We also got to hang out with with one of the best and most successful Porsche Racing drivers, Brian Redman, seen below grinning with my dad:

 Now, about that free horsepower:

My dad knows cars well. He's wrenched on just about everything, mainly as a hobby. Sometimes I think he breaks stuff just to be able to fix it. On the way up in my newly acquired 911, he mentioned that he thought it might not be getting full throttle. I sort of ignored the comment. Although my 911 wasn't super fast, it sounded great and was a ton of fun to drive. I'd never driven a 911 before this one so I had no real frame of reference. Plus, I'd just had the car in for an engine-out service with a leak-down test just before the trip and everything checked out OK so I ignored his comment and went on loving my new 911.

On the way back home, my dad mentioned it again. We were switching drivers at each gas stop. Once again he said "Ya know this thing might not be getting full throttle... it seems a little flat", I was actually mildly annoyed, how the hell would he know that!? This was my new baby and I wanted to believe it was working perfectly. I said something like "yeah, huh..." and changed the subject... the truth is I did find the performance a little underwhelming even though I loved the car.

When I returned home the idea just nagged at me. What if dad was right? What if she had more power just waiting to be unleashed! I scoured the web and found this post on Pelican Parts about the classic 911 throttle linkage getting out of adjustment and causing the engine to not get full throttle. Turns out, after reading many posts including some from The Great Steve Wong, who mentioned that a properly adjusted throttle should hit the built-in metal stop when the pedal is floored, and how that position activates a switch which tells the Bosch Moronic to go Wide Open Throttle and if it doesn't hit that switch, you don't get WOT, and you're losing power. Well, I checked, and sure enough, I wasn't anywhere near full throttle!!!

I spent the next day adjusting the throttle linkage at multiple points. The transformation truly was night and day. The car ran so much better and was so much more responsive and powerful! THIS was how my Porsche 911 was supposed to run! The car went from being fun to drive to being exhilarating!!! My car is a 911SC with a Euro 3.2 (930/20 motor) so it has about 50 more HP that "it should have", about 228HP vs 180HP if it's running right. Also, My neighbor just happened to have a beautiful blue 1982 Porsche 911SC with the original motor. Guess what? We checked his linkage and it was bad too! No way he was getting full throttle either.

I wonder how many 911's are running around at half throttle? It pays to check it out. The difference was big for me and the power was free! Have you had this problem? Have you fixed it and found free horses! Let me know your experience using the comment section below:


1 comment

  • Damn is that a thing?? Let’s check mine!

    Josh Sistar

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