Text and photos by Jim Ansite and Roy LockYou are enjoying a drive on a lovely fall day. Cruising along at 3400 RPM’s, suddenly there is a loud bang! You quickly shut off the engine and coast off the highway. Getting out of the car for a closer examination, you see a big puddle of oil, a smoking engine, and realize that shutting off the engine was a wise decision.Previously, you had noticed a whistling noise at speed and had tried to have it diagnosed and fixed to no avail. Once you get your 356 up on the lift, shards of metal fall out of the engine compartment. A close examination of the shrapnel indicates a cooling fan failure. As dangerous as those are, all the shrapnel was contained by the engine and its components. It was truly a catastrophic failure. ALL the blades separated from the two cooling fan end plates. Never in my 35 plus years of association with 356’s and 912’s had I seen all the blades separate. Here is the evidence of failure. Here are the pieces of the cooling f...
By Ron LaDow
If you are not contemplating or in the midst of an engine rebuild, you probably don't care about compression ratio. If you are, there are certain facts which should figure in your thinking.
Engine life is inversely related to engine RPM. The 'power' an engine makes is largely irrelevant to engine longevity. An engine that makes 100HP at 5,000 RPM, and limited to that speed, will far outlast an engine that makes 75HP at 6,000RPM, and regularly run to that speed. Loads increase linearly with power and geometrically with speed.
Engine speeds above 5,000 RPM are where almost all horsepower is quoted since it’s easier to make big horsepower numbers there. It's just not easy to make them at the RPMs commonly used; those big numbers are swapped for power elsewhere in the engine speed range. It's also easy to make noise, and this is entirely too often confused with power.
There are four ways of increasing power in the range between 2,000 and 5,000 RPM,...
By Ron LaDowShifter action in a 356 will never equal a car with has the lever sticking right out of the transmission, but it should be crisp and accurate in its selections. If your shifter seems vague, there are plastic bushings in three locations subject to wear which can make a great deal of difference in feel and accuracy. They are not expensive, a standard wrench set pretty much covers the tools required, but you should devote a weekend to the project if you've never done it before.PartsCup Bushing - (1) - Stoddard's part # 911.424.139 (for B/C cars, original # was 695.424.110.00). This is a plastic cup at the base of the leverRing Bushing - (1) - 695.424.211.01 A plastic ring bushing just aft of the cup bushingCoupler Bushings - (2) - no separate part numbers; ask by name These are two plastic bushings in an aluminum coupling, similar to a u-joint mechanism, just forward of the transmission noseInner Boot - (1) - 695.424.922.00Outer Boot - (1) - 695.424.921.03Buy the bushings f...
Return to article on Fan Shroud Colors. Bill Romano: I took these photos at the Porsche factory in 1962 and 1963. They show rows of engines awaiting installation. There are both gloss black and gloss grey fan covers on engines with Zeniths and I guess these were Normals and Supers. Then there are S90's with Solex carbs that appear to have the same color fan covers as the supers (gloss grey). The grey ones could be silver I guess but they look grey in my photos; they are certainly not white but I can't tell if they're exactly the same shade as the Supers. Return to article on Fan Shroud Colors.
By Jim Perrin & Jerry Haussler
Q: Were all tire gauge pouches made of vinyl, or were the earlier ones leather?
A: The tire gauge pouches were leather from the early 50s in all the tool kits through the 356B model; the only exception is for the version of the T6B tool kit that had no tire gauge. Like everything else, there were various versions of the leather pouch. The earliest ones are the nicest ones. They had much more sewing along the edges (I think the stitching used was called surge stitching) of the earliest ones. In addition, there was a little piece of material sewn inside the bag next to the inner surface of the metal snap so that it wouldn't scratch the lens of the gauge.
An unusual variation is that a few pouches were suede leather.
Pouches are made from two pieces of leather. Reproduction pouches invariably have two halves that matching leather grain, i.e., out of one hide. Many, but not all, of the orig...
By Charlie White
Q:How do I Identify my Blaupunkt radio?
A: Blaupunkt radios were manufactured with a series designation and a serial number. The easiest way to tell the approximate age of a Blaupunkt radio is by the series designation, as:
K 1956-1957 S 1957-1958 G 1958-1959 Q 1959-1960 D 1960-1961 E 1961-1962 T 1962-1963 U 1963-1964 V 1964-1965 W 1965-1966
This letter designation is usually found on a "paper" tag/label affixed to the side of the radio. The letter usually is in front of the serial number. It appears from the information I have, that the first part transistor Blaupunkt radios were introduced in 1958-59, with the Koln TR US. This radio would have been mostly tubes, with one or two transistors. In 1959-1960 the Frankfurt TR US appeared, and the conversion to all transistor was completed sometime around 1965. Just a tidbit from an accumulation of information that I have gathered together about Blaupunkt...
These links will take you off the 356 Registry website.
Look up 356 Chassis Numbers, Engine Numbers, and Transmission Numbers Eric Cherneff's website
356 & 912 Engine Type Numbers Eric Cherneff's website
1950 - 59 Official Factory Parts Book PDF 3.4Mb, official Porsche website
1960 - 65 Official Factory Parts Book PDF 3.4Mb, official Porsche website
Porsche Parts Catalogs, all models, all years official Porsche website
Factory Parts Books DerWhite's website
Factory Workshop Manuals 1950 - 65 DerWhite's website
Factory Paint Colors A, B, C John Willhoit's website
Factory Color Charts A, B, C DerWhite's website
Factory Toolkits A, B, C Eric Cherneff's website
Factory Toolkits A, B, C DerWhite's website
Owner's Manuals DerWhite's website
Factory Price Lists A, B, C DerWhite's website
Factory Options A, B, C DerWhite's website
Factory Radio Options DerWhite's website
Blaupunkt Radios DerWhite's website
Dealer Installed Air Conditioning Systems DerWhite's website
Text and scans by Charlie White, edited by Barry Lee Brisco, with additional contributions from Orr Potebnya, Bill Strickland and Michael Zois
NOTE: The colors that you see shown in the images below do not necessarily accurately represent the actual colors. Digital photos/scans and computer monitors vary significantly in how they show colors.
There are a number of slightly different 356A Driver's Manuals in circulation. The images shown below are an attempt to make clear which are vintage (the versions provided with the A model when it was new) and which are later official Porsche reprints. Only English language versions are covered here: the 356A Driver's Manual was also published in French and German.
Shown below is the cover and 1st page of an original 356A Driver's Manual, print date October 1956: notice the black spiral binding. Orr Potebnya notes that the October 1956 edition is 112 pages long and differs from the l957 edition with the inclusion of 16 pages ...
By Jerry Wells, photos by Barry Lee Brisco
I have two basic procedures:
Easy, Change Oil Only
The Full Monty
Recently I have been changing oil that is fairly warm, that is, full engine temperature then cooled for approximately 40-50 minutes. All you need is:
an oil draining reservoir (large plastic container from any FLAPS [friendly local auto part supplier])
19mm socket and handle
4 1/2 quarts of new oil
Proceed as follows:
I like to put the rear on jack stands then raise the front with the jack so it's level for maximum oil drainage. Not sure how to safely jack up your car? Read how.
Position the oil draining resevoir under the engine and remove the 19mm bolt from the bottom of the engine case. Use care as this is a pipe thread and is easily stripped. The oil will drain into the resevoir for recycling at your local auto parts store.
Remove the lid of the oil filter container (save gaske...
By Ron LaDow Precision Matters
Adjusting Valves: The First Step in Tuning Up a 356
Because of the interaction of the various engine systems, a tune-up on a 356 (and other engines of similar vintage) must be done in a certain order:
Set valve clearances
Tune the ignition system
Tune the carbs
Each prior portion of the tune-up contributes to the later. At the later-stage tuning of the carbs, there is a certain 'circularity' to the adjustments, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Contributions here will cover most 356s from 1955 and some 912s.
You should have at least the Owners Manual, or Elfrink's tome to identify some of the parts referenced.
Except for the carburetor adjustments, no special tools are required. If you are performing a tune up for the first time, allow a weekend. Order the parts first; there are few things that discourage fiddling with old cars like having to wait a week for a miserable piece of cork...