My black 1993 911 RS America is now over 10 years old with just over 30k miles on it. Obviously, its age puts it well out of warranty. Up until now, I have done nothing to the engine or suspension. I have added a stainless steel 4-point roll bar (designed for an RS America with no sunroof), a stainless steel dead pedal (over the soft feeling one from the factory), and rotated the tach to have the red-line up. I believe all these changes help me with autocrossing, or an occasional driving school at the track. It is also fun to educate people about racing (occasionally they ask if my tach fell sidewise......)
When I burned though my first set of street tires autocrossing, I bought a used set of identical wheels for autocrossing and track use (the green and black ones I have a picture of in the rsamerica.net photo gallery). That was a wise investment for my street tires. Other than that I have kept my car stock.
In June of 2002, I had my most recent birthday. My Porsche, which came off the assembly line on my birthday, also turned 10 years old. My wife really surprised me by telling me she thought that I should go ahead and do the performance upgrades I had been talking about doing to my RS America. She said that this gift was because I had done no modifications to it, and because it is now 10 years old. I was very excited, but, as always, I started my research and continued to put off actually modifying the car.
Turbo Performance Center (TPC), who work almost exclusively on Porsches, are just a few miles from my house in MD. I know several people that have had work done to their cars there, and everyone has been very happy with them. They have a very good reputation in the area, and have done full page ads in national magazines, as well as campaigning cars in various racing series. I decided I would have them do the work.
As a baseline - (according to TPC) the RS America has 247 hp and 218 hp at the wheels. After talking with TPC there were three different options that I was considering. I knew I would definitely go for option #1, probably option #2, and maybe the whole combined package of option #3.
- Option #1 Primary muffler by-pass
RS Americas have two mufflers, a primary muffler running across the width of the car furthest aft and a secondary muffler located behind the right rear wheel. Many people replace the primary muffler with a lighter by-pass pipe. I have always wanted to do this: the advantages being, better sound, reduced weight and increased performance.
- 6 hp gain at the wheels
- 20 lb. weight reduction
- $295 for the stainless by-pass pipe + $90 labor
- Option #2 Air Filter and filter housing Mod
K&N filter / Drill holes in Airbox to European Carrera Cup car specs.
- 3 hp gain at wheels
- Option #3 - the full Cup Car Package
This included everything listed in options 1 and 2 above, PLUS a High Performance custom computer chip (similar to Carrera cup car specs).
- 20 hp increase @ wheels and a 20 lb. weight reduction (total of #1, #2, and option #3)
- Power will kick in about 1000 rpm sooner
- About 0.4 seconds faster 0-60 time
- $800 Total for all parts and labor
I have read a lot about performance chips, and believe that a revised chip would help optimize the engine's power. I believe that it will actually be better for the engine (as will replacing the primary muffler with a by-pass pipe). The engine will have less back pressure from the exhaust, will manage fuel better, will run smoother, have improved performance and probably get better gas mileage.
Turbo Performance Center claimed I would have been happy with option #1, and #2 and said that I would notice a slight performance improvement. They also said that the elements of option #3 are all made to work together, and I would feel like I was driving a whole new car. They claimed that there is no long-term wear and tear damage by replacing the chip, and that my 3.6L engine was actually designed to handle much more horsepower. This modification would only be a slight upgrade to the engine that I would definitely feel, and will make the car more fun to drive.
I decided to go for option #3 - the full “Cup Car Package.”
Turbo Performance Center programmed the chip in house using their dyno (which they say is a must for any shop if you ever have performance work done on your car). They based it on of the programming for the 1992 Carrera Cup car, but they utilize their own programming because the Cup Car is designed to run with 100 octane fuel. Their custom chip is programmed to give the best performance from 93 octane fuel.
My receipt states that the Chip was $300 (I don't know what it would cost to get just the chip alone because I got the complete package). TPC said that they would allow someone who can't get to their shop to order just the chip in the mail. If you want to call TPC to ask them any questions - I recommend Tom Chan he was the guy I worked with - their number is (410) 799 RACE (7223).
I was sure to get all my original parts (including my original chip) back, so if I ever want to return the car to stock I can easily do so.
WOW! What a difference!
First of all, the exhaust note sounds awesome! The sound makes you want to start the car with the door open. The initial roar of the engine is so much more aggressive sounding then it was before. The same experience happens with just blipping the throttle.
When you accelerate it sounds more like a racecar! A Very cool sound! Very serious! However, the car still seems to have a very reasonable sound when cruising in 5th on the freeway, (which is good for long trips, especially if that trip includes a passenger). I am sure most of the sound difference comes from the replacing of the primary muffler with the By-pass.
Once I got over the sound, it was amazing how RIGHT away I could feel the difference in performance. It drives like a whole different car. I believe most of this effect comes from the new computer chip as the car feels WAY more responsive. The snap you feel back into your seat is definitely more severe. I feel that the main power band comes on about 1000 rpm higher than it did before, just as TPC said it would. I can't believe the increased performance you feel in every gear. I'm sure I will get used to this fast :o)
I am very pleased with the results of incorporating this performance upgrade. The next thing I'm considering for my RS America is a set of H&R springs to lowering the car, and also having it corner balanced. That is another expensive proposition and, I would imagine, still some time away. For now I am psyched, and looking forward to getting used to the new performance that I have right now!!!
Bert R of MD.