The other day I decided to adjust the shift tube coupler in my 911 - for the 350th time - in my eternal quest for the smoother shifting that I imagine must be obtainable if only I would adjust the coupler (and clutch cable, etc.) for the 351st time, thereby finding gear-change nirvana. It's elusive, but can I stop questing? The transmission has been rebuilt and the bushings renewed, so I don't think they are the issue, I hope. The published advice offered on this adjustment process flippantly dismisses the procedure as being a five minute job. I may be a little slow; it took me two days. . .
|A shift coupler like mine. Web.|
A day or two later I figured out that I could skip the following process and adjust the coupler without what I describe in this paragraph. Never mind, you may want to know what you face if you want to actually change the coupler entirely, or rebuild it, so here goes: You will face tasks such as removing the two rubber boots that cover the coupler, one coming from the front and the other from the back. There is a stainless steel band that holds the two boots in place, thereby helping to keep dirt out of the coupler. The boot from the rear fits over a flared collar that is found protruding from the lower part of the fire wall. The rubber of this boot turns back over itself, and one half of the resulting double layer is the part that goes over the collar. The front boot then stretches over the rear's rubber layer, and at the same time over the collar. The steel band next goes over the two layers of rubber in order to hold them in place. All of this is easier said than done because tight rubber doesn't slide over other rubber, but rather sticks to it, and it takes more time and effort than the actual 'five minute' adjustment; all of it is awkward to do as any yogi will tell you. Typical. This car isn't designed with ease of maintenance as a primary consideration.
|In my car, at an earlier moment in its rebuild. The steel band is off of the boots and collar. Easy access here.|
Although I didn't have this in mind when I bought my car, the elaborate servicing that it requires has become a therapeutic, calming, and cooling influence on me, never mind all of the cussing I do from under the car, and complaining that I spout once I'm back out from in or under it. A good and levelheaded mechanic works methodically, confident in his experience and training (I haven't bumped into a female mechanic yet, but a small number of them are out there somewhere), so that the tasks at hand are approached rationally and without apprehension, or confusion. I work in constant fear that my ignorance will result in disaster.
|Rubber boots removed. Web.|
|"Quebec, all in French and in French only!" CBC.ca|
I thought he looked vaguely familiar, but I didn't know why. "You can also adjust shifting by moving the shifter's top plate in the front," he added, "but it's fussier to do. Here's the clamp you want. Use an 8 mm nut driver on that, and don't forget to adjust the clutch cable so that you have about an inch (2.5 cm) of free play at the pedal." "Okay, thanks," I said. "I worked for a few years on those cars while I was a mechanic in Germany," he also added. I expressed appreciation for this information and we chatted briefly about valve adjustment and other routine servicing required for my car. He knew what model of Porsche I had, and I had no idea who he was. There aren't many vintage Porsches in my extended neighbourhood; my car can't be that famous.
|"Pasta" is not a French word. A small Italian restaurant got busted; for real. Web.|
"Lookin' good! What year is that Porsche? I used to be a mechanic working on those cars, but down in Connecticut some years back. Sounds as if you have one valve a little bit loose." "Thanks, and you're probably right," I said, "but I think I'm less worried about a slightly loose valve than one that is too tight. I'll get to it eventually." I didn't know this guy either.
I'm going to drive a little farther to an additional informed-greeter hardware store to see if I can find another Porsche mechanic. I'll start some kind of club. Evidently there is an attractive quality about hardware stores if you are a former mechanic who worked on vintage Porsches, but I can't speculate about these guy's lives. However, my theory is that being there offers them an opportunity to practice creative, qualitative problem solving; just what is required when servicing an old Porsche. Porsche questions may address parts bigger than quarks, but then the whole realm can be just as confusing, almost like string theory.
By the way, after that 351st coupler adjustment my car shifts much more nicely than before. Success.