Rendez-vous November 1997 – Checking oil in a 993 and Instructor training

RSR Rendez-vous November 1997

Checking your oil on a 964 or 993


Does seeing your oil level gauge in the red zone while driving your 964 or 993 bug you as much as me? I though I’d pass on something I learned about checking the oil level on these cars which may surprise you.

Contrary to older 911’s, the dip stick on the 3.6 litre engine is next to useless. The darn thing is too long and follows a twisted path to the remote oil tank. As a result, the oil gauge is a more reliable indicator of the amount of oil in the reservoir. That’s why Porsche put it there in the first place. Here’s how to check and adjust your oil level correctly:

1) Make sure the car is warmed up, 10 minutes of easy driving will do it. The oil temperature gauge should at or a little below the third bar on the dial. To avoid confusion, the first indicator bar is at the very bottom, the second is a little above and the one we want is the next up. On a clock, the needle would be pointing to about 7:30 or 8 AM.

2) Let the car idle for 30 seconds on a level surface and I mean l-e-v-e-l. A sloping driveway, or crowned road will produce an inaccurate reading.

3) The oil level gauge should read a little less than half way up, about 4:00 PM if it were a clock face.

4) If it’s below that, leave the car running, pop the engine compartment lid and s-l-o-w-l-y add oil while watching the gauge through the back window. Add oil until the needle points to about 4:00 PM and stop. If you add more, during spirited driving you might get white smoke pouring out the back of the car because the oil is overflowing and dripping onto the exhaust headers. Sometimes it comes out the dashboard vents which is really exciting on the track. Ask Louise how she knows.

5) If for some reason your temp gauge reads higher (maybe because it’s really warm outside) and points to 9:00 AM, then add oil until the oil level needle points to 3:00 PM.

Done this way, your gauge will read normally (not in the red!) when you let the car idle at a stop light on the way to work. On the track after a DEW session, the level needle will be close to the top. As the oil temperatures get higher, the level gauge reads higher.


On October 4th weekend the brave souls who sit in the passenger seat got together to improve their driving and teaching skills. Being a Rennsport instructor is a rewarding experience. It can also be pretty funny. Here are a few examples from the past couple of years:

Scene I

A new student on her first time out, driving her Significant Other’s nicely restored vintage 911 for the first time…

Ins: “You have to roll down your window before we can start.”

Driver: “OK”. Looks somewhat baffled”

Ins: “Something wrong?”

Driver:” Uh, I can’t find the button!”

Ins: “What button?”

Driver: “The window button”

Ins: There is no button, you use the crank on the door, like this (demonstrates).”

Driver: “Oh, I didn’t know what that thing was for, thanks!”

Ins: [mumbles] “I feel old.”

Driver: “What?”

Ins: “Sorry, I was clearing my throat, lets get in line now …”

Scene II

Ins: “This is the warm up lap, uh, let’s not go too fast OK?”

Driver: “OK. What’s too fast?”

IT: “Shift into fourth and keep it to about 100K.”

Driver: “OK.”

Ins. “You’re doing fine, keep to the right as we cross the top of the hill, once we cross I want you to lightly touch your brakes before we turn in for Diable.”

Driver: “OK”. On the way down the hill, the driver mashes the brakes hard.

Ins: [Bonk] “Ouch!”

Driver” What?”

Ins: “I hit my helmet on the windshield, that wasn’t light braking.

Driver: “OK, sorry. ”

Ins: “What’s that noise?”

Driver: “What noise?”

Ins: “That clicking sound.”

Driver: “You mean my turn signal?”

Ins: “Arrgh.”

Driver: “What?”

Ins: “Nothing, I was clearing my throat”.

Scene III

Ins: “Why’d you floor it? That’s a yellow flag, slow down!”

Driver: “I wanted to get through before the flag turned red”.

Ins: “Arrgh ”

Scene IV

On the back straight …

Ins: You’re doing fine, go faster if you’re comfortable, it’s a very long straight.”

Driver: “No I’m happy going 120K.”

Ins: “That’s fine”.

The Front Straight …

Ins: “Slow down, you’re way too fast!”

Driver: “Uhhhh.”

Ins: “Brake hard!”

Ins: Brake harder dammit!!”

Ins:” Why the heck were you going so fast?”

Driver: “Uhhh.”

Ins: “C’mon, why so fast back there?”

Driver: “Uhh errr, well, my girlfriend is watching”

Ins: “Arrgh”

Scene V

Ins: Why are you slowing down?”

Driver: “I’m not!”

Ins: “Yes you are, can’t you feel it?”

Driver: “Yeah but my foot’s to the floor!”

Ins: “Brake gently and pull off the track [points] where it’s safe, something’s wrong.”

Driver: “Oops.”

Ins: “What oops?

Driver: “We’re out of gas”.

Ins: “Arrgh.”

Scene VI

Ins: “Good line into Diable, now get ready for the esses, the second part comes at you very suddenly.”

Driver: “OK”. [Sound of cell phone ringing] driver reaches for the phone…

Ins: [Loudly] “Don’t touch the phone, concentrate of driving!”

Driver: “But I’m expecting an important call, can you take a message for me?”

Ins: “Arrgh.”

Scene VII

Instructor is looking over a student’s car prior to the first track session….

Ins: “Did you go through tech inspection?”

Driver “Yeah, why?”

Ins: “Your tires look really low.”

Driver: ” Yeah I reduced the pressure for better traction.”

Ins: “They look almost flat to me. What pressures are you running?”

Driver ” I dunno, I just let out air until the contact patch was a lot bigger. I learned about contact patches at ground school and I figured bigger was better.”

Ins: “Arrgh.”

Driver: “What?”

Ins: “I said drive to the pits and let’s fill the tires back up.”

Scene VIII

Instructor taking a new member for a track sampler….

Ins: ” Have you done this before?”

New: “No, never, it seems very exciting!”

Ins: “Let me explain how this works. We’re going to drive around the track slowly and explain how we do this, it’s different from driving on the street If you’re uncomfortable please let me know.”

New: “Oh that’s great, my friend is doing this and I’d like to know how it feels.”

Ins: “Great, that’s one of the reasons we do this, so you can share the experience and maybe even try it yourself.”

New: “Great, but aren’t we going kind of slow?”

Ins: “We want to be safe, but I could go a little faster, I just don’t want you to be uncomfortable.”

New: “No that’s fine, go as fast as you’d like.”

Ins: “OK, we’ll pick up the pace a little, but if you were expecting skids and swerves, that’s not what you’ll get, smoothness is the key to good driving.”

Ins: “Here we are on the back straight, we can go pretty fast here, but expect to feel light as I go over the hump OK?”

New: “Wow I felt my tummy in my mouth!”

Ins: “Yeah, it feels very light. Are you OK with this?”

New: “Oh yes!.”

Ins: Here’s the bridge turn, see how I’m smoothly applying power as we come out? At the kink I go way over to the right and then slowly to the left then up here [Namerow’s] we brake very firmly.”

New: “Mmmph”.

Ins: “Sorry I didn’t hear you.”

New: “Mpppah…”

Ins: “Are you OK?”

New” Uhh, stop the car please!”

Ins: “OK, we’ll pit next time around.”

New:” No, now, stop the car please!”

Ins: “OK, as soon as it’s safe. Are you OK?”

New: “I’m gonna be sick!!!!!”

Ins: “Sh*t!”


Porsche .. air bags are standard, barf bags are not.

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