My Porsche® 996 Turbo’s hydraulic wing system failed – twice…
The first failure occurred sometime before I bought the Turbo. I purchased it knowing there was only one issue – the wing did not function.
As an engineer with loads of process experience and being handy with tools, I thought it would be easy to fix. After researching a few “rebuilding wing hydraulics” forum posts, I removed the 3-piece hydraulic mechanism and disassembled it. An exercise in futility that took quite a bit of effort and time – and a messy job:
The wing is difficult to remove without a special tool and the hydraulics are not easy to remove without precise instructions. It became clear; this factory device is not meant to be rebuilt – only replaced. Once completely disassembled, I found that parts had melted inside the motor (overheated) and fluid had leaked out at the seals:
Once the motor was rebuilt and the hydraulics refilled, bled and bench tested, I reinstalled the mechanism into my Turbo. I continued researching the many hydraulic failure modes, learning that the hydraulic ram cylinders cannot be rebuilt without cutting them apart to replace leaky internal seals. This is followed by soldering them back together (somehow aligning them) hoping the soldering heat does not warp the thin tube or degrade newly installed o-rings. I decided this shade-tree fix was not a proper way to correct a problem.
Just a few months after the rebuild, a hydraulic ram failed again, leaking Pentosin® down the back bumper and into the engine bay while on a long trip. The wing was stuck partially up on one side and wouldn’t move.
I wondered, why such a poorly designed wing elevator system was ever incorporated on the Porsche® Turbo super car, let alone the Carrera GT?
A Startup is Created…
After the second hydraulics failure I began to think about A BETTER MECHANISM than the factory’s overly complex and failure prone hydraulic mechanism. Because that’s what engineers do. My goal was to design and build an all-electronic wing lift mechanism that is robust, easy to install, functions exactly like the factory system and is easy to work on or modify. After an extensive design and prototype phase, I finally hit on a winning combination.
Early in 2015, Rennkit™ LLC was started up to build and market an electric replacement system for the wing hydraulics. The first “eRam Kit™” was installed on my 996 Turbo during March, 2015. Many popular threads on the forum about dead wing hydraulics prompted me to create a thread titled “Beta Testers Needed”. Over 24 beta testers and early adopters signed up right away to purchase and test the first eRam Kits™. All of them helped prove our concept “A Simpler Form Follows Function”. This taught me that there was a need for such a product. The owners of an eRam Kit™ are proud of it and their installation skills. You can read their testimonials here.
In 2019 we were granted a patent for our novel electric wing elevator system:
As a fellow PCA club member put it: “This is how Porsche® should have done it”. Always remember our motto; NO MORE HYDRAULICS!™
I created the company, website, online store and then thought what is next… Turns out some Porsche owners like to have their car fixed at a local shop (like me). I then created a preferred shops page for independent Porsche repair shops – connecting turbo owners with a reliable shop to install the eRam Kit™. What happened next was totally unexpected. We began to get notes from Porsche dealerships wanting to install the eRam Kit™. That was a surprise, but we have had shops all over the US installing our system. WHY? Because they recognized a more robust, yet less expensive solution to a common problem they had experienced multiple times.
Why stop there? We have found other entrepreneurs with specialty products for these models that we have added to our catalog.
There are many aftermarket products for these models that we would like to develop and have a backlog of parts to be designed. We recently added the Cal*Cool™ product for brakes, BTR-2 Bluetooth Retrofit Kit™, Airbox Clips, etc.
I have had a great love for all things Porsche® since I was 15. My first Porsche® was a ’72 914, bought in 1979. Rusty of course… but after a summer of learning body work, brazing and application of 17 coats of black lacquer at my parents’ house in St. Clair, Michigan, it looked great and I was a proud owner. I drove the little 914 from Michigan to Florida and also Oklahoma:
I moved to Tulsa, OK for 6 months in 1982 in order to make money to finish my Chemical Engineering degree at Michigan State University. I sold the 914 in Tulsa in 1981.
In 1985 while living in Tyler, Texas (first engineering job), I purchased a long standing dream, a 1974 gold 911 Targa with 2.7 liter motor (lots of issues…). It had the odd Sportomatic transmission (oops) and a shade-tree mechanic’s 4-BBL carb! I stripped the body, painted it guards red and installed triple throat Webber carbs:
The 911 Targa was sold for a profit before I moved to Burghausen, Germany (in Bavaria) in 1993. Seeing Porsches on the autobahn was a catalyst for pursuing my dream of owning another 911 one day.
Back in the states, after reading all about the significantly updated 964 Carrera 4 in 1989, I was excited to one day own this variant. Finally in 2004 I purchased a Guards Red 1989 Carrera 4 for $16,700. It was my first 911 with an electric motorized wing! What a fantastic 911 – with roots back to the 959 Supercar:
Michigan International Speedway
In 2010 as Events Chair for a local PCA club, I led a flight of Porsches onto Michigan International Speedway for a few “hot laps”. What an opportunity! My first track experience. Sadly the back straight left me completely underwhelmed with the dogged 3.6 liter motor struggling to top 100 MPH. Long pedal to the floorboard… speed creeping up too slowly. A faster 911 was envisioned. I sold the 964 C4 in 2011. What a mistake that turned out to be. Though I made a profit at $19,600, these models now fetch around $50K!
In 2005 I was offered the job as Executive Director – Porsche Club of America, the largest car club in the world. Moving to Washington DC however, was a deal breaker… yet I sometimes wonder how different my life would have been, had I accepted the position…
In 2011 I acquired a 2003 Speed Yellow 996 Carrera 4S with 6 speed, GT2 nose and Turbo wheels. Fast and modern – with an actual cold A/C system. My second Porsche® with a motorized wing:
Though it was my favorite Porsche® to date and first track car, I reluctantly decided to sell it in order to move up to a 996 Turbo – the ultimate. I had discovered HPDE and wanted something faster and more suited to the track.
FUN FACT: My wife’s great grandfather’s name was Willhelm Porsche. From birth records we know they lived in Zsombolya (Jimbolia), Romania when their daughter (my wife’s grandmother) was born. Could we actually be related to the Prof. Ferdinand Porsche family? That might be an interesting ancestry search one day.
An unanticipated Porsche® came into my life in 2013. My uncle’s horribly neglected 1955 356 Continental coupe. As a kid, I remember playing in my grandparents’ barn – and seeing this forlorn little car. Stripped of interior, engine and paint in the 60’s, it sat rusting away in a derelict barn. The barn roof actually collapsed on top of it. My uncle had used it as a track car, traveling the midwest and racing at some of the tracks I now run on! Extracting it was an all day job for my friend Jeff, his son Alex, and I:
I contacted the original owner of the 356 “Conti”, an acquaintance of my uncle. Though well into his 80’s, he mentioned that my aunt’s brother owned a Porsche® 550 Spyder! He reminisced about the time they were nearly run off the road while doing 100 MPH back in the late ’50s! I’ve been searching for evidence of the 550 Spyder in 8mm home movies. I was told the spyder may now reside in Colorado.
Wish it were still in the barn…
Turning to the 996 Turbo purchased in 2014: A beautiful, unmolested 2002 Basalt Black 996 Turbo with factory short shift kit and 6 speed transmission – made a great track car. It now has a set of 4 3/4″ eRams on it:
eRam Testing: Grattan Raceway back straight, Belding, MI
I sold the 356 to a restoration company in the Czech Republic and added a 2009 987.2 Guards Red Cayman S with 6 speed transmission, SSK, LSD, and PASM to the mix:
Swamp turn in at Waterford Hills, MI
Of course I had to justify another Rennkit fleet vehicle, so I developed a CAYMAN WING EXTENSION kit to raise the little factory wing 1″ higher:
I thought the Cayman S would be a great track car, but alas, I was hooked on turbos and sold it in 2019.
Feb. 2017: I found a clean 997.1 Turbo with PCCB, Sport Chrono, Bilstein Coil Overs, Sport Exhaust, 6 speed manual, pinned coolant lines… and of course a dead wing! Once I removed the hydraulics, I could tell they hadn’t worked for years…
Loading up in Oregon:
Both of these black beauties have the 4″ SuperFast™ eRam™ kit with protective boots. Twin Turbos…
This is the NEW 4-3/4″ [119mm] eRam™ kit. Nothing else out there that elevates the wing this high up and back down!
For the first time a 996 Turbo can be outfitted with a 997 Turbo wing. Our 996 Turbo has become the Rennkit track vehicle with a 997 Turbo wing on our 4 3/4″ eRam Kit™:
“Red Wing Black Bird” cresting a hill at Road America, WI
We moved to Madison Wisconsin in 2018 and added another test mule, a 2011 Turbo S with our 4 3/4″ SuperFast eRam Kit™:
This site is in no way associated with Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
Porsche is a registered trademark of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG.