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911tom's 3.8l engine build


22 May 2012
Some may recall my post back in June where I had carried out an oil change on my 996 turbo and found what looked to be copper in the oil filter. It was an absolute disaster but I remained positive;


At the time I spoke to a few people but ultimately the outcome was never going to be great had I continued driving the car. So off it went to Fearnsport to have the engine removed and stripped, this was back in the middle of July.

The engine was stripped fairly quickly and the cause was obvious to Matt at Fearnsport. So what was it;

(Sorry Ben / Caroline. Hope you do not mind I used your pic)

The 3 nuts that should be holding the oil pump in place were not fitted. Matt commented that the engine had clearly never been opened so it must have been a Friday afternoon build at porsche back in 2001! The movement in the pump over time had caused wear to the bearing. The engine had done well though at 95k miles! It could have potentially done a lot more who knows.

At this point I was faced with a dilemma. All the rest of the engine was sound. Clearly at my current power level it would be silly not to up rate rods and studs. Welding the coolant pipes was essential too while it was out. I assessed the costs put in front of me, applied man math and ended up going for a 3.8 build. It would be a shame not to add some bigger turbos to make the most of it so a pair of Tial Alpha 3076r's were ordered.

hmmm GT2RS coolers are great but simply will not be up to it. I've gone round full circle with the various items available but decided to go with Wagner EVO2 competition coolers. What I like about these is they have considered the ducting. Removing the duct as most do seem illogical to me. So these were ordered this morning.


I had ASNU 1050CC injectors which were far too big before but now should be about right, although I may need to run 5 bar pressure. Not too sure yet. With that in mind my single walbro 450 pump was never going to deliver enough fuel. I toyed with the idea of an inline pump of some description but again decided to do the right thing and ordered a stage 3 silly rabbit kit;


This kit should arrive next week.

Then on to transmission. My car is a tiptronic so I have never had to worry about clutch etc but now with added power it was never going to work. I knew this early on so sent my gearbox to germany to be built to withstand 1300NM torque. It came back in september so is all good to go.
I had hoped to keep AWD but thanks to Kens clarification it looks like RWD is the way to go;

I had hoped the process would be done within 8 weeks and I'd make the Goodwood charity event in September. I was clearly very wrong! My car has not moved since the engine was removed in July and does look very sad parked up with its arse in the air

The spiders and rust has set in :sad:

Now for the porn :D

My unexpected build has ended up progressing in to something much bigger than I could ever have imagined and costing much more than I could have ever justified! I originally brought my car for £15k as a project! I have had a lot of fun with it since I picked it up in March 2013, the fun continues and I have no intentions on selling it any time soon.

My plan is to keep this thread updated through my journey right the way through the build, tuning and my eventual return to terminal velocity, hopefully in spring 2017.


So finally the cams were delivered to Fearnsport on Tuesday which has enabled Matt to press on in the last few days. I arrived this morning to see Matt putting the lids on over the Cams.

Few more pics :D

Hopefully next week will be installing all the ancillaries etc and refitting to the car will be happening very soon. Watch this space :D

Update No. 2 - Friday 27th January 2017

I received a couple of photo updates from Fearnsport over this week and visited this morning. I am pleased to announce the build is progressing. When I arrived this morning Matt was in the process of fabricating the oil lines for the turbos. Pictures say more than words so here goes!

This is where I was saying further up about the coolant pipe kit that came with the turbos would mean the coolant line becomes the lowest part of the engine. Fearnsport have welded on a connection on the side. Honestly the man's an artist!!!!

Same design at the top of the engine for the coolant feeds. I am so impressed with the quality here. Seems almost a shame to hide it away and risk it getting dirty!

Update 2 03/03/2017

We are really making some progress now! Matt has been giving the build his full attention the last few weeks and it is so close now. We are waiting on part of the exhaust which should land today and also an air filter to fit the bespoke intake. The intakes are remaining a bit of a secret for now as to the detail of how they go together. The brief on them was not to block the intercoolers as is normally what happens with these big builds.

So the engine is now in and the cars has been started a few times to check for leaks etc.

It is running but a little lumpy due to the fact there are no lamba sensors fitted. The car also runs no maf so heavily relies on the lamba sensors for information. When the exhaust goes on it will be able to be tested properly.

Engine bay looking very tidy. Matts attention to detail is crazy. Every hose is heat shrinked and dressed in beautifully. Much of the silly rabbit kit was thrown out as Matt was concerned about the quality of many of the fittings. I could of course gone against this but with the US fitting in one hand and Matts solution in the other it was not a hard decision to make! I am currently sticking with the stock y pipe. I may look at another solution if it proves to be a restriction but looking at the size of the turbo outlets I can't see that a larger item will make too much difference. This could of course be my wallet talking!

Turbos, heat shields and intercooler looking very fresh. I ended up investing in new mounting frames and heat shields, would have been a shame not to. The secret part of the intake is hidden from shot.

The beautifully crafted wagner intercoolers with carbon ducts :D

So what have I been doing while all this is going on? I have been preparing his bedroom ready for his return home. The atom moved in to the garage so it is time for the much needed extension to 'project garage'. I will update the garage thread in time too!

Update 3 18/04/2017

So the first level of tuning has been completed at Unicorn Motor Developments. It now has 3 switchable maps controllable using the cruise control stalk. The car will tell you which map is currently selected by pointing to the relevant number on the RPM gauge. Cool right! So map 0 is 1.05 bar, map 1 is 1.3 bar and map 2 is 1.6 bar. I've not had much time to gel with it just yet but part of me is thinking it does not need to be any quicker. But how often have I thought that! The future plan is to possible try more boost (although I want to keep it safe), add in meth injection (map 3), possibly map 4 will be race fuel. If I do go for these more extreme settings these maps will be reserved for special occasions.

It drives so unbelievably nicely. It's still very much usable, still got both kids seats in the back and will continue to use it to take the family out in while the kids are small enough to fit in the back. Just driving it normally is really no different to when it was stock. Amazing cars these Porsche's!

Also had new new suspension setup installed at Center of Gravity last week. I've heard nothing but good things about CoG. Even still they far exceeded my expectations. The attention to detail, skill level and customer service was just amazing. Not only that they are just nice people to talk to! The new ohlins setup is just amazing! The daily drive on bumpy B roads is more refined than traditional dampers. Yet push it in to a bend and everything stiffens up. Pete also presented me with some great news. My car is a CAT D and before all this was the 'bargain 911' (not any more lol). I never originally set out to buy a CAT D car but the price at the time was very tempting and when I test drove it it drove straighter and nicer than any of the the other turbos I had tried. Hence why I brought it. Yet I was still surprised when Pete told me it is a really straight chassis! He was able to get the alignment almost bang on, corner waiting is perfect etc. He explained that you can tell a good chassis as with a poor one you will only ever get alignment or corner waiting right, not both at the same time. It seems my non-straight car is straighter than most straight cars, RESULT!

Did not get much time with the car over the easter weekend due to family commitments but I did get my gauges fitted;

Few more pics;

Definitely looking forward to watching this.... :popcorn:
Much needed weekly updates, I am looking forward to this more than games of thrones !
I'll do my best but weekly could be a problem. It has taken nearly 5 months to get to this point but things are happening quicker now. It was waiting for bits to come from around the world and the machine work that was really dragging. Now we have all the bits for the engine it is starting to happen much quicker. Had a message from Matt to say he is just about to start putting the heads on :D
All the best with the build, I look forward to seeing and hearing your car around the town again :thumb:

To give you an idea of power we did a few years ago a 3.8L with 3076R but with full GT3 top end which rev to 8500rpm. It made 920hp at the top peak (although intakes were 70c). On the road it probably had a bit more.

So without that GT3 top end, I think you can certainly get above the 800hp number with your set up :thumb:

:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:

Ken that sounds awesome!!! Matt is fitting a GT3 inlet cam... I'm sure that was what he said.. I'm very much at school with this project :dont know:

I will be running water / meth which will hopefully help keep IATs sensible. I am going to get a few maps written with variable boost. Only the high boost maps will activate the meth system.
jezgreen911 said:
All the best with the build, I look forward to seeing and hearing your car around the town again :thumb:

lol I think all my neighbours think I sold the noisey porsche when I brought the atom.... Boy they are in for a treat :D
Looking forward to this have to meet up again at the cafe when it's finished :thumb:
Sexual healing is what that build should be called Tom :thumb:

Subscribed +2!
3.8 and xonas ----- woooohhhhssssssssshhhhhhhhh!!!!
Sounds like a fantastic build. All the best with it and look forward to reading more

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