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Thursday, 23 September 2010 18:38

Attending the Porsche Collision Certification Program

Written by Toby Chess

Hey Toby—We are repairing at 2007 Porsche Cayman and the insurance company wants us to recon the wheel. Do you know if Porsche has a position statement on reconditioned wheels? —Mick from Marina Del Rey.

Hey Mick—I did not know the answer when you e-mailed me, so I called Mike Kukavica from Porsche Cars of North America (PCNA), and he said that Porsche only allows refinishing of their wheels, but nothing else.     He invited me to attend the introductory course for Porsche collision certification program, which I accepted. After attending the week long program, there are a couple of other items that you need to know about replacing wheels and tires on Porsches.

First, all production tires need to be passed by Porsche’s engineering department for handling, hydroplaning and high speed durability requirements. Only after passing the test, the specific tire will get an “N” designation. You can purchase a Michelin Pilot Sport with and without the “N” designation. You may have to purchase another tire if there is more 30 percent difference in the wear. Porsche states that mixing tires is not permissible and will affect vehicle performance, safety and can affect the vehicle’s warranty. Another item that you need to be aware of is the Tire Pressure Monitoring System, which was available since the end of 2005. The system continuously monitors the air pressure on all 4 tires. When you change a wheel, the system needs to recalibrate itself which is done by test driving the vehicle and checking the display unit for proper function. Finally, Porsche wants new valve stems when replacing a wheel. If the vehicle is equipped with the TPM System, then a special valve system must be used. Next the group looked at the rear spoiler on the Boxter and Cayman models.

Figure 3 shows the rear body panel of a Cayman set in place. The position and angle of the rear body panel is critical to the correct operation of the rear spoiler. Without the knowledge and angle setting tool, the rear body panel can be placed in a position that the spoiler will not operate correctly.

The hole is used to secure the hydraulic piston for the rear spoiler (Fig 4). There is no adjustment for the part, so how does tech know the proper angle of the hole before securing the rear body panel. Porsche has a special jig that aligns the part in its proper position (Fig 5).

The jig secures the rear body panel with eight different location bolts and pins. After the jig and part has been installed, the part is tack welded before the final welding operation. Speaking of spoilers, the group had to remove the rear spoiler from a new Turbo.

Mike Kukavica demonstrated the operation and explained the correct removal of the rear spoiler (Fig 6). Porsche has a special tool the fits in to inner and outer mounting rings.

Sean Vlaszof of DC Autocraft in Burbank, CA, reinstalling the rear spoiler on the Turbo (Fig 8).

One afternoon session was the removal and installation of the front windshield.

Scott Cramer-Bornemann of DC Autocraft repositioning the removal tool. (Before anyone emails me a cautionary about safety, I had the guys remove their safety glasses for the shot. Porsche policy is to wear safety glasses when working on their vehicles.)

The windshield was test-fitted and it’s location marked prior to the final installation.

Porsche sells its own windshield adhesive kit.

One last item on the windshield. Part of the Porsche certification program is to have a tool to set the proper angle of the wiper blades (Fig 11).

Improper blade angle will cause the wiper blades to chatter. We spent time on lighting and the rear tail have an adjusting screw to adjust the flushness of the light to the correct position.

Another whole afternoon was devoted to structural repairs. The group assembled a front lower frame rail. Two complete rails were used. Porsche procedure is to weld bond the two sections together. A specific structural adhesive is spelled out in the repair manual.

George Pedroza from Estorgas Collision Center, Long Beach, CA is applying the specified Porsche adhesive to the inner mating surface of the frame rail (Fig 12). Prior to the installation of the adhesive, a special adhesion promoter is applied to the bare metal surface. Porsche also recommends weld-thru primer to all bare metal mating surfaces that are to be welded (except when weld bonding). MIG spot welds are made through a 7 mm diameter hole.

Agasee Bagoumyan from DC Autocraft welded the frame rail utilizing a Porsche approved resistance spot welder (Fig 13). Porsche recommends only an open butt joint (no butt weld with backers). Porsche also wants epoxy primer applied to all bare metal surfaces. Furthermore, all sealant must be applied over primed surfaces. In other words, no direct to bare metal sealants. Finally, when installing an outer panel over 2 interior panels (quarter panel, for example) that have been weld bonded, Porsche recommends spot welding over existing spots welds. Porsche does not want welding through cured adhesive. Note the three weld bonded panels on the Cayman.

Some notes on Ultra High Strength Steels in Porsche vehicles. No straightening or reshaping UHSS parts. UHSS parts are replaced in their entirety. Rivet bonding is also permitted as outlined in the repair manuals.

Another afternoon was devoted to the Panamera. The group had to remove the inner door cassette.

Stephen Hurt from Park Place Bodywerks, Dallas Texas, removing the driver’s side trim panel on the 2011 Panamera (Fig 15). There are four aluminum bolts the secure the cassette. These bolts need to be replaced and torqued to 10 Newton meters.

The side air bag sensor is located in the door trim panel. It is a pressure sensitive sensor (Fig 17). It is imperative that the cassette is totally sealed. The pressure builds between the outer shell and trim panel on a side impact, which sets off the side air bags.

Any air leaks will prevent the side air bags from working properly.

Sergio Barba from Estorgas Collision Center and Moses Mora from European Auto Body, Escondido, CA, holding the driver’s side door cassette (Fig 18). The group removed door handles that required special tools and techniques from Cayman, Cayenne and Panamera.

The group removed the front and rear bumpers from a new Cayenne and Panamera.

Stephen Hurt reinstalling the front bumper on the 2011 Panamera (Fig 21).

The front bumper to hood is checked with a 1mm gauge. The front bumper is suppose to be flush with the hood, but 1 mm higher.

The week-long class looked at the entire Porsche Automobile line. The front rails on the Panamera are aluminum and the replacement requires special tools, materials and techniques. This will be the next class for the techs.

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