I was so amused by my bone head mistake, I just had to share it! No Porsche Caymans were hurt or maimed during the creation of this story, only minor damage to my back and ego. Here’s the story:
I had been having what many Porsche owners may deal with over the life of their vehicle, the dreaded check engine light. This check engine light lights up multiple warnings like a Christmas tree, in particular, PSM failure, Auto start stop disabled, flashing check engine light that goes to solid check engine and engine module failure possible to drive on notice. To the new Porsche owner this usually is accompanied by the sinking gut feeling and possibly a change of the BVD’s! The first time this occurs thoughts of $26k engine replacement dance through our heads. The car then shakes and sounds very much like, well.....a 718 4-banger turbo engine. No offense 718 fans! It is severely down on power and off balanced. So this was intermittent. After a restart it would go away, but I read the codes anyways. I got a P0356, P0306, and a P2317. All codes point to a coil over plug on cylinder 6. Here’s where the story gets good.
A couple weeks go by and the coil starts failing with more and more frequency. I decide it’s time to replace. I picked up two coils, one to keep as a back up in case any others decide to give up the ghost at an in opportune time, and scheduled my time in my workshop, aka the barely insulated garage in the dead of Chicago winter.
I jack up the car, properly support it, just after I try to squeeze my Harbor Freight aluminum jack past my rear bumper (didn’t want to open the garage for more room and let in the cold air!) and bump the paint on my rear bumper. Mistake number one, and one that I even envisioned prior to taking on the task! Watch out for your rear bumper! Doh!! “That’ll buff out!”
Looking at the task, I am slightly dreading it as the cylinder is closest to the middle of the car (those of you who know these cars, don’t spoil the punchline!). So I get my universal joint, 16 inches of 3/8 extension and a ratchet and start working on the coil pack screw, unclip the coil, remove and replace. With all the contorting and swear words working on my back in the cold, I got it done. The wrist coil pack to replace was complete. Bolt up the rear wheel, torque the lug nuts and lower the car to the ground. Mission accomplished. Right? WRONG!
Feeling all warm and fuzzy and confident, I crank over the aluminum lump and, hey! Whats’s that? The check engine light is still on and sounds like the 718 4-banger still. What gives!? I said, oh, maybe the engine needs to register the new coil. Yeah that’s it! Nope 👎.
Rewind to just before the start of the task when I said to myself, “self, look up the cylinder diagram to make sure it’s the right cylinder you are replacing the coil on. Nah, I know which cylinder is which.” My fatal flaw, overconfidence.
So the Porsche owner in the know would have caught my mistake a while back as cylinder 6 coil pack is the easiest of them all to change. Cylinder 4, which I wrestled with for far too long, is the hardest to change without removing underbody panels. So yes folks, I changed out cylinder 4’s coil pack initially! Ugh. Wasted time and effort. So back up in the air the Caymam goes, 15 minutes later, coil pack 6 is changed out and all is right in the Cayman’s world.