Replacing the Air Filter: Harder Than It Sounds

Time to give the Porsche a bit of attention. Namely, the air filter was due for a change.
Yep, the filter was dirty.
See that orange line? That's the base of the filter element. The airbox contains two parts, and they're joined by four latches. Three are easy to reach. The fourth one is hidden on the lower-back side of the box.
Smaller girl hands were part of the winning combination.
And now our Porsche has a clean air filter.

Let’s just say that girl hand plus Vaseline turned the procedure into a one-minute job.

Replacing an air filter is usually an easy activity. In fact, it’s so easy that a caveman can do it. Unfortunately, replacing the filter on a 3.2-liter Carrera isn’t that easy.

Well, the first step is pretty simple: ordering the new filter. We spent less than $12 with Pelican Parts for a Mahle replacement element.

Removing the old filter isn’t too hard, although reaching the lower latch on the back of the airbox is a bit of a stretch. It’s way down there. (While the airbox was apart, we also cleaned out 25 years’ worth of grime, too.)

Sticking the filter back into the airbox also isn’t too hard. There are little arrows reminding you which way is up.

The trick comes in closing that lower back latch. Sure, you were able to just barely flip it open, but snapping it closed requires a bit more dexterity. A double-jointed wrist or extend-o-matic fingers would help a bunch, but sadly we don’t have either.

No matter how much we stretched and grunted, we couldn’t reach the latch. We could touch it, sure, but couldn’t get enough leverage to snap it closed. The airbox itself plus some a/c hardware were blocking the road. We even enlisted a small girl hand (care of Mrs. Editor). She, too, could barely close it.

After wrestling with the latch for the better part of an hour, Mrs. Editor had an idea. Let’s just say that girl hand plus Vaseline turned the procedure into a one-minute job.

The end.

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chknhwk HalfDork
4/17/10 7:42 p.m.

My passenger side headlight housing is much like that. In order to pull the back of the housing there are two clips and the outside one is very difficult to reach - especially in order to get the back of the housing off the clip needs to swing way out of the way. After a few attempts at reaching it with my hand - and I have very small hands - I decided to use a very long twist tie that was used to keep the Rudolph nose on the front of my Jag (ask the girlfriend, I didn't put it on there). After straightening it I put a small curl at the end which was just enough the pull the latch back up into a reachable distance and I was then able to reach in and latch it fully.
BTW, nice car, very nice updates. I've never really liked P-cars but after playing around with the PCA clubs at VIR and Mid-Ohio I have to say I'm starting to get a woody for them. Cheers!

iceracer PowerDork
4/18/10 11:31 a.m.

A little lubrication often is good for many things.

I was prepared to say, another reason I don't like 911's.

BoxheadTim UltimaDork
4/19/10 2:31 a.m.

It's much easier on one without aircon :). Guess who had to change the airfilter on his 3.2 recently...

But for something that's this well engineered, some of the regular service jobs really a re pain in the neck.

grambo None
5/12/10 11:22 a.m.

You might find it is easier to reach around the left side of the airbox, behind the air flow meter. Once you find the position the works for you, it should be a 30-second operation to remove or replace the cover. Alternatively, it's not too difficult to unbolt the AC compressor and move it out of the way.

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