The 911 has been one of the top supercars since it first reached customers in 1963. Its success is built on relentless refinement and high quality engineering throughout the vehicle including the air filter. While it's easy to write off as a simple maintenance item, the filter has to be designed to provide the airflow the engine needs to produce maximum power, yet still protect the motor from dust and debris over thousands of miles. Whether you like cruising the PCH or going to PRC track days, a clean, high quality air filter is critical to your 911's performance and reliability. Fortunately, OEM air filters are still available from Porsche for models dating back to 1984, providing you with the same filtration performance the company designed for your car's intake.
A 911 By Any Other Name…
The name “911” was originally a model designation used for the replacement for the 356, but it proved so popular that the number stuck, even though Porsche used new numbers for its replacements internally. Since these designations are used by enthusiasts and repair professionals alike to refer to the different versions of the 911, we'll be using them in this guide. Here's which model you have, depending on the year:
911 – All naturally aspirated cars up to 1997
930 – Turbocharged cars built until 1989
996 – 1998 to 2004
997 – 2005 to 2011
991 – 2012 and later
When it comes to air filters, each generation uses the same air box design across the board, whether the car is turbocharged or naturally aspirated, rear wheel drive or all wheel drive, hardtop or targa top.
When Do I Need to Replace the Air Filter on my 911?
Porsche recommends replacing the filters at these intervals:
911 and 930– 10,000 miles
996 – 15,000 miles
997 – 40,000 miles or 4 years
991 – 60,000 miles or 6 years
San Mateo isn't exactly known for dirt roads or dust storms, but if you do experience these conditions, you should check the air filter more frequently. After all, the more dust there is around your vehicle, the more dust will be entering the air filter.
How Do I Replace the Air Filter on my 911?
If you've worked on Porsches at all, you know the repair procedures can differ significantly from run-of-the-mill cars. Once you've opened the rear deck lid, the replacement method varies depending on your model.
911 and 930
Squeeze the sides of the snorkel tube on the front of the air box and pull it off of the box.
Unclip the hinged clamps holding the air box onto the vehicle. Sometimes, it's easier to reach around the intake manifold to reach the rear clamps rather than reaching straight out and bending your hand to push the clips.
Slide the air box cover out of the car. Replace the filter and reassemble by following the previous instructions in reverse order.
996 and 997
Unclip the engine oil fill tube and lift it up out of the way.
Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the clamp that connects the intake hose to the throttle body. Slide the hose off. Next, remove the electrical connectors. On the 997, you'll need to pull the air box straight up and tilt it to reach the wiring. Disconnect the vacuum hose near the base of the box. Unplug the connector near the hose by squeezing the tab on the side and lifting up. Open the clip holding on the wiring, then push in the metal tab to loosen the second connector next to where the vacuum hose was.
Pull the air box out of the vehicle. Remove the bolt holding the two halves of the air box together to access the filter. Once the new filter is in place, install the air box following the previous instructions in reverse order.
The engine uses two air filters and two pre-filters, which are included when you order an air cleaner assembly. To access the air filters, the bumper cover and tail lights need to be removed, and that means taking off a lot of bolts. To do this, you'll need a ratchet with T20 and T30 Torx bits and a short flathead screwdriver. You should also lay down some padding around the rear of the car to provide a place for the bumper cover to rest on without scratching the paint.
There are three bolts on the inner fender well next to the bumper on each side. These can be removed without taking off the wheels.
There are two more bolts at the rear of the car below the bumper, and another two accessed through holes in the base of the bumper just behind the wheels.
Lift the deck lid and you'll find two caps on the corners of the air box that need to be removed. There are more bolts underneath these caps. After that, unscrew the two bolts in front of the caps. The tail lights should now be loose. Swing the lights out, then use the screwdriver to push in the tabs on the electrical connectors and unplug them. Remove the tail lights from the vehicle.
Next, remove the bolts at the corners of the cover that were covered by the tail lights. At this point, the bumper cover should slide off. There is still one more electrical connector, but it won't need to be unplugged if you can lay down the cover directly in front of the vehicle. Finally, remove the 8 screws holding on the front of the air box. Replace the filters in the air box and the pre-filters in the top of the box. Reinstall following the previous instructions in reverse order.
Where Can I Get OEM Air Filters for My 911?
PorscheBurlingameParts.com sells nothing but factory Porsche parts so you can maintain your car's stellar performance without risking accelerated engine wear. Our site lets you search by your car's model and VIN, and you can look for parts based on keywords like “Carrera” and “GT3” as well as part numbers. Have questions about a part? We have Porsche-certified parts experts who can help you.