The two words most disliked by dirty-fingernailed Porschephiles: special tool. Porsche repair manuals — should you be lucky (or rich) enough to actually own a manual — are rife with these words, and often even “basic” repairs require one or more of ’em. Like, for example, replacing a 944’s timing/balance shaft belts.
Some models feature a built-in spring tensioner, but most early models depend on the application of a Porsche-designed “s****** t***” to correctly set tension. Add to this the fact that those same 944s are notoriously sensitive to belt tension, and you might find yourself actually contemplating shelling out $400 to Porsche for the part. (Yes, Porsche really does want $400 — what you’d spend on a low-end complete 350 rebuild — for $10 worth of cast metal and a spring.)
Or, it seems, you can hand over $25 to any number of vendors for a cheap-ass knock-off called the Kricket. Pictured above, it purports to do the same job, while leaving you with enough leftover cash to make a dent in the cost of that oh-so-cheap water pump.
Sure, some message board denizens suggest that it’s not the same quality as the ships-from-Germany original. (Google “944 timing belt Kricket” to get an eye-full of ranting.) But just as many seem to swear by it. One thing’s certain, though: if you don’t have $400 to spend, the Kricket beats the hell out of the “that seems about right” finger test.
Kricket 944 Belt Tensioning Tool [EagleDay.com]