Parts for Porsche and MINI

Australian Owned for Australian Customers

 ABN 56 151 486 654

Phone: 1300 886 072
Recent Blog Posts

Understanding The VIN

by james on 02 Sep 2016
Understanding the VIN   Every vehicle manufactured since 1954 carries a unique identifier, the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).  Since 1979 there has been a global VIN standard so that all VIN’s follow the same format.  The VIN, as its name suggests, identifies the car uniquely, and the manufacturer releases information associated with the VIN.  As manufacturers offer an increasingly wide and deep set of ‘options’ with new vehicles, the VIN becomes more and more important in identifying which parts fit which particular vehicle.   Fortunately for me (and for you, too), MINI and Porsche have stuck to fairly well defined formulae for their cars, so that a lot of the time components such as brakes, clutches and service items can be identified by knowing the car’s model and year.  One notable distinction is identifying the correct steering column switch assembly for 986 Boxster and 996 series 911’s.  In these cars there were 4 different switch assemblies offered: Two lever switch Three lever switch with cruise control Four lever witch with cruise control and onboard computer Three lever switch with onboard computer but no cruise control (this option was mostly fitted to GT3 models)   The manufacturers work with their chosen software partner to make the information available, usually at a price.  So, if you want to look up Porsche information, filtered by VIN, you can subscribe to a service called Partslink24, which provides parts diagrams for every roadgoing model Porsche ever built, from the 356 up to the new (at the time of writing) Boxster and Cayman 718.  (Taking time out en route to geek out over the 959, Carrera GT and 918.)   MINI owners can also use Partslink24 to get information about their cars, but if you have a MINI, you can also get car-specific information at (Note that MINI’s are searchable by the serial number, which is the last 7 characters of the VIN).   The following table breaks down the 17 characters of the VIN:   Char Value/Meaning 1 Manufacturer identifier MINI use WMW Porsche use WP0 for sports cars, WP1 for SUV’s 2 3 4 General vehicle characteristics.  Australian Porsches will all have ‘ZZZ’ in position 4-6 and the first 2 characters of the model code, followed by a Z in position 9. 5 6 7 8 9 10 Position 10 – 17 are used for vehicle specific information. 11 12 13 14 15 16 17   …and here is a sample Porsche VIN in detail:   W Germany (‘W’ is a carry over from West Germany) P Porsche 0 Sports Car Z These three are always Z for Australian delivered cars Z Z 9 First two characters of the model type 9 Z Always a Z for Australian delivered cars B 2011 model year S Made in Stuttgart 7 Third character of the model type – so this car is a 997 1 Not used in Australia 3 Serial number (designates vehicle type in US market) 1 8 2   Fortunately, for most of the parts sold by Master Parts, it’s enough to know your car’s model year, but if you are ever unsure of the correct part for your car, feel free to call, email or contact us online to identify the right part for your car.

Who Made This?

by james on 22 Dec 2015
Who Made This?   In the world of medicine, you will often have the choice between brand name drugs or generic equivalents.  Developing new (pharmaceutical drugs) is big business.  To protect the company’s investment in R&D, the drug company has a window during which their patented drug may not be copied.  The drug company has a short-lived monopoly, and generally prices the drug the way you would expect a monopolist to price, i.e, they charge like a wounded bull.  Once the patent expires, other companies may market their versions of the drug and all those lovely free market forces come into play, so generic drugs are usually vastly cheaper than the brand name drug.   With drugs, unless you are an analytical chemist, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are buying.  (Although if you want to test for fake little blue pills, it’s not hard.)  Judging by the enormous numbers of spam emails which I receive for gentlemen’s strengthening tablets, there is an enormous market out there for fake pharmaceuticals.  And where a generic drug contains the same active ingredient as the brand name equivalent, a fake drug is exactly that: a sugar coated piece of chalk.   There’s a strong incentive to make fake drugs: the margins are enormous.  I don’t know what the chalk costs, but having researched this stuff, for purely academic reasons, I suspect I am in the wrong business entirely.  The little blue pills sell for around $4 each.  That’s good margin for chalk!   In the world of car parts, it’s a similar story, with hopefully a lot less spam involved.  The pecking order for car parts goes mostly like this: Genuine Parts OEM Parts Aftermarket Parts Fake Parts   Genuine parts carry the marque’s branding.  For some parts, there is no option.  If you want a steering column switch for your Porsche Boxster or 996, it’s a genuine Porsche part.   OEM parts are the same parts as fitted in the factory, but with the manufacturer’s branding.  If you buy a genuine MINI oil filter, you get a Mahle filter in a MINI box.  If you buy genuine Porsche brake pads, you get either Pagid or Textar pads in a Porsche box.  What you don’t get with OEM parts is the ‘genuine’ price.  This is why Master Parts sells OEM parts as far as possible.    Aftermarket parts covers a broad range, from high quality items manufactured by reputable brands, to parts that are just plain junk.  If a Mahle oil filter for a particular car is not the factory fitment, then that filter is not OEM, but it can get murky.  F’rinstance if Porsche use a Mahle oil filter for one model, and a Mann cabin air filter, then Mahle are OEM for oil filters, but aftermarket for cabin filters for that model.  Some aftermarket parts are indistinguishable from OEM (and genuine) parts, and in some cases it doesn’t really matter.  Cabin air filters are probably a good example.  There’s probably very little down side risk to using an aftermarket cabin air filter, but you’d be brave if you made it your mission in life to seek out the cheapest oil filter for your car.   The tricky thing with the term ‘aftermarket’ parts is that it covers everything from totally unserviceable items that bear a passing resemblance to useful car parts to items that are substantial improvements over the factory fitted items.  Within the Master Parts range, examples of aftermarket parts that are upgrades from factory fit items are: Numeric Racing shifters and cables for 996/7 and 986/7 models BMP aluminium coolant reservoirs for R53 MINI Cooper S L and N Engineering IMS bearing updates for 996 and 986 model Porsches   And then there are fake parts.  Piracy in car parts really does exist.  I’ve been shown examples of fake oil filters, air filters, clutch components and brake pads.  It goes without saying that buying fake parts is just not worth it.  Of course, nobody would knowingly buy fake parts but the old wisdom holds true: if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.   So, the question arises: If you have a choice, which car parts should you buy?  The answer is simple:  First prize is OEM, where this is available.  You get genuine part quality without genuine part prices.  If OEM is not available, look for OEM equivalent aftermarket parts.  Within the parts you’ll find on we’ve made every effort to indicate the part’s manufacturer, and if you are interested in a part that doesn’t have a manufacturer identified, please ask.  

March 2012

Video Entry - Biff and Bash Discuss Understeer and Oversteer

 by james on 26 Mar 2012 |
No Comment
web counter

Pushmi-Pullyu: The Private Lives of Gearchange Linkages

 by james on 21 Mar 2012 |
No Comment
In the olden days, when horseless carriages had an engine in the front, a driven axle at the back and a gearbox in the middle, life was simple.  The gearstick stuck up out of the gearbox, usually with a simple extension piece to place the gearstick next to the steering wheel instead of somewhere under the dash and it didn’t take much cleverness to work out how the driver’s movement of the gearstick was fed into the gearbox.  The driver moved a stick and the stick did stuff in the innards of the gearbox to change gears.   But cars that shun the simple front engine rear wheel drive design, such as MINI’s  and Porsches need a more complex arrangement to allow the driver to change gear.  The original 911 used a system of rods and linkages to change gears.  Variations of this mechanism were used up to the 993 model 911.  With the Boxster in 1997 and its big brother, the 996 generation of 911 in 1999, Porsche adopted cable-operated gear selection.   A cable operated gear selector uses two cables.  One cable has the job of transmitting the fore and aft movement from the gear stick to the gear selector on the gearbox and the other cable (via a bell crank on the gear selector) transmits the left to right movement back to the gearbox, where a second bell crank converts the pushes and pulls back to side to side movements.   A diagram showing the components of the Porsche Boxster gear selector mechanism:   There are advantages to using a cable operated system.  A rod system such as that used on aircooled 911’s goes through a series of bushes.  As those bushes wear over time, sloppiness is introduced to the system.  Dirt and grime in the bushes can also interfere with gear selection.  During vehicle assembly, setting up cables is simpler than configuring a system of rods and linkages.  Over time, car interiors have become quieter, and gear cables can contribute to the quietness; a system of rods will transmit noise into the cabin.  Hand in hand with that, is the fact that cables can insulate the driver from how the engine and transmission are moving about.  This means that the gear stick is exactly where the driver left it, no matter how the engine and transmission move on their mountings, and a related advantage is that the car can’t knock itself out of gear because the cables bend and flex, unlike rods.   The potential advantage of a rod system is that it can provide a more precise gear change, although in truth, a well designed and properly set up cable system can feel every bit as precise.   

Dual Mass Flywheels - What and How

 by james on 07 Mar 2012 |
No Comment
This week I've sold two dual mass flywheels, so I thought it might be worth explaining what they are and how they work, and how they differ from a “regular” or single mass flywheel and how they work.  As you will see, these concepts are all closely tied up with one another.   First, some basics: what is a flywheel?  A flywheel is a store of energy.  It’s an intentionally heavy circular lump of metal that is bolted onto the end of the crankshaft.  It’s main function is to even out the power pulses from an engine.  When the first cylinder fires, it has to overcome the inertia of the flywheel, but after the first cylinder has fired, the momentum of the flywheel keeps the engine turning over.  As with pretty much everything in engineering, there is a compromise going on: a heavier flywheel makes for a smoother feel, but a lighter flywheel spins up faster, and so allows an engine to feel friskier and more responsive.   That’s a flywheel explained in one paragraph.  Now for the dual mass flywheel.  The two masses in a dual mass flywheel are joined to one another with springs, and one part of the flywheel can rotate independently of the other, until the limit of the springs.  Now when the first piston fires, part of the flywheel is spun, but the second, sprung part, does not move at first.  It’s that inertia thing again.   As the first part of the flywheel slows down, the sprung part of the flywheel carries on moving towards it, and delivers its stored energy in a pulse, slightly later.  So, in simple terms, a flywheel stores energy from the engine, and a dual mass flywheel partitions that stored energy up, and releases it in two smaller lumps, instead of one big one.   And, wouldn’tcha know it, we now have another compromise going on, because to get that level of sophistication, and an even smoother engine feel for a particular weight of flywheel, we now have a flywheel which has moving parts which can wear out instead of being just a dumb lump of metal.  (And yes, in most cases, a solid flywheel conversion kit is available for cars which were sold with a dual mass flywheel.)   Finally, there is another function that a flywheel performs and that is to provide a surface for the clutch friction plate to act against, and this another area where flywheel mass makes a difference, because a heavy flywheel, with lots of inertia makes for a clutch that is easier to pull away smoothly without stalling.  The compromise: a lighter flywheel, which will require more revs and a deft feel to pull away smoothly also makes for a car that will accelerate better, because there is less rotational inertia to overcome.
New Products
Just So We're Clear...
All pictures and references to the brands and logos are for reference only, and do not imply any association with the brandholders. Most parts offered are OEM or quality aftermarket parts.  Genuine Porsche or MINI parts are specifically identified as such.  Master Parts  is not responsible for any typographical errors contained within the site.   Information within this website is for reference only.   It is your responsibility to verify that you are technically competent to carry out repair and maintenance procedures.  By entering this site, you agree to hold Master Parts free from any liability arising out of the use of any information contained within.
Master Parts is Australian owned and operated in Australia, for Australian customers.
ABN 56 151 486 654
Shopping Cart
Your basket is empty
Best Sellers