Porsche Cayenne Common Problems

The 6 Most Common Porsche 955/957/958 Cayenne Engine Problems

Porsche Cayenne Common Problems

Porsche’s Cayenne made its introduction back in 2002 and is still being produced today. There have been three generations since its introduction. The first-generation, often referred to as the 9PA Cayenne or the Porsche 955, was built on the Volkswagen Group PL71 platform and ran from 2003 – 2010. The second-generation, often referred to as the 92A Cayenne, was built on the Volkswagen Group PL72 platform and ran from 2011 – 2018. And lastly, the third-generation, often referred to as the 9YO Cayenne, was built on the Volkswagen Group MLB Evo platform and started production in 2018 and is still being produced today. 

An interesting fact about the Porsche Cayenne, is that it holds a Guinness World Record for the heaviest aircraft, 265-ton Air France Airbus A380, pulled by a production car. As many can imagine, Porsche produced many trims of the Porsche Cayenne: Cayenne, Cayenne S, Cayenne S Hybrid, Cayenne S E-Hybrid, Cayenne GTS, Cayenne Turbo, Cayenne Turbo S, Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, Cayenne Turbo GT, Cayenne Diesel, and Cayenne S Diesel. With all of these trims, there are also many different engines. 

First Generation Porsche 955/957 Cayenne Engines

The first generation came with 11 different engines but we will try to compact the information as much as possible. The Base Cayenne came with a 3.2L VR6 engine that put down anywhere from 247hp – 286hp & 229lb-ft – 284lb-ft of torque. The S came with a 4.5L V8  engine that put down 335hp – 399hp & 310lb-ft – 369lb-ft. The GTS came with a 4.8L V8 that put down 399hp and 369lb-ft of torque. The Turbo came with a twin-turbo 4.8L V8 & a twin-turbo 4.5L V8 that put down anywhere from 444hp – 493hp & 457lb-ft – 516lb-ft of torque. The Turbo S featured a twin-turbo 4.5L V8 that put down anywhere from 513hp – 542hp & 531lb-ft – 553lb-ft of torque. Lastly, the diesel featured a 3.0L V6 engine that put down 237hp & 406lb-ft of torque.

Second Generation Porsche 958 Cayenne Engines

The second generation came with even more engines coming in at 16. The Base Cayenne came with a 3.6L VR6 engine that put down anywhere from 296hp & 295 lb-ft of torque. The Cayenne S came with a 4.8L V8 NA engine that put out 395hp and 369lb-ft of torque and a twin-turbo 3.6L V6 that put down 414hp & 369lb-ft. The GTS featured a NA 4.8L V8 that put down 414hp & 380lb-ft and a twin-turbo 3.6L V6 that put down 434hp & 443lb-ft of torque. The Turbo and Turbo S featured a twin-turbo 4.8L V8 that put down anywhere from 493hp – 562hp & 516lb-ft – 590lb-ft of torque. The Diesel had a single-turbo 3.0L V6 that put down anywhere from 237hp – 258hp & 406lb-ft – 428lb-ft of torque. Lastly, the Cayenne S Diesel featured a twin-turbo 4.1L V8 that put down 380hp & 627lb-ft of torque. 

Third Generation Porsche 9YA or P0536 Cayenne Engines

And finally, the third generation had fewer engines. The base Cayenne features a single-turbo 3.0L V6 that puts down 335hp & 332lb-ft of torque. The Cayenne S featured a twin-turbo 2.9L V6 that puts down 434hp & 406lb-ft of torque. The GTS & Turbo features a twin-turbo 4.0L V8 that puts down anywhere from 434hp – 454hp & 406lb-ft – 457lb-ft of torque. The Turbo S E-Hybrid features a twin-turbo 4.0L V8 PHEV that puts down anywhere from 671hp – 690hp & 642lb-ft – 664lb-ft of torque. Lastly, the all-new Cayenne Turbo GT features a twin-turbo 4.0L V8 that puts down 631hp & 626lb-ft of torque.

Common Porsche Cayenne Engine Problems

Before getting into the Porshe Cayenne engine problems, we want to preface that since there are a lot of engines, we will try to differentiate which generation has the most common problem listed below. Also, for the replacement parts linked below, please make sure they fit your vehicle if you have to order them. If not, let us know in the comments and we will assist in any way possible.

  1. Ignition coil or spark plug failure
  2. Faulty fuel pump
  3. Thermostat failure
  4. Plastic coolant lines – 2011-2019 V8
  5. Transfer case failure
  6. Cam adjuster bolt failure – 2010 – 2012 V8

1. Ignition Coil or Spark Plug Failure

Premature ignition coil or spark plug failure is common in many Porsche engines. Therefore, this problems is not solely associated to a specific Cayenne. Spark plugs need high voltage electricity to be able to create a “spark” in the combustion chamber initiating engine combustion. Ignition coils receives lower voltage electricity from the battery and transforms it into the higher voltage spark plugs need.

There are two main reasons why ignition coils and spark plugs fail: normal wear and tear or modifying an engine. Modifying an engine and creating more power will put more heat and stress on the coils and plugs, which often will cause a couple to fail instantly. When they do fail, there will be misfires in the specific cylinder with the faulty coil or plug. Most ignition coils and spark plugs SHOULD last 60,000 miles or more. However, we’ve seen some last 5,000 miles and some last 80,000 miles. 

Symptoms of Ignition Coil or Spark Plug Failure:

  • CEL/MIL illuminating
  • Engine misfires with fault codes P0300 – P0308
  • Poor engine performance
  • Issues starting the engine
  • Engine surging or stalling

Ignition Coil and Spark Plug Replacement Options:

When an ignition coil or spark plug does happen to go out, we advise replacing all of them while you’re at it to avoid future misfire headaches down the road. Ignition coil and spark plug replacement is not the toughest DIY if you have the proper tools and know the location of the coils. A mechanic or local dealer would likely charge anywhere from $450 – $600 to replace both the coils and spark plugs. 

Ignition Coil Pack Replacement: https://amzn.to/3mwwEuH
DIY Difficulty:

2. Faulty Fuel Pump

When we mention fuel pumps, we’re referencing both older low pressure fuel pumps and newer high-pressure fuel pumps, or HPFP. Older 955 Cayenne’s have two pumps low pressure (in-tank) fuel pumps, while newer 958/9YA Cayenne’s have a HPFP (or high-pressure fuel pump) because of direct injection. Low pressure fuel pumps are located in the fuel tank, while the HPFP is typically mounted on the left side cam. A fuel pump pumps fuel from the fuel tank and sends it to the engine. A HPFP on newer Cayenne’s pumps high-pressure fuel into the direct injection system. 

The low pressure fuel pumps tend to fail because the pump itself tends to overheat and shut off. The HPFP tends to fail because something inside the pump comes apart or the valve on top of the pump can fail. When either fail, expect engine sputters, misfires, and poor engine performance. Typically, fuel pumps fail at least once in a vehicle’s lifecycle.  

Symptoms of Fuel Pump Failure:

  • Whining noise coming from the fuel tank
  • Difficulty starting the engine
  • Engine surges, sputters, or stalls
  • Engine dying
  • Decreased fuel economy
  • Poor engine performance while accelerating

Fuel Pump Replacement Options:

When a fuel pump, whether it be the low pressures or high pressure, goes bad, 9/10 times they will have to be replaced. There are times when you can just replace a gasket on the HPFP if it is leaking, but this is not too common. If a low pressure fuel pump happens to go out, we highly suggest replacing both and the associated filter. Replacing either the HPFP or the low pressure fuel pumps is not the easiest DIY unless you know where they are located. A mechanic will likely charge around $1,200 depending on which pumps are being replaced. 

DIY Difficulty: Difficult

3. Thermostat Failure

Thermostat failure, like ignition coils and spark plugs, is common in many other Porsche engines. A thermostat controls the amount of coolant that is recirculated back into the engine and how much coolant is cooled by the radiator before recirculating. There are a few reasons why a thermostat can fail: being stuck ope, being stuck closed, or gasket failure. When it does fail, the engine temps will be high, which will lead to the engine overheating. 

Symptoms of Thermostat Failure:

  • High engine temps
  • Low coolant indicator illuminating
  • Engine overheating
  • Sporadic temperature readings on the dash
  • Improper coolant flow 

Thermostat Replacement Options:

Typically when a thermostat fails, we would advise replacing the water pump as well because typically these go out around the same time. Also, because they are right next to each other. We classified the DIY as difficult, because both the thermostat and water pump are rather hard to get to. However, there are many video tutorials online if you are trying to save some labor costs. A mechanic or dealer will more than likely charge $1,000 to replace only the thermostat. 

DIY Difficulty: Difficult

4. Plastic Coolant Lines or Epoxy Failure

For some reason, Porsche decided to put plastic coolant pipes in Cayenne engines. Specifically, there is a lawsuit against Porsche for all 2011 – 2019 V8 958 Cayenne’s. Coolant pipes moves coolant from the radiator to the hottest part of the engine and back to the radiator to cool off before going through the same process over and over again.

The coolant pipes are located below the intake manifold, which is not the coldest place for plastic components to be. The pipes and epoxy tend to fail over time because of all the heat they endure. When they do fail, whether it be the epoxy or the pipes, steam will more than likely start coming out of the engine and the engine could die. 

Symptoms of Plastic Coolant Lines or Epoxy Failure:

  • Low coolant indicator illuminating
  • Steam coming from the engine
  • Difficulty starting the engine
  • Engine overheating
  • Loss of engine power
  • Engine dying

Plastic Coolant Lines Replacement Options:

When the epoxy degrades over time or the plastic coolant pipes start to wear, the only thing to do is to replace them. You can try adding more epoxy on the ends, but we highly don’t recommend doing so. When replacing, we highly advise using aluminum pipes to avoid the plastic ones from going out again. The pipes are a little difficult to get to, but there are plenty of tutorials online explaining the DIY, so it isn’t too hard. Since Porsche, as of writing this, doesn’t cover this repair, you will likely have a dealership charge $3,500 to replace the plastic pipes with alluminum coolant pipes.

DIY Difficulty: Intermediate

5. Transfer Case Failure

The most common model year for transfer case failure is 2012, but that certainly is not the only Cayenne that experiences transfer case failure.  This is typically found in Cayenne’s with 4WD. A transfer case attaches to the transmission and connects the front a rear drive axles of a 4WD vehicle and it routes torque from the transmission to the axles. 

These prematurely fail due to normal wear and tear. When they fail, it causes a miscalculation from the intended wheel speed versus the actual wheel speed. This was such a big issue that Porsche extended the warranty period for the factory transfer cases’ because after many attempts to remedy the faulty transfer cases’, they are still an issue. Typically, transfer cases should not fail at all on a vehicle’s lifecycle. 

Symptoms of Transfer Case Failure:

  • Sporadic acceleration
  • Vibrations while accelerating
  • Engine jerking
  • Difficulty switching gears
  • Grinding, howling, or humming noise coming from the engine
  • 4WD not engaging

Transfer Case Replacement Options:

When a transfer case wears, the only option is to replace it. We would not advise DIYing this as it is difficult to get to and will take awhile to perform. Unfortunately, Porsche is not covering the cost of transfer case replacement after the extended warranty expires. Customers have been seen to pay an absurd amount to replace the transfer case of up to $5,500 mainly due to the cost of the replacement part. 

DIY Difficulty: Difficult

6. Camshaft Actuator Failure

Camshaft actuator failure is common in 2010 – 2012 958 Cayenne’s with a V8. However, the problem is not the camshaft actuator itself, it is the bolts securing the timing chain sprockets. A camshaft actuator is located at the end of the camshaft and it controls the speed of the opening or closing of the poppet valves, which enables engine timing to be more precise. The camshaft actuator bolts hold the camshaft actuator in place.

When the bolts for the camshaft actuator fall off, engine timing is thrown off and the engine will run very roughly. The bolts should not break at all in any engine nowadays. This was such a problem that Porsche actually issued a recall on 2010 – 2012 Cayenne’s to correct the bolts. 

Symptoms of Camshaft Actuator Failure:

  • Poor engine performance
  • Engine stalls
  • Engine timing off
  • CEL or MIL illuminating with a P0340 or more camshaft related fault codes
  • Rough idle
  • Decreased fuel efficiency

Camshaft Actuator Replacement Options:

If you happen to own a 958 Cayenne and haven’t had this issue yet, we highly advise replacing the associated bolts to avoid the adjuster failing. As you can imagine, this is also not an easy DIY as you have to take many components out of the engine to get to the bolts. If you have a 2010 – 2012 Cayenne, make sure to check if these have been changed and if not, it should be covered under Porsche. If you don’t have a 2010 – 2012, unfortunately, you will more than likely have to pony up anywhere from $2,000 – $5,000 depending on if there is major engine damage. 

DIY Difficulty: Difficult

Porsche Cayenne Reliability

Overall, we aren’t going to sugarcoat it, Porsche Cayenne’s reliability is below average compared to its competitors. However, some model years, specifically 2014 & 2016-2017, are tainting this overall rating. The good news is the 2021 Porsche Cayenne has a J.D. Power reliability rating of 81 out of 100. A good rule of thumb would be to avoid the early model years of all the generations to avoid the initial hiccups. With all of that said, we have seen many Porsche Cayenne’s last well over 200,000 miles with proper maintenance. 

If you want to read up on more Porsche content, here’s our write-up on “The 4 Most Common Porsche M97 Engine Problems”.

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  1. Just a data point.
    I bought a 2006 Cayenne S with approx 135k miles on it. The coolant pipe issue had been addressed by Porsche for a prev owner; I am the 3rd. I replaced the cardan or driveshaft bearing at about 145k miles. My son and I did it in about 45 minutes with an aftermarket replacement. Currently have about 298k miles on it. In the last year, replaced struts and control arms. Other rubber parts like suspension bushings, hoses, and vacuum lines have gotten dry and brittle or stiff. Seams this would be expected at this age and miles. Filters, oil and other fluid changes, plugs and coil packs, brakes as one would expect as scheduled or as necessary.

  2. We have an 05 properly maintained at 200,000 and is as nice as it was new. Thinking of get a Diesel Cayenne.

  3. I have bought 2014 GTS with 100k miles, red leather with all the possible adjustments in the seats that are bucked style and air suspension with PDCC (I am the 3rd owner) with very, very tiny bit of noise coming from the front wheels area that I did not payed to much attention cause it was so tiny I could not identify it but later it became louder, also I had 1st, 2nd and 3rd gear jerky moves when gears downshifted from 18 miles cruising to red light with no foot on gas pedal. At around 102k miles I had to replace coils, misfire code. I also did spark plugs at the same time by my self total price of around $350 with no aftermarket parts. Previous owner did not change front differential fluid for a long time. It was dirty ass F together with transfer case, transmission oil and rear diff. So I did the fluids by my self and bough everything on rockauto.com. $160ish was 16QT of transmission oil with filter and gasket. Flushed the transmission oil twice so add $120, The strength of jerkiness dropped by about 90% so I am happy. Transfer case and rear diff was no more than 100$ with triple flush. I also did power steering (nothing wrong with the pump) and PDCC (PDCC was louder than it should have been originally) triple fluid flush and fill (Was dirty). Costed me about 120$. I replaced used parts with semi metallic pads and slotted and drilled rotors by my self on each corner, the purchase price was about 500. I do oil changes my self every 3k miles because I live in NYC and it costs me 1/4 price of what dealer would charge and I like to step on the gas often, fresh oil and filter cant hurt. $10 K&N filter with 10QT of 0w-40 Mobil-1 oil for $50 from Amazon. At around 115k miles I bough used front diff with 90k miles on it, it costed me 1000$ plus 500 for replacement together with engine mounts that I provided to my mechanic. The front diff that was removed was the original one from factory, lack of fluid changes from previous owners decreased the life of front diff and transmission. Over all the jobs are easy but time consuming cause I have no experience, now after 1.5 years I am faster, I have spend probably around 700$ on necessary for the job tools from amazon. I did 2nd cat removal, sounds insane and was worth 500 for Fab-speed. bought used pipes. The car has 125k miles and I loved every mile I drove. Now in December I will be doing 2nd trip to Miami from NYC in the car and in 8 months 3rd trip has been planed. The family loves the seats. They do the job in keeping your body pain free from sitting too long. Now I have to replace each corner with new air strut and bag. Each corner costed me $600. Previous ones lasted good 110k miles. I love this Porsche and overall I am happy with the car despite the hick ups that are on me because I should have checked the car much deeper before buying. Shame on the previous owners for not taking care of the maintenance specially with the fluids that are simple to do and and cheap, I have learned everything on YouTube, BY the Porsche with proven record of maintenance with fluid changes and enjoy the pedal to the metal. I am planing on keeping mine for another 5 years or maybe even longer.

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