The Porsche 993 was sold early this summer. It was an adventure.

The car suffered, what I later learned, is a severe smog system failure known as a "secondary air injection" failure. The nature of the failure is not totally unreasonable given the German penchant for thoroughness, but the recovery from the failure is wretched.

The first step requires that the failure condition be resolved. If one is lucky, this requires having a mechanic blow out accumulated combustion products from air passages in and around the camshaft and exhaust valves. If this doesn't work, the next step is a valve/head job on both sides of the engine... to the tune of $10K.

My mechanic, David Modderman, tried to blow out the crud, and then reset the error codes read by the OBDII system. This clears the "check engine" lite, but guarantees nothing.

As with all modern cars, the sensors checked by the OBDII system have three distinct states: "set", "triggered" or "reset" (my words). The check engine lite is cleared by putting the sensors in the "reset" state. In this state, the SMOG check required to sell the car with fail... it requires all the sensors to be in the "set" state. With most cars, just simply driving around for a few 10's of miles will switch all sensors from "reset" to "set", in which state they are prepared to again sense a fault and switch to "triggered" and thereby again triggering the check engine lite. The is true in the Porsche as well, except that the procedure to switch the sensors from "reset" to "set" is very difficult. In the trade it's know as "the drive". It takes several hours to complete, involving periods of driving at various speeds and delaying for various intervals.. all with exceeding 3000 RPM or 50 MPH.

It's quite difficult. And, of course, if the original failure condition hasn't been properly repaired, the check engine lite will come back on as soon as the sensor is move into the "set" category... from which it will immediately switch to the "triggered" state.

It appears that all Porsche affectionatos know all about this stuff, so when you try to sell, you're immediately peppered with questions about whether the car has been SMOGGED and whether it's suffered the dreaded SAI failure.

It took me several days and two trips to the smog test center to get the car in shape to sell. After that it was easy.


I find retirement to be very pleasant. I tend to be even more busy than ever, but doing things that are probably less important. Girlfriend Birgit keeps me running around, taking trips and generally having a good time. I've even developed a taste for opera and the theater... with which we are blessed here in the Bay Area.

I continue to be involved in the local PhotoSIG group and photography in general has become one of my passions, along with the model trains. Camping is more important than ever, but the sailing that I enjoyed so much is losing its luster as I get older and find the physical strength required to rig and race a sailboat to be problematic.

I worked off-and-on for WhereNet Corporation from 2004 to 2008 building a variety of wireless gadgets. WhereNet was acquired by Zebra Enterprises in 2007 and their management changes made it impossible for me to remain there. I left in April 2008 and decided that I was now truly retired.

My last true non-consulting job was with NetSchoolst, building computers and systems for K-12 schools. I loved that work, but the Company just couldn't make a go of it and sold itself to Plato. An admittedly one-sided analysis of the Company and its demise is found here.

Roger's career has been marked by a number of interesting and challenging projects... that's another way of saying that some of the projects failed dismally. His attitude has been conditioned by experience racing small sailboats: "If you don't tip over every now and then, you're not pushing close enough to the limit". Well, we've successfully gotten to the limit several times. His work history includes the design of million dollar scientific and medical instrumentation, communications systems to talk to a working drill bit while drilling an oil well, TV set top boxes, video projection systems, and a variety of wireless communications systems based on RF and IR propagation channels. If you're interested in more information, check out the resume or drop him a line at at this address


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned 2002 Roger Samdahl.