- 8 Min Read
- By: Christian Schaefer
FCP Euro's Ultimate Overlanding Tow Rig - The Yippie Cayenne Build - Finale
04/07/2022 - Finale!
This week on the Yippie Cayenne build, Ben and Mike put on the finishing touches to complete the build back at FCP Euro HQ. When we last saw the Cayenne, the techs at Berg Performance had just finished helping Ben revive the tow rig with its new engine. The Cayenne was then shipped back to Connecticut following that adventure for additional work. Plans to build out the trunk and perform extra maintenance were fully in the works following Gridlife, but the river crossing adventure threw all of that for a loop. Now, months later, those plans are back on.
First up was a transmission service and a replacement steering rack. The latter had decided to dump nearly all of its fluid into the FCP Euro parking lot, showing its poor condition only after the new engine was installed and making it just a little tougher to service. With the rack replaced and the transmission serviced, the last items on the list were a set of new control arms. They were tired before the Colorado trip, and carrying the SUV’s weight while being dragged out of the trails definitely didn’t do them any favors, so a set of new Meyle HD arms were tossed in.
That wrapped up the mechanical necessities, so Ben and Mike moved on to the fun stuff following that. A Eurowise Performance hitch-mounted spare tire rack with a fold-out table and some rear-facing LED floodlights were assembled and installed without a fuss before they began to 3D scan the trunk. Why 3D scanning? Well, with the help of DeCarle Cabinets and some design work by Ben, an entire custom trunk storage system was in the works. Thanks to the measurements provided by the 3D scanning, DeCarle CNC routed all of the wood panels required to build the storage system. Then the wood was piled into the trunk and driven over to the woodshop of Alex Frank, FCP Euro’s VP of Operations. There, the guys assembled the storage just in time for the first Sunday Motoring Meet at Lime Rock Park. With little left to do than drink some beer and eat some pizza, check how Ben and Mike wrap up the Yippie Cayenne series finale right here.
03/31/2022 - Episode 6
This week on the Yippie Cayenne build, Ben ships the Cayenne off to Berg Performance for a weekend-long thrash to replace the hydrolocked twin-turbo V8. After dragging it out of the trails with the help of some experienced and dedicated Colorado locals, the Cayenne was loaded onto a trailer and shipped back to Berg Performance, where a crew had assembled to help Ben get ole’ Yippie back into running shape.
Swapping the engine in a car is a challenging task no matter what make and model, but the Porsche Cayenne Turbo presents a particular challenge. The twin-turbocharged V8 is shoehorned into the Cayenne’s engine bay with little room for access around it. Thankfully, the boys from Berg didn’t have to worry about the tight spaces too much. The easiest way to swap the engine in the 957 is to drop the engine and transmission out as one unit from under the car, including the front subframe and suspension. With the expertise of the techs at Berg performance, they were able to drop the drivetrain from the Yippie Cayenne in just half a day!
While all of that was happening, Ben began to prepare his new engine. The Yippie Cayenne’s dip into the river bent a connecting rod before the attempted restart locked it up solid, so the logical option was to acquire a “new” engine. Ben hit the internet and grabbed himself a fully-dressed long block with 90,000-miles to get the Cayenne up and running. Showing up with the engine was a load of fresh parts from FCP Euro to ensure the replacement engine was as healthy as possible for future off-roading adventures. With the new engine prepped, Ben and the techs capped off the first day of wrenching by separating the transmission from the old V8. Sunday left plenty of work to do and not much time to handle it. Will they get the Yippie Cayenne running by Sunday night? Find out here in episode 6.
03/24/2022 - Episode 5
This week on the Yippie Cayenne build, Ben calls in the help of some Colorado locals to help pull the Cayenne out of the woods. When we last left off, the Yippie Cayenne had seen better days. The trip through the river had drawn a significant amount of water into the engine, flooding it halfway through. Ben had no choice but to leave it in the woods with some strangers to catch his flight back to Connecticut. After landing, he reached out to a local Colorado off-roading Facebook group and was lucky enough to have several volunteers offer to help recover the stranded tank. Hopping back on a plane to Colorado the following day, Ben met his armed forces volunteers less than twenty-four hours after contacting them, immediately setting off into the wilderness.
It was all smiles as they reached the Cayenne to find it was left entirely intact. With time on their hands, Ben and his rescuers attempted to get the Cayenne fired up—after all, what more damage could they do to a potentially hydrolocked engine. The team pulled the spark plugs and were able to turn the twin-turbo V8 over by hand before hooking up a new battery and watching it turn over on the starter. Success? Not quite. The once snarling engine coughed up most of the water out of its system but couldn’t pass it all before a bent connecting rod locked it up for good. No matter, there were enough Jeeps and Toyotas to drag the 4700lb tank out to civilization. How hard could that be?
The Cayenne’s weight necessitated a four-car chain to navigate up, down, and around the obstacles between the river and trailhead. As if that wasn’t already enough of a challenge, the Cayenne’s front airbag suspension had deflated, significantly reducing front ground clearance, and Ben had little control over the brakes with no vacuum or ABS assistance. Daylight quickly turned into night and the early hours of the morning. Did the boys get the Cayenne out, and what shape is the Cayenne in? Watch episode five and see for yourself!
03/17/2022 - Episode 4
This week on the Yippie Cayenne build, Ben takes us through his impromptu trip to Colorado for Gridlife. After the suspension and exterior upgrades were installed at Eurowise Performance and the Cayenne passed its first test through the Uwharrie National Forrest, the big pig drove back north to FCP Euro HQ in Connecticut for its last few modifications. Yeah, that’s right, there was still more to do—including some Baja Design spotlights, a Thule rooftop tent and awning, and a few other bits and bobs. What’s an off-road SUV without some spotlights, right? While Ben and Mike were chipping away at installing the last few bits and setting up a photoshoot, they received a phone call that would end with a plan to send the Cayenne out to Colorado for the #GRIDLIFE Alpine Horizon festival.
GRIDLIFE is a traveling Motorsports festival that visits tracks all around the country for a weekend of driving on track and partying for those who don't know. FCP Euro’s Formula Drift driver Michael Essa and his 1000whp E46 M3 were there to demonstrate and promote the brand, and the Yippie Cayenne arrived to help with promotion and offer its services as a support truck. After the fest, Ben and the Cayenne headed to Berg Performance to talk shop and crush some trails in the Rockies. The Yippie Cayenne was right at home thanks to its lifted suspension and the underbody protection, but Ben had some learning to do. He crushed every rock obstacle in his path but things didn’t go according to plan at the river crossing. A combination of a heavy foot and not knowing the depth led to Ben developing his own type of “water-cooled” Porsche. See how that all went down right here in episode 4!
03/10/22 - Episode 3
This week on the Yippie Cayenne build, the behemoth of a Porsche gets its armor. Taking any vehicle off-road can be a real challenge. Rocks, boulders, and other obstacles are generally everywhere on off-road trails, and even the smallest ones can damage an SUV designed for some off-road use. Although the Cayenne has locking differentials and hydraulically disconnecting sway bars, it isn’t exactly set up to handle those obstacles, so Ben had to make some modifications. With a lift kit, rock sliders, and tube bumpers at the ready, the only thing preventing Mike and Ben from outfitting the Cayenne was reaching the new parts at Eurowise Performance.
After fixing the air suspension and oil leaks, the guys hopped in the Cayenne for the 750-mile trip to North Carolina. The trip was uneventful in the best way, and with a quick stop at Philadelphia International to pick up Ethan Roy, FCP Euro’s videographer, all three made it down to the Eurowise Performance without any hiccups. From there, the fun stuff began. Off came the bumpers and wheels and on went the new 2” lift kit, ½” subframe spacers, 463 Industries wheels, and tubular bumpers. When all was said and done, the Yippie Cayenne had completed its transformation from mall crawler to rock crawler. Of course, being situated in the mountains of North Carolina meant that Ben and the guys couldn’t just head right home to FCP Euro HQ. Before they left, Eurowise founder Mike Ngo hopped in his own lifted Cayenne and took the guys through the North Carolina trails to test the Yippie Cayenne. How does it do? Well, you’ll just have to watch the episode to find out!
03/03/22 - Episode 2
This week on the Yippie Cayenne build, Ben and Mike dig into the Cayenne to prep it for a trip to Eurowise Performance in North Carolina. For the Porsche Cayenne to be the overlanding SUV of Ben’s dreams, it needed some help in the off-road department. While able to raise itself, the Turbo's suspension was primarily engineered for street driving, as were the 20” wheels. As specialists in lifting and off-roading Porsches, Audis, and VWs, Eurowise was the perfect place to take the Cayenne to get all kitted out for a day on the trails. However, before any of that fun stuff started, Ben and Mike had some repairs to make on ol’ Yippie.
First up on the to-do list was a service for all essentials, like the brakes and ignition components. The Cayenne Turbo has over 500 lb-ft of torque and weighs around 4700 lbs, so having a healthy braking system with Zimmermann rotors and Textar pads was critical for everyone’s safety. Next up was a host of fresh LIQUI MOLY fluids for the transmission, transfer case, differentials, and engine. Ben chose to use the Molygen in his engine as it contains a fluorescent element that reacts with a black light. If they can’t find the source of the leak, the new oil will trace back to it once it leaks out. With all the new fluids and service parts installed, it was time to tackle the more intensive engine work like replacing valve cover gaskets and installing a new vacuum pump.
Of course, all of those fixes didn’t help the wonky air suspension components that left the Cayenne stranded in the first episode. Air suspension on older German cars like Audis and Mercedes have turned people off ownership for many years as the parts can be costly, and they’re more specialist than your standard suspension. Thankfully for Ben, Mercedes Catalog Manager and resident air suspension guru Kyle Bascombe was there to help. After some troubleshooting and dirty work, the Yippie Cayenne was better but still not perfect. Check out Episode 2 to find out just how that all went down and what’s coming next!
02/24/22 - Episode 1
We love our race cars here at FCP Euro. Whether a fire-breathing BMW meant to go sideways or a tribute to a quirky Swedish touring car, we can’t get enough of them. Race cars often need to be towed to the track, though, which gave us a thought. Tow rigs are usually heavy-duty trucks or SUVs that might serve as a work truck or family hauler on the side, but that’s leaving room on the table. SUVs can be just as fast as sports sedans and conquer trails when set up correctly, so why not have all of those qualities in one vehicle. Could you realistically have a tow vehicle with high-class luxury, a heavy towing capacity, bonafide offroad capabilities, and enough power to make everyone in the backseat giggle like children? As it turns out, Porsche built just that vehicle almost two decades ago.
FCP Euro’s Digital Content Manager just so happened to be looking for a tow rig for his MINI race car a while ago and needed to justify it as a purchase he could use with the family on camping trips. In his search for the perfect vehicle, the 957 Porsche Cayenne Turbo was consistently the best option, so he bought one, sight unseen for around a tenth of what it cost new in 2008. No PPI; he just sent it. The facelifted, first-generation Cayenne Turbo sports a 4.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 that rocketed the 4700lb SUV to 60 mph quicker than an E46 M3. Ben’s purchase came with some goodies, too; the two-tone leather and Sport Techno wheels were both pretty expensive options in the day. However, those options didn’t make the purchase any less risky. Buying any old European car is usually a risk, but the Cayenne is a special breed. A twin-turbocharged V8, hydraulically activated sway bars, adjustable and active air suspension, an off-road-focused all-wheel-drive system with locking differentials, and a high-class luxury interior can all make for challenging repairs on their own, let alone all together, so it was safe to say Ben potentially had his hands full.
A few days after arrival, the Cayenne left Ben stranded with several error messages pertaining to the suspension and the engine. Not the best start in the world, but it was soon back at FCP Euro HQ for inspection. With the help of DIY guy Mike Hidalgo, the two dig into the Cayenne and get it right before the Overlanding build begins. Repairing the oil leaks and faulty air suspension was a must before the off-road goodies could be fitted.
Follow along with this series as Ben and Mike transform the Cayenne Turbo from neglected family transport to a rugged, off-road dominating machine. Along the way, they’ll meet some friends, head to Colorado, and attempt an Overlanding adventure. What could possibly go wrong?
Owner of a flat-six swapped 1998 Impreza 2.5RS and a 1973 Porsche 914. Horizontally opposed views, only.