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Old 05-08-2008, 07:02 AM   #1
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Engine Failure - Help, What do I do?

This is my first post on the forum and I am desperately in need of some advice. I've had my 2001 Boxster S for only about 6 months. It just got the 60,000 mile inspection about a month ago. Last week while on a very short trip (only a few blocks) the coolant light started flashing. I had the car parked a few minutes then drove it home and the light had turned off. Same thing happened the next day so I called the dealer who instructed me to top it off with coolant. Everything seemed fine as the light went off again. Later as I was getting on the freeway I blew a big cloud of smoke out of the tailpipe and a few minutes later the lights flashing again and so is the check engine light. It wasn't overheating and didn't seem to be driving bad other than that but I was very concerned so I went straight home (not far). I didn't drive it all weekend and made an appointment with the dealer first thing on Monday morning. They said it was Ok to drive in as long as it wasn't overheating. Now I just got the call with the diagnosis. Engine Failure! They explained that it was leaking coolant into the oil. The only fix is a new (or possibly used) engine at a cost of $15,000! I have no idea what to do now. Its not as if I am a millionaire and that was a disposable toy. It was my baby and now I am absolutely heart broken. Any words of advice, wisdom, or comfort from anyone who has gone through this would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:09 AM   #2
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Did you drive the car with a flashing CEL?
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bmussatti
Did you drive the car with a flashing CEL?
Only the 4 blocks home before calling the dealer who instructed me to top it off with water. He said that just meant that it was low on coolant. The next time I drove it the flashing light was off but turned on again when I got that puff of smoke out of the tailpipe.

It is my understanding that it was not the loss of coolant that caused the engine failure, but rather the other way around. The coolant was lost into the oil pan because of a cracked/shifted cylinder sleeve.

Last edited by 2001saxster; 05-08-2008 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 05-08-2008, 08:19 AM   #4
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Saxster,

So sorry to hear that ! Unfortunately, it looks like you are not the only one that this has happened to :

http://986forum.com/forums/search.php?searchid=467825

I am suprised, it seems like this was a problem with the 99's, but you have a 01

Can't offer much but my condolences...

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Old 05-08-2008, 08:57 AM   #5
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When you lose coolant and it isn't coming OUT of the car, it is going IN, into the oil.

This is a very bad thing of course.

I do think you engine is toast. The cheapest route is a used engine, with all the caveats of that route.

Either way, get estimates from several reputable service shops, as the labor rates vary greatly.

Sorry and good luck.
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Old 05-08-2008, 08:58 AM   #6
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For the future, if you get a coolant and CEL light at the same time,

Pull over and park the car. Call the tow truck. This MAY have made a difference but I doubt it.
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:31 AM   #7
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Man - I have been shopping for a boxster - I planned on not buying a 97-99 for this reason. Now I am wondering if I should just pass on a boxster.

All cars have issues - did you carfax it and see if a dealer even ever serviced this car?

All and all - very sad news.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:35 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 2001saxster
Thanks for the info. The only reason I drove it home is because when i had first called the dealer about the flashing coolant light he said as long as it wasn't overheating I was fine. It never did. Of course all I did at that point was drive home. I left it in the garage all weekend and called the dealer first thing on Monday morning and he said again that as long as it wasn't overheating I ws OK to drive it in. I don't think it would have made any difference though. One of the things the dealer mentioned when we spoke yesterday was about of cruddy (for lack of a better word) consistency of what was left in the coolant tank. He said that was a sign of the oil and coolant having been mixed. I had already seen this in the tank the first time I topped it off which was well before the check engine light ever came on.
Thanks, but I doubt it would have made any difference. There was already some gummy mixture (oil) in the coolant tank when I topped it off as per the dealers instructions. I did not realize what it was at the time of course, figured it was dried coolant or something. This was after having driven a sum total of 8 blocks with only the low coolant indiactor flashing. The dealer also told me at that point that as long as the car wasn't overheating (it was not) I was fine. I drove the few miles home with the check engine light on with that advice in mind. Garaged it for the weekend and called the dealer first thing Monday morning. They told me bring it in on Wednesday. I asked if it was OK to drive in and they said Yes, as long as it doesn't start overheating. Just to be safe I didn't drive in between. It drove fine to the dealer then I got the bad news.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VAPORBLADE
Man - I have been shopping for a boxster - I planned on not buying a 97-99 for this reason. Now I am wondering if I should just pass on a boxster.

All cars have issues - did you carfax it and see if a dealer even ever serviced this car?

All and all - very sad news.
I bought it from an authorized dealer that had serviced it since new. They gave me a carfax that was fine. I have only had it 6 months, but already got it serviced once (the 60,000 mile major inspection) at a closer authorized dealer. Talked to the dealer i bought it from today. Him and his manager looked up the history and admited the service was impecable. They even called the local dealer where it is now and talked to the tech that diagnosed it. He also agreed that with the maintainence history of this vehical it was certainly a production flaw. I hope PCNA agrees.

Last edited by 2001saxster; 05-08-2008 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:54 PM   #10
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I've had my check coolant light flash on 2 separate occasions, about 2 weeks apart. I immediately stopped the engine checked the coolant and everything seemed fine. I started the car again and no problems. This happened twice as i said. I don't know what happened but i haven't seen that light flash now for quite awhile.

I know this is different from your situation. I really do feel for you . If this happened to me I dont know what I would do, except cry. I wish i knew why my coolant light flashed those 2 times when everything apparently looks ok. GOOD LUCK to you.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:56 PM   #11
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What dealership are you dealing with?
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Old 05-08-2008, 08:13 PM   #12
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2001saxster, do not get any hopes of PCNA giving you any good-will coverage. Your car is well beyond warranty.
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Old 05-09-2008, 05:19 AM   #13
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well, if ya need a new engine, go with a used 911 motor conversion... I hear they will fit.. I don't know for sure...
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Old 05-09-2008, 10:04 AM   #14
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If you have oil in your coolant, then the engine is most likely dead... have them run a compression and leak down test to just make sure... the most likely culprit is a cracked cylinder sleeve... they may tell you its a head gasket, but I from my experience with the problem, no one I can find has had a head gasket go out on a M96
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Old 05-09-2008, 10:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by easyc
If you have oil in your coolant, then the engine is most likely dead... have them run a compression and leak down test to just make sure... the most likely culprit is a cracked cylinder sleeve... they may tell you its a head gasket, but I from my experience with the problem, no one I can find has had a head gasket go out on a M96
They told me it was a shifted cylinder sleeve actually. Sounds like the same thing to me.
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Old 05-09-2008, 10:55 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by bmussatti
2001saxster, do not get any hopes of PCNA giving you any good-will coverage. Your car is well beyond warranty.
That may be so, but I have no intentions of letting this go without a major fight. If you go back in the boards a ways you will see that this is no isolated incident. A lot of people have had engine failures of a few different types. Porsche really needs to stand behind their product, warranty or not. There is absolutley no reason that in this day an age any car, let alone a $50,000+ performance car should experience an engine failure after only 60,000 miles when it has been properly maintained. So far everyone on the dealer level (the dealer I bought from and the tech at the dealer where it currently sits) agrees that there is nothing that could have possibly been better as far as maintainence goes on this vehical.
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Old 05-09-2008, 11:00 AM   #17
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Stuff like this

Makes we want to steer clear. I can handle increased ticky tacky maintenance requirements and being vigilant with things like belt changes, but I can't handle catastrophic failures.
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2001saxster
That may be so, but I have no intentions of letting this go without a major fight. If you go back in the boards a ways you will see that this is no isolated incident. A lot of people have had engine failures of a few different types. Porsche really needs to stand behind their product, warranty or not. There is absolutley no reason that in this day an age any car, let alone a $50,000+ performance car should experience an engine failure after only 60,000 miles when it has been properly maintained. So far everyone on the dealer level (the dealer I bought from and the tech at the dealer where it currently sits) agrees that there is nothing that could have possibly been better as far as maintainence goes on this vehical.

Your error in logic is assuming that Porsche gives a crap about their customers. I have never seen evidience of such when it comes to warranty coverage.
So the answer to the bolded statement above has been provided, time and time again.
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:01 PM   #19
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The car is out of warranty. Posche has no obligation to the current car owner.

Please be aware too that if Porsche does extend a "good will" effort to help an owner with a specific problem, whether the car is in warranly or out of warranty, those arrangements are considered confidential between Porsche and the owner. A document is signed as proof.

So I would say that Porsche may (or does) help the customer in some (many) situations, and we are not privied to that information. Something to think about.
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:16 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by bmussatti
The car is out of warranty. Posche has no obligation to the current car owner.

Please be aware too that if Porsche does extend a "good will" effort to help an owner with a specific problem, whether the car is in warranly or out of warranty, those arrangements are considered confidential between Porsche and the owner. A document is signed as proof.

So I would say that Porsche may (or does) help the customer in some (many) situations, and we are not privied to that information. Something to think about.

Yes, I am aware that the car is "out of warranty." I was responding to the bolded statement. There is plenty of "anecdotal" data on this forum and others that I suggest makes it very clear how Porsche feels about its obligation to its customers.

Can you say RMS and IMS? Design issues that go on for years seem to tell us all we need to know? At least that is my interpretation. Perhaps they are just slow or in denial. That is also possible.

My personal experience and long and candid discussions with the local Porsche service folks lead me to my conclusions.

Having said that, I can't prove anything. The company has all the data and they ain't talking.



PS- My neighbor still talks about her 2004 Boxster grenading on her with 12K on the clock. She can't figure it out and neigther can I. Dealer told me the reason he could fix it in a week is the large number of spare engines shipped to the US for just such an event.
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