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Old 01-04-2005, 09:30 AM   #1
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Absolute proof of 'S' 6 speed tranny problem

OK guys, you've read the many negative comments from people who have driven the '00 - '04 Boxster S with the 996 tranny, including those from honest S owners.

Now, THE authoratative Porsche magazine, Panoroma, in the November 2004 issue confirms there is a problem with the 996 tranny bolted on the '00 - '04 Boxster S.

Please turn to page 16 in the 987 review. In comparing the new tranny in the 987S vs. the outgoing 986S, it says "As promised by Porsche, the new six-speed with its reengineered linkage shifts smoothly and effortlessly, unlike some gearboxes of yore.

You read correctly: the 986S 6 speed DOES NOT shift smoothly and effortlessly.

Great marketing Porsche! You fooled a lot of posers.

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Old 01-04-2005, 09:33 AM   #2
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Interesting...I've got to get my hands on a copy of that article.

Thanks for the heads up...so its official, the only way to "fix" the old six-speed in the 00-04 S is to put in a 996 engine.
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Old 01-04-2005, 09:43 AM   #3
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YES^ You are correct sir! I've driven another S that was a slighty used 02 and it seemed to have a smoother feel than my current car. I wonder if there is alot of variation model to model?
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Old 01-04-2005, 09:59 AM   #4
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Must be Porsche's dirty little secret. I complained about the smoothness of the shifting and I got a response " you probably did not engage the clutch right" or some other lame response. I own a 2003 S and there are times that second gear does not go into the gate unless it is shoved in by force and the same applies to 6th gear. At other times its silky smooth.
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:52 AM   #5
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You're right , had before the 987 a 986S and the 2nd gear was really difficult to go in .... especially has I was having the option short shift . Had the same feedback from porsche that I was not engaging the clutch right.
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Old 01-04-2005, 10:55 AM   #6
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Never noticed any trouble engaging gears, except the first when cold...but that's applicable to many Porsches from what i understood...
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Old 01-04-2005, 11:58 AM   #7
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is this limited to manual transmissions or tip?

because with manual trans. I know a fellow autocross/track (and very experienced Porsche driver) who says allot of drivers do something called Bozo clutching, which from my understanding is when when you don't simply speaking push down far engough and then you keep you're foot on the clutch after you've upchanged . This eventually "uncalibrates" your gear box making it very stiff especially in the 1st to 2nd shift. The six speed transmission for some reason really plays up this problem of lazy footed clutching. Probably due to the ratios in the six speed.

also, the Panorama quote says the 986S 6 speed is not quiet up to the level of the S2000 gear box... "less effort, much smoother",
simply admitting that the new is closer to perfection than the old isn't necessarily admitting that there is a malfunction, (according to this quote). If you're using this quote then you can basically say that with the exception of the S2000 gear box 99% of all manual transmissions mass produced malfunction and are flawed.
From that quote I can read that the 987 gear box is an improvement, as is the engine, wheels, inerior, PASM etc.
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:08 PM   #8
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No, you're assuming the S2000 is being used as the benchmark. That was never said or implied. The comparison is made to re-emphasize the point that the 986S 6 speed sucks. It's not even quite up to the level of the S2000, a lower sports car.

I don't think you have a basic understanding of logic. Let's revisit the quote I posted. It clearly implies more than just an improvement of the 987S 6 speed over the 986S speed. It clearly implies that the 986S 6 speed is NOT SMOOTH and is NOT EFFORTLESS when it says the 987S 6 speed is smooth and effortless and also says:

unlike some gearboxes of yore

If the article didn't include the above statement I would agree with you. Since it does, we can conclude the 986S 6 speed is NOT SMOOTH and is NOT EFFORTLESS. Simple logic.

Ever wonder why the 6 speed plays to your supposed problem of shifting/clutching? Ever wonder why you never hear of any problems with the '00 - '04 986S 996 6 speed tranny used in the 996? Because it was designed and optimised for the 996 NOT 986S!

I'm so glad Porsche fixed the gear ratios problem in the 986S and optimised them more for the likes of the 987S tranny. Please read from p. 12 (November 2004 Panorama): "the six-speed manual S tranny, optional on the base Boxster, is brand new and features gear ratios that are taller than before...."
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Another S in S
[B]No, you're assuming the S2000 is being used as the benchmark. That was never said or implied. The comparison is made to re-emphasize the point that the 986S 6 speed sucks. It's not even quite up to the level of the S2000, a lower sports car.
Do yourself a favor and drive an S2000. For a "lower" sports car it's got a transmission to die for in a sports car of any price.. I've driven probably 50 cars with manual transmissions and the Honda sticks are consistently the best.
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:38 PM   #10
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Originally posted by F1CAR4ME
Do yourself a favor and drive an S2000. For a "lower" sports car it's got a transmission to die for in a sports car of any price.. I've driven probably 50 cars with manual transmissions and the Honda sticks are consistently the best.
True, I have never driven the S2000. However, I know a couple of S2000 owners and did some research on the S2000 before I purchased my Boxster. The concensus was it was like shifting gears in a motorcycle. You had to constantly shift to be in the right gear. Most people didn't like this aspect of the S2000 manual tranny. That said, I believe Honda corrected this problem in the more recent version by offering an engine with more torque. Yes, an engine that was better matched for the tranny. Very very important, having an engine and tranny that are matched for each other.
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Old 01-04-2005, 01:54 PM   #11
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I have driven the S2000 and The Boxster S and I would never ever say that the shifting was anything other than smooth on both. Neither would I EVER EVER say the 986 6 speed "sucks".
Effortless is a strange terminology because the only effortless transmission I have ever driven was the one in my friend's automatic Mercedez! (it required no effort to change gears).
See what I'm getting at? semantics, smooth,less smooth is what?Faulty, inferior?

some transmissions let you get away with sloppy clutching and shifting. others do not. My old Miata (a lower sports car) was much easier to shift in than most other sports cars I have driven.
Because it was engineered with a certain type of driver in mind.
Porsche introduced the Boxster in general to a wider public than would usually consider a Porsche. Some of these "new" customers ended up in S models. And then cane the reports of "problems" not noticed by the guys at the Nurburg ring. Porsche took apart the 6 speed and made it idiot proof. As with most things in sports cars its usually the driver not the car. I would only take a hard look at complaints from Porsche testing drivers and very experienced drivers in general. Afterall they did thousands of hours of testing on the S model before it was introduced if it "sucked" I'm sure it would have been addressed, as I can't think of one SINGLE thing on the Boxster mechanically that "sucks". I'm sure there are problems they didn't notice because they are very very skilled and precise in shifting. Porsche wants to sell more cars to the mass public which means they'll make it easier for them to drive and more likely be happy with once they've purchased it.
I'll probably get in trouble for saying this but I find that only a small part of Porsche drivers are actually serious driving enthusiasts that have mastered more than 50% of the capabilities of their cars. Not because they are bad drivers but simply because they've never ventured onto a track or Autocross. For instance, here in NY area there are a high number of autocross/track clubs (vs. other parts of the country) and I've notice being a member of or attending events for nearly all of them, that the difference between the quickest lap times and the average lap time seems to be the greatest in the Porsche events. Other clubs like SCCA have events where the quickest time of the day and average time in some clases was down to tenths! These big gaps in average time and fastest time of the day was also visible at BMW events. My friend said he didn't bother with either the Porsche or BMW clubs because they were for "the wine and cheese crowds" and that a Sunday was better spent at and SCCA or NASA event if searching for the highest degree of competition.



and again I wouldn't conclude that saying something is less than smooth was necessarily "absolute proof" that it was faulty. Most sports car gear boxes are not 100% smooth and effortless.
Some gear boxes can be somewhat smooth while others (the S2000) are smooth, no matter who is driving. Not many cars like that these days. The fastest guy in one of my clubs (instructor) who consistently places 1st or 2nd and has driven every car that shows up Porsches,M3's, Mazdas, etc., well he's looking for a "lower" S2000 sports car to race this season.
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Old 01-04-2005, 03:32 PM   #12
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I have driven any number of S 6 speeds and have had no issue with the shifting. I have driven one S2000 and thought it shifted fine. Not sure where this stuff about the S tranny being bad origiated but I have about 6 diff cars experience.
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Old 01-04-2005, 04:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Perfectlap
I have driven the S2000 and The Boxster S and I would never ever say that the shifting was anything other than smooth on both. Neither would I EVER EVER say the 986 6 speed "sucks".
Effortless is a strange terminology because the only effortless transmission I have ever driven was the one in my friend's automatic Mercedez! (it required no effort to change gears).
See what I'm getting at? semantics, smooth,less smooth is what?Faulty, inferior?

some transmissions let you get away with sloppy clutching and shifting. others do not. My old Miata (a lower sports car) was much easier to shift in than most other sports cars I have driven.
Because it was engineered with a certain type of driver in mind.
Porsche introduced the Boxster in general to a wider public than would usually consider a Porsche. Some of these "new" customers ended up in S models. And then cane the reports of "problems" not noticed by the guys at the Nurburg ring. Porsche took apart the 6 speed and made it idiot proof. As with most things in sports cars its usually the driver not the car. I would only take a hard look at complaints from Porsche testing drivers and very experienced drivers in general. Afterall they did thousands of hours of testing on the S model before it was introduced if it "sucked" I'm sure it would have been addressed, as I can't think of one SINGLE thing on the Boxster mechanically that "sucks". I'm sure there are problems they didn't notice because they are very very skilled and precise in shifting. Porsche wants to sell more cars to the mass public which means they'll make it easier for them to drive and more likely be happy with once they've purchased it.
I'll probably get in trouble for saying this but I find that only a small part of Porsche drivers are actually serious driving enthusiasts that have mastered more than 50% of the capabilities of their cars. Not because they are bad drivers but simply because they've never ventured onto a track or Autocross. For instance, here in NY area there are a high number of autocross/track clubs (vs. other parts of the country) and I've notice being a member of or attending events for nearly all of them, that the difference between the quickest lap times and the average lap time seems to be the greatest in the Porsche events. Other clubs like SCCA have events where the quickest time of the day and average time in some clases was down to tenths! These big gaps in average time and fastest time of the day was also visible at BMW events. My friend said he didn't bother with either the Porsche or BMW clubs because they were for "the wine and cheese crowds" and that a Sunday was better spent at and SCCA or NASA event if searching for the highest degree of competition.



and again I wouldn't conclude that saying something is less than smooth was necessarily "absolute proof" that it was faulty. Most sports car gear boxes are not 100% smooth and effortless.
Some gear boxes can be somewhat smooth while others (the S2000) are smooth, no matter who is driving. Not many cars like that these days. The fastest guy in one of my clubs (instructor) who consistently places 1st or 2nd and has driven every car that shows up Porsches,M3's, Mazdas, etc., well he's looking for a "lower" S2000 sports car to race this season.
You would never say the S 6 speed tranny sucks? Would you say it's horrible? CFG, one of the most respected Porsche enthusiasts on Porsche message boards, did:

"Drove 6000 miles in 2 years [Boxster 'S'] and the gearing was horrible in my opinion....I was unhappy with the Boxster 'S'...
The Boxster 'S' should have gotten the 5 speed gearbox of the 2.7..."
-Chris from Germany (CFG)
Admin for 996 board (http://www.funcarsonline.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php)

I sort of follow what you're saying about the Boxster being made for a certain kind of driver. What we have to keep in mind that this was the base Boxster. The 'S' version was an afterthought with such marketing gimmicks as the 996 6 speed which was marketed as a positive thing. Porsche are experts at marketing. Don't think Porsche didn't know it wasn't a good idea. Of course they and their test drivers knew. What they counted on was the target buyer in this case, posers, wouldn't care or even notice something wasn't quite right.

Any tranny that doesn't shift smoothly sucks in my book.
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Old 01-04-2005, 05:16 PM   #14
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nope, I wouldn't say anything negative of the 6 speed other than its a bit rigid and you've got to drive it properly. Having come off the Miata I noticed I had picked up a few bad habits that I would need to correct straight away. I found the solid feel of the gates to be tremendous and with propers throttle the car can behave as smooth as Mercedez with it highly sophisiticated automatic transmission. Look if its good enough for the 996, one of the absolute best sports cars ever made (but far from from perfect) then its good enough for me not being one of the greatest drivers ever made.

by the way on the S:
Excellence recently did a survey of Porsche experts asking them to submit their favourite convertible Porsches. One of the invited experts said his top two were the Carrera GT ($500,000)
the Boxster S($55,000) "The best handling cars Porsche has on offer....The Boxster S delivers all that the Boxster promises".
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Old 01-04-2005, 05:29 PM   #15
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FWIW - 'Another S in S' has been posting his disatisfaction with the S transmission on several Forums for several years. Some of his points are within the Bell Curve of standard opinion. Other points are well outside the curve.

I only post this to warn newbies that he is a 'true believer' with the staying power to make the same argument year after year.
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Old 01-04-2005, 05:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Perfectlap
nope, I wouldn't say anything negative of the 6 speed other than its a bit rigid and you've got to drive it properly. Having come off the Miata I noticed I had picked up a few bad habits that I would need to correct straight away. I found the solid feel of the gates to be tremendous and with propers throttle the car can behave as smooth as Mercedez with it highly sophisiticated automatic transmission. Look if its good enough for the 996, one of the absolute best sports cars ever made (but far from from perfect) then its good enough for me not being one of the greatest drivers ever made.

by the way on the S:
Excellence recently did a survey of Porsche experts asking them to submit their favourite convertible Porsches. One of the invited experts said his top two were the Carrera GT ($500,000)
the Boxster S($55,000) "The best handling cars Porsche has on offer....The Boxster S delivers all that the Boxster promises".
Ahem, that survey also included the base Boxster. It was for the Boxster/S, i.e. base Boxster and the 'S'. Just in terms of handling, unless the 'S' has the 030 option, the base will handle better simply by virtue of its lighter weight.

Speaking of Excellence magazine, the only other car magazine I trust when it comes to Porsches, they had this to say from a few years ago comparing the base 2.7L vs. the 'S':

"And with the base car's slightly longer gear spacing, you're less likely to shift up to third while driving from light to light - which makes it a bit easier to drive around town. So in an urban environment, the base car may be a better pick than the Boxster S, ..."

Indeed, they picked the base as the better buy than the 'S'.
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Old 01-04-2005, 06:24 PM   #17
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I have the B&M in my S and am very happy with the shifting of the 6 speed!
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Old 01-04-2005, 07:18 PM   #18
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Another S in S is a troll. He pops up every now and then and tries to bag on the 986S. Witness this thread from 4 months ago: http://www.986forum.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=1234
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Old 01-04-2005, 08:57 PM   #19
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Holly ****************....... I've driven loads of Porsches over the years and owned even more....... I've had friends who have trouble getiing into "D" in an automatic..... bye a freaking bus pass if you think Porsche makes such a poor tranny or maybe a GMC.
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:03 AM   #20
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i have a non boxster S thats a 2004 and just recently have had problems getting into 2nd gear sometimes. It takes a good shove sometimes. But after the car gets warm, it is fine for the most part. My car has 4000miles and is it only hard to get into 2nd because the clutch is cold?

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