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Old 02-02-2009, 11:11 AM   #1
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Boxster for me? + engine conversion

hi guys,

I have an '87 911 Carrera coupe that I have owned for 4+ years. Prior to my '87, I had an '82 SC.

One of my weaknesses is always perusing the classifieds. I have found a 1999 Boxster with low mileage (51k) that seems to be a very good deal. Periodically I think of moving into the modern car era (you know, a/c and defrosters that really work) and so I plan to go take a look at this car (and if purchased, will have to lose my 911 - yikes).

It appears many of you have gone the 3.4/3.6 route and I have found a number of references to conversions (including holyoak_34 pdf), but was wondering if anyone has gathered all the conversion info in one place (perhaps with rating of folks that perform conversions, engine sources, etc.). Moving to a 3.4/3.6 would be a near term requirement to offset the loss of my 911 :-).

Thanks in advance for a pointer to info/FAQ for conversions. And any other side comments about moving from an airhead 911 to a boxster.

--travis

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Old 02-02-2009, 11:42 AM   #2
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I'm pretty new to the Porsche world.. I've owned my Boxster for a matter of months.... I have a 2000 2.7L 5 speed.

I've read a lot of the threads on motor conversions - and it is not a cheap thing to do. It sounds like to do it right, you are looking at $15k+ easily. Just to replace a stock motor, with a stock replacement is close to $10k. Maybe less if you source a used motor, then use an independent mechanic, and cut costs. At a stealership, just to replace the 2.5L motor in this car you are talking about would be $15k...the dealer will hose you...very expensive.

If you are interested in a boxster, but want a larger motor - why not look at a newer 987? I don't know what your budget is, but the new boxsters have close to 300hp. the BRAND new 09 has over 300 IIRC.... obviously, you'll pay a lot more for a newer boxster than an old 986 2.5L.

I'd be very interested to see what those newer S model boxsters are selling for on the used market. the market for them right now is so bad that they are selling a lot cheaper than many people would expect. if you were to price what it would cost to pick up an old 986, and then pay for all the swap costs to put i a 3.4L/3.6L etc.... and see what your "total" bill is - versus just buying a newer 987 - it would be interesting to see what the real difference in costs are.

figure you can buy a used 986 for $10k with high miles. maybe slightly less if it "needs work". then you pay for a swap and spend $15-20k for all the stuff you'll end up needing. you are now into this car for $35k.

i would think you could get a sweet 987S with low miles, probably still under warranty for $35k. personally - if I was going to invest $30-35k i'd rather have an overall newer car with a warranty.

if you by a used 986 then dump $$$ into a bigger engine - you will have a car that is "faster" than the new 987 - since you probably could get more power by putting in a 3.6L - but you'd have an overall "older" car. so you'll still have the other routine repairs/costs of an "old" car. transmission, brakes, suspension, body panels, electronics, etc.

i paid 13k for my 2000. if my motor takes a dump, maye i'll tow it to a bad neighborhood, park it on the street, unlocked, with a sign that says "steal me/part me out". then when someone tows it away, i'll report it stolen. ha ha. seriously - I looked into the motor swap ideas when i was going to buy one, but I'm not so sure it makes financial sense to pump that kind of money into a 986 given how cheap the newer boxsters are getting.


anyone here who knows the figures off the top of hteir head care to correct / comment on my "figures".... is it cheaper to buy a 987S or buy an older used 986 and do a swap - if your goal is to get a near 300hp boxster?
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:44 AM   #3
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If you serious about swapping in a 3.4/3.6/3.8 or Jack Raby special... then I would suggest starting with a S model car... versus a '99 base. Others may not fully agree, but I think you'll want the bigger brakes, stronger suspension, stronger 6-speed tranny, etc. as the foundation to build on.

Good luck.
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Old 02-02-2009, 11:59 AM   #4
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Todd has a 3.8L Boxster conversion for sale right now. It's already done. You could drive it home today:
3.8L 2001 Boxster S Brand New Motor
Price looks pretty reasonable considering it comes from the foremost expert in 986 motor conversions. With proper tires and suspension it should be near GT3 performance.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:45 PM   #5
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Yes, I saw that, and I suspect in the long run, it is a great deal, but I was hoping to do this in stages :-)

@Lucky - very true using an S as the base, and while I clearly understand there is no such thing as an inexpensive Porsche, if I do this, I would need to start with a base model and dribble my money away over time ;-) My interest was piqued by the deal on the Boxster I found - hmmm, I should probably just go drive my 911.

--travis
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:11 PM   #6
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Any well sorted Boxster should be very competitive with an 87 C2 in terms of lap times on a track. The Box S will compare straight line performance as well. Real air conditioning is always a big plus. Figure $8-20k for a conversion depending on how fresh the motor and who does the work.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:15 PM   #7
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As much as I love my Box S, I would not sell my 911 for one. If you can't afford both, just pass. There are numerous Boxsters out there and always will be. I've always owned 911 variants for the past thirty years (too many to count). I started driving Boxsters on the track instructing for PCA and found them to be alot of fun, hence, my desire to purchase one. If I were in the market today, I'd jump all over Todd's 3.8...seventy thousand dollar discount over a Ruf conversion.

If you're still serious about a Box, buy the nicest S you can afford...
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:19 PM   #8
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Keep your 911...
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:30 PM   #9
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I'm the exact opposite. After I got my box, my 911SC sat in the garage collecting dust. Over the two years I had both, the 911SC was only driven ~800 miles.

With the exception of the "snob factor", the 986S outperformed the 911SC in every category - power, handling, comfort, reliability, ergonomics, creature comforts, etc..

After 2 years, I realized the only reason to keep the 911SC was to say I have a 911 so off it went. I don't miss her one bit. Well, maybe a little .
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Old 02-02-2009, 03:48 PM   #10
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you're comparing an "older" 911 to a "less old" boxster.

FWIW, I would STILL prefer the boxster over even a similar year 911.

I have a 2000 2.7L 5 speed. my brother in law has a 1999 911 3.4L. he has the 6 speed, full aero kit, Sport Technic wheels, litronics, SSK - it's a VERY nice car.

I have driven his car a few times - and I have to say that I would rather drive my boxster than his 911. I LIKE his car - and would take it over MOST other cars - but for just having a fun drive - I prefer the feel of my boxster. The box feels better balanced in turns - and being able to put the top down is worth MAJOR points - but I"m biased b/c I really wanted a roadster. and I hate how the 911 cabrios look..

of course in a drag race he would eat me up - his car is quite a bit quicker - although on a track I think I could hang in the turns. his car seems softer/squishier/more body roll than my boxster. He has OEM suspension and I have M030 - maybe that's part of it.
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Old 02-02-2009, 04:12 PM   #11
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I just made this exact choice last month. I had an '87 Carrera Coupe for about 8 years. It was very well sorted-out, and had about 108,000 on it the day it left. I sold it and bought a 2003 Boxster S with 30,000 miles.

The performance of the two cars is quite similar. The 911 felt a bit torquier for sure. But the Boxster has modern controls, so the two cars feel very, very different, and direct comparisons are difficult. The 911 was more "sporting" in just about every way. More steering feel, more feel through the pedals, everything. But the controls were all much heavier than the Boxster, which was tiresome in town. The thing that stands out about the Boxster is its "fluidity." Like the 911, all the controls are well harmonized, but you use them with so much less effort. So it makes the driving experience more an exercise in relaxed precision, rather than 911 style grab-it-and-dominate-it type driving.

The Boxster feels much like most other cars in terms of build quality, but the 911 seemed like driving around in a bank vault by comparison. Even with many fewer years, and many fewer miles on the clock, the Boxster is not as well screwed together. I drove a lot of them too, so it's not just this one being beat up or something. No way it will comfortably last as long as a good air-cooled 911.

On the other hand, the Boxster has auto climate control. In a 3.2 Carrera, switching from heating to cooling is a Rube Glodberg task of comical proportions. The Boxster can haul at least as much cargo, in covered trunks where prying eyes can't see it. But, my wife and I can't take the dog along like we did with the 911.

If I had the garage space, and didn't mind the carrying costs of taxes/insurance/maintenance, I would like to have had both of them. They really are very different.

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