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Old 05-27-2010, 03:22 AM   #1
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It is very disheartening checking new posts

I Joined this Forum to learn some tips and get info on these cars before taking ownership of a 2000 986 S with 44k on it this summer. Now I am really not sure I want to get it as every day it seems someone else is just driving along and suddenly it dies or dies at a light or CEL lights up and it is embarrassing to get a flatbed to tow it to a several thousand dollar repair or worse. I have driven the car twice and love everything about it. Takes me back to my '90 Miata that I loved for 4 years with zero repairs, top down more than it was up, grinning to all destinations.
ONLY the Box is like a very Grownup more serious car.

I want it to be as reliable as the 1994 Honda I still have with 186,000 miles and still runs strong and has had basic repairs like radiator, timing belt, one clutch and oil and tires.
Maybe I should go with my gut and not get it.... I cannot afford a new engine or having to upgrade tons of stuff right off. Expensive maintenance is not a problem but new engine is different.

Seems many are frustrated and selling them as they cannot deal with it anymore.

Checking new posts again......

Post has now changed as there is a problem with the car I posted it on page 2... I am being jinxed I think.

Last edited by ElementAI; 05-27-2010 at 03:08 PM. Reason: Problem with car now posted to page 2 of this thread..
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:35 AM   #2
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I hear ya... But not many wake up and post about how good their box is running and how durable/reliable it is. So you'll feel better, I'm really looking forward to a fun top down drive to the office today. It's 70 degrees, sun is shining, and my box has been running perfectly. I just passed 106k on the odo and she's purring like a kitten with a bowlnfull of milk.
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Old 05-27-2010, 03:52 AM   #3
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I had the exact same concerns before buying my 2003 Boxster S, and it's still in the back of my mind on occasion. I have a 1980 Triumph TR8 that, believe it or not, seems to be more reliable than many of the Boxsters you read about.
I'm still glad I bought the Boxster and really enjoy driving it. Great fun factor and it rides so much better than the other cars I was considering and so far, so good with no issues in 2 years (...knocking on wood now).
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Old 05-27-2010, 04:05 AM   #4
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Remember, it's the internetz and EVERYTHING is a big deal

Relax and enjoy your car. Truth be told, yes there are some issues and certain MYs have more issues than others. Overall though, it's no different than any board of other car enthusiast sites. The other thing to remember is there are a # of sponsors or suppliers out there w/ aftermkt products who will help "overcharacterize" problems creating a hysteria feeling only to help sell more of their solutions.

So, take it all w/ a grain of salt and remember...
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:20 AM   #5
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Think of how many thousands were sold and this is just the select 40 people that always post. You really do not hear that many horror stories about porsche when it comes down to it. Buy it, enjoy it you live once. Make your self happy.
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:27 AM   #6
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Worried

I will tell you that the only time I worry about my BOX is when I log on to the forum. The weeks that I dont I enjoy the drive and dont worry about a squeak or noise in my 97. I love to just enjoy the drive and it is so much fun.

We should start a thread for those that ENJOY their cars. Just my 0.02
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Old 05-27-2010, 05:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAAY
Think of how many thousands were sold...

200,000 Boxster variant rolled off the lines in late 2006


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Old 05-27-2010, 05:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElementAI
I want it to be as reliable as the 1994 Honda I still have with 186,000 miles

A Boxster is simply not as reliable as your 1994 Honda. If you want a Honda, buy a Honda.

Overall the Boxster is a simple car that unfortunately requires more money than average for things like maintenance, repairs, etc. You might be surprised by how much tires ($1200+) and oil changes ($100+) will cost as compared to your Honda. You may also be surprised by how much the cheap plastic bits in the cabin cost when they break (and they will).

If my Boxster dies one day on the side of the road, it will be a sad day. I would be very likely to go buy another one.

I think the Boxster is worth it, you may or may not.
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:11 AM   #9
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In all seriousness, if you truly have this much angst about the car, don't buy it.

There are more reliable and less expensive cars out there, there's no getting around that. Things may get exagerated on a forum like this, or probably more accurately concentrated making issues seem larger than they are.

But, the fact remains that these issues do occur and you have to be informed and prepared to live with it and this means realizing that the potential War Chest required to own a Porsche must be larger than that one might need for a Miata. There is no Porsche out there as reliable or as cheap to run as a Honda. If that's what you're looking for, forget it, it doesn't exist. These cars cost more to own and break more frequently than a Honda. The payback is the experiences you have in-between. For some the rewards are worth the risk, not so for others. The Boxster, or any Porsche for that matter is not a car for everybody, nor does it try to be.

You're buying a used car, there is an element of uncertainty and risk associated with ANY used car. And this fleet is aging, meaning issues will become more likely, not less.

Buying a car because it has a certain reputation or a certain panache is great, but you are also buying every poorly designed piece and system along with it. If you buy the car, there is always some risk involved. If you're willing to assume the risk, buy it. If not, look elsewhere.

But it's all about enjoyment. If you are uncomfortable sitting on Damacles throne, then don't. Go out and buy a BMW, Mustang, Evo or whatever else may turn your crank. Just realize that these will all have their own sets of issues.

There is no perfect car. If there were, in short order it'd be the only car on the market.

Cheers!
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:37 AM   #10
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I had a Miata for about 5 years too. Mostly an Autocrosser that I rarely drove during the week. Believe it or not this car has been more relialbe than the MX-5.
I'll go one better this is the most reliable car I have driven (inlcuding my folk's cars) based on 60K miles/6 years of driving.
Non-maintenace repairs in that time have been the following in this order:

1-faulty parking brake switch $4 at 10K miles
2-premature death of throttle body $300 (dealer) at 30K miles
3-02 sensor at 50K miles $150 (DIY)
4-alternator at 65K miles $200 (indy)

Now major maintaince (clutch/IMS, shocks, brakes) is not cheap but this isn't a Scion afterall...nor is it a Ferrari. I'd say its the best deal going for a racing brand.
You just have to have a little slush fund ready or you need to start one for the expected work as well as the unexpected.

Now all that being said, I think a lot of all of this has to do with how the owner or previous owner drove the car. I drive conservatively until the oil is up to temp, I don't mash on the brakes..actually I try to use the brakes as little as possible, I don't jerk the wheel in and out of corners, I don't lug the engine to save gas or whatever, I make sure the air pressure in the rubber is solid so as not to punish the suspension and wheels and I try to be smooth with shifts always trying to match the revs. If someone does none of this there will be problems.
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Last edited by Perfectlap; 05-27-2010 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 05-27-2010, 06:53 AM   #11
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You know too much

because you are frequenting a forum where people are fanatical about cars and this one car in particular and are particularly knowledgeable. One failure may be being posted by the same person on different forums where he uses different screen-handles. And few post about their cars when their aren't problems or when they are just out driving them. Were you to know the same amount about any car, you would see they all have weaknesses.

I had to take a 120 mile trip the other day in a driving rain that was only going to get worse as the day wore on. And I absolutely had to be there. I had the choice of a Honda, and Acura and a Boxster. All with about the same age (9-10 years) and mileage (~50k) and all with fresh tires on them. I chose the Boxster. It has also been the cheapest to maintain.
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:35 AM   #12
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ElementAI, I also had a '90 miata about 20 years ago. It was a great car at the time. Since then I've had 3 Z3s, a Z4 and I decided a year and a half ago to buy a used 2000S Box w/38k miles. I went through all the same anxiety that you are. I weighed the pros and cons and still decided it was worth it to experience the ownership. Like everyone else states, they are more expensive in some areas to maintain. However, I've always heard that japanese car parts can be stupid-high priced also. Especially body parts. Read Mike Fockes website. That's what I did 2 years ago. It helped me make my decision. In the time I've owned mine I haven't put that many miles on it. It's a third car for us. The only problem I've had was that I had to replace the rad. cap a couple of weeks ago and my clutch is squeaky sometimes. That's about it. Have a PPI done and it will give you a great piece of mind.

good luck
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:40 AM   #13
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Just a follow-up opinion:

For the record, my Boxster is a daily driver (12K miles per year). Its expensive to maintain, but its more reliable and less expensive than my previous 5 series BMW (a P-I-G). Its a lot more fun than the car that replaced that one -- a 335 BMW. The Boxster is a simple car that requires some maintenance and some occasional servicing that can get pricey.

The good news is many of those items that break are the same -- its the "usual suspects" every time. Do yourself a favor and read up on how to buy a Boxster. There are a lot of good posts on this forum. Also, there are a lot of is an excellent web site out there created by the guy who posted before me (Mike F). Google it. Learn how to check out the car you are considering and make sure it's well maintained.

I wouldn't trade my Boxster for anything (well, maybe a new Cayman -- but that's about it). Good luck with whatever you decide.


EDIT - Sean Z and I posted at the same time - and I clearly agree with him.
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Last edited by fatmike; 05-27-2010 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 05-27-2010, 07:50 AM   #14
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I believe that there is a subset of Boxster owners that are unlike any other car owning sector. That we have not only reduced the known catastrophic failures to about 3, we also have identified the trouble rate by year and even found a new and superior bearing to resolve 1 of those 3 problems. I'll admit I cannot afford a 911 or at least not with good conscience, but even if I could, I still know the Boxster is what I want. I initially thought I was going to buy the less expensive (both in terms of price tag and maintenance) S2000 for all the reasons people buy Hondas realizing it was a compromise bc I really wanted the Boxster performance. Frequenting these forums, Pedros Garage, mikefocke's site, LN engineering etc made me much more comfortable buying my used '04 986.

Because of these resources I know everything that may go wrong with this car, I'll be getting the ISMR soon that would have resolved about 1/2 or more of my worries. I can deal with the minor components crapping out, in exchange for a superior driving experience. What would be devestating is a grenaded 2.7L before I get significant return on investment (or is this a divestment, ha). As long as I can get some decent miles clocked on the 2.7L, I'll be extremely happy. One day the 2.7 will die and I only hope enough time has elapsed since my initial purchase that I can rationalize dumping more $ to get a (Raby) bigger HP replacement and get a second and more torquey life out of ole Boxy. Besides isn't gaining HP a good consolation for an engine biting the dust?
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:12 AM   #15
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I'm paying attention to this issue as well - really hoping for some objective statistics. Clearly the resale prices on 986 / 996 cars (and even 987 / 997) have suffered because of this issue, which I benefited from when I bought my car a year ago. And I'd love to truly believe that this is a non-issue. Poking around, I have come up with (in ascending sample order):

1) my mechanic (Squires in Bellevue) has seen one IMS failure ever, and they have worked on many (more than a hundred?) Boxsters, obviously all out of warranty.

2) MSN Autos has 629 user reviews (just checking 986s) and just 3 reported engine failures that I could find:
(year) (reviews)
1997 - 42
1998 - 32
1999 - 74 - "lost an engine", "blown engine"
2000 - 113 - "(heard about blown engines)"
2001 - 180
2002 - 103 - "engine failure (timing chain broke)"
2003 - 56
2004 - 29

3) Consumer Reports Reliability History for all Boxsters "Engine Major" compared to "average":
2000 - Better
2001 - Much Better
2002 - Much Worse
2003 - Average
2004 - (not enough data)
2005 - Worse
2006 - Better
2007 - Average
2008 - Much Better

4) Porsche's use of the IMS design for 12 years and hundreds of thousands of M96 motors. Sure, they revised the bearing - but they revise almost everything in these cars. Offhand, I think there were as many cupholder revisions as IMS revisions in that period. We all know that Porsche is the only one who knows what the true failure rate is, but think about it - do you really think they would have continued to build IMS engines for more than a decade if they really experienced a...10% failure rate? Beancounters or engineers, these guys have kept meticulous records for half a century and - IMHO - their slowness to move away from the IMS design is perhaps the biggest telling factor in just how significant this problem is.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElementAI
I Joined this Forum to learn some tips and get info on these cars before taking ownership of a 2000 986 S with 44k on it this summer. Now I am really not sure I want to get it as every day it seems someone else is just driving along and suddenly it dies or dies at a light or CEL lights up and it is embarrassing to get a flatbed to tow it to a several thousand dollar repair or worse. I have driven the car twice and love everything about it. Takes me back to my '90 Miata that I loved for 4 years with zero repairs, top down more than it was up, grinning to all destinations.
ONLY the Box is like a very Grownup more serious car.

I want it to be as reliable as the 1994 Honda I still have with 186,000 miles and still runs strong and has had basic repairs like radiator, timing belt, one clutch and oil and tires.
Maybe I should go with my gut and not get it.... I cannot afford a new engine or having to upgrade tons of stuff right off. Expensive maintenance is not a problem but new engine is different.

Seems many are frustrated and selling them as they cannot deal with it anymore.

Checking new posts again......

My advice to people who value reliability more than any other aspect of car ownership is to buy a Japanese car.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:39 AM   #17
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^^ I don't think Boxsters are being hurt on resale anymore than all the current crop of modern Porsches. They simply made too many cars until the economy collapsed. Too much supply and not enough people who are doing better now than they were 4 years ago. GT3 and 997 Turbo prices are falling fast and that's maybe two of the best Porsches ever produced.

I would venture to say that the average 1st time buyer of a second hand Porsche is NOT very knowledgable about the ins and outs of the car. Neither is the salesman who got them into the car any more knowledgeable. If people avoid Porsches it's more to do with a long standing notion that repairs and maintenance will be extremley expensive. That notion will probably never change.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:42 AM   #18
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My 2c

I have to agree with most of the users here. Some main points.

1) You're in a forum where the majority of the members are fanatics! We're going to beat each and every issue to death; make it out to be the end of the world (of our car at least). We all love our cars and want to be ready in case anything happens, which is why we share so many ideas and experiences here.

2) You have to remember that people will ALWAYS make a big deal when something bad happens. Rarely does anyone get on the board out of the blue and say something like "My car's running great and right now doesn't have any problems" without at least being prompted first.

3) Porsche's are luxury cars. If you really do want dependability and cheap repairs, you should really go for a Honda. They have a good name and haven't been plagued with recalls like Toyota. Most people on here, like me, buy a Porsche to enjoy and appreciate.

4) EVERY car has its own problems. Even Hondas! You just gotta be ready if and when they happen, which is one of the reasons I stay so active in forums.

Hope this info helps.
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Old 05-27-2010, 08:49 AM   #19
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I have the same car, 2K 986 S & I can tell you that the porsche is much more refined an automobile, and being performance bred, will need much more attention than any Honda. If you want simple cheap top down roadster driving, get another miata. These cars are more for an enthusiast who wants to learn & tackle the stuff, like a boat owner would for example. I can't be more honest than that!
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:02 AM   #20
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My little brother's '04 Honda with less than 20k had it's transmission go out on the beltway in DC. Nice experience for him I'm sure. Also wasn't there some issue with S200's and major engine problems?? I'm a boater and I've been getting it ready for the season for the past couple of weeks. Now that's a real love/hate relationship. It has a small block chevy (mercruiser magnum) and it's caused me more grief over the years than the Boxster ever will. It (the boat) frustrated me so bad last weekend, I moved it out of my driveway and put it back in storage. That way, I could get the boxster out, drive it, and improve my mood.

I hate that boat sometimes but I've never hated my Boxster :-)

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