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Old 07-22-2010, 10:20 PM   #1
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should I buy this 1997 Boxster?

Hi Everyone


Just looking to get some input from you Porsche lovers that have owned one or more in the past.

Car I am considering is as follows:

1997 Porsche Boxster
58k miles
AC/heat works great .... for now!
Does NOT overheat
been in one minor accident in the past. didnt see any frame damage


Issues I am aware of after the inspection I did today:

1.) Water found its way behind the driver seat not allowing me to start it after turnied it off and looked at it today. I used a heat gun and dried the computer box area out for a little while and was able to started again and 3 times after .... so far so good I hope??

2.) The engine has a few Oil leaks on it. The oil pan and valve cover is leaking for sure ...... looks to be a decent size leak where the tranny meets up to the motor but not 100% sure.....may be a hose?? It leaks enough for a little amount of oil to drip. Doesnt look like it would be too hard to replace those gaskets but I may be wrong??

3.) The convert top has some missing and broken support brackets. I have never seen one complete so I am not sure what is missing exactly but I am still able to get the top up and down and drive it either way so.....

4.)It will need 2 new tires and new brake pads.

5.) The clutch seemed to work normal but I dont have another one to compare so ...... maybe assume that will need replacing sooner than later.

6.) the motor doenst make any unusual noises but then again it is stuck deep in there pretty good.


Questions:

1.) How much does a New or used under the driver seat computer cost? Can they be sent out to be rebuilt? Or once you dry them out and they work again..... are they good to go?

2.) Are oil leaks common or is this very unusual and maybe this particular Porsche was made on a friday? Everything seems pretty accessible from the bottom of the motor....are they pretty easy to work on?

3.) based on the pics below is the broken top parts going to cost major $$ to fix? This was a very common issue from what I have read, anyone out there provide alternatives?? Or what do/did most do when this happened to them?


I really really like driving the car and am able to fix most of the issues myself or at my buddies shop.... i think.

I got the guy down too $4400 for it due too all the issues ...... I think i can get him down too $4000 considering it may need a new computer due to the water entry but not sure

Just wondering what your thoughts may be regarding my possible purchase and being a first time Porsche owner Newb.

Thank you for reading and any help if much appreciated??????

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Old 07-22-2010, 10:32 PM   #2
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I would not buy it based on the oil leaks. Not cheap at all to work on. It may have a leak on the RMS in which $$$$.$$
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:22 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply

But if I can get the car for $4400...... would that be a good enough deal to offset the leaks and other issues? I have a buddy that runs his own shop that should be able to do the RMS, IMS and clutch I assume ..... or do most shops not have the proper tools to work on Porsche??

I assume the oil leak is the rear main seal ..... sorta like oil is everywhere..... or could it be a leaky or loose oil hose?? If it was a RMS wouldnt the oil just sorta seep downward and not be everywhere?

the issues with the top dont bother me all that much, I have no problem getting out of the car and lifting the top up and down manually.

Pic attached of the leakage

Last edited by dirkdiggler; 07-22-2010 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:16 AM   #4
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also, maybe a stupid question but I will ask anyway.

The main leak at the tranny/enigne join seems to be coming from up above somewhere...... maybe below also but I think its leaking up top and leaking downward.

Any way something else can leak above and be miss-diagnosed as RMS/IMS??

when a RMS or IMS leaks ...... does it shoot oil out all over the surrounding area or would it just leak at the base of wear the tranny meet the engine?

Dose this make sense?
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Old 07-23-2010, 03:02 AM   #5
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This may seem like a good deal but from the description it sounds like it's in rough shape and likely will turn into a money pit, quickly. What kind of maintenance has been documented? Oil leaks in the areas you described are not good signs. And the rest of the car doesn't sound like it was owned by an enthusiast. By the time you do the clutch, RMS, IMSR, tires, brakes, control module, and top you're propably close to an additional 4k into the car. Save on labor if you do most of it yourself. Not having seen the car in person, I would not recommend this car. Better to apply that 4k to a better maintained vehicle. But if you're confident you can tackle all the potential problems have fun with it and learn.

If you had the resources to turn this into a track car or buy a Jake Raby built engine, I'd say negotiate the price some more and get it.
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Old 07-23-2010, 05:19 AM   #6
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People need to realize Porsches are not Hondas... if stuff breaks even if you fix it yourself, parts will cost you.

I see early model 986 as a $13-15k car... if you paid $9000 to buy it, it probably needs another $4k to fix. If it's $4k then you're probably going to spend more, a lot more to get it close to $13-15k.

Just ask our resident member RandallNeighbour...

Last edited by ekam; 07-23-2010 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:46 AM   #7
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I appreciate the input thus far fellas

How many hours is a RMS...IMS...and Clutch Job?? This is my main concern regarding the car of-course.

Should any competent mechanic that runs his own shop be able to tackle this repair process on a boxster? My buddy is a good mechanic but just wondering if there are things related too this repair that he may not be able to accomplish?

He is out of town right now so I am not really able to ask him questions and I am on a time crunch to buy this car if I want it. I have till today to decide if I want it for $4200 now.

Just trying to figure out what a buddy mechanic price might be for the RMS/IMS/clutch job a car should be........ someone must have had a friend do these repairs for them at one time or another?? $300 labor....$500 labor.....$1000 labor??????? He is a buddy but isnt going to do it for free if you know what I mean.

also what am I looking spending for just parts?

Sachs Clutch = $400
IMS = ??
RMS = ???

OIL change = $100
tranny fluid change = $100




when a RMS or IMS leaks ...... does it shoot oil out all over the surrounding area or would it just leak at the base of wear the tranny meet the engine?

Last edited by dirkdiggler; 07-23-2010 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekam
People need to realize Porsches are not Hondas... if stuff breaks even if you fix it yourself, parts will cost you.

I see early model 986 as a $13-15k car... if you paid $9000 to buy it, it probably needs another $4k to fix. If it's $4k then you're probably going to spend more, a lot more to get it close to $13-15k.

Just ask our resident member RandallNeighbour...
Well, then, that makes me not feel all that bad about what I paid for my '97.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:04 AM   #9
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Personally, if I was buying this kind of car, I would want the overall cost to come in well, WELL under the price of a sound example needing no immediate work, both in terms of having a little leeway in case unexpected costs appear and also because it's a hassle, so you it it to come at a discount. It's the sort of thing that I think rarely adds up but can make sense with models that are fundamentally robust. Boxsters are fragile even when pampered - that's the worry.

If you could pick the car up for a couple of thousand, that leaves you with quite a lot of budget to work with.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:44 AM   #10
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I'll take a dissenting view from the other writers here and say you should grab it -- especially if you can take the car to a good independent Porsche shop that can tell you what the source of the oil is. And especially if you really like the car. $4400 is a good deal.

I bought a car with some of the same issues [water, brake pad & rotor replacement, top manual-only], and was able to get the repairs done for reasonable cost. Via the internet, you'll learn soon where to find used parts, acceptable aftermarket parts and how to work on the car.

A car is always a pig in a poke. As we read in nearly every thread here, the IMS failure & RMS issues and risks are present in nearly every 986 & 987 that hasn't had an upgrade. So this car is no different. All used cars need regular maintenance and replacement of parts.

The water issue will recur unless you either correct the leak or keep it out of the rain. Can you store the car in a covered place? If not, pick up a car cover on ebay. Also, it's unlikely a heat gun will eliminate the water, due to the thick, heavy foam that traps it under the carpets. The carpet must be removed and dried. Sounds like the computer can be saved, but you must remove that and dry it out. Fortunately in my car the computer was dry.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:56 AM   #11
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THE CHEAPEST BOXSTER YOU FIND AND BUY WILL BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE CAR YOU HAVE EVER OWNED.

... and your wife or girlfriend or parents and buddies will remind you of this every freaking day.

Save more money and buy a 2003 or newer model S and you will be far happier with your decision.
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Last edited by RandallNeighbour; 07-23-2010 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:59 AM   #12
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Thanks

I really like the car alot but am also very nervous. Its a blast to drive.


I went to start it this morning and it would not turn over or start ....... took heat gun too the electrical box again ........... and was able to get it started and running.

It idled a little rough and the check engine light came on and was blinking/flashing for about 40 seconds and then just stayed illuminated solid.

I just took it too autozone to have them run the codes.

apparently every cylinder 1-6 has a Miss-fire now and a oxygen sensor code also.


Im assuming the electrical box may be beyond saving and is causing the miss-fires and "check engine light too flash and then stay on ........... I dont know for sure.


Im going to see if the guy will take $3k for the car considering a new electrical box will need to be bought ...... for sure I think...... dont want to be left stranded becasue the electrical box issue.


Do these car typically have a sorta high pitch "exhaust note" sound at idle??
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Old 07-23-2010, 10:37 AM   #13
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don't ever buy a Porsche as project car if you don't realize you are buying a project car.

I just spent $6K on major maintenace with a barely any upgrades on my pampered 10 year old Boxsters with 69K miles. And that was with small shop rates and I still have to do the shocks ($2K).
Driving a 10+ year old Porsche will cost you at least $10K. You can pay now or later but you will pay.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:25 AM   #14
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dirk, let me introduce myself first..my name is Gerry and I don't know much anything about car or about our Boxster except for putting the key to the ignition, drive it and bring to the indy shop that I trust to do all the maintenance work and other stuff..for short, I just drive, put gas and detail it every 6 months or when season change.

with that said...just reading thru all the things you've been finding out in the car, scares me IMHO...I won't touch it, even for $3K but that's me.

listen to Randall and PL..they've got experience about fixing our Boxster on their own pocket.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:28 AM   #15
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Dirk, it's too painful to read what I know is going to be a nightmare decision on your part. I am going to click the "submit reply" button on this thread comment and then remove myself from the comment tracking on it so I am not forced to relive the ********************-storm of repairs and problems I encountered when I bought a Boxster that was in even better running condition than the one you seem to be working overtime to justify purchasing.

I'm rarely this forward with new forum members, but I just gotta put it out there for what it's worth.
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:00 PM   #16
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I know what you guys are saying ..... I was just hoping that any decent condition Porsche for $3k-$4k would be a killer deal that shouldnt be passed up.

Its just so fun to drive that I really really want it..... but the issues it has are abundant.

................. I would think for $3k I could part it out for more than that even if the motor blew up??
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:19 PM   #17
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dirk, im saying this very nicely without bashing you or anything, ok? but it looks like you have made your decision already.


Good luck, buddy! Just remember, the forum is here when you end up buying it
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:25 PM   #18
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If you guys were me .... would you buy for $3k??
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
don't ever buy a Porsche as project car if you don't realize you are buying a project car.

I just spent $6K on major maintenace with a barely any upgrades on my pampered 10 year old Boxsters with 69K miles. And that was with small shop rates and I still have to do the shocks ($2K).
Driving a 10+ year old Porsche will cost you at least $10K. You can pay now or later but you will pay.
How does "doing shocks" equate to $2,000? Buying OEM units and paying to have them installed?
The whole RoW kit can be had for $1,100 at your door.
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Old 07-23-2010, 01:27 PM   #20
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Where in the USA do you live? This can't be the only Box in a 500 mi radius. You'll like a well maintained, clean Box just as much as this one (I was going to say POS, but that wouldn't be nice). There are plenty for sale. Do some research before you toss $4K right out the window. There can't be a lot of buyers lining up for this one so there shouldn't be a need to act quickly. Calm down and look around.

Don't fall in love with the first one you see / drive. Randall and LB are trying to let you in on their experience. You were wise to come here and ask questions before buying. Now be doubley smart and listen to them.

This car has the makings of a good track car, that's all. Look for something else that is nice. You'll enjoy it more.

Good luck with your decision. Choose wisely, grasshoppa.

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