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Old 09-19-2010, 09:56 PM   #1
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Rollover questions. Would really love some feedback.

Long story short I have always loved Porsches and now find myself in the market for one. Today me and my Father test drove a used 1998 Porsche boxster. We both thoroughly enjoyed the car and would have considered purchasing it except for one minor problem. I am a pretty tall person at 6'2". Unfortunately my head was above the rollover bar by about an inch. I wont try to act smart and pretend I know a lot about safety protection in cars and I really don't want one of these beautifull cars to be eliminated from cars I am consider. My few questions involve hypothetically rolling my car; 1. If the car is rolled in the event of accident, will this one inch make a life or death difference? 2. If that one inch would in fact create the chance of a serious head/spine injury, would the BK rollover extension I found out about after reading a little be a life saver? 3. If there is anything else that I can do that will prevent serious/fatal injury and keep this car in my market? Thank you guys so much, I really would love this beautiful 986, but as it is I value my life over a car. Thanks again.
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Old 09-19-2010, 10:22 PM   #2
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Just too many variables for anyone to know. Boxster rollovers are extremely rare but they do happen. I know of one at Laguna Seca race track. The driver is very tall- (6'5"ish) and did have the BK extension. He walked away without serious injury.

I also have the rollbar extension along with a lowered seat in my 98. I have been in multiple rollovers before and don't really look forward to it in any car. If I was going over in the Boxster I would grab the bottom of the steering wheel and duck down to avoid a direct hit to my head. Supporting the weight of the car with my neck might not work out all that well.
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:22 PM   #3
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na...

I have raced Porsche's for 10 years...RS America's, C2S's, 986/7's (own an 04' 550 Spyder... (batwing and all...) and a 2000 986 S with 22k (amazing car), and never has roll-over been the danger. I had an NSX for years and that thing was much more prone...by a long shot. I agree, that if in the situation, duck and grab the wheel. But, if you're buying a fun car and want great value and endless smiles...what are you waiting for????
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:36 AM   #4
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I don't know whether this is going to help you, but really, in the event a convertible car is upside down - unless you're in a four-point harness - your head is going to connect with the floor whether you're 5'2 or 6'2.

But anyway - I took my Boxster round the Nurburgring in June, and yes there were a couple of scary moments where I'd over-egged it, but I found the car slides very evenly (kind of a sideways drift lol). Anyway what I'm getting at is unless you're going to drift sideways into a high kerb at a high speed, you really don't need to worry.

I was wringing the cars neck on all the corners and I can assure you, the tyres will lose grip looooong before the car turns over!
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Old 09-20-2010, 03:53 AM   #5
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An open cockpit is an open cockpit. In a rollover your body will try to come out no matter what you do, look at people that come out of their door windows and are flung out. Remember, the roll bar won't protect you from foreign objects invading into the passenger compartment ether.

Forgot to mention the windshield frame, it's also a roll bar so you are pretty safe in the car.
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Old 09-20-2010, 01:17 PM   #6
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Have you tried a 987? They're better equipped for taller drivers than a 986.
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Old 09-20-2010, 05:50 PM   #7
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Hi, just thought I'd throw in my two cents here, a lot of which would be reinforcing some previous suggestions and comments.

First, don't write the car off just yet. As someone mentioned above, the seat height is adjustable, and may give you that inch back, or more, to at least provide you some psychological security. Even still don't write the car off, as there are other options to consider that may satisfy you.

As someone else mentioned, it's an open top car, and one can't trust some metal tubes, plastic, and cloth to protect you anywhere near the equivalent of a solid roof...I certainly don't. That being said, I'm sure you're aware that there is a removable hardtop for both generations of the Boxster. In my opinion, consider this unless you've absolutely got to have the wind in your hair at the touch of a button. Some would say 'why buy a convertible if you're not going to use it properly?', but ignoring that and assuming that the ragtop is not the only selling point for you, I'd say consider purchasing one. That would put you in the middle territory between a ragtop Boxster and a Cayman in terms of protection...and to me it looks so much better. But I digress...

Also mentioned previously is the windshield frame and windshield, which is required to be able to withstand a rollover without completely buckling in order for a convertible to be roadworthy. Obviously that's not going to apply to every possible scenario other than whatever NHTSA considers a vanilla rollover, but there's some more peace of mind.

I'm between 5'7" and 5'8", not exactly in your territory, but I don't feel that my height affords me any more safety than your height. As someone else mentioned, should you ever find yourself in a rollover situation and you have time to do so, grab the wheel and hunker down. That's about the best you can do.

Lastly, I'd say, unless it's way out of your budget, look into an early Cayman. You'll get all the pros of a Boxster, and have a solid roof, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Hopefully we've all given you something to help you in your decision. Good luck, and if you do end up with one of these cars, be sure to come let us know.
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:04 PM   #8
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I am 6'3" and have the same concerns you do. I got a different seat. It makes a significant difference. If you do that and the BK roll bar extension you should have no concerns. The total cost might be around $1300. PM if you would consider this. I'd be happy to walk you through what I've learned.
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat
I am 6'3" and have the same concerns you do. I got a different seat. It makes a significant difference. If you do that and the BK roll bar extension you should have no concerns. The total cost might be around $1300. PM if you would consider this. I'd be happy to walk you through what I've learned.
+1 on that:
I am 6" tall but have a tall torso
On the track I am using the B-K rollbar extension plus lowered seats and now my head is more than an inch below the rollbar
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:08 PM   #10
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here's a picture to give you an idea about the clearance I have with my setup
Please bear in mind that w/o the helmet I have an extra 1/2 inch of clearance
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Old 09-20-2010, 11:23 PM   #11
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I'm 6'4" and I've got a '99. I've put in a racing seat that lowered me by about an inch and a half. You can read about that experience here:
The truth about GT3 seats for tall drivers

For track days, I just got new floor mount adapters from Brey Krause and another set of side mounts. I'm going to custom drill them so I can mount my Recaro SPG XL directly to the floor. That will get me about another 3/4". In fact, I learned that by getting rid of the sliders, I can actually mount the seat reclined a bit to get my head even lower. I lose a bit (under 2") of leg room, but gain about another inch (purely a guess) of headroom.

The reason I'm going through all this is because with a helmet on, with the racing seat, and a BK roll bar extension (which I don't have yet), I still don't pass the broomstick test. Forget having an inch to spare, I don't pass it by a hair.

Your concerns are valid about roll overs though. Even though the car does slide pretty stably, and it corners damn flat, if you go off the road in a slide, it will roll. I try hard not to push it that hard though; certainly not on the street.
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:24 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the comments everybody really appreciate them. With everyones feedback considered I will keep looking at the 986. Will post soon if I purchase one with probably a few more questions
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:07 AM   #13
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Race cars use a variety of extra gear (including the driver's helmet) to protect the driver in the event of rollover.
Regardless of your height, there's a good chance that you've "bought the farm" if you roll your 986. Let's be realistic.....an ordinary belt and harness will not glue you to the seat, therefore you are falling "upward" when it rolls. The windshield frame won't do much to protect you so the car will lie on it's hood and rollbar.


But....it's bery hard to roll ANY car. Watch Top Gear on TV for examples. So, don't loose sleep over it and "keep yer dirty side down".
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:12 AM   #14
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Let me be the first to say you'll get IMS and then win the lottery before you roll over your boxster.

I'm just waiting to win the lottery at this point.
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:47 AM   #15
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i'm 6'3" with a 2001 Boxster S, which has factory option sport seats. Know what you mean about the head height and driving position.

I tend to have my seat lowest it will go, set slightly more forward than in my other car, and reclined slightly with the steering wheel fully extended. That way i have about an inch and a half between the seat headrest and the wind baffle.

As another poster pointed out, its a convertible car.

In a roll-over event in a non-race prepared car, there will be considerable impact damage that will likely negate ones health. The other thing that is more important is that on public roads its not the roll over but what you hit. Telegrpah poles, street lights, walls and worst off trees. Track events are usually limited in the possibilities of hitting obstructions.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1309179/Driver-sliced-half-horrific-100mph-crash-drag-race-dead-mans-curve.html


Also as another poster mentioned, you'll really have to go some to roll a boxster.
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobiam
Regardless of your height, there's a good chance that you've "bought the farm" if you roll your 986. Let's be realistic.....an ordinary belt and harness will not glue you to the seat, therefore you are falling "upward" when it rolls. The windshield frame won't do much to protect you so the car will lie on it's hood and rollbar.
I disagree with this.

A 3pt belt works surprisingly well in a rollover if you wear it.
I was T-boned at an intersection where the other driver blew a red light at speed. My mini truck rolled 3 1/2 times leaving me hanging from the straps. The simple 3pt belt held me firmly but on the second roll my head did make contact with the cabin top as it crushed down some. I grabbed the bottom of the steering wheel and ducked down to avoid any further contact as the truck continued to roll. I walked away with only minor bruises to my shins which thrashed up under the dash and some belt bruises. Very lucky indeed but the safety gear worked.

The Boxster windshield frame may be the single strongest structure on the car. Ask anyone who has attempted to cut one off. It was designed specifically to make the car survivable in a rollover (google it). I have no doubt that the WS frame/roll bar combination will go a long way towards protecting the occupants. Keeping your arms in and avoiding head/ground contact are the most serious risks I see in a Boxster rollover.

Boxster structure:
http://www.ppbb.com/phorum/file.php?19,file=160

Rollover pic, the driver walked away safely:
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b6df01b3127ccecd7db8f1d4bd00000010O08AbOHDVs3cNA e3nwk/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/
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Last edited by Topless; 09-26-2010 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:07 PM   #17
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Topless, I totally agree and was about to answer Bobian about the windshield frame when I read your post. The windshield frame is the most structurally sound part of the car.

I talked a taxi driver while flying down the Autobahn in Germany and talked about cars. He said American cars are built around 75 MPH...brakes, structure, engine, suspension. German cars are built for the Autobahn, the unlimited speeds of the Autobahn require everything to be strong and last. That's why I feel safe in my Boxster when I'm getting on it. I remember seeing a picture of a Boxster that drove off of a 100 foot gavel pit cliff and it looked like you could get in and drive it home. Turns out a kid took daddy's car for a ride and wanted to show off.
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Old 09-26-2010, 06:29 PM   #18
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That 100' cliff diving incident happened 30 miles from my house. Both kids walked out of the quarry shaken but ok.
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:22 PM   #19
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Make sure your seat is all the way down when you sit in the car. There is a trick to it with the non-electric seats. Put the back in a vertical position (straight up). Move the seat forward, then lower it. Then push it all the way back, then recline the seat. Depending on the seat position prior to doing this, you might find that you gain about an inch of headroom.
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