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Old 10-24-2010, 04:28 PM   #1
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2001 Boxster S Cracked Cylinder

So my '01 Boxster S w/ 58K miles started leaking coolant. Had it towed directly to the dealer who basically said it was DOA because of combustion gases in the coolant. A second specially shop used a Boroscope to confirm a crack in cylinder #3. Obviously, terrible news because I've kept this car in mint condition and do not drive it hard at all. From what I've found there was actually a manufacturing defect in early model boxsters. Unfortunately, mine falls in the range of those with this problem.

So, is my only option a new engine? Dealer quotes $28K for new, $12K for re-manufactured. I've also located a used one w/ 60K miles for around $6000. None of these include installation cost. Looks like minimum, I'm out ~$9K to get it back up and running w/ another 60K engine.

Any ideas... do I just sell for parts and move on?

P.S. I'm going to ask them tomorrow if I it will still drive at all and what's the risk at this point. Maybe I can just keep the coolant level up to buy some time? Anyone else run into this?
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:21 PM   #2
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Contact http://www.flat6innovations.com and talk to the owner Jake. Maybe your engine can be saved. He's not that far from you in N. GA.
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:41 PM   #3
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I'll give him a call tomorrow. Thanks!
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Old 10-24-2010, 06:43 PM   #4
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Don't even consider driving or cranking the engine up!! Doing so will just make the issue worse.


That said, I seriously doubt the issue you are experiencing is a cracked cylinder, I see the failures with the same symptoms all the time and the issue is a cracked head stemming from several issues.

Here are some facts-
1: I have never seen a cracked cylinder from a Boxster S engine, they have the most robust cylinders of all M96 engines.

2: The cylinder failures in early engines were limited to the 2.5 Boxster and 3.4/ 996 engines and were pretty much limited to 1999 models.

3: The 02 Boxster S engine has proven to be the worst for cracked heads. These are often nis-diagnosed as bad head gaskets of cylinders, even by dealers when this is just not the case.

We repaired 4 engines with cracked heads here at our facility earlier this year in just one month. All of these were mis-diagnosed as bad cylinders. All but one of them stemmed from water pump failures that blocked the capillaries within the head with plastic material from the water pump impellers. The 4th failred due to too much RTV sealant being use dwhen a water pump was replaced, this sealant blocked the coolant passages within the head resulting in a head failure.

Three more people weren't lucky. They kept driving and spent 18K because of that.

Don't jump to conclusions. In most cases we can repair this and ensure it doesn't happen again.

Quote:
Obviously, terrible news because I've kept this car in mint condition and do not drive it hard at all.
That does NOT matter!! We see MORE failures from cars like this than any other.

Call our office tomorrow, I bet I can save this engine for you.
The last 3 Mondays in a row we have had 3-4 head crack failure calls and have 3 cars inbound now from all over the USA with the same symptoms. One of these is inbpound this week from Lexington Kentucky and that truck will be coming right through Knoxville on the way to my facility!! We might have another coming in from Ohio, so its possible to fill the whole truck with Porsches with the same exact mode of failure!
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:23 AM   #5
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Some examples of cracked heads. All of these came from 2001 Boxster and 996 engines.
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Old 10-25-2010, 05:41 AM   #6
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...call me blind, Jake, but for the life of me I can't spot the crack(s) in the last image you posted...
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Old 10-25-2010, 06:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overdrive
...call me blind, Jake, but for the life of me I can't spot the crack(s) in the last image you posted...
As a matter of course we pressure test all our cylinder heads.

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Old 10-25-2010, 07:03 AM   #8
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"The 02 Boxster S engine has proven to be the worst for cracked heads."

Great, something else to be concerned with!
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overdrive
...call me blind, Jake, but for the life of me I can't spot the crack(s) in the last image you posted...
In which pic??? They are pretty clear to me, even one is circled in red!

EVERY head that goes on any engine that we work with is pressure tested at temperature under double the pressure seen during normal operation. The difference that "at temperature" tests make are substantial with the M96 cylinder head.

jmatta, don't be concerned until you pull your water pump today and find it missing a portion of an impeller blade.

ALL of the M96 engines on the road need the water pump replaced, no matter how many miles they have seen as the time in service is the determining factor. tennisguy called this morning and we went over his situation, he is thinking about it and scheduling shipping.

I had another intermix call on the answering machine when i arrived at 0530 this morning and as I type this I hear Dean having a consultation with another intermixed 996 owner with the same symptoms. The cracked head calls are now greater than the IMS failure calls and they come in waves..
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:17 AM   #10
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this is the pic I'm referring to, Jake...I can't see a red circled area here. I saw your circles quite clearly in the other photos, and the damage could be clearly seen, regardless. I'm just wondering if there's some glaring obvious thing that I'm not seeing....

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Old 10-25-2010, 10:41 AM   #11
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waterpump planned replacement

Jake

what would you consider the planned replacement interval for the waterpump? and is there another option with say a metal impeller section?

on the watercooled vw's the plastic impeller would come loose and spin on the shaft resulting in low flow (none) and temp alarm.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Raby
The cracked head calls are now greater than the IMS failure calls and they come in waves..
I worked at an import shop all through college and it was insane how things came in waves like you said. I'd have a week work of brakes to do, then the phone would ring and get all drive axles, etc.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overdrive
this is the pic I'm referring to, Jake...I can't see a red circled area here. I saw your circles quite clearly in the other photos, and the damage could be clearly seen, regardless. I'm just wondering if there's some glaring obvious thing that I'm not seeing....

That crack was so small that it could only be noted with a hot water pressure test.. Thats why we marked the area with yellow anti-sabotage marker. I used that pic in my M96 engine rebuild school to illustrate the area where heads generally crack. Its the "big picture"

If the water pump on your M96 hasn't been replaced, replace it. Replace it every 3 years after that.

Here is a crack that no one can miss.. Its wider than the Grand Canyon.

One day when I have time to put all these on my site, the world will have a heart attack!
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Raby
If the water pump on your M96 hasn't been replaced, replace it. Replace it every 3 years after that.
ack! shoot. 9 yrs/81k miles on the original one.

and of course now that i post it it'll fail when i go start it.

thanks for the info, that was a question i'd been meaning to ask for sometime but it always slipped my mind.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:02 PM   #15
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Thanks for clearing that up, Jake. I see the marker you're talking about. As for the picture following that (the Grand Canyon's competition), that's just painful to look at...what a way to K.O. an engine.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Overdrive
Thanks for clearing that up, Jake. I see the marker you're talking about. As for the picture following that (the Grand Canyon's competition), that's just painful to look at...what a way to K.O. an engine.
And the best part....
IT NEVER OVERHEATED!!!!
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:48 AM   #17
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Nuts, I guess I should have replaced the water pump when I installed LN low temp t-stat last year (and new OEM coolant)...would have been the most logical time. My car is approaching nine years old with 19k miles on the clock. The plastic impeller is probably quite brittle at this point. Do you recommend replacing with OEM or another?
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Old 10-26-2010, 12:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmatta
Nuts, I guess I should have replaced the water pump when I installed LN low temp t-stat last year (and new OEM coolant)...would have been the most logical time. My car is approaching nine years old with 19k miles on the clock. The plastic impeller is probably quite brittle at this point. Do you recommend replacing with OEM or another?
Replace with OEM only -- I've had two aftermarket ones die -- one at 1k miles
and one at 22k miles.

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Old 10-26-2010, 02:18 PM   #19
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I've found one aftermarket thats better than the OEM, but just that one.. Its the item I use in my engines and sell on my online store (which is back open again after being closed since March!)
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:14 PM   #20
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Thanks, Jake, your recommendation is what I need!
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