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Old 01-07-2011, 05:07 PM   #1
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Unhappy Boxster stops while driving

Hi everyone.
This is a bit of a long story I am sorry.
I have a 2001 Boxster S Tiptronic. Purchased it privately and on the first day I was driving it the engine stalled. I coasted it to the side of the road and after a few attempts to start it turned over and I was on my way again for a short while. Happened again another 5 times.
As I do live in a town without a porsche service centre I had to wait for a Porsche Service Centre mechanic to be flown down. This happens about twice a year. He diagnosed three coils had died, did a full service and sent me on my way. Car seemed to be not quite right and eventually had a similar problem 3 months later. I took it to my local mechanic who is very helpful. He diagnosed that the other 3 coils had failed, replaced them and the car ran really well for about two weeks.
I was driving on the highway when I lost total power and all of the lights came on the dash. Tried restarting and could hear the motor trying to turn over but it would not start. Sat there for 5 minutes before restarting it and headed back home. Drove beautifully once again for a couple of minutes before doing the same thing another few times til I got it home. It starts first go from a cold start but instead of starting in second gear it is in first. Still feels pretty smooth if I rev it but with a slight rough idle (if that makes any sense).
I am leaning towards a crank sensor issue. Can anyone give me some advice please.


Last edited by sbhodge; 01-07-2011 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:55 AM   #2
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Sounded like

fuel pressure to me at first.

But now the ECU needs to be read for hints with a code reader. You can buy one I'm sure down there in your beautiful (if soggy in spots right now) country and it should be a standard part of your kit if you live a long way from a P-car shop with the really right equipment. Actron is a brand we commonly see in the states. At least reading the codes will give you a hint on what the problem could be and if the car needs to be stopped or can be driven (or if it is something you can do yourself).
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:06 AM   #3
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Hi Mike, do you recommend a specific Actron model for just basic code reading and resetting (or is resetting not necessary once issue is fixed). I see they have several models CP????

Thanks!
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:40 AM   #4
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Given the lack of mechanics in your area I would get more than just a code reader.

http://www.durametric.com/default.aspx
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:50 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

I have been told that there is a mechanic in town that has a scan tool as he works on Audi, BMW, Jag etc etc etc. I will give him a call tomorrow and see if he can hook up to porsche. Apparently he is a guru finding obscure faults.

I was online yesterday trying to find a code reader to buy but was unsure which was the better one to go for.

My only concern after reading other peoples problems with the crank angle sensor was that they were not getting a fault code. I was thinking I might be in a similar situation after the only code the porsche mechanic got was for the coils.

Tried it again yesterday. Started from cold fine but only idled for about 2 minutes before shutting down.

Yes it is a bit wet and soggy here at the moment but it is our yearly ritual and we get used to it. Everything is very green!!!!!
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:02 PM   #6
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I can recommend the Durametric scan tool and the guys there @ Durametric in the US are very helpfull. I had the scanner in my hands 6 days after I ordered it on line - its now one of my most important pieces of equipment in the garage.

As for your problem, sounds like it could be a blocked fuel filter (pretty easy to change) or the crank sensor - whatever the problem, you are guessing without the diagnostic tool or an expert Porsche garage to run some tests.
Where abouts are you located - if the worst comes to the worst and your local mechanic cant diagnose the fault, you may have to ship it to a Porsche indi......
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Old 01-08-2011, 06:22 PM   #7
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Check easy stuff as ground wires etc, battery connections, that kind of stuff.
Bad connections can destroy coils and also shut down your engine like you are saying.
I don't believe that it is normal for six coils to go bad, there must be a reason and it seems like nobody questioned that.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:24 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone.

I also thought it was strange for coils to go like that. I am in Townsville and the nearest Porsche Service Centre is Cairns which is 360km's away. That is where (Lars) the Porsche mechanic was flown down from. They are very disinterested in the problem and tried to rip me off for the second set of coils!!!

I forgot to mention that the ignition barrel was faulty so they replaced the ignition for me as well.

I have checked the battery terminal and cable. Have even replaced the battery. Fuel filter was changed at last service but I will check it again.

My mechanic that changed the last set of coils said he knows that the newer Fords have big problems with coils going on a regular basis but was unsure with Porsche.

Can anyone recommend which model Durametric that I should buy. I have always had pre-computer cars that were fairly easy to work on and diagnose. This is a bit new to me with all of these sensors. I will get one as per all of your advice. My last resort will be to put it on a truck and send it back to LARS!!!!!!

Love the car though and my wife says I have a constant smile on my face every time I get behind the wheel.

I am determined to solve this with all of your help. Thanks again.
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:51 PM   #9
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I agree, Durametric is a powerful and very useful tool that will pay for itself in short order. There's really only one choice for the non-pro, the Enthusiast package for US$347, which limits you to three registered VINs; the pro is unlimited.

http://www.durametric.com/content/porsche-boxster-986-s.aspx
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:03 PM   #10
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What about the Actron series of handheld code readers. Are they any good?
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:32 AM   #11
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A basic reader

and Check Engine Light and codes introduction is at https://sites.google.com/site/mikefocke2/acheckenginelight%28cel%29 It will also show you the Actron I use (a 9135).

I would also look at the Durametric site (http://www.durametric.com/default.aspx) as it will outline capabilities the Durametric cable and s/w provide that a basic code reader doesn't. But the costs for a code reader and the Durametric are very different.

For $50-100 US you can get a hand held reader that reads fault codes and resets the CEL once the problem is fixed....for all recent cars. I used mine on my Honda and Acura. For $350 you can get s/w that runs on a Windows laptop and will tell you more about what is happening and will address some non-engine related codes and issues on a Porsche but which won't help you on other brands of cars. I opted for the cheaper option since I'm not sure I'd have understood enough of the theory to benefit from what the Durametric would have told me and I'd have had to buy a laptop....then lug it out to the garage, hook it up, etc. The Actron can travel in the car with me if I want.

Given your geography, I'm not sure I'd be owning a Porsche no matter how much fun or I'd decide that for any but the simple things it was going to get put on the back of a flatbed truck and carried to the dealer (assuming the dealer had competent mechanics, some don't). You can't tow a Porsche.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:53 AM   #12
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Thanks Mike.

Your honesty hit home. Probably is silly to buy a car where there is no dealer support. I am going hunting today to try and find someone that might have a scan tool. If I have no luck I will probably bite the bullet and throw it on a trailer and take it to Porsche Cairns myself. Might be a good excuse to stay a few nights and enjoy the area.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:09 PM   #13
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81F/21C degrees now

I'd be in Cairns in a heartbeat. I was last there in October 2001. Few who haven't been there appreciate your geography...AU is as big as the US. We covered 30k miles (48km) by air just while we were there.

Below freezing here awaiting snow and ice. Car parked under cover with a battery maintainer on.
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:47 AM   #14
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Car is now with local mechanic. He started it up and it died on him a minute later. He said it sounds fuel related. Will run it through the scan tool and have a look at all the basic things first. Seems pretty keen and enthusiastic. Will keep you all posted when I hear more.
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Old 01-15-2011, 12:09 PM   #15
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Fuel pump?

My mechanic is 100% certain it is fuel related as when the car died at idle we lost all fuel pressure. He has been told not to remove or replace the fuel pump unless he can get hold of a porsche computer to re-calibrate it once it goes back in. Apparently the car won't restart if he can't do this.

Does anybody know if this is true?
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Old 01-15-2011, 03:28 PM   #16
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In this tutorial

There is no mention of recalibration. Ask the mechanic if that isn't '02 and later.

http://www.renntech.org/forums/index.php/tutorials/article/61-fuel-filter-replacement-to-my01
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:26 PM   #17
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Hi Mike
I couldn't find anything on re-calibration either. Found a step by step instruction for fuel pump replacement on pelican parts. Looks like it may just be relay failure. Tested the relay which failed. Tested power to fuel pump which was fine. Checked all the lines for splits or wear and tear. Have ordered a new relay and some basic maintenance parts from Porsche. Will let you know how I go. Hopefully it is that simple fingers crossed.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:11 AM   #18
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Problem hopefully solved

Just replaced fuel pump and fuel relay. Relay was totally dead. When relay was replaced found there was power to the pump but the pump would die after about 30 seconds. Now that both have been replaced,the car runs well at idle without hesitation. Will hopefully give it a good run in a day or so. We are still in our wet season and the roads are a bit flooded with lots of pot holes.

Thanks everyone for your replies.
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:58 PM   #19
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Interesting story... looking forward to hearing if this fixed your problem!
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Old 03-03-2011, 01:33 PM   #20
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Might have another issue.

Took it out on the highway a couple of times and it seems to be going well. The only thing I have noticed is that when I shift from Park to Drive it stays in 1st gear for a couple of seconds before shifting up to second. If I stop and shift to Neutral or Park before going into Drive it does the same thing. If I stop the car without taking it out of Drive and accelerate the car will take off in second gear.

I am sure that tiptronics always start in second gear in Drive (automatic mode) or am I wrong?

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