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Old 05-01-2011, 07:12 AM   #1
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Buy a 3.4 swap or keep the 3.2

I've got a decision to make and thought I'd share.

I have a Zenith Blue 2000S (46,000 miles) that's in beautiful shape. There are just a few rock chips on the front end, but othewise the body is prestine. Not a single ding. The Savanna tan interior is equally beautiful. The seats, shift knob, and steering wheel have no signs of wear. Just normal leather creases in the seats. The rear plastic has some scratches, but it's clear and soft. I've installed the RoW M030 suspension, the 997 shifter, front top and rear top and bottom braces, and the LN IMS bearing. The down side to this car being in such good shape is that I have a hard time fully enjoying it. I drive it agressively when the opportunity allows and it gets good exercise, but I rarely park it anywhere because I don't want dings and when I do, I park way off in BFE and think about some SUV full of kids unloading next to it the whole time I'm away. I don't want to take it to too many autox events because even though most cone burn comes off, it sometimes doesn't.

I have the opportunity to buy a 3.4 swapped '98 (45,000 miles). It's silver with the red interior, which is a great color combo to me, save for the salmon carpet. But it has the hard plastics in the interior, doesn't have the soft touch dashboard, does't have the aluminum-look interior accents, doesn't have the lined top, has the 5 speed tranny and has the standard brakes. The 2000+ cars definitely have higher quality interiors. The suspension seems as low as mine but it didn't feel quite as tight so I don't think it's the M030. The engine was swapped in 2000 and has't been touched since, so no upgraded IMS. It does have an upgraded clutch and an engine tune. With the tune and catless exhaust it's probably making over 310 hp. The driver's seat has the white wear marks in the bolster and the leather has some permanent waviness to it. The shift knob and brake handle are similarly worn. The carpets and plastics are in good shape. The body is in generally good shape but there are a few dings. It's got clear bra not just on the front, but on the mirrors, wheel wells and even the trailing edges of the side vents. The clear bra lines are very obvious and the plastic has yellowed just a bit. The rear window is a little foggy but the top material looks really nice.

There are a few very temping upsides, the obvious one is the engine. There's nothing subtle about the torque difference between the 3.2 and the 3.4. This car pulls hard from 3000 rpm all the way to redline. It will easily dust my S and may even give a newer 911 a run for it's money. It's got a limited slip diff that would be great for track and autocross days. Acceleration in this thing is fun, period. It's far from prestine. I could use it without having to treat it like a museum piece. I could drive it to my parking garage at work, I could take it on multi-day trips down the coast, I could use it on autox and track days without constantly worrying about it. I could probably get about $1000 more fom my S than it would cost me to buy the 3.4 car so it would be pretty close to a costless deal. However, I'd be looking at an IMS job in the near future and probably replacing the rear window.

So what would you do? Keep the near prestine S with the upgrades that's a blast to drive but can't be used for daily driving duties, or get a very powerful 98 that won't be winning any concouse events, doesn't have the upgrades that the S does and will need a $2000 bearing swap but can be used in any street or track situation?

Last edited by blue2000s; 05-01-2011 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:18 AM   #2
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Keep your car. You sound like an aficionado like me that does not want any dings, chips or other problems to occur with associated daily use. Mine is a mere toy and it will always be a toy.

Is the 3.4 really that much stronger and walk away from your S? If so, how much?

You could do some things like install bypass pipes and headers on your S...I did and my car is very quick. You could also install an IPD plenum and 74mm tb for increased grunt. I am contemplating this now along with a softronic ecu flash.

For me, this would be as far as I could go without changing the engine, but if it does grenade on me, I would send it to Jake for a 3.6 upgrade and forgo the 3.4 for sure.

Sounds like the 3.4 car you are looking at has cosmetic flaws that quite frankly, I could not get over, so that would be a track car for sure and one I would not hold back on.

The S model to me has all the 911 hop up parts of the era so trading down to a base model, power or not, would not be in my thought process. And yes, you say it was installed in 2000 which is quite some time ago, and you could run into issues within the next couple years.

Honestly, and I know I may sound a little nuts here, but what do they want for the 3.4? Can you afford to have your cake and eat it to? Maybe keep your pristine S model and have a "project" car you can continue to work on and be fun to drive on occasion???
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwade
Keep your car. You sound like an aficionado like me that does not want any dings, chips or other problems to occur with associated daily use. Mine is a mere toy and it will always be a toy.
I'm kind of obsessed with keeping this car in good shape. I treat the leather and rubber every month or so. Polish and wax every six.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwade
Is the 3.4 really that much stronger and walk away from your S? If so, how much?
Yes, it's that strong. It honestly felt like it might be able to give my buddy's 385 HP C4S a run, maybe not win, but not embarrass itself. It's probably closer in power to weight to the C4S than it is to my S.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwade
You could do some things like install bypass pipes and headers on your S...I did and my car is very quick. You could also install an IPD plenum and 74mm tb for increased grunt. I am contemplating this now along with a softronic ecu flash.
For me, this would be as far as I could go without changing the engine, but if it does grenade on me, I would send it to Jake for a 3.6 upgrade and forgo the 3.4 for sure.
I'm not even a big power freak, even the 250hp of the S is more than enough for the street. But power is addictive and the 3.4 is an intriguing possibility.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwade
Sounds like the 3.4 car you are looking at has cosmetic flaws that quite frankly, I could not get over, so that would be a track car for sure and one I would not hold back on.
That's why I'm thinking about it. I don't want a garage queen, I like to use my stuff. The possibility to use it without the constant nagging in the back of my mind might be a relief. On the other hand, I do like having something that I like to look at. I would hate to walk out to my Porsche and not see it as something special.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwade
The S model to me has all the 911 hop up parts of the era so trading down to a base model, power or not, would not be in my thought process. And yes, you say it was installed in 2000 which is quite some time ago, and you could run into issues within the next couple years.
True, there are alot of things that go wrong with these cars, and the 98 will surely need some attention. But then again, my car's engine is the same age so I'll probably need to do a little maintenance work on it soon as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwade
Honestly, and I know I may sound a little nuts here, but what do they want for the 3.4? Can you afford to have your cake and eat it to? Maybe keep your pristine S model and have a "project" car you can continue to work on and be fun to drive on occasion???
I thought about that but I just don't have room. I have a 3 stall garage and 4 cars already. Plus, my wife would never let me hear the end of it if I added another toy to the garage and kicked her out to the driveway.
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Old 05-01-2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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Hmmmmmm....... not easy to answer!

I'd keep what I have, who knows what you get into! Suspension is one thing to consider, then come brakes and what not on YOUR list! I bet you 5 bucks that if you swap you won't be happy after a while because too many things are just not right. This will get costly very soon.

BTW, I'd love to have a 3.4 or such in my car!!!!!!!
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Old 05-01-2011, 01:26 PM   #5
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Personally, I would keep your vehicle . It sounds like you've taken impeccable care of it, and there are certain qualities that the "S" model has that no .2 liters are ever going to make up for .
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Old 05-01-2011, 02:11 PM   #6
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Quote:

"Is the 3.4 really that much stronger and walk away from your S? If so, how much?"

Originally Posted by jwade

Yes, it's that strong. It honestly felt like it might be able to give my buddy's 385 HP C4S a run, maybe not win, but not embarrass itself. It's probably closer in power to weight to the C4S than it is to my S.

Ditto what Danger says...

And btw, you are really making me want to do a 3.6 swap after that comment above!!!
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2000s
I could probably get about $1000 more fom my S than it would cost me to buy the 3.4 car so it would be pretty close to a costless deal.
Are you taking the almost 10% sales tax into account? IMHO, as a fellow Washington State resident, that tax is a huge disincentive to "try something out".
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:51 PM   #8
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You know if you trade you will put a bunch of time and money into the 98, which btw is the fun part...but then you'll feel attached to it and all these concerns you have with the 2000 might come back.

I understand the feeling you are having, very much, but if you figure you will never sell the 2000 then all those concerns could be some what less. If you get a ding have it fixed. Do you show the car?

In the end if you have the money put a 3.4 in the 2000, the wife can't complain about an extra car . That extra power would be awesome in the car you really love...but then again you said that wasn't that important.

Sounds like you need a break from the garage queen feelings and it would be nice to have something to drive the hell out of for a while...that IMS time bomb would bug you though so again like I said you would be doing a lot of projects.

What is your heart saying, you know it will hurt to let the 2000 go, you will only feel good if it goes to someone that will car for it.

Flip a coin, if you don't like what it came up with then you'll know your decision. Your 2000 'S' probably won't last long if you go to sell it
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:54 PM   #9
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If the 3.4 engine was installed in 2000, then the donor would have been one of the first which (according to quite a few experts on both sides of the Atlantic) are probably the weakest, with D chunks and porous blocks as well as the IMS / RMS saga's high on the hit list.
Performance - especially with the extra gobs of torque - is very addictive, but sometimes the devil you know is better than the one you don't. Especially if the 3.4 engine fails, you would be kicking yourself for ever.......
Plus you will see every wear spot, ding, scratch and blemish on the older car every time you sat in the worn interior or washed and polished the exterior !
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Old 05-02-2011, 05:03 PM   #10
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Yeah, I think you guys are right. I can't be sure that I'll be nonchalant about the 98, even if it's not perfect. It's not bad at all, by the way, just not concourse. Plus, the d-chunk issue plagues the early 3.4s so that would probably have me worried. I think I'm keeping the S.




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Old 05-03-2011, 12:27 PM   #11
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For me this would be a no-brainer: keep the S.
I like my cars as close as possible to stock and in close to perfect shape. Mine is an 01 S as well that came out of the factory with the Aerokit I bodykit and the Sport Classic II wheels. The interior, even though is not full leather, is in MINT condition, so is the body. No dings, nothing. The one thing that was bothering me, the stone chips on the bumper, I took care of two weeks ago by having it completely sanded/repainted. I went the extra mile by repainting the whole hood that only had 2 chips on it.
Yes, I am that anal about the car.
Next time it is in for service I am probably doing the clutch (as I already have all the new parts), RMS and IMS.
The only non-stock parts on this car are the airbox and the CPU that was replaced with a Powerchip (and I think stainless braking lines). According to the tests done by the previous owner, with the cold air intake and powerchip the car has now something in the 285-290hp range. I did not dyno test it myself but apparently the previous owner did.
These are simple things you can do to get more power out of the 3.2 (and the IPD Plenum as mentioned).
I would never trade mine (or yours in such great shape with a full leather interior!) for a car like the one you mentioned.
Sure if my engine dies tomorrow than I would consider a 3.4/3.6 on it but if that never happens, it will have the 3.2 on it for a very long time. Given I have seen many 3.2s out there with 150,000+ miles as mine is only at 40,000 now, it will take me at least 20+ years to reach that.
And in 5 years I am giving the Boxster to my son and as he saw me taking care of my P-Cars over the years I am sure this little guy will stay within the family for several years to come.
Keep yours man. You will regret and possibly cry if you trade it.

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Old 05-03-2011, 04:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue2000s
So what would you do? Keep the near prestine S with the upgrades that's a blast to drive but can't be used for daily driving duties
definitely keep your 2000S and why can't you use it for daily driving? I used to baby my cars but now I drive my Boxster every day all year. Sure it's nice to come out to your car when it's perfectly clean but if you don't drive it that much what's the sense? I drive the heck out if my car and I enjoy my car more this way.
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:06 PM   #13
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Hey Blue2000S.
My wife would love to have your blue car. I'll trade you my red 2000S for it. Guards red with tan leather interior. I'll throw in the matching hardtop to sweeten the deal.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTP
definitely keep your 2000S and why can't you use it for daily driving? I used to baby my cars but now I drive my Boxster every day all year. Sure it's nice to come out to your car when it's perfectly clean but if you don't drive it that much what's the sense? I drive the heck out if my car and I enjoy my car more this way.
I definitely can't use this car as a daily. Even if I could tolerate the random dings and scratches that show up and the wear on the leather parts, I don't want to pay to keep up a daily driven german car. My WRX has 2x the mileage of my Boxster and is still 1/4 the cost of the Boxster in maintanence.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:49 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Idaho Red Rocket 3
Hey Blue2000S.
My wife would love to have your blue car. I'll trade you my red 2000S for it. Guards red with tan leather interior. I'll throw in the matching hardtop to sweeten the deal.
Bill
LOL, One of the reasons I bought this one in the first place was the color. Zenith isn't common and I always get comments at club events.
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:29 PM   #16
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Keep in mind that the 3.4 engines are BY FAR the most problematic of all M96s. They are by far my least favorite engine. Swapping the IMS will solve ONE of the modes of failure that have cursed the 3.4 since day one.
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Old 05-07-2011, 03:55 PM   #17
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Now that I've made my decision, I'm happy to share the listing for the car if anyone's interested. It is a bad a$$ Boxster if you're looking for something fast. Send me a PM.
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