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Old 05-22-2012, 08:16 PM   #1
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Considering Boxster, Have Questions

Hello everyone, I just stumbles onto your forum last night and have been poking around a bit. I'm at the point of possibly picking up a car very soon, but after reading about some of the issues here and other forums Im getting a serious case of cold feet. With failures up to and including RMS / IMS leading to total engine failure and $15k + repairs these cars sound a bit scary. I was expecting something more inline with requirements / costs of a BMW not an exotic considering the cars I'm looking at are generally in the mid 30's.

So can you wise owners ease my fears of RMS, IMS, timing chains, tensioners, oil separators, etc that could cause catastrophic failures to both car and wallet? I should mention that Ive been focusing on 08 base cars and possibly 09 base with up to 30k miles. Is it true that the S cars didnt have all the same issues? I may consider a car as old as an 07 S for the right price / miles if they are "better" more reliable cars.

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Old 05-22-2012, 09:41 PM   #2
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Maybe the most fun car you will ever own... if you choose to buy one. RMS=Non issue, IMS= maybe 1% of all m96/m97 motors built prior to 2009 so your odds are better than a Las Vegas casino that it will never be a problem for you. Cars built from 2009 on are IMS free motors.

Choose wisely!
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:32 AM   #3
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All the 987s are far more reliable than the 986s. Drive it and drive it like you stole it!

Just save back a grand a year for tires and brakes and maintenance.

Btw, by an S regardless of model year for the added power you will be thankful you have.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:25 AM   #4
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I wholeheartedly second the opinion that the "S" model is what you want. The regular Boxster is a great car, but if you like to set the backroads on fire, the "S" has what you need.

If you're shopping in the $30's, you should be able to get an M97 powered 2008 if you shop carefully - more torque from the extra displacement and no IMS issues. Be sure to verify I found an $40K '08 CPO for my Dad last winter and it is a screamer with a much better road feel and interior to boot -- worth the premium if you've got it.

For me, the $/fun ratio of a 00-04 S can't be beat, but I wouldn't go over $20K on any 986 (my hi mile, swapped motor 2000 S was 10, with no disasters yet).

If you're going to buy an M96 car, may as well stick to the 986 and save your money - my $0.02.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:55 AM   #5
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A 2009 Boxster, the one without the IMS would give u less worry if that is what u are concerned about. I have a 2001 base Box and has a very minor rms leak(nothing on garage floor) which was detected on the PPI. If you want more power then the Boxster s may be for you but I find the 2.7 motor has sufficient power for me. Ask for receipts for work done and get a PPI done on the one u like. If any problems you can live with then get the estimate and deduct that from the asking price. Many would disagree but the lower the miles the better. I am very satisfied with my Box. Nothing else is as much fun. Plan $1-2k for maintenance a year or you could do some of the work yourself for less. Take your time looking. Cheers and enjoy the ride!
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:33 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by LightngSVT View Post
Hello everyone, I just stumbles onto your forum last night and have been poking around a bit. I'm at the point of possibly picking up a car very soon, but after reading about some of the issues here and other forums Im getting a serious case of cold feet. With failures up to and including RMS / IMS leading to total engine failure and $15k + repairs these cars sound a bit scary. I was expecting something more inline with requirements / costs of a BMW not an exotic considering the cars I'm looking at are generally in the mid 30's.

So can you wise owners ease my fears of RMS, IMS, timing chains, tensioners, oil separators, etc that could cause catastrophic failures to both car and wallet? I should mention that Ive been focusing on 08 base cars and possibly 09 base with up to 30k miles. Is it true that the S cars didnt have all the same issues? I may consider a car as old as an 07 S for the right price / miles if they are "better" more reliable cars.

I have owned my 2005 Boxster S for 4 years and it has been the most reliable car I've ever owned. Period. I love this car a little more every single year. You get high end sports car performance, every day comfort and reliability and a driving experience that is tough to beat at any price point! You'll never regret buying one!

I was a true car jumper before getting my Boxster. I owned an Acura CL-S, Honda S2000, a 2002 C5 Corvette, and a Lexus SC430 before I purchased the Boxster S. I have not considered replacing my Boxster S! I seriously love this car!

Get the S or you will wish you had!
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:41 AM   #7
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Just bought a 2001 Boxster S with 55K miles after having test driven the 2.7 and More power is always better.

Resale value on the S will be up a bit as well if its a Manual shift especially.

I now look forward to getting in the car for the morning & afternoon drive to/from work. Getting on the highway and merging with traffic is a thrill.

I set my speed warning warbler at 90mph so I can keep focus outside the car on traffic....what an incredible rush, your going to love an S even more and you will never have S envy

Of course the IMS is a concern due to the severe cost of a failure (although the frequency is low) so just plan on spending the extra ~$1000 on replacing the IMS Bearing with an LN replacement for the peace of mind or just spend a bit more for the non IMS model.

I suppose there is also the IMS Failure Guardian that detects ferrous metal in the engine oil when things like metal bearing cages start to disintegrate prior to bearing failure.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:46 AM   #8
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Almost every car has its Achilles Heel. My 325i goes through suspension bushings like oil changes. My X5 must have 70's electrics by Lucas and every replacement part costs $400-$600.

The IMS issue is real but somewhat overblown in online forums. The percent of failures is somewhere in the 2-10% range. Even at 10%, that is a 90% chance that your car will be fine.

If the engine does blow, a M96 replacement engine installed is $6K. Of course, you can always spend more but there is no need to.

Otherwise you will find that everyone on this forum absolutely loves their Boxster.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:47 AM   #9
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I just picked up a 2003 S model, with around 45k miles...the previous owners apparently didn't know how to drive stick properly, as the clutch was toast. I am doing the LN bearing upgrade at the same time, and doing the RMS just for good measure too... at this point it's a few $k more but I know it is all good to go for a long while...and I knew about this from the pre-purchase inspection.

It sounds like you are looking at newer models and thus less mileage. Regardless I'd get a PPI done by a good dealer before you buy. One car I looked at had both clutch ,RMS issues and other seals and work needed etc, i passed. The one I bought is much more sound.

Beyond brakes/tires and basic service I am hoping this car will be good for many more years. My advice is get a PPI, and if you are nervous put aside $4k for a rainy day repair and or report from the PPI...
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LightngSVT View Post
Hello everyone, I just stumbles onto your forum last night and have been poking around a bit. I'm at the point of possibly picking up a car very soon, but after reading about some of the issues here and other forums Im getting a serious case of cold feet. With failures up to and including RMS / IMS leading to total engine failure and $15k + repairs these cars sound a bit scary. I was expecting something more inline with requirements / costs of a BMW not an exotic considering the cars I'm looking at are generally in the mid 30's.

So can you wise owners ease my fears of RMS, IMS, timing chains, tensioners, oil separators, etc that could cause catastrophic failures to both car and wallet? I should mention that Ive been focusing on 08 base cars and possibly 09 base with up to 30k miles. Is it true that the S cars didnt have all the same issues? I may consider a car as old as an 07 S for the right price / miles if they are "better" more reliable cars.
If you're the kind who will worry about what might happen -- go buy a Honda.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:27 PM   #11
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As has been advised in the past, buy the youngest model you can afford, and get an S if you can. 09+ makes the IMS a non-issue, and as long as you maintain the car well and take certain preventative measures, any older ones can live a long and enjoyable life.

I was pretty fretful when I first got the car and learned about the IMS issue and other failure points after getting it. I've basically done away with that and intend to just take care of the car and enjoy it thoroughly, making sure I let it stretch its legs frequently. You're not supposed to gain stress from the things you spend your money on that you want to enjoy. Find one you like, try to go for a certified pre-owned one if you can so you get a warranty, and get a pre-purchase inspection by a professional, independent mechanic who knows Porsches. It's homework that costs money, but it's worth it.

If the cars were really tha bad, honestly this forum would not be active, it would just be an archive of issues, problems, and fixes. Just talk to Jäger, one of our members who is somewhere around the 250k mile mark with his Boxster, daily driven, road tripped frequently, and simply maintained regularly.
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Old 05-23-2012, 02:18 PM   #12
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You have to realize most people join a forum to complain about a problem or remedy a solution. If the Boxster masses all partook in the 986forum 99.5% would be posting about how much fun they're having, but they don't because they're out driving their cars instead of banging away on the www.
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:05 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the great replies! I currently have an 06 330i as my DD and other than an axle replacement under warranty the car has been flawless and costs about $140/year for maintenance (oil changes). If it takes about $1k / yr to maintain the Boxster including brakes and tires than that is nothing to worry about at all. My budget could go around $40k-ish (am looking at an 08 RS60 but it has 48k miles) but Id rather spend in the $30 - 35k range.

So the 986 was 97-04 and the 987 is the 05-12 with changes in 09 correct? What else changed besides the motor in 09 (same hp/tq?)? When did these cars get "modern" electronics like iPhone integration, bluetooth, nav, etc? In doing some searching on Autotrader Ive found a few '10's at just about $40k but would go with a higher miles 08 RS60, 08 S or 09 - 10 Base?

For the PPI are any of those national services worth anything? Or really only stick with a dealer or Indy?

Ive got a ton of questions but I dont want to write a book here so Ill stop for now
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:59 PM   #14
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buy it drive it

Went thru the same ride last year pre -purchase 2002 s 88000 miles april last year. 4800 dollars in wear items within 60 days.......... then another 1300 dollars 6 months later......all wear items now 101586 miles ....... best car I,ve ever owned, never once have I been glad to get where i am going. Drive about 250 to 300 miles a week for work - sales BUY IT DRIVE IT HARD every time i pose a new question to my indy he shakes his head and says drive the car . Miles on a car in most cases is a good thing. Try sitting on the couch most of the tine then decide to go running once a month
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:18 PM   #15
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Write your book, no one's going to criticize, and you'll find your answers, but do try to search the forum first, as you will likely find most of your questions have already been asked in some way.

For the PPI, don't do a dealer, at least not the dealer you'd be getting the car from, obviously. Honestly, better to find an independent who knows these cars.

As I said before, stealing the line from RandallNeighbour, get the youngest car you can afford, and try to go for an S. The RS60s are nice and uncommon, and that mileage is rather low, but also shows that the car was drivena decent amount over 5-6 years.

Wikipedia actually has a good amount of information on the Boxster's development throughout its generations. Give that a read to answer some of your questions about the changes that have occured over the years.

The older your car is, the more money you should set aside per year for maintenance and any unforseen issues. Either way, I'd say have a few thousand dollars at the ready in case anything unexpected comes along, just so it's not such a hit to any of your immediate income. Stuff will wear and need replacement, that's just the nature of machines. These machines tend to be a little pricey when they break, but that's also why it's good to get a certified pre-owned car that will have some items covered under a warranty.

I'd say get the RS60, drive it, don't baby it, but take good care of it...though I'd also say if something younger and comparable comes along for similar money, go for that, and either way, be prepared to spend a little money right off the bat to get the car in good running shape for the long term, as it could be needed.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:19 PM   #16
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Try sitting on the couch most of the tine then decide to go running once a month
LOL. Nice analogy.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:38 PM   #17
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Buying a car and its problems are really a luck of the draw. Do your research and you will find majority of the Boxster owners have worry-free cars. 75k hard driven miles in my case and no real problems, 02 Base. My estimate would be much less than $1k/year if you do your own maintenance.

On the other hand, my then new 04 hand built NSX-T was the worse car I have ever owned, drove it ~15k miles and sold it after one year in a heartbeat.
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Old 05-24-2012, 05:07 AM   #18
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I drive an '02S because I like the "modern-classic" look of the 986 and I don't want to worry too much about it. I bought my car 4 years ago. If I was going to buy today, I'd probably buy a 2009 or 2010 model (maybe a Cayman).

I bought my car for a song @ 11K miles and have put almost 60K on it over the past 4 years as my daily driver - rain, snow, sun, whatever. Yes it requires a bit more maintenance, but it's a 10 year old car now... After a while, all of the usual-suspect stuff breaks and then you have a well sorted daily driver. I think (hope...) I've reached that spot.

I've owned 3 BMWs and truthfully there is no comparison. The Porsche is a driver's car. BMW lost their way a long time ago.



Mike Focke's site still has a lot of great information about buying a Boxster:

mikesporscheboxsterwebpages - mikefocke2
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:19 AM   #19
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I did my own PPI on my recently acquired 2001 Boxster S, since I figured that none of the really important stuff can be discovered without taking the engine/transmission apart.

I spent 2 hours at a private sellers home looking stuff over like reading all the maintenance repair receipts, counting up the olil changes, decoding all the options.

From the records I started getting a feeling that the current and previous owner did regular maintenance and took good care of the car, a very good sign.

Then I tested everything in the car to make sure everything inside and out was functional and sound. (I forgot to try the wipers)

I crawled near/under and looked at everything exposed (I had a fiber optic camera from Harbor frieght $80 to look at inaccessible places)
Number one was that there was no Oil on the ground or on the engine at either end. I would check that again after the test drive and it was all clean, also a very good sign.

I felt confident I had a good 11 year old car with appropriate 55k worth of wear and tear. So I bought it after getting a discount of 500 for the rear tires that have a few k miles left on the tread.

When I got home the additional issues I discovered is the wiper spray did not work, thanks to this forum chances are good that it is only a disconnected line and I will fix it this weekend.
Also had a loose vent in the rear quarter panel which again was simple to reinstall properly so it was in tight.

I also had a stange noise behind the passenger seat over bumpy road and as others have described the same symptoms have found it to be nothing more that the top rubbing, which after an adjustment stopped.

I find that this forum has a solution/answer for every conceivable problem and question and is better than have just 1 mechanic at a shop guess/solve your problem.

I'm loving the Porsche 986 experience and looking forward to many years of pleasure. Did I mention that driving was out of this world.

I went to a track and guess what I saw, a lot of Porsches, what does that mean?
They are great performers and people buy them specifically for that purpose.

I love that folks who have driven all sorts of performance cars just think the Boxster is fantastic, can they all be wrong?!!!...I think not!
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:07 AM   #20
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I was expecting something more inline with a BMW ...
Ha! I see what you did there!

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