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Old 06-18-2012, 09:03 PM   #1
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Considering a Boxter (not Just a 1997-it was sold)

***edit: I changed the title because today I found out that the car I was looking at and had been negotiating for, was sold. So now, I am back to my search and not just for the 1997 model year, in fact newer would be better***

I have been looking for a nice, clean Boxter and have come across a one owner, 1997 Boxter with just over 33,000 miles. It has a clean CARFAX(no accidents) report and judging by the pictures and conversations with the owner, I think it could be just what I am looking for. I made my final offer of $11,000 subject to a PPI. The car is located out of state but I won't make my final decision until I actually see it. The color is Black Pearl with grey interior(the color combination that I want), heated seats, traction control, 17 inch wheels, all pretty standard stuff. Is there anything other than the IMS issue that I should be concerned about? I know I am taking a risk with a low miles car in that seals can dry up and in talking with a Porsche mechanic, he felt the low miles cars had more IMS failures, whether that's true or not, I don't know. Any thoughts?

I came close to getting a 2001 with 29,000 miles last week but a PPI turned up some oil in the coolant along with some other issues so I passed on that one, but the outside was immaculate. It was also $4000 more than this one. I could have probably got it down to $14K if the PPI had turned out clean. But to be honest, the '97 looks just as nice. I guess my question is, is it worth 3 or 4 thousand more for a newer vintage?

Some times I think I am nuts for considering a 15 year old car but this is not going to be a DD. Just something for fun. Sure I could go buy a newer one for more, but I am not sure a newer vintage would get me that much more. I don't want to go over $15,000. I have driven a 1999(2.5L) and a 2001(2.7L) and didn't see much difference. I would appreciate any thoughts, experiences or concerns anyone might have. Thanks, this is a great forum! I have learned a lot already on here, or so I think.


Last edited by BruceH; 06-22-2012 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Original car was sold that I was looking at
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Old 06-18-2012, 09:44 PM   #2
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Hello BruceH, it's good to see a fellow Texan on the board. The only thing other than the IMS I would be concerned about is the very low possibility of a D Chunk failure. Problems that will hit though is the water pump breaking, Air oil seperator malfunctioning, CV joint boots cracking, and motor mounts disintegrating. These aren't flaws rather, but inevitable wear and tear. I'm not here to scare you, but be expected to have $2,000 set aside in repairs, as expected for any car with age, especially being a sports car. As for those problems, that is what I can think of on top of my head, but don't let it deter you. These cars have much character and fun.

Edit referencing D chunk failure:

"This “D-chunk” problem seems to ironically occur mostly in gently driven cars. Boxsters that are driven hard at the track or on the street do not tend to see this type of damage. At least with respect to the track cars, one theory is that these cars tend to have their oil changed much more often. The problem affects mostly the 2.5 and Carrera 3.4 engines:"
Source: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/13-ENGINE-Common_Engine_Failures/13-ENGINE-Common_Engine_Failures.htm

Last edited by Kenny Boxster; 06-20-2012 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:14 AM   #3
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Bruce....here is an option

http://986forum.com/forums/boxsters-sale-wanted/35807-fs-1999-boxster.html
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:32 AM   #4
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The only thing other than the IMS I would be concerned about is the very low possibility of a D Chunk failure.
D Chunk on a 2.5? I don't think so. D Chunk is a 3.4/6 996 lump problem due to think cylinder walls and open deck design. 2.5 actually has thicker cylinder walls than the 3.4/6 engines.

Some early 2.5s had slipped sleeve problems, but I think those were from 98 to 99. A '97 2.5 should be OK in that regard. But as the OP mentioned, it doesn't have enough miles to feel god about the IMS bearing.

I'd be thinking about getting an upgraded bearing onto it, pronto.
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:52 AM   #5
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Thanks, I actually did look at yours as well as the others on this forum. Yours is very sharp and I have actually debated it but I really don't think I want the Tiptronic option. I almost contacted you yesterday in fact, but that one item stopped me. I haven't driven the Tiptronic so you never know. If I find one around here, I might go try it. Yours is impressive though, I love the spoiler.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:07 AM   #6
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D Chunk on a 2.5? I don't think so. D Chunk is a 3.4/6 996 lump problem due to think cylinder walls and open deck design. 2.5 actually has thicker cylinder walls than the 3.4/6 engines.

Some early 2.5s had slipped sleeve problems, but I think those were from 98 to 99. A '97 2.5 should be OK in that regard. But as the OP mentioned, it doesn't have enough miles to feel god about the IMS bearing.

I'd be thinking about getting an upgraded bearing onto it, pronto.
With the IMS problem, I was somewhat under the impression that the early Boxters were less prone to it. My current plan would be to get an oil change as soon as I get it to Texas and have the oil drain plug replaced with one that has a rare earth magnet on it. I spoke with a mechanic at Zims Here in Bedford about the IMS failures and that is what they recommended. Still debating about the Flat 6 Guardian as well, but at that price, I would seriously consider just getting the improved bearing and be done with it. I'm glad that I shouldn't have to worry about D Chunk though!
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:17 AM   #7
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Sweet another Texan with a 97 (possibly). I love mine and I purchased mine from the original owner with 50k miles about 3 years ago and now I am at 80k. Have done some work (new GAHH glass window top, New tires x2 sets, window tint, painted bumperettes, door lock mechanism, ignition switch and next up is the motor mount). Tons of fun I have had with this car. I shudder to think of ever selling it. Enjoy it if you purchase the 97. Best of luck and look forward to the photos.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Kenny Boxster View Post
Hello BruceH, it's good to see a fellow Texan on the board. The only thing other than the IMS I would be concerned about is the very low possibility of a D Chunk failure. Problems that will hit though is the water pump breaking, Air oil seperator malfunctioning, CV joint boots cracking, and motor mounts disintegrating. These aren't flaws rather, but inevitable wear and tear. I'm not here to scare you, but be expected to have $2,000 set aside in repairs, as expected for any car with age, especially being a sports car. As for those problems, that is what I can think of on top of my head, but don't let it deter you. These cars have much character and fun.
Thanks Kenny! Yes, I pretty much figured on spending that amount. I figure there will be issues. I debate looking for one with 60,000 miles vs ones like the one I found with 33,000 miles. I'm curious if anyone has purchased one of these low mile Boxters and what their experience was. This car is owned by a guy with a small collection of assorted vehicles including a 1960 Porsche roadster that is supposedly in show condition. I am hoping he took care of the Boxter as well.

I understand Internet forums can be scary, but no, it's not going to deter me. The ones who have no problems are out enjoying the ride, the ones with the problems are here searching for an answer. I have looked at the other roadsters out there such as the 350Z as well, but they are not a Porsche
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by 97 Boxster View Post
Sweet another Texan with a 97 (possibly). I love mine and I purchased mine from the original owner with 50k miles about 3 years ago and now I am at 80k. Have done some work (new GAHH glass window top, New tires x2 sets, window tint, painted bumperettes, door lock mechanism, ignition switch and next up is the motor mount). Tons of fun I have had with this car. I shudder to think of ever selling it. Enjoy it if you purchase the 97. Best of luck and look forward to the photos.
Thanks, that's what I like to hear! I figure the GAHH top will be in my future as well. This car actually has the factory hard top but I told the guy I really don't want it, so he dropped his price and will try to sell that separately. I figure if I had the hard top, it would mostly just take up space in my garage.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:53 AM   #10
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Some times I think I am nuts for considering a 15 year old car...
No one here is going to share that sentiment. ;-)

A low miles, excellent condition, original owner car - hard to ask for anything more. Great find. Keep us posted and drive the heck out of it.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:57 AM   #11
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Thanks Snowman! Again, just what I want to hear! By the way, I see you have the Tiptronic. How do you like it?
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:43 AM   #12
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Was black pearl an offered color for Boxsters in '97? I'd check on that and ask for the paint code from the sticker in the trunk. You may have either a really rare one-off color or a re-paint.
FWIW, the 97 is a great platform for building a race car, as it was the lightest Boxster built.
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Old 06-19-2012, 10:44 AM   #13
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Was black pearl an offered color for Boxsters in '97? I'd check on that and ask for the paint code from the sticker in the trunk. You may have either a really rare one-off color or a re-paint.
FWIW, the 97 is a great platform for building a race car, as it was the lightest Boxster built.
He has it listed as Black Pearl and a somewhat clear picture of the sticker. Do you know off hand what the number is for Black Pearl?

Edit: I think I found it. The sticker says L744 which Google says is Black Pearl.

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Old 06-19-2012, 12:19 PM   #14
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Remember, 97" was first production year. Lots of engine problems, under powered, lacking in all respects compared to a 2000 and up model. Drive an S model and you will never consider a base model...a world of difference.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:28 PM   #15
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Thanks, that's what I like to hear! I figure the GAHH top will be in my future as well. This car actually has the factory hard top but I told the guy I really don't want it, so he dropped his price and will try to sell that separately. I figure if I had the hard top, it would mostly just take up space in my garage.
If you get this consider the top SOLD .... to me. I will take it off your hands. I have been looking for a black one. I think the black would look good on my guards red car.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:32 PM   #16
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Remember, 97" was first production year. Lots of engine problems, under powered, lacking in all respects compared to a 2000 and up model. Drive an S model and you will never consider a base model...a world of difference.
The power thing is subjective (although the power to weight ratio of early 2.5s is barely worse than the 2.7s and it has lower gearing to boot - I've driven 2.5s and 2.7s back to back and the difference is marginal. Actually I've driven a 2.5 back to back and side by side with a gen 2 2.9, too, and the difference was surprisingly small, but that's another story).

But the lots of engine problems thing is a bizarre myth that's built up. Any existing 2.5s remaining are about as solid as these cars get, engine wise. Which isn't hugely solid.
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:10 PM   #17
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Remember, 97" was first production year. Lots of engine problems, under powered, lacking in all respects compared to a 2000 and up model. Drive an S model and you will never consider a base model...a world of difference.
+1 on this and I own a 97. Buy an 03 S or younger S. The 97s are both underpowered and the subframe is not strong enough like the 98s and up.

Additionally, my car was not nicknamed by the former owner of this forum "the black hole for dead presidents" for nothing! A 97 will need a LOT of suspension, cooling, and other parts replaced due to age, regardless of mileage unless the previous owner has been dumping a grand a year into the car in the last three years and has receipts to prove it.

And last, $11,000 is easily $3,000 too much for any 97 IMNSHO.

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Old 06-19-2012, 03:33 PM   #18
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I have 97 base and 2001 S

So here is my take on it. I have both base 97 with a low vin number actually manufactured in Stuttgart with current 138,xxx miles on all original drive train and clutch and 2001 S. The power differences are significant, however believe it or not I have more fun in my 97. The car is lightest among all the Boxsters and you will feel that difference between the 97 and S model.

So if you compare these on the twisty roads, the 97 feels a lot more fun. It handles better, it brakes well (you can upgrade the fronts to 996 or S brakes). The lower gearing is a lot of fun on the back roads as well

Also I suggest you get a hardtop, its a great investment, they are only going up in price each year. I remember when you could get one for $600 during winter month, now even during summer they are over 1K


Also taking into consideration this is a low miles, one owner car I would suggest you grab it.

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Old 06-19-2012, 04:03 PM   #19
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Hi Bruce-I will relate my boxster tale. At a folk festival in Tucson, Az (I live in Phoenix)A big truck backed into my 1993 Ford Focus and killed it. I am 67 retired and thought should I get another hatchback (great car 102,000 miles) or the sportscar I always wanted. Two week later I own Max my 1998 boxster. I wanted CC and automactic and I got so much more. Unlike you I saw it on Criaglist on Thursday and bought it on Friday-3 owners and 92,000 miles -sensors replaced- no IMS problems.-Silver/red-got new tires and I have never had a better driving experience -busy doing the carpet and leather-learning-did not know what a boxster was a short two months ago-hope you have as much fun as I am having-ljt_22
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:38 PM   #20
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Thanks for everyone's opinions! So here is my thought process. I can go look for a 2001+ and from what I have seen, pay anywhere from $4000 to $9000 more for up to a 2004. In my area, for example, there is a 2004 S with about 72,000 miles, Black with Black interior and very clean. They want $20,895 for it. There's a 2000 S in Silver with 77K for $15,500. Again a big difference. I can do a lot of upgrades and maintenance on the '97 and still have the car I want with low miles. I'm not looking to race it, just to have some fun. When I drove the '99 with the 2.5L, I was very happy with the performance. Enough to get into trouble. I was hoping to hear something today as to whether or not my offer was accepted, but nothing. He has been slow to get back to me so hopefully tomorrow I'll know something. If it doesn't work out, I'll keep looking. There's plenty out there right now.

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