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Old 07-21-2012, 10:53 AM   #1
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Yearly repairs? Thinking of selling

This car is just so hard on the wallet... Which I expected when I purchased it, but it never seems to drive the way I want it to. I always am fearful behind the wheel that something is going to break at any time spontaneously.

Since owning the 75k mile car in January, I've replaced:
Tires (understandable) ~ $1,000
Clutch (kind of understandable) - $2300
Shifter cables and brackets - ~$900
Vacuum leak for check engine light to pass emissions ~$2000

brakes are on the way to needing replacement (brake wear light is on)
the engine 'rattles' when I drive it
the AC Compressor is gone, meaning I have no AC (which may be cause of rattle)

Not having AC is death when you drive a black leather car in the 120F deserts of Arizona.

My friends and family just tell me to sell the thing because it is getting really expensive really fast. And there's always the IMS boogeyman around the corner too.
But I love this car so much.

So my question: How much do people spend on yearly repairs?

Last edited by Crono0001; 07-21-2012 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:52 AM   #2
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Sure, sell it.

Or, learn to wrench it yourself.
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:18 PM   #3
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Assuming these are the last of the items to sort, you're going to quit with $1500 to go after sinking $6K in repairs?

The brakes are an easy DIY.

The engine rattle is probably a motor mount. Another DIY job.

You can pick up a compressor at OK Foreign or Porsche Dismantlers, install it yourself, and have someone clear and charge the system.

So many questions from your post. You bought the car knowing the AC wasn't working and now it's an issue? When you had the trans out for the clutch, why didn't you pop for the IMS? Did the car come with records?

It sounds like you bought a car that's been neglected for a while and needs some lovin to get it back up to snuff. You're probably not too far from the end of the tunnel. It would be a shame to sell it to someone else to enjoy. But wait for the response from Randall...
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by husker boxster View Post
Assuming these are the last of the items to sort, you're going to quit with $1500 to go after sinking $6K in repairs?

The brakes are an easy DIY.

The engine rattle is probably a motor mount. Another DIY job.

You can pick up a compressor at OK Foreign or Porsche Dismantlers, install it yourself, and have someone clear and charge the system.

So many questions from your post. You bought the car knowing the AC wasn't working and now it's an issue? When you had the trans out for the clutch, why didn't you pop for the IMS? Did the car come with records?

It sounds like you bought a car that's been neglected for a while and needs some lovin to get it back up to snuff. You're probably not too far from the end of the tunnel. It would be a shame to sell it to someone else to enjoy. But wait for the response from Randall...
Apologies, allow me to clarify

I wasn't very knowledgeable about cars (still am not). Before I purchased the car, I had a mechanic look at it, and he said the only thing he could find wrong was the vacuum leak (hence the check engine light). In retrospect, I don't think I took the car to a very good mechanic, as all this stuff happened to break down as I was driving it.

The AC problem is recent (just happened within the past few weeks), and the engine rattle just happened today. I took the engine cover off to listen to it, and it got worse when I turned the AC on. I'm almost convinced its the compressor, belt, or pulley...

I didn't replace the IMS when I had the clutch out (which I know I should have, because everything was out and ready), because I just didn't have the money, having already spent $3000 not more than a month ago to fix the vacuum leak.

But it seems that whenever I get done repairing one thing, another thing goes on the way, which is why I wanted to ask the drivers here how much they spend on yearly maintenance. I have no doubt this car was neglected from the previous owner, just from the amounts of soda spills and cigarette marks all over the car (poor thing).

I love the 986 to death, but it's not loving my wallet too much.
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:47 PM   #5
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A Porsche is an amazing car but it is not for everyone. A little knowledge, experience and elbow grease probably would have saved you about $4k on the repairs you listed. I would not have driven the car 1 week in AZ without working AC. If you are unable to do maintenance and repairs yourself, and unable to pay for professional repairs to keep it in good running order, it's time to move on. Good luck and good hunting. Hondas are pretty nice.
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Old 07-21-2012, 01:55 PM   #6
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If you are unable to do maintenance and repairs yourself, and unable to pay for professional repairs to keep it in good running order, it's time to move on. Good luck and good hunting. Hondas are pretty nice.
... yea, sadly. It seems that way. The 986 is a fun little car.
But if I could get some people to answer the question, it'd be nice.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:09 PM   #7
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I think I've been averaging about $1500 - 2000 per year on maintenance and about $2500 a year on cosmetic restoration. (that part is just about finished fortunately). The only actual break down I've had was a ruptured clutch line. No check engine light to date.

The car is a 99 and I've had it for four years.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:15 PM   #8
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What you are really asking is: "How much do you spend annually on repairs and maintenance?"

You probably won't like my answer. My car is set up for TT competition and I spend plenty. A typical year if I paid someone else to do all the work:

Periodic Maintenance
3 sets of tires: $2700
1 set of racing brakes/rotors all four corners: $2000
Small spoilers and plastic ducts that get rubbed off: $200
3 oil changes: $450
1 Transaxle fluid change $250
2 Brake fluid flush Motul 600: $300

Repairs last year
A/C diagnose/recharge: $250
Clutch, FW, IMS, used trans install, water pump, T-stat, coolant flush: $4500
4 wheel bearings: $1800

Makes my eyes water just looking at the numbers. My car has only missed one event in seven years due to breakdown (cracked radiator). It is as bulletproof as any car I have driven but it didn't happen by accident, and it doesn't come cheap.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Crono0001 View Post
But if I could get some people to answer the question, it'd be nice.
You could always read up on the threads already started about average annual maintenance costs. May save you some time from waiting for others to post here.

$2,000 for a vacuum leak? What's that about? I don't recall seeing you post about that in the past several months. Do tell!
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:20 PM   #10
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Apologies, I should've been more clear. I'll edit the post.
Yes, how much do you guys spend on yearly maintenance?

My car is a daily driver, and my pockets aren't deep enough to take it to the track yet.
If it's between 2-4k dollars per year, I'll keep it. But if I'm expected to spend upwards of $6k, it may just not be the car for me.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:26 PM   #11
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You could always read up on the threads already started about average annual maintenance costs. May save you some time from waiting for others to post here.

$2,000 for a vacuum leak? What's that about? I don't recall seeing you post about that in the past several months. Do tell!
Emissions was coming up, and I needed to clear the CEL in order to pass, so I took it into the shop. I haven't actually posted about a lot of the problems I've been getting with the car. Perhaps I'll do that in the future.
It was $330 (3 hours of $110 labor) for my mechanic to go in and see what the problem was. Apparently, my vacuum resevoir (993 110 140 03) wasn't holding any vacuum. Along the way, we also replaced the change over valve (996 605 123 01) injection check (993 113 250 03) and air injection valve (993 113 245 01).

I live in a small college town in Arizona called Tucson, where all the places that service Porsches have bad reviews. So, in order to circumvent that, I drive up to Scottsdale (not a problem since I have family nearby) to a mechanic who has stellar reviews. They're very nice and personable, but perhaps I'm getting ripped off?
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:17 PM   #12
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Many owners reserve $1500-$2000 annually for repairs. Some yrs you won't spend that much, some yrs you'll spend more. The thing with your situation is if the previous owner(s) didn't do proper maintenance, you're going to pay extra catching it back up. While it's not always a correlation, an interior in poor condition can be an indicator of how well the owner took care of the rest of the car. Maintenance needs to be done, whether on the proper schedule or all at once later on. You may be better off unloading this one. Maybe wait a few yrs, save up, and then find a low mileage (not insanely low - they can have maintenance issues too) Boxster with a maintenance history.

As far as your Scottsdale mechanic is concerned, he might be pricey but that doesn't necessarily mean he's ripping you off. Good mechanics know they're good and don't charge $5 / hr. You pay for quality. If you can't find a good mechanic that charges fair prices, you're better off paying extra for quality work.

Sorry I've given you two different opinions but now that more info is available, you do need to consider bailing on this one. We have a member who's spent a ton on a 'cheap' Boxster that he bought. Deciding when to bail is always a crap shoot.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:15 PM   #13
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Old (10 yrs +) sports cars are notorious for high maintenance costs and the Boxster is no different. I have spent half of the purchase price in repairs for my car in 18 months (and double that in upgrades). There are no cheap Porsche's.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:32 PM   #14
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If you're worried about the money you've put out so far, don't even think about taking it to the track. I would advise that you've probably spent most of what you are going to. Once you get it "right" you will likely be done. If you like the car, stick it out. If not sell as soon as you're ready. I have driven over 180,000 miles on my 3-in-a-row Porsches with only one coolant reservoir, one water pump and the requisite tires.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:41 PM   #15
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Chrono0001, I've been reading your posts since you joined this forum. And I didn't see any posts about your emissions problems. And since I was chasing my own emissions issues, I was surprised I had missed your posts. Kinda glad to see you hadn't made any posts about it.

Tucson is a bustling metropolis. Not like Phoenix, but getting very close. Especially since they've updated I-10 a few years ago. Too bad the citizens didn't want a bypass around the east side of town. Would have helped alleviate the traffic jams throughout the city.

My "maintenance" has been real low. Even considering some of the catch-up maintenance I had to do when I first bought my '99 a year ago. I never added it all up, but I'm guessing around $2K. New rotors, pads, spark plugs/tubes, belt, filters, oil, rear tires, alignment, etc. However, my repairs are probably at about $3K. Which also includes the $1K glass window top I put on when my plastic window broke. So I've doubled the purchase price of my car over the past year. But, I should be good for a while now. I don't expect to spend that much next year. Afterall, most of the failure type components are all new now.

I do have a few things I still have to do, which total about $500. Motor mount, water pump, gasket, low-temp thermostat, and AirLift tool.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:46 PM   #16
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I think I'll continue driving it until the end of the year or until something completely catastrophic fails. I really am happy to hear that most Boxsters are not as unreliable as mine. The feeling of insecurity when you step into your vehicle is something I didn't want to deal with when purchasing the vehicle.

Many thanks for your responses.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:51 PM   #17
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What was wrong with the shifter cables/brackets?
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Old 07-21-2012, 08:05 PM   #18
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What was wrong with the shifter cables/brackets?
The cable apparently lost tension, and slipped out of the bracket. It felt as though the gear positions on the shifter had 'shifted' in position (haha). For example, third gear would go into fifth gear, and first gear would go into third gear, and you had to force it very hard to the left to get it into first gear. Apparently, it had worn down the little ear tabs of the bracket for the 100 miles from Tucson to Phoenix, so he recommended replacing the shifter and bracket.

It didn't make me start to worry until the clutch began to fail. Fixing the clutch was $2300 that I did not want to spend, and now the AC cut out and the car rattles at high speeds. It seems to stop rattling when you take it out of gear, let the RPMs go to zero, and drive again. The rattle is not easily reproducible, almost random at times. It can happen in any gear, even in neutral while you are revving up, and it sounds like a belt issue. You definitely feel it in the gas pedal when the car starts to rattle and shake. Revving it up makes it worse, but the car still drives fine. No loss in power or speed... just an annoying (and very concerning) rattle.

At idle there's also the clanky sound, which I believe to be the AC Compressor, pulley, or something related. Video here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy6JGnRo7Uo&feature=plcp

The clanking becomes even more... clanky... like heavy metal, when the AC is turned on. Full on refrigerant.

The reason I started this thread is because I wanted to know if my Porsche was just neglected and needed a plethora of repairs to get her back to speed...
... or if the 986 is as unreliable as it is fun.

EDIT: some more information. '99 Boxster 2.5 with 80800 miles now. Driven daily, bought it for $8,000 off some kid with a rich dad.

Last edited by Crono0001; 07-21-2012 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:21 PM   #19
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I think that your experience is somewhat normal for the Boxster. You paid $8K and have done about $6K in repairs while I paid $10K for my '99 and have done about $4K in repairs (tires, clutch, starter, etc). So we both have spent about $14K to buy it and keep it running. You still have to fix the A/C and I just did the brakes (rotors/pads) and still need a new water pump. Close enough for me to call it even. Welcome to the club. The best thing to do now is to drive it like you stole it and enjoy the heck out of it because the money is spent and we're not going to get it back in resale.
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Last edited by thstone; 07-21-2012 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:13 AM   #20
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Buying one of these cars in easy. Affording to keep one is not always so easy. I have always enjoyed working on cars and knew from the start that this car could be fairly high maintenance. Mine is a 2002 S I bought with 32000 mi. In the two years I have had it I replaced the top with a glass window, clutch, IMS, rear main seal, AOS, 3 or 4 oil changes, wheel bearings all around (only one actually failed), lower rear control arms, rotors and pads all around, new tires, and second gear detent. Paying a mechanic to do all this would have been unaffordable for me. I had a local Porsche shop do the clutch, IMS and RMS more as matter of time savings as opposed to could not do it myself. The car is an every day driver and it handles and feels almost new. That is the way I prefer to keep it, not waiting for failures to occur. If you really like the car this is an excellent opportunity to learn to do it yourself. With help from this site, and publications such as Wayne's 101 Projects for your Boxster, Bentley manual and fellow enthusiasts there is a lot you can do to keep the cost of ownership down and have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself.
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