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Old 12-25-2012, 08:30 AM   #1
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Most reliable Porsche long term?

So I greatly enjoy my Boxster, and it is fairly low mileage - 2001 with 54k miles.

Obviously like everyone here, I always have certain issues in the back of my mind - such as the infamous IMS failure. Generally normal wear and tear and maintenance is fine, but to have the threat of a complete engine failure looming is a bit much.

So what's the next step up? Obviously a 2009+ Boxster is more reliable, but what about cars between 2001-2009? Are the 996 911 models reliable and free from these troubles?

How about the early Cayman cars? Same deal? Or is there a particular engine that is more robust?

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Old 12-25-2012, 09:57 AM   #2
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:00 AM   #3
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So I greatly enjoy my Boxster, and it is fairly low mileage - 2001 with 54k miles.

Obviously like everyone here, I always have certain issues in the back of my mind - such as the infamous IMS failure. Generally normal wear and tear and maintenance is fine, but to have the threat of a complete engine failure looming is a bit much.

So what's the next step up? Obviously a 2009+ Boxster is more reliable, but what about cars between 2001-2009? Are the 996 911 models reliable and free from these troubles?

How about the early Cayman cars? Same deal? Or is there a particular engine that is more robust?

I would say your own car is very reliable except for the IMS, and there are a lot of people who swear even the IMS isn't much of an issue. My big concern if I were you would not be the risk of the IMS breaking but the cost of replacing the engine if it does. If I were you and really liked my car, I would invest in a new clutch and the LN Engineering fix for the IMS (you'll probably need a new clutch soon anyway, and the same labor is involved). That would be a heckuva lot cheaper than trading and probably just as reliable or more so.

I hear the 06's through 08's have a Porsche-improved IMS and don't have much problem with it (I hope, because I have an 08). However, as a practical matter you can't upgrade it. If you have the money, anything 09 and newer should be very reliable ... but very expensive, too.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:13 AM   #4
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The 996 range has the same IMS issue as the 986. As previously stated, Porsche improved the IMS in the 997 / 987 range. It's not totally bullet proof but far fewer issues. However, you can easily replace the IMS in a 986 but it requires the engine to be totally torn apart to replace the IMS in a 987. So you could spend $2K on your 986 for a clutch / IMS replacement and have peace of mind or go up to a 987 and feel fairly confident or buy a 987 gen II (2009 or newer) and be certain.

How much are you willing to spend? Peace of mind = $$$.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:27 AM   #5
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Upgrading the IMS is a lot cheaper than purchasing a newer Boxster or Cayman.
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Old 12-25-2012, 10:54 AM   #6
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Upgrading the IMS is a lot cheaper than purchasing a newer Boxster or Cayman.
No doubt, not too tough of a job and a great way to familiarize yourself with it. From what I've read and heard every model and generation has it's own Achilles heel of sorts, some more severe than others. History has proven the air cooled motors and G50 trans combo (aside from SAI issues) to be quite robust, but then again some around here have 200k plus miles so.....Drive it and enjoy.....
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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So the upgraded ims and clutch should run around $2k? Are they both always done together?
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:52 PM   #8
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Bought my 2000 S six speed stick this summer with 60 thou miles.Very quickly had my indie garage do the LN IMS upgrade and RMS just to be safe.REAL peace of mind.Was with him when he did it and my original parts were perfect.Did clutch while in there as well.

This whole exercise suits my personal risk tolerance.This is similar to the idea of purchasing an extended warranty only better as it will avert the rare possibility of a huge problem.I did my research on the issue and planned to do it.I spent just under 3 grand and I intend to keep the car.I can now drive it as Porsche intended it to be driven!

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Old 12-25-2012, 01:00 PM   #9
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So the upgraded ims and clutch should run around $2k? Are they both always done together?
they're not required to be done together, but most of the work to get to the bearing is the same as replacing the clutch, so a lot of people do them together to save the double labor cost. same with the RMS. it's not a requirement, but the labor to get to it is mostly done when a clutch is done.
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Old 12-25-2012, 06:51 PM   #10
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80's 911 is the most bulletproof porsche I know of. Easy to work on and if you don't live in a really hot climate drive really well all year round.
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Old 12-25-2012, 09:19 PM   #11
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80's 911 is the most bulletproof porsche I know of. Easy to work on and if you don't live in a really hot climate drive really well all year round.
Yes except for a finicky fuel injection, ignition module that will short and leave you stranded, fluky and unreliable emission control devices, essentially non-existent climate control that is 1950s technology... and oil leaks.

Even a venerable 996 GT3 suffers from coolant leaks that require engine removal and re-welding all the joints in the system. Oops!

Every car has issues and if you go to the appropriate car forum you will learn about them. On the 986 forum we learn about it's issues. Few cars of any make are more reliable than the 986 Boxster with a few well known exceptions that have well understood solutions.
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:14 AM   #12
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Bah! Who needs climate control, that why we live in California! The only time I used to turn on my heater was to cool the engine temperature down in heavy slow traffic!
Actually, I miss the simplicity of older cars , without computer stuff, and radio codes, and power windows and such. they are so much easier to work on and maintain. I've considering picking up another early 70's 911 but I do like a little air conditioning on those black tie days in my old age.
In reality though, that's not for everybody, if you want a reasonably reliable sports car , most Porsches are good, certainly better than most of the competition in the same class.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:50 AM   #13
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So the upgraded ims and clutch should run around $2k? Are they both always done together?
Rondo, I purchased my 986 with 73k miles with the intention of doing the clutch and IMS in the spring. I knowingly and specifically purchased a 986 with this looming IMS issue and included that along with a few other upgrades and maintenance into my planned budget. I have read numerous times how well made the Boxster is and that it is one of the most reliable cars made. So it has one weak spot that does not rear it's head on every 986. Fix it (improved design) and then drive with complete peace of mind. If you lose sleep over it, fix it sooner. I read here that Flat Six Innovations (Jake Raby) has a bearing coming out in the February time frame. I figure I will wait to see if and how that one works out or just get the LN engineering kit. The clutch is in the same location so might as well do that while you are in there and have peace of mind that the clutch is new.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:17 AM   #14
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I say only consider 2009 and newer. No IMS issues anymore. CPO is the best bet.

If you're moving out of the Boxster and into a Carrera, the 997.2 gets high praise, a huge improvement over the 996 Carrera platform.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:22 AM   #15
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I believe the 09 they did away with the IMS, now add a TIP and you should have a Porsche good for a very long time. But, if you like shifting, you can start putting away what it will cost you to replace in the future...about $2-3 grand.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:36 AM   #16
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Removing the IMS wasn't what was required to build a better engine. In fact EVERY aircooled Porsche since the pushrod 356 has had an IMS, its called a layshaft.

As we explore into the DFI engine on year #3 of our 9a1 development we have already found the strengths and weaknesses with the platform. We found them faster than anyone else having pushed the envelope to 4.2 liters over 18 months ago.
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:41 PM   #17
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Jake: I've been looking for a 997.2, Have you found that motor to be reasonably reliable?
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Old 12-26-2012, 02:22 PM   #18
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I believe the 09 they did away with the IMS, now add a TIP and you should have a Porsche good for a very long time. But, if you like shifting, you can start putting away what it will cost you to replace in the future...about $2-3 grand.
Starting to replace what? Clutch, transmission? I've owned many cars in my 19 years of driving. The only trannies that I've ever needed to rebuild we're autos. While slush boxes have gotten much better over the years, I still see them as time bombs, especially the manumatics... I'm not saying they won't last a long while (my GS400 has 210k on the original tranny, but a Porsche is no Lexus in terms of build quality, few cars are). A well cared for manual should last as long as the engine with the primary wear parts (clutch, FW and associated bits) being easily changed. The primary wear parts in an real auto tranny are not serviceable until rebuild. PDK is a "whole 'nother" subject as it's actually a manual with automated shifting, not the other way around.

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Old 12-26-2012, 02:30 PM   #19
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^ you must have been reading my mind. I was watching some 981 Boxster videos and the PDK, particluarly in sport mode, was actually starting to sound appealing for once.
The first PDK seemed to have "lag", although I heard this was fixed on certain models pre-2012. At any rate that sounds like an out-of-warranty nightmare.
Considering Porsche have told 997 GT3 drivers who wrecked their cars because of the center lock wheels coming undone, to go pound sand, I don't put any faith in "new" or "experimental" Porsche engineering.
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Last edited by Perfectlap; 12-26-2012 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:05 PM   #20
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Here here! I love P-cars, but I'm not a huge fan of Porsche customer service. I prefer to keep it simple, mad a simple manual with me controlling the as many variables as possible is my preferred choice. I was actually happy to find a car without PSM. I wanted a sports car, and that's what I got. I'd have been fine with wind down windows. I realize not everyone thinks this way and that's fine too. But the more complex the system, the more there is to break. It's why aircraft engines still use magnetos for ignition and air for cooling in most cases. You can't just pull over and call roadside assistance when your automated whatever ceases to automate.

I've driven a 2012 Panamera with PDK...It was great, but not earth shattering from a driving perspective.


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^ you must have been reading my mind. I was watching some 981 Boxster videos and the PDK, particluarly in sport mode, was actually starting to sound appealing for once.
The first PDK seemed to have "lag", although I heard this was fixed on certain models pre-2012. At any rate that sounds like an out-of-warranty nightmare.
Considering Porsche have told 997 GT3 drivers who wrecked their cars because of the center lock wheels coming undone, to go pound sand, I don't put any faith in "new" or "experimental" Porsche engineering.


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