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Old 04-22-2013, 09:41 AM   #1
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Looking to buy a Boxster - anything I should know?

I'm looking to buy a Boxster for the first time. Is there anything I need to know regarding model years to avoid? What about high mileage cars? At what point is the mileage too high? I did find a 1998 Hardtop Boxster with 92k miles for less than $10,000 which seems like a decent price. Obviously I would get a pre-purchase inspection prior to actually buying any car.
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Old 04-22-2013, 09:46 AM   #2
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Check out the top sticky on this forum - it has tons of information about the 986 and common problems that spring up. Read up on the differences between the 97-99, 00-02, and 03-04 models in terms of body styling, engine, and S vs. non-S.

Also familiarize yourself with the terms IMS and RMS. Happy boxstering!
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:06 PM   #3
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Take care when buying as you would with any large purchase.
Make sure the car has Full Service History (FSH) preferably Porsche but a good indi is just as good. Frequent oil changes are very important.
If you don't know much about mechanics, take someone along who does when you think you have found a good one.
Make sure it's never been crashed/stolen/both etc...

They do have issues but to be realistic you probably don't need to worry about these things, major problems are very rare.. just budget for more than an average saloon.

I have had my 99 2.7 for 2yrs now and haven't spent a penny on anything other than a service(oil and filters)
They are fantastic little cars that will provide you with a huge amount of joy every time you drive them.
Get a good one though! Mine was a minter , 1 owner FPSH and the 1st I looked at...very lucky
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:04 AM   #4
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If the 98 is at 92k miles and hasn't had the engine replaced or any problems with the IMS or RMS, is it safe to say if it hasn't had a problem by now that it is unlikely to have those problems?
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:38 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by hamburglar View Post
If the 98 is at 92k miles and hasn't had the engine replaced or any problems with the IMS or RMS, is it safe to say if it hasn't had a problem by now that it is unlikely to have those problems?
It is difficult to say for sure how likely it will be that you will have a problem with either the IMS or RMS. I replaced both, for the piece of mind, along with a new clutch about a month ago, and used the ceramic replacement from LN Engineering.

If it were my car, and I was concerned about it, then I would budget for the upgrade, enjoy the Boxter, and not worry about it.

Regardless of the odds, it will be good piece-of-mind.
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:44 AM   #6
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It comes down to your priorities and your budget. The Boxsters have been very solid cars and are well-built. High mileage isn't necessarily a problem but get a good PPI on any Boxster you might buy. Better to go to an independent shop that specializes in Porsche for a more thorough inspection. If it checks out on the PPI and you don't have impending clutch, water pump or brake replacement then you can trust the car.

Aside from that, and factoring in your budget (whatever it is):
-'97-'99 was the original Boxster with the weakest engine. Some thought it was a few HP short.
-'00-'02 was basically the same car with a few more HP.
-'03 (I think) got upgrades to the interior materials plus another engine bump if I recall correctly.
-'06-'08 is when the 987 came out (redesign with new chassis) and is a good range to shop for a great car. You'll be in the $20-$30k range, though.

I may be off on some of the timing but these are the groups I'd look at to figure out where your budget puts you, then just look for a clean car with a good PPI. If that $10k number is what you're looking at then I'd target '00-'02. You might have a challenge shopping in MI, though. You could get one from a warmer state and find more inventory.
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:55 AM   #7
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hamburglar, you can't say you will never have issues with the IMS bearing and RMS. Some of the early 2.5 Boxsters (97, 98) had problems with block porosity that typically showed up quite early on, if at all. That car will have a double-row IMS bearing (but check the engine serial numbers, because if the engine has been replaced it may be a later engine with single-row bearing), which substantially reduces the risk of IMS bearing failure ( well less than 1% versus 8-10%). However, there is no set mileage at which it can occur. I have a dual row with only 57,000 miles, but still plan on replacing the bearing when I end up having to do the clutch.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:42 PM   #8
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It comes down to your priorities and your budget. The Boxsters have been very solid cars and are well-built. High mileage isn't necessarily a problem but get a good PPI on any Boxster you might buy. Better to go to an independent shop that specializes in Porsche for a more thorough inspection. If it checks out on the PPI and you don't have impending clutch, water pump or brake replacement then you can trust the car.

Aside from that, and factoring in your budget (whatever it is):
-'97-'99 was the original Boxster with the weakest engine. Some thought it was a few HP short.
-'00-'02 was basically the same car with a few more HP.
-'03 (I think) got upgrades to the interior materials plus another engine bump if I recall correctly.
-'06-'08 is when the 987 came out (redesign with new chassis) and is a good range to shop for a great car. You'll be in the $20-$30k range, though.

I may be off on some of the timing but these are the groups I'd look at to figure out where your budget puts you, then just look for a clean car with a good PPI. If that $10k number is what you're looking at then I'd target '00-'02. You might have a challenge shopping in MI, though. You could get one from a warmer state and find more inventory.
I would like to spend like $12k at most but would prefer the $10k number. I would love a 2000 Boxster S with higher mileage, but what are my chances of finding one under $12k?

I'm also pretty confused by prices. How could a 1999 with 115k miles be on sale for $8k from a dealer but some private sellers are asking $12k or more for the same car. It seems like a lot of the prices are far below the KBB estimated value.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by hamburglar View Post
I would like to spend like $12k at most but would prefer the $10k number. I would love a 2000 Boxster S with higher mileage, but what are my chances of finding one under $12k?

I'm also pretty confused by prices. How could a 1999 with 115k miles be on sale for $8k from a dealer but some private sellers are asking $12k or more for the same car. It seems like a lot of the prices are far below the KBB estimated value.
Hamburgler,

I am repeating what many threads will confirm, but here is my take.

I purchased a 99 base model after reading here and other forums. For me it was price as well as overall condition and history. My thinking was that after a couple of years (97 & 98) they made some significant chassis and engine improvements and the price for a 99 pre-owned boxster was at a sweet spot. 99 and early 2000's had a double row ims bearing and was a superior design as the recent class action lawsuit pointed out. So if you find a good one of these models that has a really good clutch then you should be good to go with regular maintenance for quite some time. If you buy one with a single row bearing, you will be paranoid at every little noise and will be afraid of revs and that is no way to enjoy the boxster experience. The time to do the ims upgrade is the time you do the clutch. So if you purchase a non dual row bearing model then plan on spending a couple of thousand dollars for peace of mind. Or find one with dual row design and a good clutch and enjoy it until it needs a clutch. Even then if you do not want to spend the extra money on an ims you have a less than 1% chance of having a problem. Not bad odds.

One good drive in one with someone that knows how to drive them and you will clearly understand that you do not want to drive them easy. Like they say "drive it like you stole it" why? Because it is just too much fun....
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:56 PM   #10
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I see a lot of young 20 somethingers buying the Boxster as the price has really come down to an affordable level, but that doesn't mean they are in way affordable compared to the average 10k car as far as maintenance..
If you got a great job and this is a second car or you can afford to pay for the occasional big buck service or pride yourself as a budding Porsche mechanic, then great idea.
If you were like me at early 20's working for peanuts , and needing an inexpensive car for college and work, then not such a good idea. That first big dollar repair eventually happens, and you need to have some financhial runway available.
I remember when I was in my late 20's, out of college, and got a used BMW having been driving a cheapo Mitsubishi for the last 4 years, with hardly more expense than oil changes. I had it only a couple weeks, and was hit with a catastrophic timing belt failure and $2500 repair.
Another example, my wife's Miata engine seized due to a failed water pump , and we were able to find a used 30k motor installed for $1200.
I would think you would be lucky to get a Boxster motor for less than $4500 plus install.
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:43 PM   #11
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I'd say your odds of finding an S for under 12K is doable. I see them on craiglist.com from time to time and I was just browsing RennList today. Here's a 2000 for 11K. It sold already, but the point is they do come up ...

FS: 2000 Boxster S - Rennlist Discussion Forums

I bought my 99 for 12K, but did so knowing how clean the car was with lower miilage (67K when I bought it) with a carfax showing a history of Porsche maintenance and repair (potentially including the RMS - maybe IMS too). In any case, I really like the ride and am happy with it. Had I of known what I do know though, I'd have kept looking for an S until I found one I wanted for under 12~15K.

I forgot to mention that when searching, get the 30 day cardfax offer. While carfax is not perfect they do offer a buy back guarentee, plus if the car was in an accident the carfax might show it. Many of the cars I was considering I dropped as soon as I found out it was in an accident. Generally speaking, these were all lower priced models at a local small lot dealer. I wanted a car, but not a problem if I could avoid it.
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Last edited by AKnowles; 04-23-2013 at 08:56 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention ...
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:51 PM   #12
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I'm also pretty confused by prices. How could a 1999 with 115k miles be on sale for $8k from a dealer but some private sellers are asking $12k or more for the same car. It seems like a lot of the prices are far below the KBB estimated value.
It's tough to say; some of the private sellers may have spent a boatload of money and time maintaining his or her ride to like-new standards and subsequently expect to get top-dollar for it when it is sold.

Alternatively, some dealers are known to buy problem cars cheap at auction, and do the minimum necessary to make them sellable and then flip them for a profit. If the price seems really cheap, there is probably a reason for it.

The bottom line is to do as much pricing and test driving as you can now so that you make a better and more informed decision.
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Old 04-24-2013, 12:57 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by hamburglar View Post
I would like to spend like $12k at most but would prefer the $10k number. I would love a 2000 Boxster S with higher mileage, but what are my chances of finding one under $12k?

I'm also pretty confused by prices. How could a 1999 with 115k miles be on sale for $8k from a dealer but some private sellers are asking $12k or more for the same car. It seems like a lot of the prices are far below the KBB estimated value.
Similar to the response from a previous poster, I'd say there's a mix of reasons for the prices you'll see on cars. People on this board will know one generation Boxster from another because we drive them, but the general public sees expensive Porsches that all look cool and the styling tends to age well since they evolve rather than make a lot of drastic changes over time. People always made an assumption that I spent a lot of money on my car because they think that about Porsches, but I bought mine used for a deal just like many others do. I just ended up keeping it a long time because I like it so much. Therefore used Boxsters get purchased at all kinds of price points and that makes honing in on a price tough. When I sold my 2000 it was in great condition and I priced it below most of what I saw around me but still ended up having to cut a deal in the end. I knew it was a LOT of car for $10k but people shopping for Boxsters just saw a 13 year old car with lots of others like it for sale.

So I'd say pick a warm weather city in CA and do a search on a site like cars.com in a 100 mile radius and you'll see some funny prices but in general you'll get a feel for the trend. Now that I've owned base and "S" Porsches my opinion has changed a little and I'll say an S adds the extra kick that makes it better, but if I were shopping with your criteria I'd be looking for the newest Boxster I could find in the best condition first, then see if an "s" falls in that pool for you. Boxsters are reliable and it's not like you need to have a tow on speed dial, but things deteriorate with age and use so push that expiration date back as far as possible for yourself. You should be able to get a 2000-2002 with mileage in the 70-90k range at that price, maybe better if you have time to wait and jump on a deal when you see it. Shopping locally in Michigan will make it tough, though. There can't be that many around you.
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