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Old 05-15-2013, 12:44 PM   #1
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How bad is sitting for a Boxster? Question before potential purchase

I have a deal going on a clean '98 Boxster 5spd, it's complete with hardtop and all accessories (hardtop w/ lift, factory cover, bras, etc), 85k, two owner, passed a PPI only needing small stuff such as a coolant flush, tires and brakes in the next year, an alignment, sway bar links, and showing minor wear and tear such as a you'd expect on a car with 80k (stone chips, few small door dings, etc)

Only concern I have is that it's only done about 1500 miles in the last six years. Owner states he has still done yearly oil changes. The PPI didn't indicate any problems as a result, just that it looked like it had been sitting.

We all know sitting is bad, but how lightly should I take this? Car seems like a good deal at $9k and I intend to go forward with the purchase unless you guys think otherwise.





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Old 05-15-2013, 01:12 PM   #2
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Price seems about right but it looks like you will have a fair wave of maintenance in the next 10-15K mi. Unless you love the color and/or have limited options in your area I would look around. I bought my '97 with 96K mi for a lot less and it had just gone through the "100K" maintenance wave...
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:13 PM   #3
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How well do you trust the mechanic who did your PPI? Personally, I think the rad flush is a make-work on these cars unless there is a need to replace the waterpump (see the related thread below). If they could see that it was sitting, why? Were the brake calipers seized? Were there signs of corrosion on various parts from lack of use? If so, what parts?

Are there any signs of oil leaks? If none, was it checked after a good, hard run? If not, it should have been.

You say the owner claims to have done yearly oil changes - does he have bills for the oil and filters? If not, how can you confirm this. Did the PPI include an oil change? If not, it should have. If so, what did the oil look like? If not like new, I don't believe the owner about having done the required annual oil changes in spite of such low mileage. Were there metal or other particles in the oil/oil filter after it was cut open? If the mechanic did not cut open the filter, shame on him.

Did he do a compression test? Did he do a drip-down test? Both of these are important on any car, but especially one that has been sitting apart from 250 miles a year and which may have had old oil (which often contains water from condensation after long periods of sitting).

If the owner has owned the car for that many years, what records does he have for servicing the car? If none, again I'd be nervous. If so, you can use that to check his mileage claims. It will also be worthwhile in order to see if any of the parts that often start to fail at 60,000 plus miles were replaced. E.g, the waterpump, A/O/S (air oil separator), MAF (mass airflow sensor), clutch, coolant expansion tank, spark plug tubes and coils, ignition switch, suspension arms, etc.

If he has no records, is he prepared to tell you where it was serviced over the years so that you can check to see if they have records on file. If not, why not?

The car may be a great buy, but I would certainly want more information about the car than the owner seems to have given you, especially if he has owned it that long. I would also want to have a comprehensive PPI by a trusted Porsche mechanic who is not connected with the seller.
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Old 05-15-2013, 01:38 PM   #4
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Not much of a savings for a potentially big problem.

I don't know how set you are on only spending $10K but everyone knows there is no such thing as as a $10K Porsche that you actually plan to drive.

Either the previous driver put in the cash to address the major maintenance that comes up by at least the 100K mile mark like shocks, control arms, clutch/IMS, rotors, water pump, possibly the cats as well as common Boxster issues like the AOS, coolant tank or he didn't and you'll have to. I spent $10K on nearly all of the above on car with less miles so its not unheard of for things to crop up in costly waves once the car reaches a certain point. One way to avoid determining that point is to park it for six years...
PPI's are a good idea but they only tell you, for the most part, what's wrong at that time. Things can let go without much warning in a short amount of time. You have to budget for items that typically only last x amount of miles. Or pay more for a lower mileage, newer Porsche. You'll be paying either way unless you plan to be out of the car in 1 year or 2 max.

What I would do: find an enthusiast-owned (someone who doesn't let a car sit for six years) Porsche in a sunny climate region (Southern California) with a decent amount of mileage and some of the major maintenance items checked off. Many folks come on here asking about a Porsche simply because it falls into a certain price range and it looks decent for the vintage. Little do they realize that cost of entry is not cost to play.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:05 PM   #5
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Good questions..

The shop was the largest in the area that specialized in all Porsche models. The tech was the senior Porsche specialist who has been working on new and vintage Porsches for 20+ years. An oil change was completed, the oil looked good, and they found no metal fragments when cutting the oil filter open. He also mentioned they didn't hear any unusual noises indicitive of the IMS/RMS issues.

They did drive the car but not extensively. No oil leaks found. No compression test done either. No mention of corrosion or seizing. The carfax did verify his statements about the number of miles driven. It appears the original owner in Cali put all the miles on the car, but I don't have any records to verify what he did or didn't do.

The seller said he may have the receipts for the oil changes and will check. He has only put 7000 miles on the car since he bought it in 2002 from the original owner, no service history, but it isn't his first Porsche and he doesn't seem like the average dumb dumb owner.


Quote:
Originally Posted by southernstar View Post
How well do you trust the mechanic who did your PPI? Personally, I think the rad flush is a make-work on these cars unless there is a need to replace the waterpump (see the related thread below). If they could see that it was sitting, why? Were the brake calipers seized? Were there signs of corrosion on various parts from lack of use? If so, what parts?

Are there any signs of oil leaks? If none, was it checked after a good, hard run? If not, it should have been.

You say the owner claims to have done yearly oil changes - does he have bills for the oil and filters? If not, how can you confirm this. Did the PPI include an oil change? If not, it should have. If so, what did the oil look like? If not like new, I don't believe the owner about having done the required annual oil changes in spite of such low mileage. Were there metal or other particles in the oil/oil filter after it was cut open? If the mechanic did not cut open the filter, shame on him.

Did he do a compression test? Did he do a drip-down test? Both of these are important on any car, but especially one that has been sitting apart from 250 miles a year and which may have had old oil (which often contains water from condensation after long periods of sitting).

If the owner has owned the car for that many years, what records does he have for servicing the car? If none, again I'd be nervous. If so, you can use that to check his mileage claims. It will also be worthwhile in order to see if any of the parts that often start to fail at 60,000 plus miles were replaced. E.g, the waterpump, A/O/S (air oil separator), MAF (mass airflow sensor), clutch, coolant expansion tank, spark plug tubes and coils, ignition switch, suspension arms, etc.

If he has no records, is he prepared to tell you where it was serviced over the years so that you can check to see if they have records on file. If not, why not?

The car may be a great buy, but I would certainly want more information about the car than the owner seems to have given you, especially if he has owned it that long. I would also want to have a comprehensive PPI by a trusted Porsche mechanic who is not connected with the seller.

Last edited by black_falcon; 05-15-2013 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:38 PM   #6
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The car looks good, runs and idles smooth, drives nice, no leaks, passes PPI with clean oil, clean carfax, what's not to like? Having it sitting around for 6 years is less than ideal but it's 15 yrs old and only $9K. Not much risk exposure really so I would probably buy it.

I might be more uncomfortable if I were shelling out $70K for a clean used GT3 but I see no reason to pee in ones pants over a 15 yr old $9K car. It looks like a lot of car for $9k.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:38 PM   #7
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My $.02 is that yearly oil changes mean little to nothing if the oil has 1500 miles on it. Again, what makes it look like it's been sitting? Check for leaks, examine all the rubber (belt, hoses, bushings, CV Boots, mounts, and seals). Also pull the trunk carpet and look for signs of coolant stains.

I also second Southernstar's opinion that a coolant flush is make work.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:08 PM   #8
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I think if you are happy with it, it passed a PPI by someone who knows Porsches and it is the color and options you want, then go for it. You might want to negotiate a little but really, $9K is not bad, just be prepared for surprises, which we all have to be ready for. It doesn't matter what you buy, there are no guarantees in life. If you like it and its the "one", buy it and drive it like you stole it
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:03 PM   #9
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I think if you are happy with it, it passed a PPI by someone who knows Porsches and it is the color and options you want, then go for it. You might want to negotiate a little but really, $9K is not bad, just be prepared for surprises, which we all have to be ready for. It doesn't matter what you buy, there are no guarantees in life. If you like it and its the "one", buy it and drive it like you stole it
+1 This car seems to check out as good as any car. Be sure that you $2K-$3K on hand to fix whatever might come up during the first year of ownership. Don't be depressed if you have to spend $800 in the first 60 days of ownership. This is completely normal and expected.

At the same time, you'll also be driving the best car in your life. Its worth the money.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:23 PM   #10
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He also mentioned they didn't hear any unusual noises indicitive of the IMS/RMS issues.

RMS makes no sound. It's just a minor oil seal leak that is typical in these cars. Harmless, for the most part, if you keep your eye on it.

The IMS is different. But, then again if you hear the marbles it's already too late...


How old are the tires? If they are 6 years old or older, they are probably dry rotted. You will need to change the brake fluid and filters immediately too.

I'd buy the car. Just go into it with your eyes open.



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Old 05-15-2013, 08:42 PM   #11
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RMS makes no sound. It's just a minor oil seal leak that is typical in these cars. Harmless, for the most part, if you keep your eye on it.

The IMS is different. But, then again if you hear the marbles it's already too late...


How old are the tires? If they are 6 years old or older, they are probably dry rotted. You will need to change the brake fluid and filters immediately too.

I'd buy the car. Just go into it with your eyes open.

/
Oops I didn't mean to put RMS. But the tires are older and slightly cupped so straight away I'm going to put on new rubber, do a four wheel alignment, sway bar links and complete the 90k service. Then I'll be starting fresh with a car all caught up on maintenance.

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Old 05-15-2013, 10:14 PM   #12
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My rule of thumb is that you have to reckon with yearly costs of $1,000-$2,000 for ANY car older than 5 years. That's simply to keep it maintained well.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:03 AM   #13
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Just so that I have it clear, the current owner put on only 7,000 miles IN TOTAL in the 11-12 years he has owned the car? I wonder whether the odomoter has been turned back..... Does the carfax from your jurisdiction confirm annual mileage, or just the odometer reading at time of transfers/major servicing. If the latter, I'd be a bit nervous about his claim that he bought a 3 year old Boxster in 2001 with extremely high mileage (78,000) and then chose to drive it an average of only 600 miles a year.

He says that he put on only 1500 miles in the last 6 years, but that still leaves only 5500 miles for the first 6, so less than 1000 miles a year in that period. Is it possible? Sure. But most people who want to buy and keep a garage queen will buy very low mileage examples. Heck, even if he is a car collector and rarely drives any of his cars, you would still expect him to buy one with low mileage.

The hard top also causes me some concern. If he put on such incredibly low mileage, one assumes he drove only in good weather. Why then did he want a hardtop?????? I mean, usually that is reserved for fall/winter driving.

Porsche Excellence has commented that care must be taken as it is not that difficult to alter the mileage on the Boxster's digital odometer and, as they hold up quite well cosmetically, it can be difficult to tell. Just saying....

If the report does show annual mileage at each plate/sticker renewal, then it is much more difficult to fake. In that case, it sounds as if his story, while incredibly odd, may be true. The car has passed a decent PPI and is fundamentally sound for a fair price. I would still want to see receipts for oil/filters - not only does Porsche recommend annual changes if mileage is below that recommended for a change, but anyone who stores their cars for the winter will tell you that it is critical. I would also take off the hardtop and check out the convertible top for operation and condition. But if that is fine, then go for it.

Can you expect some significant repair bills? Certainly. Be prepared for about $2000 yearly. However, that would be the case for virtually any Boxster except the rare, low mileage one that has had virtually all the repairs that perfectlap refers to done already. IF you can find one of those for under $14K, I say go for that one.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:39 AM   #14
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You could be looking at 8-10K $$$ in the next 15,000 miles. Coolant flush alone is around $400, then serp belt, water pump, motor mounts maybe, brakes, 100K tune up, clutch and fly wheel? tires, alignment work is also $$$. after you spend the 10K or so, you will still have a car worth 12K MAX....do you love it enough? I did mine, so I speak from real experience. Do you love the 2.5 enough? Might try driving a 2.7 to be sure before you get into this car. Good luck.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:39 AM   #15
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PS If you don't plan on driving in the winter, you should be able to sell the hardtop and lift for $1500. or so, bringing the actual purchase price down to $7500.00.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:35 AM   #16
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and with those seat covers, how can you pass it up?
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:11 AM   #17
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I also second Southernstar's opinion that a coolant flush is make work.
I might disagree with that in this case. there were two owners, who knows if owner #1 mixed/topped ordinary coolant with the long lasting and owner #2 did nothing about it for all those subsequent years. Once these mix the longevity of the anti-corrosion elements are compromised. Best way to know for sure is to reboot with a fresh fill (of the right coolant and use only that type going forward). BUT if you're going to flush, do it correctly, zero air in the system or just replace the coolant tank because if its not burped right that probably by now brittle plastic tank is going to split and spill that $400 flush right onto the street. No need to pay for that twice. Maybe do the hoses too given that this was a lazy car.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:59 AM   #18
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The car looks great. It is a used car and as such, things can happen. It sounds like you are prepared for whtat the car might need as opposed to thinking you are buying a perfect 15 year old car will require no attention.

There is no perfect balance of driving a car versus letting it sit. Driving the car exposes it to hazards and wears out certain components.

Storing the car is tough on seals and rubber components. I have an 84 Alfa spider that was rarely driven (no real reason) and always needed attention. I started to drive the car more often in 2007, and after replacing water pump, brake MC and SS failures all the fuel lines and cooling hoses, runs and drives great.

If you like it, buy it, drive it and fix what comes up. Enjoy!
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:23 AM   #19
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I would run.

Sitting a car is as bad as not changing the oil. When it gets hot/cold outside, condensation forms inside your engine. Daily driven cars burn this excess water off - sitting cars, it mixes with oil, and more quickly changes the lubricating effectiveness of your oil.

A car sitting for a very long time does more damage to internal organs than cars driven daily. Your engine oil "stays up" on critical engine parts for days...but an engine sitting for weeks or months has had all the oil drip down to the pan. The majority of engine damage is caused when starting your engine due to the fact that the drip down happened...the longer a car sits, the more oil is in the pan, the worse the metal on metal dry start is for the engine.

Sitting gas is very bad for your fuel lines, and with ethanol, more likely to do damage. Suspension parts that sit for long periods can be damaged, and sitting is very bad on tires. And, of course, your seals were meant to be lubricated daily with oil.

As long as you're willing to spend the money when these items come up, buy it and love it!
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:39 AM   #20
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I doubt it has been clocked..they would have turned it back to 45k or something like that.
That car in the UK would be about 6k ($8k), there are hundreds of them all very similar to this.
If you think it's genuine and had no accidents, buy it. That's all I would worry about, a bent chassis.
If $10k is your budget then it sounds like it might be exactly what you want. The colour lets it down for me but if you like it, go for it and enjoy blasting around it, and another thing, don't worry about RMS and IMS etc etc, you don't know whether it's going to fail or not so just enjoy it.

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