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Old 10-13-2013, 05:47 PM   #1
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Not to beat a dead Porsche horse, but reliability...

OK, I'll just come right out and say it - I often hear whisperings from people that Porsche cars are considered bullet proof and reliable, but as a big bulk of vehicles available today on the used market are from the 986 and 996 eras, I really wonder where they get this claim from. (Either pre or post 986/996..)

I really do commend you guys for putting up with it and finding work arounds, like IMS upgrades, etc - but I must say it is entirely disappointing having such major issues looming. Basically, you can't buy a Porsche from this era without a heavy burden knowing this issue may come up, along with a few others.

I know they say it is actually a very small percentage of cars, but I've encountered numerous vehicles when searching for a pre-owned Porsche that had their engines "replaced due to failure". A very high number for something that most other car companies do not go through nearly as much. Many of these cars were 2005 987 Boxsters as well - not too far off into the past.

When I search for a car, I don't even check cars older than 2006 simply because of these issues - which is a shame, because there are a lot of otherwise good cars in the early 2000's.

Sorry - just had to vent a bit. This is almost like buying a (cheap at first) older Mercedes AMG or even M car - and then the maintenance snowball starts. (Even though not even those high performance cars have a serious major issue like an entire engine failing...)

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Old 10-13-2013, 06:09 PM   #2
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I can't totally disagree with you regarding the 996/986 era. Though when I bought my 2000 'S' with 51k miles on it back in 2010 the records indicated it would have been in the Consumers 'Above Average' category. It simply had not had many issues and one of the bigger ones my have been done too early. Now yes I replaced a ton of stuff but that is because I wanted to for the fun of it.

I do think though the quality was not that good until the 987/997 line. This is just my view though. Having taken everything apart on my 2000 'S' I can say a lot of stuff seems pretty cheap or not well thought out considering the car sold for over $50k.

I won't go into the IMS issue, mine was a double row and didn't need to be replaced...though I didn't know that until I got in there. Just from my readings here is a list of some of the things I can think of. In my view a lot of this stuff should be able to go 100k miles.

- Window regulator or cable issues
- Convertible top latch rivets
- MAF
- RMS
- Sticky nobs
- O2 sensors
- AOS
- Water pump
- Engine mount
- Light switch
- Ignition switch
- Spark plug tubes

Oh ya and the dumb plastic window.

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Old 10-13-2013, 06:22 PM   #3
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No argument, but I believe window regulator problems were pervasive among manufacturers back then. Not sure if they still cause problems. I had two windows fall into the doors of a 2001 X5, one on a 2004 A4 (the only problem I ever had with that car), and two bad regulators on a 2002 330Ci.

Several friends have had similar issues including one on a Jeep. The regulator for the 330Ci always failed in the same place, an obvious design issue that should have and could have been corrected, yet the same part was used throughout the model cycle.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:27 PM   #4
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... but I must say it is entirely disappointing having such major issues looming. Basically, you can't buy a Porsche from this era without a heavy burden knowing this issue may come up, along with a few others.
Having looked around at other cars, both past and present, I have to say this concept just isn't really valid for me as I think every car has its own issues. No car is 100% reliable and all require maintenance.

In regard to self destruction, well I was amazed at the number of cars I was looking at with overhead cams that brought up the "replace the timing belt every 30-50K or whatever the magic number is) or face total destruction of the engine or at the very least the top end. Many of these same vehicles required replacing the water pump at the same time and the water pump was not an externally replaceable part. You had to remove a major part of the engine components to get to it.

I don't think it matter what car you look at. If you want no worries, just buy new with a warranty. Get a factory extended warranty if possible when you buy it if you want to not be concerned for 5-10 years. Before it expires, buy another new one.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:50 PM   #5
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In my experience, my Boxster (128K miles) and 996 (118K miles) are every bit as reliable as my wife's 2002 BMW 325i (137K miles) and my previous 2002 BMW X5 (sold at 125K miles).

All cars have certain parts that are less reliable than others. The 325i suspension is notorious for early wear and the X5 power accessories (doors, windows, sunroof, etc) had to have been made by Lucas in order to be that failure prone.

The M96 IMS bearing never enters my mind, its a non-issue as far as I am concerned.
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Old 10-13-2013, 08:51 PM   #6
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My car is 15 yrs old, 80+ track days, 108K miles and extremely reliable. It compares well to my fleet of Toyota trucks which have been known to throw worn brake pads , self destructing auto trans, cracked exhaust manifolds on almost all of them, and failed suspension ball joints.

All cars have warts and the m96 IMS issues are well known and easily solved for about the price of two sets of tires. The cost of an IMS bearing replacement has already been factored into the price of used cars so they are a great value compared to other cars in class. Still a lot of car for the money.

Much ado about nothing.
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Old 10-13-2013, 09:27 PM   #7
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You will be suprised but a lot of cars has probelms. From 2010 -11Mustangs with their transmission made in china having problems, to Ferraris having problems catching fire. RX8 has a problem which caused Mazda to discontinue selling the car. Infiniti had a problem with the G35s burning oil and killing engines. Hyundai Genesis with there shifting problems. The list goes on trust me. How Porshe kept there reputation for reliable idk. Plus and a minus but we know more about our cars than others which gives us options.

I don't think Porshe figured that a 13 year old car would only have 30k miles on it when they build this thing to be driven the snot out of it. That's our fault, or perhaps the dealership high prices was the reason for this.

I was talking to my brother yesterday and he didn't believe me that a used Masseratti could be had for under 25K!!!! smh I have a passion for Porshes. That flat six rumbling behind my seat is priceless. Sometimes I forget what this car means to other people. I once had a Bmw guy come up to me at a car wash and say your car is Awesome. I was thinkin, he hasn't even driven this thing over 4k rpms! lol

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Old 10-13-2013, 09:56 PM   #8
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You will be suprised but a lot of cars has probelms. From 2010 -11Mustangs with their transmission made in china having problems, to Ferraris having problems catching fire. RX8 has a problem which caused Mazda to discontinue selling the car. Infiniti had a problem with the G35s burning oil and killing engines. Hyundai Genesis with there shifting problems. The list goes on trust me. How Porshe kept there reputation for reliable idk. Plus and a minus but we know more about our cars than others which gives us options.

I don't think Porshe figured that a 13 year old car would only have 30k miles on it when they build this thing to be driven the snot out of it. That's our fault, or perhaps the dealership high prices was the reason for this.

I was talking to my brother yesterday and he didn't believe me that a used Masseratti could be had for under 25K!!!! l
Good point. Heck, even the Maseratis you mentioned had a weak point. The quattroportes and Coupe had less than stellar transmissions that received a lot of complaints in shifting. That and the maintenance are probably why they can be had at such a price.
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Old 10-14-2013, 04:17 AM   #9
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Frankly, I do not believe our cars are unreliable in the least.

We just talk about it more...LOL!
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Old 10-14-2013, 04:38 AM   #10
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Rondo I have often thought of the same aspect of the Boxster and thought that the quality is not there. However in my last two years of ownership of my Box 2001 base and now 40k miles(30k miles when I got it) this car has actually been pretty good.

- Replaced accessory belt. Preventive
- Replaced idler pulley due noise.
- Had CV joints refurbished.
- Had installed IMS Guardian.
- Had 4 Michelin tires installed. Normal wear and tear.

Previous owner had Porsche shop close spoiler mechanism off due to it not working. I have no intention of fixing it. So fun for the $$$ this car has been wonderful.

Ideally I would like to have a newer Cayman with a factory warranty but I don't want to spend that amount of $$$. I consider this the danger zone if I spent $40k plus, had no Porsche warranty and the engine blew up. Waiting for a Cayman for around $30k with relatively low mileage. Yep Porsches cost more up here.

This is a very rewarding car and so is this forum as well. To share my feelings with like minded folks is enjoyable. We are all in this boat together and it is a heck of a boat.
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:04 AM   #11
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I realized recently that my 2001 S is the oldest daily driver I've owned (my 5th car). It has left me stranded twice in 7 years of ownership, both times for waterpump failures. It has also been one of the most economical to maintain.
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:24 AM   #12
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Having owned a 987 previously, and now a 986, I am very impressed with the build quality of Porsche cars. It is far superior to the Mercedes cars I've owned, (CL500, E350, E430).
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Old 10-14-2013, 05:36 AM   #13
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Having owned a 987 previously, and now a 986, I am very impressed with the build quality of Porsche cars. It is far superior to the Mercedes cars I've owned, (CL500, E350, E430).
I have sent you a PM.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:13 AM   #14
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An inexpensive, trouble-free Porsche has never existed.

But to be fair to Porsche, the very nature of sports cars is to be lightweight, sensitive to inputs and powerful. These are not things that lend to long-term durability or over-enegineering and certainly not profitability. Profits come from SUVs and sedans, our category is another matter entirely.

This is why on any given day at your local track event you'll see the same 7 or so cars despite hundreds of cars available in the market place from dozens of manufacturers.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:26 AM   #15
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Toyota trucks which have been known to throw worn brake pads , self destructing auto trans, cracked exhaust manifolds on almost all of them, and failed suspension ball joints.
I'm surprised, my '89 'Yota has been great, IIRC I still have the original rotors, manual trans. , and original ball joints, with 190,000 Miles. I guess I should do the ball joints soon though with 37" tires .....
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:28 AM   #16
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Interesting comments, guys. I just found it funny that Porsche was ranked up there with Lexus and I've heard numerous times that they are considered bullet proof. Must be the new cars, then.
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Old 10-14-2013, 10:31 AM   #17
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Rondocap, what are you comparing them to?
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:22 AM   #18
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Enough already!!

If you want above average reliability, lots of fun driving, and a bargain, buy a Boxster.
If you are totally focused on reliability, buy a f*#$*ing Toyota already!!
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:30 AM   #19
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Interesting comments, guys. I just found it funny that Porsche was ranked up there with Lexus and I've heard numerous times that they are considered bullet proof. Must be the new cars, then.
This is only because most Porsches are not daily drivers and record little mileage relative to a Lexus. If Porsche reliability were ranked only on its cars that were daily drivers like the Cayenne, they would be very, very far from Lexus.

sports car reliability has to be compared to other sports cars.
Honda built a good, reliable sports car (a legit one, not just a 'sporty coupe') and it wasn't profitable enough to continue.
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:45 AM   #20
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If you want above average reliability, lots of fun driving, and a bargain, buy a Boxster.
If you are totally focused on reliability, buy a f*#$*ing Toyota already!!
Party Pooper . Actually I do own a Toyota and a Porsche, both great cars, I just think I prefer not to drive my Tundra into a twisty at 60mph .

Glad I'm not grouchy today.

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