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Old 07-02-2014, 04:12 PM   #1
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At a crossroads with my car

So I have owned my 1997 Boxster for about 3 years or so. When I got it, I knew that it needed new shocks but that was ok. The rest of the car seemed like it was in good shape, it had been given regular maintenance (stacks of receipts) and for a 97 with 90K miles, it looked great. I have owned a few Porsches, so I figured on having to fix a few things before I could have some fun with it...

And I have fixed lots of things and done nothing fun with my car, because things keep breaking and preventing me from doing any fun stuff with it. So far I have done the IMS (found because of metal in my oil) RMS, water tank, air oil separator, coolant fans and fuel pump. Stupid stuff just keeps breaking all the time. Now it has started making a nasty rattle sound when it starts cold and I think that I am at my breaking point. I got a euro M030 kit for it in december, but not had the time or money to install it and now I have the feeling like I will be spending that money fixing the stupid rattle.

So here is where I am at: I like my car, but because it breaks all time, I really don't enjoy it. So far, I have not been to the track or an autocross (the reason I got the car) because all the fun money goes to just keeping it on the road. It runs great, but it needs shocks so bad it's not really any fun to drive. Should I keep it? Any one have a story like this? Is there an end or do they just keep breaking? My 911 and 944 were totally great and reliable. So far, the Boxster has been just the opposite.

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Old 07-02-2014, 04:31 PM   #2
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17 year old car with ~ 100K miles on it?

Only going to get worse...
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Old 07-02-2014, 04:53 PM   #3
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There comes a point in every vehicle ownership with a big bill looming that you have to weigh pro's & con's of selling it. Sounds like you need to fix the rattle either way, & it could be something simple like a chain tensioner. If you love the car might want to go all in & get it where you can enjoy it more. If it needs shocks for 3years, good chance most of the suspension is worn. I believe all 986s are done depreciateing assuming they are well maintained.
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Old 07-02-2014, 04:56 PM   #4
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I can relate, I don't have chronic issues like you describe, but I have replaced all the same parts you listed. I always think about spending money on cosmetic changes to my 02, but I've always held off. For example, I almost bought a wheel spacer kit yesterday but remembered I am going to need brake pads soon. I always pick mechanical over cosmetic-the way I look at it, there is no sense in a great looking car that is no fun to drive, and you can't go wrong with having a stack of receipts for the day you sell.
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Old 07-02-2014, 05:10 PM   #5
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It ain't going to get any better. I would never buy another car that had that many miles on it. I just sold a 96 Corvette about 3 months ago that had 110 k on it. It was one thing after another with that car and when I signed over the pink I felt a huge sense of relief. I had to spend quite a bit of money just to sell it.
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Old 07-02-2014, 05:12 PM   #6
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even if you do sell it.. what your most optimistic figure? Now take that figure and what are your options? Nothing as close to cool as the Box...

If you're thinking about buying another car.. you might get a descent japanese car...

Sorry for all your mishaps... at this point i think the marginal cost of some maintenance might outweigh selling costs, capital loss on the car, and then the costs of buying another car.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:26 PM   #7
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I owned an 01S for 2.5 yrs and it was always needing something fixed. Some of it was covered under CPO, some of it wasn't. Since then I've owned 3 987Ss and they've been rock solid reliable.
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Old 07-02-2014, 07:28 PM   #8
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We can all relate.

And now you know why many Porsche-people say that the 986 and the 996 were the first Porsche's "built to a budget" and in doing so, a lot of the components are kind of crappy and need replacement. I have replaced WAY more stuff on my 986 and 996 than the 944 Turbo.

What keeps me in the water-cooled Porsche game is that the entry price was SO incredibly cheap! Remember that you're driving a $60,000 car. To me, that means that I can spend $50,000 in repairs, upgrades, and track events and still come out even.
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:23 PM   #9
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I can well relate to the OP. I find the problems can be niggling such as a recent w/s washer not working. Mechanic says hose disconnected off the w/s tank.

Tomorrow I take it in for a steady CEL(camshaft deviation). My 2001 base Box has only 45k miles. When it is fixed it is going up for sale.

It is not only the $$$$ but can't drive it with the latter problem. I'm done, finished.
The magic is gone. It has been the most fun car I have had in my life. Hardly driven it during the last month waiting for parts.

Thanks for listening!
Guy
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:45 PM   #10
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I'd be surprised to hear anyone (one) saying his/her goes tic-toc and running spot on each seasons every year Guy. Cheer up bro
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:55 PM   #11
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When I bought my 1998 I thought I would keep her a year for kicks and grins and buy something newer like a nice 997 Turbo. That was nine years ago.

We all make choices. I am one of those crazy guys that believes in driving them til the wheels fall off, fix em, and drive em some more. I am in the minority. I currently own 7 cars, 4 motorcycles and a boat. 2 cars are at 100k, 2 are at 180k, and 3 are at 250k+ miles.

I figure if you want to own em, it's always cheaper and more flexible to fix and maintain em than to buy new and have 60 months of car payments. If I run low on cash and one needs fixing, I just roll it into the garage until some cash frees up. I don't have that flexibility with new car payments. Banks frown on missed due dates so you are locked in to a guaranteed expense every month.

That doesn't mean I never buy new but I shy away from it these days. I like freedom and flexibility with my cash. If I decide I want a new car, I'll go get one but I sorta like playing with the older ones.

Bottom line: If you like the car and want to keep it, take it to a good indy shop for a thorough preventative maintenance inspection. A good shop will carefully evaluate the car and give you some real $$$ numbers as to what you will need to spend to correct any deferred maintenance or problem areas and get it reliable. If it makes sense, get her fixed. If not, sell her and buy something else. It can work both ways but it's always best to choose the one that most likely allows you to sleep well at night.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:31 PM   #12
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Been there, done it
My rule of thumb is: Take a good guestimate of how much money you will be dumping in the car over the next 3 years. Doesn't have to be exact, just come up with a ballpark figure.

And now ask yourself the question:
It I would see the car for sale (yes you already own it, just bear with me) would I buy it for that sum of money?
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:45 AM   #13
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Well thanks for being my Porsche shrink 9eight6! Looking back over the past 7 years I have had the Box for 3 and prior to that a 99 Miata for 4 years. I have driven them year round in the ice and snow. Mind you being retired I can pick the days I drive.

My next car will likely be a small suv like a RAV4 that can handle the winter well and is reliable. Sorry OP for hijacking the thread but I completely understand where you are coming from. The inconvenience of not driving the car for the past month has forced me to do more yard chores such as staining the deck. Playing golf gets put on the backburner!

The mail man knows me well for being the guy that has his nose pressed against the window waiting for Porsche parts! Fortunately I have a very patient wife and is used to my eclectic taste in cars. My daughter says that I won't be happy with a RAV4. I really don't want to spring for the big $$$$ for a BMW suv. The guys on Pelican Parts forum tell me that a BMW can be just as much trouble as a Porsche. I might take over somebody's lease which has about a year to go and that way I would have a choice of returning it or buying the car.Thanks for listening to me.
Happy motoring.Cheers, Guy.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FormulaReed View Post
And I have fixed lots of things and done nothing fun with my car, because things keep breaking and preventing me from doing any fun stuff with it.

I really don't enjoy it.
I think you've answered your own question right there. All of us here love our Boxsters. We have fun in different ways. Some like to constantly mod their cars, some like to spend all their time polishing it. Some like to wring it's neck out on the track. And we all pay the maintenance costs.

You are obviously paying, but not reaping any benefits. Soon you may become to hate your Porsche. I'd say dump it, and get something that is cheaper for you to maintain.

Just sayin'..........

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Old 07-03-2014, 06:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by recycledsixtie View Post
Well thanks for being my Porsche shrink 9eight6! Looking back over the past 7 years I have had the Box for 3 and prior to that a 99 Miata for 4 years. I have driven them year round in the ice and snow. Mind you being retired I can pick the days I drive.

My next car will likely be a small suv like a RAV4 that can handle the winter well and is reliable. Sorry OP for hijacking the thread but I completely understand where you are coming from. The inconvenience of not driving the car for the past month has forced me to do more yard chores such as staining the deck. Playing golf gets put on the backburner!

The mail man knows me well for being the guy that has his nose pressed against the window waiting for Porsche parts! Fortunately I have a very patient wife and is used to my eclectic taste in cars. My daughter says that I won't be happy with a RAV4. I really don't want to spring for the big $$$$ for a BMW suv. The guys on Pelican Parts forum tell me that a BMW can be just as much trouble as a Porsche. I might take over somebody's lease which has about a year to go and that way I would have a choice of returning it or buying the car.Thanks for listening to me.
Happy motoring.Cheers, Guy.
My other car is a 2006 BMW X3. I bought it like 5 years ago with 30k miles and I am now pushing 100k miles. Only big repair (other than the normal wear & tear items) were new front shocks at 50k miles.
Fun car to drive and certainly more fun than a RAV4
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:00 AM   #16
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I figured that most 986 drivers have it as a second "hobby" car because its old, but special.

I have not driven mine either for a month because of a weird hesitation problem I'm working on but it is a hobby car and I do all the work myself when possible so I can take my time and not fret over it being offline for a while as I have another car.

There are not a whole lot of wear and tear components to replace and everything is surprisingly easy to work on for the most part.

You have to do the things in life that make you happy so if you hate your 986 then its time to move on, or change the circumstance and find a way to make you love it again.

As some of the others have said, look at the cost of repairs vs cost of moving on to another car.
It usually favors the repairs and having a known set of issues VS buying another used car with unknown issues
and ending up with a whole new set of bills all over again.
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:32 AM   #17
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I commiserate with the OP. Had my Box go all weird on me last year and I wasn't able to use it for 2 months. After changing a number of parts including a new immobilizer unit it's been running really well. But I can never shake the feeling that something's going to give anytime soon. It's a 13 year old car after all.

This is the first time I've owned a car older than 5 years. I'm not sure I'm cut out for owning an old car with all the attendant TLC that it requires. Having said that, when it's running well it's an absolute joy...however infrequent that may be.

If I have the cash though, I'd buy myself a brand new 981 and forego all the hassles.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:01 AM   #18
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You want to buy a 944 because you feel your Boxster breaks down too much? What is your second choice a Range Rover?
Whenever I visit my Porsche mechanic there are two things I can always count on seeing, old tires in the back and a 944 in for repair.
You must not have had a very low mileage 944, or a very looked after one?

Boxsters/Caymans and water-cooled Carreras are reliable cars but they are not durable.
And Porsches that are 11 years out of warranty with moderate to high mileage are generally not durable anymore.

If you want a low-maintenance car for autox/DE, get a Miata. Selling mine was the bigget mistake I ever made... I should have realized this when the buyer flew up from Florida and drove it right back down from the airport. Like perhaps your situation, I should have kept the Boxster for street and Miata for autox/DE. I beat the snot out of that car, it cost nothing to modify (compared to Porsche), tires were cheap, and it never, ever, missed work. Asking an old Porsche to do double duty means your wrench box and wallet are going to be very busy.
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:48 AM   #19
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Same crossroad different reasons
Car runs great. Just did 2200 mile trip no issues with 70k miles on her.
I have done services and a few replacements (DIY)
It was my daily but since January I commute by Train so car sits in the garage
I have gone back and forth on front suspension re-fresh.
I decided to go ahead (Have parts in hand Tie rods, Lower controls, drop links, sway bushings). I'm also doing Plug tubes, just put the car on stands last night

I also have a new AOS still in the box to put on. I'd like to do WP, low temp Thermo, tank and flush as that makes sense at 70k miles

Oh by the way I need new tires

I have 2 years left on loan and it basically gets used once a week. It's getting hard to get buy in from my financial adviser, My wife
Oh and Her new car also sits in the garage. I bought my daughter's 2003 jeep liberty 128k miles for most running around. Runs great

My only justification, besides keeping the car dependable, is it may be easier to sell
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:51 AM   #20
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I feel better now that others feel the same way. I drove the car once or twice this year, right when the weather broke and the car has been on blocks ever since while I saved up money and time for a water pump, thermostat, tie rods, oil and coolant change, spark plugs, etc. Finally got everything installed and put back together and was on my way to the alignment shop and here comes the brake wear light. Ugh. Back in the garage she goes until payday.

My original plan before I even bought it was to own it for three years and get rid of it. I think my 3 years is coming up in August. I have no intentions of selling it. But as much fun as it has been, it has also been a pain in the rear. I guess I'll take the highs with the lows.

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