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Old 09-09-2015, 10:51 AM   #1
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Proactive Engine Replacement?

Recently I started looking on Ebay to get a sense of the market for used engines. A 30K mile example came up for $4K delivered. The Ebay seller of Porsche parts had a video of the engine running and has excellent feedback. The engine sold quickly. My mechanic would likely have charged about $2k to swap in this engine and I figure I might be able to get $2k for my 100K mile running engine. For $6k net, I'm back to low mileage, and statically at least, less likely to have to deal with a suddenly busted engine and a car up on blocks until an engine with the right price and mileage comes along, that could be months of uncertainty and no use of the car. Imagine missing your Boxster for a whole summer?!!
If I get 8 years out a $6-7K expense (including IMS swap), that math seems compelling.

My mechanic is skeptical about buying engines from Ebay and prefers going through more established sources. He's also a lot more bullish about my engine's longevity provided I maintain strict oil change practices (both in quality and intervals) now that it's crossed the 100K mile mark. Obviously if an Ebay engine fails, that's on me entirely. I'm not sure how long my indy would stand by an engine that he would provide, while certainly better I could experience a failure 12 months later just the same and I'm back on the hook for full costs. Those of use who think that it's just not worth selling our high mileage water-cooled Porsches for $10K, and are looking at long-term ownership (provided the costs don't get ridiculous) keep a practice of changing everything on these cars at some interval, often with rebuilt parts. Why not do the same with the engine while the old one is still worth a few grand? In my mind, if you make it to 100k with these first gen water-cooled engines, you're on borrowed time going forward.

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Old 09-09-2015, 11:07 AM   #2
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I am not so sure i would doubt the M96 motors longevity . lately i have been seeing many high mileage cars up for sale. 130 , 140k cars seem common . I also doubt that these cars see the care that most forum members give their cars .

I too like to search for salvage motor deals . A 3.6 would be a sweet replacement for my 03S but at an average price of 10 grand , plus labor to rework and install the motor . It does not seem to make any financial sense with the glut of newer cars on the market .
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:35 PM   #3
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I am not so sure i would doubt the M96 motors longevity . lately i have been seeing many high mileage cars up for sale. 130 , 140k cars seem common . I also doubt that these cars see the care that most forum members give their cars .

I too like to search for salvage motor deals . A 3.6 would be a sweet replacement for my 03S but at an average price of 10 grand , plus labor to rework and install the motor . It does not seem to make any financial sense with the glut of newer cars on the market .
Yes there are a glut of used cars. And too many from what I can see come with a ton of deferred maintenance that can easily exceed the purchase price of the car if you intend to own it for more than two years and don't have the time, tools or space to DIY. I'm not sure if its by design but once one major thing starts to go on these cars it seems like all the other parts were engineered to follow soon thereafter... like its one big ecosystem. Point being, for those who have addressed the big repair jobs and know the car's history it might make more sense to go after another engine than to buy the whole low mileage car. Unless your talking a big power and build quality upgrade like on the 981 Spyder, I don't if it makes sense to let go of car you've put quiet a bit of money into.
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:36 PM   #4
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I met a guy last week that has 175,000 miles on his original M96 and original IMS!

My car had the engine replaced after the IMS failed at 153,000 miles. It has Pedro's DOF installed on a used engine and I expect this engine to outlast the car.

My friend's car has 163,000 miles on the original engine (IMS replaced at 90,000 miles).

I think replacing the whole engine is a bit too proactive, IMO. If you're even asking the question, it tells me you take good care of your car and keep it running right. There is no telling with a used engine... If the previous guy used cheap oil, redlined it as soon as he started it up on cold mornings, or shifted gears at 1800rpm (which could damage timing components), you might end up replacing your good engine with a power-plant that is inferior to yours. I think with proper care your engine will give you another 100,000 miles without incident or cause for concern. My $0.02 anyway...
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Old 09-09-2015, 03:56 PM   #5
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2003 and 2004 Boxsters are capable of running a 2005 or 2006 motor. I'd Update it with the newest solution possible. There are no wire changes etc. It fit. Your 04 special edition already has the updated airbox.
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Old 09-09-2015, 07:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap View Post
For $6k net, I'm back to low mileage, and statically at least, less likely to have to deal with a suddenly busted engine and a car up on blocks until an engine with the right price and mileage comes along, that could be months of uncertainty and no use of the car. Imagine missing your Boxster for a whole summer?!!
If I get 8 years out a $6-7K expense (including IMS swap), that math seems compelling.
I find your logic compelling, but I think you need to look at external factors such as:

1. What happens if someone runs into your car with a lower-mileage engine?
2. How can you be sure that the lower-mileage engine will be more reliable than the higher mileage engine you currently have?
3. What is the probability that some other major component of your car (e.g. the transmission) will fail?
4. What other uses will you have for the $6-7k that you are putting into this project.
5. Are you sure that you won't get tired of your 986 at some point and want a different sports car?

I perform all the maintenance on my 2000 when it is needed, do some tasteful minor upgrades and fix what breaks. But otherwise, I let sleeping dogs lie.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:44 PM   #7
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Agree. I have said for a long time that M96 engines are disposable.

I paid $1,800 for my 90K mile engine and $2K have to it installed. Original IMS. I have been racing it for year. Still runs perfect.

When this one blows, I'll buy another and swap it in. Just like brake pads.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:06 PM   #8
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An alternative plan would be to pick up an engine when a good deal comes along and just keep it on hand in case your engine fails. If you never need to use it then you can likely sell it off for about what you paid for it.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:10 PM   #9
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The definition of insanity has been changed.

Now, it's the premature replacement of an engine that may not have any problem whatsoever, that may last for the life of the car, just to preemptively fix an overblown occurrence before it may happen to you. And folks say replacing the IMS is a waste of cash.

Keep another around that you found for next to nothing? Hell yes! Install it before anything actually indicates some issue? Nope.
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Old 09-10-2015, 04:41 AM   #10
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PL, sometimes you are just too funny. Thanks for the laugh!
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:18 AM   #11
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PL, sometimes you are just too funny. Thanks for the laugh!
I have come to the firm conclusion that no good comes of these engines after 100K.
After that point I feel like you are simply on borrowed time.

I was previously also firmly in the camp that believed that if the engine went kaput simply buy another and shut up already. That however was before I realized that you are effectively replacing everything else before you even get to that point. But this is just underlining what we all know... cars are money pits. The ones that aren't, you can't really drive that much...just take them out on warm Sundays for ice cream cones. Who needs a Porsche for that.
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:41 AM   #12
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Agree. I have said for a long time that M96 engines are disposable.

I paid $1,800 for my 90K mile engine and $2K have to it installed. Original IMS. I have been racing it for year. Still runs perfect.

When this one blows, I'll buy another and swap it in. Just like brake pads.
is the market for 2.5's that much cheaper than 2.7's and 3.2's? I would have thought with the spec racing eating up supply prices would be stronger than $1800 for a sub 100K mile engine. Sort of how Miata hard tops used to be cheap but then the racing demand made them expensive. Most 2.7 and 3.2 m96 Boxster engines with at least moderate mileage seem to be starting in the $5K range. The m97's which aren't dramatically different according to our engine experts are into the $7k and higher range.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:16 AM   #13
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PL, your thinking has merit. My personal thoughts are I'd like to have a spare M96 around just to take it apart and learn more about the motor. Of course, I wouldn't tie up 1000's of dead presidents for this but maybe buy a motor that's already toast.

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