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Old 10-15-2015, 06:55 PM   #1
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Pic! Considering 986.2 - Sat New for 18 Months

Hi all--prospective owner here with what seems like an uncommon question--nothing in search about this scenario.

Some background:
I'm relocating to the San Francisco East Bay and have decided on a 986.2 as my daily driver. It'll be fun to drive a convertible again--I daily drove an '06 MX5 for two years about a decade ago. Since 2012 I've driven an E39 M5...stellar machine, but too big and brutish for my taste and needs, particularly as I want to continue to drive 2-3 HPDE weekends/year. I recently sold it.

Now that you have a bit of background, my question:
I'm considering a local '04 Boxster S, 75k miles, with the most options I've seen on a 986. However, from the Carfax it looks like it sat, new, at a PA dealer for ~18 months with nearly no mileage: 24 miles in the first 13 months, then 87 miles by month 18, which is when it was finally titled by first owner in CA. It was first delivered in PA in 12/2003; I bet the dealer had a hard time moving a convertible in the winter, then by spring the 987s were just around the corner...not good for this uber expensively optioned 986.

986 experts: Would this give you pause? It has 75k, so it's been driven versus sitting around, but I don't have the service history--it's a dealer car. I'd much prefer a private party sale but this is local, competitively priced, and optioned exactly the way I'd like...I plan to suck it up and immediately have the car serviced with a clutch and LN dual row IMS kit.

Thanks for reading and thanks for any thoughts!

Last edited by jsborn; 10-17-2015 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 10-15-2015, 07:05 PM   #2
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Hi all--prospective owner here with what seems like an uncommon question--nothing in search about this scenario.

Some background:
I'm relocating to the San Francisco East Bay and have decided on a 986.2 as my daily driver. It'll be fun to drive a convertible again--I daily drove an '06 MX5 for two years about a decade ago. Since 2012 I've driven an E39 M5...stellar machine, but too big and brutish for my taste and needs, particularly as I want to continue to drive 2-3 HPDE weekends/year. I recently sold it.

Now that you have a bit of background, my question:
I'm considering a local '04 Boxster S, 75k miles, with the most options I've seen on a 986. However, from the Carfax it looks like it sat, new, at a PA dealer for ~18 months with nearly no mileage: 24 miles in the first 13 months, then 87 miles by month 18, which is when it was finally titled by first owner in CA. It was first delivered in PA in 12/2003; I bet the dealer had a hard time moving a convertible in the winter, then by spring the 987s were just around the corner...not good for this uber expensively optioned 986.

986 experts: Would this give you pause? It has 75k, so it's been driven versus sitting around, but I don't have the service history--it's a dealer car. I'd much prefer a private party sale but this is local, competitively priced, and optioned exactly the way I'd like...I plan to suck it up and immediately have the car serviced with a clutch and LN dual row IMS kit.

Thanks for reading and thanks for any thoughts!
I would not move forward without verification that the usual engine failure suspects have been dealt with. IMO a less optioned out car with the same miles and service records is worth far more to me.
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Old 10-15-2015, 07:15 PM   #3
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If it's priced right and you like the car, I'd snatch it up in a minute and never look back. Get it serviced, do the clutch and the IMS kit and have fun!

Figure other than the clutch and IMSB you'll put a couple of grand in it for service and little things the first year and you'll have a car exactly like you want.

Too many people get excited about stuff. These are $10-15k cars and they are 10-18 year old. They aren't the Queens Bentley. Things happen to the best of them and some of the most beat continue to go and go. If it breaks and you can't justify the cost to fix it, scrap it and get another.

Drive it and have fun. JMHO.

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Old 10-15-2015, 07:16 PM   #4
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the car sitting 11 years ago is mostly irrelevant at this point.
Get a PPI done and see from there
75k on an 04 is a very reasonable mileage.
Also Carfax is not necessarily accurate BTW

No need to do the clutch unless it is slipping. The IMSB, well there are a million or so threads and post on that subject. Can the IMS fail, sure, but many last well in to the 100k miles as well.
many feel that if it has not failed , then it is OK. Drink whatever koolaid you wish

A good time to replace it is when you do the clutch as you have to drop the trans to do the IMSB
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Old 10-16-2015, 03:45 AM   #5
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Have to agree with jayG's points.
The car has been driven and I think that is a plus. Getting the IMSB done by a knowledgeable mechanic certainly checks 1 of the many possible areas of engine failure. But there are still many others in that motor.

Since you are going out to the coast might there be more inventory out there with possibly the IMSB and Clutch already recently done?

I know, buying these things is an act of emotion not logic. It certainly was for me and I have been lucky so far.
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Old 10-16-2015, 05:38 AM   #6
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San Ramon and you want to have a small sports car with a clutch as your daily driver, the traffic is going to wear your left leg out working that clutch. Get the car yes, just do yourself a huge favor and don't use it as your daily driver, you'll be sorry otherwise. This coming from someone that has never owned an automatic. I lived in San Bruno for about 5 years and learned pretty quickly that a manual sports car was not the way to go (350Z if you must know was my daily driver)
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Old 10-16-2015, 06:28 AM   #7
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Compression and leakdown test. If it doesn't pass muster there no point in going further.

If you are looking for a daily driver, buy a car in California that has seen little to no harsh weather. If you are buying a car that has seen extreme heat or cold and or rough roads get a low mileage Porsche. My Boxster has been my only car for over a decade, nearly all of that garage kept, and 70K miles was the exact starting point of repairs that now total more than $20K. And I only recently crossed 100k miles. If you are buying a moderate to high mileage Porsche as a Sunday driver...very different story. Either way cars with mysterious histories go to the bottom of the list.
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Old 10-16-2015, 07:26 AM   #8
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San Ramon and you want to have a small sports car with a clutch as your daily driver, the traffic is going to wear your left leg out working that clutch. Get the car yes, just do yourself a huge favor and don't use it as your daily driver, you'll be sorry otherwise. This coming from someone that has never owned an automatic. I lived in San Bruno for about 5 years and learned pretty quickly that a manual sports car was not the way to go (350Z if you must know was my daily driver)
I daily mine (52 round trip in traffic) and I have never felt that my left leg gets a work out. The clutch is pretty easy on my leg.
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Old 10-16-2015, 08:11 AM   #9
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Just look at those $$numbers.
He did 30K miles and spent $20K
Yup, 70k miles to 100k miles cost him $20k in repairs.
I can do better.I did less than 100 miles after purchase and it cost me over $7k for a rebuild.
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Old 10-16-2015, 08:45 PM   #10
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Thanks for the comments and advice, all.

Regardless of the Boxster I move forward with, I'm certainly going to get a full PPI w/ leakdown and compression tests. And I'm going to have the clutch and IMSB done when I buy; 75k isn't a bad time for a clutch change, and for the incremental ~$800 I'm not going to gamble on the original IMSB, particularly when I'm going to drive the car ~2,500 miles in five days soon after purchase.

The car in question was a CA car for nearly its entire life (65k out of 75k), and it wasn't driven in the winter up here in Illinois since moving here, so there shouldn't be an issue with corrosion or other northern driving issues.

Re: traffic, I'm going to live pretty close to my office for the first few months (as in, biking distance), while I look at traffic patterns and prepare to buy a house. Good thought, though...I've been there: It once took me 1:40 to SFO from my company's office in San Ramon. It was not fun.

I test drive the car tomorrow. I should have a pretty strong negotiating position as no one in Chicago will think about buying a convertible until spring.

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Old 10-16-2015, 08:46 PM   #11
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the car sitting 11 years ago is mostly irrelevant at this point.
Get a PPI done and see from there
75k on an 05 is a very reasonable mileage.
Also Carfax is not necessarily accurate BTW
I'm with Jay ^^^^^. Good advice.
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Old 10-17-2015, 06:47 AM   #12
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Good luck and let us know if you buy it. I live in the Chicagoland area too, that should be a fun trip!
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Old 10-17-2015, 07:00 AM   #13
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San Ramon will be a great place to have a Boxster. Great roads near there.
Of course, Dougherty is long gone if anybody remembers that little gem between Dublin and San Ramon, used to drive it everyday. Last I heard Tassajara was slowly disappearing as well - now I'm in DFW and severely miss the roads of that area.
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Old 10-17-2015, 12:49 PM   #14
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I'm heading for test drive in ~10 minutes.

The headlights don't have any amber. I think they were replaced at some point--is there a non-amber headlight assembly for the 986? Perhaps european assemblies? I doubt they were modified, given the ownership history.

Thanks!

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Old 10-17-2015, 08:03 PM   #15
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The headlights appear to be Litronics, an expensive option that in addition the better lighting they did not have the amber turn signals. Good luck with the test drive.
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Old 10-18-2015, 08:15 AM   #16
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That's a beautiful car.
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Old 10-18-2015, 09:34 AM   #17
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Be sure to have a few thousand bucks hanging around after you buy it. There are always surprises in the closet! That's as fine looking car. First cheap fix. Loose those amber lenses on the front fenders.
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Old 10-18-2015, 11:49 AM   #18
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Thanks again, folks.

The car does have Litronics, they just seem to have less amber than other Litronics I've seen (see photo of my other finalist below, which also has Litronics [option 601 verified on sticker]).

This is the other finalist--I'm down to two cars. It's a private party NC sale, though like the dealer car here in Chicago it has limited service records but indications of very good service. The clutch was recently done but he didn't have the IMSB done . He realizes that was a mistake...and it means that I'd have the IMSB done immediately after purchase. I think I like the color combo: rare "Dark Teal Metallic" (not Forest Green) with gray interior, which might be better in CA sun. It now has clear side markers and color-matched rear bumperettes. Driver's seat has visible wear, though.





As for the gray one, I'm not crazy about the "Porsche" lettering on the side - too showy for me. Though I'm somehow fine with the red seatbelts. The interior looks new, including the sport seats (tight fit, even for me @165!).

Last edited by jsborn; 10-19-2015 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 10-18-2015, 01:20 PM   #19
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I would go ith the grey/black one. Is the exterior color seal grey?

Regards, Markus
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Old 10-26-2015, 12:08 PM   #20
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I would go ith the grey/black one. Is the exterior color seal grey?

Regards, Markus
Yup, it's seal gray.

Car is getting a PPI at VFC Engineering here in Chicago tomorrow AM. Crossing my fingers for no metal flakes in the oil filter. If all is good, VFC will start work replacing the IMS w/ LN Pro, clutch, water pump, and AOS. Then I drive Chicago-->California next week.

BEWARE of my now-disqualified finalist, VIN WP0CB29883U662854. It's the green one pictured in my recent post. Private seller in VA, seems like a really good guy, and I believe that he had no idea that frame damage had occurred under a previous owner. Carfax shows an accident but no frame damage; Autocheck clearly reports that it was auctioned as a car with frame damage.
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