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Old 03-21-2016, 01:23 AM   #1
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2001 986 for $5,500 good or bad?

I stumbled acrossed the Boxster on my local auto selling Facebook page... it has 184,000 miles on it and from the looks of it, it seems really nice. The interior needs some TLC but the exterior looks amazing except for one foggy head light. The top works well and the only issue reported is a small oil leak. I figure I will try and buy it for around 4500 in preparation to get it up to speed on being maintain properly. I've never owned a porsche but I really don't want to pass on a good deal if I have it in hand.
Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 03-21-2016, 03:15 AM   #2
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With that mileage, I'd be weary of the IMS condition especially with the reported oil leak. That will literally write off your engine if that pops.

I'd consider knocking a little more off the price, and price in the fact that you'd have to change it.
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Old 03-21-2016, 03:37 AM   #3
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Great price... bring it to a mechanic and get an estimate... I know I way over paid for my car back in the day... huge impulse buy which I learned my lesson!
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Old 03-21-2016, 04:18 AM   #4
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I recently bought a 99 base w/165k miles for $5k. Just ended up w/a $5,200 repair bill to get it running again...
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Old 03-21-2016, 04:50 AM   #5
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You will read this over and over again with regard to low priced Porsches; There is NOTHING more expensive, than a cheap Porsche. Don't ask me how I know :-)

So, at 185k it's about used up. Yes it can go to 225k or more but you are faced with really high dollar costs without the records of what has been done in the past. IMS & clutch, if you can do it yourself will cost all of $1500 in parts and a solid 3-4 days to do on your garage floor or driveway. And that does not include any of the other surprises that await.

You just have to set your expectations right when you buy such a car. If you are really good with the wrenches, like working on your car, want to learn to swear in 3-4 different languages, have a great supply of bandaids, have a wedge of cash on hand, like to swear, enjoy driving a fine car, then go for it!
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Old 03-21-2016, 04:58 AM   #6
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See the thread two below yours about the 2001 6500 dollar steal. There's never a steal with these cars. You'll always pay for it later.
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Old 03-21-2016, 06:47 AM   #7
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Since the asking price is essentially for a rolling chasis with dead engine(Yes its working for now though), it would be wise to assume that you need to replace the engine & clutch at a minimum.

Used engine with about 60K miles ~$4.5k

~$8k + $6,500 = $14.5K

You can get a 2001 S with < 80K miles for $12K ready to drive.

So its a crappy deal actually as you can get a roller for under $3,500 typically and a better running car for less than what it would cost to do the maintenance required to make the car last.

You could roll the dice and see how long it lasts as is, but typically owners that are selling do not do the maintenance just before they sell as that is unrecoverable in the sale price.
You would be gambling about $3,000 as that the difference between selling an inoperable car and what you are paying.

Not so bad if you have a backup vehicle and the time and money to risk.
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Old 03-21-2016, 06:51 AM   #8
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I first saw that one at the beginning of February when I was listing one of mine on Craigslist. I think the price was $7,500 then and I was listing my 99 with just under 140,000 at $5,500. Mine had a lot of responses and sold easily.
Here's the current CL ad:


The closest ones I have seen that were listed for any less than that have been in the OKC area.
Retroman1969 picked one up and posted the other:
http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/54957-bought-beater-boxster.html
http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/60509-anybody-looking-running-driving-project.html

It may be a good car, but at that mileage, for a Boxster, it may also be troubled. If you don't know much about these cars, you should really have a mechanic who is familiar with Boxsters take a good look at it (PPI - pre-purchase inspection).
If it has been well maintained and the IMS bearing has been replaced, you could do well with it. If it has not seen preemptive maintenance and replacement of wear items, you could easily spend well over $5k in the first year.
Things that come to mind:
Oil leak - Spark plug tubes, RMS/IMS bearing, AOS.
Suspension parts - Anything with a bushing or boot is probably past it's life expectancy if it has not been replaced.
Cooling - Waterpump & coolant tank.
Wheel bearings, brake rotors.
Correct operation of HVAC, windows, and top.
When you first turn the key, do ALL of the proper console lights come on and go out? I have seen quite a few bargain cars that the check engine light or air-bag light has mysteriously "burned out" in.

If it checks out as acceptable condition, $4,500-5,000 sounds good. Expect to continue to spend $1000 - $2000 a year to keep it good, or a bit less if you DIY.
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:14 AM   #9
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A super high mileage Boxster (>175K miles) is likely to need an engine replacement or rebuild in the near future. Yes, some engines go well beyond that mileage but many do not. Just be sure to plan for this financially so you're not hit with a big bill unexpectedly.
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:30 AM   #10
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You guys are brutal. Pricing it like its' a glider?

Yes, it's a high miles car and if you're dropping it off with Hans to bring it up to speed you should have just bought a nicer car. He might be able to drive it for a year while he shops for a used engine.

I'd say at $5500 it has been priced accordingly. I mean, what does a really nice early boxster sell for? $10k? That, minus a DIY used engine and there's your street price.

I work with a guy who has had a 2.5 Tiptronic for a couple of years. He told me he's considering letting it go for $4500-5000. Nice car, new top. He did the AOS but sounds like it needs another. Other than that it's in very good condition.

I'd say these cars are going to drop even further before someone eventually discovers they were a forgotten gem.
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Old 03-21-2016, 11:11 AM   #11
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very simple rule:

The higher the mileage the bigger the stack of receipts has to be.

Major maintenance items: full suspension overhaul. My original set up only made it to 70K miles for a car driven only on weekends but driven through four seasons.

IMS/Clutch/Flywheel $4K. rear axle boots were both torn, that's another "while you're in there" job.

My exhaust and catalytic converters also went belly up around 70k miles.
That was at least $2k in parts.

The cooling system needs to be inspected every 5 years or so as far as the water pump and after 10 years the coolant tank is probably brittle. if you flush the coolant in that condition it will split and dump your pricey pink kook aide. So new tank and DEFINITELY replace cap. If the old cap doesn't hold enough pressure you could end up with a big big problem that will cost you more than the car is worth...all for a $20 cap.

Then you have the usual culprits like the AOS, starter, alternator, fuel pump, coil packs, and the very expensive AC compressor job. I had to replace ALL of these before 100K miles. Not cheap.

Also look at the rear tires, and make sure that model is still available. Tires are expensive for this car due to the larger size in the rear which I suspect is a red flag for the tire maker to add a price premium.

And of course these engines are reliable but they are not durable if driven all four seasons. We have one forum member from South Florida who has managed over $300k miles but he kept very strict dealer maintenance and obviously drove the the car every day for at least an hour. When these cars sit for too long moisture builds up and causes the oil to be more of an frenemy than friend.


I think you need to realize that even if you do a lot of repairs yourself, any Boxster or 996 with high miles is a $10-$15K car no matter how much you paid for it. While you can discount your labor, time, space, and equipment, those parts are still expensive.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:46 PM   #12
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Ok so here is the deal... I'm probably going to start at $3750 and take into account the ims and rms. Which I will probably have replaced soon after purchase, to negate any future adverse effects. (If its running well, why not keep it that way)
As far as the rest of replacement items go I can do myself (I'm pretty mechanically inclined)..Im looking at it as a project car that I will take my time with and slowly get the she-devil up to par.

So taking those few thoughts into account would it still be a fair deal?
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Old 03-21-2016, 02:15 PM   #13
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I paid $4500 for my 144K mile '02, with an unknown history. The car is basically in very good shape cosmetically (and has never been wrecked), but the suspension needed a rebuild (very noisy, with lots of banging, squeaking, and groaning). I'm in the process of doing the suspension right now (over $3K in parts with shocks!), but I found that some of the parts have been replaced at least once, like the shocks, CV joints/axles, and a recent brake job. By the time I replace the tires with good quality ones, and replace the dead key remote and some other small stuff, I'll be into the car for over $10,000. I probably should have just found a lower mileage one that didn't need as much stuff done, but I knew what I was getting into.

So to sum it all up - if you want your car to be a nice one, it's going to cost you the same whether you fix one up, or buy a really nice one to begin with. And these are expensive cars to keep going, so expect that as well.
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Old 03-21-2016, 02:27 PM   #14
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100% agree with the above. Spend the money that you absolutely will be spending on this, and put it onto a better, lower mileage example.
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Old 03-21-2016, 03:08 PM   #15
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On the flip side - any car 15+ years old is going to need or will soon need a suspension refresh. So why not save money on the purchase price for just such a refresh. You could spend $5000 more and still need to do the suspension.
I still say the key to this car's amazingness is the suspension. It's not a muscle car - it needs good suspension and motor mounts and all that good stuff to really appreciate it.
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Old 03-21-2016, 05:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer Boy View Post
....I probably should have just found a lower mileage one that didn't need as much stuff done...
If I had a dollar for every time someone said this....

The thing you have to realize about modern Porsches is that the stuff you will need to address has almost no value if the engine isn't solid. These cars are worth shockingly little without a running engine. You are basically buying an engine and the seller just tossed in four wheels,two seats and a steering wheel. If you look at it from that vantage point, a Porsche engine with high mileage should be at the bottom of your list because it's likely that not only will the engine need attention, but so will everything else. It's a double whammy when your cash could have been spent on acquiring a lower mileage engine (with a car tossed in).

Now if you're talking air-cooled Carreras, the mileage or condition of the body really does not matter anymore. Even rusted out heaps from the 1960's and 70's missing an engine will still get $10K. You will end up spending a lot of money but if that air-cooled 911 car is wrecked by a distracted driver busy texting his Dominos pizza order, the insurance company will write a decent size check. If you wreck your water-cooled Porsche Boxster/Cayman or Carrera that you dumped thousands into, prepare for the ice bucket challenge dumped on your head.
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Old 03-21-2016, 06:24 PM   #17
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The OP should read this thread:

http://986forum.com/forums/general-discussions/60880-1998-w-135k-%246100-steal.html
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:17 AM   #18
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As long as your expectations are set right, at $3500 id a steal. at $5K it still a good price if he has some records of what's been done.
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:51 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by cleverclover78 View Post
Ok so here is the deal... I'm probably going to start at $3750 and take into account the ims and rms. Which I will probably have replaced soon after purchase, to negate any future adverse effects....
I don't know if I'd waste the money (IMS/RMS) on a car with 185k+ miles. If you did it your self and you could borough/Rent the tools - Maybe

For $3750 - yes - Drive it - and it's worth the purchase price as a Roller

I would be a bit nervous on it's dependability
The list of Preventative Maintenance items will be relative to what was recently done

I bought a 50k mile car, drove it 3+ years 35k+ with relatively little preventative maintenance costs.
@86k it's time for the $$$ and as I check off my list, I add to the list - Perpetual motion - PORSCHE
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Old 03-22-2016, 11:42 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by kk2002s View Post
I don't know if I'd waste the money (IMS/RMS) on a car with 185k+ miles. If you did it your self and you could borough/Rent the tools - Maybe

For $3750 - yes - Drive it - and it's worth the purchase price as a Roller

I would be a bit nervous on it's dependability
The list of Preventative Maintenance items will be relative to what was recently done

I bought a 50k mile car, drove it 3+ years 35k+ with relatively little preventative maintenance costs.
@86k it's time for the $$$ and as I check off my list, I add to the list - Perpetual motion - PORSCHE
This is a really good point. If you are paying someone to do the IMS - it could cost you almost as much as you are paying for the car. With so little invested, buy it, try it and see what you think. If you really like it, then start saving your nickels for a newer and lower mileage one for the long run. Remember - IMS failure rate is at worst, 10% - therefore you have a 90% chance of having a perfectly good one. I'd take those odds on a $4000 car.

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