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Old 03-22-2016, 12:17 PM   #1
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Question High mileage car engine failures?

Reading through recent threads made me wonder...
I really don't often hear of Boxsters with 150,000+ miles having catastrophic engine failures. It's the '00 - '04 with low miles that seem to post about it most often. Maybe because it's expected in a higher mile engine.
With the advice I've seen about buying the newest, lowest mile 986 (still 12+ year old) I wonder if one with 150,000 miles that has seen good care and replacement of wear items is actually a better car than a garage queen with 50,000 and all original parts.
From what I see, these engines do best when driven and driving adds up the miles.
Does anyone want to post actual experience one way or the other?

Edit: My mileage numbers are arbitrary. My intent is generally high mile/daily driver vs low mile/fair weather weekender.

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Old 03-22-2016, 02:34 PM   #2
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I can offer my experience. I bought mine Nov. of 2014 with 42k on her. Some would classify the car as a garage queen due to the low miles but based on the service records she was driven regularly just never alot of miles. I've driven the car regularly and now have 66k on her. In the interim I have done a good amount of maintenance of the usual things these cars need including replacing the IMS as part of maintenance.

I think there is something to the lower mileage cars having catastrophic engine failures but think if you can start using them regularly and get to a certain point the risk reduces considerably. I may be wrong.
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Old 03-22-2016, 02:53 PM   #3
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I bought my '98 last year with 32K on the clock, and it could certainly be considered a garage queen. I was looking for another Carrera when a buddy of mine sent me the link. A Boxster wasn't even on my radar, but I went to look at it for curiosity sake. The color and condition sold me the instant the cover came off of it. It was garage kept under cover it's entire life, and literally looked like it just drove off the showroom floor.

The prior owner however had the wherewithal to replace/update the IMS/RMS at 28K miles as a preventative measure, along with a "Pedro" exhaust, under-drive pulley and low temp thermostat, so I felt he addressed two of the major failure issues with these cars, along with a few mild performance enhancements. The car also had an impeccable, documented service history.

Although I still believe the IMS/RMS issue is a small percentage of cars, despite the frightening stories, it did scare me enough to buy a car that had this addressed.
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Old 03-22-2016, 03:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 78F350 View Post
Reading through recent threads made me wonder...
I really don't often hear of Boxsters with 150,000+ miles having catastrophic engine failures. It's the '00 - '04 with low miles that seem to post about it most often. Maybe because it's expected in a higher mile engine.
With the advice I've seen about buying the newest, lowest mile 986 (still 12+ year old) I wonder if one with 150,000 miles that has seen good care and replacement of wear items is actually a better car than a garage queen with 50,000 and all original parts.
From what I see, these engines do best when driven and driving adds up the miles.
Does anyone want to post actual experience one way or the other?
dunno about experience, but i was thinking the same thing recently. it used to be that the internet wisdom was that, if the ims was going to fail, it would happen early in the engine life and if it made it to 100k miles then you were out of harms way.

recently, however, i've seen a few people ask about high mileage cars and the same purveyors of internet wisdom are saying that at 150k miles the engine is done; throw it out and get a new one.

so it seems we can't win in this here internet. either that or for some reason we love driving the resale value of our cars down.
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Old 03-22-2016, 04:39 PM   #5
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Keep in mind that the class action law suit against Porsche for faulty IMS bearings only included the model years of 2000-2005 which is the years the most catastrophic failures occurred. Many blame it on the switch from a double row IMS, used in the 97-99 model years to the single row IMS used in the 2000-2005 models. The number of Boxsters involved was around 54K and some years had a failure rate as high as 10%. Mileage did not seem to be an issue as the failure rate covered low and high mileage vehicles. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a consistent reason to back up claims that most failures occur in garage queen cars. It appears to be the luck of the draw.
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Old 03-22-2016, 04:43 PM   #6
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I have a 99 with 175k that sounds better than the 99 with 65k. The 175k motor was the dirtiest motor I've ever had though. That thing was covered in thick greasy goo.
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Old 03-22-2016, 05:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Radium King View Post
dunno about experience, but i was thinking the same thing recently. it used to be that the internet wisdom was that, if the ims was going to fail, it would happen early in the engine life and if it made it to 100k miles then you were out of harms way.

recently, however, i've seen a few people ask about high mileage cars and the same purveyors of internet wisdom are saying that at 150k miles the engine is done; throw it out and get a new one.

so it seems we can't win in this here internet. either that or for some reason we love driving the resale value of our cars down.
I think 150k is a relative term. Depends on a LOT of factors.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:03 PM   #8
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Excellent question.

I shopped around seriously in 2007-08 looking for a decent Boxster S at a decent price point. I ended up buying my car (2000S) with 76K miles on it in July of 2008. Although not really high mileage for the year, it certainly wasn't a garage queen. I remember having similar thoughts as yours....I didn't think buying a low mileage car was reducing my risk of catastrophic failure at all.

I bought a local car that had been listed on ebay as a no reserve car. Although I didn't do any sort of PPI, I had the opportunity to view and drive the car prior to placing a bid. I ended up winning the auction for $15,400 and as luck would have t, ebay had a $500 off deal for buying a car through ebay Motors.

I know have just under 130k miles with no real issues at all. Although I feel I understand the risk, I have not replaced the clutch, IMS or RMS. The most expensive repair to date has been the coolant expansion tank (part only).

My car does not look like a brand new car but does look better than most 16 year old cars on the road. It is an absolute blast and I'd trust it to drive anywhere in the country tomorrow!

When I look at these cars now, mileage really doesn't make a huge difference to me.
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:58 PM   #9
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Just picked up a 2001 S with 118K for 8K. Needed some bits here and there and I was very concerned before talking to the dealer that performed the service over the past 15 years. Basically, you only live once and if it breaks, we will just have to fix it. But I love how it steers and that 6 speed is very much fun.
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:11 PM   #10
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My 99 has almost 200k in the odo with original IMS, runs great, the area around the clutch/IMS is clean and the oil filter inspection shows nothing but oil, it was only leaking from spark plug tubes recently
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Old 03-22-2016, 07:45 PM   #11
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My 99 daily driver just rolled 165,000 miles and is still tight and eager and dying to run hard every day. It could go anytime I guess, but I stay too busy with an insane work and driving schedule to worry much about the car blowing up, so we both just hunker down and go man, go!
As far as I know, it's on the original IMS and RMS. has never leaked or burned a drop of anything.
Not terribly scientific I guess, but there it is.
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:11 AM   #12
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I recently had this discussion with the local Porsche indie mechanic. He told me that the higher mileage cars he had seen with blown engines were the results of chain ramp/tensioner failure; IMS bearings were holding up fine.
Sounds like it comes down to maintenance and that the ramps & tensioners needed to be addressed around 120K.
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:36 AM   #13
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Great topic. Thanks for posting. Nice to see the good ownership stories being told. Mine has been a pleasure to own. Regarding the original question, I think it comes down to how often it had been driven, how it's been driven and who has owned it. Steady maintenance goes a long way. Maybe if you plan to buy and sell a few years later, a high mileage is the way to go. If you plan on keeping, a lower mileage one.
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Old 03-23-2016, 07:50 AM   #14
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Well, I bought a garage queen two years ago, a 2000 S with 10,800 miles. Looked like it was sitting on the showroom floor and the garage it had lived in looked equally pristine as the car. I got an almost complete set of maintenance records with it but nothing other than oil changes, brake fluid changes, and a battery had been done. I've put 10,000 miles on it and have only changed the coolant cap plus two oil changes. I plan on keeping the car many years and changing the IMS, water pump, etc. when it's time to replace the clutch. It still looks pristine (one stone chip on the front bumper and a rub spot on the driver's seat bolster). I get it out of hibernation on Saturday and am expecting and looking forward to another season of joy with it (fingers crossed).
Larry (the bald eagle).
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Old 03-23-2016, 07:51 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by 78F350 View Post
is generally high mile/daily driver vs low mile/fair weather weekender.
Both (assuming at least an annual oil change) will cost you. you pay for the low miles up front. You pay for the high miles in many other unexpected and expected ways if you intend to actually drive the car. These Pcars are reliable but they are not durable, by design. Making them durable and reliable nearly put the brand into bankruptcy.

The best time to sell is when miles are low, while buyers have a perception that the low mileage engine is still "mostly in the clear". This mileage of car always commands the best money. Take that best money and get into newer used Pcar, also with low mileage.
Get in after 20K miles (or so) and get out by 50K miles. This way the original owner takes the depreciation hit. The next owner takes the equally big hit on major maintenance items that start to rear their heads. There's a sweet spot there where you get a hassle free experience (for the most part) and get "best money" for the car when you sell.
If you wait (like I did) because the car has been holding up well so far, you really are not acting your best interest. Put it this way. The first 70K miles of my Boxster were far and away the most reliable miles I've had on any car. I was surprised. Everything since then has been a very expensive learning experience. I won't make this mistake again, it's illogical in my opinion.
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Old 03-23-2016, 10:03 AM   #16
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...
The best time to sell is when miles are low, while buyers have a perception that the low mileage engine is still "mostly in the clear". This mileage of car always commands the best money. Take that best money and get into newer used Pcar, also with low mileage.
Get in after 20K miles (or so) and get out by 50K miles. This way the original owner takes the depreciation hit. The next owner takes the equally big hit on major maintenance items that start to rear their heads. There's a sweet spot there where you get a hassle free experience (for the most part) and get "best money" for the car when you sell...
That seems to be a sound strategy for buying cars based on monetary value, but I see it as a moot point in 2016 regarding most 986s.
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Old 03-24-2016, 06:30 AM   #17
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My 98 has 116k now. Apart from a blown waterpump, it's been reliable. I haven't done the IMS, but will do so when the clutch needs replacing. My Boxster was my daily driver for a year, and still sees ~50% use in the summer.

The problem with 100k miles cars, and early Boxsters in general, isn't any special Porsche issues but normal old car issues. A lot of things are worn out by then. If the PO recently replaced most of it, the car should be reasonably trouble free.

Early Boxsters are pretty cheap now. If you can find a good one, and can do some maintenance work yourself, they're a pretty cheap car to run.

I personally wouldn't pay a premium for a newer/low mileage 986. I'd be looking at a 987 at that point.
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Old 03-24-2016, 06:53 AM   #18
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In before Jäger.....

His opinion may vary slightly. He has his own club with like 2 members, lol.
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:08 AM   #19
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I have an 03S 6 speed with original IMS at 124k, runs perfect with no problems. Knock on wood. I've personally daily driven and taken care of it myself except for the past 6 years and personally put 55k on the clock.
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Old 03-26-2016, 11:50 AM   #20
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Well, I bought a garage queen two years ago, a 2000 S with 10,800 miles. Looked like it was sitting on the showroom floor and the garage it had lived in looked equally pristine as the car. I got an almost complete set of maintenance records with it but nothing other than oil changes, brake fluid changes, and a battery had been done. I've put 10,000 miles on it and have only changed the coolant cap plus two oil changes. I plan on keeping the car many years and changing the IMS, water pump, etc. when it's time to replace the clutch. It still looks pristine (one stone chip on the front bumper and a rub spot on the driver's seat bolster). I get it out of hibernation on Saturday and am expecting and looking forward to another season of joy with it (fingers crossed).
Larry (the bald eagle).
My example is very similar. I now have 36K on the clock. I have a 2000S as well. The 2000 YM had a double row bearing. 2001 was the first year for a single row bearing. Based on this, my plan is the same as your plan to address the bearing when I replace the clutch.

I installed the magnetic plug and inspect my filter after every oil change. Zero metal.

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