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Old 10-24-2016, 12:55 PM   #1
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Engine Replacement Advice

I have a 2003 Boxster S that suffered a catastrophic engine failure at 105k miles. Lots of metal in the oil pan and filter. All signs are of an IMS bearing failure

My shop is willing to work with me on installing a used engine (if we can find one at a price that makes it all worthwhile).

But my shop (a well respected lcoal shop that does a lot of race prep in addition to service) feels that staying with an engine from a 2003 S will make that swap more straight forward. They also think that it should be an engine from a tiptronic.

Can you offer any insight on this? I know that I should go with an e-gas engine, so to me that says 2003 and later, but that about exhausts my knowledge

What differences are there between 2003 and 2004 or later engines? What difference does the tranny it wa mated with make? Are these significant and would they make the job harder?

To keep costs down I would even consider a 2.7, as they may be more common and cheaper.
Would any thing other than an egine from a 2003 S Tiptronic require changing the car's electronics -- I know these are expensive parts so if we can use the ones now in the car it would probably help
Anything else I should be thinking of?

Just trying to figure out my options and costs. Rest assured that if we go this route it will get an upgraded IMS bearing before it gets installed.

Any idea on what I should expect to pay for compatible engines?


Thank you,

Carlos (who is not a very happy Porsche customer - this failure has left a sour taste in my mouth)
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Old 10-24-2016, 01:02 PM   #2
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I think your shop is steering you in the right direction. All Boxsters from 00 on are E-gas but have different brains. IIRC 03-04 cars have the same DME electronics.
No idea about Tip cars vs. manual.

Also, I understand about wanting to save a buck but don't go with the 2.7. It'll be a bad story when you go to sell and will hurt resale a lot.
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Old 10-24-2016, 01:29 PM   #3
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Hello Carlos,

if your car is an AT car, it's easier to use an AT engine, because if you buy an MT engine some things have to be replaced and transferred from the AT to the MT engine. But it's no rocket science.

If you're talking about 2003 i don't know if it's a 252 or a 260 HP engine.

Over here in Germany the 2003 986S cars had the 260 HP engine.

The 2003 / 2004 engines (228 / 260 HP / 266 HP) have a much better adjustment system for the camshafts that works without chain ramps. I would prefer these engines in general.

The later engines from 987 cars won't fit without ECU and other adaptions. What can fit is an engine from a 987S 280 3.2 car. But these are rare and were only built in 2005 (think it's the 2006 US model).

The later on 987 3.4 engines have a different IMSB that can't be changed without disassembling the engine.

AT engines can't be overreved that easy, because the AT electronic prevents that. MT engines can be overreved easily. Overreving can cause problems. Maybe that is why the workshop has asked for an AT engine.

In general all types of M96 986 engines can be used, but if you don't use exactly the same engine type you have to adapt wiring harness, ECU and / or ECU / TCU software… Emissions can also be a problem.

Easiest to install is to use the exact same engine that was used in your car.

Because the engine is toast, just think of other options like B4, V6 or V8 engines. OK, maybe this is not the easy way, but to me personally this would be a nice challenge. Over here in Germany it's very very complicated to do these kind of conversions because of law regulations. But in the US it seems to be much easier to get it street legal.

Regards, Markus

Last edited by Smallblock454; 10-24-2016 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 10-24-2016, 01:33 PM   #4
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If you are paying a shop to do it get the exact engine that came out of there. It often takes tons of research and hours and hours to make a swap to work out even slight differences in electronics or a sensor etc... If you car is a TIP it has a different flywheel than a manual, they are looking for a straight swap or you will spend a lot of money paying them to change things over and figure them out. No idea what the going rate for these motors is but I have watched some salvage auctions and a smacked in the front S doesn't bring much over 2k for the whole car.
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Old 10-24-2016, 01:40 PM   #5
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There was a recent thread here about someone who had the same problem see if you can find it. Also, if you google “Boxster engine swap” There are several companies that rebuild Boxster engines or do core swaps. Also the is a big Boxster dismantling facility in LA. There are several places on the East coast which could be more cost effective. For me saving a few hundred on shipping on an engine doesn’t make sense. Research-research google and make calls. Also, the best engine guy on the planet Jake Raby at flat6 innovations in GA is about 600 miles away and might be worth the drive.

Best of luck
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Old 10-24-2016, 02:19 PM   #6
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I've done most of this so here is what I found.

I run a 2003 Boxster that has a 2004 Boxster S motor from an auto trans. 2 cooling hoses needed swapped, 1 t vacuum connector was transferred. I used the original 2003 harness. You will need to transfer the harness. Your harness will stay with your car.

If you decide to use a 2005 or 2006 motor it will work. Again you will need to keep your cooling hose T's your wiring harness and the vacuum T that connects to the transmission. The driver side head bank 2 cylinders 4,5,6 has a different scavenge pump. Take it out and use yours if it is OK.

The flywheel or tourque converter bolt up the same the bolts are the only difference. The manual or automatic trans bolt the same and the bolts are the same.
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Old 10-24-2016, 04:01 PM   #7
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I wouldn't get hung up on if the used motor is an auto or manual. It's hardly any trouble switching everything over from one motor to the next. Heck I recommend replacing all the vacuum hoses while you have the engine out anyway.
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Old 10-24-2016, 04:37 PM   #8
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There are something like 28 causes of catastrophic failure that have been identified and without expert engine internals knowledge and a very expensive examination, you can't really be sure what was the cause.

But internal metal says probably not worthwhile for most to rebuild. Risk too great.

So source an engine. Wrecks are a good source. Wrecking yards listed here. There are some online sources too at least one of which is already in this thread. The trick is to identify the reputable ones and pick a motor that was running when the wreck occurred. (I know my first was and is probably running in someone's car today)

On that same site is an article "what you can do if your engine is blown" which is an accumulation of approaches I've seen over 10+ years of Boxster ownership/interest.
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Old 10-24-2016, 04:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dghii View Post
It'll be a bad story when you go to sell and will hurt resale a lot.
A 2003 with 100k miles isn't worth anything these days even with the original engine. Do whatever you want with the car!
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Old 10-24-2016, 05:52 PM   #10
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A 2003 with 100k miles isn't worth anything these days even with the original engine. Do whatever you want with the car!
In our neck of the woods, a decent 100K mile 03S would be a $11-13K car. That's still something (at least to me!).
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Old 10-25-2016, 03:25 AM   #11
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Not to start anything but I have to agree with PATSSLE, and strongly disagree with dghii. These cars, S or not, are simply not worth a whole lot if you plan to resell. A price tag of $11 to $13k is absolutely ludicrous. While that may be an asking price I guarantee it IS NOT the sale price. Get a good engine for as little as you can spend on these things and enjoy what time you have with it.
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Old 10-25-2016, 07:40 AM   #12
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Check EBay "Completed Sales" for actual selling price(Not meaningless Asking Price). Even the Boxster S is down to Miata price levels. But the used Bxstr S engines with a warranty are $5k+/-
But collect your own facts first.
A rebuild is financially the worst option -but that is what I did because it interested me.
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Old 10-25-2016, 07:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Cbonilla View Post
I have a 2003 Boxster S that suffered a catastrophic engine failure at 105k miles. Lots of metal in the oil pan and filter. All signs are of an IMS bearing failure

My shop is willing to work with me on installing a used engine (if we can find one at a price that makes it all worthwhile).

But my shop (a well respected lcoal shop that does a lot of race prep in addition to service) feels that staying with an engine from a 2003 S will make that swap more straight forward. They also think that it should be an engine from a tiptronic.

Can you offer any insight on this? I know that I should go with an e-gas engine, so to me that says 2003 and later, but that about exhausts my knowledge

What differences are there between 2003 and 2004 or later engines? What difference does the tranny it wa mated with make? Are these significant and would they make the job harder?

To keep costs down I would even consider a 2.7, as they may be more common and cheaper.
Would any thing other than an egine from a 2003 S Tiptronic require changing the car's electronics -- I know these are expensive parts so if we can use the ones now in the car it would probably help
Anything else I should be thinking of?

Just trying to figure out my options and costs. Rest assured that if we go this route it will get an upgraded IMS bearing before it gets installed.

Any idea on what I should expect to pay for compatible engines?


Thank you,

Carlos (who is not a very happy Porsche customer - this failure has left a sour taste in my mouth)
What part of Maryland are you in? Also read my experience on engine replacement, "$10,916.83 later".
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Old 10-25-2016, 07:48 AM   #14
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Thank you all, this is not an easy decision. If I can keep the cost below $7-8k I will probably go ahead and do it

CB
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:01 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by bwdz View Post
If you are paying a shop to do it get the exact engine that came out of there. It often takes tons of research and hours and hours to make a swap to work out even slight differences in electronics or a sensor etc... If you car is a TIP it has a different flywheel than a manual, they are looking for a straight swap or you will spend a lot of money paying them to change things over and figure them out. No idea what the going rate for these motors is but I have watched some salvage auctions and a smacked in the front S doesn't bring much over 2k for the whole car.
Yeah, I'm looking at salvage sales as well. Haven't found a 2003-04 S yet

CB
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:03 AM   #16
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What part of Maryland are you in? Also read my experience on engine replacement, "$10,916.83 later".
I'm just outside of DC. Car is at Auto Sport Systems Group in Fairfax. Can you point me to your post where you detail the cost of your odyssey? Search didn't find it
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:07 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jgkram View Post
Not to start anything but I have to agree with PATSSLE, and strongly disagree with dghii. These cars, S or not, are simply not worth a whole lot if you plan to resell. A price tag of $11 to $13k is absolutely ludicrous. While that may be an asking price I guarantee it IS NOT the sale price. Get a good engine for as little as you can spend on these things and enjoy what time you have with it.
I was planning on driving it for a number of years more. Had is since almost new. Last year I put a fair amount of $ into maintenance -- fall new CV boots, all fluids changed (tranny, diff, coolant), balky window motor, secondary air system. Wasn't cheap, and I recognize that these are sunk costs. But car was running great until this.
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:08 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Gelbster View Post
Check EBay "Completed Sales" for actual selling price(Not meaningless Asking Price). Even the Boxster S is down to Miata price levels. But the used Bxstr S engines with a warranty are $5k+/-
But collect your own facts first.
A rebuild is financially the worst option -but that is what I did because it interested me.
I have seen 2003 S engines anywhere from $5k to $8.5k with 30 day warranties.
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:27 AM   #19
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Any reason why you are not thinking 996 motor - Expense only?
It appears to be somewhat more difficult but there seems to be many 3.4 swaps being done, or even 3.6s
No you would not return your investment but would certainly up the performance
I'm at 90k+ and think about what to do if I fall to the same misfortune as you.

In any case, what ever motor swap you do, change out the IMSB, tensioners, chain guides while the motor is out to at least minimize some of the fail points for the future

Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 10-25-2016, 09:41 AM   #20
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Any reason why you are not thinking 996 motor - Expense only?
It appears to be somewhat more difficult but there seems to be many 3.4 swaps being done, or even 3.6s
No you would not return your investment but would certainly up the performance
I'm at 90k+ and think about what to do if I fall to the same misfortune as you.

In any case, what ever motor swap you do, change out the IMSB, tensioners, chain guides while the motor is out to at least minimize some of the fail points for the future

Good luck and keep us posted
The KISS ("Keep it simple stupid") principle and cost.

What do tensioners and chain guided cost to replace with the engine out?

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