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Old 03-17-2017, 01:40 PM   #1
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Question Thinking about buying a Boxster

I'm 15, getting my liscense this Summer, and looking for a first car. I've been thinking about buying a Boxster, and I wanted to get some advice before going in too deep. I have a few questions that would help me out a lot if you more experienced folks wouldn't mind answering.
First, I've heard that the main problem attributed to Boxsters is IMS bearing failiure. How often does this happen and should I be largely concerned with it? I know there is a retrofit kit you can buy but 06-08 (I think) year Boxsters require the entire engine to be removed. My dad and I are relatively experienced with working on cars, so other minor mechanical things shouldn't be too much of an issue.
Second, what years are the best? I know Porsche fixed the IMS issue on 2009 forward cars, but those are a bit too expensive for what I've saved up.
Lastly, how much per year do you put into your cars? I've heard numbers all across the board for Boxsters. As I mentioned, I can do things like oil changes and the like on my own, so I'm more concerned with major mechanical issues that require me to take it down to the mechanic.
Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated!

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Old 03-17-2017, 03:10 PM   #2
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Great time of your life, the time when looking at your first car and freedom.
Seems like you are intelligent and doing your research on the affordability of a great ride. I recommend you check on the insurance rates for the Boxster for such a young driver as yourself and factor that into the equation.
As for the cars, get the newest and cleanest one you can afford. Doing most of your basic maintenance will save you a bundle. The IMS, personally I think it's overblown and thousands that did not have a problem were replaced just because of fear mongers who try to sell them. I roll the dice on mine (1997 model) and so far so good and the car is 20 years old.
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Old 03-17-2017, 03:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for all the info, I'm going to get a part time job this summer as my parents are expecting me to help pay for insurance. Good to know as far as the IMS is concerned, I'm going to stay on top of oil changes and do some preventative maintenance anyway.
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:58 PM   #4
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might want a full time job
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Old 03-17-2017, 04:59 PM   #5
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Choosing to not replace the IMS bearing is indeed a gamble, in my opinion. I just had a failure in my 2003 986 S tipronic. If it had been a stick it would have gotten taken care of with a clutch change. Having just sourced a used engine I can tell you that I had the IMS replaced before it got dropped in the car.

Ignore the Porsche recommended oil change interval. The wisdom today is to change it every 5-6 k miles. And I don't know where you live, but don't plan on driving it in the snow. They are truly terrible in that environment.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:28 PM   #6
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The reason people say to buy the best Boxster that you can afford is that there are no cheap Porsche's.

Some Boxster's might be cheap to buy, but they will probably need a lot of work to bring the maintenance up to date and repair things that the previous owner ignored. Be sure to budget a few hundred to several thousand for this.

Even if you do all of the work yourself, the parts themselves can be fairly expensive. And yes, often you can find cheap aftermarket parts but sometimes you can't and then you have no choice but to pay whatever it costs.

Once the maintenance and repairs are up to date, plan on $2,000 per year for maintenance and repairs. This literally means that you'll be spending $500 every three months to repair something. Or nothing for 6 months and then bam, $1,000 for a rear wheel bearing and CV joint repair! Very quickly, it can feel like the car is a bottomless money pit if you and your parents aren't used to these kind of expenditures on a vehicle. Some years might be more, some less, but its a good number to use for budgeting and managing expectations.

I have two sons that are in college - they both drive BMW's (E36 M3 and E53 X5). There is a lesson in that statement.
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Last edited by thstone; 03-17-2017 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 03-17-2017, 05:48 PM   #7
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I'd get my first year or so driving experience is an older, safer, cheaper to repair car. I have two sons. I think the older one is still without an accident at 42. The younger one once said to me " you are really calm when I call you after an accident". I think my reply should have been "Its because you have given me so much practice".

Boxsters are wonderful cars. Owned two. But crash one and what might have been a minor expense in another car can be really really expensive. And statistics say young drivers are more liable to have an accident. You may not, great for you. But if you did ....$$$$$

Plus given the age of cars you might be buying, age and wear has made the chance of a mechanical repair more probable. I've put engines into cars of earlier vintages for $200 to $1,500. But price the Porsche engine and its transplant and you can be paying much more than the car is worth.

Don't lose the love of the Boxster. But wait till you can afford to keep it running the way it should to give you the max safety and enjoyment.
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:47 PM   #8
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As MikeFocke said "I'd get my first year or so driving experience is an older, safer, cheaper to repair car."

Better advice I don't think you will find.

Save the Boxster for your 2nd car.
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Old 03-17-2017, 08:24 PM   #9
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I would look into insurance on the front end. You may find new driver + Porsche + LA insurance rates = whole boat load of money. It would be a shame to find out too late that the insurance cost puts it out of reach fiscally. Whatever you end up with, best of luck and safe travels.
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Old 03-18-2017, 02:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mikefocke View Post
I'd get my first year or so driving experience is an older, safer, cheaper to repair car.
That's what I was going to say.

My son is 17, him and several of his friends have already been in accidents. No one has been hurt but when he was T-boned in his 98 Jeep Cherokee, it was a lot less financially painful then his two friends who totaled their 3 series BMWs (both were at fault). I am glad I am not paying their insurance.

These are awesome cars, with a lot of ability on the road, especially for their price but when things go wrong, it will not be cheap.
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Old 03-18-2017, 07:09 AM   #11
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If I'm wrong I'm sure a forum member will correct me but the 97, 98, and 99 Boxster use larger IMS bearing and don't fail as much as other years with small bearings. Not very much power but I'm enjoying my 98 Boxster as a daily driver. I don't need tons of HP for Back road driving to work.

Be warned Porsche is addicting.
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Old 03-18-2017, 07:35 AM   #12
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Owning a Porche will change your life and priorities financially, emotionally, and socially.

Here are a few interesting stats from polls in this forum that may help your decision

92% of 1997-2004 Boxsters had no IMS failures requiring engine replacement; 8% did.

Average age of Boxster owners is 47; oldest 78, youngest 16. Occupations ranged from Pilots, managers, Project Managers, Technicians, Engineers, Retired, and 7 of 300 respondents were students.
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:10 AM   #13
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Porsche - There is no substitute... So true

I agree.. Porsche are very addicting.. Not many production cars that the average person can afford that give you the feeling these cars.. Even the Boxster.

I own a '99 Boxster and love it... Very well built car.. I would drive it anywhere, anytime..
Some kind of knock the older Boxster about performance.. I think they perform very well and I've owned a number of high performance automobiles in my life.

If you buy a Boxster used and don't have alot to spend, buy either a '98 or '99 Boxster. Make sure it's been well cared for and maintained. Right after you buy it, immediately replace the water pump (w/Porsche or Pierburg), install a 71C stat, and change the oil and filter.. Use a Porsche A40 designated oil, Good quality 5W40 (Motul, Joe Gibbs, Castrol). Don't forget new ring seal on oil drain plug. Always check the old filter very close looking for tiny flakes of metal.. If you see this, probably your IMS starting.. Be wary of the '97 Boxster, first year.. heard stories about cylinder sleeve problems.. Proceed with caution

The reason I say buy a '98 or '99 is that these engines for sure have the robust double row IMS bearing.. Porsche started using the single row bearings in 2000.. Some 2000's could have double row but really no way to know.. The IMS failure rate of the '97 through '99 Boxster is about 1%.. 2000 through 2005 IMS failure is about 8%.. That's scary.. If you buy one of these years, spend the extra money and put a new IMS and clutch in (Gott pull tranny to replace IMS) Have a certified shop do it.. Not a DIY job..

See note: According to information published about the Eisen IMS Class Action Lawsuit, the single row IMS bearing used in 2000 through 2005 model years is reported to have an 8% failure rate, versus less than 1% with the dual row IMS bearing used in the earlier model years. The 8% failure rate cited by the settlement documents is not far off of the calculated L10 life we have been using for the last 8 years! With half the load capacity, it is clear to see that the reduced load capacity of the single row IMS bearing is a significant contributing factor to the increased number of failures and that oiling alone is not the cause or solution to IMS issues.

Last note: No matter the year of the Boxster, if you change the clutch and pressure plate, go the distance and change the IMS bearing also.. You are 3/4 of the way there when doing a clutch.. Research the IMS..

LN is supposed to be good -

Dual Row IMS Retrofit Kit for MY97-01 LN Engineering

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