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Old 05-03-2017, 01:59 PM   #1
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Pre-Purchase Questions

I have been looking for a 1999-2004 Boxster S the past couple weeks. This will be my first Porsche. As I have looked around, a few questions:

1. I see a lot of worn interiors (100K miles). I have had other vehicles with over 100K and the interiors still look great. Is this typical of Porsche interiors or is it a sign of abuse?

2. Most for sale in SoCal are automatic. Not may manuals. I think I want a manual but curious why so few manuals for sale and potential resale value. Is the automatic really that much more popular?

3. Will I notice the difference between Boxster and Boxster S? I will not track the car. Just spirited driving around town, to work, etc.

4. One Boxster I looked at, the top did not close all the way. Upon opening, it was slow for the first couple inches, then normal speed to open. Closing, it stopped short of the windshield top. I had to manually force the top closed further to engage latch. How big of a deal is this and how easy to fix? Adjustment or indication of worn parts?

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Old 05-03-2017, 03:45 PM   #2
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You aren't really asking the correct questions but here goes
1- leather is nicer but vinyl intwrior wear better. Seat bolsters are going to show wear at 100k unless the po sits down carefully each time entering the car.

2-i would have to say most boxsters are manual. Autos dont sell as well, perhpas the reason you are seeing more tiptronics

3-definitely the S has a lot more power but the regular 986 is Lighter, and can be more fun in the same way as a miata. You can push the car harder without breaking as many laws maybe. Ha

4-sounds like normal top operation unless it is really hard to pull down. They all must be pulled down to fasten the latch

Questions you should be asking

Has the IMSB been upgraded?
Does it leak oil?
How does the clutch pedal feel? If it is stiff its worn out. Boxsters have very easy to operate clutch pedals.

How does the water overflow tank look? Any signs of Overheating around the tank or underneath?

When was the water pump changed last? Has it had AOS work? What sort of records does the owner have? And most important,
Hoe does the PPI look? Dont buy one without spending the 300-400 bucks

The 03 and 04 have glass rear windows, but many say the earlier models are more reliable. Ive had a 97 and an 01. Both have been great.

The search is half the fun. Good luck




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Old 05-03-2017, 04:05 PM   #3
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Kmkmkrz covered the salient points. The top should close to the windshield ready to be latched. Make sure you hold the button until the dash light goes out. A base Boxster is usually less money and can be just as much fun if you aren't tracking. The tiptronic, when paired with an S can be fine. It's not quite as quick but if you use the car in traffic, it's a blessing. Funny that they cost more originally but are worth less on the used market because most people, when they buy an older sports car, want a manual shift.
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:09 PM   #4
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Make friends with your local Porsche mechanic and ask if he has any knowledge of cars his customers might be selling that he could recommend. Also ask about the cost and process for a PPI (Pre Purchase Inspection)

Consider the traffic in the areas you will use the car. Sometimes an auto is nice to have and they are still fun cars. My first 3 sports cars were stick and my two Boxsters were auto because the traffic volume changed and the roads didn't.
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:47 PM   #5
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There are some great examples out there and there is some junk. I always wonder that if an owner doesn't take pride in the car's appearance, including the interior, how does he take care of the maintenance needs.

In the end when you fine the one... get a PPI; Pre-Purchase inspection from a recommended independent mechanic! It is so important. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:40 PM   #6
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They've hit all the big ones, but I'd like to add a couple more:

1. Does the car come with a complete service history (including receipts) ? If so, look it over for things like when the tires were changed, when the break fluid was changed, how often the oil was changed, has the IMS bearing been changed (and by who), etc. If no history, assume you are going to spend money on those things.

2. (this one is more of a plus than a requirement)... was the previous owner a PCA member? It's been my experience that PCA owners tend to be a bit more religious about maintaining their cars than none PCA members. Also, if you buy the car I recommend you join PCA (most dealers will give you a 10% discount on parts).
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Old 05-04-2017, 07:20 PM   #7
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With the value of older Boxsters drifting into Miata territory, younger budget minded sellers are more common. They are less likely to spend freely on PM , regular service, 'while you are in there' repairs, best tires, OEM parts. These issues can cause major expense for subsequent owners.
The ideal seller is one who is a regular at the best local Indie. Chuck for example :-).
And the best deal is seldom the cheapest car because of the cost and consequences of deferred maintenance. With a Miata/Mustang that does not always apply because parts are cheap and the repair work easy. Not so much with the Porsche.
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Old 05-04-2017, 07:50 PM   #8
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Where in S. Cal are you?

The S has more HP, a 6 speed, a 3rd radiator, bigger brakes, beefier suspension, stronger trans.

If you live in the LA area, a automatic may be a better choice, LA traffic sucks, especially with a manual. I know several people that have automatics and AX and track their cars. The Automatics starting in 2003 (?) have lots of shift maps vs. A handful on earlier ones.

Not sure what statistics support that 03/04 are less reliable
03/04 also have a slightly updated interior that adds a glove box and better cupholders and a few other cosmetic things like no amber on the headlights.

generally its best to buy the newest best condition one you can

The top should open and close smoothly and all the way.

Definitely have a PPI done. Here is a list of PCA tech shops. Most will do a PPI. All are good reputable shops. Let us know where you are and you will get some recomendations

Lots of info on this site about buying a Boxster, do a search
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Old 05-08-2017, 08:26 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JayG View Post
Where in S. Cal are you?

The S has more HP, a 6 speed, a 3rd radiator, bigger brakes, beefier suspension, stronger trans.

If you live in the LA area, a automatic may be a better choice, LA traffic sucks, especially with a manual. I know several people that have automatics and AX and track their cars. The Automatics starting in 2003 (?) have lots of shift maps vs. A handful on earlier ones.

Not sure what statistics support that 03/04 are less reliable
03/04 also have a slightly updated interior that adds a glove box and better cupholders and a few other cosmetic things like no amber on the headlights.

generally its best to buy the newest best condition one you can

The top should open and close smoothly and all the way.

Definitely have a PPI done. Here is a list of PCA tech shops. Most will do a PPI. All are good reputable shops. Let us know where you are and you will get some recomendations

Lots of info on this site about buying a Boxster, do a search
Been researching more and test driving. I am north of LA in Valencia. I know what you mean about a manual in LA traffic. Maybe I need to go drive an auto hard and see how I really like it compared to a manual. I have tried to avoid test driving every car just to find out what I like, but maybe that is what I need to do.

Airbag lights: Are the airbags a common problem? I looked at a 2001 where the airbag light was on all the time. The used car dealer said they had to remove the passenger seat to fix the seat belt and most not have reconnected everything. I looked at a 2004 where the airbag light did not illuminate at all when I turned the key. Every other light light up fine. Thoughts?
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Old 05-08-2017, 08:47 AM   #10
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Buy the S with 6 speed manual... you will hate yourself if you don't !!! WAY more fun.... of course, this is strictly MY opinion...
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExplorerLyon View Post
Been researching more and test driving. I am north of LA in Valencia. I know what you mean about a manual in LA traffic. Maybe I need to go drive an auto hard and see how I really like it compared to a manual. I have tried to avoid test driving every car just to find out what I like, but maybe that is what I need to do.

Airbag lights: Are the airbags a common problem? I looked at a 2001 where the airbag light was on all the time. The used car dealer said they had to remove the passenger seat to fix the seat belt and most not have reconnected everything. I looked at a 2004 where the airbag light did not illuminate at all when I turned the key. Every other light light up fine. Thoughts?
On mine the airbag light goes out very quickly and if you restart the car shortly after shutting it down the airbag light doesn't light up at all.
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ExplorerLyon View Post
Airbag lights: Are the airbags a common problem? I looked at a 2001 where the airbag light was on all the time. The used car dealer said they had to remove the passenger seat to fix the seat belt and most not have reconnected everything. I looked at a 2004 where the airbag light did not illuminate at all when I turned the key. Every other light light up fine. Thoughts?
You should always disconnect the battery before unplugging an airbag. If you do not reconnect the seat airbag before reconnecting the battery, the airbag light will come on regardless if the airbag is connected later. The light will either need to be shut off by a dealer or someone with a Durametric tool.
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:17 AM   #13
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Buy the S with 6 speed manual... you will hate yourself if you don't !!! WAY more fun.... of course, this is strictly MY opinion...
TOTALLY agree with Dr. Cactus! Just did PCA NER AX School yesterday. What a blast! Can't wait for the real thing on the 21st, and then DE on the 26th, 27th and 28th!
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Old 05-08-2017, 11:00 AM   #14
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It appears Anker has fully drank the KoolAid

See you on the 21st


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Old 05-09-2017, 08:23 AM   #15
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Get it scanned with a good code reader like the Autel MaxiDiag MD802. There are codes that won't show up on a standard OBDII reader...lots of them...for airbags, brakes, occupant sensors...etc. These can be anywhere from minor annoyances to expensive PITA fixes.

P.S. I can't recommend the Durametric code reader after it didn't work on my vehicle and they offered no solutions. Huge waste of money.

Finally, add up these potential repair costs when comparing car to car. I dumped big $ into my '88 and still have little niggling things to deal with (like an alarm system that doesn't work because of sensor failures.)

As an example, my car threw a passenger side seat buckle code. This is quite common if the parts have never been replaced. Costs about $600 per side at a dealer. About $300 in parts if you do both sides yourself and a few hours of labor.

Last edited by Disaster; 05-09-2017 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:01 PM   #16
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Buy the S with 6 speed manual... you will hate yourself if you don't !!! WAY more fun.... of course, this is strictly MY opinion...
what he said

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