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Old 07-26-2006, 07:01 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Virginia
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Unhappy I NEED your help

I have been lurking for a few months now and have encountered a situation that I really need your help with. Sorry for the long message.

I purchased a 2001 Speed Yellow Boxster with 38k on it in April '06. The car only had one owner, who was a middleage female, and had received all of its regular service and maintainence. Needless to say, this was my dream car and I was thrilled.

In June, I walked to my car and started it up. The CEL was on and as I tried to lower the top, it became stuck about halfway back. In trying to get it closed so that I could drive it home, the driver's side of the clamshell actually popped OUT of its track. I got the top back up and drove my broken boxster to the dealership where I had purchased it. The dealer was kind enough to split the cost of the convertible top repair bill with me so I (It required all new engines, transmissions, the whole works to the tune of about $3k).

They diagnosed the CEL as a MAF. I then took the car home b/c the parts had to be ordered and were on back order. I drive the car per their instructions with the CEL on until last Wednesday(The parts arrived). I drove the car to the dealer on Wednesday to get the MAF and Top repaired.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Between purchase and last wednesday, I put about 4k mi on the car and it had always driven wonderfully and I had NO sputtering, stalling, etc. at any time even though the CEL was on. The car had always driven 100% the same until Wednesday.

Dealer fixes the top and MAF on Wednesday. I get about 40 miles from the dealer and the Tachometer jumps a couple of ticks while I am accellerating. I think to myself "That's strange but they said it would drive a little differently now that I have a new MAF." So I continue down the road and go for probably another 60 miles and it jumps again. By this time, the dealer is closed and I figure that Ill drive for a day or two and take it back if I have further trouble.

I go probably another 20 miles and I hear a LOUD Hisssss......the dashboard lights up with all of the idiot lights and the engine makes a Mwwwaaaaa sound as it is still turning but has no power. I downshift and pop the clutch hoping to restart it, but just more Mwwwwaaaa. So I pull off of the highway and it is DEAD. Won't start, but does have power to put the top back up.

I have the car towed all the way back (approx 100-150 miles) to the dealer. The dealership first says, its our fault because we replaced an air nozzle, compressor, hose or something to that effect when we changed the MAF. Then they call back and tell me that it wasn't their fault because it is the RPM Sensor that went out and it is located near the flywheel and wouldn't be anything that they did wrong.

So help me out here.....It seems odd to me that the car would drive perfect minus the CEL for 4k miles, go to the dealership, have this problem almost immediately after their repair, die in the midde of the road and it would just be a coincidence.

I am wondering if A) The harmed the sensor somehow when they fixed the MAF or B) If the RPM sensor threw a MAF code and the dealer neglected to investigate the problem any further and just changed the MAF and sent me on my merry little way. (Again, the car never acted up in any manner when the CEL came on).



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Old 07-26-2006, 07:31 AM   #2
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Too many vague questions. But, the MAF wouldn't have anything to do with an RPM sensor. Usually, an OČ sensor code is thrown on a bad MAF. It could be a completely separate malfunction and merely coincidence, but it is suspicious as it just came from Dealer Service. Also, they first admit and then retract their fault in the matter and a hiss indicates either a vacuum or pressure loss/leak which is what makes the sound. Since they replaced, disconnected, numerous hoses and sensors, this makes them even more suspect.

Bottom line, you're going to have to fix it, the question really is who pays? I would 1st get a quote on the work and then lean on the Dealer to either accept full or at least heavy partial blame and cost of that fix. If not satisfied, contact the local PCNA Service Rep to see if they will intercede on your behalf with the Dealer. Good Luck!...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:44 AM   #3
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I am presuming this car has no warranty of any kind?

If not, I would get VERY familiar with the consumer protection laws in your state and county.

You made need them. This sounds VERY expensive to me and it does appear the dealer is complicit. Having said that, they seem to want to place the blame on you!

Keep us posted.
Rich Belloff

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Old 07-27-2006, 04:47 AM   #4
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Thanks MNBoxster & Bruce Lee....please keep the advice coming...

I must also add that they are not sure what the exact nature of the problem is. They said it was probably their fault because that had replaced a hose (I believe it was a hose) and that was probably the culprit. This was before they had hooked the car up to the diagnosis machine. Then they said, well no it was the RPM sensor that failed, which isn't our fault. But I guess what I have floating around in my mind is that I wouldn't think an RPM sensor would make the hiss I heard and that was the precise moment the car died.

In re: Jim's comments, the only sensor that they had replaced prior to being DOA on the side of the road was the MAF. It was after the car died and was towed back that they said the diagnostic machine is saying RPM sensor.

Also, they said that they aren't sure the extent of the problems or what exactly the culprit is because they have to replace the RPM sensor to even start to see what the problems are because w/o the sensor, the car won't start.

I hope that this message clarifies my situation somewhat. The quote on the RPM sensor, which I told them to order & replace (after all, what else can I do) wasn't that much, like $300 parts and labor, but the biggest thing is a $500 tow bill that someones got to pay, hopefully them.

Again, thanks for your help.

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Old 07-28-2006, 01:43 PM   #5
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Location: Orange County, CA
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I have an '02 and I have spent the last year correcting small(ish) nagging problems. I had one key issue that the dealer had a real hard time diagnosing. In the end it was a vacuum pump that was only occasionally failing to maintain vacuum and at that time the CEL lit up, but it never reared its head at the shop.

My point is that I think a 4-6 year old Boxster is going to have occasional things fail. Some will be very dramatic, some will not.

MAF, RPM sensor, are pretty typical.

The entire convertible mechanism - well thats pretty huge and I'm sorry to hear you had that issue.

Yes, do heed the earlier advice and try to establish if the dealer has some liability.

But once this all settles down, look in to an extended warranty!
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Old 07-31-2006, 04:56 PM   #6
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Angry UPDATE -- More questions

Arrggghhh......Now the dealership is saying that the Flywheel broke and that is what caused the RPM Sensor to go out. Repair & tow bill approaching $2500 and that is IF the broken flywheel did not damage any transmission parts in the process.

Question 1 - Would flywheel break RPM sensor or vice versa?

Question 2 - Dealer said the very loud Hiss that I heard was the RPM sensor failing...Is that right?


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