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Old 07-31-2006, 10:18 PM   #1
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Exclamation Help! Looking to purchase 99 Boxster and had questions about PPI findings

Hi guys, newbie/wannabe posting all the way from Vancouver BC.

I'm hoping that you guys can provide some insight as I'm looking to purchase a 99 Boxster from San Diego and have it shipped up to Seattle, then driven onwards to Vancouver BC.

After much searching, I found a decent looking 986 ('99) near San Diego. Relatively low mileage (53K). Newly installed roof Sport Design wheels . After some discussion with the dealer, I decided to send the car to a Porsche shop for a pre-purchase inspection (one of the shops recommended by the San Diego Porsche club).

The inspection came back with the following:

1. Vehicle has seat belt fault for driver's side ($336 to fix)
2. Engine has small oil seepage (valve covers, spark plug tubes, RMS) RMS seal kit quoted as $1156 installed. I got a quote for $650 CAD here in Vancouver for this same thing.
3. oil pump o-ring and cam plugs and cap seal (approx $1100 to fix, if desired)
4. starter is making noise ($624 to fix, if desired)
5. left front suspension has been replaced (strut, arm and knuckle)- dealer explained that this was done since suspension was "squeaky"
6. vehicle has been repainted in areas
7. left front headlight is new

Beyond this, everything checked out ok. No evidence of frame damage/serious accidents. The mechanic, who seemed like a pretty good guy, said that most of the repairs (save for the seat belt) are not serious and would be preventative. I interpreted that as being repairs I'll have to make a few year(s) down the line, nothing out of the ordinary for any used car (although Porsche labor isn't cheap), particularly one that is 8 years old.

The dealer came down in price once in pre-inspection, then again in post-inspection so that it's very competitive w/ Blue Book value assessments ($17K). I would be recouping some of the repair costs with the reductions in price.

My question- in your experience, do any of the PPI findings present any red-flags? I know RMS is a big thing in the Porsche world, but it seems that every owner is subject to this risk. I would essentially be buying this car sight-unseen and having it shipped, so I'm quite nervous....

I'd love to hear what you guys think.


Last edited by legume; 07-31-2006 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 08-01-2006, 12:12 AM   #2
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I advise you against purchasing this particular vehicle. The fact that the left headlight and left front suspension has been replaced lead me to believe the vehicle has been in a accident with the left front of the car - money says the paintwork was there too. Maybe no frame damage, but it's something to consider.

PPI's can be hit or miss. It depends a lot on who's doing it. It sounds like you found a good mechanic that did a thorough job. But there could still be things that were missed. The RMS failing was a significant find and certainly needs to be fixed ASAP. I'm guessing the clutch hasn't been replaced, and it's cost effective to have the clutch replaced when the RMS is being replaced. Figure at least $500 more for that. What did the PPI say about the brake wear and tread life on the tires? New brakes, rotors, tires, etc add up quickly too.

I'd save your money for a different car. If you're set on this one, I'd see if you can get it for 12k as is. Or maybe 16k if the dealer fixes + warranties all the things the PPI turned up. If the dealer does try to offer you a warranty, make sure you can use it up your way.

Good Luck,
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Old 08-01-2006, 05:16 AM   #3
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Run. Run Fast. Run like your money depended on it.....
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Old 08-01-2006, 06:02 AM   #4
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I think the best advice I have heard here is "Pay more for a better car". Use the money from the repair bills to get a car with less problems...
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Old 08-01-2006, 06:18 AM   #5
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That car has been hit and likely hit hard. Either that, or he jumped the curb at speed.

Specific to the comment, "no frame damage" these cars are unibody. That means that unless the PPI guy is a wizard AND he put this car on an alignment machine, he has NO way of being sure there is no frame damage.

That is why I walk away when I see ANY paintwork, save the plastic bumper covers. There is just no way to know how bad the accident was.

The fact that the suspension had work done is a red flag. It COULD have been noise related, but why take the chance? Likely, it was not.

Run away, run away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-01-2006, 08:02 AM   #6
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Tires have 50% remaining on front and 70% on the rear. Brakes are 60% on front and 80% on rear.

I think I'm going to walk away from this one. My original intent was to find a Boxster in the Seattle area- at least I could pop down for a test drive. I did notice that there is way more selection in California, but the downside is that I don't get to see the car.

Until then, I'll keep on looking.

Thanks for the advice, you guys are awesome.
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Old 08-01-2006, 08:25 AM   #7
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Legume, good things come to those who wait. Good for you. If you are diligent and patient, you'll find a cream puff of a boxster that's been loved and cared for, and at a good price too.

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