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Old 12-25-2017, 03:17 PM   #1
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New and need help

HI,

Thinking of buying my first Boxster tomorrow and need some input. Have been lurking for a while.
Car is a 1997 and has 120K on it, Tiptronic and now will not start. Spins over but nothing start.
Current owner did say it started once with starter fluid which leads me to believe its fuel related... Relay, Pump, etc... Sound correct?
Said that car ran and drove nicely before having it shipped out east.
What else should I be looking for on this model? Car appears to be clean and well kept, being with the current owner since 2012.
Are the trannys solid?
Any help or direction given is much appreciated!
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Old 12-25-2017, 03:33 PM   #2
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Whatís the asking price?


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Old 12-25-2017, 03:37 PM   #3
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Ask/Get as much maintenance documentation as you can. It could be simple, it could be toast. I have a 97 Tip and am very happy with it. My legs are too long to use a clutch in these cars. Proceed with extreme caution.
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Old 12-25-2017, 03:55 PM   #4
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Never buy a used car that doesnít start and you cannot test drive. You just donít know what problems youíre about to get into.
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Old 12-25-2017, 04:19 PM   #5
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fueling issues - check fuses, fuel pump relay - can you hear the fuel pump running when cranking? plugged fuel filter? the hoses on the fuel pump sumberged in the fuel tank can get brittle and may have cracked?

i've no experience with the crank position sensor (cps) but if it fails i think you get similar symptoms.

occams razor - the most simple cause is probably the cause. confirm your fuel pump is running and go from there. if a simple fix you might have a chance to get quite a few $ off asking price for little work.
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Old 12-25-2017, 04:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unholy986 View Post
... Current owner did say it started once with starter fluid which leads me to believe its fuel related... Relay, Pump, etc... Sound correct?
...
Are the trannys solid? ...
Yes, the relay and pump are likely suspects. There are some good posts on the forum for that if you do a search with details about jumping the relay.

I have had good luck with the Tiptronic transmissions, but we see a few reported failures every year on the forum.

I wouldn't walk away from a non-running car, but I would only make an offer priced as a parts car.
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Old 12-25-2017, 06:29 PM   #7
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Crank sensor issue can be checked by seeing if the tach moves when trying to start the car....
Tach stays on 0, Crank sensor most likely bad.
Tach bounces off 0, CPS most likely ok and now you are looking at fuel related issue.
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Old 12-25-2017, 06:33 PM   #8
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Thanks all. Going to look over tomorrow. Owner asking $3000 now.
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Old 12-25-2017, 09:23 PM   #9
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Owner asking $3000 now.
FYI - That is the standard price for a Boxster with a blown engine. The price alone might tell you all you need to know.

Buying a car that doesn't run is incredibly risky since you can't take it on a test drive to verify that everything works properly (a/c, heater, cooling system, starter, alternator, suspension, etc, etc, etc. And if the battery is dead, you can't even check out the accessory items like lights, wipers, radio, etc.) This means that you're buying a car whose condition is entirely unknown.

I wouldn't buy that car without having a professional Porsche mechanic do a full Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) unless you are ok with buying a car that might need some serious and possibly expensive repairs (expensive is relative, but you could spend anywhere from $300 for a fairly simple repair to $2500-$4000 swapping the engine ($2500 for a used engine + $1500 labor). Costs could easily go over $5K if there are more problems than just a blown engine).

When I bought my current Boxster (for $3200), the seller promised that the only problem was that the engine was blown. After replacing the engine, I had to spend another $1,000 on problems that he "forgot" to mention.

Let us know how it goes and wishing you the best of luck!
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Last edited by thstone; 12-25-2017 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 12-25-2017, 09:59 PM   #10
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Started once with starter fluid? Seriously? Yeah just squirt a little petroleum distillates right into the “carburetor”... OMG

Run, don’t walk, away unless you can get a serious inspection as mentioned above.
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Old 12-26-2017, 12:45 AM   #11
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In Florida you can buy very nice 986ís for $8-$12k all day long.


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Old 12-26-2017, 04:47 AM   #12
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Price repair parts before buying in. If cost is a factor you might reconsider spending the initial $3K. If cost is not a factor and you have another $4 or $5K you can kick in if needed then it's worth considering.
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Old 12-26-2017, 05:12 AM   #13
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Thanks all. Going to look over tomorrow. Owner asking $3000 now.
We'll be interested to hear what you found out.

If it's really really nice, have it flat bedded to the local Porsche or Indy shop for an inspection and diagnosis. If it's a diamond in the rough, buy the car, have it fixed and count your blessings on a good deal. Not being able to give it a test drive is a problem and once you buy it, you may find that the 2.5 engine is a bit anemic.

The old saying is, "There's no such thing as a cheap Porsche." With the complicated engineering, the cost of labor, and the high price of German Brilliance (parts,) major problems can break the bank, even minor ones will dent the wallet. I have over $500 just in the linkage for the top and just found another broken piece. It'll have to wait til I get the replacement motor installed, tho. Doing it myself.

My $3300 01 Boxster base has about $5000 in parts since I bought it last summer. Yeah, I'm crazy! But I'm also retired and have the time & ability to figure stuff out and fix it. Top, seats, window regulators, sound system, top linkages, half axle boots, brake speed bleeders & wear sensors, motor, & go faster/reliability stuff. It adds up quickly! Oh and a paint job.
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Old 12-26-2017, 05:14 AM   #14
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In Florida you can buy very nice 986ís for $8-$12k all day long.


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Tucson, too. But what would be the fun in that?
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Old 12-26-2017, 10:43 AM   #15
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OK, here's what I've found out. Car doesn't look too bad considering age, paint faded, but salvageable. interior can work with. Did try to start the car and no movement from Tach. Leads me to believe the crank sensor as I believe this also sends a signal to the fuel relay as well. Current owner also believes its the sensor as he already has the part, but no desire or time to install as hes moving across country with the Air Force.
He stated that he has already, in the past 7yrs, replaced many items such as the O2, water pump, belts, etc...

All electronics seemed to work, top worked.

I believe I can buy for $2000 as is. I'm sure I can get it running as I do work on a lot of cars, but how well it runs, drives, shifts, after is the unknown.

Tell me this, if I do sink $2K into it, worst case and it doesn't run as should, how hard would it be to get $2K back out of it?

I am an electrical engineer by trade and the electronics portion of these cars don't scare me much.
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Old 12-26-2017, 11:46 AM   #16
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Sounds very plausible that its the CPS.
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Old 12-26-2017, 01:22 PM   #17
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Tell me this, if I do sink $2K into it, worst case and it doesn't run as should, how hard would it be to get $2K back out of it?
It really depends on the total cost of the list of items that need repair.

Worst case: if the car needs a replacement engine, replacement transmission, and complete suspension refresh, the total repair bill could be over $10K which means that the car is worth close to $0 as it sits.

Best case: All it needs is a CPS replacement and you got a nice $6K car for a little over $2K.

Or anywhere in between those two extremes.

But regardless of what it needs, you could probably sell it to a salvage yard for $2K so there might be a bit of a safety net built into the deal.

I will say that its rare for a seller to not install a $100 part that he already has that would instantly increase the value of the car that he's selling by $3K-$4K. Is he completely stupid or lying? I would tend to vote for lying because I don't think that anyone is that stupid, but I could be wrong.

Bottom line: It's a roll of the dice.

Do ya feel lucky? ...
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Old 12-26-2017, 01:57 PM   #18
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It really depends on the total cost of the list of items that need repair.

Worst case: if the car needs a replacement engine, replacement transmission, and complete suspension refresh, the total repair bill could be over $10K which means that the car is worth close to $0 as it sits.

Best case: All it needs is a CPS replacement and you got a nice $6K car for a little over $2K.

Or anywhere in between those two extremes.

But regardless of what it needs, you could probably sell it to a salvage yard for $2K so there might be a bit of a safety net built into the deal.

I will say that its rare for a seller to not install a $100 part that he already has that would instantly increase the value of the car that he's selling by $3K-$4K. Is he completely stupid or lying? I would tend to vote for lying because I don't think that anyone is that stupid, but I could be wrong.

Bottom line: It's a roll of the dice.

Do ya feel lucky? ...
Yes. You could be wrong. My 86 has parts that, if installed, would grant me an extra couple grand. Pennie parts. I simply don't care about the financial loss. Some people don't. Some live on the edge, and that extra $327.86 just does't matter so much as moving across the country.

When I was younger, and I had a car to sell that I tired of... I courted the tirekickers. Many of them seemed a little suspicious of how meticulous I kept my vehicles, and some even suggested that I might be lying... and detailing to cover hidden problems. I told them to f*ck off, and leave my yard.

Have a nice day.
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Old 12-26-2017, 02:44 PM   #19
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Here's my take on the math...
Car at $2K still has faded paint. If the car was a runner right now and you could drive it, what do you think it'd be worth? From your description, this sounds like it'd be work about $5K to me.

Since the car doesn't run, you have no idea about weather AC works, clutch and tranny. What about normal wear and tear items such as suspension, tires and brakes? Say you get lucky, you could easily spend $500-$1,000 on little stuff, even doing the work yourself. Heck, changing oil , coolant, brake and transaxle oil would set you back $200 if you use the right stuff.

There doesn't seem to be enough margin in this to make it worth it.

If the car was going to be worth $8-10K finished it'd be different but I could see you being at a point with less than a $2K difference between this car and one that you could test drive right now.

As a point of reference, I passed on a 2003 Tip Boxster S with 110K miles last year...at $4.8K. The car ran and drove fine and the AC worked as well. Just needed a good cleaning and typical Boxster type stuff line climate control screen, seat upholstery. I'm sure it would need other maintenance stuff as well but at the end of the day, I knew I could always find another and would have been buying the car to fix and resell.
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Old 12-26-2017, 03:35 PM   #20
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Well, one thing that is a not really an issue is the IMS, so thats a good thing. There are still many that like the 2.7 overall. @2k, that gives some pretty good headroom for $$ to put into it. As mentioned, I would at least get the suspension looked at. Big suspension work can get $$$. At 120k struts are probably a minimum, brakes as well unless you have documents they are new-ish. IF, overall, the basics look reasonable it might be worth a roll of the dice. Always a tough call though. In this case, go with the gut and at least a little knowledge.
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