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Old 01-17-2018, 08:29 PM   #1
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I am wanting to buy a car and needing advice

Hi there everyone,

Excuse any ignorance or noobish-ness in this message but I am wanting to buy a Porsche Boxter (either 1999/2001-2003) in November this year and want to set aside a monthly budget if I needed cash for upkeep / something going wrong with the car.

My question is to everyone mostly anyone who has owned this: Is the upkeep of the car expensive and what would you look out for when buying a used version of these models? Did you encounter many problems and is it even worth it?

I am so new to this but so in love with this car, really hoping anyone can help me. So appreciate your help

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Old 01-17-2018, 09:05 PM   #2
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first off... Thinking of buying a Boxster ? - MUST READ !

General wisdom around here seems to be plan for about $2k per year in upkeep... some years it'll be much less, some will eat that right up and laugh at you. Depends a lot on the state of the car you start off with, no such thing as a cheap Porsche etc.

A lot depends on if you're up for doing the work yourself, have a trusted indy, or are taking it to Porsche dealer.

Also, being in Oz I'd add approx 50% on top of everything you read... it'll be 50% more expensive to buy in the first place (looking at UK/US prices makes me weep!), labour will be 50% more expensive as there's not many Porsche indies around (I'm lucky to have 2 in Sydney, dunno how many you have there?) and we have high labour rates anyway, and parts in general are more expensive.

There's a *lot* to look out for when buying an almost 20 year old sports car... if you're not a pro then deffo pay a pro (Porsche dealer or specialist indy) to do a PPI (pre purchase inspection) before you buy it, might cost you $600 but could save you thousands.

Is it worth it... I'd say so... but in the land of giant Utes and asian ricer cars your mates may not think so... it's a pretty personal choice.
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Old 01-17-2018, 09:17 PM   #3
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-buy S model
-get prepurchase inspection
-prefer sellers with maintanence history
-check clutch wear if manual and use worn clutch for bargaining (~$800 DIY)
-IMS replacement not necessary, in my opinion, but oil filter and/or sump analysis recommended

I’ve owned a 04 Boxster S for 3 years as a weekend car. As such I’ve only put 10k miles on it. I bought it in great condition but these cars being ~15 years old, German, and usually “enjoyed” by owners need upkeep. Since purchasing I’ve replaced many wear items including tires, rebuilt CV joints, restored clutch, alternator, water pump, and other odds and ends. But I enjoy doing these DIYS. I do not recommend this car as a designated driver or for those that are not mechanically inclined because you will need repairs down the road and paying dealers or indies for labor is not justified for a vehicle with low resale value. That’s my opinion based on my experience. These cars are a joy to drive as well as work on. Ownership of this car is a hobby. For weekend, non track use, budgeting $500/year for DIY repairs should be sufficient, if you already have an extensive automotive tool collection. If you live in or around Houston I can help you out but the guys on this forum are invaluable to Boxster ownership. Good luck!
2004 Boxster S 79K Miles
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:29 AM   #4
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Everyone ALWAYS, ALWAYS buy a 'S' model, Please!!!!!
Not because it the only choice, just so it drives up the value of my 'S' for resale

As said if you get a pretty sorted out car, repairs will be spotty and come in waves. So one can budget $$$ but unless your putting those actual $$$ into a savings account, most times you are just going to pull out your credit card
Thing is a single breakage can eat up you entire budget

If you are DIY type then most obvious repairs/replacements can be done. Diagnosing can be the challenge and can lay your car up for days/weeks trying to figure it out. Also most every part needs to be order online. So as your sole means of transportation, a 14-16 year old German sports car is probably not the best choose.
My car was basically low $$$ stuff for the first 3 years(50k - 85k miles). Now at 5+ years(98k+ miles), several big $$$ things need replacing
2002 S - old school third pedal
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:45 AM   #5
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Buy a set of tools specific to the Boxster including a couple of torque wrenches (small/med & large). Buy a repair manual. These two resources were very helpful in many DIYs that range from 30 minutes to hours depending on the task. Enjoy the Ride!
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:51 AM   #6
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An S model will tack a premium price on a prospective purchase. I think it depends on your preferences in a car. Personally, I wouldn't consider a base model, but then I track my car and am always looking for ways to go faster! The base model however, can give a great deal of weekend driving enjoyment and save you a chunk of change which can be used to fix the thing when it breaks (and it will!). There is probably a better selection of base models on the market than S models but on resale, you will get more traffic and a better price with the S.
It's your move.
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:56 AM   #7
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Good first stop, Josh. Welcome.

I bought a very forlorn 2001 Boxster base last summer. Cheap, $3200 us$.

But the saying goes, "There's no such thing as a cheap Porsche." I knew there were problems, the seats had been eaten by the sun, the top was worn and windowless, the power windows didn't work, the coolant tank leaked, the top electrics didn't work, it (the top) had been converted to manual, and it was dirty beyond belief.

As I got into it, I found that struts were blown, the cv joint boots were torn, the engine leaked coolant and oil & smoked & smelled awful.

The good: well it drives awfully nice. And it keeps my mind sharp (these things are not easy to work on.)

Currently, it's sitting in the carport on jackstands. Engine has been replaced with one that doesn't/won't leak oil, with a later style IMS--the engine was factory remanufactured after 2005. I've looked at the usual indicators of its life, no corrosion in the cooling system parts, the oil filter was clean, and the oil was a lovely amber color.

Oh, and I had the weathered, oxidized, peeling clear coat paint repainted---from silver to red.

Why, you may be asking, is Brian telling me all this?

First, there really is no such thing as a cheap Porsche. It's either been neglected or abused. Neither is good.

Second, my experience will inform you of possible problems. Spring for the Pre Purchase inspection. Please.

Third, if you've worked on other cars, the Boxster is probably unlike anything you've ever worked on. Not terribly difficult, but for a newbie like me everything is a puzzle. Nothing is terribly straightforward, but there's lots of Youtube, and the Porsche fixers are a willing lot, they like to share, and they know their beans.

Again, welcome and good hunting! Bag a good one!
2001 Boxster
2007 Toyota Highlander
2003 New Beetle Convertible, Turbo, Tip 6 speed

Last edited by Brian in Tucson; 01-18-2018 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:30 AM   #8
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Lots of people post the same question and the most common answers contain:
"Buy the best maintained, newest S model you can afford, and have a PPI done."
"The least expensive Porsche you buy will be the most expensive car..."

In concept, I understand and agree with them, but the question that you need to answer is "Who are you, and why do you want the car?"

I have more than one Boxster, but my daily driver is a 1999 with the Tiptronic transmission. With basic care, it is a great car for it's age; it's comfortable, reasonably economical, fun to drive, and it's a Porsche. While there are many enthusiasts in online forums discussing modifications and the best oil, there are also many thousands of owners who just drive them. Happily.

The following threads give another perspective on Boxster ownership from Retroman1969. He bought a 1999 Tiptronic Boxster with the intention of putting a lot of miles on it as a daily driver. Over two years he put more than 50,000 miles on it and chronicled the problems and work that he had done to it:
Bought the Beater Boxster....
The hyper-daily-driver, one year later.
The big test of repairs: A long Route 66 and ghost town trip!

...there's more if you search for Retroman1969's posts. When the car "died", I bought it from him and did some maintenance and minor repairs (A few hundred $ in parts and my own labor). I put another 1,500 miles on it, kept the brand new top, and sold the car for about $1,000 more than I paid for it. I recently saw the car for sale again for about twice what I sold it for.

The S model is a great enthusiast's car, but for a reliable and affordable Porsche, I'd consider a 1999 base model.

I am not an attorney, mechanic, or member of the clergy. Following any advice given in my posts is done at your own peril.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:38 PM   #9
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I thought I needed an S while I was on the hunt. But then a pristine, very low miles '04 base came available with exactly the options I was after, including color. It's been fantastic ever since! Test drive both.
'04 Midnight Blue Metallic 986
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Old 01-18-2018, 01:56 PM   #10
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+1 to all the above...

...and understand a few KEY points about the 986 series.

First, the 2003, 2004 cars have a glass rear window.

Second, you need to replace the water pump, rear main seal, Air/Oil separator, and IMS Bearing. Just do it.

Third, think about replacing the cam chain tensioners, spark plugs, and battery.

Listen for suspension creaks from worn bushings.

Also, look into a spin-on oil filter adapter.

Drive the car, inspect the car.

If these items have been R&R’d recently, then put that car on your list.

As far as “S” vs. standard, it’s just a matter of extra speed and grip. On the street, the lower spec car will be even more tossable and fun.

Nice items to have are Litronic headlights, Bose stereo (But I could argue against that), sport seats(if you are skinny), trip computer, and Porsche Stability Management for safety(But not necessary if you know how to control a car), and any aftermarket goodies you fancy.

Avoid any aftermarket exhaust with two separate cans as they will drive you batty.

Find a well cared for car, and enjoy.

I bought my 2004 SE with 25,000 miles on her in 2015. I shipped her off to Flat 6 Innovations and paid them to R&R all the known failure items I listed above. I figured that cost into the purchase price.

I paid top dollar for a GREAT car.

You could duplicate my happiness for a lot less money.

I have put 20,000 miles on her since I bought her in 2015.

I traded up from my beloved 1993 Miata that I put 325,748 miles on.

I always told everybody that the Miata was the greatest sports car ever made, and while I wo t argue against that idea, I am now convinced that the 986 is actually the best sports car the world has ever seen.

I have a lot of seat time in S2000, every generation Miata, BMW Z4, and Corvettes.

The 986 is just magical.
550 SE #310---"It's more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow."
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Old 01-18-2018, 02:25 PM   #11
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I got my 1998 base about 5 months ago.i paid $6,800 . I live in Los Angeles could not find a boxster I liked local so I drove out to Las Vegas to pick it up.runs like a dream.no leaks new clutch and rear main seal.new coolant tank.full service history. Interior is in perfect condition seats have just been reupholstered look like brand new.so $6 800 I put a set of twist wheels 18's with new tires $950.I tuned it up changed the oil super clean no medal. I did have the fuel pump go out.that cost $700 installed.it also has a newer top on and all Electrical works on the car.total price so far $8,500 .I'm super happy with it.it does have 120,000 miles but we'll Documented service on those miles.it does not burn any oil either.
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Old 01-18-2018, 02:34 PM   #12
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This is my buddy's 2002 2.7 with 65,000 miles on it.i got my 1998 took my friend for one ride in it and he had to have one.so we started looking and found this one in Palm springs ca.at a dealer foir
$9,500.he got the 3 year Warranty that covers bumper to bumper and all drive train . for $1,500.
So total with Warranty tax and license came out to $12,500. No leaks runs perfect and Has the peace of mind of having the 3 year warranty. I got my 1998 from a private party I have to admit I'm a little jealous of the 3 year warranty he got. LOL.
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Old 01-18-2018, 02:55 PM   #13
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Good stuff!
550 SE #310---"It's more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow."
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:27 PM   #14
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Looks good to me. Paint job looks clean. Looks like the wheels have been upgraded.

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Old 01-18-2018, 03:51 PM   #15
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There is no reason these cars can’t be daily drivers, they were designed to be (they aren’t Ferrari’s) Of course, that is if you can have a little two seater convertable as a daily car.

As mentioned, buy the best one you can afford. Remember in their “day” they were expensive sports cars. They still are, sort of. If you can find one with maint records do it, if you can find one with all the big stuff done, do it (you will pay a bit of premium) or be prepared to spend some $$ on any variety of things. Regarding S vs standard, I don’t think it really matters, but an S is an S...

I absolutely contend, that if you get a good one, they cannot be beat bang for the buck. Period. If you get a bad one, they can be expensive frustrating things until you get them sorted and they become a “good one”. But then, that rule applies to just about any car out there these days. I don’t think these cars are tons more $$$ to maintain than most, particularly in the super fun, sports car world.
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Old 01-18-2018, 03:56 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by jccash View Post
Looks good to me. Paint job looks clean. Looks like the wheels have been upgraded.

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The wheels on the red 1998 have been upgraded. But the 2002 .those came on the car and are porsche wheel
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Old 01-18-2018, 04:19 PM   #17
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Owned a '99 base and a '01 S. Both great cars. Daily drivers to and from work 40km away.

Neither was as expensive to maintain as a Honda of the same era. But I was lucky. Well that was part of it. I was also proactive in my maintenance strategy doing things that set the car up for long term reliability. (Major service when I bought it, alignment, new tires, brakes because the Pre Purchase Inspection I had done said it needed them) In 5 years, less than 3 trips to the repair shop, once for a loose hose, twice for a seat belt warning light connection. Beyond that just oil/filter changes, battery, tires.

I know Porsches are wildly expensive in OZ compared to the US.

2 resources:

Forums - PFA is an Australian Porsche forum and there is a section on mid-engined cars there.

And some advice on buying
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:40 PM   #18
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...I'll just remind you to *at least* double all the above costs from US guys No way you'll get a clean working 986 for $6.8k US / $8.5k AU that badboybox paid above for example, the cheapest on carsales at the moment is $12.5kAU, and if you buy the cheapest car in the country, you WILL have to fix stuff!!

My first big expense, a year or so after getting mine, was new clutch, RMS, IMS and rear control arms... $6K... oh yeah and $1k on tyres... it adds up.

Oh yeah... and don't forget to check insurance also... most of the big names won't even ensure me (44, no demerits, no accidents ever) or want silly money... cheapest I found was Real Ins. at about $800pa but the most they will insure it for is $3k less than I paid for it

Last edited by oldskool73; 01-18-2018 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:29 AM   #19
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Do you have classic car insurance in Oz? Hagerty Classic Car Insurance did wonders for lowering every providers rates for cars that are driven less than 5000 kms a year; are a secondary car. They even dropped the very annoying inspection requirement and long gone are the days of them stating you can only drive it for pleasure (i.e. only to car shows, etc.).
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:15 PM   #20
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Yeah I'm on a 5k kms limit already, or it'd be more. Tried a few classic insurances but they all had crazy restrictions... like never parking in a public carpark!

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