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Old 01-18-2018, 04:14 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Seller says engine has valve problems on right side. Buy or don't buy?

Hi guys, I am looking at buying a 2002 Boxster S, and I Called the seller and he said that the engine starts, however there is a problem with the valves on the right side of the engine. He said the car can drive but you need to drive "slow"

Does this point to a IMS failure? Or could this be an easy fix? Like some timing adjustment? What should I do? How can I find out?

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Old 01-18-2018, 04:25 PM   #2
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Do you know the repair estimate?


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Old 01-18-2018, 04:31 PM   #3
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Do you know the repair estimate?
No, not at all. I haven’t seen the car, just called the guy. It has 120,000km on it. Selling for only $3,000

I am undecided if I should go and see the car or not. It seems like an opportunity, I can deal with replacing the IMS bearing, but not if it potentially damaged the engine. But the guy did it runs....
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Old 01-18-2018, 04:39 PM   #4
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Most likely a timing issue. Unfortunately the cams probably lost time with the crank, valves collided with the pistons and boom. IF the car is in decent shape, you can find a motor and replace yourself, then it might be a good deal. I don't know anyone who bought their Boxster to go slow though.......
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:09 PM   #5
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A used engine is going to cost you roughly $2k - 3k. That's 6k total. Why not look for a good running Box for $6k? You'll be much better served as a bad engine may mask a host of other issues. Just sayin....
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:36 PM   #6
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Walk away.
Too many good ones for sale to purposely pursue a potential money pit.
After all, you want to drive it instead of getting pissed off fixing it.
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Old 01-18-2018, 07:36 PM   #7
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Worst case: A good S motor is more than $2-3k...more like $4-6k. If old motor is crap. Doing the work yourself, you’ll be at $9-10k by the time you’re done. An 02 S that is decent $9-11k. Not much upside...
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Old 01-18-2018, 08:07 PM   #8
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:19 PM   #9
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Does this point to a IMS failure?
Could be a lot of things, but the symptoms you describe aren't typical of an IMS failure. But there is no way to know from your description.


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Or could this be an easy fix?
Anything is possible, but its not likely that this would be an easy or cheap fix. As others have mentioned, the timing has most likely skipped and that is a serious problem and often comes with disastrous consequences.


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Like some timing adjustment?
Yes, but in a very serious way. If by some chance the valves haven't hit the pistons, then the engine still needs to brought back into correct timing. It can be done, but its not a simple repair.


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What should I do?
What you do really depends on your mechanical aptitude, financial position, and personal preference for taking risks.

Best case is that the engine is still good and only needs to be re-timed and replace timing chains, ramps, and tensioners (assuming that this is the problem - which we don't really know for sure). And you have the tools and skill to do this yourself. And you're willing to invest the time, money, and effort to do it. You could end up with a nice car at a bargain price.

Worst case is that the engine needs replacement and you don't have the tools or skills to do any of the work yourself. And you don't have the money to pay someone else to do all of the work for you (or doing so will put you in a precarious financial position). You could end up with a disassembled car that you can't repair (for skill or financial reasons) or you could end up with a car that is not close to being worth the money that you had to put into it to repair it.

Or anywhere in between.


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How can I find out?
If the owner is willing to let you have the car towed to a Porsche repair shop, you could pay for a professional inspection/diagnostic. The shop may or may not be able to tell you exactly what is wrong and how much it might cost to repair so this could be a waste of time and several hundred dollars, but you will probably know more than you do now.

At the end of the day, its your time, effort, and money. Choose wisely.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:44 AM   #10
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Most likely a timing issue. Unfortunately the cams probably lost time with the crank, valves collided with the pistons and boom. IF the car is in decent shape, you can find a motor and replace yourself, then it might be a good deal. I don't know anyone who bought their Boxster to go slow though.......
Why you say “and boom”? The engine still runs.
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:57 AM   #11
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Walk away. if you don't you might as well give me the money if you feel like throwing it away that much.
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Old 01-19-2018, 03:47 AM   #12
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Walk away. if you don't you might as well give me the money if you feel like throwing it away that much.
This is poor advice. Don't walk away. Turn and run.
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:27 AM   #13
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This is poor advice. Don't walk away. Turn and run.
And then give me the money?
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:20 AM   #14
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Why you say “and boom”? The engine still runs.
I would suggest the "and boom" to which he is referring is the focked up noise the lifters now are making. Yeah. That "boom.
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Old 01-19-2018, 08:50 AM   #15
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Why you say “and boom”? The engine still runs.


Only runs on one half. The other half looks similar to this........when forged aluminum and hardened stainless attempt to occupy the same space....BOOM... Blowed Up!



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Old 01-19-2018, 08:54 AM   #16
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A $3K 2002 Boxster S: buy, buy, buy! The parts alone are worth 2.5x that. DME/ECU & immobilizer with keys: $500; tires and rims: $500-$1000 (depends on shape and size); seats: $500; complete dash: $200; cluster: $200, radio: $100; airbags: $200; steering wheel: $100; each complete door: $500; hood: $300; trunk: $200; crapped out engine: $300; good tranny: $750; suspension bits: $500-$750; S brakes (S calipers): $500; complete roof: $500; good headlights: $500 pair; good taillights: $300 pair; other lights: $100; other odds and ends: $500. TOTAL parting out: $7000-$9000.

I guess I'm one of those few individuals who prefer the cheaper the better, the more problems the better and the more troubleshooting the better.

Why you might ask? For me, I like problem solving and taking something no-one else wanted and bringing it back to life. I've done this with my past 5 cars and have not been burned (i.e., lost money) on any of them. Of course, I do my own work and don't count my labour, which I assign a value of zero. I purchased my current '99 986 for $3500 Canadian (5 speed, with 100K miles/160K kms). It runs great! It just needed a new immo&dme.

BUY BUY BUY or PM me with the details so I can buy it.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:19 AM   #17
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well, he doesn't know what is wrong, but he knows what bank it is. so, i am *assuming* that he got a cel specific to the bank. it is still running, so not a catastrophic failure (yet). a failing ims will do this - wobble enough that a chain skips a tooth. the other way you might see a timing failure is a failed actuator on the variocam. this is assuming no-one has already been in the engine messing with things. should be able to diagnose quite quickly with a durametric or at a dealer. ims is the cheaper of the two fixes, but both are in and around the cost of a replacement engine, so the car should be valued as a roller. at $3k for a 2002 S i think you are about right.

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Old 01-19-2018, 12:13 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by 911monty View Post
Most likely a timing issue. Unfortunately the cams probably lost time with the crank, valves collided with the pistons and boom. IF the car is in decent shape, you can find a motor and replace yourself, then it might be a good deal. I don't know anyone who bought their Boxster to go slow though.......
I'm guessing a cam drive chain jumped a tooth or 2 & the pistons kissed the valves enough to bend them enough to prevent them from sealing. Loss of compression in the cylinders due to the leaking can easily be heard with engine running & engine still runs with big power loss. If seller would make video with sound of engine running it would help evaluate extent of damage.
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Old 01-20-2018, 06:11 AM   #19
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If you are mechanical and don't mind fiddling with it or parting it out if it looks like too much just go for it. One caveat is that the car must be in great shape other than the engine problem, parts that are worn don't sell at all and sinking money into fixing the engine will eat up the budget to fix everything else if anything is broken or in bad shape. Any car that age will need some things replaced no matter who owned it but clean cars are the only ones with any value any more.
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Old 01-31-2018, 05:28 AM   #20
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I'm guessing a cam drive chain jumped a tooth or 2 & the pistons kissed the valves enough to bend them enough to prevent them from sealing. Loss of compression in the cylinders due to the leaking can easily be heard with engine running & engine still runs with big power loss. If seller would make video with sound of engine running it would help evaluate extent of damage.
Thank you for this answer. I am of the same opinion like you. Why do you think the cam drive chain jumped a tooth, broken tensioner?

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