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Old 06-18-2018, 08:08 AM   #1
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Looking to purchase a Boxster-Should I be worried


I am looking to purchase my first Boxster in the SF Bay Area. I have looked/test driven about 6 so far. They have ranged from a 1997 Base with a 5 speed to a 2003 Type S with Tip.

One that I am interested in, is a 2002 Base. It is Silver with Brown interior, glass rear window, and has 110K miles and is listed on the SF Bay Area CL for $8,750. It is owned by an Independent Shop that specializes in Porsche/BMW and the shop/owner has great Yelp reviews.

The owner of the shop has maintained the car for its various owners over the years and purchased it from the previous owner. The shop owner just did the IMS/RMS, plus spark plugs/coil packs, and an oil Change. The car has had the AOS and Coolant Expansion Tank replaced as well. Cosmetically, the car is in nice shape, although it does have a few bumps/bruises consistent with a car that is 16 years old with 110K on the clock...

I test drove the car and it drove nicely. I drove it conservatively around the city streets for 10 minutes or so, and then took it up onto the freeway. When I gave it a healthy dose of throttle, a big plume of white smoke puffed out the back (the guy in the corvette behind me must have thought he was in a James Bond film...). I immediately got off the gas and off the highway (was thinking that maybe the head gasket took a dump on me...), but the car wasn't smoking, the temp gauge remained normal, and the car didn't do it again for the rest of the drive (including a repeat drive on the same on-ramp to see if I could make the car do it again).

When I returned to the shop, I spoke to the owner and mentioned that the car blew a plume of white smoke. He said that the car really had not been driven a bunch and had been sitting outside, so he felt that it was normal, and was not worried about it. (Before I started the drive, he had mentioned something about the driving the car in the first few minutes, but his accent was a bit thick, so I didn't quite follow what he was trying to communicate).

So I have a few questions for the forum. Have any of you had similar experiences with your cars (especially if they have been sitting a while)? I don't know if I should be worried or not... On one hand, I have owned "non-porsche" cars for over 30 years, and have never experienced a situation like that one. I did blow a head gasket on my 1980 Mercury Capri Turbo (..Crapi Turbo..) and the plume of white smoke was impressive and continuous... The Boxster's plume was not nearly as impressive and it ceased after a few seconds... On the other hand, the car has been maintained by the same shop for years, the owner had addressed all of the known short-comings of the car, the shop has great Yelp reviews that go back for a number of years, and the owner didn't freak out at all about it.

Should I remain interested or run like hell?

Last edited by garv214; 06-18-2018 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:30 AM   #2
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I store my Porche during the winter for approximately 5-6 months. On Spring start-up, I don't have any smoke.
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:41 AM   #3
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Good chance the AOS is geting weak. It would concern me that the shop owner didn't say that & test it to confirm. If he has the tool to do the test it takes about 10 minutes to find out. If he doesn't have the tool that indicates he is not a water cooled Porsche specialist, which call into question how well it has been maintained.
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:25 PM   #4
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Another possibility is that the AOS was recently replaced and there was oil remaining in the cross-over tubes. Whoever replaced the AOS did not spend the time to clean out all of the oil from the failed AOS. Not a big deal, the remaining oil in the cross-over tubes will eventually get sucked into the cylinders, especially when you open-up the throttle.

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Old 06-20-2018, 07:00 AM   #5
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I just posted a far nicer car in the classifieds. 2 old lady owners.


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Old 06-21-2018, 09:27 AM   #6
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Dan, PM sent
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Old 06-21-2018, 10:01 AM   #7
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Garv, I'd keep looking. If you have a choice, get an S rather than a base. Better equipment and more horsepower. IMHO, a tiptronic isn't a deal breaker. I'd be looking for an 03 or later--glass rear windows are really nice!

You maybe should go look at this: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/d/2004-porsche-boxster-with/6602487146.html

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Last edited by Brian in Tucson; 06-21-2018 at 10:10 AM.
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