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Old 07-11-2018, 09:56 AM   #1
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My engine is toast

Well I had a good run, almost 78,000 miles and 15 years of owning my 2003 Boxster S. Last Thursday I drove 440 miles from New Jersey to Mont Tremblant for an HPDE and the car ran like a champ. My club does tech inspection the night before each track day, so I drove over from my hotel to the track and cleared tech. On the way back to the hotel, my car sounded just a little rough, which I attributed to driving all day in close to 100 degree F weather. The next morning when I went to get my car, the valet started it and it sounded like a washing machine running full of rocks without water. No check engine light but it was bad enough that it was shut off and pushed back into its space. I took a cab over to the track and didn't drive. Two of the instructors there happened to be guys that own and work in my independent Porsche specialist shop, so when the track went cold they drove me back to the hotel. They looked at the car and then I started it and it sounded the same. Their conclusion, shut it down and trailer it home, there was nothing they could do there for the car.

So here I am stuck with a dead car over 400 miles from home, in another country, with no way to get my car back. They made an announcement the next morning at the drivers' meeting and members of my club stepped up. One member offered to trailer my car back and let me drive his 2010 GT3, which he trailered up, home. Only issue was he had no street tires. Another member had wheels and street tires in the correct size, which he was willing to lend to the owner of the GT3. The tires were some kind of street legal racing tires, they looked like slicks with some wide rain grooves molded in and very widely spaced apart.

The GT3 was stock with a rollbar and GT3 racing buckets. It was fun to drive, the seats were fine once I was in place but it was a pain to get in and out. It was also loud and a droned in 5th and 6th gears at 60-70 mph. I can now say that for me, who spends 99% of his time on the road and 1% on the track, a street legal race car isn't for me!

We took my car straight to my shop and put his GT3 back on the trailer so he could continue on home.

The shop did a preliminary look at my car and it looks like the oil pump partially failed and suffered from low oil pressure. I had replaced the IMSB with the LN single row pro about 35,000 miles ago, and I added a MantisSport deep sump when I started doing HPDE's about 2 years ago. They said there was only a minor amount of metal in the filter and in the sump, but I haven't given them the ok to start tearing apart the engine yet. I am waiting to hear back from LN engineering if they have any of those $8,500 sale engines left, the guy running that sale for LN is at Porsche Parade this week. My shop could also rebuild my engine but we won't know what parts it would need until it is torn down, so it will likely be less expensive if I can just buy a rebuilt engine. I have been dreaming about a 981 Cayman S for some time, but the timing is not quite right for that so I think I will end up fixing this car.

I'm really grateful to the people in NNJR who stepped up and helped me get me and my car home, particularly since I am a virtual stranger to them, only having seen them at a handful of HPDE and other club events.

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Old 07-11-2018, 10:21 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear that... you might get lucky and find out the hydraulic tensioners need replacing, but with an oil pump failure from ingested debris, there is probably more damage.
Very nice folks that helped you out.
After I had a couple minor failures at the track, I decided I would trailer my car for DE events...
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:40 AM   #3
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Assuming your oil got over heated enough to allow the damage to begin, were you able to monitor oil temp while on track? or even water temp?


Wonderful you were able to get it home so easily !

Fyi oil pumps never fail until something other than oil enters the pump.
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Last edited by BYprodriver; 07-11-2018 at 10:42 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:05 AM   #4
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Assuming your oil got over heated enough to allow the damage to begin, were you able to monitor oil temp while on track? or even water temp?


Wonderful you were able to get it home so easily !

Fyi oil pumps never fail until something other than oil enters the pump.
It makes sense that something else must have failed to make the oil pump fail. I don't have any gauge to see oil temps. The engine water temp was a little higher than normal, above the usual 180 but way less than 200, while I was driving to the track but it was an extremely hot day. The check engine light never came on at all, and I never got to the point where the engine would not start and run, even though it sounded awful while running. I never made it to drive on the track, this happened sometime after I arrived and before I drove on the track at all.

I agree trailering is the way to go, but a tow vehicle and trailer aren't in the cards for me for many reasons. I would rather stop doing HPDEs than get into trailering. If my hero THStone can drive a Spec Boxster to and from his races, I can drive my street car to and from 2-3 HPDEs per year. That's my own preference, I realize there are downfalls to it!
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:33 AM   #5
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A lot of failures of this kind can be traced back to oil failure.

Good luck. Keep us updated.

Hang in there!
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:55 PM   #6
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All of ll the RND rebuilt 3.2 engines that were on clearance sale are gone, and they don't have any 3.6 engines either. My independent P-car specialist rebuilds M96 engines, and they are going to further disassemble mine to see how bad it is.
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:58 PM   #7
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A guy in the parts for sale section is selling a 3.2. Just a thought.
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:30 PM   #8
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Thanks I need a 2003 or 2004 engine with 3 timing chains, I see some 2001 S engines for sale that won't work in my 2003 car.
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:36 PM   #9
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You are just the kind of guy with the right attitude to deserve better luck. Glad you got so much help. Don't just scrap the block, maybe see if Jake can use it as a starting point for someone else's rescue engine.

Sources for used engines here.

Last edited by mikefocke; 07-12-2018 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:34 PM   #10
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Thanks Mike. We'll see how thing look. I know a lot of members here go with used engines, but I'm going to see what a rebuild is going to cost before I look into used. I'm expecting I'll need a crankshaft - the engine still started and ran but it didn't sound good which leads me to believe the main and or rod bearings weren't getting enough oil.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by PaulE View Post
Thanks Mike. We'll see how thing look. I know a lot of members here go with used engines, but I'm going to see what a rebuild is going to cost before I look into used. I'm expecting I'll need a crankshaft - the engine still started and ran but it didn't sound good which leads me to believe the main and or rod bearings weren't getting enough oil.
Please keep us posted on what you find and what you decide.

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Old 07-12-2018, 07:48 PM   #12
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Sorry to hear you're not having any luck finding a motor. Like I told you in the text, those three chain 3.2's are hard to come by. Specially the 03/04. There was a wrecked 03S with only 64k sold in Hollywood insurance auction yesterday. I didn't watch to see where it got bought from but you might find it if you call around to a few of the salvage yards around there. FYI, LAdismantler is not the top dog out there anymore after the owner hung himself. (A long juicy story behind that). You'll definitively have better luck finding a used 3.6 or maybe a 05-08 3.2. I see lots of those come up for auction.
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Old 07-13-2018, 04:29 AM   #13
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Thanks Woody. There are a few cheaper 3.2 three chain motors on eBay and they all have higher mileage than mine. There’s also a 2002 3.6 with only 53,000 miles in a yard on Long Island a couple of hours from me for $9,000 plus $1,000 core plus $150 Shipping. I’m still going to wait until my shop tells me more about my engine’s damage.
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:02 AM   #14
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Paul,

You could also consider a 3.4 from a '86-'88 model, I see them occasionally at the 'local' Porsche specialists like in Albuquerque or Sacramento, etc.

I have seen 3.4 engines with very reasonably mileage between $6-8k

Good luck!
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:05 AM   #15
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Go for the 3.6 swap!
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Old 07-13-2018, 06:40 AM   #16
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Go for the 3.6 swap!
I wanna know more about the 3.6 swap. What donor cars do these come from? Is it plug-n-play? Or do I have to figure out the electronics on it? How many hp can i expect? Will the 6-spd handle it?

Hmmm.... maybe this is a thread hijack!? Haha.

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Old 07-13-2018, 08:13 AM   #17
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Here's a primer: https://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/11-ENGINE-911_Engine_Swap/11-ENGINE-911_Engine_Swap.htm
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:23 AM   #18
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depending on where you are in NJ and what your thoughts on your indy are, I'd be willing to swap engines for you for a reasonable fee. PM me if you are interested
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Old 07-13-2018, 08:24 AM   #19
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The 3.6 from an 02-05 996 will “bolt in” to an 03-04 Boxster S. But to get the 996’s 320 HP of the 996 you need improve the intake and exhaust from stock Boxster S and had the ECU flashed to the 996 tune, according to what I’ve read on the inter web which is never wrong. The 996 intake manifold works if you lower the engine or maybe modify the engine cover and don’t care about your rear speakers etc. some of the engine ancillary things like the oil and cooling fillers need to be changed to the Boxster items and the intake plenum and cross over tubes are reversed on the 996 vs the 996. The exhaust manifolds need to be swapped for headers and the system opened up from stock. That’s what I think I know about it.
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Old 07-13-2018, 11:12 AM   #20
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Thanks Woody. There are a few cheaper 3.2 three chain motors on eBay and they all have higher mileage than mine. Thereís also a 2002 3.6 with only 53,000 miles in a yard on Long Island a couple of hours from me for $9,000 plus $1,000 core plus $150 Shipping. Iím still going to wait until my shop tells me more about my engineís damage.
Paul IMHO, an engine from a '06-'08 model year would be a better bet than an engine from a '03 model year, the reason being that the newer engine will have the larger (no-serviceable) IMS bearing, as these have a lower failure rates than the '00-'04 engines
again, this is just my personal opinion but others may differ..

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