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Old 09-27-2018, 08:57 PM   #1
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What Would You Do?

Looking for some sage advice on what to do.

I bought an 02 base 2 years ago as a daily driver with 130K miles on it.

In 2 years, I have put on 30K miles, so it's now over 160K on an unknown engine and a salvage title body.

I haven't had any major problems (yet) and have done the usual maintenance, AOS, Water pump, low temp thermostat, coolant tank (2x - don't ask) brakes, tires, spark plug tube, etc. LN IMS was installed right before I bought it and has 30k on it.

RMS and one bank of used lifters were done at the same time.
New clutch, as well.
That's all I knew about the car when I bought it.

I had just survived cancer and yes, it was an impulsive purchase, with no PPI. In one sense, I have already been lucky.

Fast forward to now with a little over 160k miles on it.

It's making a "knocking" sound on start up, the lifters on one side are ticking quite loudly and today I noticed an oil leak that is dripping onto the front cat on the passenger side and smoking once the engine gets hot.

I have had an indie here in LA who I trust do the coolant tank and a right rear wheel bearing recently.

He doesn't know exactly what the "knocking" sound is, but he says it's from "deep in the engine" and is in addition to the lifter tick

This concerns me greatly that my days are numbered.

Since it is a daily driver, is it time to abandon ship before it grenades?

It runs fine, but I don't feel that it's going to be reliable for very much longer.

As it turns out, the mechanic told me about a pristine 03 base that he completely rebuilt and is on sale at a nearby lot.

They are asking 11,995 for it.

The mechanic told me that he knows for a fact that the car has less than 20 miles on the rebuild.

It's also a Tiptronic and not a stick.

How reliable are those, as the car had 70k on it before he rebuilt the motor?

It's probably not as much fun to drive as a stick, is it?

He also told me that he will give me his personal 1 year warranty on anything mechanical.

The guy has been wrenching on P cars for 30 + years and I trust him.

He has told me there's no way to know for certain what's going to happen with the one I have.

He said that he's seen motors with worse knocking noises than mine last 200k or more and others that have grenaded.

That's an M96 for you, I guess.

Should I spend the $$ on the oil leak (maybe it's a spark plug tube, because it is oil dripping down onto the cat) and then "live" with the "knocking" sound and bank some more $$, or trade it in and get a cleaner, more reliable car?

I pulled the sump on the last oil change and it was clean.

There has not been any debris in the oil filter the entire last two years.

There is also chain tensioner (or ramps) that make noise until the oil pressure comes up when I start it.

Mechanic said 2k to change all of the ramps and it's not something I am competent enough to attempt.

I don't know if the ramps were ever changed, but I doubt it.

The body on my current car needs work, it needs a new top, and well, you know...it's a moebius strip of repairs.

The question is am I throwing good money after bad on something that's not going to last much longer?

Should I heed the warning sounds or am I being paranoid from reading too much on here?

With these symptoms and the repairs needed, am I nearing the end of the line?

Thanks and I always appreciate the advice from you guys, as someone always throws out a perspective on things that I would never have considered.

JFP, if you are out there and reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Last edited by robdelorenzo; 09-27-2018 at 09:00 PM.
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Old 09-28-2018, 04:54 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robdelorenzo View Post
Looking for some sage advice on what to do.

I bought an 02 base 2 years ago as a daily driver with 130K miles on it.

In 2 years, I have put on 30K miles, so it's now over 160K on an unknown engine and a salvage title body.

I haven't had any major problems (yet) and have done the usual maintenance, AOS, Water pump, low temp thermostat, coolant tank (2x - don't ask) brakes, tires, spark plug tube, etc. LN IMS was installed right before I bought it and has 30k on it.

RMS and one bank of used lifters were done at the same time.
New clutch, as well.
That's all I knew about the car when I bought it.

I had just survived cancer and yes, it was an impulsive purchase, with no PPI. In one sense, I have already been lucky.

Fast forward to now with a little over 160k miles on it.

It's making a "knocking" sound on start up, the lifters on one side are ticking quite loudly and today I noticed an oil leak that is dripping onto the front cat on the passenger side and smoking once the engine gets hot.

I have had an indie here in LA who I trust do the coolant tank and a right rear wheel bearing recently.

He doesn't know exactly what the "knocking" sound is, but he says it's from "deep in the engine" and is in addition to the lifter tick

This concerns me greatly that my days are numbered.

Since it is a daily driver, is it time to abandon ship before it grenades?

It runs fine, but I don't feel that it's going to be reliable for very much longer.

As it turns out, the mechanic told me about a pristine 03 base that he completely rebuilt and is on sale at a nearby lot.

They are asking 11,995 for it.

The mechanic told me that he knows for a fact that the car has less than 20 miles on the rebuild.

It's also a Tiptronic and not a stick.

How reliable are those, as the car had 70k on it before he rebuilt the motor?

It's probably not as much fun to drive as a stick, is it?

He also told me that he will give me his personal 1 year warranty on anything mechanical.

The guy has been wrenching on P cars for 30 + years and I trust him.

He has told me there's no way to know for certain what's going to happen with the one I have.

He said that he's seen motors with worse knocking noises than mine last 200k or more and others that have grenaded.

That's an M96 for you, I guess.

Should I spend the $$ on the oil leak (maybe it's a spark plug tube, because it is oil dripping down onto the cat) and then "live" with the "knocking" sound and bank some more $$, or trade it in and get a cleaner, more reliable car?

I pulled the sump on the last oil change and it was clean.

There has not been any debris in the oil filter the entire last two years.

There is also chain tensioner (or ramps) that make noise until the oil pressure comes up when I start it.

Mechanic said 2k to change all of the ramps and it's not something I am competent enough to attempt.

I don't know if the ramps were ever changed, but I doubt it.

The body on my current car needs work, it needs a new top, and well, you know...it's a moebius strip of repairs.

The question is am I throwing good money after bad on something that's not going to last much longer?

Should I heed the warning sounds or am I being paranoid from reading too much on here?

With these symptoms and the repairs needed, am I nearing the end of the line?

Thanks and I always appreciate the advice from you guys, as someone always throws out a perspective on things that I would never have considered.

JFP, if you are out there and reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Knocking is never a good thing, particularly when you do not know the source. What intrigues me is that there is nothing in the sump; I would expect some indications in the sump if it were a rod knock. Have you had the oil pressure checked with a gauge?

As for the Tip in the second car, they are reliable providing they are serviced properly, meaning oil and filter every 40-50K, not at 90K per the factory.
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Old 09-28-2018, 05:38 AM   #3
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There are a lot of nice upgrades on the 03. Why don't you see what you could trade in your 02 for against the 03 and then decide what makes more sense.

I prefer the manuel, but that's a personal decision you have to make.
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Old 09-28-2018, 06:34 AM   #4
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I am so grateful for you guys, thanks.
The knocking thing even baffles the idie.
He has told me, "You could pay me #1000's to try and find the source and I still might not be able to find it. I have had people throw money at me to pull apart a motor and short of a complete rebuild not been able to find the source"
I am going to look at the 03 again today and probably pull the trigger.
It's in beautiful shape and knowing who built the engine and the fact the he will personally guarantee it for a year, tells me a lot.
I would imagine that they won't offer me more than 1-3k for a trade in.
The car in it's current condition isn't worth a l lot.
And I was told that a salvage title rules out the spec build guys wanting it.
I just don't know if that I sink in a few more $$$ I can squeeze a few more years out of this car or not. Or if it's going to grenade tomorrow.
You are right, JFP that sound is NOT good and it does concern me.
No other P car I have ever heard makes that kind of noise.
It used to go away after warming up, but now it doesn't go away.
And it's been getting louder over time.....
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Old 09-28-2018, 09:39 AM   #5
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Do any of the Spec Boxster racers here think a salvage title makes your car ineligible for conversion to s a Spec racer? I think they'd only be concerned if it was a salvage title due to some extreme tub damage. But I am only a guy on the internet, not an expert by any means. If I were in the market for a replacement for my Boxster, I don't know if I would go automatic, PDK or manual. I think the 03 sounds great if you like the automatic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robdelorenzo View Post
I am so grateful for you guys, thanks.
The knocking thing even baffles the idie.
He has told me, "You could pay me #1000's to try and find the source and I still might not be able to find it. I have had people throw money at me to pull apart a motor and short of a complete rebuild not been able to find the source"
I am going to look at the 03 again today and probably pull the trigger.
It's in beautiful shape and knowing who built the engine and the fact the he will personally guarantee it for a year, tells me a lot.
I would imagine that they won't offer me more than 1-3k for a trade in.
The car in it's current condition isn't worth a l lot.
And I was told that a salvage title rules out the spec build guys wanting it.
I just don't know if that I sink in a few more $$$ I can squeeze a few more years out of this car or not. Or if it's going to grenade tomorrow.
You are right, JFP that sound is NOT good and it does concern me.
No other P car I have ever heard makes that kind of noise.
It used to go away after warming up, but now it doesn't go away.
And it's been getting louder over time.....
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Old 09-28-2018, 09:52 AM   #6
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Thanks Paul.
Another mechanic told me that about the spec racers.
I don't know if it's true or not.
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:17 AM   #7
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It sounds like you purchased this car during an extreme emotional time (btw, I'm glad your still here ), do you still have that emotional attachment? If so, maybe you could step away from the financial side and look at this car as something that you are committed to saving regardless of cost (granted, not $$k all at one time, but spread out as a project). I've said this many times, but if you look at the whole overall outlay, we are all going to lose money on these cars...and personally, I don't care.

I guess my point is...is this car now family, or is it still just a car? If it's become more than just a machine, you'll never fret over money or maintenance. If it's just a thing that gets you from point A to B, you'll curse every penny spent. Once you decide where you reside on that spectrum, your decision will be simple. Actually, the fact that you are even asking opinions leads me to believe you are closer to the former rather than the latter.
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:22 AM   #8
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I would start looking for a used replacement engine and when I found one for a good price, I'd buy it and have it in storage ready to install whenever the existing engine fails. Then when the old engine fails, I'd have a local shop simply swap the motors.

I did this recently and spent less than $4K and it took less than a week.

Easy as pie.
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:26 AM   #9
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Do any of the Spec Boxster racers here think a salvage title makes your car ineligible for conversion to s a Spec racer? I think they'd only be concerned if it was a salvage title due to some extreme tub damage.
^^ This. ^^

A salvage title means that it was probably in an accident and if the car wasn't repaired properly, then it might take add'l $$ to get the chassis aligned properly.

There isn't much point in taking that risk unless the price is really, really low so most spec racers would probably look at other less risky cars.
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Old 09-28-2018, 06:23 PM   #10
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So lets do some math...
Your car isn't worth much with an undiagnosed, potentially scary engine related problem. Anyone considering purchasing your car would be thinking engine r/r, which makes you're car worth ~$3K, not taking into account your salvage title.

If you are confident in the condition of your car, less the motor, look for a decent used motor that doesn't brake the bank. As mentioned, you might be looking at $4K parts and labor if you shop around a bit.
Discount whatever you paid for the car down to zero. You are into your car with a replacement motor for $7K.

Or...
Sell your car as is. Hopefully you can get $3k..might be less. Lets say you get $2.5K. Buy your mechanics car for $11.5K. With tax you're in for $12.3K. After your $2.5K down payment from your old car, you are in at $9.8K for a newer car with new or rebuilt mechanicals. Not bad!
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Old 09-28-2018, 06:32 PM   #11
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Here's my thought.

Your current car isn't worth much. Spend your money on fixing the simple low cost things, drive it until it grenades, and then walk away. The risk is there might not be a great alternative when that time comes.

If you really like the 03, go for it. As a daily driver the automatic seems like a plus to me. And put the 02 up for sale on a best offer basis.
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Old 09-28-2018, 08:13 PM   #12
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Thanks so much,guys.
Yeah it was an emotional purchase and I am not emotionally
attached to the car. The thought of a newer, cleaner, more reliable
Boxster really appeals to me. But a replacement engine is less expensive
Than a new car.
I am not looking at it as an investment - other than an investment in fun.
It's a tough call. But I knew you guys who have way more experience with Boxsters
would offer up some words of wisdom and you have.
On a side note, I am reluctant to get an automatic (Tip)
Are they less fun to drive? But it may be better in this LA traffic!
I am lucky to be here (at all) and fortunate to have stumbled into the world of Boxsters.
They are a lot more fun than a Toyota and a really good fit for my budget and lifestyle.
FWIW when he repalced the wheel bearing, we had a 4 wheel alignment done and the frame is straight.
The rear wheel carrier was missing a knuckle and that's what was throwing the alignment off.
I consulted the mechanic again and his words were, "It's going to be a money pit from here on out, based on what I have seen"
The overall issue I keep coming back to is the fact that whatever I do, it is my daily driver and reliability is a key factor.
I'm really leaning towards fixing the oil leak (he said either cam cover or spark plug tube most likely) and then either selling or trading it in.
The 03 is a beauty, but it is a Tip.....

Last edited by robdelorenzo; 09-29-2018 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 09-29-2018, 09:02 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by robdelorenzo View Post
Looking for some sage advice on what to do.

I bought an 02 base 2 years ago as a daily driver with 130K miles on it.

In 2 years, I have put on 30K miles, so it's now over 160K on an unknown engine and a salvage title body.

I haven't had any major problems (yet) and have done the usual maintenance, AOS, Water pump, low temp thermostat, coolant tank (2x - don't ask) brakes, tires, spark plug tube, etc. LN IMS was installed right before I bought it and has 30k on it.
I'd say consider this as your entry fee to the discovering the joy of driving a Porsche that Many (most) will never experience. Now you know what to look for, find your dream car and really plant a smile on your face.

Now as far as the coolant tank, I'm asking and would like to see the following 8 page thread with 140 + responses to help thread closed......

Afraid of the answer.....
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Old 09-29-2018, 09:11 AM   #14
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The price of tuition, I suppose.
Thanks Monty.
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Old 09-29-2018, 09:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by robdelorenzo View Post
...
On a side note, I am reluctant to get an automatic (Tip)
Are they less fun to drive? But it may be better in this LA traffic!
...
The 03 is a beauty, but it is a Tip.....
I understand. All considered, if I am out driving for the joy of driving, I want a stick shift. For a few years, I have had at least two stick shift and two Tiptronic 986s to chose from when I figure out which car to drive for the day. The Tiptronics sit a lot more, but for heavy traffic, or a long drive, the Tip is best.

One day, a couple years ago, I decided to really push my '99 Tip to 'see what it could do'. It was the first time that I had driven that particular car hard for a long drive completely in manual mode. I took it on a great twisty road with no traffic (or police). Up through the gears to red-line, and dropping it down hard for quick decels. It was awesome and a completely different car (from what I think is an economy biased automatic program in the '99s and earlier Tiptronics).

Before you write-off the '03, take it out for a complete test drive. Don't be timid. It's capable of handling more than you will push it.
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Old 09-29-2018, 11:16 AM   #16
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That is some solid advice to add to the mix.
And considering the options at your disposal a significant
contribution to my decision making.
I will do just that, a thorough test drive and report
back.
I do live in LA and there's no escaping traffic!
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Old 09-29-2018, 11:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robdelorenzo View Post
Yeah it was an emotional purchase and I am not emotionally attached to the car.
Per my earlier post, as this car is just a "thing", I think you have your answer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robdelorenzo View Post
...On a side note, I am reluctant to get an automatic (Tip)Are they less fun to drive? But it may be better in this LA traffic!
I don't want to get into the "more fun" debate, but I do think it's more engaging. Additionally (and sadly) true "stick in hand" manuals are going the way of the dodo; if it were me, I'd definitely go with the manual while the choice is still there....and to stop the debate before it starts...yes, PDK's shift much faster than any human I know of, but it's still not the same "connected" feeling. This is, of course, just my humble opinion...coming from someone who's first car was a stick, and second, and third, etc; now (on two of my other cars) I have the "option" to shift (via paddle), but it's just not the same...and is almost never used. Then again, go with whatever works best for you.
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Old 09-29-2018, 01:27 PM   #18
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Completely, understand the Tip angst. Having driven sticks for 50 years, the SF Bay commute traffic has me loving driving the automatic 99 Jag XK8 we bought to replace the Box. Oh yeah, we also bought a pristine '87 951 that we drive a couple of times a month if we really feel the need for a stick.
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