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View Poll Results: safe to use a stock M96 engine on track?
YES!!! 10 71.43%
It should be 2 14.29%
Carefull... 2 14.29%
NO!! 0 0%
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Old 03-12-2019, 09:53 PM   #1
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Question m96 track reliability? (noob question)

Hello, I recently purchased my first 986. During the PPI the experienced Porsche Indy mechanic strongly recommended against using the M96 engine for ANY track work, not so much as a DE.
He cited numerous issues with the M96 engine that would cause it to meet a rapid and unplanned disassembly if used on the track, mostly around the oil. lubrication issues under lateral g-load, oil aeration/ frothing issues...
The mechanic clearly told me that while I may get through a single track day, I would be lucky to get through a second using an M96 engine.

The issue is that to my admittedly limited knowledge these cars have been used extensively for racing in stock form. Heck, there is a section on this website called "Boxster Racing Form"
I am aware of a few deep oil sump and aftermarket baffle solutions to help with the sloshing issue, but I thought it is something I didn't need to worry about when attending, for instance, a DE.

My question is, Is it safe to take my 2001 986 S to a track day or DE without worry about destroying my engine for it?
Thanks

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Old 03-13-2019, 01:50 AM   #2
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Although im a big m96 doomsdayer, i think your mechanic is exaggerating. There are lotd of m96 cars on track and while thry have issues, thry hardly fail each day. As a track noob, you likely wont be pushing the car real hard but id still recommend running good oil, a 997 oil cooler, 3rd radiator, low temp thermostat, deep sump. And baffles. While overkill in the beginning, it will quickly become useful .

Finally, be prepared that even with the best prep and mods the motor may fail. Plan accordingly
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Old 03-13-2019, 06:25 AM   #3
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Doom doom DOOM! Here is my story - I have a 150K mile 2002 2.7 that I bought for $4500. At my first track day, I found that it smoked like the Blue Angels at an airshow in left hand turns. Eventually I figured out what was wrong (the passenger side oil scavenging pump had been removed to fix an oil leak, and had been indexed incorrectly when it was re-installed), and since then I've done six or seven track days with no issues whatsoever.

While trying to fix the smoking problem, I did put a sump spacer and baffle in, but that ended up not being the root cause of the issue. Otherwise the car is stock, no extra radiators or any of that stuff. For four of those tracks days, I had the original IMS bearing in, but it was updated with a LN bearing when I replaced my clutch.

I'm fairly hard on the car, as I have real racing experience, and am usually one of the fastest cars in my group (not necessarily down the straights, though ). Other than trying to find brake pads that work well, it's been a bullet-proof car. If it blows up, I'll probably just get a junkyard engine.

Drive more, worry less.
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Old 03-13-2019, 07:15 AM   #4
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Tom Stone has documented his car and racing experience very well. Yes, he considers engines to be a disposable maintenance item, but he gets some good extreme use out of them before they give out.
Look through his posts here: Spec Boxster Build
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Old 03-13-2019, 07:28 AM   #5
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You are a M96 newb, but are you a track newb? If you are a track newb, driving on street tires, learning the track with an instructor in the car you are probably going to be fine. If you are an experienced driver with lots of track time, and are going to be pulling high g forces in corners, there are some precautionary things you can do, like a deeper oil sump and improved baffles.
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Old 03-13-2019, 07:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Racer Boy View Post



Drive more, worry less.
Probably the best advice I've ever seen on this forum.

I did 6 or 7 track days last year. 150k miles on my car. I broke the car.... several times, Haha. But not the motor. I attribute most of my track breakage to two things: not prepping the car properly for how fast I was really going (I'm "pretty fast" for my group), and, frankly, learning curve. (The two worst problems I had were due to driver error.)

Personally, I think your tech is overstating his concern. But im quick to admit that while I'm a damn- fine mechanic, I'm not a Porsche expert.

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Old 03-13-2019, 08:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzincp View Post
Hello, I recently purchased my first 986. During the PPI the experienced Porsche Indy mechanic strongly recommended against using the M96 engine for ANY track work, not so much as a DE.
He cited numerous issues with the M96 engine that would cause it to meet a rapid and unplanned disassembly if used on the track, mostly around the oil. lubrication issues under lateral g-load, oil aeration/ frothing issues...
The mechanic clearly told me that while I may get through a single track day, I would be lucky to get through a second using an M96 engine.

The issue is that to my admittedly limited knowledge these cars have been used extensively for racing in stock form. Heck, there is a section on this website called "Boxster Racing Form"
I am aware of a few deep oil sump and aftermarket baffle solutions to help with the sloshing issue, but I thought it is something I didn't need to worry about when attending, for instance, a DE.

My question is, Is it safe to take my 2001 986 S to a track day or DE without worry about destroying my engine for it?
Thanks

Reports of the M96 demise on race tracks have been greatly exaggerated. 20 min DE sessions with the right oil, on street tires present a very low risk. 40 min racing sessions on Comp tires at a Super Speedway in the heat of battle present far greater risk.

My car and my brothers car were both set up as Championship BSX Class DE/TT cars. We owned and raced them in TT for 10 years with over 200 track days between them. We ran 100tw tires, the right oil (5w40 Castrol). made sure it was topped off every session, and avoided redline on long left sweepers and downshifts like the plague. Redline was reserved for straight and level only. Both engines logged over 100k miles with no oiling issues ever.

Drive smart and have no worries.
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:13 AM   #8
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Alright then, Thank you for the advice.
It sounds like as long as I am on street tires and avoid the combination of high rpm + high load factor I should be fine.

While I am by no means an experienced track driver I have driven formula cars at an intercollegiate level for a few years- I'd like to think I am a fairly competent driver. Perhaps an oil sump and baffles would not be a bad idea.

Thanks to all
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzincp View Post
Hello, I recently purchased my first 986. During the PPI the experienced Porsche Indy mechanic strongly recommended against using the M96 engine for ANY track work, not so much as a DE.
He cited numerous issues with the M96 engine that would cause it to meet a rapid and unplanned disassembly if used on the track, mostly around the oil. lubrication issues under lateral g-load, oil aeration/ frothing issues...
The mechanic clearly told me that while I may get through a single track day, I would be lucky to get through a second using an M96 engine.

The issue is that to my admittedly limited knowledge these cars have been used extensively for racing in stock form. Heck, there is a section on this website called "Boxster Racing Form"
I am aware of a few deep oil sump and aftermarket baffle solutions to help with the sloshing issue, but I thought it is something I didn't need to worry about when attending, for instance, a DE.

My question is, Is it safe to take my 2001 986 S to a track day or DE without worry about destroying my engine for it?
Thanks

Your mechanic is full of crap
What Topless said ^^^
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Old 03-13-2019, 09:22 AM   #10
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Haha, yes Topless's advice to keep it straight and level at high rpm makes a good deal of sense to me- Thank you Topless

My mechanic did scare me a bit, I thought I was purchasing a track capable car to have some fun with; but now it sounds like that is the case.
Just make sure it is on plenty of good fresh oil (of the correct viscosity for the weather and application).

Thanks again to all for the help
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Old 03-13-2019, 01:39 PM   #11
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On my Boxster (2000 S 6 speed), I have put 50,000 miles on it since 2012, it is up to 151,xxx (or maybe 152,xxx) now. During those 50,000 miles I have put approximately 85 track days, with the following mods:

First few events, stock, on Sumitomo Max Summer Tires
Then a combo of Hankook R-S3, did an X-51 baffle for a while, and then landed on my current configuration:

LN 2 QT Deep Sump
Underdrive pulley (helps with power steering overheating)
A switch to run both my radiator fans on high to help keep things cool
Spin on oil filter adapter
Various suspension mods and running Hankook R-S4 and Maxxis RC-1

Except for a Crank Position Sensor that went out during regular street driving, it has done great. I have kept up with a lot of preventative maintenance, and had to replace some aftermarket stainless lines when the fronts failed (that was on me, I think i installed then wrong) but it has been reliable for me.

I run 10W50 oil, shift at 6500 or below most of the time, and I don't go through corners at redline, for example if a track has a fast sweeper at 90 MPH, I go in 4th instead of 3rd.

On street driving I don't use any oil, on track I do go through some, but I think it may be ingested in the intake, but not enough to cause any smoke bombs. If I fill the oil up to the top it quickly goes down toward the bottom of the range, so i usually just run it at the bottom of the range.

It sounds like you are probably going to be pretty quick right out of the gate, as long as you keep the car cool i think you will be fine, and as you go further down the slops you can add more things as you desire
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Old 03-13-2019, 04:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topless View Post
Reports of the M96 demise on race tracks have been greatly exaggerated. 20 min DE sessions with the right oil, on street tires present a very low risk. 40 min racing sessions on Comp tires at a Super Speedway in the heat of battle present far greater risk.

My car and my brothers car were both set up as Championship BSX Class DE/TT cars. We owned and raced them in TT for 10 years with over 200 track days between them. We ran 100tw tires, the right oil (5w40 Castrol). made sure it was topped off every session, and avoided redline on long left sweepers and downshifts like the plague. Redline was reserved for straight and level only. Both engines logged over 100k miles with no oiling issues ever.

Drive smart and have no worries.
No down shifts ?
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Old 03-13-2019, 08:39 PM   #13
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A switch to run both my radiator fans on high to help keep things cool
This is a FANTASTIC idea. Did you detail this someplace, so I can copy? Haha
If not: can I send you some beverage coupons, and ask ya to do so? ;-)

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Old 03-13-2019, 09:45 PM   #14
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As others have mentioned, in street trim, sure things can happen but overall, it will be fine. The AOS is probably the “biggest” concern and can be monitored. I’ve done the x-51 baffle, screw-on oiled filter adaptor, run good oil, added an oil pressure gauge and that about it. So far, so good. The 911 has the m96 as well and it gets thrown around on tracks all the time. The Boxster is a blast on the track.
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Old 03-13-2019, 10:52 PM   #15
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No down shifts ?
Careful downshifts.

Allow the oil to settle as long as possible when coming off a long left sweeper under braking. Downshift once only to select your corner exit gear and blip throttle only to 4k. Never ever blip to redline when the oil level is likely low in the pan due to G forces in the previous sweeper. The data on dead m96 engines suggests that the blip to redline under braking is when the oil pump cavitates, oil pressure drops to zero, and then takes out the engine, generally not the banking itself.
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:29 AM   #16
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Thanks for the morning chuckle...

PS - find a different mechanic
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:46 AM   #17
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I would add a deeper sump, even a 1/2 qt one, then add a baffle.

I ran a 3.2S for several years in this configuration -- with a spec boxster setup on street tires
with no issues. Had a 100K when I bought it, put 10K miles on it before I passed it on -- mostly
track miles.

The Spec Boxster folks add the third radiator -- and some delete the fans.

I've also seen using the Boxster S taller water/oil exchanger.

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Old 03-14-2019, 07:37 AM   #18
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Allow the oil to settle as long as possible when coming off a long left sweeper under braking. Downshift once only to select your corner exit gear and blip throttle only to 4k. Never ever blip to redline when the oil level is likely low in the pan due to G forces in the previous sweeper. The data on dead m96 engines suggests that the blip to redline under braking is when the oil pump cavitates, oil pressure drops to zero, and then takes out the engine, generally not the banking itself.
Why left sweepers specifically?
Is there something in the design of the oil sump that causes this?
I was under the impression that the pickup is in the middle of the sump directly under the intermediate shaft?
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:48 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by tzincp View Post
Why left sweepers specifically?
Is there something in the design of the oil sump that causes this?
I was under the impression that the pickup is in the middle of the sump directly under the intermediate shaft?
high G left sweepers shift the oil to the right of the pan away from the pickup tube

Lots of posts on this
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:48 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by tzincp View Post
Why left sweepers specifically?
Is there something in the design of the oil sump that causes this?
I was under the impression that the pickup is in the middle of the sump directly under the intermediate shaft?
I'm no expert on this, isn't it also due to the location of the oil scavenge pumps in the cylinder heads. The M96 uses the same cylinder casting on both sides. They're not interchangeable though because there is some different machining on each side for something. So the timing chain for one side of the engine is on the front - where the serpentine belt, etc. is located and the timing chain for the other side is on the back - where the flywheel is. Inside each cylinder head is a scavenge pump, and on one side it's in the front and on the other side it's in the rear. Those left sweepers can cause the oil to move by centrifugal force away from the scavenge pump in one of the cylinder heads - or maybe the asymmetrical nature affects both scavenge pumps on left handers, there doesn't appear to be an issue with right sweepers.

Last edited by PaulE; 03-14-2019 at 09:50 AM.
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