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Old 02-10-2004, 06:05 PM   #1
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"catastrophic engine failure" (long)

i'm new to the forum and was curious as to feedback regarding my recent dealership experience:

about a week ago, i brought my '99 Boxster w/ approx 65k miles in to the dealer because the "Check Engine" light had recently come on. they had the car for a couple days before they could even get to the repair, but they assured me it was a simple fix (faulty oxygen sensor, i believe). they called at the end of the week to let me know that the repair had been made. however, they told me that, as they were reversing the car after washing it, the car had died. they told me that it was likely a problem with the battery and that it might require a new battery to fix it.

on monday i received different news. the dealer called stating that it was not a problem with the battery, but instead my car had experienced a "catastrophic engine failure." i asked what that meant and they stated that they couldn't be certain as to the exact cause of the failure, but that the engine had seized and could not be repaired. they also stated that a porsche rep happened to be at the dealer at the time. as a goodwill gesture, the porsche rep offered to supply a new engine (costing approx. $6k) free-of-charge despite the fact that my car was off warranty. however, my dealer said that labor was expected to run approx $2,800 and was my responsibility.

to make a long story short, we've had several conversations since then and they refuse to give me more than a 20% break on the labor charge. it's a messy situation, but here are the issues as i see them:

1) they can't give me any information as to what actually went wrong with the engine. all they can say is that it seized as they were backing up at a speed of 3 to 5 mph. for those of you w/ more knowledge as to engine failures, is a failure under these circumstances even within the realm of possibility for a well-maintained engine??

2) since we'll never know exactly what happened while the car was at the dealership, who has responsibility for the car while it's there? the dealer tells me they have absolutely no responsibility and that the failure would have happened regardless of whether the car was in their possession. in my view, the dealer/porsche are already acknowledging responsibility by stepping up to replace the engine. if they truly had no responsibility, they would have told me i needed to pay for the entire cost of a new engine + labor.

anyway, sorry for the long-winded rant and maybe i should be happy with their offer to replace the engine free of charge. i'd appreciate any feedback you all might have.

thanks.

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Old 02-10-2004, 06:56 PM   #2
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There must be some degree of culpability in this picture by the dealer otherwise the Porsche rep would not offer a new engine as good will. The fact that the story changed several times makes it very hard to believe any story coming out of the dealer. My recommendation since the Porsche rep seems to be so accommodating dig deeper using him. Consumer affair agencies and the likes will help to put some heat on the dealer and seek resolution of this matter. Or you can sue him for damages. Pick your poison in this scenario because it will not be either fast or pretty.
The other possibility would be to question the mechanic that worked on your car and see if he opens up or if anyone else will tell you what really happened. Or go to other Porsche mechanics in other dealerships and ask what are the possibilities of what happened to your car is factual and if there is any anecdotal data to back up the dealers story.
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Old 02-10-2004, 07:37 PM   #3
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cb531

Boxster engines do fail sometimes, not the norm, but it does happen. I think 20% off on the $2800 labor charge is a good deal and you get a new engine. Hard to beat that. We should all have such luck that a Porsche rep is there and out of the goodness of his heart, agrees to a replacement. Face it, you could have driven away from there, driven it a few days or weeks and have the engine fail. Then you probably would have to eat the whole $9000 or so to fix it. Consider yourself lucky I think. I mean yeah, no one wants to shell out the bucks, but unless you can prove someone did something to screw up the engine when it was worked on (not too likely the dealer will admit to any fault), I'd take the offer and run with it. Your engine was already out of warranty, you were just damned lucky to get any kind of consideration from the dealer and the rep IMO.
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Old 02-10-2004, 08:14 PM   #4
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You have a 1999. What month was it made. I wonder.

http://stau.jowood.de/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1416

http://stau.jowood.de/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1416
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Old 02-11-2004, 02:02 AM   #5
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Well i aint sure about the US law, but in the UK its another story. It still sounds like a good deal and you would be getting a new engine. However it sounds like they are accepting its not your fault. I would take some legal advise see where you stand


I tell you if this was a story in the UK and you went to the radio, or papers it would make it in the news. I see so many T.V shows a year than name and shame garages like that. But as mjbliemel said
It still is a good deal but at the end of the day you bought a boxster to drive away not to brake down.

It might come under the customer rights acts... For a company to supply faulty goods you can use this right. but who knows.


Really hope you get it sorted out!

Last edited by porsche986; 02-11-2004 at 03:01 AM.
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Old 02-11-2004, 10:15 AM   #6
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Bad news!

I suppose it is not as simple as they just forgot to put the oil or coolant back in the engine and it siezed? Of course, they would have probably quickly filled it, if so... it really is curious that they're giving you a "free" engine if they did nothing wrong...

I agree with prior posts that having a new factory engine (presumably "better" vintage as well?) in a 65K mile car for just a bit more than $2K is a good deal... but it is still 2 grand you weren't signing up to spend...

Hey, at least get them to turn on your trip computer at the same time, if you don't already have it...
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Old 02-11-2004, 06:47 PM   #7
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well, no dealer/rep. is just going to give you an engine from the goodness of their heart.

i would suspect someone really screwed the pooch or it is a known defect that just occured at the dealer.

a thought would be to trade in the car to them and upgrade. you will pays $2500 in sales tax and maybe get a 2000 instead of a 1999.
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Old 02-23-2004, 11:40 PM   #8
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How did this work out?
thanks
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Old 04-12-2004, 02:29 PM   #9
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My first Boxster was a '99 from Sonnen in San Rafael. I had nothing but trouble with that car, until finally the No Cal rep promised to replace it if I came up with $7K. That was a month before Sept. 11th. After the attacks the rep renaiged on the whole deal, so I sold it back to Sonnen at a hefty loss. I just didn't feel safe in that car. Eventually I spoke to the President of Porsche NA, and I ended up getting an '03 at dealer cost. I guess what I'm trying to say is the rep & dealership aren't as straight as they could be. I sure hope you got it worked out . Incedentally, I love my '03!

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