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Old 07-20-2019, 11:45 PM   #1
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Looking at high mileage S. Please advice yea or nay

Hi All,

Iím looking at a 2003 S with 164k miles from mom and pop dealership. The car looks to be in great shape for its age and mileage. It was rear ended 7 years ago but was not totaled and the repair was excellent. I couldnít tell it was in a fender bender until the dealer showed me the car fax. I plan to test drive it next weekend if still available.

What are your thoughts about the mileage? I do not think the IMSB has been replaced. The dealer wants $7100 for it. What do you think?

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Old 07-21-2019, 04:36 AM   #2
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IF you are serious about the car, take it to a professional mechanic for a Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) before buying it. The PPI will be the best $300 approx that you will spend. At that age and mileage, you will be surprised what may need repaired or replaced and the cost. Things like struts and bushings will be past their prime. O-rings and gaskets too. Does the AC work? You can quickly ring up thousands of dollars in repairs.

The price is good for an 03 but the mileage and accident history seriously affect the price. There are many people on the forum who have ultra-high mileage Boxsters, so they are capable of making it to that level. But they require proper maintenance to get there and if that maintenance has been skipped, it will be expensive to get it back up to snuff.

No disrespect to mom & pop used car lots, but think about how it got there. Someone probably traded it in on a new car (Porsche, Audi, whatever). The mileage and accident history probably disqualified it from being kept on their lot (along with other things like no maintenance), so they took it to auction and dumped it. It's up to you to find out if there's something else wrong besides mileage and accident.

I mention this because 2-seat sports cars are a lifestyle vehicles. People buy them on a whim and suddenly have to sell them when something in their life changes - get married, have kids, lose a job, or a 2 seater doesn't fit their needs. If you buy this car and realize it's not the one for you, you'll have a very hard time selling it, mostly because of the mileage and accident. So be sure you can hang on to it for a few yrs.

I'll leave the IMS talk to the end. There's plenty of info here if you search. I'm sure you're thinking since it's made it this far, it's not going to be an issue. You have a 90% chance that that's correct, but bearings wear out regardless of poor design. Oil change intervals may be the biggest factor in IMS life length. The good news is if the engine blows up, you could probably sell the carcus for $4K.

The old saying is true: the cheapest Porsche you buy will be the most expensive Porsche you own.
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Old 07-21-2019, 09:58 AM   #3
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A carfax report might help provide you with a history of its maintenance and repairs.
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Old 07-21-2019, 01:58 PM   #4
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good advice from the forum so far. The price seems reasonable for an '03 S, and of course you can negotiate it down some for the IMS & other items sure to be needed. Best to have a good inspection before purchasing....
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:11 PM   #5
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A carfax report might help provide you with a history of its maintenance and repairs.
Or it might mislead you.

I just sold a car and the buyer got a carfax and sent it to me. Perhaps a year earlier I had a series of "will not start, parking brake engaged" incidents which caused me to take it to my local dealer. Two of those visits required parts replacements. Significant work, over $1k each. Perhaps 3 weeks before I sold the car, I took it in for its final oil change and they reported a timing chain cover oil leak. Fixed again listed at over $1k repair cost.

None of these incidents which all involved the same dealer were shown on the carfax. I only cite these omissions to show the variability of the value of a carfax report.

No idea why. I made full disclosure to the buyer. He had my paper file.
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Old 07-21-2019, 02:13 PM   #6
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Without a paper service history, I wouldn't.
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Old 07-21-2019, 03:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cantdrv55 View Post
Hi All,

Iím looking at a 2003 S with 164k miles from mom and pop dealership. The car looks to be in great shape for its age and mileage. It was rear ended 7 years ago but was not totaled and the repair was excellent. I couldnít tell it was in a fender bender until the dealer showed me the car fax. I plan to test drive it next weekend if still available.

What are your thoughts about the mileage? I do not think the IMSB has been replaced. The dealer wants $7100 for it. What do you think?
I share this as nobody wants a new member to get disgusted with the hobby just as they are getting started. These cars are great fun, semi-affordable and frustrating all at the same time.
7100...IMHO, that's a no. This is the high end of what the car is worth IF everything was maintained, documented and its perfect.
NOTE: Options make a major difference in the cars value also. Memory seats, M030 suspension, PSM, litronics, 18" wheels, leather dash, 3 spoke steering wheel, the stereo and speakers.

If it was very well maintained, there would be records. If it hasn't already been done, It needs all new suspension, motor and transmission mounts, water pump, (should be on its 3rd water pump), AOS and a myriad of other maintenance items, like a starter, window regulators, wheel bearings, tie rods, PS Pump, spark plugs, coils, tubes, O-rings on the oil cooler and coolant hoses. Also, The cam adjusters pads are likely are wasted and that is a serious undertaking. too much to list.
Brakes should be new, tires, like new. Top, like new. Interior perfect. Plus its been wrecked according to carfax. No bargain in cheaper Porsche.
I suggest you watch for an S out there with the records and the ownership history to make the deal worth it. Under 100K cars are out there for close to this price.
How it ended up at a mom and pop is likely auction, and I wouldn't be surprised if they walked away with that car for peanuts.
Not trying to be a negative Nelly, but I wouldn't buy this car at any cost, I would wait for the right one.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:32 PM   #8
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Even buying parts and doing maintenance yourself (and valuing your time at $0.00/hour) you'll be underwater real fast with this car. 2003/4 986's have the IMSB design with highest failure rate too. A big part of the fun is the hunt, keep hunting!
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Old 07-21-2019, 08:41 PM   #9
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I don't understand everyone's negativity here. I really don't.

Like any car that's 15 years old and 160k miles on it, you're going to need to look it over. But I say "posh" to those telling you to walk away. In my opinion, buy the one that makes your heart pump. If it's not emotionally calling you, then look for another. But if it is, and it seems reasonably maintained (I couldn't care less about a paper trail or a maintenance history: look at its present condition) then buy it.

Here's the deal: this isn't a collectible. This isn't an investment car. It's a disposable fun machine. Those talking about service histories, ppi's, etc, are (in my opinion) being a little unrealistic, for a $7100 car.

I bought my '03 S with 147k miles on it for $6800 about 18 months ago. I've had track-breakage, but that doesn't really have anything to do with the car's condition.... it's part of how hard I'm tracking it.

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Old 07-21-2019, 10:57 PM   #10
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Here is the deal... as Maytag said, it’s a 7100.00 car. Yes, you could spend A LOT of money on the car if you buy it. Or not. You could spend just as much money for just about any car of that age... I won’t mention how “underwater” I am on my Jeep... also, my freakin’ mountain bike was more expensive. If the car looks and feels good, maybe do the PPI, just for good measure. Offer him 6250 cash, if he bites, buy it and drive the crap out of it. If something breaks (it will) fix it. Or, not. These cars are getting older, stuff wears out, breaks... part of it. Half the fun is fixing them up.
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Old 07-22-2019, 12:44 AM   #11
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I think a ppi is not out of the question, you dont want to spend $7100 on a car you find needs additional $2K of work immediately.
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Old 07-22-2019, 06:32 AM   #12
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A quick look on Craigslist in the North-East found one S at less than $10k. So even with high mileage $7100 looks like a good price to me. If the engine has to be replaced a lower mileage replacement will not put the total expended much more than the price of another S.
My take on buying old cheap cars in general and Porsches in particular is to look at it as buying a disposable... it ain't an investment. I look at the price, the fun I will have owning and driving the car and if I can lose 50% of the price without ending up living under a bridge. I figure if the worst happens I can get 50% back on resale of parts if necessary.
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Old 07-22-2019, 06:35 AM   #13
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I'm with Maytag. Have it checked out with a PPI and if it looks good, go for it. If can DIY there's a lot you can do that otherwise would be very expensive. I would pay a lot of attention to engine condition.
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Old 07-24-2019, 04:59 PM   #14
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The time proven rule is that when buying a used Porsche you should also plan on spending another $2k within the first year.
This has proven to be accurate most of the time. It will either be for mechanical necessities or desirable upgrades but it happens every time.

As for the car, it depends on the collision and where or how extensive the damage was.
If it was superficial denting then your probably fine at that price but if the damage was more extensive, effecting alignment or fit of surrounding parts, unseen trany damage etc then pass.

My gut would say pass and look for one that was never in a collision, there are plenty out there if you are patient.
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:29 AM   #15
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Porsche Buying Rule #1: Buy the most expensive, lowest mileage, and newest Porsche that you can afford.

Porsche Buying Rule #2: There are no cheap Porsche's.

Porsche Buying Rule #3: You can pay now or pay later. Either way, you will pay.
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Old 07-26-2019, 03:33 AM   #16
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Porsche Buying Rule #1: Buy the most expensive, lowest mileage, and newest Porsche that you can afford.

Porsche Buying Rule #2: There are no cheap Porsche's.

Porsche Buying Rule #3: You can pay now or pay later. Either way, you will pay.
Agree whole heartedly. Rule #4 Expect to put $1000 to $2000 in repairs per year. Brakes around or tires around will cost $500 min., each.

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