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Old 09-10-2019, 05:03 AM   #1
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How to make a 2001 Boxster S a Daily Driver?

Hi,

I just posted a long story about a low-mileage 2001 Boxster S that I've been preparing to be a daily driver -- for those with too much time on their hands here it is . . .

So simply, I bought a Boxster with just under 45k miles on it to use as a daily driver for the next four years, and I've put almost 3k miles on it since. My goal is to preemptively deal with anything that could cause the car to fail on the road so I don't have to get towed home.

It's never had the IMS done, but a physical inspection of the oil and the guts of the filter shows no evidence of metal in the oil, and a Blackstone Labs analysis confirms that. For now, I'm not going to worry about the IMS until I have reason to do so, and when I do I'll change the clutch, or I'll replace the IMS when I need to replace the clutch, whichever comes first.

Since I purchased it other than small maintenance items I've either done or had done the following:
  • Detailed inspection by Jay at The Popular Mechanic
  • Engine oil change, switched from Mobil One to Motul
  • Transaxle oil change, also with Motul
  • Flush and replace brake fluid
  • Replace the accessory drive belt
  • Replace AOS
  • Clean radiators of debris
  • Replace tires

One concern I do have is that the CV boots are starting to split, and I know I need to deal with those. For those who have had them changed recently, what should I be looking at pricewise? Wayne Dempsey's ten year old 101 Projects book shows it as an $800 job, but I've been quoted twice that and am looking for a reality check.

Another concern is the cooling system; the temperature gauge sits in pretty much the same place all the time, but when i get stuck in heavy traffic on a hot day it starts to creep up above the "normal" position. Even though the coolant is "lifetime" I'm wondering if it's time to flush the cooling system and replace the rubber hoses in the system, and maybe even change the water pump. Heavy traffic is part of my reality, unfortunately, and I want to prepare for it.

For those of you who have used a Boxster in this mileage range as a daily driver what else am I missing? The suspension is tight and appears to be in great shape so I'm not too worried about anything there, although I wonder how many miles/years I can get out of the original factory struts. I also had Jay check the coil packs and spark plugs for miss-fires as a sign of impending failure, and his tools show that there aren't any, so I don't want to change the plugs and coil packs until I have a reason to so.

I welcome any and all advice about how to keep my car on the road and running strong, and appreciate the sharing that goes on in this community.

Thanks!

~j
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:36 AM   #2
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Replace the water pump if you don’t know when it was last done. If it’s 18 years old the plastic impeller blades may be cracked or broken. Check the motor mount while you’re in there and replace it if it’s shot.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:31 AM   #3
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Too bad you can't do your own work. I did my CV boots, myself. 4 kits with grease and all the clamps were about $100. Very greasy, messy job. And the flange bolts were a whole day job to get loosened, they're put on with blue loctite very tightly.
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Old 09-10-2019, 10:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Brian in Tucson View Post
Too bad you can't do your own work. I did my CV boots, myself. 4 kits with grease and all the clamps were about $100. Very greasy, messy job. And the flange bolts were a whole day job to get loosened, they're put on with blue loctite very tightly.
Note to self: Send $100 to Brian. Fill tank. Bring beer. Calendar for Fall 2020.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:25 AM   #5
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You have assured yourself that the fans are working that draw air over the radiators.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:46 AM   #6
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You have assured yourself that the fans are working that draw air over the radiators.
^^^ This is the 1st place to start. ^^^

There are 2 instances when the fans should kick on - (1) when the temp gets too high, the fans kick on to cool it, or (2) when you kick in the AC. The fans kick on for #1 automatically when it gets hot and then kick off when it's cooled down. The fans kick on immediately when you start your AC and stay on until you turn the AC off. There are separate switches in the fan for these operations and the switch for #1 has a tendency to die. In that case, your car can run hot in traffic b/c there's not enough air flow thru the radiator when you drive with the AC off.

1st way to check is to start your car and kick the AC on, then get out of the car with the engine & AC running to listen for the fans in the front. You should hear them blowing on both sides. If they're working, then you should not be getting a hot condition in traffic with the AC on, as the fans are working.

2nd test is to then turn the AC off and drive in traffic. Once the temp starts to go up, pull into a parking lot, leave the engine running, and see if you hear the fans running in front. If not, the switch for that side of the fans is broken. There are articles on how to fix it, which requires the front bumper to be removed, but you need to verify this is the problem first.
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:58 AM   #7
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Couple of thoughts....

Change the oil frequently...I did my DD every 3000 miles using Motul.

The IMS issue is tricky. The root cause is the seals degrade due to contaminants in the oil and the grease washes out. Low miles is actually less desirable because the seals will have sat in acidic oil for a long time. By the time you see metal parts, the bearing is already failing and you're faced with whether you can purge all the bits from the engine. If you value the car and want to keep it for many more years, you may want to preemptively replace the IMS. If not, buy a Durametric and check whether the cam deviations are rock steady flat. If they wobble, it would be an indication of a failing bearing.

I had my boots done 4 years ago and it was about 1K in the San Francisco area.

If you do put in a new water pump, put a low temp thermostat in at the same time. And as Mike said, make sure the fans are running in both low and high speed. They run in low speed if the AC in on regardless of the coolant temperature. One can jump the relays to turn on the high speed fans. A search should tell you how to do it. If high speed fans work and the lows don't the the ballast resistor on the non-working side needs to be replaced.
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:20 PM   #8
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Did CV boots by Indy for approx $1100 lifetime warranty; Worth it
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Old 09-10-2019, 04:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brian in Tucson View Post
Very greasy, messy job. And the flange bolts were a whole day job to get loosened, they're put on with blue loctite very tightly.
... and this exactly is why I paid my indie to do this ****************ty job.

@ ~jeff,

Replace all fluids, get the CV boots done before the bearings get contaminated by road grit and change oil every 5000ish miles.
There’s a ton of “while you’re in there” work. You could go broke, nuts, or both trying to get ahead of it all.
Deal with repairs as they come, you’ll never avoid all possibilities issues.
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Old 09-10-2019, 09:19 PM   #10
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Temp was a big paranoia for me. The water returning to the engine is the temp you see on the gauge so the water flowing out of the engine is actually hotter.

Look into installing switches to activate the front radiator and engine bay fans manually. Also get a 160 degree low temp thermostat. remove bumper to clean radiator grille/fins.
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Old 09-11-2019, 08:18 PM   #11
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Wow. Here is what I did to my original Boxster before using it for a daily driver:

Washed it.


And here is what I did before I started using my nearly 40 year old 911SC as a daily driver:

Washed it.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:01 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ciao View Post
Did CV boots by Indy for approx $1100 lifetime warranty; Worth it
Wait..... WHAT?
Your indy gets $1100 for CV Boots?

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Old 09-12-2019, 04:27 AM   #13
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Wow. Here is what I did to my original Boxster before using it for a daily driver:

Washed it.


And here is what I did before I started using my nearly 40 year old 911SC as a daily driver:

Washed it.
This.

Sometimes y'all get way too wrapped up about these silly little cars. Do the maintenance, change the oil, keep the rev's up. Pretty simple really. They're tougher than you think.
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Old 09-12-2019, 05:03 AM   #14
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I agree with Red and Stone.

If you read the web forums "doom and gloom" posts too much, the paranoia will stop you from owning any car, really.

From my experience on car forums, you always see the "she broke" posts...that's what the forums are for - so we can all learn together and help with issues to keep these awesome cars on the road. People rarely post "nothing happened today, I enjoyed driving her"with rainbows, butterflies and puppy pics accompanying them.

Keep the maintenance up, fix what needs to be fixed now, save pennies for the "what ifs", or the "what I'd like dones", drive and enjoy.
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Old 09-12-2019, 06:11 AM   #15
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Drove a Boxster to work as usual. Nothing happened today, I enjoyed driving her. Oil changes are in October.
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Old 09-12-2019, 07:06 AM   #16
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There are two types folks here...1) wrench turners who can tackle even the most complicated repairs and 2) those who pay indies and dealers to fix their cars. They see the world differently.

I was in group 2 and drove my 01S for many years as a daily driver. When things broke, I paid someone else to fix the problem. The car and I parted ways at about 165K miles when the labor costs to replace the internal chain rails were greater than $6K, more than 5 times the cost of parts. Made no sense on a car with those miles given cumulative wear and tear on all systems.

My point is this. The labor costs will kill group 2 wallets faster than the costs of parts. This makes it more important for group 2 people to be more proactive in maintaining their cars. For example, if one can swap out an engine on their own, there's little need to address the IMS problem until the clutch needs replacing. On the other hand, if one needs to pay a shop to replace the engine, then addressing the IMS issue early makes sense if one intends to keep the car for many years to come.

It all comes down to several things: 1) your skills, 2) your willingness to take risks and 3) the size of your wallet. For me, I replaced my 986 with a 9 out of 10 condition 32 year old 951. Different feel, different look, but just as enjoyable for me.

986s aren't so unique or so rare that they aren't easily replaceable these days. Porsche has made them a commodity that is really fun to drive.
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:49 AM   #17
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The biggest item you need if a 18 year old German sports car is your daily driver is a back up car.
It's an 18 year old car. If they go down, even if you wrench yourself, the car is going to sit until parts get ordered, shipped and installed. While I used mine as a daily for a couple years, including winter driving with no issues I at least had my wife's car I could share.

I think that the more routinely you drive these cars the better they run but time is not on your side on some of the parts.

Many threads on preventive maintenance items

Depending on the seasons you need to go through will determine how All Season type tires you will need. I drove year round on Summer tires. Probably not such a great idea but it worked out for me
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:55 AM   #18
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Drove a Boxster to work as usual. Nothing happened today, I enjoyed driving her. Oil changes are in October.
You sir rock. lol

Nicely done.

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Old 09-12-2019, 10:47 AM   #19
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The biggest item you need if a 18 year old German sports car is your daily driver is a back up car.
Completely agree.

My 986 has been my DD for 10 of the last 12 years, and it has been a very reliable car (knock on wood), but things are going to break, and it probably won't be anything on the maintenance schedule that you could anticipate ahead of time (seat belt buckles, radiator fans, carbon in the throttle body, cracked coolant tank, etc). Preventative maintenance is a good idea for some things considering the age of OP's 986, but at only 45k don't waste money on things that don't need to be replaced yet. Drive it, enjoy it and have access to another car.
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Old 09-12-2019, 11:34 AM   #20
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The biggest item you need if a 18 year old German sports car is your daily driver is a back up car.
My backup car is more Boxsters.
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