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Old 01-28-2020, 09:09 AM   #1
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Advice on first Porsche: High or Low miles?

Hello Everyone,

Looking for some advice

When I was a kid I was really into Japanese cars,my favorite being the AW11 MR2.
As an adult wanted to switch it up and got a C5 corvette and love it, its sooo much faster than any car Ive had.

However, its a little on the big side for me, I wanted something I can push really hard at turns without being scared like I used to the MR2s I had.

Wanna try the 986 but wanna spend as close as to 10K or under as possible.

I am wondering if should I spend more and get a lower mileage one....like under 100K that might need IMS done and have other stuff about to break OR get a higher mileage one, 150k+, that should already have the IMS thing done to and hopefully major maintenance, at the cost of some wear? What do yall think?

Im in the Chicago area looking for an Black S with brown interior if you know a guy

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Old 01-28-2020, 09:26 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
if you like corners, you'll love the Boxster, even in base trim, so much more than the 'vette. If you've ever had the 'vette to the track, you already know that. ;-)

the difference in wear between 100k miles and 150k miles? negligible. The differences will be more about how the car is/has been cared for.

If you're prone to worry about the IMS (I'm not) then you'll find that there's very little increase in resale value for one that's done compared to one that's not. At least in my area.

Under $10k is easy. Shop for the one that makes you need it....
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Old 01-28-2020, 09:47 AM   #3
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IMS is problematic for both high and low mile cars albeit for different reasons.

High mile cars face wear and tear on their suspensions and drive train. Low mile cars face issues with aging seals and the like.

If it were me, I go low miles, replace the IMS with and IMS Solution and keep it for the long term. Part costs are your enemy and labor costs if you're not a wrench turner. With low mile cars you avoid many high price parts that need R&R.
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:25 AM   #4
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Part of the answer depends on who you are. Do you intend to do some of the maintenance yourself; have some experience and tools? Do you plan to take it to a dealership for most of the work? Pampered and polished with a high-end stereo, or a few paint chips on the nose and worn leather inside?

I agree with what Maytag that mileage is less important than how the car has been cared for. He bought his with about 150k miles on it and has flogged it on the track and done some major repairs himself.

I have a broad spectrum of 986s from 46k miles to over 180k miles. A car that has just under 100k miles, but has not had the suspension refreshed and coolant tank, AOS, and water pump replaced is likely to run up a lot more cost than a 140k mile car that has had all of that done. If you are not VERY familiar with these cars or excited about finding things that need to be fixed AFTER you buy the car, having a reputable Porsche mechanic do a Pre-Purchase Inspection (~$350) is money well spent. Personally I like to buy them cheap and find out whats wrong later, but after buying more than ten, there are still things I miss with my own inspection. An unbiased third party does it best.

IMS: Be wary of claims that the IMS has been replaced if there is no good documentation. Some cars I have seen just had the seal replaced and the owner considered the IMS fixed. Some people have had an IMS bearing start to fail (metal in the oil), then put a new one in and quickly sell the car before the damage to the rest of the engine presents itself. Not all IMS replacements are the same - I'm not going to push an argument about brands and styles here. Search, read and make a choice. My opinion is to have it done when you replace the clutch. It sure would suck to have one fail before the clutch needs to be changed though. Then again, it sucks to have a rod bolt break or cylinder head crack just after you do the IMS. These are 15 to 20 year old sports cars, there is inherent risk.

A water pump replacement at a shop could easily cost $1,000. DIY could be ~$250 for a Pierburg water pump and a couple hours of your time. A window or door latch that doesn't operate correctly could also cost near $1,000 to have fixed at a dealership and under $200 in new parts to fix yourself. We're here to help and Pelican Parts has some great articles: https://www.pelicanparts.com/boxster/boxster_tech.htm ...a good fresh paint job is probably the most expensive repair one of these car can have other than an engine replacement.

That's enough for one post. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 01-28-2020, 10:57 AM   #5
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Please also consider how the transmission is behaving as a part of your PPI and test drive. I cannot speak for the manual transmissions, but the Tiptronic do have some issues with age for sure.
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Old 01-28-2020, 01:26 PM   #6
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I agree with what Maytag that mileage is less important than how the car has been cared for.
I think you are getting some great advice so far. The only additional comment I would make is that you can do the vast majority of work yourself and that it is a great learning experience to do so. I've learned a lot taking on projects on my Porsche because of the excellent advice of this forum & the DIY nature of most of the folks here. You probably will need a trusted Porsche indy to back you up, but generally you can save a lot and learn a lot by doing some wrenching yourself. Buy a car that has been well-maintained even if it costs a bit more if you are not super-mechanically proficient (that's me). You will learn a lot no matter what path you choose...
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:23 AM   #7
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Wow, good advice.

I've never owned a Porsche but I wouldn't dare consider getting one if I couldn't do all the work myself. I'm not expecting these cars to be as easy to work on as a Honda, Toyota, or Corvette, but I am up for the challenge.

Ill research how hard and how much it is to do the IMS the right way myself.

I guess I was thinking if I get one with more than a certain amount of miles is it more likely that the IMS was done.

I am also interested in these cars because I can imagine them depreciating any further, I am thinking I can buy one and after a few years sell it and get most my money back.
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:50 AM   #8
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... I've never owned a Porsche but I wouldn't dare consider getting one if I couldn't do all the work myself. I'm not expecting these cars to be as easy to work on as a Honda, Toyota, or Corvette, but I am up for the challenge. ...
Before buying my first Boxster, I had worked mostly on '90s and early 2000s Honda Civics, Accords, and CR-Vs. I would much rather work on a Porsche now than a Honda. Most jobs are easier once I learned the basics of the design. Having a parts car to strip really helped the learning curve too.
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Old 01-29-2020, 09:10 PM   #9
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... I am thinking I can buy one and after a few years sell it and get most my money back.
The only Porsche where this strategy will work is for an air-cooled 911.

On average, you will put more into a 20 yr old Boxster than you will get back at the time of re-sale. Those under $10K cars are great to own and drive, but you're almost guaranteed to have $12K+ in it by the time you list it for $8,500. The reason for most of the cost differential will be deferred maintenance of the previous owner and/or replacing worn components (like suspension). This is why a PPI is so important (so you don't over pay for a car that looks great but will need quite a bit of work to get it up to a reasonable standard of ownership).
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Old 01-30-2020, 11:19 AM   #10
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but you're almost guaranteed to have $12K+ in it by the time you list it for $8,500.
or, like me, $20K
but it looks great, sounds great, drives great, and when I track, I know all the problem areas have been addressed
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:10 PM   #11
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Find a car you like. Check maintenance history. Get PPI.

Make your decision based on the facts you have.
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Old 02-03-2020, 08:35 AM   #12
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or, like me, $20K
but it looks great, sounds great, drives great, and when I track, I know all the problem areas have been addressed
Damn yall spending $12K to $20K on a 986 maintenance?!?!?!?

You got me shook, what could be broken that requires so much money? Did yall take it to the dealer?

I thought I could buy a 986 for $10K and loose $2K at most on sale, S2000 or AW11 looking good right about now.
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:20 AM   #13
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I perform all the work myself. Every bit of money I have into my car is for parts but not all are for maintenance or repairs. for example, 3 sets of wheels/tires, new body panels and paint to repair the car, Litronic headlights, floor mats, cupholders, laminX etc
I also spent $3000 on H&R springs, sport shocks, and every last suspension item was replaced with new.
$600 new brake rotors, pads, fluid, lines

the only true repairs were to change motor/transmission mounts, replace a CV joint that broke, and a new Evap Purge valve. the rest of it (clutch, flywheel, IMS bearing, fluids, etc) was all "while you're in there" stuff
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:23 AM   #14
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Damn yall spending $12K to $20K on a 986 maintenance?!?!?!?

You got me shook, what could be broken that requires so much money? Did yall take it to the dealer?

I thought I could buy a 986 for $10K and loose $2K at most on sale, S2000 or AW11 looking good right about now.
well, I suspect fro most people who've done that, it's 'cuz they caught the DISEASE..... haha.

Any 20 year old car, if you get caught-up in making things like-new, can cost you well north of those numbers. But you don't need it to be new.

I think if you took a poll here, you'd find that the maintenance costs range between about $200 and $1000 year. Someone got mad at me for saying so, recently, haha, so I'll include some outliers that say possibly as much as $2000/yr. but that's very rare.

When you egt to spending money is when you get to modifying, or going into "restoration" as opposed to maintenance. OR - Track Breakage, as is the case for me, haha.
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Old 02-03-2020, 10:26 AM   #15
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well, I suspect fro most people who've done that, it's 'cuz they caught the DISEASE..... haha.

Any 20 year old car, if you get caught-up in making things like-new, can cost you well north of those numbers. But you don't need it to be new.
that describes me
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Old 02-03-2020, 11:30 PM   #16
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I’ve spent WAY more on my Jeep than my 986... but there are a couple of good “rules” to live buy when buying a used Porsche... 1. The are no “cheap” Porsches. The can be similar to most cars but never cheap. 2. Buy the latest model you can afford (given the model variants). All of the above advice is spot on. One thing to know... a Porsche IS a Porsche, and bang for the buck, a Boxster simply cannot be beat.
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Old 02-10-2020, 02:07 PM   #17
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I've got both...a 2002 Boxster S with 115,000 miles, and a 2000 911 with 33,000. Love 'em both. Best piece of advice is what Geof3 said - there are no "cheap" Porsches. In both cases I've put the appropriate money & work in and both are terrific cars. As long as you go in with eyes open and are ready to properly care for whatever you buy, you'll be happy.

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