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Old 03-17-2020, 04:14 PM   #1
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lower price vs higher price boxster

Hello,

I am looking for my first Boxster , so excited !!!
Decided to look in years 1999 to 2004

A ton of them are sold by short time owners (a couple of months to a couple of years)
and I avoided these, looking for long term owners who took care of their cars and
have maintenance history.

Until now have seen and drove 7 of them.

What I would like to ask here would interest many future 1st time buyers, as they
might have the same dilemma as I have.

I Have 2 options -

$4K-$5K "cheap" 1999 boxter with 120K miles, in fair condition (some paint pealing off in the front), owner from 2003

$10K "more expensive" 2004 boster with 60K, looks OK, not amazing, owner from 2011

From maintenance records I saw that the only big job done on the 1999 was replacing a water pump in 2013.

On the 2004 I did not see anything major that was done.

So on both I expect they will need (probably sooner than later) a clutch (maybe ims replaced), aos, water pump, coils etc. (and definitely new tires now)

meaning I would have to add at least $5K to the initial price in both.

I read here that it doesn't really matter which Boxster you buy,
after 5-10 years it will cost you $20K.

I have never worked on any of my cars, but am a fast learner and willing to learn to do the basic maintenance and small things (not change clutch etc.)

My question is which one would you choose in my case ?

Thank you so much !!!

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Old 03-17-2020, 05:54 PM   #2
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My answer...

is neither.

My background. Owned a '99 and wrecked it and bought a '01S and drove it for maybe 6 years and sold it. Both wonderful cars.

You can read about the year to year changes to Boxsters here.

But I'd buy neither. I'd go looking for a car that an enthusiast owned and maintained and had records of a lot of those things you listed as already done.

And even before I did that I'd find a great mechanic I wanted to work with on the big things and ask them if they knew of a car that was such a car.

Boxsters are often a car for a certain time in a car nuts life. In my example, I had 3 sports cars before marriage. Two after the kids were out of school, the house paid off and retirement clearly secured.

Both of my Boxsters were two owners before me. In both cases I knew and verified the seller's reason for selling .. needed room in the garage for a Hummer and needed a car that could take clients for a new job.

My second Boxster I had a great mechanic do the PPI and I knew going in I wanted a 90k service, new tires, and alignment and a complete brake job. I sold it after it was 10 years old (garage space and lack of use as I no longer commuted) and it was on an original AOS and water pump. Not that they couldn't have gone at any moment. In 6 years I replaced the battery and put on a set of tires.

The guy who bought it from me said he bought it because I wouldn't let him even drive it until he had a 20 minute briefing on its condition. I had another buyer begging for the car. Enthusiast owned cars are out there. Find a mechanic and have him help you find one.
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Old 03-17-2020, 06:06 PM   #3
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The "cheaper" one. Don't get blinded by low mileage. Rubber degrades with age it doesn't care about mileage.

The cheaper one will get you just as many kicks as the more expensive one, and it'll have just as many problems IMO.

But like Mr. Burton is fond of saying: don't take my word for it
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Old 03-17-2020, 06:14 PM   #4
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What Mike said.
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Old 03-17-2020, 07:47 PM   #5
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Don't necessarily discount short time ownership. 2 seater sports cars are lifestyle vehicles. Something might change in their life - get married, get divorced, get laid off, retiring / downsizing, etc. Or they may have bought the snazzy sports car on a whim and then found out a 2 seater is too impractical for their situation or they don't need a weekend fun car. I have friend who owned a Boxster for less than a yr. In order for him to drive it to work, he had to drive his 2 kids in his pickup to school, go back home, then drive the Box to work. Then turn around and do the same after work. There was nothing wrong with his Boxster. Just be sure there's history that goes with it, esp oil change history (hopefully changed every 5-8K mi or annually). Someone with short ownership may be motivated to sell.

And Boxsters are relatively easy to work on. The basic maintenance jobs are all DIY capable. Join you local PCA club and become active. Find the people who do DEs - they'll be able to teach you some of the maintenance projects or answer questions.
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Old 03-17-2020, 08:52 PM   #6
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Old 03-17-2020, 09:26 PM   #7
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My first Boxster was a 1999 for $5,000. It had lots of minor problems, but didn't need anything done to be a fun daily driver. Because of the relatively low entry cost (Most Boxsters were going for about $10K at the time), I was comfortable learning and doing my own work. For me it worked out well. I enjoyed and improved the car, then sold it and bought more. ...and more. Just be aware that these are all about 20 years old at this point and there is risk of failure in ANY 20 year old car

The right car for you depends a lot on you. The questions you've asked have been asked and received a broad range of answers; some contradictory, but still correct. Here's a few thoughts off the top of my head:
  • 1999s are the best all around 986.
  • If you don't buy an S model you will regret it.
  • Replace the IMS bearing immediately if you have a 2001 or later.
  • Don't worry about replacing the IMS bearing unless you worry about the IMS bearing.
  • Buy the newest, lowest mile car that you can afford.
  • Stay away from low mile cars, ones that have been driven and maintained will hold up better.
  • Don't consider buying a 986 without having a PPI done by a Porsche specialist.
  • Why pay $350 to have a $5,000 car inspected at a shop?
  • A car with 100,000 miles should have the whole suspension replaced with new parts for $10,000 at a dealership.
  • Yep, there's a little rattle when I go over bumps, but it drives fine.

I'll stop there, but it's all been written over and over.
For you I'll advise: Look at cars for $7k to $9K. Offer $6K to 8K. Do not buy one with major paint damage - Paint is expensive and it should hold up well on these cars unless it has been in an accident or been neglected. Buy one that has had frequent oil changes. Operate the top and the windows and the locks. Two keys are good. Just one key is a $500 discount on a higher priced car. If the money you are spending matters, have a PPI done. S model or base does not matter. ...unless it matters to You. Fun is fun.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 03-18-2020, 02:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 78F350 View Post
My first Boxster was a 1999 for $5,000. It had lots of minor problems, but didn't need anything done to be a fun daily driver. Because of the relatively low entry cost (Most Boxsters were going for about $10K at the time), I was comfortable learning and doing my own work. For me it worked out well. I enjoyed and improved the car, then sold it and bought more. ...and more. Just be aware that these are all about 20 years old at this point and there is risk of failure in ANY 20 year old car

The right car for you depends a lot on you. The questions you've asked have been asked and received a broad range of answers; some contradictory, but still correct. Here's a few thoughts off the top of my head:
  • 1999s are the best all around 986.
  • If you don't buy an S model you will regret it.
  • Replace the IMS bearing immediately if you have a 2001 or later.
  • Don't worry about replacing the IMS bearing unless you worry about the IMS bearing.
  • Buy the newest, lowest mile car that you can afford.
  • Stay away from low mile cars, ones that have been driven and maintained will hold up better.
  • Don't consider buying a 986 without having a PPI done by a Porsche specialist.
  • Why pay $350 to have a $5,000 car inspected at a shop?
  • A car with 100,000 miles should have the whole suspension replaced with new parts for $10,000 at a dealership.
  • Yep, there's a little rattle when I go over bumps, but it drives fine.

I'll stop there, but it's all been written over and over.
For you I'll advise: Look at cars for $7k to $9K. Offer $6K to 8K. Do not buy one with major paint damage - Paint is expensive and it should hold up well on these cars unless it has been in an accident or been neglected. Buy one that has had frequent oil changes. Operate the top and the windows and the locks. Two keys are good. Just one key is a $500 discount on a higher priced car. If the money you are spending matters, have a PPI done. S model or base does not matter. ...unless it matters to You. Fun is fun.

Welcome to the forum.
That's the most contradictory advise I have ever read. Are you joking? It's hard to tell when we can't see your facial expressions.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by piper6909 View Post
That's the most contradictory advise I have ever read. Are you joking? ...
Yes and no...

Added for clarity: Everything in my bullet list comes from responses to similar "what car" threads posted here over the years. The variety of responses has much to do with the personality, capability, and experiences of the forum members who posted them. Which opposing statement is correct will all depend on the personality, capability, and experiences of the buyer. I don't think that ANY of those statements is wrong. I think that they are all true opinions of people who posted them trying to be helpful. The buyer needs to choose which ones are true to them. ...too deep?

Mike's Boxster pages and his advice have been one of my favorite resources over my years of ownership. My purchases and experiences are well outside the curve of 'normal', but I have seen quite a bit of good and bad in the dozen 986s I've bought. I have seen people do everything right and still end up with a $10,000 roller a few months later or buy a cheap, high mile car and put another 50k trouble free miles on it. The advice that I gave at the end of my post was legit.
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Last edited by 78F350; 03-18-2020 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 03-18-2020, 05:06 AM   #10
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Ty_whels, do you DIY at all?

Personally, I think this is at the crux of the question.
If you do, then you can afford to buy a cheap car because if it ends up needing something, you can handle just about anything relatively inexpensively.

But if you don't, you'd better follow something closer to wyat mikefoche said.... you'll pay a BUNCH more, but not asd much as you'd be paying someone to do that work. Take a look at what shops charge for simple repairs, and you may be motivated to rethink DIY.

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Old 03-18-2020, 09:44 AM   #11
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Its hard to get better advice than what Mike Foche, JayG and Husker (Terry) provide. They are the best. I would only add some additional thoughts/opinions:
1) Buy the very best car that you can afford. Don't try to go on the cheap. You'll only get frustrated.
2) Have it inspected, period. Even a seller that you may know or trust very much, may not be aware of something wrong.
3) Don't kid yourself, if you are not a DIYer, plan a maintenance budget. These cars do need maintenance and the maintenance is not especially cheap.
4) Probably the most important aspect is don't buy one of these without a detailed maintenance record. This tells you what has been done and what needs to be done.
5) Get the IMSB work done. Some may disagree, but peace of mind is worth a lot. Figure the cost into your purchase price.

Good luck.
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Old 03-18-2020, 10:52 AM   #12
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Fixing to sell my '00S. For what most will consider a stupid high price. Its okay. I have all records from new - just bought another binder for receipts. Three keys. New all those things that die young or replaced just for added peace of mind: all books from new, plus 101 and Bentley. 2-row ims replaced the original (the original comes with the car and looks new), new clutch, rms, water pump, motor and xmission mounts, upgraded stereo - CDR220 with new 5-channel amp and 8 new speakers, aftermarket rear proximity warning system, Joe Toth rear spoiler, the umbrella, the driver's rear view mirror with the parabolic outer third, test pipes, new Michelin PilotSport A/S 3+ and probably more. I kept everything that I changed, so the new owner may return anything or everything to original. Everything Porsche I have goes with the car. Third owner. Car turned 47,700 miles yesterday. AND it looks amazing! Car is parked several months a year while I travel. The other months it does not rest. I'm 71, this is my 3rd Porsche, and as much fun as it is - best of the 3 - I should have taken better care of myself early on. Point is, as sound as all the advice you've received, there are some 986s in the world that are worth more than $10,000. Recent events are delaying my selling the car. It seems that while the world is suffering a tp shortage, its not a good time to sell. A car.
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Old 03-18-2020, 02:07 PM   #13
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Search around for a ~10K S ~80k miles or so.

In the end you'll like the S a little better -- and there's no maintenance difference.

They will all need water pumps, overflow bottles, probably an ignition switch and head lamp switch,
maybe an AOS at some point, probably a rear window at some point as well.

The car's a driver, but also a looker -- so don't skimp on a bad paint job. You'll regret it.

Find one, drive the crap out of it and she's likely to keep you smiling for sometime.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:03 PM   #14
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appreciate all the answers guys. This forum is truly amazing,

I hope that one day I will be able to return the same good advice you gave me, to another newbie.

After I got plenty of info on the good and bad in owning a boxster
I signed up to the PCA test drive, and they connected me to the top independent Porche mechanic in the area.

I went to visit him, we had a nice chat and he gave me costs for all the big repairs/replacements.

I also asked him to help me find one, so far nothing.

Having so much information on the boxster is a blessing and a curse.
I got some sellers pissed, they just want to dump their cars on the next Porsche enthusiast
w/o participating in the cost of any repair, but since I got educated I know what to look for.

so I decided to also look for cars in other states.
I actually got in-touch with a guy owning 3 Porsche's so I think
he's a real enthusiast which is good, and his car has all the big things fixed.

So now I have to learn how to buy a car in another state,
so have to figure out the best way of doing it remotely.
(ppi is a must, I would not pass on that even with a local seller).

As for DIY, I never did anything, but am a good learner and not afraid of challenges,
if folks can change their oil, brake fluid/pads so can I,
something bigger I go to the expert (if you want to play you have to pay)

so that's it, again, thank you very much and I wish everyone here stay safe and warm in this storm.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ty_wheels View Post
appreciate all the answers guys. This forum is truly amazing,

I hope that one day I will be able to return the same good advice you gave me, to another newbie.

After I got plenty of info on the good and bad in owning a boxster
I signed up to the PCA test drive, and they connected me to the top independent Porche mechanic in the area.

I went to visit him, we had a nice chat and he gave me costs for all the big repairs/replacements.

I also asked him to help me find one, so far nothing.

Having so much information on the boxster is a blessing and a curse.
I got some sellers pissed, they just want to dump their cars on the next Porsche enthusiast
w/o participating in the cost of any repair, but since I got educated I know what to look for.

so I decided to also look for cars in other states.
I actually got in-touch with a guy owning 3 Porsche's so I think
he's a real enthusiast which is good, and his car has all the big things fixed.

So now I have to learn how to buy a car in another state,
so have to figure out the best way of doing it remotely.
(ppi is a must, I would not pass on that even with a local seller).

As for DIY, I never did anything, but am a good learner and not afraid of challenges,
if folks can change their oil, brake fluid/pads so can I,
something bigger I go to the expert (if you want to play you have to pay)

so that's it, again, thank you very much and I wish everyone here stay safe and warm in this storm.
If you;re expanding your search...
I've had my eye on this one: (LINK)

We have a member of this forum (pcarferher) who lives basically right there, and probably knows this car. (it's a small town)

But follow that site for a search... it'll net you half-a dozen or so 986 Boxsters.


Now... me, personally? I'm of a different mind-set than many others on this forum. I look at these as I look at any other 20-yr old car..... What condition it's in right now is told through an inspection and a drive.... not from a stack of receipts. I've bought and sold a lot of cars.... the car I bought 3 weeks ago is car # 77 in my life. I've never, ever asked for a maintenance history. And frankly, if anybody ever asked me for one on a car I'm selling, I'd politely snicker at them and go back in the house. My cars are very well maintained, and upgraded usually. And if you can't tell that, then you're not really a serious buyer. And I won't have someone walking around looking for imperfections ON A 20YR OLD CAR, looking for bargaining points..... IT'S A 20 YR OLD CAR..... WORTH LESS THAN $10K!!
That's just me, and I realize on this forum I'm in a minority.... but somebody looking at a sub-$20k used car that's 20 yrs old and will never really appreciate considerably, asking for a maintenance history? or worse: seeking a PPI? Yeah..... I'ma snicker at ya, and then once I'm inside I'll let out a full-blown guffaw.

As for buying out of state: it's pretty easy. My current '03 Boxster S I bought sight-unseen from a dealer across the country, and shipped it here. there's not a ton to it.

Last edited by maytag; 03-18-2020 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 03-18-2020, 06:37 PM   #16
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Maytag, I don't think you're in a minority in your thinking. I tend to agree....these cars are so much fun for the $ but like you say, they're old...things happen.

My 2003 911 just decided to start to leak a little a little brake fluid out of drivers front caliper. No idea why a beautiful, garage kept car with 75K miles would do that! Wait....its 17 years old! Maybe that's it. My repair will not be documented for new (someday) owner. Why bother.
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:59 PM   #17
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I'm with tag. I mean it's a 20 year old car. It's not an investment. Take it for a test drive check for oil leak or whatever and buy the thing. So you drive it part time a couple years and sell it for the same or a little less. You can have some fun. If it's any more than that it might not be the right car
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Old 03-19-2020, 03:29 AM   #18
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Count me in that minority. I bought mine with no PPI and no maintenance history. While I didn't know anything about Porches at the time, I know a little about cars, and rod knocks! (Inside joke between me and Maytag HAHA!)

I knew basically what to look for and the lack of maintenance history actually helped me bargain.
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Old 03-19-2020, 05:08 AM   #19
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Buying A Car Out of State

Expanding your range to find a car will really open up your options. I'm a hobbyist Wheeler Dealer, buying & selling late model Boxsters & Caymans. The cars I buy to sell are always out of state. I will fly in and drive it home. I'm in Neb and have gone as far away as LA and Philly for cars. Granted, the cars I buy are 5-10 yrs old, not 20, but the only issue I've ever had are oil overfills (twice sellers had overfilled). Doing a road trip is a great way to get to know your car.

If you find a car that's within driving distance in another state, enlist a friend and go on a road trip to buy it. That way you have a backup vehicle if your Box has an issue. If you're buying from out of state, defn have a PPI done.

When I'm buying a car, I generally pay by cashier's check. Ask if the seller will do that. When I'm selling a car, I ask if the buyer has a branch of their bank in my town. If they do, I pick him / her up at the airport and we go to their bank, where they draw a cashier's check. That way I know it's good. If they don't have a branch in town, then we go to my bank and do a wire-to-wire bank transfer. This is more complicated due to the rules of banks (late afternoon transfers may not go thru til next day, no Sat transfers, etc), but it is non-disputable. No doubt on the money and it's not reversible.

Absolutely validate the VIN on the title with the vehicle. Then be VERY careful when writing the mileage in on the title. My DMV rejected a title because they couldn't tell if one of the # was a 4 or 7. This was from the car from LA and I had quite a few sleepless nights getting a new title from the previous owner.
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Old 03-19-2020, 01:53 PM   #20
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I can't advise you, but I can tell you I chose the more expensive option because I don't wrench my own cars, and I wanted as hassle-free as I could get. So far it's worked out great! Alllllmost to 48k miles now on my 04. Good luck with your decision!

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