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Old 05-10-2020, 06:36 PM   #1
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Buying a 986 Boxster

Iíve been obsessed with Porsches ever since I got into cars but never considered an older one, expecting thousands in maintenance annually. I recently saw a YT video claiming they werenít that bad and Iíve seen a few saying the same thing and read an article or two also claiming theyíre not too bad - just typical 20 year old cars.

Is this too good to be true?

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Old 05-10-2020, 06:47 PM   #2
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Buying a 986 Boxster

Yeah that sounds about right. Theyíre just 20-some year old cars. If you take care of everything the car is in need of right off the bat, maintenance thereafter is very reasonable. The 986 has its faults but so does every other car out there. Just know what to look after. Also, if youíre willing to do all the wrenching yourself, your only expenses will be for parts! Thatís what I do. Working on the car myself is very therapeutic for me (and makes the wallet happy).

A lot of people like to say, ďThe cheapest Porsche youíll own is the most expensive one you buy.Ē

I donít think that necessarily applies to a brand new model, but it certainly applies to the older Porscheís, such as these 986s.
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Old 05-10-2020, 06:53 PM   #3
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Buy one and find out. Do your homework.

If you do the work yourself you save a lot of money. I bought one that was abused and needed work. High kms. Not pretty etc. So price reflected that.

I am into it for parts alone for about 1/3 what I paid for the car and have done all the work myself (with a lot of help from this and other forums and YouTube etc.). But virtually everything that needs to be done as far an engine maintenance and suspension is done and I have nice wheels and good rubber too. I have enjoyed the journey and have been rewarded with a very fun car to drive. It has almost satiated my original desires to buy a 911.

I figure I still have another 30% in car value to go to finish everything ( body work, getting the alarm system (CLU - etc) to work. But none of that is necessary for that satisfying, analog sports car drive.

So I would call that basically a 20yo car experience. Hope that helps. Good luck.
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Old 05-10-2020, 07:23 PM   #4
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My experience may be atypical but I purchased an 04S with 29k miles 2 years ago from our local Porsche dealer. Since then I got new tires, did the 60K service at 30K since the car came with no maintenance history. Changed the trans fluid and filter and an annual oil change. I have not had any mechanical or electrical issues and have a bit over 40K miles on the car now And the IMS has not been changed. Rick
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Old 05-10-2020, 10:21 PM   #5
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Basic maintenance can cost thousands if you have to take the car to a dealership or reputable shop to have work done. A few examples; torn CV shaft boot, water pump, or coolant tank replacement can easily cost near $1,000 to have done and they are all very common maintenance items on a car this age. If you can do the work yourself, those jobs can each cost $200 or less to do. Do you have basic mechanical skills, a place to work, and tools?

Generally the statement that it is just like any other 20 year old car can apply. BUT consider that it is a Sports Car and a German Engineered car.
In a 986 thread on another forum a guy said he broke a mirror while working on his car.
Reply: "Oh no! Broken mirror is how many years of bad luck? Is there a Porsche multiplier?"

Reply: "There is ALWAYS a Porsche multiplier."
Best luck to you whatever you decide, buy well.
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Old 05-11-2020, 04:58 AM   #6
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I have a 99. I agree with all of the above. They break just like every other car. The dealers will clean you out and I found they really are not worth what they get paid. At the very least find a reputable, honest, knowledgeable Indy. I finally found one and he is great. But I usually do all my own wrenching its fun and not that difficult but can be time consuming and you need to be comfortable laying on your back in a cold garage. Owners treat these cars like sacred cows, they are automobiles just like a Jetta or Camry. I love working on all my cars as much as possible. You really gain an appreciation for the engineering that has gone into these cars and once you get into it you will find they are not that difficult. Also, this forum and many others are a great source of information and most members are very willing to share experiences/advice. Connect with local owners they can help but most I have found to be the "sacred cow" type of owners. Oh and if you do choose to work on your car, find the nearest Harbor Freight, they will be your best friend!!
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Old 05-12-2020, 04:35 AM   #7
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The only way these cars are affordable is like everyone has said, do the work yourself. Dealer labor will set you back $150 an hour or more, and Indy service is $90 and up. Most common repairs are water pump, AOS, thermostat, CV shaft boots. Wheel bearings and struts and suspension links. All are aftermarket supplied for at least 50% less than OEM.

Dealer water pump replacement start at $600. Parts are $130-$180 aftermarket.

The bottom line is this is one of the most affordable, fun to drive car out there today. Handling is ++. power in the S is good and base is acceptable.
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Old 05-12-2020, 05:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djryan2000 View Post
I’ve been obsessed with Porsches ever since I got into cars but never considered an older one, expecting thousands in maintenance annually. I recently saw a YT video claiming they weren’t that bad and I’ve seen a few saying the same thing and read an article or two also claiming they’re not too bad - just typical 20 year old cars.

Is this too good to be true?
Yes too good to be true. If you get one that has been well maintained then you have a fighting chance. You will have to source all parts, Napa only caries oil filters, everything else is online. You need to DIY these unless your trying to lighten your heavy wallet. Once you own you will start to slip into the preventative maintenance black hole (Replacing good work parts just because they are old). Also you will want to put the performance goodies to match the car's performance capabilities, like tires, summer tires. They only last maybe 15-20k miles and you have to find a tire shop that will mount them.
Don't buy a 986 expecting maintenance to be brake pads, tires and oil changes.
Buy it because you want a 986 Porsche Boxster and all the fun that they are to drive and expect that that has a cost to it. (Like anything that truly puts a huge goofy grin on your face)
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Old 05-12-2020, 05:54 AM   #9
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WOW! $600 for a water pump! I have replaced mine twice along with upgrade to lower temp thermostat and engine mount. Doing work myself I am oblivious to dealer costs of normal maintenance.
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Old 05-12-2020, 04:44 PM   #10
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I bought a 2001S with maybe 30k miles on it. But with no maintenance history, I quickly did a 90k (most comprehensive) service, alignment, tires and brakes. Over the next 5 years I changed the oil and filters and an O2 sensor at a muffler shop. Lots cheaper maintenance than my Honda with the same miles over that time period.

But it is now a ~20 year car and things deteriorate over time and wear out with use. Know the person you are buying from, buy an enthusiasts car and learn the maintenance history. Let the previous owner pay for sove of the wear out items.
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:42 AM   #11
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Hi

I was actually in the same situation and instead of opening a duplicate thread thought coming here ... hope its ok ?

I'd be looking at an older S - for weekend fun. How do people here feel about doing maintenance yourself - if you have never done it before ?
Im reading conflicting info about the 986 with some people saying its a easy to work with, and other saying the exact opposite.
Of course I understand it depend a lot of what the job IS , but for basic maintenance like changing oil and filters, maybe a water pump or belt, or a headlight ...this sort of stuff. Not complete engine rebuild : )
Never done those before but keen to learn.

Another thing is, I already own a Porsche, a 718 cayman, for daily driving, and sure one is a hard top and the other one is a convertible, and the two are separated by over 20 years - but the two are also 2 seater sport cars - and I wonder how diferent the experience would be -

And finally - would you feel confortable at leaving the car outside, on a private driveway, in a midly cold but very wet climate (Scotland). How well does it fare with rust ?


(I am also concidering a Z3, if people have experience with that one too.)

thanks !

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Old 05-15-2020, 04:46 AM   #12
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Hi

I was actually in the same situation and instead of opening a duplicate thread thought coming here ... hope its ok ?

I'd be looking at an older S - for weekend fun. How do people here feel about doing maintenance yourself - if you have never done it before ?
Im reading conflicting info about the 986 with some people saying its a easy to work with, and other saying the exact opposite.
Of course I understand it depend a lot of what the job IS , but for basic maintenance like changing oil and filters, maybe a water pump or belt, or a headlight ...this sort of stuff. Not complete engine rebuild : )
Never done those before but keen to learn.

Another thing is, I already own a Porsche, a 718 cayman, for daily driving, and sure one is a hard top and the other one is a convertible, and the two are separated by over 20 years - but the two are also 2 seater sport cars - and I wonder how diferent the experience would be -

And finally - would you feel confortable at leaving the car outside, on a private driveway, in a midly cold but very wet climate (Scotland). How well does it fare with rust ?


(I am also concidering a Z3, if people have experience with that one too.)

thanks !
Doing your own work is not that difficult, even for 1st timers. Just start with easy jobs and work your way up as your confidence builds. There are plenty of instructions available, whether online or in book form. If you don't have a good set of automotive tools, you'll be making quite a few trips to the auto store for special tools. But hey, it's not a project unless you have to buy a new tool! I'm working on a 928 project and I'm up to 13 new tools (I've worked on cars for yrs, so I'm not some rookie).

718 vs 986...
Digital vs analog. While they are distant relatives, they are 5 generations apart. The thrills will be relatively the same but entirely different. I own both an 08 Box S and Cayman S. While these are basically the same car, there are still differences between them. The gap will be quite a bit bigger between a 718 and 986. Not that you won't like the 986, but it will seem substantially different on how it executes the mission.

Sitting outside...
You shouldn't have to worry about rust as Porsche does a good job with protecting them. Unless someone left a rock chip deteriorate, there shouldn't be rust situations. However, what you will need to take extra care of are the drain holes. If they get clogged and you leave it out in a rainy environment, your floors will flood or get wet. That's fatal as Porsche placed the CPU under the driver's seat - a perfect place for water to accumulate and fry it. Window seals are also important for the same reason. These aren't game stoppers but more important to maintain if you're going to store a convertible (any convertible) outside in wet conditions.
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Old 05-15-2020, 06:19 AM   #13
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You shouldn't have to worry about rust as Porsche does a good job with protecting them. Unless someone left a rock chip deteriorate, there shouldn't be rust situations. However, what you will need to take extra care of are the drain holes. If they get clogged and you leave it out in a rainy environment, your floors will flood or get wet. That's fatal as Porsche placed the CPU under the driver's seat - a perfect place for water to accumulate and fry it.
This is important. I related to this, I can also add, that if your roof is having any issues, make sure you look into it. If the end cap on the arm that moves your roof breaks you will end up tearing the "foam pan" that makes sure water stays out of the car. And you get the same issue. Ask me how I know! Some POs (Previous Owners)! But it's all fixable!
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:30 AM   #14
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Had a 20 year old coolant hose blow. Had the car towed home and decided instead of replacing the one hose, Since I could not verify if anything else had been done, the replace everything I could think of in the cooling system, New pump, thermostat, all hoses cost me about 380$. Doing the work myself in the morning. I consider it extremely reasonable money for all the parts. Labor would have made it a 1000$ job easy.

Like others have said, Maintenance is not bad if you can do most of the wrenching yourself.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:12 PM   #15
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If you shop wisely on maintenance items and do your own work, the ownership cost is not high. Yesterday I replaced trailing arms and rear LCAs on a rented lift for $659 (lift was $200 of that total). The new parts were made in Germany, but had the Porsche mark ground off. That was the only difference.
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:45 AM   #16
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Hi, thanks for all your answers, very helpful !

Indeed, looks like if I can do at least some of the work myself, maintenance cost is very reasonable ! Thats a very good point for the 986 - I wish I could say as much for the 718 ! That one is still under warranty though so for now at least, no worries.

What do you think of high milleage 986 ? I have seen some people saying its actually safer to find a 100k+ that have been well maintained vs a lower milleage one, because of the IMS bearing issue - the logic would be that if a car make it to the 100k its highly unlikely the IMS issue will appear.
I spotted a 89K miles that fit the spec I'm looking for 4K pounds (S, Black, tan leather interior, thats its) - which seem reasonable to me - assuming nothing really bad is lurking inside.
There is some 100K+ for about the same price ...
High milleage and low price is key to me on that one - I cant justify paying a lot more for a fun weekend car.

I still have a bit of time before really comitting, not exactly the best time to go about try cars with whats happening in the world just now ! Hopefully before summer end.
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:12 AM   #17
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the logic would be that if a car make it to the 100k its highly unlikely the IMS issue will appear.
That is not logic, just theories and assumptions. You know what happens when you assume - you make an ass out of u & me. There are too many unknowns about IMS to assign stone cold facts to anything about it. Your best bet is to find a Boxster with as much maintenance documentation as possible. It will give you a baseline for what's been done and what will need doing. Part of that maintenance should include oil change history, which may be an indicator of IMS longevity, regardless of age but it's not the final indicator. You should look for oil change mileage ranges from 5-8K mi or annually if the mileage is < 5K mi annually. Clean oil keeps the IMS bearing cleaner.

There's volumes of IMS threads available, none of which are THE definitive answer. Search and read up on the topic and make your own decisions.
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Old 05-16-2020, 07:15 AM   #18
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My 2001 Boxster S went 200,000 miles before the engine threw a rod, just installed a used motor with 100k on it... pretty sure with regular maintenance Ill get another 100k out of it. If you can I felt that the S model is worth the extra dollars over the base model. I did a little video on the big differences for both a while back, here is the link: https://youtu.be/MmEkqvWf_Yk

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Old 05-16-2020, 10:05 AM   #19
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Nice video ! I had no idea the S had one more gear, really sound like a diferent beast from the base. This confort me in my choice for the S.

I ll keep note of the oil change vs milleage too, ... and definietly read the forum a lot more, doesnt sounds like dealers will reopen anytime soon where I am anyway, I have time to read.

thanks for the tips.
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Old 05-16-2020, 04:45 PM   #20
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I used a car cover and the car sometimes sat with a foot of snow on it or a sheet of ice. I was always super careful where I parked it knowing that debris could clog the drain holes.

I did all the simple things and found them simple once I had the right tools and had done the research on how to do them. It isn't a 1930s simple car. But it isn't tough to get at things (cover your belt buckle).

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