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Old 10-17-2006, 09:49 PM   #1
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Opinions on 2000 Boxster S?

Hi guys,

I'm brand new to the forum, but note that this forum seems both informative and well-run.

My brother has offered to sell me his near-mint 2000 Boxster S in silver/black. It has about 26K miles.

It has the hard top, leather, etc.

I helped him pick it up when it was about 1 year old and still under warrantee. He has cared for it meticulously, and it has been a garage queen the whole time. Never out in rain, etc.

I currently own a '95 Mazda RX7 that I have owned since it was new. I have enjoyed the speed of the RX7, and the razor-sharp handling. I admit, I have been very disappointed in the build quality and lack of reliability of the RX7, as it suffers from issues like the engine bay running very hot, to the point of cracking plastic pieces and making vacuum hoses brittle. The turbo is prematurely aged because of an intake leak that cooked the turbo and ruined the catalytic converters. The plastic pieces inside the cockpit are breaking off. It does run quite well when it is operational though.

I'm tempted to buy the S from him as it would be my first ragtop, and I know he has taken very good care of it - all maintenance done on-time, all items that need fixing repaired. I believe he had the RMS done last year under extended warrantee.

I've read quite a few of the posts here and I wanted to ask your opinion - would this be a good move? My goals are a high fun factor and good reliability. I would be selling the RX7 to finance this. I have driven the S, and it is not as super-fast as my RX, but it does handle extremely well.

I know this is a Boxster forum, but you chaps seem to have pretty mature, fairly objective opinions, not simply a rah-rah club for all things Boxster.

What would you advise? I've read many of the newbie informative posts. BTW, what is MAF?

Sincerely,

Rob


Last edited by BoxsterBob; 10-17-2006 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 10-17-2006, 11:17 PM   #2
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MAF = (M)ass (A)ir(f)low Sensor

Are you getting a 'family discount' on the S?

I am still too new with my boxster to give any good advice, but I'll relay this quote I have heard on this forum.

Dont try to talk yourself into buying a Porsche. Try to talk yourself out of it anyway you can. And when you fail, then you know its the right car.

It worked for me. I couldnt be happier with my box right now.

Last edited by vijen6; 10-17-2006 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 10-18-2006, 04:20 AM   #3
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I couldn't possibly imagine a better situation for buying a car. You have known the car first hand for years. The seller is your brother. Even the price doesn't matter (within limits) as it will all be in the family. Let the brother with more money give the other one a break concerning price and get the car.

Z.
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Old 10-18-2006, 04:55 AM   #4
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Hey Boxster Bob !

I think the best way to help you make up your mind is to drive the Boxster. I think your definition of razor sharp handling will take on a new meaning after spending some time in the Porsche. I just bought an identical car .... 2000 S, 26K miles and it is really an amazing car. Mine has a few minor creaks over bumpy pavement but even so, it feels like it is carved out of a solid block of steel. It feels much like a slightly refined go cart.

Yeah, the RMS thing sucks. You should probably take the car to a dealer and have them inspect it.

A Honda S2000 is another great car you might consider..... and probably better as far as build quality and tightness goes, but performance wise, the Porsche S is so much better balanced and will out run the Honda all day long........ plus, on looks alone, the Porsche wins hands down.

Anyway,the Boxster is a blast to drive and with the top down, it's the closest you'll come to a motorcycle experience.

Last edited by Silverstreak; 10-20-2006 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 10-18-2006, 06:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vijen6

.

Dont try to talk yourself into buying a Porsche. Try to talk yourself out of it anyway you can. And when you fail, then you know its the right car.
the beauty of reverse psychology...really works!


Boxsterbob, you have said it yourself that your brother really took care of it..so what's stopping you for buying it?i don't know if that question been asked already

i never regret buying my 99' box...got scheduled already for the next 3 weekends for a drive
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:47 AM   #6
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I would advise you to give him a deposit ASAP.

2000-2002 seem to be a vintage that was free of the Pre-2000 porous engine block issues (not all engines of course), and having far fewer intermediate drive shaft failures that are being reported with the 2003-2004. So 200-2002 seems to
be a sweet spot of sorts. I believe Consumer Reports rates the Boxster by year and reported problems etc. Might worth some researching on their site.
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:59 AM   #7
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Your situation is somewhat similar to mine. I've owned 1st gen Rx-7s for almost 20 years and driven several 3rd gens in the interest of purchasing one. I'm driving a 2000 S now instead of buying an FD.

I would say they are both about on the same level as far as handling and driver feedback go. I can't imagine going from the FD to a 986 S and thinking that something is lost in the experience. In fact, the mid engine sharpens responses a bit more than the front-mid design of the FD. Both cars are about 2850 pounds depending on options.

As far as structure goes, the Boxster is a convertible, there's no way it will be as solid as the closed coupe. The windshield does shake a little over train tracks and it creaks some going up onto curbs but it's still very solid for a convertible.

As for power, I felt that they were pretty much on the same level. There isn't a turbo kick in the Boxster, obviously, but the power delivery is smooth and gets greater as you rise in RPM, similar to the way the power comes on with the FDs stock sequential turbos. The stock cars acceleration times are almost identical to each other.

As for quality, as much as some folks on this board complain about the quality of the Boxster, it's worlds ahead of the FD. Mazda made a lot of decisions geared towards keeping their car light. This lead to very thin body panels and poor interior parts quality (the center armrest and door panels break ALL the time). The Boxster may not have the interior quality that someone would have expected of a $55k car at the time, but in my opinion it's a very nice place to be. They also, as you noted, underdesigned the cooling system in the FD, leading to all the problems that you mentioned above. There's no such issues with the Boxster. The knowledge that after 80,000 miles in the FD, the engine is on borrowed time would have driven me nuts and as hard as it is to find a good Porsche mechanic, rotary guys are 1000x harder to find.

Ultimately, I went with the Porsche because I was never satisfied with the quality of the Rx-7 The Porsche is just as much car, performance wise +mid engine + convertible.
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:34 AM   #8
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^ I've never understood this complaint about the 986/S Boxster interiors being cheap. It's the exact same interior you are getting in $100,000 911 GT3 or 911 Turbo. so for $50,000 you get the SAME interior as the $100K version. Not bad me thinks!

p.s.
The famous Boxster Concept car in 1993 came with an all new unique interior that is pretty close to the 986 interior. I have a concept brochure for the Boxster circa 1994 in the same silver and red scheme as my S and its really not all that different inside. Porsche decided not to use it in the 911 until 1999, some three years after the Boxster went on sale in Europe in 1996.
The 996 911's (S,C4,GT2,GT3, GT3RS & Turbo) all use a 986 Boxster 'concept' interior not the other way around.
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:51 AM   #9
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Hi guys,

Thank you for the generous amounts of commentary and feedback. I appreciate the thoughtful, non-smarmy replies.

Some of the concerns you guys have intuitively figured out.

1) On reliability, how long can be expected before major repairs? (e.g. ring-job, overhaul, major teardown?)

2) Any known trouble spots besides the Rear Main Seal? Any way to improve the reliability of RMS besides to keep an eye on it?

3) I would likely be keeping the Boxster S in stock trim. Any reliability mods needed? I know to avoid oiled foam air cleaners, and to make sure to change the 9+ qts of oil regularly.

4) What is the 'porous block issue'?

Any other thoughts?

To answer questions posed here:

* I have no qualms about buying from my 'bro. He and I are good friends, and both of us are fanatical about keeping our cars maintained. He is finicker than I am, and won't drive his car in the rain or bad weather. I am happy to make a vehicle a daily driver.

* I'm sure we'll be agreeable on price - that's not an issue.

* Yes, I have driven it once - on a summer day, with the top down. Was expecting to be underwhelmed after driving my RX7, and was surprised that it was fast, super-sharp handling, etc. A terrific ride.

* Totally subjective here, but I think the RX7 is a sleeker design. My reasons for considering a swap is because of reliability and fun-factor. Some have warned me that the costs of maintaining a Porsche Boxster would far-exceed anything I have seen with the RX7. For example, a complete engine rebuild and swap at a reputable mechanic would be $4-5K, labor included, ready-to-drive. I would likely need to do this at around 100-120K miles, from what I can gather. How's it for the Boxster S?

Sincerely,

Rob
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoxsterBob
Hi guys,

Thank you for the generous amounts of commentary and feedback. I appreciate the thoughtful, non-smarmy replies.

Some of the concerns you guys have intuitively figured out.

1) On reliability, how long can be expected before major repairs? (e.g. ring-job, overhaul, major teardown?)

2) Any known trouble spots besides the Rear Main Seal? Any way to improve the reliability of RMS besides to keep an eye on it?

3) I would likely be keeping the Boxster S in stock trim. Any reliability mods needed? I know to avoid oiled foam air cleaners, and to make sure to change the 9+ qts of oil regularly.

4) What is the 'porous block issue'?

Any other thoughts?

To answer questions posed here:

* I have no qualms about buying from my 'bro. He and I are good friends, and both of us are fanatical about keeping our cars maintained. He is finicker than I am, and won't drive his car in the rain or bad weather. I am happy to make a vehicle a daily driver.

* I'm sure we'll be agreeable on price - that's not an issue.

* Yes, I have driven it once - on a summer day, with the top down. Was expecting to be underwhelmed after driving my RX7, and was surprised that it was fast, super-sharp handling, etc. A terrific ride.

* Totally subjective here, but I think the RX7 is a sleeker design. My reasons for considering a swap is because of reliability and fun-factor. Some have warned me that the costs of maintaining a Porsche Boxster would far-exceed anything I have seen with the RX7. For example, a complete engine rebuild and swap at a reputable mechanic would be $4-5K, labor included, ready-to-drive. I would likely need to do this at around 100-120K miles, from what I can gather. How's it for the Boxster S?

Sincerely,

Rob
1) I don't think there's been any indication that the model year 2000+ engines shouldn't last at least 150,000 miles without any internal work. This strongly depends on how the car was treated, of course.

2) There are several plastic parts that get brittle and crack over time. The ones that I'm aware of are the water pump impeller, the oil separation tank and the spark plug tubes. I bet there are others. Someone else will need to chime in if there are any aftermarket metal replacements. There have been several RMS seal revisions, the jury's still out on if the latest revision significantly improves the situation. The MAF and O2 sensors eventually will get fouled to the point that it will affect the running of the car.

3) Just keep the car well maintained. I think most will agree to just stick with stock parts for maintenance items like spark plugs and air filters. Replacement parts are more expensive than they are for the Rx-7, but if you can afford the car, you should be able to afford the maintenance. The brake rotors are a maintenance item on these cars. They need to be replaced with every couple of brake pad changes.
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:24 PM   #11
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Hey Bob...

...you have a great situation for an awesome used 986....I may be able to give perspective on a few issues...

1. I've been told the M96 engine design (water cooling, cast liners) is good for over 200k...i'm still testing this theory with 75K on my MY2000 with no issues

2. There is an updated RMS seal...likely it's already in the car as you stated your brother had the fix done a year ago...one of the flaws of the M96 engine design was it's reliance on the main shaft carrying the weight of the clutch/tranny anytime the shaft/bearing is not concentric (read: vibration)

3. Make sure you clean your drain holes in addition to following the maintenance schedule...personally, i cut the increment to oil changes in 1/2 - 1/3 depending on how i'm driving during that time

4. The porus block issue was over by MY2000 and likely most MY99. There was a casting flaw defect in some of the early 2.5L motors that would cause a cylinder/piston to fail (3rd i believe but can't recall for sure). Porsche stepped up to the plate and either: 1. repaired your motor by boring and sleeving, or 2. gave you a new motor. It is possible with a MY00 3.2L, but not very likely.

* You should drive this vehicle some more...put down your deposite as was suggested (if necessary) and then just drive...say for a week...and then see if you can part with it...

* Maybe it's just me, but 4-5K for a rebuild seems relatively cheep but I could be in the dark...what does a rebuild usually run if you don't mind me asking?

Hope this helps,

--ts
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Old 10-18-2006, 12:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoxsterBob
I currently own a '95 Mazda RX7 that I have owned since it was new. I have enjoyed the speed of the RX7, and the razor-sharp handling. I admit, I have been very disappointed in the build quality and lack of reliability of the RX7, as it suffers from issues like the engine bay running very hot, to the point of cracking plastic pieces and making vacuum hoses brittle.Rob
i had a '93 RX-7 before i got the boxster. i LOVED my RX; very light, very fast, very responsive, and very beautiful. i have enjoyed the boxster more, but sometimes i do miss the RX-7. the box is more comfortable, gets WAY better mileage (i averaged 12mpg in my RX-7), is more reliable, is convertible, beautiful and extremely fun to drive. it doesn't quite have the WEEEEEEE!!!! factor that my RX-7 did; it's a more refined drive. my boxster always feels like it's going slower than the RX did over familiar sections of road, but it's not; the suspension is just much more refined. the RX-7 does feel quite a bit more crisp & go-kart like, but overall, the feedback in the Box is superior. i do prefer owning the Boxster, but that's not to say i don't miss the RX-7; it was an incredibly fun car to own.
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by racer_troy

* Maybe it's just me, but 4-5K for a rebuild seems relatively cheep but I could be in the dark...what does a rebuild usually run if you don't mind me asking?

Hope this helps,

--ts
Dear racerTroy,

Thank you for such an informative response. I'm quite impressed with the guys on this forum - very lively and excellent.

Here's where I priced rebuilds for the RX7:

http://www.pettitracing.com/rx7/index_engines.htm

http://www.pineappleracing.com/PricelistSvcs.html

I have spoken to Rob at Pineapple several times and they are in-town, so likely that's where I would go for a rebuild if I keep the RX7/FD.

Where do you guys get rebuilds for the Boxster S?

Sincerely,

Rob
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Old 10-18-2006, 03:16 PM   #14
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I have spoken to Rob at Pineapple several times and they are in-town, so likely that's where I would go for a rebuild if I keep the RX7/FD.
you can always just get silly with your RX-7; add a rotor to make it a 2.5L, bore the ports to the size of a soup can....those cars are slick to mod.

BTW, on your boxster rebuild questions, price for a rebuild will be based heavily upon whether you preemptively rebuild the motor or if you wait until it breaks. if you wait until it breaks, you are screwed. probably cheaper to get another motor. if you rebuild it to stock specs to freshen it up (seals, bearings, rings, valve job, machine work), it varies from probably around $4K - $7K depending on what needs to be replaced.
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Old 10-18-2006, 05:48 PM   #15
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Dear racerTroy,

Thank you for such an informative response. I'm quite impressed with the guys on this forum - very lively and excellent.

Here's where I priced rebuilds for the RX7:

http://www.pettitracing.com/rx7/index_engines.htm

http://www.pineappleracing.com/PricelistSvcs.html

I have spoken to Rob at Pineapple several times and they are in-town, so likely that's where I would go for a rebuild if I keep the RX7/FD.

Where do you guys get rebuilds for the Boxster S?

Sincerely,

Rob
That's about the right price for a rotary rebuild without any porting and all stock seals. Are you nearing a rebuild? Compression problems?

I understand Pineapple does good work.
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Old 10-18-2006, 06:37 PM   #16
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Only you ....

can decide if a specific car is for you.

All I know about buying or owning Boxsters of the '97-'04 vintage (after owning 3 Porsche mid-engined cars) is distilled in web pages of advice and information that I've experienced or accumulated from years of reading these forums. I invite you to brouse as you'll see information on buying, selling, maintenance, hacks, reliability, etc. Even sources for discount parts.

I'm not all knowing, just have the habit of writing things as I gradually learn about them and then sharing the assembled collective wisdom so the next guy can start where I left off.

http://mike.focke.googlepages.com/mikesporscheboxsterwebpages

You have located a car whose history and condition you personally know of and whose driver and his habits you know. The ideal.

Drive it a lot. Top up and down. Heater on and A/C on (if you can). Freeway and city. Straight and twistie.

And then let your gut tell you the answer. .. to buy or pass. Either is a respectable decision. After all, it is your $$$.

They aren't perfect, no car is. But they do impart something we call "perma-grin", that look on the drivers face when the top is down, the weather is perfect, the curves ahead beckon, there is no cop in sight, and all is right between you and your machine.

It is a wonderful car. Took me 10 minutes into my first drive to decide to buy one.
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Old 10-18-2006, 07:40 PM   #17
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Dear Mike,

Thank you for the terrific advice and the link to your webpage, which was extremely helpful.

Sincerely,

Rob
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racer_troy

* Maybe it's just me, but 4-5K for a rebuild seems relatively cheep but I could be in the dark...what does a rebuild usually run if you don't mind me asking?

Hope this helps,

--ts
I have not heard of many people rebuilding the M96 engine, usually it just gets replaced. But 4-5k is nothing for a Porsche engine rebuild. You want to talk about expenisve rebuilds, just ask the air-cooled guys what they pay for a top end job alone for worn valve guides.
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racer_troy

* Maybe it's just me, but 4-5K for a rebuild seems relatively cheep but I could be in the dark...what does a rebuild usually run if you don't mind me asking?

Hope this helps,

--ts
I have not heard of many people rebuilding the M96 engine, usually it just gets replaced. But 4-5k is nothing for a complete Porsche engine rebuild. You want to talk about expenisve rebuilds, just ask the air-cooled guys what they pay for a top end job alone for worn valve guides.
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Old 10-19-2006, 05:35 AM   #20
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"But they do impart something we call "perma-grin", that look on the drivers face when the top is down, the weather is perfect, the curves ahead beckon, there is no cop in sight, and all is right between you and your machine."

Very nicely put.

"Took me 10 minutes into my first drive to decide to buy one."

5 minutes here.

Z.

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