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Old 03-07-2023, 03:57 PM   #1
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986 Spyder Seldom Driven the Last 5 Years

I have lived next-door to the owner of a 2004 Boxster 50th Anniversary Spyder for five years. She bought it new. For the past 20 years, when not in use, it has been parked in the open air (not in a garage) in mild San Diego. Therefore, it has faced no freezing weather, salty roads, or sustained heavy rainfall. It has not been driven much, however, at least for the last five years and *very* little most of that timeó*not at all* this winter (and much of the fall, I think). It will not start, its spoiler is frozen in the up-position, and the driver's door-window is stuck about 2 inches open. She is seriously considering selling it. I have dreamed of owning that car since I first set eyes on it.

Y'all know where I'm going here. I fear that it has suffered catastrophic engine damage (or will, if it is ever again started). Had our drought continued, I wouldn't be so concerned about the partially open window, but this has been an exceptionally wet winter. I don't know its mileage, we have had only very preliminary conversations. Should I run from this thing? I'm willing to delay my gratification until it is restored, if it can be restored. Would you gamble on it? Is there any price that would adequately offset the dangers of its being idle so long?

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Old 03-07-2023, 04:21 PM   #2
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I have lived next-door to the owner of a 2004 Boxster 50th Anniversary Spyder for five years. She bought it new. For the past 20 years, when not in use, it has been parked in the open air (not in a garage) in mild San Diego. Therefore, it has faced no freezing weather, salty roads, or sustained heavy rainfall. It has not been driven much, however, at least for the last five years and *very* little most of that timeó*not at all* this winter (and much of the fall, I think). It will not start, its spoiler is frozen in the up-position, and the driver's door-window is stuck about 2 inches open. She is seriously considering selling it. I have dreamed of owning that car since I first set eyes on it.

Y'all know where I'm going here. I fear that it has suffered catastrophic engine damage (or will, if it is ever again started). Had our drought continued, I wouldn't be so concerned about the partially open window, but this has been an exceptionally wet winter. I don't know its mileage, we have had only very preliminary conversations. Should I run from this thing? I'm willing to delay my gratification until it is restored, if it can be restored. Would you gamble on it? Is there any price that would adequately offset the dangers of its being idle so long?
First what makes you think there is possible catastrophic engine Damage???
You need to do a detailed examination of the car.
Then make your decision based on that examination.
If you don't have the mechanical knowledge to do a proper examination of the car.
Find someone who does have the knowledge and can examine it for you.
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Old 03-07-2023, 04:32 PM   #3
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I've been reading Adrian Streather's *The Essential Buyer's Guide: Porsche 986 Boxster*. He warns of very serious damage after prolonged disuse.
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Old 03-07-2023, 05:04 PM   #4
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I've been reading Adrian Streather's *The Essential Buyer's Guide: Porsche 986 Boxster*. He warns of very serious damage after prolonged disuse.
Such as????
What happens most often is seals, gaskets, and rubber components dry out or shrink up..
So seals and gaskets will shrink so they have the possibilty of leaking.
Rubber begins to perish once dried out to a certain point.

Unless there is rust or corrosion issues internally in the engine or transmission the only other thing that can happen is seals and gaskets shrinking up.
If there is no internal rust or corrosion in the engine or transmission then nothing could be damaged from disuse.
How would the supposed serious damage occur????

Now water damage to the interior or sun damage or other weather damage to the car from setting for a long period of time.
Yes that is possible. But it is not going to hurt the engine or transmission.

Last edited by blue62; 03-07-2023 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 03-07-2023, 05:11 PM   #5
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Prolonged no use... is mainly to the brakes. They rust.
Have you seen YT videos of cars that have been sitting for 10 years and they started up? No damage to the engine.

I am afraid you are not experienced with cars and mechanics, right?
If so, find someone who can perform the inspection.

The door worries me - what do you mean open windows? Like all the time?
If so... check if carpet has any moisture.
If it does - well, I personally could take this car being water damaged and work on it, but paying someone may be very expensive.

No starting car may mean the under driver seat computer is a toast due to water damage.

That is your catastrophic damage here.
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Old 03-07-2023, 06:57 PM   #6
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I have no expertise at all. I'm sorry if my questions came across as naive. I thought I understood the dangers of disuse. I guess I did not. Thank y'all for responding nonetheless.
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Old 03-07-2023, 07:13 PM   #7
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I have no expertise at all. I'm sorry if my questions came across as naive. I thought I understood the dangers of disuse. I guess I did not. Thank y'all for responding nonetheless.
Not a problem.
The thing to do is find a car nut. Someone that has good automotive mechanical knowledge.
Have them look at the car. The fact that it currently doesn't start could be something very simple like a dead battery. Or it could be something more serious.
The car could be a great find or an endless money pit.
Someone to look at it for you would be much better then opinions from people on a forum that have no contact with the car.

Last edited by blue62; 03-08-2023 at 04:43 AM.
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Old 03-08-2023, 03:37 AM   #8
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In my short 8 months of ownership I'll pass on my prior 6 months of viewing and test riding 986's.
First-off take you time and patience looking. If you are only interested in this particular car because it's next door then realize it a possible purchase based on convenience. The things you pointed out as to the present state of condition should or might be a reason to walk away. Pride in ownership and upkeep don't seem to be the current owners mantra. Meaning if there were or are other things wrong then you will inherit them. And when the bill comes you'll still be seeing your neighbor every day at some point. Why I seldom sell a vintage car or motorcycle to friends.
The "open window" and the car sitting dead translates to me "I give up", "I don't care".

Could it be a "diamond-in-the-rough", sure. But spend your $$$ now for a once-over by a mechanic or have it towed to a dealership for a PPI. That will be expensive but not as expensive as buying it and going down the $$ rabbit-hole.

In my personal search I had a few priorities with service history being one of them. I bought a Box with 131,000 miles but with every service from the first day of ownership. Woman owner who kept up the car by the book for 126,000 miles. Lot's of bits & pieces changed over the years. Sold to a local friend who only drove it 4000 miles in 4 yers but had the IMS bearing done (LN Engineering), another priority for me. I saw plenty of ignored and/or garage queens that went thru many hands with no history (and no IMS done). So no guarantees there high or low milage.

My PPI came up with one issue... the front tires while showing a lot of tread were of an old date and cracking. The rears were new. So changed the fronts and life goes on. Doing minor fixes and upgrades along the way. I'd suggest you putting the $$$ up-front and get a professional opinion before diving in. I'd say that about any old exotic car but especially a Porsche. Fantastic machines but they can be angry cost-wise when ignored.

If (and this is only an example) flat bedding to a dealer, getting a PPI, finding out what it will cost to put the car back into service and being able to justify that cost to the seller vs. her asking price... it may be a good deal. Worst scenario she says no and you can either leave it at the dealer for her to get the repairs done or have it toed back to her house. She club be relieved not to see it sitting in the driveway. And for say $1000.00 you may be saving yourself $10.000 in parts and repairs.
The dealerships will give you the most expensive estimate of course. so a reliable independent shop might be better. Good Luck.
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Old 03-08-2023, 04:26 AM   #9
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Contact Adam at Vollig Motorsports in Miramar area for advice. He is a great mechanic, honest as the day is long and a very active member of PCA SDR
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Old 03-08-2023, 09:41 AM   #10
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Look for rat damage. A sitting car makes a great rat's nest.
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Old 03-09-2023, 11:34 AM   #11
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The fuel system is likely borked; My car sat for a few years (climate controlled storage, but still sat) before I bought it. The fuel pump and fuel sender unit were shot, fuel filter gummed up, and the fuel tank had to be cleaned out as the tank was coated in varnish. I've run 2 bottles of the more concentrated Techron though and haven't had any issues since.

Other issues a 986 can suffer from sitting include:
  • Rodents; I found a nest under the intake crossover tubes.
  • gummy window seals; mine were streaking on the windows for some time. Seems to have lessened but when I take off the door cards to solve a minor rattle I will need to inspect those seals and the window regulator
  • The blend door foam is likely shot, you'll see it spray everywhere the first time you crank the AC/heat
  • Brake fluid needs to be changed ASAP; any water in that system may have already started corroding fittings
  • Coolant too should be flushed ASAP
  • Oil has pooled away from components, and should be changed before running
  • The frunk release may have seized, you'll have to manually release it to get to the battery... which is most likely dead as well
  • Tires are dry rotted and unsafe, I drove 12 miles on the old tires (which were only 7 years old) and it was mildly terrifying. No grip, crashy, wandered everywhere. Should be changed while car is at a shop getting reconditioned

There's much more that can rotting away but internal components *SHOULD* be fine - once the oil is changed, fuel system cleaned out, and coolant flushed. In fact the water pump should be changed before starting, as should the serpentine belt. The Throttle should get cleaned, as should the MAF. The AOS rubber bits are probably rotted so get that changed too. If there's any oil leaks it's likely either the RMS or possibly a head gasket (but unlikely.) Plugs are likely fine, and whatever condition the PO left them in. The coil packs however are likely dry rotting and beginning to show microcracks. Mine are. Not a big deal as I don't drive it in the wet, but one good rainy drive will likely lead to misfires so that's gotta get done. The IMS should be fine however if it is undamaged. But you'll prob want to pull the gearbox to have the clutch examined. I am experiencing a mild clunk in the front suspension over harsh roads, indicating those bushings in the track arms and lower control arms are past their best. Same goes for the rear, any rattles you hear (again, mine has over harsh pavement) is either the track arm, toe arm, or lower control arm. Not catastrophic but likely a symptom of sitting and drying out. Then there's the end links and tie rods...
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Last edited by JZeke; 03-09-2023 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 03-09-2023, 01:19 PM   #12
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Did some Google on that car. 500 came to the states at a cost of 59K. It is worth a real good look!
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Old 03-12-2023, 09:52 AM   #13
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JZeke, thank you so much for this very helpful response. It is exactly what I'd hoped to be given here. I will take all of this to heart.

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