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Old 10-08-2017, 01:05 PM   #1
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How many miles is too many for a DD and track car?

This is my first post and hopefully one of many in the near future.

I am scouting the market for a car to daily drive and take to the track a couple of times a year. While my first choice would be a 2003/4 Boxster S, I have few cheap options in the area mainly 1999-2001 2.5 cars with 200.000km or 120k miles, hence the question. How many miles can the 2.5L engine go before a major overhaul and can it be reliably tracked?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-08-2017, 01:37 PM   #2
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The engine isn't the problem. At 100k plus for it to be half decent on track let alone road then you are in for a full suspension rebuild, a lot of the ancillaries, unless already done of course.
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Old 10-08-2017, 01:50 PM   #3
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I bought mine at 103,000 miles and now have around 135,000 over the last 5 years, mostly track driving. The previous owner spared no expense on maintenance however
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:56 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by zenocchio View Post
How many miles can the 2.5L engine go before a major overhaul...
It varies.

First, miles are probably the wrong unit of measure since freeway miles (at 3,200 rpm) and track miles (at 5,000-7,000 rpm) are not equal in terms of engine wear and tear.

A better measure is probably hours of track use and the general thinking is that most drivers can get around 60 - 80 hours of track use out of a 2.5L engine. You can do the maths but generally most racers expect around 2 seasons of racing out of an engine. But the length of calendar time really depends on how often you go to the track. If you're just casually tracking the car at DE's 4-6 times per year, you can expect something like 5-7 years of track use (assuming each track day is four 30 mins sessions = 2 hrs).

And while the engine might be good for 5-7 years as described above, you'll be replacing many other components on an 18-year old sports car during that time. edc makes a great point in his post about concerns with worn suspension on a car with 120K miles. Be sure to read the Forum posts about what to expect in terms of yearly basic maintenance costs and remember that those basic costs will only go up if you are regularly tracking the car.

Of course, some engines last longer and some last shorter depending on the driver (any over-rev's?), conditions (racing in extreme heat is harder on an engine than mild temps), maintenance (how often do you change the oil?) and how many ounces of unicorn tears Porsche used to pre-lube the engine wear surfaces when they built the engine. So don't be shocked if you only get 40 hours or if the engine lasts 100 hours. Plan for the worst, be grateful for the best and you'll keep a healthy outlook.

My current engine ($1,800) was bought from a salvage yard with 92,000 existing miles and now has an additional 75 hrs on the track. As such, I already have another used engine (105,000 miles/$2500) sitting in my workshop ready to swap in when the current engine fails (which is probably overdue for failure since I certainly have driver induced over-rev's).

As you can surmise, I don't overhaul engines anymore because my personal experience is that a rebuilt engine (even a $10K professional rebuild) doesn't last on the track any longer than a used engine (at least as far as I can tell or have heard in aggregate from talking to many drivers about many engines). And for clarity, we are specifically talking about bone-stock 2.5L engines that are Boxster Spec legal. Just don't buy a used engine with 200,000 miles thinking that it has much life left in it.

Of course, used engines have risk in them also because you have no idea how they were previously treated or maintained, but since they are only about 25%-33% the price of a professional rebuild, the risk is mostly worth the cost advantage.

To answer your question directly, a car with 120K miles probably isn't too many to buy as a street/track car. Around 100K miles would be better but 150K miles or more would probably be too many (as a starting point).

Hope this helps.

Disclaimer: Your mileage (and engine life on the track) may vary.
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Last edited by thstone; 10-08-2017 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 10-08-2017, 03:49 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by thstone View Post
It varies.

First, miles are probably the wrong unit of measure since freeway miles (at 3,200 rpm) and track miles (at 5,000-7,000 rpm) are not equal in terms of engine wear and tear.

A better measure is probably hours of track use and the general thinking is that most drivers can get around 60 - 80 hours of track use out of a 2.5L engine. You can do the maths but generally most racers expect around 2 seasons of racing out of an engine. But the length of calendar time really depends on how often you go to the track. If you're just casually tracking the car at DE's 4-6 times per year, you can expect something like 5-7 years of track use (assuming each track day is four 30 mins sessions = 2 hrs).

And while the engine might be good for 5-7 years as described above, you'll be replacing many other components on an 18-year old sports car during that time. edc makes a great point in his post about concerns with worn suspension on a car with 120K miles. Be sure to read the Forum posts about what to expect in terms of yearly basic maintenance costs and remember that those basic costs will only go up if you are regularly tracking the car.

Of course, some engines last longer and some last shorter depending on the driver (any over-rev's?), conditions (racing in extreme heat is harder on an engine than mild temps), maintenance (how often do you change the oil?) and how many ounces of unicorn tears Porsche used to pre-lube the engine wear surfaces when they built the engine. So don't be shocked if you only get 40 hours or if the engine lasts 100 hours. Plan for the worst, be grateful for the best and you'll keep a healthy outlook.

My current engine ($1,800) was bought from a salvage yard with 92,000 existing miles and now has an additional 75 hrs on the track. As such, I already have another used engine (105,000 miles/$2500) sitting in my workshop ready to swap in when the current engine fails (which is probably overdue for failure since I certainly have driver induced over-rev's).

As you can surmise, I don't overhaul engines anymore because my personal experience is that a rebuilt engine (even a $10K professional rebuild) doesn't last on the track any longer than a used engine (at least as far as I can tell or have heard in aggregate from talking to many drivers about many engines). And for clarity, we are specifically talking about bone-stock 2.5L engines that are Boxster Spec legal. Just don't buy a used engine with 200,000 miles thinking that it has much life left in it.

Of course, used engines have risk in them also because you have no idea how they were previously treated or maintained, but since they are only about 25%-33% the price of a professional rebuild, the risk is mostly worth the cost advantage.

To answer your question directly, a car with 120K miles probably isn't too many to buy as a street/track car. Around 100K miles would be better but 150K miles or more would probably be too many (as a starting point).

Hope this helps.

Disclaimer: Your mileage (and engine life on the track) may vary.


Thank you all very much for taking the time to explain and express your opinions.

I am happy to know that the 100k miles Mark doesn’t scare you.

In terms of performance, is a 3.2 worth the $5,000 premium over a 2.5? This is because it seems that most of the S are going for that much more around here
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by zenocchio View Post
In terms of performance, is a 3.2 worth the $5,000 premium over a 2.5? This is because it seems that most of the S are going for that much more around here
Do a search - this subject has been previously discussed quite a bit. I'll get you started...

Which Boxster to get?

Base or S model? Feedback Requested...

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer. I'd suggest that you drive both base and S models. Only you can decide if the extra power (and other upgrades) are worth the extra money.
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thstone View Post
Do a search - this subject has been previously discussed quite a bit. I'll get you started...

Which Boxster to get?

Base or S model? Feedback Requested...

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer. I'd suggest that you drive both base and S models. Only you can decide if the extra power (and other upgrades) are worth the extra money.
What everyone else has said...

I daily drove an S for 4 years and prefer the S over the base in general.

My second S, mostly a drive to the track car is forsale http://http://986forum.com/forums/boxsters-cayman-cars-sale-wanted/67376-track-prepared-2000-porsche-boxster-s.html

I think you can enjoy either an S or a base model, just depends what you are looking for.

Mike
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Old 10-09-2017, 11:12 AM   #8
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Learned something new from this thread as I had no idea that the life of the engine is reduced so dramatically tracking it.
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