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Old 01-03-2011, 09:10 PM   #1
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Another "help out a potiential Boxster owner" thread

First things first, I want to apologize for being "that guy" by posting this. I've been lurking around for a week or so in my pending trade and have found a lot of valuable info, so thank you.

Here's the story.

I'm 19, typical near-broke college student still living under my parents roof.
As of now I own a 2000 Z28 Camaro Convertible 6 speed in amazing condition from the original owner about 9 months ago. Well maintained, she used it to commute about 200 miles round trip (Rocklin to San Jose for you Cali folks) thus racking up the 176k miles it currently has. Before purchasing the Camaro I was worried about the mileage and did plenty of research only to find out the LS1s are amazing and surpass 200k frequently with proper maintainence. Still today I have yet to put more than $500 in it and feel as if I got a screaming deal at $5k.

I love the car, but I get bored with everything eventually and find myself trading cars quite often. Someone has approached me about trading for a 1997 silver on boxster red 5 speed with 85k miles. Like always, I hope online and research the car by its forums. I immediately become bombarded with tons of red flags relating to early boxsters were the worst, IMS/RMS failures, D chunk, etc and its breaking my heart. I absolutely love these cars.

I give the guy a shot anyways and meet up with him to take a look. The exterior was extremely clean minus a few paint chips from highway driving and I noticed it was fitted with the 997's standard 19's on brand new tires =]. The top was in mint condition and there was not a dent on the body anywhere.

The interior, not so nice, as the seats were much more worn than mine and it just felt old (tape players, late 90's feel, etc.) it was quite dirty as well.

Taking a look underneath the car I failed to notice any leaks of any kind, even after the car had sat for a good half an hour after having driven for 75 miles. It looked like a great example of a well taken care of 14 year old car.

Lone and behold, I took my first drive in a Boxster (having driven a 2000 996) and it is unlike anything I have ever driven before. I am addicted and I do not know what else to do. Sure its a bit underpowered compared to the monsterous LS1 that sits under the Camaro's hood, but hitting the backroads with this car was simply unbelievable.

He is the third owner of the vehicle and has it pretty well documented service wise, but my concern is that none of these mention anything being replaced other than the water pump and a coolant tank of some sort. No clutch (although it felt great, and I mean great as I upshifted to and from 4-6k frequently) no suspension (although again it handled amazing with no squeeks or anything funny sounding)the top opened and shut perfectly, no IMS or RMS mentioned anywhere. While I am left to believe it is a good example of a potential 100k mile club member, my family is strongly suggesting me against it. I got a quote for the 90k service fromt eh local mechanic (frank's automotive) in Sac at 750 bucks, but from the looks of what everyone has been saying they are a breeze to maintain (I have a lift =] ).

Am I to be concerned? should I walk away? anything I can find out to further provide assurance on the vehicle or am I looking at a probable car that will ruin me.

any and all help will be greatly appreciated.

(EDIT: I am aware of the fact 97s werent made to run 19s and therefore will be selling them)
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:02 AM   #2
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If you truly are a poor college student I would recommend you stay away from the Boxster for now. Any number of problems could be beyond your budget and put you on the Nike highway.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:34 AM   #3
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I understand your addiction

we all have it to a certain extent.

While in some areas a Porsche is just a car, in other areas it is a bit special. Limited number so lots of things special. Parts expensive. Mechanics who truly know how to maintain them are rare and expensive. While many well maintained and often driven Boxsters make it for many many more fairly reliable miles beyond what this one has, you are entering into 13 year old and fairly high mileage territory and can expect to need to replace a few things just because of age. Your Chevy will be cheaper and easier to service. (I wish I knew of a place that would do my 90k service for $750 and knew what they were doing...how many Porsches do they have on their lot right now?)

My advice: Save your money. Changing cars means paying transaction costs. Maintain the car you have and you know is good. Once you are out of school, have saved some money and are still single, then look for the toy car. For most of us, it will be until the kids are out of college until we can afford a toy car again. I should have bought that Mustang in 65 instead of the Alfa.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:58 AM   #4
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"i'm a near-broke college student and i want to buy a porsche."


that sentence is pretty funny!

that having been said, every one of us on this board understands you, believe me. BUYING a porsche and OWNING a porsche are two different things, and it doesn't sound to me like you can afford to OWN this car right now. preventative maintenance would be key to a long & happy boxster life, and that really can't be done on the cheap. i'd settle down, keep your current car, & wait until you're in a better position before you pull the trigger on something like this.

others have said it before; i will say it again: there is nothing more expensive than a cheap porsche.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:05 AM   #5
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A well written essay. I would take your parents and others on this forum advice and stay away from it.

You already have a nice sport car. Let's us know what is your plan.


Good luck.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:07 AM   #6
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"i'm a near-broke college student and i want to buy a porsche."

when I was a poor college student I had a 914 and it was dirt cheap to run as long as I did all the work myself. Paid $1500 for it and it never let me down.

But a Boxster while in college and with no money? I wouldn't do it.
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Old 01-05-2011, 03:24 AM   #7
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I had two sports cars and three road racing motorcycles when I was your age...oh and a built 67 bronco for desert trips. Here is my point in saying this, at my late teens and early twenties those toys and the pretty little blonde gal that rode with me was about all I cared about and pretty much all I was willing to work for. Soon enough that pretty blonde gal became my wife and a mother of my first son......That ended the motor sports age of my life up until now. As they say often those were the best days of my life......from a purely selfish view.LOL

You know what I say. if your willing to work for it and are going in educated go for it friend. Enjoy life while life doesnt hurt so much. I think if you polled the audience here most would say they had an "unsensible" sports car in their early years too. Were just older and wiser today and conservatism comes with experience. Have fun, be realistic, and learn how to drive in those curves.

I got to take a sideline issue of something I am getting mighty sick of hearing around here.

"others have said it before; i will say it again: there is nothing more expensive than a cheap porsche"

I take issue with this statement because it is misleading at best. I have researched the sports car market extensively during my own boxster shopping experience. Even with all the nightmare stories of engine failure and high dealership hourly rates this car is one of the best sports car buys you can make today.

Here are my reasonings for saying this.

1) You have to consider original sticker price. Out the door these cars are very expensive and well out of reach for a vast majority of folks. 40 -75 k isnt a light hit for a two seater car.

2) because they are considered non collectibles, bottom of the line, and have inherent engine problems that scare the heck out of most folks their resale value has plumetted to ridiculously low prices. Add to that a poor economy affecting luxury goods and you have a perfect storm for a great deal on a great car. 8-15 grand will set you in one under 100,000 any day of the week. Go look at the comparable cars with similar mileage and see what they are bringing....You will realize very quickly most examples with twice as much mileage will break you wallet much worse. BTW they are all expensive to maintain as well.

3) Lets talk about repair costs for saaaay the motor....keep in mind your not replacing a 21 r toyota motor here your replacing a porsche motor that originally came in a 40-75 thousand dollar package. With that mindset 10-15 grand for a new motor is not only reasonable but expected cost. What people knee jerk about is the oversight that the buy in during this perfect storm for these cars is an incredible deal to begin with. In most cases your paying 30-50% of original sticker price for cars undr 100 k. Try that with any of the competitors. Holy cow I only paid 12 k for the car now the motor is going to cost me 10-15. Yes sir and you just purchased a vehicle that was 65,000 ten years ago, and now you will have 22-27 k into a car thats well on its way to being refreshed and lasting another 100 + Oh and its a porsche......It eats the competition in most all regards and is a beautiful piece of work.

Bottom line cheap and porsche do not go together and shouldnt I will agree. However, there is great value to be had here that far surpasses most other offerings if you take the time to research whats out there and available. Haphazard buyers and bottom of the barrel consumers will almost certainly be torn up in the boxster owning experience . A smart sports car enthusiast that has educated themselves on the other hand can likely buy into way more car for their dollar on a boxster than anywhere else in the game.

Thats my nickles worth.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schnellman
If you truly are a poor college student I would recommend you stay away from the Boxster for now. Any number of problems could be beyond your budget and put you on the Nike highway.
Haha! Nike Highway, I like that.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:18 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mikefocke
we all have it to a certain extent.

While in some areas a Porsche is just a car, in other areas it is a bit special. Limited number so lots of things special. Parts expensive. Mechanics who truly know how to maintain them are rare and expensive. While many well maintained and often driven Boxsters make it for many many more fairly reliable miles beyond what this one has, you are entering into 13 year old and fairly high mileage territory and can expect to need to replace a few things just because of age. Your Chevy will be cheaper and easier to service. (I wish I knew of a place that would do my 90k service for $750 and knew what they were doing...how many Porsches do they have on their lot right now?) They had about 7 when I went in there, a few were Autocross specials and a couple 356's

My advice: Save your money. Changing cars means paying transaction costs. Maintain the car you have and you know is good. Once you are out of school, have saved some money and are still single, then look for the toy car. For most of us, it will be until the kids are out of college until we can afford a toy car again. I should have bought that Mustang in 65 instead of the Alfa.
This is where I get caught up in the confusion. While I have an idea about the Camaro's durability, I still question it (especially when I am being offered to trade for a Porsche with only 85k miles) My car bluebooks at only $6k, while the Boxster is at $10k (but we know how unreliable those quotes are). I figure at the very least I may be able to turn around and sell the boxster making a profit along with selling the 997 rims separately. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by insite
"i'm a near-broke college student and i want to buy a porsche."


that sentence is pretty funny!

that having been said, every one of us on this board understands you, believe me. BUYING a porsche and OWNING a porsche are two different things, and it doesn't sound to me like you can afford to OWN this car right now. preventative maintenance would be key to a long & happy boxster life, and that really can't be done on the cheap. i'd settle down, keep your current car, & wait until you're in a better position before you pull the trigger on something like this.

others have said it before; i will say it again: there is nothing more expensive than a cheap porsche.
I have been studying up on the Pelican Parts forums for quite some time now and focusing on the IMS retrofit kit. While it doesn't sound EASY, It sounds POSSIBLE. Any and all maintenance on the car would be done by me with the exception of the 90k service just for resale purposes down the road.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by lifeisgood
A well written essay. I would take your parents and others on this forum advice and stay away from it.

You already have a nice sport car. Let's us know what is your plan.


Good luck.
Thanks. I am not ignorant and will take everyone's advice openly, but I wish I wasn't so damn stubborn lol.

The Camaro is fun and I can't wait to start dropping the top when the weather gets warmer. With the mileage the way it is, I rarely feel comfortable putting my foot to the floor for fear of something blowing up. I feel with the Boxster they were MEANT to be driven like they were stolen and I intend to do so =] Another thing is that the owner of it informed me that the IMS problems that occur are most likely due to owners lugging their cars around. Is there any truth to that?
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:35 AM   #12
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I say go for it. Worst case scenario the car goes belly up with an expensive failure and you have to trade it in for a $2000 econo car that most college students drive anyway. Plus just think of all the trim you could be getting with a Porsche in college!
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcoit
I had two sports cars and three road racing motorcycles when I was your age...oh and a built 67 bronco for desert trips. Here is my point in saying this, at my late teens and early twenties those toys and the pretty little blonde gal that rode with me was about all I cared about and pretty much all I was willing to work for. Soon enough that pretty blonde gal became my wife and a mother of my first son......That ended the motor sports age of my life up until now. As they say often those were the best days of my life......from a purely selfish view.LOLThat is oddly exactly how my life has been lol. I have a beautiful blonde girlfriend of 2 years and she loves riding shotgun with the top down =)

You know what I say. if your willing to work for it and are going in educated go for it friend. Enjoy life while life doesnt hurt so much. I think if you polled the audience here most would say they had an "unsensible" sports car in their early years too. Were just older and wiser today and conservatism comes with experience. Have fun, be realistic, and learn how to drive in those curves. This is the attitude I have been portraying with my life lately. With Everyday being monotonous, I need something that is going to put some thrill in my life. My dad is my best friend and he just recently began taking racing lessons. I feel this is an opportunity to bond with him and further advance our relationship doing something we both love, unfortunately after talking with the local mechanics and them informing us to simply "run away from anything older than a 2000" he has made it pretty clear that he would disown me for buying this car lol

I got to take a sideline issue of something I am getting mighty sick of hearing around here.

"others have said it before; i will say it again: there is nothing more expensive than a cheap porsche"

I take issue with this statement because it is misleading at best. I have researched the sports car market extensively during my own boxster shopping experience. Even with all the nightmare stories of engine failure and high dealership hourly rates this car is one of the best sports car buys you can make today.

Here are my reasonings for saying this.

1) You have to consider original sticker price. Out the door these cars are very expensive and well out of reach for a vast majority of folks. 40 -75 k isnt a light hit for a two seater car.

2) because they are considered non collectibles, bottom of the line, and have inherent engine problems that scare the heck out of most folks their resale value has plumetted to ridiculously low prices. Add to that a poor economy affecting luxury goods and you have a perfect storm for a great deal on a great car. 8-15 grand will set you in one under 100,000 any day of the week. Go look at the comparable cars with similar mileage and see what they are bringing....You will realize very quickly most examples with twice as much mileage will break you wallet much worse. BTW they are all expensive to maintain as well.

3) Lets talk about repair costs for saaaay the motor....keep in mind your not replacing a 21 r toyota motor here your replacing a porsche motor that originally came in a 40-75 thousand dollar package. With that mindset 10-15 grand for a new motor is not only reasonable but expected cost. What people knee jerk about is the oversight that the buy in during this perfect storm for these cars is an incredible deal to begin with. In most cases your paying 30-50% of original sticker price for cars undr 100 k. Try that with any of the competitors. Holy cow I only paid 12 k for the car now the motor is going to cost me 10-15. Yes sir and you just purchased a vehicle that was 65,000 ten years ago, and now you will have 22-27 k into a car thats well on its way to being refreshed and lasting another 100 + Oh and its a porsche......It eats the competition in most all regards and is a beautiful piece of work.

Bottom line cheap and porsche do not go together and shouldnt I will agree. However, there is great value to be had here that far surpasses most other offerings if you take the time to research whats out there and available. Haphazard buyers and bottom of the barrel consumers will almost certainly be torn up in the boxster owning experience . A smart sports car enthusiast that has educated themselves on the other hand can likely buy into way more car for their dollar on a boxster than anywhere else in the game.

Thats my nickles worth.
Very well written sir, Thank you for the response.

1) I want to thank ALL OF YOU for the responses, on most forums I am a part of, posting essays like mine result in everybody being too lazy to read them. You guys took time out of your lives to help out a potential newbie and I thank you.

2) While most of the responses are "run, run away" or "not now, maybe later", I still get the sense that this car has been well taken care of and driven correctly, and will prove to be one of those few good examples. I will be meeting up with him again shortly and I will let you know how it goes.

3) with the current financial status I am in, If I do decide to trade the car would likely go right back up for sale along with the rims, but I will still drive it and love it like my own.

Any more words of encouragement or wisdom against is still greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:48 AM   #14
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I say go for it. Worst case scenario the car goes belly up with an expensive failure and you have to trade it in for a $2000 econo car that most college students drive anyway. Plus just think of all the trim you could be getting with a Porsche in college!
Haha! exactly my friend

I started with a 1993 Ford festiva... so it cant be too bad. With my Camaro, the engine could blow on that at anytime as well with 176k, so I can play the what if game with just about anything.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:56 AM   #15
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With my Camaro, the engine could blow on that at anytime as well with 176k, so I can play the what if game with just about anything.
Exactly, life is full of risks. If I didn't like taking risks I would just stay in bed all day long with the sheet over my head. Who knows, you could fall down some stairs and break your neck or get run over by a bus or something. If people don't take some risks in life then they aren't really living.
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:19 PM   #16
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I'm all for taking prudent risks

And driving a car whose engine replacement is $3k is different than driving one that is $7-29k. Especially when you are a college student.

My first car was a PV544 Volvo. (was racing them in sedan racing at the time.) Thanks dad. You let me pick the car, I made a bad decision. Bought before my Sr year in college. Cost me about twice its cost in maintenance in the 9 months I had it and was a constant struggle to find someone who could repair it. Lost 80% on the resale. Second car was a red Alfa Giulietta Veloce Spyder 1300. Darn near a racing car. Bought from a Nash Rambler dealer. Never forget driving down to the Indy 500 and passing a truck at 100. Neat car. Sold at 2 years after the engine blew and I was somewhere there was no mechanic who knew what they were about. Sold for parts.

So I know the fun of a hot car in your youth. And the $ problems they can create...and hassle.

Yes, I'm 67 now and somewhat tempered by experience. Also financially so much better off because I stopped doing such things until the house and the colleges were paid off.

Even then I bought 5 year old Boxsters. If I need to, I could pay cash for the engine rebuild. But it isn't my only car, and can be put away when the weather is bad and it isn't safe to drive a car with summer tires. And my father is long gone and it creates no family problems...my wife suggested I buy it.

No matter what you do, I hope it works out for the best for you.
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:33 PM   #17
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And here is where I am stuck

Both are valid arguments in my opinion. I am likely transferring to another school next year and will not be able to take whatever car I own at the time with me anyways. In the three years me and my best friend have car swapped numerous times: Ford festiva>92 ford SHO>93 Lifted Jeep Grand cherokee>1999 integra LS Turbo>91 Mustang coupe 5.0>2000 Z28 Convertible 6speed has been my car lineage. I worked on every single one of them and enjoyed each in their very own way.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:10 PM   #18
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Spenny, since you know your way around a car and a DIY'er the cost for maintence and parts isn't really much more than your average car. People who talk about high maintence costs are usually the ones taking it in to the stealerships. If things go south quick and something expensive breaks trade it in for an older Civic or something straight up. It's a calculated risk with a backup plan.
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Old 01-05-2011, 04:10 PM   #19
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I don't know. Life is short, what have you got to lose? You can't lose your house cause you don't have one yet I have bought and sold a lot of cars over the years... close to 100 by now. Some were good investments, many were workhorses, some were pure joy. Few have brought as much joy as this little 986. The Boxster is a still lot of car for the money by any measure. If you had a wife and kids depending on your sober choice I might feel differently. As it is you have little to lose from the experience. If the car fails you can ride a bike, take the Nike highway, work weekends, get her fixed up again, no worries.

I drove a 69 Datsun Roadster briefly in college. It required almost daily tinkering to keep the carbs in sync, and it was totally impractical for my lifestyle at the time, but I loved every minute driving it. You are handy with tools and you are going into this with your eyes wide open. I say follow your heart even if only for a little while. The reality of responsible adulthood will catch up to you soon enough.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:00 PM   #20
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Thanks guys for all the valuable advice and debate. I am leaning towards the boxster purely for a new experience and better potential resale value in a short time. I have yet to find a car I am truly content with, maybe this will be it. Until the deal does or doesn't go down, I'll keep you posted and continue to lurk =]
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