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Old 10-23-2011, 08:25 AM   #1
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Fresh out of the box: What I did when I got my "new" '03 986 home

I was pretty excited to become a Boxster owner for the second time (first one was a '98 986). My new one is an '03 986 with 81K miles on it. (Photo below)

When I got it home, here's what I did. I'm sharing this for the benefit of new, first time owners and also for any additional feedback on what *should* be on this list.

1. Oil change. Who knows what the heck the dealer put in there when they did an oil change. So out comes whatever they put in, and in goes Mobil 1 0w40 synthetic.

2. Replace air filter. One would think the dealer would do this, but judging by its condition, it had not been changed recently. Out! In with a new one. 30 second job once in the compartment.

3. New convertible top. Seal gray Boxster with a tan/beige roof? No sense of fashion. Plus, it was showing some signs of fading, and had somewhat blackened in the back on the sides where it folds when retracted. New GAHH top installed in black. Looks fantastic. Car looks new. Cost: $1,250.

4. New lids for the door pockets. These had shown signs of wear and were a drag on the interior. New black lids were $65 apiece and well worth it. I wanted to go with the aluminum look, but $400 is a bit much for these.

5. Wind deflector kit. I had noticed while the car was still on the lot that the car was missing the center wind deflector and the screens that fit into the roll bar. Looked up the price for a complete kit and had the dealer knock $600 off the price. The window sticker was another $10.

6. Durametric cable and software. Absolute best $300 you can spend on the car. Check control codes, real time reporting of data while the car is running, just fantastic.

7. HID headlight kit. What an improvement in lighting and appearance. The 3 hour timeframe to do the install advertised on Pelican Parts proved to be a huge overstatement. I was done in 30 minutes.

8. New hood latch cover. For some reason, the plastic panel covering the front hood latch was chipped on each side and looked weak when opening the front trunk. A replacement was just $32. (BTW, does anyone have an explanation as to why it would be chipped on the sides?)

9. Non-smokers kit. Out with the ashtray, in with a neat little pocket that once might actually use. Super easy install.

10. Replace polyrib serpentine belt. What a blessing that because of the Boxster's unique design this is literally a 3 minute job once you have access to the front of the engine by pulling the carpet off the back of the passenger compartment and removing the panel beneath. $30 total cost. Be sure to have a 24 mm socket or wrench to release the tension on the tensioner. Anyone can do this job. If you bring it in to have a shop do it, they're going to charge you their hourly rate to get access to the engine compartment, which takes 99% of the time on this job and a 5 year old could do.

Still on my "to do" list:

1. Replace rear badge with chrome unit.

2. On board computer activation. I'm not doing the full activation with the new stalk. Not worth the hassle IMHO when you can have the thing fully functional using a new dash button.

3. Clean the MAF sensor.

4. Install Pioneer AVIC Z130BT navigation system.

5. Replace transmission fluid, filter.

6. Check for signs of IMS bearing wear.

Cheers everyone,
Ron
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Old 10-24-2011, 11:25 AM   #2
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nice! you should add "De-amber" the headlights to the list too
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Old 10-24-2011, 03:46 PM   #3
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nice! you should add "De-amber" the headlights to the list too
Since it's an '03, the front headlight lens is clear. The bulb inside is amber. See photo below. Is there something I'm missing? (I agree: Amber = cheesy).
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:39 PM   #4
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Great looking car!
There are a few stages of 'de-ambering' that can be done on the 986 Boxsters (I know because I have gone through all stages on my 2002 ).
Stage 1 - Get the 2003 or later headlights without the amber plastic on the outside. These headlights are available in halogen or HID/Litronic.
Stage 2 - The 'amberectomy' is physically removing, usually with a soldering iron and needle nose pliers, the amber plastic inside the 2003 and later clear headlights. This requires a change from clear turn signal bulbs to amber bulbs.
Stage 3 - Insead of amber bulbs, get the silver bulbs that blink amber. That way you will have no sign or amber unless the light is blinking.
I am loving the look of stage 3!
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Old 10-24-2011, 10:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MN 986 View Post
Great looking car!
There are a few stages of 'de-ambering' that can be done on the 986 Boxsters (I know because I have gone through all stages on my 2002 ).
Stage 1 - Get the 2003 or later headlights without the amber plastic on the outside. These headlights are available in halogen or HID/Litronic.
Stage 2 - The 'amberectomy' is physically removing, usually with a soldering iron and needle nose pliers, the amber plastic inside the 2003 and later clear headlights. This requires a change from clear turn signal bulbs to amber bulbs.
Stage 3 - Insead of amber bulbs, get the silver bulbs that blink amber. That way you will have no sign or amber unless the light is blinking.
I am loving the look of stage 3!
Thanks for the top! How annoying/difficult is stage 2?
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:19 AM   #6
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It really isn't that bad, although I was a little concerned since I had just picked up a pair of Litronics and I hadn't even put them on the car yet. Just search 'amberectomy' on the web/forum and you will get good instuctions with pictures. I picked up a small cheap soldering iron and put some foil around the hole to help insulate the heat a little, but you do have to be careful.
The results are well worth it in my opinion. Good luck if you decide to do it!
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:21 PM   #7
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I found the website with the details and pics that most people use:
Clear Lights
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:46 PM   #8
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Oh my god... Those are 2 of the best looking boxsters I've ever seen 0.o

MN, what bodykit is that??? I LOVE IT!! Price check?
And I'm sure you have After market tail lights on it, what style are they?

Last edited by Mrmaddbrad; 11-06-2011 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:07 PM   #9
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Thanks for the compliment! I bought my 02 about 3.5 years ago and have made a few changes! The front bumper and side skirts are the OEM AerokitII parts. I picked them up on Ebay over the last few years. I have the aftermarket rear diffusers and the 2003 OEM smoked taillights. Here is a pic of the back.
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Old 11-08-2011, 07:35 PM   #10
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Nice very nice! Perfect wheels too! I wish those kits from Porsche weren't so crazy expensive.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:32 PM   #11
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Yeah, I think I remember seeing a price from Porsche of over $4500 for the full Aerokit II (including the rear bumper and trunk spoiler). I found the side skirts for $300 new on Ebay a few years ago, then found the front bumper with the larger splitter included for $900 this Spring and I couldn't resist. The front bumper definitely made the biggest difference,,, it doesn't even look like the same car when I look at before and after pics!
Keep an eye on Ebay and you may get lucky, too.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:07 PM   #12
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Lots of great info in this thread!

I too, picked up a Seal Gray 2003.
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:11 PM   #13
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nice list: may need to borrow this info
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:24 AM   #14
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Nice Car, I just bought an '01 same color. I am curious about the aftermarket radio/nav you mentioned as a planned upgrade. Mine has the stock (CDR220) stereo, and would like to upgrade, How would the Pioneer unit fit in? looks like a different form factor than the porsche unit...I don't really care so much about Nav, but would like to modernize the unit with IPOD connect, bluetooth etc.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:12 AM   #15
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I would add, pull the sump plate to see whats in there, especially look for any metal or plastic and sealant that can clog the oil intake tube. Clean the sump plate thoroughly. I know you just changed the oil, but you can just drain it into a perfectly clean container and re-use it.

As a preventative measure, replace the water pump if it hasn't been replaced before. They are prone to failure and when they do, the plastic impeller can break off and clog the water passages in the head leading to cracked heads. If you do the pump, then do the motor mount also, which also fail very quickly. If you do both at the same time, both jobs are much easier. If you take the radiator hoses off (which you need to to replace the pump), getting the motor mount out is much easier and to remove the motor mount, you need to lower the engine which makes access to the WP a breeze.
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:08 AM   #16
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Where did you find the ashtray insert....

Great list you put together; just joining the forum; would LOVE to know where you found the ashtray insert and what it was called?


Thanks.

Gerry
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